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RVs often come well equipped out of the dealership. All the basics like generators, inverters, microwaves, air conditioners, and whatnot are often included by default, though this will vary from RV to RV.
However, while RVs do come with the most essential things one would need for the journey, there are some things that you should get on your own.
There are plenty of items – minor or significant, big or small – that should be on you on your RV journey. Without them, your trip is perfectly possible. But with them, you will be much more comfortable and, if issues arise, secure.
There are plenty of things that you could get for your RV, but there are particular items that we think are must-haves if you are planning to do a more or less long journey.
And if you happen to be looking for the must-haves that would be able to make your journey more convenient and safe, then our list of 27 must-have RV accessories will most likely interest you.
Before proceeding to the reading, it should be noted that some RVs may actually come with the items we are going to talk about. Thus, before deciding what to buy, choose an RV first and then research what kind of amenities or whatnot it comes with.
RV Accessories Expert Recommendations
Kelly Beasley – CampAddict.com
Kelly Beasley, co-founder, and owner of CampAddict.com had a few suggestions for RV Accessories.
“I’ve been a solo female full-time Rver since 2015. I have a few favorite things to make life easier, here are three of them
“These puppies end the tedious work of guessing how many stackable levelers you need to use, only to be wrong, and having to get back out and add more or remove some.
Instead, you simply roll onto these levelers until you hit level. They have saved me so much time and hassle!”
“I actually traveled for about 2 years without getting refrigerator bars. Every move was a new adventure in finding what survived (and what didn’t survive) inside the fridge.
Many messes have been avoided by simply installing these bars before a trip. No RV should be without them!”
For those who want to stay in the mountains but don’t have a generator or don’t have much solar, a propane Buddy Heater will keep you warm and toasty.
They run off of 1 lb small green propane tanks, easily found at a local camping store or Walmart. It’s one of my favorite features for its cozy factor! There are a few different sizes to choose from, depending on how large your RV is.”
You can see more of Kelly’s article on her website https://CampAddict.com.
Sam Maizlech – Glacial Wellness
Sam Maizlech is an outdoors and travel expert for Glacier Wellness, a company dedicated to natural and sustainable products for the modern pioneer.
“Traveling in an RV often means expecting the unexpected which is why multi-tools are so essential for these trips. While I’ve always used Leatherman-style multi-tools, the Stealth Tact Shovel from Survival Frog takes RVing, camping, and outdoor recreation to a whole new level.”
“In addition to an adjustable and fully-functional shovel, the high-grade steel multi-tool features many outdoor living must-haves, including a knife, hex wrench, Phillips screwdriver, fire starter, hoe, and saw. Furthermore, the Tact Shovel also functions as a defensive tool and is lightweight and collapsible for easy storage and transport. The Stealth Tact Shovel is basically the Swiss Army knife of outdoor living and truly is a must-have for RV and outdoor enthusiasts.”
Kristen Co – Money Done Right
Kristen Co, a Travel Expert for Money Done Right who has spent the last 12 months RV’ing with her family had these recommendations:
Vinyl Covers for Tables and Benches
“One of the first things we do at our campsite is set up our picnic table outside.
I love these covers to keep our eating surfaces clean.
The vinyl covers fit snugly over the tops of the table and benches, and I don’t need to use those annoying tablecloth clips that never seem to stay in place.
The covers are also easy to wipe down after a meal.
These covers make eating outdoors more convenient and less stressful for our family.”
Portable Space Heater
“A portable space heater is a must for regulating indoor temperature.
Our RV furnace uses a lot of propane, produces condensation, and sometimes smells funny, so a space heater is a nice alternative.
In fact, we almost exclusively use our electric space heater to keep us comfortable in cold weather.
The space heater we use has an oscillating feature and remote control.
One safety feature is that it automatically shuts off if it gets tipped over.
The internal thermostat maintains the room temperature that we set.
We don’t need to run it all night long, but it helps in the evenings before we go to bed.”
Propane Fire Pit
“We love hanging out around the campfire in the evenings but don’t love smelling like smoke when we go to bed.
The propane fire pit allows us to hang out around the fire without the smoky smell.
It’s easy to transport and convenient to connect to a small propane tank.
My husband doesn’t need to spend hours trying to get the campfire going, and we also don’t have to worry about buying firewood anymore.”
Gigi Stetler – RV Advisor
Gigi created and is the CEO of the only female-owned RV dealership in the country. Driven by her entrepreneurial spirit she also launched RV Advisor, which is the “Angie’s List” of the RV world.
Her essential RV accessories are below.
“Sometimes the small things can be the most frustrating. You might not think twice about securing the food in your fridge while you’re hitched up and riding, but you may regret it when you set up camp and realize you’ve got a gallon of spilled juice. Fridge braces will help your food stay put and avoid annoying messes! A stack-a-plate set will also secure the dishes in your cabinets!”
“These super helpful accessories are a godsend if you’re the type that might accidentally drive off with your external stairs extended. Crafted just like those slap bracelets that kids wore in the 90s, you slap them onto your steering wheel and take them off as you complete each chore.
With reminders on everything from your T.V. antenna, slide locks, or hookups, you can have a bright, easy reminder to help you out every time you hit the road.”
QuickZip RV sheets
“Lots of RV-ers complain about changing the bedding in their vehicle. These QuickZip RV sheets make it easy with a zip on/off top piece. It’s super easy to zip it off and throw it in the wash. When it’s clean, zip it right back on. No more cleaning gymnastics!”
Sparky has been living in a Class B for about a year now, and before that he lived in a Ford Econoline while traveling the U.S.
Some things he discovered since acquiring his Class B that he can’t live without are:
Solo Stove Portable Campfire
“I have had the 9 oz backpacking stove for a while now and love that it comes in a bigger model to make actual fires in. It comes in handy in areas with no fire rings, which is how we do most of our boondocking.”
Goal Zero 400 Watt Generator
“Comes in handy for powering the little “extras” like our T.V., laptops, phones, and Nintendo gaming system.”
“Our rig is a 1990, and it’s a van, so we have to make sure we get the living right so our refrigerator continues to work.”
A French Press
“We need coffee every morning. What better way than with a tried and true French press.”
Grant Sinclair – Our Wander-Filled Life
Grand and Bonnie run the blog Our Wander-Filled Life.
“We travel extensively with our travel trailer. We are presently on our fourth summer in the camper, having stayed in 40/50 states in that time.
Drive Nut Adapter
“The number one gadget we love is the drive nut adapter for our cordless drill. This allows us to deal with stabilizing jacks quickly and easily.
Speaking of our cordless drill, we use a Ryobi drill which has interchangeable batteries for several tools, we presently have a hand vac, a cordless fan (great for boondocking) and a tire inflate in addition to the drill. One battery runs them all so we only need one charger to deal with.”
Heather Yoder – Camp Awesomely
“I’m Heather from www.CampAwesomely.com, and my husband and I have been full-timing for almost 2 years now. Our towed-abode is just under 400 sq ft, and we’ve done a lot of learning in the transition from the SNB (sticks -n- bricks house) to our TT. Here’s our top 3 accessories:
Mold is enemy #1 to any RV, and it can grow and spread pretty darn quickly. Because of the way campers are constructed, there are plenty of cracks and crevices for mold to flourish – especially if there is a big temp difference between the days and the nights. Camper insulation standards aren’t like those of a house, so generally humid conditions or fluctuations in temperature can make you an inadvertent mold-farmer.
For everything! When moving from one place to another, they keep things from breaking (or going airborne!) during travel. Lots of handy-dandy cabinet locking mechanisms are out there, but you just have to clean up one broken jar of Ragu to decide you should have just unloaded that cabinet into a rubbermaid tote for your OTR days. Plus, they come in handy for a million other things, and if you get the same size/variety, they stack and store easy enough when you set up.
This thing is tiny and powerful, and has just enough attachments to get the RV really swept up. Sand is inevitable. Bugs are unavoidable. Grass and rocks, are going to be there too. Dyson rechargeable vac, definitely a must!”
Campsites nowadays do provide you with a variety of power source options, but they often aren’t as stable-performing as you may have expected. Power dips and spikes are a rather common occurrence at campgrounds, so you should be prepared for them in order to protect your equipment.
A surge protector is a device that would allow you to avoid electrical damage to your appliances. Newbies should probably go for a portable surge protector that plugs into the RV’s outlet set. Those who need something serious, on the other hand, would probably benefit more from a hardwired surge kit.
The source of power problems that may catch you off guard may be not only outside but also within your RV. One source of such issues is your fuse box – one or more fuses may blow in your RV at any time due to overcurrent.
Worst of all, this could be at a very unfortunate time when you do need your RV’s electrical system to operate flawlessly.
Fortunately, a simple spare fuse kit is sufficient to solve the fuse problem in most cases. If a fuse blows in your RV, you could just take a new fuse out from the kit and swap the blown fuse with it.
As we mentioned above, campsites do provide RVers with power sources, but what if the electrical output of the campsite you are staying in is incompatible with your RV? Or what if you just can’t fit the plug into the pedestal receptacle?
A set of power adapters would come in handy in the event of such an issue. Ideally, you should have a variety of power adapters so that you are best prepared for whatever power sources campsites may be offering. And, of course, the adapter needs to first and foremost be compatible with your RV.
PARKING AND LEVELING
At a campground, you won’t necessarily be provided with a level ground surface to park your RV on. And on a sloped surface, the risk of your RV rolling away is pretty significant. A simple device called tire chocks would allow you to stabilize your RV and keep it in place while it is parked and unhitched.
There is a wide variety of tire chocks available out there, and we can’t really cover them all on this material. Not only that, but different chock types are mounted onto the tires differently, so you also need to learn how to use them.
It isn’t enough to just stabilize the RV in place – it is also essential that it is parked level. This will make residing in the RV more convenient for you, first of all. Besides, if your RV has a refrigerator, parking on uneven ground may incapacitate it.
For trailers that don’t have auto leveling systems, you’d need to use leveling blocks. These blocks are basically placed under the tires to level out the RV. Just like it is with chocks, there is a wide variety of leveling block available out there, so do extensive research before buying any.
If you camp on soil, grass, sand, or any other soft ground, then you will need to use jack pads as well.
Placed under the RV’s tongue jack and stabilizers, the jack pads increase their footprint and thus reduce the pressure exerted on the ground. This prevents the jack and stabilizers from sinking into the soft surface.
Whether you are planning to camp in sites with soft grounds or not, make sure that you have a set of jack pads with you just in case. You may need to use the jack pads even if the ground surface is paved – the RV may sink into cracks or whatnot if the ground is damaged.
WATER PRESSURE REGULATOR
The pressure of water in campgrounds is often higher than what RV manufacturers design their RVs for. This is probably done in order to support a wider range of water needs. But if you don’t need increased pressure, you will need to reduce it not to damage your RV’s water equipment.
A simple water pressure regulator would be able to perform this task perfectly. You just attach the regulator to the campsite’s water supply in order to adjust the pressure to your needs.
Not only the pressure but also the mineral makeup of campground water may be improper for use – in particular, for drinking. Water with contaminants is not only harmful but also tastes bad.
And to make sure that the water that gets into your freshwater tank is indeed fresh and suitable for drinking, you should get yourself a water filter. There are many filters available out there, but make sure that you get a good unit that can resist bacterial growth and is easy to clean.
Water hoses at campgrounds may be out of the reach of your RV’s camping spot. In addition, you may not want to use the connection options provided by your RV and want to instead use your own hose.
Whether this is true or not, we’d recommend you to have a freshwater hose with you just in case. Opt for a longer up to 50 feet water hose or several smaller ones that can be coupled together for extended reach.
A hose may seem like a very simple piece of equipment, but you shouldn’t cheap out and get a $10 hose. The chances are that it will leak and break on you sooner. Go for a good hose, but don’t necessarily spend a fortune on it.
WATER HOSE ELBOW
A water hose elbow can reduce the stress on your freshwater hose, as well as on any kind of hose you may be using in your RV. The thing is that if the hose is connected to an intake horizontally, its weight will be strenuous for it. As a result, kinks may occur in your hoses quite quickly.
A 90-degree hose elbow would allow the hose to hang straight down, relieving the stress on it and increasing longevity.
All the waste in your RV needs to go out, right? Well, instead of taking it out with buckets, getting a sewer hose would allow you to do it much more cleanly and conveniently.
A good choice would be a high-quality sewer hose with a see-through connector, which would allow you to see when the water gets clean as you flush the holding tank. Again, don’t cheap out on a sewer hose if you don’t want a leak to happen somewhere.
You’ve disposed of all the waste in your RV, but the tanks and the hoses are still filthy. The next step to take is sanitation, which is a thing that frightens many new RV owners. In reality, it isn’t a big deal once you learn proper techniques and, of course, use the right chemicals.
There is a huge variety of holding tank treatment chemicals that are advertised to break down solids and eliminate odors. However, some of them may work better for you than the others. For some initial reference, you could ask other RVers for brand recommendations. Plus, be ready to do some trial and error before finding the best tank treatment for you.
If your RV comes with a shower then it’ll inevitably come with a shower head, but that doesn’t mean you can’t upgrade it to something even better.
There are a huge number of RV shower heads available to buy, some of which offer a distinct advantage over the bog standard models found in most RVs. If you’d like to shower in luxury, then replacing the shower head is one of the cost efficient ways of doing this.
Not everyone will need a shower rod in their RV, but it indeed is a necessary accessory for many. Bathrooms in RVs are very often quite cramped, and a little additional room would certainly come in handy.
A shower rod basically allows you to move the shower curtain away from the shower in order to provide you with more wiggle room. Shower rods are also often collapsible, so when not in use, you could put it away for storage. Plus, you may use it as a hanging place for damp laundry and whatnot.
Did you know that there are door storage shelves available for RVs? Well, given that storage space is quite limited in most RVs, some more room certainly would be helpful.
Hanging on the bathroom room door from inside, a bathroom storage shelf would allow you to keep your bathroom essentials in a place where it makes more sense for them. You can keep your toothbrush and shower gel in one of the RV’s cabinets, but why not keep them closer to the place they are used in?
Using the aforementioned bathroom storage shelf isn’t too reasonable with towels. Towels need drying and have to be in an appropriate spot for that.
If your RV doesn’t have towel hooks preinstalled in the bathroom, consider opting for a couple of them. You don’t really need to go for pricier hooks – a lightweight and cheap plastic hook set would be more than enough.
Toilet paper is a no-brainer, but you shouldn’t just pick whatever toilet paper you are using at home. This especially is important if you are camping out in the wild.
The best choice for RV use would be a bio-degradable toilet paper that won’t pollute the natural environment after you dispose of it. Even if you are going to stay at a campground, you should use biodegradable toilet paper.
As for what kind of toilet paper to choose – two-ply or something else – things will come down to your preferences. Ideally, you should choose a toilet paper that is as close to the toilet paper you use at home as possible.
If the floor in your RV’s bathroom is made with an absorbent material, consider placing an absorbent bath mat on it. Absorbing water into it, it will prevent the moisture from reaching the floor and potentially damaging it.
You may want to opt for a mat made from microfiber since it is an exceptionally absorbent material. Not only that, but microfiber mats dry quickly and have a long lifetime, which makes them a rather good investment in the long term.
Many people use racks at home to help with organizing just-washed tableware for drying. Such a simple accessory would come really in handy in an RV as well, but don’t just go and get a dish drainer that you’d use at home.
Instead, you may want to choose a foldable dish drainer. When you need to dry dishes, you just unfold it and place in the sink. And when you are done, you fold it flat so it doesn’t occupy too much storage space.
If storage efficiency isn’t a big concern for you though, you may go for any dish drainer that can satisfy your needs.
DISH TOWEL RACK/HOOKS
Like it was with bathroom towels, we’d recommend you to get a rack for your dish towels as well. You aren’t going to hang your dish towels from the hooks in the bathroom, right?
A dedicated dish towel rack would allow you to keep your dish towels isolated from your other towels. Plus, when placed near the kitchen counter, the rack would place the towels within your reach.
By the way, instead of a rack, you may go for plastic hooks as well. But since there often is space for putting a rack in the kitchen area, a dish towel rack would probably be a more convenient choice since it is a one-piece item.
Many RVers – new and experienced – go for the classical method of hanging trash bags from cabinet pulls or doorknobs. And while this can work perfectly fine for you, it isn’t the most elegant and efficient solution.
Why not keep all the trash in a place dedicated for it, a trash bin? A traditional trash bin would make the trash more organized and your RV tidier.
For space considerations, you could go for a collapsible trash bag, which is comprised of a collapsible frame that holds trash bags. Such a trash bag not only occupies little space when folded but also is easy to carry.
One of the must-have accessories we mentioned above was a bath mat. Well, when washing dishes by the counter, you also run the risk of spilling water onto the RV floor. So why not do the same thing as in the bathroom and protect your kitchen floor from moisture?
Aside from water absorbency, we’d recommend you to look for a mat that is lightly cushioned. When prepping meals or washing dishes for extended periods of time, you’d probably be appreciative of the softness under the feet.
OUTDOORS & ENTERTAINMENT
Can you imagine camping with no meals or having no fun outdoors? Probably not. And while campgrounds may have spots designed for group meals, you’d probably want to have a more private time beside your RV.
There are several items that you’d want to have for outdoor pastime, and one of them is an outdoor table. Maybe a couple of them if you really need it. An outdoor table would allow you to keep all your stuff organized and in one place, be it meals, appliances, or supplies.
And since you probably don’t have much free room to spare in your RV, you should go for a collapsible table with telescopic legs.
A side table can’t really replace a large outdoor table, but it nonetheless can be a great supplement for it. You probably wouldn’t want to go back and forth between your chair and the table for snacks every time, would you?
Well, why not keep all the necessary stuff by you on a side table?
Folding side tables are especially great for RVing since they aren’t too big, and you can take as many as you need with you. Plus, if necessary, you may improvise a bit and use a side table as a stool. But that wouldn’t be too comfortable, and we’d advise you to go for camp chairs for seating instead.
Camp chairs are the last item among the absolute must-haves to take for outdoor entertainment. There are more items that we are going to recommend, but so far, we’ve looked into the top 3 most crucial outdoor items to have.
It doesn’t matter too much what kind of chairs to take on your RV trip. However, we’d advise you to opt for chairs that are foldable, sturdy, weather-resistant, and, of course, comfortable. Some people also prefer to take rocking chairs for RVing, and you may also want to go for them.
Meals are an essential part of RV camping, and if your RV doesn’t come with a grill of its own, you may want to go and get a grill yourself.
Which grill to go for would heavily depend on your needs, as well as on how much other stuff you have on your RV. You really don’t want to exceed the RV’s carrying capacity, so you should make sure that the weight of your grill doesn’t push the combined weight of your stuff beyond what your RV can hold.
Plus, go for a more compact grill, preferably one that can be fully or partially disassembled. Fortunately, it is rather easy to find good RV grills since there are plenty of compact models available out there.
A thing you will have to consider with grills is what kind of fuel they run on. This is a rather in-depth subject, and we again can’t cover it in full on this material. Do extensive research to find out which kind of grill would be appropriate for you.
For flipping pancakes and frying bacon, a griddle is a nice addition to your outdoor kitchen. Not everyone is going to need one, but if you’d really like to have a variety of meals while on the journey, one of the appliances to take with you is a griddle.
Just like it was with grills, fuel choice is essential with griddles. Again, do the research and make sure to get the griddle that is going to be convenient for you in terms of fuel.
And the last must-have item we decided to recommend is a toolbox with all the essential stuff that one would need for RV maintenance. While we placed this item last, it actually is one of the most, if not the most important item on our list.
Now, what would your toolbox need to have in it?
Well, you should have items like hand tools and spare parts for the RV, especially the hitch since it is crucial to your journey. Of course, your toolbox needs to be big enough to hold all the essentials, so pick appropriately.
Your RV roof is one of the most important features, it’s the first line of defence against snow, wind, rain and the sun. So why not treat it well and give it a good clean once in a while.
An RV roof cleaner will do more than just clean your roof, it can also help you identify any problem areas before they become a real issue. Catching a leak early can save you thousands of dollars.