Home » 10 Must Haves For Your First RV Trip – Don’t Forget These!

10 Must Haves For Your First RV Trip – Don’t Forget These!

by Doug and Michelle
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RV on Mountain Highway

After much thought and way too many visits to RV shows and dealer lots,  you’ve finally found the right RV for you. You’re ready to set out on the road for your first RV trip.

We’ve all been there. Your dream vacation is finally here. You arrive at your destination, eager to get the party started… and you realize what you forgot. It can feel like the whole trip is ruined without your lucky fuzzy pillow.

When you set out on an RV trip, you could be at a loss for more than just a fuzzy pillow. It’s crucial that you have everything you need to keep your RV safe and operational and keep everyone on board happy and healthy.

We break down 10 must-have items you don’t want to forget, and what to check for before you head out on the road.

1. Leveling Blocks

Linx Levelers Leveling Blocks
Photo courtesy of Amazon

If you cruise into your RV campsite and find it to be perfectly level, consider yourself a lucky duck. In most cases, you will need to level your RV to keep your doors from swinging open, and keep water pipes flowing and the frame of your rig properly supported.

Unless your RV is equipped with an auto-leveling system, you’ll need leveling blocks. Even with an auto-leveling system, it might not hurt to bring a bag of leveling blocks just in case. They could come in handy with a wobbly picnic table.

We use Lynx Levelers to manually level our Class C RV, and have found them to work well. We started out with one bag of 10 blocks, but quickly learned that 10 was not always enough. In very unlevel conditions, we’ve had the need for up to 30 blocks.

2. Surge Protector

Power Watchdog 50 AMP Surge Protector
Photo courtesy of Amazon

Your RV electrical system needs a consistent level of voltage to operate safely and effectively. If the electrical outlet at your campsite is defective, this could damage your RV appliances and electronics. Always use a surge protector to avoid any unwanted surprises.

We recommend the Power Watchdog with EPO from Hughes Autoformers. EPO stands for Emergency Power Off, which means it will automatically power off your RV in dangerously high or low voltage situations. Once safe levels return for 90 seconds, it restores power to the RV. This is also the only surge protector in the industry with a user replaceable surge guard. Other surge protectors will only protect you against a single surge.

The Power Watchdog comes in a portable option that can be plugged in to any RV, or a hardwired option that you install inside your RV. Be sure to choose the correct amperage to match your RV.

3. Electrical Cord

RV Guard 25 Ft. 50 AMP Electrical Cord
Photo courtesy of Amazon

If your RV and campsite have electric, you’re going to need to plug in. Make sure you’ll have plenty of cord length to reach from your RV to the electrical outlets. We recommend 50 feet length total, including the length of your RV electrical cord. If you have a 25 foot RV cord, an additional 25 foot extension cord will do the trick.

Be sure to buy the right cord for the amperage of your RV, usually 30 amp or 50 amp.

4. Power Adapter

Camco RV Dogbone Electrical Adapter
Photo courtesy of Amazon

You’ve got the right extension cord for the amperage of your RV, but you may not have the right electrical outlet. RV campsites may offer 15 amp, 20 amp, 30 amp or 50 amp outlets. We recommend you buy enough adapters to be able to convert all outlet types to the amperage of your RV.

Even if your campsite has the amperage you need, you might appreciate the flexibility to use another outlet if you find that yours is faulty.

5. Water Pressure Regulator

RV Guard RV Water Pressure Regulator
Photo courtesy of Amazon

The water pressure of city water sources found at campgrounds can vary, and high pressures could damage your RV water system. If the water pressure is higher than what your RV water system can handle, it could cause leaks.

Nobody wants that, so be sure to buy a water pressure regulator. Attach the water pressure regulator to your water source, and then hook up your fresh water hose to the regulator.

We recommend a water pressure regulator that can be easily adjusted with a screwdriver to your desired pressure, and a gauge to tell you the water pressure going to your RV. Some of the cheaper regulators without the ability to adjust are often set quite low, which could mean low water pressure in the shower.

6. Water Hoses

In most cases, your RV won’t come with the water hoses you need to fill and drain your RV water system. If you buy a used RV that comes with hoses, you may want to replace them anyway. A used water hose can come with unwanted surprises. Just ask this guy.

You’ll want a dedicated hose for each purpose, so you’ll need three different types of hoses.

Teknor Apex Zero-G RV and Marine Hose
Photo courtesy of Amazon

Fresh Water Hose

First, you need a sanitary hose to hook up to a water source at your campsite, or fill your RV fresh water tank before leaving home. Before you fill up your tank for the first time, make sure it’s sanitized.

We recommend the Zero-G hose from Teknor Apex. It’s light, flexible and doesn’t kink. The availability of these hoses can be hit or miss on Amazon, and when availability is low prices become overinflated. We bought our hose for around $40.

Camco Rhino FLEX 20-Ft RV Sewer Hose Kit
Photo courtesy of Amazon

Sewer Hose Kit

Next, you need a sewage hose to drain your gray water and sewer tanks. Some RV campers affectionately call this hose the ‘Stinky Slinky.’

We recommend the RhinoFLEX hose from Camco because it has pre-attached bayonet and lug fittings that make for a tight connection that snaps into place, giving you confidence you won’t have a ‘poopsy.’ That’s when you have an oopsy with poop.

The RhinoFLEX hose kit will also come with transparent elbow connections. These are helpful to let you see what’s passing through the hose, and confirm that your gray water and sewer tanks have been adequately flushed and drained.

Camco Rhino 25-Ft Clean-Out RV Black Water Hose
Photo courtesy of Amazon

Clean Out Hose

If your RV has a tank flush system, you’ll also need a dedicated hose for flushing your gray water and sewer tanks with water. Debris can become stuck to the sides of your tanks and may be left behind after the first drain. We recommend refilling the tanks with water and draining until your tanks are clear.

It’s important to have a dedicated hose for this purpose, since it could pick up contaminants from the dump station. We recommend a distinct color to differentiate it from your fresh water hose.

Be sure to store all of your dump station supplies in a dedicated container to avoid cross contaminating your other RV supplies.

7. Potable Water Storage

Water Storage Cube Collapsible Water Container with Spigot
Photo courtesy of Amazon

Yes, I know, your RV campsites will have water. Or maybe you have a freshly sanitized water tank filled to the brim with clean water.

We still recommend you pack clean, potable water with you to get you through any emergencies. You never know what you might find in water systems on your travels, and a compromised RV water system could leave you in a pinch.

You could bring bottled water, but a good collapsible 5 gallon container with a spigot will make a more user-friendly sink replacement. And it’s economical, earth friendly and easy to store when not in use.

8. First Aid Kit

Johnson & Johnson All-Purpose Portable Compact First Aid Kit
Photo courtesy of Amazon

A good first aid kit is like flood insurance. You probably don’t need it, but if you do you’re going to really wish you had it. If you have kids you probably do need it. Make sure you have bandages and antiseptic for bumps and scrapes that happen along the way, and itch relief cream for the inevitable run in with poison ivy.

Consider the particular needs of your traveling companions and look for a kit that will meet all of your needs. This Johnson & Johnson kit is the one we chose for our family of four, and it hasn’t let us down.

9. RV Toilet Paper

RV Toilet Paper
Photo courtesy of Amazon

If your RV has a toilet, you’re going to need toilet paper. But not just any toilet paper.

The sewage system in your RV is not the same as in your house, and it’s not up to the same challenge. You need to be cautious about what goes into the toilet. Make sure you find specially designed RV toilet paper that is septic tank safe. These papers dissolve quickly to avoid clogging up your lines.

If all you have is household toilet paper, use as little as possible. Some campers suggest you put a little toilet paper into water and shake it around. If the paper doesn’t start to dissolve after a few seconds, you probably shouldn’t use it.

You can find RV toilet paper in the automotive section of your local Walmart, or order online.

10. Trash Bags

Hefty Renew Tall Kitchen Trash Bags
Photo courtesy of Amazon

Last but not least, don’t forget the trash bags.

Have you ever been without any container for your trash? Not a trash bag, grocery bag, fast food bag or even a box? It’s not pretty. While traveling in your RV, you’re bound to create a lot of messy garbage as you cook, clean and explore. Make sure you have a place to put it.

Any brand will do but choose one that you can trust. Leaks and spills in the RV are never fun.

Checklists Are Your Friend

When you’re excited to head out on the road, stopping to look at a checklist can feel like tedious overkill. We get it. But when you’re setting out in a house on wheels to remote destinations, you want a checklist.

Make a checklist, use it, and you’ll never wind up in the desert without these must-have items.

Did we miss any must-have items on your checklist? Share in the comments below!

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