YES! You’ve got the rig, now it’s time for some RV Accessories! This is the good stuff, the fun stuff, the poop handling stuff! (Yup you need THAT too!) Below are our best recommendations for best in class RV must-have necessities.
Stop by any outdoor outfitter or RV supply store and you will find a million different ways to spend money. Almost any veteran RVer will tell you that they bought too much junk when they started out. We all do it- all of that stuff looks so great- and the articles you read will be full of scare tactics regarding safety equipment or RV accessories that, if you don’t buy them, will certainly result in death or dismemberment somewhere along Route 66.
The truth is, there are some RV accessories you absolutely need, and a whole bunch that you don’t. This is the only list of RV necessities you will need! Everything on this list is a MUST HAVE or at least adds so much value to us that we would not do without it.
Yup. You need one (at least.) That poop isn’t going to get itself out of the tank and into the hole in the ground. I tend to carry 2 of them- 15 feet long. It is not often you need both, but when you do…WOOF! There are a few different brands but I prefer RhinoFLEX Hoses. They telescope up nicely and are long-lasting. A bit more pricey, but I think it is worth it, at least for my main hose.
When I was young, my dad was a Construction Superintendent. He would take me to work with him sometimes where I would meet the most interesting tradesmen. It was from an old German plumber named Hans that I learned the 4 things I needed to know to become a plumber: “Hot goes on the left, cold goes on the right, s**t goes downhill and payday is Friday.”
Unfortunately for all of us travelers, many RV park owners never learned these rules. Therefore you will come across more than a few sewer connections that are raised off the ground leaving an uphill section at the end of your hose. These Camco RV Hose Supports will solve 99% of those issues for you. They are really inexpensive and work great. You don’t want to leave sewage sitting in your hose for days or weeks- nuf said! I have seen some go without, but for me, this is an RV necessity!
Wheel Chocks: Yes, you can use old bricks or chunks of wood, but a nice set of wheel stabilizers will keep your rig where it belongs all of the time. Don’t want to roll down the hill while you sleep!
Leveling Blocks: Again, many people use a variety of wood bits to support their stabilizers, but you can’t pass up the opportunity to get some huge “man-legos.” They stack up nicely and neatly for storage and look a lot better than old 2×6’s. Plus when not in use, these RV accessories can be built into a fort! Now THAT’S a MUST-HAVE!
Ladder: You will have the use for a ladder from time to time, and it is really nice to have one when you need it. I found this great telescoping ladder on Amazon and have loved this purchase. It folds down to fit easily into my basement and makes washing and maintenance duties a snap. Also, kites stuck in trees, frisbee’s on roofs, etc.
Tools: I carry a pretty good supply of hand tools. I keep most of them in a soft-sided tool bag and the larger, less used ones in a large Tupperware container. This makes it easy to grab both holders and set up on a picnic table, or the bed of the truck, or to the location of any repairs I might need to do. Outside general hand tools, I keep a hatchet for splitting wood, hand saw for cutting up small deadfall branches, a caulking gun, tow strap, clamps, and tie down straps. Oh and Gorilla Tape- make sure you have some Gorilla Tape! Did I mention Gorilla Tape?
Assorted Cans of Stuff: Then there are the cans and jugs of various goops and sprays. WD40 (of course) Canned grease for stabilizers, dry lubricant for awnings, etc., Gasket Conditioner for slide gaskets.
Hoses: They make a special type of garden hose for Fresh Water RV hook up. These hoses are white/blue and should be labeled safe for potable or drinking water. If your rig has a black tank flush connection, you will want a second, standard type of garden hose for that hookup to prevent any possibility of black water backing up into your drinking hose. I carry 2 hoses for each. A bit of overkill I know, but I have 25’ and 50’ for each so I am prepared for any type of hook up situation. These are must-have RV accessories!
Tire Pressure Gauge: You always want one of these on hand to check your tires on a regular basis. We keep ours in the truck. Oh and by the way…check your tires on a regular basis- RELIGIOUSLY!
Cable: Many RV Parks offer cable TV. You don’t want to miss out on ESPN or HGTV if you don’t have to.
Cleaning/ Waxing Gear: I came across Wash Wax ALL looking for an easier way to keep my rig looking its best. This is high-end aircraft polish. Nice thing is, you put it on while the rig is still wet, wipe on, wipe off, DONE! No waiting for it to haze over. It really works well. Expensive, but a huge time saver. These towels work awesome with the wax!
Generator: Do your research to find the right sized generator for your rig. We started with a Westinghouse generator but it died after a few weeks. Junk! We switched to a 4000/ 3500 Champion Hybrid. It is new technology allowing an open rack generator to behave like an enclosed Inverter (but at a much lower cost). The generator itself IS an inverter and delivers pure sine wave energy so our electronics are safe. At normal operating, it runs pretty quietly, but I will admit – the cats run away when the microwave comes on!
Electric Cord: All kinds of uses for an extension cord. Just a useful item to have around.
Bike rack: Our bike rack is a Swagman Bumper Mounted 2 bike rack which is installed on the rear tube bumper of the 5th wheel. It has worked really well for us, however as the kids are growing it is getting harder to store their bikes inside for travel and we will soon need to find a new system to rack all our bikes.
Bikes: Of course! These folding babies are all the rage these days.
Chairs: Quintessential RV necessities. To each their own here. We have had the “O gravity” chairsand they were nice, but now we just use folding chairs like these Colemans. We really like the attached table and portability. They have a handle at the top when folded up to carry them around easily. The kids use those simple bag chairs.
Rugs: One of our Must Have RV accessories. We Love our rugs– they turn your outdoor space into living space very quickly and really help to keep dirt and dust out of the rig. You can read more about them here.
Awning Screen/ Tie Downs: Another of our RV necessities. We simply LOVE this Vista Screen Awning Shade. It connects easily to your awning and then easily comes off and on with just a zipper. It closes in your outdoor area, adds shade and privacy AND ties down the awning for windy days. No, you don’t NEED this item, but we would not do without it again!
Screen Room: Outdoor spaces get buggy. It’s just a fact. So it is nice when you have the room to create an outdoor space to enjoy the fresh air and not the skeeters! We have had a couple of different models but just love this Coleman room, one person can set this up in about 5 minutes. Not too expensive and works great! If you like to be outdoors most of the time, a screen room is an essential accessory.
Games/ Toys: It’s nice to have some outdoor fun at hand. Especially if you have kiddos. We have ring toss, bocce ball, croquette, and the usual smattering of balls, bats, sidewalk chalk, fishing gear. Just think about what you like to do and then think: high entertainment value, small space! I see the weekenders show up with huge cornhole games- not great for full timing!
Grill/ Accessories: If you like to grill, you will do it a LOT on the road. If you don’t especially like to grill, you will probably do it anyway on the road. RV’ing and grilling go together like hot dogs and buns. You will need propane or charcoal as well. Some rigs have propane hookups built in for a grill. Makes life pretty easy.
Electric Space Heaters: Some days are just chilly and it does not make sense to run the heat inside the rig. If you are on shore power many times a small ceramic space heater will do the job for the entire RV. Shop carefully here. There is a lot of junk out there.
Hooks: No matter how much storage you have, extra hooks are a necessity in the RV. We use 3M Command Hooks all over. They hold up really well and come off nicely if you don’t need them anymore. We use them to hang towels inside the shower when not in use, added towel hangers in the bathroom. We use heavier hooks in the closets for hanging sweaters etc.
Water filter: Most RV’s come with one of these. This is one of those RV accessories you want to make sure you have. Some water you hook up to is going to taste as though it came from the local sewage plant. We have one in the refrigerator so we get our drinking water through that. We were getting the replacement on Amazon and then we found it on Ebay for 1/2 the price! Of course, now we have like 74 water filters- anybody need one?
Over Door Storage: One great buy we made was this over the door hanging storage unit. RV Kitchens are notorious for not having enough storage space. We like to shop at Sams so we come back with big boxes and bags of dry foods like snacks for hiking, etc. This unit is fantastic for holding all of this. Then it comes down easily to lay on a bed during travel days. NICE! If you want to know more about saving money through bulk shopping, read our blog post ‘How to buy in bulk and save money”
Vacuum: You will need a nice powerful, yet compact vacuum. We love this Shark Rocket unit. It is really powerful, has a revolving brush for carpets, and all of the attachments for sucking dust out of all the nooks and crannies. RV’s are a hotbed of nooks and crannies! BONUS: the kiddos love to use this vacuum and change out all of the attachments. WHOOP!
Space Saver Bags: Clothing is always a difficult subject. What to bring, what to have available?. These space saver vacuum bags are a godsend for this very reason. Most RV’s have a large storage area under the master bed. We vacuum seal our out-of-season clothes in these bags and store them under the bed. This allows us to be ready for any weather without needing to shop. We can also take advantage of great seasonal sales on kids clothes by purchasing sizes a little too big, then storing them for later. Good for extra blankets, pillows etc. Oh, and guess what, the Rocket vacuum works perfectly for these bags too!
Internet: Depending on your internet needs, there are a lot of options here, from utilizing the never reliable RV Park wifi’s to getting your own hotspot to ensure a good signal. We are online a great deal, our business is online so we cannot be without good internet. For several years we had an unlimited plan with Verizon. The service was very good all over the nation, but unfortunately, Verizon has gotten greedy and eliminated the old unlimited plans. The new ones are much more expensive. SO we have switched to ATT. So far so good and it’s cheaper! We are able to work, download Netflix and stream when necessary. We don’t stay in places that don’t have a good signal.
Laptops: Much more portable and much less space-consuming than a desktop. I have seen some folks who have desktops in their rig, but for us, laptops work much more easily. They also allow us to change places to work, if we want to be outside, etc. Who wants to be in a park near Yellowstone and be strapped to a desk inside?
Camera: Get good photos! Today’s cameras and even phone cameras can take really nice photos. You don’t have to have a high-end DSLR and a bag of lenses. If you are into it, by all means, go for it, but for us- we want to be light on our feet. Do some research on your phones. If you can get into a phone with a great camera (LG, Samsung) that is a good first step. We also use a NIKON Cool Pix super zoom point and shoot which is portable enough for hiking and takes super photos. We have gotten some awesome wildlife photos and videos with it (see our Facebook Page). The zoom gets way out there and remains clear. We highly recommend the Nikon Coolpix cameras.
Phones: The camera is the biggest thing for us. We use Sprint as a service because it is inexpensive. The coverage sucks, but our plan includes a good deal of roaming minutes so we pretty much always can make a call. Everyone has an opinion here, so suit yourself. I have an LG G5 because the camera is so good. It takes really nice photos in a rush or when we don’t want to carry the larger camera along.
Tablets: Great backups for the laptops. They are especially useful when traveling. We download stuff for the kiddos to watch, games etc. We also use them to watch Netflix in bed. Handy for areas where we don’t have tv or are boondocking.
Cooler: Food in the car. It is nice when traveling to have some sandwiches ready and cold beverages so we don’t have to stop as much. Our Igloo MAXCOLD Cooler is quite old, but still works great and fits perfectly between the seats. When it is closed, it makes a perfect platform for the dog to lay on. Just have to watch our fingers trying to get in for a sandwich
GPS: Almost a MUST HAVE. So much nicer than using a map. I also like to be able to look for gas ahead when the time comes. We have not subscribed to the dedicated GPS as yet. We just use a phone and Google maps. We put a mount on the dashboard and plug in the phone so the battery stays charged. Works just fine for us.
Kids Stuff: We do not allow our kids to spend a ton of time on electronics, so travel days can be a bit difficult. We try to get ahead on school work, do word searches, or magnetic puzzles and IQ games. Keeping the kids occupied and quiet is an absolute necessity when hauling the RV.
Soft Sided Cooler: This is really more for grocery shopping days. As I mentioned earlier, we like to bulk shop so Walmart and Sams Club are our friends. However, you are not always camping right next to one of these establishments so there may be a road trip involved. Rather than clean up after a frozen food meltdown, we use a collapsible insulated cooler bag which holds a TON of frozen/ cold foods and keeps them cool for up to a couple of hours. That is always enough time to get us back home. You can check it out here, we purchased ours at Sams Club. Also here is a similar one on Amazon.
Let us know if you think we missed anything in the comments below. What are some of your must-haves?
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