RV Must-Haves to Get on the Road Now

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RV travel trailer on road in the desert

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or just starting out, there are some RV must-haves that everyone needs to have when hitting the open road.

If you’re not prepared, you could face many problems on the road. From properly maintaining the RV to setting it up safely at your campsite, it’s crucial to have the right gear.

Below we’ll share some of the essential items you need for a successful RV trip. From dumping your RV tanks to leveling your rig, our camper must-have list will ensure you have everything required to maintain your RV on the road.

RV Dump & Sewer Essentials

Before you get on the road, you’ll need a few different RV sewer essentials to empty and maintain your grey and black tanks. Below is a list of the RV must-haves for your tanks and why you need them.

RV hookups at campsite

RV Sewer Hoses & Kit

A 10-foot RV sewer hose is a requirement for dumping your black water tank. You’ll also need a transparent 90-degree elbow adapter to see when the water from the tank is running clear after rinsing.

We carry two 10-foot sewer hoses but most often only need one. We typically use a smaller 2-foot sewer hose (shown above) in combination with the 10-foot hose to get a little more length when we are further from the sewer connection.

RV Sidewinder

An RV hose support, also known as a ‘sidewinder,’ will allow you to set up your sewer hose so it is running downhill and keeps everything moving in the right direction through your hose.

Camco Sidewinder RV Sewer Hose Support
$33.43 $29.91 ($2.99 / Foot)
  • Lightweight with a durable frame
  • Fits a 10-foot hose
03/10/2023 04:40 pm GMT

The sidewinder will also keep your sewer hose off the ground, out of the dirt, for a cleaner campsite breakdown.

Black Water Rinse Hose

When you finish cleaning your tank, use a black water hose to rinse out your sewer kit and components. You can also use this hose to rinse the inside of your black water tank if you have a black water flush system.

Camco RhinoFLEX Gray/Black RV Water Tank Clean Out Hose
$20.99 $11.00 ($0.44 / Foot)
  • 5/8-inch diameter hose
  • Heavy-duty design for rinsing black tank and clean sewer hose
03/10/2023 02:31 pm GMT

You’ll see orange RV hoses that are marketed as black water hoses. They are orange, so you don’t make the mistake of confusing this hose with your other RV hoses. We use an old drinking water hose and mark it with colored tape to avoid mixing them up.

Waterproof Gloves

Gloves protect your hands from contamination when dumping your black water tank and storing your sewer hoses.

General Waterproof Work Gloves (Unisex)
  • Flexible, dry work gloves with double-coated latex
  • Sandy grip foam
  • Available in sizes small to extra-large
03/10/2023 02:16 pm GMT

We try to be green by using reusable waterproof gloves such as the ones above, but you can also use disposable gloves when dealing with you’re dumping your RV black tank.

Holding Tank Treatment

There are holding tank treatments for both the grey and the black tank. Black tank treatment is a must-have for RVing, while grey tank treatment isn’t always necessary to keep your tank smelling fresh.

There are many different black tank treatments available for RVs. We recommend avoiding enzyme treatments since they can create a “sludge” that coats your sensors and renders them useless. We have used this black tank treatment and this grey tank treatment in our RVs. There are also options available for making your own!

RV Toilet Paper

RV toilet paper is designed to break down in your black water tank so you can avoid clogs and paper covering your sensors. We always use the Scott RV toilet paper brand and have never had clogging issues in our RVs or when we lived on a boat.

Scott Rapid Dissolve Bath Tissue (8 Rolls)
$20.90 ($1.13 / 100 Sheets)
  • Quick dissolving toilet paper for RVs and boats
  • Prevents clogging
03/10/2023 01:06 pm GMT

You can also do your own ‘shake experiment’ to test your favorite toilet paper brands. Check out this video on how to test your toilet paper.

RV Fresh Water Accessories

Getting water on the road requires a few RV and camper must-haves to ensure you can put clean water into your water tank or run water straight into your RV plumbing system. Below are the RV necessities for fresh water access.

water hose filling up tank on RV

Water Pressure Regulator

When connecting to water sources, you want to control the pressure of water flowing into your RV.

RV campgrounds often have water pressure set to a level higher than your RV can handle. The regulator will help you prevent stress on your plumbing components and leaks in your RV.

RV Water Pressure Regulator Valve (Brass)
  • Adjustable water pressure reducer with gauge
  • Lead-free
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PRO TIP: Water pressure around 40 PSI will give you good water flow for a shower and at the kitchen sink without causing damage to your RV.

Inline Water Filter

An inline water filter is inserted between your water source and your RV water tank or plumbing system. The filter is essential for eliminating heavy metals, chlorine, odors, and other things you don’t want in your water.

There are many options for RV water filtering, including some pricier systems that newbie RVers may not be ready to invest in yet.

Clear2o RV Inline Water Filter
$59.99 $52.99
  • Reduces contaminants, bad taste, and odors
  • Filters contaminants down to one micron
  • No more Chlorine or sediment in your drinking water
03/10/2023 01:45 pm GMT

If you are just getting started, we like the water filter above from Clear2o that filters to one micron. Most of the popular inline filters only filter to around 20 microns. The Clear2o option will filter out much smaller sediment and is a great affordable water filter to get you on the road with clean water in your tanks.

RV Water Drinking Hose

Drinking water hoses are made specifically to fill your RV water tank and connect to RV water sources. These water hoses are safe for carrying drinking and other water to your RV. They are BPA, phthalate, and lead-free.

Camco EvoFlex Drinking Water Hose
$35.99 $32.50
  • 25-feet, 5/8-inch diameter
  • Super flexible design allows the hose to be easily stored over and over again
  • Ideal for drinking water, BPA-free, lead-free, and phthalate-free
03/10/2023 01:00 pm GMT
PRO TIP: Make sure you choose a hose long enough to reach from your RV water intake to the water source. For most RV rig sizes, a 20-foot hose is sufficient. We like to carry a smaller 5 or 10-foot hose for short connections and the rare occasion when you need a little more hose.

90-Degree Elbow

Lastly, you’ll need a 90-degree elbow to connect to your water intake. The elbow will prevent a bend in your water hose that occurs when you join the water hose directly to your water intake.

Camco Elbow for RV Water Hose
  • Solid brass 90-degree elbow
  • Helps protect your hose by reducing stress and strain
03/10/2023 02:45 pm GMT

The fitting will prevent wear and damage to your hose or water intake over time.

RV Power Accessories

These essentials are related to getting power to your RV and using power inside your RV.

power cord plugged into RV

Surge Protector

When connecting your RV to power, you won’t always know the quality of the power source. This must-have RV gadget is necessary to protect your rig and its electronics by preventing damage from electrical power surges.

There are many options when it comes to surge protectors. We used the portable version above in our motorhome, while we now use a hardwired surge protector (also above) in our travel trailer.

Power Adapter (Dog Bone)

Whether connecting to power at a campground or a residential home, you might need a power adapter. Homes usually run on a 15 amp connection. If you have a 30 amp RV, you’ll need a 30-15 amp adapter to connect to power.

You could find your campground spot doesn’t have the connection your RV requires. If you have a 50 amp RV, you might need to adapt to a 30 amp connection. 30 amp RVs might also need to adapt to a 50 amp.

Camco Heavy-Duty Electrical Dogbone Adapter
$12.99 $11.60
  • Available in multiple versions including 15/30, 30/50, 50/30, 15/50
  • Heavy-duty, flexible, and durable construction
03/10/2023 08:31 pm GMT
PRO TIP: Dog bones are also handy in RV parks if you get an error on the peddle stool for your power connection. You can quickly adapt up or down to use the other connection until you have someone look at it or solve the issue.

Heavy-Duty Extension Cord

An extension cord will allow you to extend the reach of your power cable. It is necessary for moochdocking or setting up your RV to plug into your home power grid.

Outdoor Power Cord (50-feet)
$44.00 $39.58 ($0.79 / Foot)
  • 15 amp
  • Heavy-duty 3-prong extension cord
  • Water-resistent and highly visible
03/10/2023 04:30 pm GMT

We recommend purchasing a heavy-duty extension cord that is also water-resistant. These also come in handy for powering tools or other camping gear outdoors.

Small Inverter (Optional)

Although not a true RV essential, a small inverter is a good investment if you plan to do any dry camping (camping without power hookups). 

Many large inverters are a component of permanently installed off-grid systems, but to get your RV on the road, let’s look at a small inverter that can run a fan or other electronic item with a low-power draw.

500W Pure Sine Wave Power Inverter DC 12V to AC 110V
  • Car charger inverter adapter (DC to AC power)
  • Includes 4.2A dual USB charging ports and two AC outlets
03/10/2023 12:55 pm GMT

A small inverter that plugs into a 12-volt port will help you during an overnight in a Walmart parking lot or another short stay without a power connection.

PRO TIP: Choose a pure sine wave inverter if you plan to charge a laptop. Other inverters can permanently damage a computer.

RV Leveling & Securing

Each time you park your RV, you’ll need to level it front to back and side to side. You’ll want to do this for comfort, and your RV fridge needs to be level to operate correctly. Slideouts should also be level to evenly distribute the weight and avoid putting strain on specific components.

If you have a towable RV, you’ll also need to secure and stabilize the trailer.

Below are the camper and motorhome must-haves for leveling, securing, and stabilizing your RV.

RV tire on Anderson leveler

Trailer Wheel Chocks

These are RV camper must-haves if you have a towable (travel trailer or fifth-wheel). Wheel chocks keep your trailer secure when it’s not connected to the tow vehicle.

Solid Rubber Heavy Duty Black Wheel Chock 2-Pack
  • Size of chocks: 8" x 4" x 6"
  • All-weather design with a traction pad for securing a trailer in any conditions
  • Built-in handle for easy maneuvering
03/10/2023 04:35 pm GMT

We have both a plastic and rubber set of wheel chocks. The rubber set above is superior in our opinion, and gives us a better sense of security than the similar plastic chocks, especially on steeper inclines.

Is Your RV Level?

You’ll need some form of a level to confirm which way to level your rig. The primary way to do this is to walk inside and place a small level at different ends of the RV to see which ends and sides need to go up. There are also mobile apps that feature a digital leveler.

Some trailers and motorhomes will have level reading and even self-leveling built-in. If your RV doesn’t have leveling built-in, a popular system to install is the LevelMatePro.

LevelMatePRO+ Wireless Vehicle RV Leveling System
  • Easy to use smartphone and Apple watch Bluetooth RV leveling tool
  • Built to be installed in your RV
  • Powered by batteries or can be connected to power depending on the version you purchase
03/10/2023 07:10 pm GMT

This system is installed in the RV and works through an app on your phone. It will tell you how many inches you need to raise your RV and on which side.

RV Levelers

There are different RV leveler options. We have both Andersen levelers and Lynx Block levelers. 

Andersens are typically the easiest levelers to use. Just drive up on the leveler until the RV reaches the desired height. Lynx Blocks provide about a 1-inch lift each and require stacking to get the height you need.

As full-time RVers, we like to carry both types of levelers to have options and be prepared. Also, the space between our trailer tires isn’t wide enough to fit a second Andersen leveler, so be aware of this issue.

As full-time RVers, we like to carry both types of levelers to have options and be prepared. Also, the space between our trailer tires isn’t wide enough to fit a second Andersen leveler, so be aware of this issue.

RV Stabilizing

For towable RVs, you will need jack pads for your stabilizers (such as the set below). These pads will keep them from sinking into the soft ground and provide an extra cushion on hard surfaces.

Although you can hand-crank your RV scissor jacks, a drill adapter will save you time and effort in lowering and raising your jacks. Some RVs have built-in mechanics to move your jacks up and down, which will not require the drill adapter.

READ NEXT: For more details on setting up a travel trailer, check out our post Travel Trailer Campsite Setup and Checklist.

RV Tire Pressure

Understanding and monitoring your RV tire pressure and (if you have one) your tow vehicle’s tire pressure is crucial to safety when traveling in an RV. Closely monitoring tire pressure will help you avoid a tire blowout and also increases the life of your tires.

We always recommend checking your tires before moving your RV. Here are some tools you can use to check and manage tire pressure.

Tire Pressure Gauge or TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System)

A tire pressure gauge or tire pressure monitoring system will allow you to quickly check your tire pressure on your RV from your campsite.

A tire pressure gauge is an easy, affordable way to check pressure. However, a TPMS is a great way to monitor tire pressure and temperature before you travel and while on the road. These require a little more investment and installation but are worth the time and money to set up.

PRO TIP: For interior tires on dually trucks and motorhomes, you may need to install valve stem extenders to make checking and adjusting tire pressure easier.

Air Compressor

Depending on your setup, an air compressor is convenient for maintaining your tire pressure in your RV towable, motorhome, ‘toad’, or towing vehicle. You can run an air compressor by connecting it to your vehicle battery or (sometimes) the house battery of your RV.

Portable Compressor Kit, Tire Inflator
  • Tire inflator with alligator clamps
  • 12-volt, 120 PSI for up to 33-inch tires
03/10/2023 08:00 pm GMT

We recommend the above air compressor because it allows you to inflate to 120 PSI, making it suitable for trucks and large motorhomes.

RV Hitch for Travel Trailers

If your RV is a travel trailer, you’ll need a hitch to attach it to your tow vehicle. A weight distribution hitch is the best option, making towing your trailer much more manageable.

Weigh Safe TrueTow Weight Distribution Hitch
  • 4-point sway control
  • Weight gauge, 6 or 8-inch drop hitch, 2-inch shank
  • 15,000 lbs. maximum GTW, 1,500 lbs. maximum tongue weight
  • Includes 2-5/16" tow ball
03/10/2023 08:41 pm GMT

If you have a smaller travel trailer (under 5,000 lbs), you may be able to get away with a weight-carrying hitch. These are less expensive but are not as easy to tow.

Other RVing Must-Haves

Here are a few other camping accessories we thought were must-haves. Although they aren’t crucial to getting on the road, we thought these were worth including.

Insect Screens

Insect screens for your exterior vents, including the water heater, fridge, and furnace, will keep pesky bugs from making nests in them. These are an affordable way to keep the bugs out and are easy to install.

These are an affordable way to keep the bugs out and are easy to install.

Screen Door Cross Bar

Most RVs have a screen door that locks into the main camper door. However, when the screen door is used separately, there’s no way to control the door from the inside.

A screen door cross bar solves this problem and is easy to install.

Camco Screen Door Cross Bar Handle
$24.99 $18.04
  • Creates an easier exit and entry when using the screen door
  • Durable bar with a secure grip
  • Doubles as a towel drying rod
03/10/2023 12:55 pm GMT
BONUS: This bar doubles as a drying bar for hanging kitchen or bath towels.

RVing Essentials You Need

From leveling your RV to monitoring your tire pressure, we’ve covered all the tools and camper equipment you need to keep your RV maintained and safe while on the road.

While there are other RV items that will make your life easier and more comfortable, the essentials above are everything you’ll need to start RVing.

Follow the guidelines above, and you’ll have your RV outfitted and ready for travel in just a short time!

Want to learn more about how to live in an RV?

For more on essential RV gear, downsizing for RV living, and how to get out on the road, view our complete guide.

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pin of RV trailer being towed down the road, RV chocked tire

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