So, you took the plunge and bought an RV, Travel Trailer, or 5th Wheel.
If this is your first RV, you’ll need a lot of things to get ready for your first trip. It may seem surprising just how much you need, but trust me, it’ll help in the long run. Below are items that we ended up buying. Don’t make the same mistake I did, I bought a lot of things at the RV Dealer’s parts department. I could have bought most of the items for 1/3 the price online had I done my research. Epic Fail on my part.
Now, in no particular order…..
1.First up, Water Supplies! You’ll need an adapter that’ll prevent you from over-filling your fresh water tank and causing the tank’s expansion from breaking your flooring. It happens, simple solution is the adapter listed.
2. You’ll also want a water bandit, this device allows you to still connect if the threads are messed up when you get to camp.
3. Couple it with a water filter, to keep contaminates out of your fresh water supply.
4. An extra “flex” hose connects to your trailer where the water inlet is, helps relieve strain on the hose.
5. Water meter to have an idea of just how much water you are putting in your fresh water tank. Also a good idea if you have a “SaniFlush” system on your black tank. You REALLY don’t want to over-fill your black tank!
6. Next, are fresh water hoses. You want 2 (yes, 2) of these. I prefer to pack 2-25′ hoses vs 1-50′ hose. If I only need 25′, I only need to use one hose. If one ruptures, I can still have a water supply. If the water hookup is too far away, I can connect the 2 hoses and get the distance I need.
7. Speaking of water hookups, you’ll need to control the pressure. Some parks have water pressure that’ll blow the pipes in your trailer. A good adjustable water pressure regulator is cheap insurance.
8. If you’ve ever used a garden hose, you’ve either lost a washer or had one fail. Keep spares in your rig.
9. Assorted Fuses – If your tow vehicle uses different fuses or you don’t already keep a supply of these with you, keep something like this with you. You’ll thank me later.
10. RV Toilet Paper. Scott is RV safe (and septic safe). It’s about as close to good home-type toilet paper as you are going to get. I’m not a fan of the “sand paper” and “thin” styles.
11. Toilet Brush. If you are like us, you really don’t like the idea of moving a toilet brush between your house and your RV. Buy one and dedicate it to your home on wheels.
12. Trash Bag System. We didn’t want a trash can out in the open. This is a good solution as it uses our endless supply of grocery bags as disposable trash bags.
13. Folding Broom – Saves space!
14. Slide Seal Lubricant. Take care of your slide’s rubber. If it dries out, it’s expensive to fix; you do NOT want water leaks.
15. Good Sewer Hose. You don’t want to go cheap here. Just use your imagination of what can go wrong if your sewer hose leaks as you are dumping your tanks
16. Gray water hose. Use this to flush your tanks/SaniFlush system. You do not want to risk contaminating your fresh water hose.
17. Stabilizer Jack Socket. If you even attempt to put your stabilizers down by hand, you’ll buy this your next trip. Use with a cordless drill and it becomes an effortless process.
18. Camco Lego-Style Level Blocks. I bought 2 kits of these, however I don’t use them to level my trailer. I use the pads under my stabilizer jacks for uneven campgrounds. They do work well for leveling out your trailer, but I prefer the Andersen kit below.
19. Andersen “Kit”. Has blocks which make leveling the trailer really easy, a tool that’ll lift a wheel off the ground so that you can change a flat tire on your trailer, and a few pads for your stabilizer jacks. The kit seems pricy, but it is WELL worth it.
20. X-Chock system is awesome. Not only does it lock your tires to keep them from rolling, it provides a TON of stability in the trailer. If you’ve ever walked inside a trailer and felt the “bounce” as you walk around, this eliminates it. You still need to use traditional chocks (part of the Andersen kit); however traditional chocks keep the trailer from rolling, they don’t remove the wobble.
21. 30 amp extension cable. Frankly, I really dislike needing one of these, but sometimes hookups are just too far away. I’ll keep it with my trailer for the few times I need it, but I’ll avoid using it when possible. There have been times tho, where I wasn’t going to get power to the RV without it.
22. 50 amp to 30 amp adapter. Some sites may not have any available 30 amp connections. Plug this into a 50 amp receptacle and you’ll be able to safely power your trailer on 30 amps.
23. Progressive Industries EMS 30 amp. All RVs should come with this from the factory, alas they do not. It’s an easy install if you are comfortable working around wires and electricity. If not, please hire someone to do the work. These things protect your circuits and appliances from over voltage, under voltage, improper wiring, surge, and more. Very cheap insurance. If you are unsure if you need one or not, go price buying a new fridge or TV.
24. 15 amp to 30 amp adapter. This isn’t magic, this device will not let you run your 15k AC on a 15 amp circuit. What it will do, is power your fridge (save propane!) or other small appliances on electricity. If you are getting your trailer ready for a trip at your house, this is great. If you are going to visit family and are parking at or in front of their house, this is what you want.
25. Your black and gray tank drains are gravity fed. Being that few campsites are truly level, you need to figure out a way to keep things flowing… properly. As mentioned above, you really don’t want a problem when it comes to draining these tanks. Cheep insurance.
26. Pipe tape. There are several water fittings inside your trailer. If you get a slight leak in one on a trip, you’ll want to be able to fix it so that you don’t have to abandon the perfect campsite.
27. Gas Tape. Same as the tape above, except specifically designed for gas (propane systems). If you are comfortable working around gas, keep this with you. If you are unsure, this is something probably better left to professionals.
28. Dead blow hammer. I adore this hammer. I have 2 at the house and I bought a 3rd to dedicate to the trailer. It’s the perfect size, perfect weight. They last a long time. Having a metal and a rubber surface to work with is great. I could go on and on about this hammer. Buy one. Or Two. Or Three.
29. From what I’ve been able to decipher, Norcold makes most of the fridges for RVs. They are a fantastic fridge with one critical flaw in most models. The hinge pegs sit in plastic. This is an upgrade to avoid the eventual failure you will get from plastic on metal wear. For the price, it’s great insurance against an expensive repair. Please check your fridge’s model number against which bracket you need; some are slightly different.
30. Skylight Insulators. We have fantastic fans throughout the trailer, and while they are great most of the year, when it’s 90-115 degrees outside, there’s a lot of heat coming in through the vents/skylights. Put these inside to add some insulation to help your air conditioner work better.
31. Extra sewer valve. I really don’t know why RVs don’t come with one of these from the factory. You put this on the outlet for your combined gray and black tank drain hookup. This way, when you remove the cap you can avoid the very un-pleasent surprise that could occur if either valve leaked and filled into the cap. I know I keep saying this… but it’s cheep insurance that’ll keep you from ruining your shoes and your day.
32. If you store your trailer or are in a very hot climate, this is a cut to fit (with scissors or a razor knife) window coverings that’ll add insulation and reflect heat out of the trailer. The added benefit is it blocks all light, so if you want to darken the trailer for a nap for yourself or the kiddos, this is your ticket. On my 26′ trailer, I used about 2/3 of a roll to cover every window.
33. There are a lot of coupler locks out there ranging from $25-100+. Lets face it, you spent a LOT of money on your trailer. This may seem like an expensive lock, however it’s worth it’s weight in gold if it stops a theft. Even with insurance, if someone steals your trailer, you’ll never forget it.
34. Backup camera. I chose the 4UCam because of the type of camera it uses. There’s a lot to be said about this style of lens and it’s clarity. Frankly, the price is fantastic compared to other brands. Note: I didn’t choose this one because it was less expensive, I chose it because it’s the best camera out there.
35. Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) – if your tow vehicle has one, you will only need a system that covers your trailer. If your tow vehicle doesn’t have one, buy a system that covers it as well. The TST system’s design allows you to add/remove air from the tires without removing the sensors. That’s a HUGE perk. The batteries are user replaceable as well. TST is one of the best TPMS systems out there. The best part is, if you tow multiple trailers, it’ll sync up with the sensors on the trailer you are currently towing.
38. Weight distribution Hitch. There are a lot of options out there, but in the end the Blue Ox is the best on the market currently. I’ve used other weight distribution hitches and nothing comes close. The one short-coming of it is the tool they use to “hook up.” Do yourself a favor, buy a good 36-40″ breaker bar, put a socket on it and keep the tool they included for an emergency backup. You’ll thank me.
I have to vent for a moment. I cannot tell you how often I see people towing heavy (5000+ pounds) without using a weight distribution hitch. Not only is it extremely unsafe for the driver and passengers of the vehicle, it’s dangerous to everyone else on the highway. This keeps proper weight over your front axle for proper steering and braking – after all, your front brakes do most of the work on your truck. This is a huge safety issue, if you cannot be bothered to spend the money on a good weight distribution hitch, you should not be towing heavy to begin with. Keep in mind, not only 1/2 ton trucks need these; truck manufacturers require using one when towing a trailer beyond very specific weight raitings.
39. Tire Covers. Chances are, your tires will dry rot before you can wear the tread off of them. Protecting them from the sun exposure will aid in long life and prevent damaging blow-outs on the highway. You did buy a TPMS, right?
40. Tow Ball Cover. When not hooked up, you’ll want to protect your ball from the elements. If the ball takes damage, it could cause tongue damage to the trailer later on; that’s an EXPENSIVE repair. Will also keep the grease off your hands, legs, pants, shirt, etc.
41. Tow Ball Lube. If you use a Blue-Ox tow system, this is the lube you want (specified by the manufacturer). If you use a different tow system, please check with your manufacturer to see what they recommend. Don’t forget the cover for the ball; so the grease doesn’t get everywhere.
42. Log Book. We got an RV/Travel Trailer for a reason; spending time with family. We keep a log of everywhere we go and what we liked/disliked. Not only does this help with memories of our adventures, it gives us an idea if we liked an area and want to come back again.
43. Grill Brush. Cooking outdoors! You don’t want to eat the stuck-on remains of the prior meal.
44. Grill Tools. Beats using your hands! Oxo makes good stuff for a good price. Everything feels sturdy and should last a long time.
45. Bonded Neutral Plug (say what?!?). Ok, here’s the deal. If you are going to be using a non-factory installed generator, you need this plug. This is even more important if you installed the Progressive EMS system like you should have. Generators use floating neutrals which cause issues with a surge/electrical protection system. Plug this little sucker into your generators and it solves the floating neutral issue.
46. 3M Command Hooks. I adore these little things. They work great and pull off if you change your mind, without damaging the surface. Use them in the bathroom area as towel hooks, hold a wash cloth, or anything else you can imagine. Keep spares in a drawer in your trailer. You’ll figure out the perfect use for some as you go.
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