If you’re in the market for a new travel trailer or camper, then this article is for you. I just barely took out my brand new Rockwood 2504s trailer for 3 days of camping, and made a list of some necessities and “must haves” I had to buy for it, and also things I wish I’d bought.
Just thought this would be helpful for any of you who are looking to get a new trailer. Enjoy the post.
A Quiet Generator (preferably with remote start!)
Okay, this one is obvious. You already know that you need a generator for your trailer. I purchased a Champion generator. It’s a newer brand that is HALF the cost of the Yamaha/Honda generators and is getting rave reviews around the internet for the cool new features they are building into their trailers like remote start.
Check out my full review of the Champion 75537i generator, which has remote start and enough power to fire up the AC for under $1,000.
Toilet Bowl Brush
The toilets in RVs generally have a shallow bowl and don’t have much water at the bottom. That means when you do your business, sometimes the “business” sticks to the sides of the bowl–even if most of it flushes down. It’s really nice to have a toilet bowl brush in the bathroom of your camper so you can clean it when dumping your black tank.
Trouble with this is they are usually sold together with a plunger, and obviously a plunger is useless in a travel trailer, so I’d recommend this toilet bowl brush on Amazon (affiliate link) since it comes with a nice cover and has a hole for a hook in the handle so you can store it away in your bathroom and not have it bouncing around as you drive down the road.
Sheets for the Beds
Our new Rockwood trailer came with a quilt and some pillows, but it did not come with any sheets for the beds. You’ll want to keep them nice, so remember to order some sheets before you go out for the first time in your new travel trailer.
I like these RV sheets on Amazon because they’re cheap, a good color for hiding a little dirt, look nice, and seem to be of a pretty good quality. Those are the sheets I own for my camper, but any old sheets will do.
First Aid Kit
My wife is a little obsessive about safety. Personally, I’d just rub dirt in my wounds and stand around looking like the Hulk if I were injured, but she thinks we should actually use bandaids. So, a first aid kit.
My wife says that the Mueller brand first aid kits (aff. link to buy on Amazon) are the best ones. Why? No idea. But she insists that they make superior first aid kits. I just obey and add it to my cart in Amazon. Happy wife, happy life.
I know it’s a bit weird, but I agonize over purchases like this. Dumping the tanks is NOT a fun job, so if I can get the right equipment to make it a more pleasant experience, I’m in.
When you’re buying your hose, keep a few things in mind. First, I think 15′ is the right length for most applications. You should be able to reach any dump tank, but it isn’t so long that you have problems getting the liquids to flow through the whole hose. 10′ is too short sometimes, and 20′ starts to be a bit of a pain.
Second, get a hose with a right angle bracket with a CLEAR view piece. This allows you to be able to see what’s going through the hose. It’s frosted clear so you don’t have to look at the gross stuff, but you can at least tell that liquid is still going through so you don’t pull out the hose prematurely.
You’ll also want a dump hose that ACTUALLY FITS in the bumper of your travel trailer. If you get one with too large of connectors, it doesn’t fit, which means you have to store the nasty hose in one of the compartments of your trailer. Gross. Many hoses are too fat. Get one with the connectors that aren’t oversized.
Last, get a hose that will stand the test of time. Nothing, I mean NOTHING is worse than finding a hole in your hose while dumping the black tank. Many hoses crack easily if stepped on, so get one that is built a bit more durably.
I’m sure there are lots of good hoses and I haven’t done a head-to-head test or anything, but the one I ended up buying is this 15′ Camco dump hose and I’m happy with it. It not only fits all of those criteria, it’s half the cost of what comparable hoses sell for at Camping World (the local RV place here in Meridian, Idaho).
Water Pressure Regulator
It’s worth spending a few dollars to make sure you don’t blow out the water system on your trailer. Some RV campgrounds have too high of water pressure, which can cause undue stress and eventually leaks in your system.
Get a water pressure regulator that goes between your fresh water hose and the trailer or RV so you prevent that problem. There are lots of good ones and some are extremely expensive, but Camco sells an all-brass regulator for about $10 on Amazon.
The first time we went out in our trailer we didn’t have hampers or anything like that, so by the end of the trip, we had clothes stuffed in random places in the trailer and it made things messy.
You could certainly get a standalone hamper, but then it gets in the way. I think a better way to go would be to just run to Walmart and buy a simple net bag hamper like a college student would use to carry laundry to the laundromat. Then put it in one of your open storage compartments.
You’ll probably want two garden hoses for your trailer. One of them will be a fresh water hose that is only used to get city water into your trailer, or to fill the fresh water tank. The other hose should be a different color so you don’t mix them up and should be used when you’re at a dump station to sprinkle out the black water tank (assuming you have a sprinkler system for your black water tank.
People get really funny about water hoses. Some people INSIST that the fresh water hose has to be white to be safe. Not really true. It’s really just more functional to help you to not mix up your hoses. Just be sure it’s a lead-free hose so it’s safe for drinking, like this white hose on Amazon.
The ideal length of hose depends on what your setup is, but I find a 25′ hose to be about right. Anything longer than that starts to get annoying to take out from under the trailer and unkink.
Water Tank Filler Valve
Just about everyone uses a filler valve when filling the fresh water tank on their trailer. It takes FOREVER to fill if you don’t have one because of “bubble back.”
You just attach this little $10 valve (Amazon link) to the end of your hose and put the other end of the valve into the fresh water intake on your trailer. That’s all it takes.
Okay, you really don’t need my movie recommendations, but just a quick reminder to remember to bring a DVD with you the first time you go up in your trailer. No, camping is not all about watching movies, but it’s a nice activity during the hot part of the day and you’ll want to test out your sweet new tv in the trailer 🙂
And since you asked for my movie recommendation (right?), I highly recommend laughing the hours away at Dwight Schrute on The Office. Or, watch the comedy movie “RV” with Robin Williams and Cheryl Hines.
A Hand-Held Vacuum
A camper trailer is a pretty small space. It also has mixed flooring with some areas being carpet and other areas flooring. So a broom really doesn’t solve the problem of so many dirty feet and shoes coming in and out from the campground.
I really like this Black and Decker Pivot Vacuum. It’s not terribly expensive but gets amazing reviews.
We forgot a few kitchen items like a spatula and cooking spray. Just give your kitchen a quick look and make sure you’re bringing all of the essentials that you may otherwise forget.
You might as well buy a new gas can for filling up your generator so you can keep the can in the trailer. I bought a 5 gallon, which is enough to run the generator continuously for 28 hours since I fill the generator itself before leaving. My generator (which I LOVE) uses 2 gallons every 8 hours of use.
Unless you’re camping in Phoenix in August, you really shouldn’t need to run the air conditioner more than a few hours a day, so 5 gallons of gas will likely allow you to go a full week of camping.
It’s generally recommended that you flush the toilet for 45 seconds or so when you take out your trailer before anyone goes to the bathroom so you can get some water in the black tank. This prevents anything from sticking to the tank.
You’re also supposed to put in chemical that can break down the toilet paper and prevent smells. A lot of people use these porta packs because it’s a convenient little bubble of chemical that you just drop down the toilet and you’re set.
It’s tough to get your trailer exactly level when parking on uneven ground. It is also possible (though rare) to damage your fridge if you aren’t parked level. Solution? Get a little bubble level and put it somewhere on the trailer. You can get super fancy and buy one of these really highly-reviewed levels, or just go with the $5 bubble level. Whatever works for you.
2 and 5/16″ Trailer Ball
Before buying my travel trailer, I had a pontoon boat. I loved my boat, but traded it in for my travel trailer. Anyway, boats usually use a smaller size trailer ball than travel trailers, so I had to buy a new one.
3/4 Drill Socket and Drill
This one is worth spending a second to buy. The stabilizer stands on the four corners of your travel trailer are a PAIN to put up and down manually, and the powered jack stands take FOREVER.
The solution is simple. Bring your cordless drill with this bit attached to it (link to Amazon) and you can zip your jack stands up and down effortlessly.
For most people, insurance is a good idea for your travel trailer. Not only does it cover the RV in the case of an accident, but it can give you coverage if someone gets injured while visiting your home on wheels. I wrote a detailed post about the average cost of RV insurance here.
A Mat for Outside the Steps
You’ll definitely want a nice big mat for outside the steps of your RV. If you don’t get one, you’ll be sweeping up the RV incessantly from all the dirt and sand tracked into the RV.
I recommend a nice big one like this one on Amazon to keep things orderly and clean. It’s not a huge expense by any means, and really helps.
If you have two sets of steps, don’t forget to buy an extra!
Hope this post was helpful to you and that you have a very successful first trip in your camper! Check out the other sections of my blog for more tips on travel trailer’ing.