Now that you’ve finally purchased your dream RV and are ready to begin the RV life style, you have got to make that RV your own and make the trip as easy as possible, so you have some accessories to purchase and some space to decorate. In this article, I will list the 21 must have, most popular, accessories, additions, and decorations you have got to purchase for your new mobile home.
So, what are the 21 most popular RV accessories?
- Solar Power
- Instant Pot (And Other Kitchen Accessories)
- Cast Iron Cookware
- Walkie Talkie Two Way Radios (And Batteries)
- Storing Secondary Modes of Travel
- Storing Important Documents
- Folding Step Stool
- Five Gallon Buckets (Seriously)
- RV Internet Access
- Surge Protector
- (Quiet) Generator
- First Aid Kit
- Hoses and Hose Supports
- Water Pressure and Tire Pressure Monitors
- Water Tank Filler Valve
- Water Filter
- Gas Can
- Cleaning Supplies
- Level, Leveling Blocks, and Wheel Chocks
- RV GPS
In this article, I am going to go into each of these accessories one at a time and explain why I think they are good choices for you and for your RV. Let’s dive in!
1. Solar Power
Solar power is especially important if you plan on traveling in your RV off of the grid for any amount of time. Boondocking is a great way to camp for free, but usually, the boondocking campsites are removed from power outlets and water hook-ups.
Many full-time RVers will buy full solar panels to hook up and install to the top of their RV to convert electricity while they are driving during the day so they can use power during the night.
If you want to go big or go home and install the full RV solar power panel kit, I recommend that you go to Amazon and purchase one there. You can find one here for a little under $200, which, between you and me, is actually a pretty good steal.
Even if you don’t want to go all out and outfit your RV with solar panel power capabilities, you should still seriously consider purchasing a portable solar panel charger for your smaller devices like your phone, radio, and walkie talkie.
You can purchase a pretty cheap, good quality, outdoor solar panel charger for portable devices on Amazon.com. There is one available here for under $50 and guaranteed to withstand the abuse that comes with RV traveling and living so close to the outdoors.
2. Instant Pot (and Other Kitchen Accessories)
Just about every full time, part time, amateur, dabbler, expert, or enthusiast RVer and their kids, grandma, and dog will tell you that an Instant Pot is a Godsend when it comes to eating while traveling in an RV (which, unfortunately, we all have to do).
One of the biggest expenses, besides gas and docking, of the RV lifestyle, is food. It’s hard to shop and eat smart when you have a tiny little kitchen, a tinier fridge, and almost no space to store bulk food items.
Instant Pots make it so much easier because you can cook things quickly with little supervision on your part. Instant Pots are also extremely versatile, meaning you can saute, bake, steam, fry, simmer, and cook just about anything.
Instant Pots also take up very little space, so they are great additions to your very tiny kitchen space.
When I was traveling in the RV, I would throw a bunch of soup ingredients into the Instant Pot, turn it to simmer for half an hour or so, and by the time dinner time rolled around, I would have enough hot food to feed an army (with leftovers for tomorrow).
I’ve cooked rice pudding, spaghetti, banana bread, and stir fry in my Instant Pot, and I still love it and swear by it.
You can buy an Instant Pot on Amazon.com for under $100, including all of the accessories, like ladles, pot holders, oven mitts, lid sealants, an extra lid, and a trivet. Find it here and eat like a king while you travel like a jester.
Besides Instant Pots, a lot of people like to have a blender in their RV for a quick breakfast smoothie or a delicious pasta sauce. Since most people travel in their RV during the summer, a cool smoothie often sounds more appealing than a hot soup for dinner.
You can find blenders made especially for RVs on Amazon.com. Go here to purchase one that blends single serving smoothies for all the taste and half of the work (don’t worry, you don’t have to buy the pink colored one).
Of course, you’re going to need a lot more cooking supplies and accessories to go with them. Spice racks, spatulas, scrubbers (so many scrubbers), dish soap, dishes and utensils, cutting boards, knives, a trash can, a portable grill, storage bins, and of course lots and lots of food, among other things, are going to be essentials in your kitchen away from your kitchen.
3. Cast Iron Cookware
Cast iron cookware is worth mentioning separately from the other kitchen equipment and accessories. Just like the Instant Pot, cast iron cookware is extremely versatile and durable. You can use cast iron pots and pans on stovetop burners or over the fire and can cook just about anything in them. They are also non-stick, as long as you take good care of them and season them after each use.
I’ve owned quite a few cast-iron skillets in my life, and, although I am definitely not an expert, I have a system that has worked for me and my skillets for years.
I never wash my skillet with soap. I rinse it and scrub all of the extra food out, but I never scrub it with dish soap (trust me, it’ll be okay). Then I dry the skillet with a paper towel (they will stain cloth towels sometimes and I just don’t want to take the risk).
When the skillet is completely dry, I pour some olive oil onto the pan and rub that in with more paper towels, making sure to cover the whole cooking surface. Then I just put it away. Clean, dry and seasoned, just like that.
You can find a great five-piece set of cast iron cookware that includes a dutch oven and some skillets for under $50 here on Amazon.com.
4. Walkie-Talkie Two-Way Radios (And Batteries)
Walkie talkies are especially helpful if you have cars following behind you in the RV. When I traveled with my family in the RV, my parents would talk to each other through the walkie talkies as they drove separate vehicles. We even all had code names (Dad was Big Bad and Mom was Little Red, pretty great, right?).
Besides being totally fun, walkie talkies are great for communicating on long drives, when backing up and leveling the RV, and when off on hiking adventures. Really, they are a necessity for the full time and part time RVer and their traveling companions.
You can find a four-pack of two-way radio walkie talkies on Amazon.com for under $50. Buy them here. They come with headphones and chargers, and they are small for convenience.
Once you park your RV, you are probably going to want to travel around and explore outside of your RV. That means you are definitely going to appreciate having some bicycles on hand for some spur of the moment adventures.
Bicycles are great because they can get you places that cars cannot, including off the beaten path and through some pretty great mud puddles. They have some great collapsible bicycles, as well as mountain bikes and road bikes you can purchase.
6. Storing Secondary Modes of Travel
Of course, if you are going to have a bike with you, or any other mode of secondary transportation (like a scooter or small car), you are going to need to have a way to transport and store it while you travel.
A lot of full-time RVers get a bike rack (or a bigger rack for something like a scooter or motorcycle) to mount on the back of their RV or their secondary car. You can get a pretty inexpensive bike rack here on Amazon.com.
For RVers with families, your secondary vehicle probably needs to be a bit bigger than a bike and more along the lines of a second car. Most RVs can tow another vehicle behind them, so this shouldn’t be a problem.
If your car has a manual transmission, it can likely be towed with all four wheels down on the road. This means your life is going to be pretty easy because all you have to do is buy a simple hitch to hook your car up to your RV with. You can find an RV towbar here on Amazon.com for under $500 (trust me, that’s a steal).
If your car cannot be towed with all four wheels down, then you are going to need to get a tow dolly for your car or a straight up trailer for your RV to tow with your car on top. You can find a tow dolly here on Amazon.com for under $3,000.
Some RVs have a small “garage” of sorts that can store bikes or scooters during the drive, so if you know that you are going to want to bring along a few secondary vehicles, you might want to look into RVs that are already built to accommodate them.
7. Storing Important Documents
If you are going to be on the road, even if you are only on the road for a short amount of time, but especially if you are going to be on the road full time, then you are going to need to bring along some important documents.
These will include insurance and documents that prove that you are alive and a citizen of this country. If you have a family, you are going to need to have those documents for them as well.
Some RVers will scan the documents and store them on an encrypted hard drive or flash drive, but I can guess that you can already see some problems with this solution. We won’t go into all of those loopholes now.
A good way to store important documents while on the road is in paper form (yes, the original documents) and locked in a safe. There are quite a few options for small family safes, and you can find a really good option here on Amazon.com for around $60.
You will likely need to keep your insurance, social security card, and passport in your safe along with some cash. With a safe, if your RV gets into a wreck, goes into the water, or catches on fire, your documents will be safe. Plus, with it all locked up, nobody can steal it. Keep your safe hidden but readily available.
8. Folding Step Stool
It’s odd how you end up missing the small things you don’t even think about on a daily basis. In your house, you know exactly how to get to everything because you’ve lived in it for forever.
However, in your RV, you are a little more unfamiliar, and chances are, you are not going to be able to reach something in a far cabinet. The way life goes, it’ll be at a time where you really need it right them (like toilet paper, been there, done that).
To save yourself the trouble and stress, remember to pack a folding step stool. Because it collapses, you can easily store it in a small, out of the way place and then get it out when you need it.
Step stools are also helpful when setting up camp. It helps kids get involved with dumping, setting up the awning, and hanging up the towels after a swim.
The one I always used is actually really cheap, but super sturdy, and I seriously recommend it! You can find it here on Amazon.com for $14.
9. Five Gallon Buckets (Seriously)
It may sound a little odd, or maybe even a little “ghetto,” but empty five-gallon buckets are super useful at a campsite, even if you are staying in an RV. Five-gallon bucks can be used for just about anything.
I’ve used them to move rocks for a fire pit, to collect water, as a stool, and as an emergency toilet. There are some RVers that will fill the bucket with some concrete and use it as improvised exercise equipment.
So even though you think you couldn’t possibly need to use an empty five-gallon bucket on the road (you need to save space, right?), just bring one or two. You’ll thank yourself later.
10. RV Internet Access
When you are on the road, you’re not going to have a lot of easy access to the internet. And if you are traveling in the RV full time, odds are that you are going to need to work using the internet or will at least need to use the internet once to figure out where the nearest Taco Bell is.
A lot of campgrounds come with free internet, but what if you are boondocking? A lot of RVers buy their own internet for their RV. A common one to purchase is Winegard ConnecT. You can find it here on Amazon.com.
There are also companies that provide hotspots for RVs, just like a hotspot for your phone. Then there is RV satellite internet access, where you attach a satellite to your RV for improved connection and your very own internet.
11. Surge Protector
With the internet comes problems. You have to be careful of surges that could knock out the power in your RV, fry some connections, mess up your laptop, or delete some of your files.
The easiest way to avoid these problems is to get a surge protector. The surge protector will act as a buffer between you and surge. If you ever do get a surge, the protector will block it and then die, and you just need to get a new surge protector.
You can buy a surge protector here on Amazon.com for under $14.
12. (Quiet) Generator
If you are going to be off the grid for a while and don’t want to rely on the power from the solar panels (the sun has a nasty habit of disappearing exactly when you need it), you are going to want to get a generator.
The trick here is to make sure that you get a quiet generator because your campground neighbors will not be happy when it kicks on at two in the morning if it sounds like the fight between King Kong and that T-Rex.
ou’re not going to want to be serenaded by the sweet sounds of metal on metal when you’re trying to enjoy a romantic night of stargazing (take it from me).
Many of the newer generators are portable, and some are rechargeable while others are gas powered. The chargeable ones are usually a lot quieter. You can find one here on Amazon.com for under $250.
13. First Aid Kit
This is almost a no brainer, but honestly, I probably would have forgotten a first aid kit if I hadn’t been reminded, so I thought it would be best to remind you too.
It is important to pack a first aid kit for obvious reasons, and it’s always nice when you’re prepared.
Just make sure that you keep the first aid kit in a place that is easy to reach because I know from experience that holding a towel to a profusely bleeding hand while trying to rummage around in the back of the far cupboard behind the queen-sized bed for the gauze is not fun.
Most first aid kits will have an instant cold compress, bandages, gauze, tape, wipes, pain medication, headache medication, a splint, q-tips, and antibacterial ointment, among other things. Really, you should update your own first aid kit as you see fit, and make sure you always replace everything you use.
Speaking of medicine, make sure you keep a stocked medicine cabinet in your RV. You should have sunscreen, aloe vera, and pain and headache medication at least.
You can find a first aid kid made especially for camping here on Amazon.com for under $19.
14. Hoses and Hose Supports
Hoses and hose supports are essential for dumping out your grey and black tanks and refilling your fresh water tank.
The hose supports help keep the hose level so that the dumping process can go smoothly. You can find some here on Amazon.com for less than $35.
You will need a sewer hose for dumping out the black and grey water tanks. That will be the same hose you use for both tanks. You can find an RV sewer hose here on Amazon.com for under $40.
You will also need a hose for your drinking water. It’s best if this hose is quite long just to make sure that you can reach the water hook up where you park your RV. You can find one here on Amazon.com for under $30.
You will also need a hose for non-potable water. You will use this hose for spraying down the black tank as well as cleaning out the sewer hose. You will want to empty the black tank first, spray it out, then empty the grey tank out of the same hose.
When you’re done emptying the tanks, spray out the sewer hose with the non-potable water hose.
15. Water Pressure and Tire Pressure Monitors
Pressure monitors are things you don’t really think about, but they are actually rather important when it comes to maintaining your RV.
Water pressure monitors monitor the water pressure of the campground that you are looking into. You have to make sure that the water pressure isn’t too high because that can cause hoses to rip, pipes to burst, and leaks to spring. Not a problem you want on your vacation.
Tire pressure monitors measure the air pressure in your tires. You are carrying a lot of weight on your tires if you have an RV, a camper, or even a travel trailer. It is important to make sure that your tires have the right pressure and can continue to support that weight.
You can find a water pressure monitor here on Amazon.com for under $35.
You can find a tire pressure monitor here on Amazon.com for under $200.
16. Water Tank Filler Valve
A water tank filler valve is another one of those things that you don’t quite think about when packing for a trip in the RV.
Water tank filler valves minimize air bubbles, helping you fill up your tank more quickly. They also have an easy shut off valve and help prevent backflow (something really important when it comes to your grey water tank and your potable water tank).
Really, water tank filler valves are not number one on the list of things to purchase for your RV, but they do make life a whole lot easier. You can find one here on Amazon.com for under $7.
17. Water Filter
Even when you are filling your water tank up at a campground, it is still smart to have a water filter. You don’t know if people have emptied or filled their tanks in the wrong order and you most definitely cannot vouch for the cleanliness of their hoses. When it comes to drinking water, it is always better safe than sorry.
Water filters attach at the end of the water hose and all of the water you are pulling from the campground will be filtered before going into your RV for you to drink. You can find one here on Amazon.com for under $18.
18. Gas Can
Gas cans can come in pretty handy when RVing, especially if you are parked out in the boondocks. They are becoming less and less important with the rise of battery and solar powered generators, but it’s always better safe than sorry.
You can use a gas can to refill a generator, your truck, any toys you’ve brought with you, and on really cold camping nights, you can use it to help start a fire (we had to do this when we went camping with my dad one winter, and I highly recommend using caution).
You can buy a gas can here on Amazon.com for under $17. I chose the “no spill” gas can because heaven knows I can make a mess.
19. Cleaning Supplies
When you are living in your RV for any amount of time, you are going to get it pretty dirty, especially with a family. Dirt, dust, pet hair, food, and hiking shoes are going to be traveling around the same small square footage, and it’s hard to hide that mess. So make sure you pack cleaning supplies.
Here’s a small list of things you are going to need (not at all inclusive, trust me):
- Vacuum and broom (with dustpan)
- Gloves (disposable) for dumping and gloves for cleaning
- Chemicals for cleaning your toilet and grey and black water tanks
- Washcloths, towels, rags, paper towels, and disinfecting wipes
- Dish soap, hand soap, and cleaning soap
- Multi-purpose cleaner, window cleaner, bathroom cleaner, etc.
- Toilet brush
20. Level, Leveling Blocks, and Wheel Chocks
Parking the RV is one of the harder things about owning an RV, right next to attaching it to your towing vehicle. You’re going to need a few items to help out with that.
A bubble level you can set on your kitchen table or on the floor of your RV is going to help you determine if you are level enough. You can find one here on Amazon.com for about $2.
Leveling blocks help when you are parking on uneven ground (usually dirt or on the boondocks). They are small and connect just like Legos. You can place them and drive onto them to raise one side of your RV to make it leveler. You can find them here on Amazon.com for under $30.
Wheel chocks just ensure that your RV doesn’t roll away in the night. I know it’s heavy, but don’t take any chances. When you park your RV, just shove the wheel chocks behind your wheels and you can sleep in safety. You can find some wheel chocks here on Amazon.com for under $12.
21. RV GPS
You can continue to use your smartphone GPS to get places, but more likely than not you are going to have problems and become dissatisfied pretty quickly.
That’s why it’s smart to bring along an RV or car GPS on your trips. You won’t run out of surface, and you’ll be able to read the route on a bigger screen mounted right there on the dash.
You can find an RV GPS here on Amazon.com for under $350.
Is RV toilet paper necessary? Toilet paper made especially for an RV is important to get because it takes less water to dissolve and is much easier to use in your black tank and at the dump station. You should use RV toilet paper in your RV. You can find RV toilet paper in just about every store that sells toilet paper, but your best bet is probably a camping store.
What is the best store to buy RV accessories? A lot of people use Camper World to fulfill their RV needs. Amazon is also a great place to go for online shopping for your RV. Blogs (like this one) often link to great products. RV sales lots may also have accessories they recommend.