RVing is all new to us, but here are the must have RV gear for beginners that we won’t be without. This stuff seems essential for any first camping adventure. You will probably feel the same way too when you see this list.
Get Your Camping On with RV Gear for Beginners
If you’re like us and are just starting into a life where you carry your motel room, you will find our list of must have RV things interesting. If you’re an old hand, on your fifth trailer, each one larger than the last, and have already visited all 48 contiguous states, we think you should read along anyway.
What do you need in your rolling motel room?
For us, the RV is not a “camper.” It’s not even a “glamper,” a glamour camper. For us the RV is a rolling motel room. After dropping $1,800 on a studio apartment for a week, it occurred to us that we could carry our own place wherever we go. So we bought a new 26’ travel trailer and next month we will pick it up for our maiden voyage (aka the “shakedown cruise?” The “trip of terror?”).
Part of the preparation has been to buy a whole bunch of RV gear. Which brings us to the point of this post. What are the must have RV things you really need before embarking on that first adventure?
Essential RV gear for beginners fun and comfort
You can get a pretty good idea of what you need for your new RV by just looking around your house. You won’t need furniture, but you’ll need pretty much everything else, such as:
Two RV water hoses
You need an RV drinking water hose (these are usually white), and an ordinary garden hose for RV chores like flushing out your sewage system. Drinking water hoses are made differently than garden hoses. When you spend the extra five dollars for one, your drinking water won’t taste like plastic, or contain harmful plastic chemicals. We got the white hose at the Local Wal-Mart and the other one from Amazon.
RV Leveling blocks
Those jacks on the corners of your trailer are stabilizers, not levelers. Travel trailers are leveled with the wheels and you pull (or back) onto enough of the blocks stacked up to get things level. Our RV leveling blocks came from Wal-Mart. We went with the ones that have a handle through the stack. These also double as bases for the stability jacks to prevent them from damaging hot asphalt, or when you’re parked on a concrete pad.
Corn Hole game
Because, well, come on, who can resist a game called Corn Hole? It’s a substitute for horseshoes. Ours came through Amazon, folds into a nice little carry bag like a bag chair and has official size and weight bean bags (Editorial aside: who knew there was such a thing as “official size and weight” cornhole ANYTHING?!?)
Portable air compressor
Everybody says, “keep the trailer tires inflated to the manufacturer’s specifications.” Since we got air shocks on the Yukon we sprung for the Campbell-Hausfeld inflator that has a maximum pressure of 150 pounds. If you don’t have air shocks you can get by a little cheaper. Another Amazon purchase.
Portable Camping Grill
Blackstone seems to be the favored brand. We opted for the smaller (and cheaper) version. This features a flat top griddle surface and a flip side with ridges to put those grill marks on. Pamela does all of the grilling and most of the cooking. She really wants the 17-inch Blackstone flat top grill but decided to get this one first to see if she really uses it much.
Collapsible RV ladder
The travel trailer is pretty tall and there are things that need to be done on the top. The collapsible ladder is a neat gadget that extends to 12.5 feet but “collapses” flat, taking up about the same space as an old-fashioned aluminum lawn chair. Couldn’t find it locally so another hundred bucks to Amazon. Along with the ladder you need a broom to make sure no pesky tree sticks, or other detritus. are between you closing the slide out or power awning and leaving to go to another adventure down the highway. So…. we purchase a Collapsible Broom. Why a telescoping broom? There is not a closet in the TT tall enough to accommodate a “regular” broom and dustpan.
WD-40 and Duct tape
Because, well…..Pamela wanted the duct tape with the cute vintage designs because well, it is stinking cute she says.
RV sewer hose dump tube
The trailer we bought didn’t come with this VERY necessary thing. As the sales guy told us, so many buyers are moving up (or down if they got rid of the kids I suppose) and they have already upgraded from the cheap waste tubes that came stock so they keep their good stuff. We got the Camco branded heavy duty at Wal-Mart and then sprung for a clear elbow so we can see if things are moving. (Related tip – crack the grey water tube first when dumping because if there’s a leak you REALLY want it to be the grey water.)
Since our 9.6 volt Dewalt had died, well, the batteries had died and replacing them was actually more than a new drill, I got the Porter-Cable 20 volt at Lowe’s. This drill came with two batteries, and once you price spare batteries you’ll understand how much difference that makes. I sprung for the P-C that has two settings, one for low speed and high torque, since my primary purpose for bringing this along is to run those stabilizing jacks down.
¾” nut driver (See Above)
Lightweight Kitchen Dishes
Get some light dishes. You really don’t want to be lugging heavy glass or ceramic around. Pamela is now in her glory! An actual need for SHOPPING!!!! After searching from store to store Pamela found what she had to have – – Pink Flamingo Pattern Dinnerware! It is melamine thus unbreakable. But…. no microwaving Melamine! It emits toxic fumes…… And the shopping did not stop there. Plastic drinking vessels to coordinate with the Flamingo Dishware, stainless steel eating utensils, microwaveable bowls, mixing bowl, collapsible colander and you get it. A second complete kitchen that fits in the Glamper.
Why? Because she loves them. She can’t have too many. And they do tend to brighten up the sort of dark and brown interior of the vacation home. Enough said.
Portable ice maker
When I saw that there was such a thing I had to have it. It’s not too big and, well, it’s a portable ice machine.
Rain-X Window Cleaner
We’re going to try to Rain-X the inside of the shower doors. Yes, the same stuff they advertise for windshields, so you don’t have to use your windshield wipers. I suppose any car wax would work but since the Rain-X is specifically formulated for this purpose, we’ll try it first. In case you’re wondering, Rain-X works like wax and fills in those tiny little pores in glass (yep, they are there) leaving nothing for the water to cling to but just in case the bride has purchased a hang-in-the-shower squeegee to remind-me that water left on the glass will eventually fog it up.
Basic set of household tools
Remember, the vacation apartment is moving and when it moves there are little twists and turns that can work things loose. It’s always a good idea to have some basic tools around. For us it’s a Leatherman tool (yep, the genuine Leatherman brand since it was a Christmas gift at the office party), pliers, an adjustable wrench (what you call a Crescent wrench), rubber mallet (because there’s always something that needs pounding), and the “luthier bag” (a luthier is a guitar maker and although Dave is NOT a luthier, he does build kit guitars and has accumulated a set of tools that should be relevant to trailer life including a set of screwdrivers, files, a non-marring hammer, feeler gauges, and that sort of stuff).
Unrelated tip—I always harden the tips of my screwdriver bits. It only takes a couple of minutes and it seems to help keeping the tips from getting rounded and generally mucked up. Just heat the tip over your propane torch (if you don’t have one it’s under $20 at Lowe’s) until it’s red hot and then quench it in oil (whatever oil you have around, cooking oil will work although I use some pneumatic tool oil that I have around). It’s easy to spot the ones you’ve treated – they’re the ones that are blue.
Throw Rugs and Floor Mats
We’ve accumulated a few throw rugs and floor mats that, we hope, will keep the vacation home from getting too much stuff tracked in by humans and two mini schnauzers.
You really do not want to try to keep bringing things from the house. You’ll forget something just as sure as night follows day. We got a set of sheets that packs in its own little bag (when the wife does the folding, not so much when he does it), a quilt set, new of course (with, you guessed it, flamingos). Old linens….. only bath towels and kitchen towels.
One of the necessities of life, right? We opted for a Keurig machine because, well, it’s what we’re used to, and we already buy the coffee pods by the case.
Yeah, yeah, there are Garmin’s and, of course, Google Maps, Google earth, etc., but there really is no substitute for a good paper atlas to get a feel for the route. Essential RV gear for beginners is sometimes old school.
RV water filter
Camco branded again from Amazon because it seems to be a good idea. Not that I don’t trust camp site water but, well…..
This is not an option. We must bring clothing. As the female counterpart I am thinking, shorts, T-shirts, usual under garments, Capri pants, pair of athletic shoes, flip flops, and maybe some hiking boots. In the winter months, throw in a jacket for cool evenings and a pair of jeans. That is about all I need. Any other suggestions? Him: hmmmmmm. I’m thinkin’ 8 T-shirts and a pair of jeans.
RV Travel Toiletries
The usual, soap, shampoo, tooth brushes, floss, tooth paste, combs, brushes, hair dryer. That is about it.
Clorox Wipes, Vinegar/dawn cleaning mixture. Multi use surgical towels for cleaning. Him: Remember, the redhead is a nurse and a germaphobe.
RV Floor Cleaner
I’m thinking a Swiffer Wet Jet is must have RV gear for beginners. But where to store it? Perhaps in the shower stall. I really do not want all of this stuff to clean with in the open and ruining my good time reminding me I might need to clean….
First Aid Kit
The bride is a nurse, so this is a must have. In your First Aid Kit you may want to have first aid supplies for your pets also. She recommends all types of bandages, vet wrap or coban, antibiotic ointment, Benadryl, anti-itch cream, aspirin, paper tape, tylenol, and anything else you may need right away. Be prepared to call local emergency numbers for any life-threatening injuries or illness. You may want to put the Poison Control numbers for humans and pets in your phones too. As always, have a hoot but try not to get injured or cause injury to others. Him: HA! She forgot the EpiPen, kinda important for someone with a serious seafood
Four-bar lug wrench
You’ll REALLY want it if you have a flat. Twenty bucks at O’Reilly’s.
Yes, more flamingos!
Roll of Reflectix Insultation
Get a roll of Reflectix insulation material for the windows and skylights. Everybody says it really helps in hot summers.
Last Thoughts About RV Gear for Beginners
Even after picking up the rolling motel room, this list of must have RV things kept growing! Here are 21 more items for our first RV camper adventure!