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So you just got a new RV! Whether used or not, you must have a few basic essentials to set up camp!
Now, there are tons of awesome RV Accessories and Essentials “Lists” out there. In fact, if you’re new to this RV life, you may even find the loads of RV products and gear overwhelming!
Truth is, you don’t need to fork thousands on RV gear… Will you want to? Now, that’s a different story amid all the cool RV accessories and gadgets out there…
Still, the extras can wait! Let’s start with the bare minimum basics to get you using your rig — and safely!
These essentials will get you set and hooked up for a night at a campsite– without all the bells and whistles for now.
RV Essentials| Bare Minimum Basics for Your RV
RV Power Cord Typically new and used rigs come with the appropriate 30 or 50 amp power cord so that you can hook up the RV to the shore power pedestal. However, make sure it is in good, if not, great condition to safely hookup to power. Some RV power cords are directly wired to the RV (which will take some rewiring if needing to be replaced), while other cords detach and plug into both the RV and outlet. Nonetheless, you’ll need a power cord (with the appropriate amperage the RV unit requires) to run the generous appliances that your wonderful “home-on-wheels” provides!
Power Adapter Down the road, you’ll probably run into campgrounds with power sources of different amps. For example, you may arrive at a campground that only has 30 amp power pedestals but your RV is 50 amp. Here’s where an adapter comes in. A dogbone adapter, like below, allows the connection of your RV to the power source of different amperage. The female adapter end attaches to the end of your RV’s electric cord and the male adapter end plugs into the power receptacle– whether a campground pedestal or house outlet.
Camco Power Grip Adapter – 15A Male to 30A Female — For a 30 amp RV connecting to a 15 amp source– like a household outlet. Keep in mind, you’ll only have 15 amps to work with– not full use of your RV’s electrical system. If you go over, you’ll trip the breaker. Many owners plug their rig into their household outlet to get the refrigerator cooling and run small appliances while packing it up before a trip.
Camco Power Grip Adapter – 15A Male to 50A Female — For a 50 amp RV connecting to a 15 amp power source or household power inlet. Just like stated above, 15 amps will not power the entire rig but will keep essential power going when it’s parked and not in use.
Camco Power Grip Adapter, 30A Male to 50A Female — For a 50 amp RV connecting to a 30 amp power pedestal.
Camco Power Grip Adapter, 50A Male to 30A Female — For a 30 amp RV connecting to a 50 amp power pedestal.
Surge Protector or EMS In all honesty, many camp without a surge protector or electrical management system. So, are these really bare minimum essentials? Well, the decision’s up to you, but first, think about all the money you’ve invested in a motorhome or travel trailer. A surge protector or EMS is like cheap insurance compared to the considerable cost of the rig. Depending on your setup or camp lifestyle, these safety guards can save you thousands of dollars in damage to the electrical system, appliances, and electronics you bring along. So, which should you buy? Well, you’ll find a variety of surge protectors and EMS systems with different capabilities and different price points. At the very least, a portable surge protector is a minimal form of protection. Keep in mind, these typically only protect against electric surges and voltage spikes. Beyond surge protection, many frequent RVers upgrade to an EMS which offers a high-level of protection while managing the power that comes into the rig from power surges, voltage fluctuations, incorrectly wired outlets, and malfunctioning power pedestals.
Sewer Hose Kit With any self-contained RV, you’ll need to empty the tanks! Although an unpleasant chore, you’ll find it becomes less tedious throughout your trips. Most RVers will need these basics: an RV sewer hose, a bayonet adapter to attach to the RV waste valve, and a dump station fitting or adapter to attach the other end of the hose to the sewer inlet. Now, there’s so many products, gadgets, and accessories available, often confusing RVers and causing them to question what adapter, fitting, coupler or doodad they need! However, don’t fret! Kits like listed below include everything most campers need to get the job done!
- Camco’s Rhino FLEX Sewer Hose Kit
- Camco’s Deluxe Sewer Hose Kit
- Valterra’s EZ Coupler Sewer Hose Kit
While there are different kits, styles, and brands out there to make this process easier– one thing to be sure of– is that your sewer hose is long enough to reach from the rig to most RV inlets! In fact, a sewer hose extension may be necessary to reach from your RV to the campground’s sewer.
RV Toilet Paper RV safe toilet paper should be the ONLY thing put down the toilet. RV-friendly toilet paper disintegrates quickly avoiding clogs and sewage system issues.
Toilet Treatment RV toilet chemicals do more than prevent bad smells. It also breaks down the waste and tissue preventing blockage that can quickly halt a fun weekend of camping. You’ll want this before your first RV trip!
Potable Water Hose To get the most out of your RV, you’ll want fresh water on board. A hose safe for drinking and cooking is crucial. The Camco TastePURE Drinking Water Hose is made with NSF certified hose and is PVC and is BPA and Phthalate free.
Water Pressure Regulator Access to water is a wonderful camp amenity. Depending on your type of camping unit, travelers can wash dishes, bathe, and can even do their laundry or run a dishwasher inside their rig! Yet, with this awesome amenity comes different water pressure levels. With this in mind, you’ll want to be sure to protect the delicate water lines in your RV. A small and inexpensive water pressure regulator can significantly protect your RV pipes from bursting from campgrounds water inlets with high psi.
Tire Chocks Unfortunately, a piece of wood may seem like a cheaper route to keep your rig from rolling off, but it is not as effective as an actual wheel chock. Having tire chocks on hand are crucial! Always put these in place before unhitching and leave them in place until you re-hitch. (Chocks are not only for tow behinds!) Motorhome owners can never be too safe and should also use tire chocks when parking.
Leveling Sure, many think being a tad bit tilted will work for a night. However, being unlevel will do more than drive you crazy. In fact, leveling an RV is not only for your comfort inside the rig. You’ll want your RV to be as level as possible so appliances function properly and to prevent stress on the frame and components. Although many like to save on expensive gear by using extra wooden boards they’ve packed, sometimes having a nice set of blocks like the Camco Heavy Duty Leveling Blocks, ensure you’ll have enough pieces for a customizable height suitable for your RV. Plus, with these bright colored blocks, you’ll be less likely to leave them behind at the campsite.
Tire Pressure Gauge RVers should check the tire pressure before every trip and inflate to the recommended PSI stated by the manufacturer. Although many travelers skip this important step, tire pressure significantly impacts vehicle performance and the safety of you and others on the road. Check the user manual or look for a sticker or plate inside the rig that states the appropriate inflation level.
Emergency Roadside Kit We hate thinking about the worst, but being somewhat prepared can significantly aid difficult situations. Breakdowns, flat tires, opening compartments, and sticky situations happen… While your Emergency Road Kit usually grows the more you travel and experience situations, a few minimal products should be considered before your very first trip: jumper cables/jump starter, tow strap kit (that is rated appropriately for your truck or RV), a small tool box, fuses, and a flashlight/lantern.
Last but not least– don’t forget the propane!
Propane Unless you have an all electric rig, you’ll need propane for the oven, stove, heater, and water heater. Some RVs– generally travel trailers, fifth wheels, and tow-behinds– have removable DOT propane tanks. Others– typically motorhomes– have a fixed propane tank where the rig must be driven to a filling station. Fortunately, many campgrounds offer propane on-site making the refill process much easier than finding and maneuvering to an off-site facility. Nonetheless, you’ll want to be prepared to have the propane filled before the first trip!
Purchasing the bare minimum isn’t as fun as splurging on brand-new campsite entertainment… Still, these basics get you hooked up and safely camping in your new home-on-wheels. And just think, it’s all smooth sailing, or rolling, from here!
RVING IS BEING prepared for the journey!
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