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New to RVing? You’ll need a few basic essentials to set up camp!

Figuring out what’s actually needed to use an RV can be overwhelming, especially with all kinds of cool RV accessories and gear out there.

While packing lists come in handy, 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 up for a night at a campsite– without all the bells and whistles.



RV Essentials| Bare Minimum Basics for Your RV



RV Power Cord

You’ll need an appropriate power cord, either 30-amp or 50-amp (based on your RV requirements), to connect your RV to an outside power source to run various appliances and systems. Some RV power cords are directly wired to the RV (which will take some rewiring if needing replaced), while other cords detach and plug into both the RV and power pedestal.





Power Adapter

Down the road, you’ll probably run into power sources of different amps. For example, you may arrive at a campground that only has 30-amp power pedestals even though your RV requires 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

Dangerous power surges and voltage spikes can cause significant damage to your RV’s electrical system, appliances, and electronics. At the very least, a portable surge protector helps protect against electric surges and voltage spikes. Beyond surge protection, many frequent RVers upgrade to an EMS which are more advanced, offering 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

Although emptying RV tanks is an unpleasant chore, you’ll find it becomes less tedious throughout your trips.

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! Many kits come with pre-attached fittings and everything most campers need to get the job done. A simple RV sewer kit will do, like Camco’s RV Sewer Kit or Dominator’s Sewer Hose Kit.



Other popular sewer hose kits:

With all of the kits, styles, and brands out there to make this process easier– one thing to make sure of is that your sewer hose is long enough to reach from the RV to the campground sewer inlet. In fact, a sewer hose extension may be necessary to reach.



RV Toilet Paper

Only RV-safe toilet paper should be flushed down the camper toilet. RV-friendly toilet paper disintegrates quickly avoiding clogs and sewage system issues. See our top ten RV toilet paper picks, here.



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 and Filter

You’ll need fresh water on board during camping adventures. The Camco TastePURE Drinking Water Hose is made with NSF certified hose and is PVC and is BPA and Phthalate free. Connect TastePURE RV Water Filter to protect against bacteria and remove sediment ensuring clean water wherever you go.




Water Pressure Regulator

Water connections allow campers to have access to clean water for drinking, cleaning dishes, taking a shower, flushing the toilet, and even doing laundry in their camper. However, water pressure levels vary from external sources. With this in mind, you’ll want to be sure to protect your RV’s plumbing system. A small and inexpensive water pressure regulator can prevent leaks or bursts from pipes and fittings under the stress of high water pressure.



Tire Chocks 

Using wheel chocks is crucial! Always put these in place before unhitching and leave them in place until you are hitched ready for departure. After all, chocks are not only for tow behinds. Motorhomes can still shift. Wheel chocks can provide more stability while also ensuring it doesn’t go anywhere on unlevel grounds.




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. You’ll want your RV to be as level as possible so appliances function properly and to prevent stress on the unit’s frame and components. The Camco FasTen Leveling Blocks allow you to stack the interlocking blocks to the desired height. These can be used with single wheels, double wheels, hydraulic jacks, tongue jacks, stabilizer jacks, 5th wheel jacks, and tandem axles.



Tire Pressure Gauge 

RVers should check the tire pressure before every trip and inflate to the recommended PSI stated by the manufacturer. Check the user manual or look for a sticker or plate inside the rig that states the appropriate inflation level.




Emergency Roadside Kit

Breakdowns, flat tires, opening compartments, and sticky situations happen… Being somewhat prepared can significantly help. While your Emergency Road Kit usually grows the more you travel, a few minimal products should be included on your very first trip: jumper cables/jump starter, a tow strap (that is rated appropriately for your truck or RV), a tool box, fuses, and a flashlight/lantern.



Last but not least– don’t forget the propane! 



Unless you have an all electric rig, you’ll need propane for the stove, furnace, and water heater. Your propane tank will either be fixed or removable. Motorhomes tend to have fixed propane tanks where the RV must be driven to a filling station. Fortunately, many campgrounds offer propane on-site making the re-fill process much easier than finding and maneuvering to an off-site facility. Nonetheless, you’ll want to have your propane topped off before the first trip!



Purchasing the bare minimum isn’t as fun as splurging on brand-new campsite entertainment… Still, these basics get you set up, 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!