Last Updated on September 15, 2021 by Lori
As a new RVer, you will be forever be making “lists” of RV Must-Haves! You might be saying, “How can I possibly need anything ELSE!”
But – I’m here to tell you, that you always do! You might need to write a list of RV essentials after returning from your first camping trip of basic things you forgot. Sometimes it’s just a list of camping accessories that you saw other campers have that you now have added to your RV Wish List!
Here’s a list of 15 Tips and Must-Haves For New RVers to make your life a little easier when you head out on your RV Camping Trip!
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Tips For New RV and Travel Trailer Owners
It never fails…my husband and I are sitting around the campfire, and we start making a new list. We may have seen something another camper has and think “Hey! That would be nice to have!”
Then, we begin listing things we forgot, things we STILL haven’t gotten…things, things, things!
It can become overwhelming to new RVers!
To help you along with your RV journey, I put together a blog post listing 20 Must Haves For New RVers.
These are basic “Must Have” items that new RVers will find they need to purchase before heading out on their first camping trip! You might want to take a quick read!
RV Must-Have Accessories:
Before you head out on your first RV trip, there are a few items you MUST pick up before you leave on your camping trip. Believe it or not, they do not come with your travel trailer and I don’t want you to be surprised after you get home with your new RV.
Here’s a list of RV essentials and some tips that go along with the items.
The first thing you need to get is a Sewer Hose. This is the one we have and like because it comes with the see-through elbow.
You will also need a Sewer Hose Support. We didn’t have one of these the first time we left with our new RV and my husband had to maneuver rocks to hold the sewer hose so that it didn’t drain backward! Get one of these too!
This anti-kink premium drinking water hose is the one we use. Although this one is 25ft, we have found at some campsites, we need two (2) water hoses to reach the trailer.
And, speaking of hoses, we have found that we are always having to replace our garden hose washers. We picked up a package of 10 which has lasted us a long time.
You can read the full Blog Post Here – 20 Must Haves For New RVers
So, after getting everything I’ve listed above, you are now ready for a list of additional Must-Haves for RV Camping that we have found are worth having as well as 15 Tips For New RVers that I want to pass along to you that we’ve learned – so you don’t have to learn the hard way!
RV Travel Tips For Beginning RVers
Tip #1 – Put your awning away when you’re away from your campsite!
We were lucky – one day we were just taking a walk around the campground when all of a sudden the wind starts whipping up and it looked stormy.
We ran back to the campground just before it began lightening followed by pouring rain! Now, when we leave the campground, we make sure to roll in the awning.
Tip #2 – Don’t leave your black tank open when at a full-hookup site. Keep it closed until it is 3/4 – full – then dump.
By closing your black tank until it is 3/4 to full, you are keeping water in it so when you do go to dump, nothing (i.e. tp)gets stuck in there and it flushes out your tank.
Tip #3 – Never Turn on the hot water heater before you open the sink & bathroom faucets to drain air from the water tank.
If you do not have water in the tank, and you turn on the water heater, you will burn up the heating element.
Tip #4 – Use the 3:30 Rule Plan to travel no more than 330 miles or arrive at your campground by 3:30 in the afternoon.
Driving an RV or pulling a travel trailer is not like driving a car. It’s tiring. You are constantly checking your mirrors, watching the other drivers, watching for your exit and making sure you can change lanes or merge safely – it is tiring.
Plus, you don’t want to be trying to back into a site, trying to level the RV, and setting up in the dark. Been there…done that!
Instead, use the 3:30 Rule – plan to arrive at your campground no later than 3:30. This gives you ample time to set up, sit down for a sandwich (that’s what we do anyway), RELAX and start your fire for the evening!
Tip #5 Get Two (2) of your necessities so you don’t have to keep taking them out of the house to use then have to take them back out of the trailer to use at home.
For example, we purchased a coffee pot to leave in the trailer, pots and pans, skillets, spatulas, aluminum foil, knives, can opener, corkscrew, mugs, silverware (or plastic), towels, blankets, sheets…etc.
At the beginning (and for some items still today), I didn’t get separate pans, skillets, towels, blankets just for the trailer. Big mistake – because when I needed an item in the house, I would have to keep running out to the trailer to get it!
Tip #6 – Know the difference between your Grey Water Tank & your Black Water Tank! And You’d Better not get these mixed up!
Grey Water is for your faucets in the kitchen and bathroom and your shower water. Your grey water tank will most likely fill up faster than your black water tank.
If you don’t have full hook up, you’ll need a “Blue Boy” to pull to the dump station to dump the water. Black Water tank is your sewer.
Sometimes, if you’re at a campground with only electric & water, campgrounds have a “honey wagon” that for a fee will come around to pump your black tank out. Don’t ever put your sewer into your portable Grey Tank.
Tip #7 – Check the distance from your hookups before you unhook & level! Also – check that your slide-out clears the pole!
We have been at campsites where we needed two (2) water hoses in order to reach the trailer! (so when buying your white freshwater hose better get 2!) We have also been at campsites where we didn’t check the distance before we unhooked and our sewer hose was stretched to the max! We were lucky the hose made it! Also, watch that your slide-out can clear the pole.
Tip #8 – Place dryer sheets in drawers, back of cabinets, under couches and chairs (and anywhere else you can think of) to deter mice!
Tip #9 – Keep your hoses in storage containers for easy access.
We keep our hoses in storage containers and keep them in the back of the truck. The hoses fit neatly inside and it makes it easy to pull out to set up & then put them away. We keep the rubber gloves and the extra hose in the container too.
These are the 17 gallon storage totes we use. We like them because they are stackable and the 17-gallon size fits the sewer hose, the extra sewer hose, sidewinder, and gloves.
Tip #10 – Secure all cabinets when you leave and don’t forget to secure the shower door!
There’s nothing worse than having a shower door crash all over the bathroom floor. My parents had this happen in their 5th Wheel trailer and it wasn’t easy finding a replacement for the shower door!
Tip #11 – Don’t forget to lock the RV Door when you pull away!
We’ve flagged down one family who was driving with their door wide open. When the driver saw my husband motioning to him – he immediately knew what he was saying and quickly got to the shoulder to close it!
Tip #12 – Take your time setting up and breaking down your campsite.
Do one step at a time. Take a minute to think, “What Comes Next?” Assign each person a “job”. One person takes care of the inside and one person takes care of the outside.
If you rush – you can make a mistake and forget to do something. It’s not worth it so Take Your Time!
Related Reading: You might like to read my post on How To Easily Set Up Your RV Campsite
Tip #13 – In order to cut down on your greywater when washing your dishes, use this handy tip!
One of the best pieces of advice I received was how to wash my dishes in the sink. Running the kitchen faucet to do the dishes can fill up your grey water tank very quickly!
They told me that before you wash the dishes in the sink, take a paper towel and wipe off as much food as possible.
I mean try to get everything off and throw it in the trash bag. That way, you won’t have food going down your sink, and it will be almost wiped clean so all you have to do is wash it with soap and rinse quickly which will hopefully, keeping the greywater from filling up.
Tip #14 – Don’t forget to put down your antenna, put your stairs up, and close the bathroom vent and the outside vent before you get on the road.
Scroll to the Bottom to See #15!
RV Camping Must-Haves
These are the camping items we have found that we love to have at the campsite! We know you will love them too!
This shelter is great for those evenings when it is so buggy and all you want to do is eat in peace. Our friends are seasonal campers and they have this shelter over their table.
It makes it so nice to sit out in the evenings when we visit them.
If you don’t want one with the sides, this one works well too!
All you need is to have something to cover the picnic table, to bring the chairs under in case of rain, and we put the bikes under it too!
3. Adjustable Folding Utility Table
We use this table everywhere! It’s easy to set up & move to wherever we need it!
What’s so nice about this table is that we use it by the grill, then at night, we can also lower it and use it under the awning for coffee!
RV Essentials For Camping
These are RV camping essentials that we have grown to LOVE! We call them essentials because we can’t go RVing without them!
I can’t tell you how many times we come back from hiking and just want to lay back in these chairs! They are adjustable to any angle your legs are comfortable and hold your drink and cell phone!
5. Blackstone Tabletop Griddle
I love my Blackstone Griddle !
The bacon grease was so easy to get rid of and the 17″ was perfect for us! We cooked bacon, hash browns, scrambled eggs and also used it to keep the “veggies in a bag” warm that we had cooked on our Weber Q while we cooked the steaks on the grill.
Here’s my review of the Blackstone Griddle
6. Weber Q
This is our Weber Q and our new Blackstone Griddle. See how we use the table next to it?
We cook everything on our Weber including sausage, steaks, salmon, veggie packets, hamburgers, hot dogs, you name it! This is the Weber Q we have and love!
7. This is the Smart Tote (sometimes called a Blue Boy) that we use. We use this when we don’t have full-hookup at the site. Ours is 35 gallon and has been very durable for us.
8. String Lights to decorate your canopy or awning.
9. A Level
We use a level like this one to make sure the trailer is level front to back. We place it on the floor just inside the door and boy does my husband insist that little bubble is RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE! Here’s a good Level to use!
10. You’ll need levelers to make sure your trailer is level side to side. These Tri-Lynx Levelers are what we use and they have helped us out on sites that weren’t level.
11. EMS Portable RV Surge Protector
This surge protector will protect your RV from power surges which can burn out your appliances. We have a 30 amp travel trailer so I am showing you the 30 amp Surge Protector. Make sure if you have a 50 amp you get the surge protector for 50 amp.
12. Cordless Power Drill This is a handy way to raise and lower your stabilizers instead of hand cranking them.
Also – Make sure you have the RV Leveling Scissor Jack Drill Socket that fits your sized stabilizer!
13. Portable Countertop Ice Maker
This item is still on my Wish List! If you haven’t checked out my blog post 10 Ultimate Wish List Items For Your Favorite RVer I mention how I WISHED for a portable ice maker!
This ice maker makes ice in 6 minutes and can make 26 lbs of ice per day! I continue to see other RVers posting about how much they love their ice maker – but will have to keep this item on my list — FOR NOW!
14. Dirt Devil Pet cordless stick vacuum
For a quick clean up (and because we have Buddy, our Golden Retriever), this vacuum has worked well for us!
And my final Tip for all RVers…
Tip #15 – DON’T RUSH!! Take the time to look out the window!
Don’t just drive, drive, drive to get to a destination. Use the 3:30 Rule! (Drive 330 miles or plan to stop by 3:30). You purchased an RV for a reason!
See the sites in the area. Find that hidden gem that no one knows about – There are plenty of them out there! Take time to…
15. Shown are my Enjoy Life Door Mat and Enjoy Life Garden Flag I put up at the campsite!
What are some of YOUR tips that you’ve learned along the way?
I would love to hear about them! Happy Camping & Safe Travels Everyone!
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Thank you for these tips. One other tip you might mention is to lower one end of the awning just in case it rains. I told my husband to do this because I remember my dad doing this growing up. Needless to say he did not and the weather change during the night. We woke to a bent awning.
Hi Robin! I’m sorry about your awning! Thanks for the reminder about lowering one end down. I’ve seen other campers do this a lot. It eases your mind a bit when you wake up in the middle of the night listening to the pounding rain and wondering what your campsite will look like when you open that door in the morning! We are unable to lower just one side on our trailer awning because it has a piston or spring-like thing (not sure what you call it!) which self-dumps when the water gets heavy. But a good reminder to lower one side if you can.
Happy Camping! And Thanks for the tip!
I agree have duplicates of things for the house and trailer. Mine include bedding including pillows, pots and pans cooking utensils, dishes, and silverware. I even keep a handheld vacuum sealer with bags in my trailer. I got tired of taking my mirror and other personal necessities out to the trailer so I now have duplicates of some personal items.
One thing I think is very important, when you Park your trailer when you get home, be sure and leave the refrigerator and freezer opened some. Voice of experience, it is a mess if you don’t.
Another thing: Before you go to disconnect the trailer, make sure you have the chocks set in place. We were with some friends, he forgot to set them in place and when he disconnected he rolled back about 11/2 feet. I was behind it when it started to move. Believe me when I say I didn’t know I could move that fast.
So, of course, we just came back from camping with 8 people and what am I doing this morning? Yep, pulling out my pots, pans, toaster…I STILL need to get seconds of a few things! It is definitely a pain! Good tip about keeping the refrigerator and freezer doors opened a bit if you’re not plugging in at the house. When we are going back out camping the next weekend we leave things in the fridge and plug into the house. One time the power went out and – yes – what a mess!
Good thing you saw the trailer rolling back! Yikes! Did someone run to get the chocks in place? How’d you get it to stop rolling? I’ll bet everyone was yelling “Stop!” “Whoa”…or…something! ha ha
Happy Camping to you all! Safe Travels!
These are really great tips, I feel so grateful o have found them as a first time RV’er. Thank you!
Thank you Nela! Thanks for letting me know you find the tips helpful!
We just bought an RV this year and loved reading your tips! A lot of them we learned when we bought the RV but we were originally looking at used RV’s and i can just imagine how many people don’t know any of this. I have the ice machine hehehe but my next investment is the flat grill definitely! 😁
Hi Nadia! Thanks for stopping by! We LOVE our Blackstone grill btw. I think we might need to purchase a bigger one though – we have the 17″ and sometimes we have to also use our WeberQ too – which we also use while camping! After those hot days this past summer, and how quickly the ice melted in the cooler, Tom has been talking more and more about getting an ice machine. I think it will be on our “Must Have” list for next year! Happy Camping!
I would suggest turning off the water at the source before leaving camp for the day. A friend had a pipe rupture while they were out for the day and flooded the entire camper! Just remember to turn it on before the first person is in the shower! LOL
Hi Diane! That’s a great tip! Sorry that happened to your friend though…hope it didn’t cause too much damage. Happy Camping!
We cook and eat outside almost all of the time…I always try to grab a divided basket for plates cups and silverware…that way I have only 1 thing to grab for table service! Also we have found that peppermint oil on cotton balls is a good mouse repellent..
Hi Mel. That’s a great idea to find a basket that everything will fit in to take outside. We also eat outside 99% of the time…unless it was like yesterday and we were stuck in the trailer for HOURS because of Tropical Storm Isaias!
Thanks for the peppermint oil tip too!
When emptying the grey and black tanks, is a good idea to first let out a gallon or so of grey water to see if there are any leaks. If a leak is detected, it can be taken care of and is only sink/shower water. If no leaks, then dump the black tank and then the grey tank to help clean the sewer hose.
A couple of tips on things that I’ve learned during my short RV life (3 months. LOL)
1- If you are towing a travel trailer, DO NOT hook the trailer’s brake to the same place on your hitch where you hook up the safety chains. I saw a picture of an Airstream up a tree because the towing hitch broke from the truck and, since the brake was attached to the same hole that the chain was, it did not pull to stop the runaway trailer. Get a closed eye hook and substitute one of your license plate screws with it. Attach the brake to it so if the hitch ever breaks, the brake, being attached to a different place, actuates and stop the runaway trailer.
2- When emptying the grey and black tanks, allow about a gallon or so of GREY water to flow first. If there is a leak, it doesn’t spill black water. If there is no leak, then you can proceed to empty the black tank without any worries.
3-When hooking up your 7-pin connector to your towing vehicle. secure it to the cover with a piece of velcro. That way it won’t come loose with the road vibration.