20 Must-Haves For New RVers

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Last Updated on February 27, 2020 by Lori

** Updated 12/2019

This list of 20 Must-Haves for new RVers are items you will need before heading out in your new RV or travel trailer. These are essential RV and travel trailer necessities that didn’t come with your new RV, so you will need to pick them up before your first RV camping trip!

The Top 20 RV Must Haves For New RVers

Well, you did it! 

You purchased that new RV or travel trailer you’ve always been dreaming about. 

It’s sitting in your driveway and you have your reservations made for your campground.

That’s when you realize the walkthrough at the dealer was so fast you can’t remember a thing they told you. 

You remember you needed to get a few items that didn’t come with your new trailer or RV…but what were they?   

What if the campground doesn’t have full hook-up? 

How do you even hook into the full hook-up?  

 

The Best Must Haves For New RVers  

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RV Essentials You Need As A New RVer

We’ve all been there. 

Your first camping trip is booked and you’re stressing about all the things you need. 

You begin to panic saying to yourself “how am I supposed to remember what the person at the trailer dealer told us?” 

Relax…it’s going to be ok.

It’s just a fact that there are items that do NOT come with your new RV that are mandatory that you need to get.

So…you turn to the internet only to find that everyone has their own opinion about what you will need. 

Relax…you’re gonna get this.

Why do I keep telling you to relax? 

Because we’ve been there. 

When we first got our trailer my husband printed off list after list of what others said we would need for a great camping experience.

While it was a good starter list, we soon realized that we had our own list of items that we found were needed to have a “great camping experience.”

We made our list, went to the store, ordered things online, went on our first camping trip…and guess what? 

As we sat by the fire relaxing – thankful that we had found those lists of things we needed – there were even more things we decided we needed so we made a new list for our next trip!

  Here’s a snapshot of the list I made on my phone for “Must Haves” for our next trip:  

 

You can see after we got back home and went shopping, I marked “got” on the list.  We made it through July and August and then guess what? 

Yep.  Here’s another list of “Things We Need” for our September camping trip:  

 

 

Well, I can tell you some of those items are STILL on a wish list (haha TV for the bedroom is one). 

And I know we forgot to pick up a small ax because we had to improvise to cut kindling for the fire. 

As you continue camping, you will begin to create your own list but to get you started, here is the main list of “must-haves” to get you started.

 

Best List of Must Haves For New RVers

The photos and descriptions listed are suggestions of brands commonly used and that we currently use. 

If you are interested in the item, all you have to do is click on the item or link and it will take you to the description and an area where you can purchase the product.

The #1 item to purchase is a sewer hose. 

You can purchase the hose and fittings separately or as a set like this one. 

The Camco Rhino Flex is a good hose and already comes with the fittings and a translucent elbow.

  1. Sewer Hose with a secure connection

Camco RhinoFLEX 20ft RV Sewer Hose Kit, Includes Swivel Fitting and Translucent Elbow with 4-In-1 Dump Station Fitting, Storage Caps Included, Frustration-Free Packaging  

 

2.  Sewer Hose Support

Don’t leave the “sewer aisle” without a sewer hose stand “support”. 

Just an FYI, in some states, it is a law that you lift your sewer hose off the ground! 

The first time we camped with a “full hook up”, we did not have these. 

When we went to hook up, the hose was lower than the sewer pipe.

When we emptied the tank, my husband kept having to lift up the hose.

 

Believe me, it was our next purchase when we got home!

 

Camco 20ft Sidewinder RV Sewer Hose Support, Made From Sturdy Lightweight Plastic, Won’t Creep Closed, Holds Hoses In Place – No Need For Straps  

 

3. Dedicated Fresh Water Hose

Make sure you have a separate freshwater hose. 

This hose will be used to fill your freshwater tank. You want to make sure the hose is safe to use for drinking water which means – no green garden hoses

This one is an “anti-kink” hose which is great because we didn’t have one of these and our hose kinked. 

Also, your trailer or RV will come with a hose but it’s a good idea to have an extra hose so you will be sure to reach the water pipe. 

Most RV hoses are blue or white and have something printed on them stating they are safe for drinking water.

Camco 25ft Premium Drinking Water Hose – Lead Free, Anti-Kink Design, 20% Thicker Than Standard Hoses (5/8″Inside Diameter)  

 

4. Water Hose Splitter

You’ll want to pick up a water hose splitter too.

Ipow Solid Brass Body Backyard 2 Way Y Valve Garden Hose Connector Splitter Adapter + 7 Rubber Hose Washers with Comfort Grip  

 

5.  Water Hose Regulator

You want to make sure you have a water hose regulator. 

You can get one with or without the gauge. 

There are some campgrounds that require you to have a regulator to be sure to check your campground rules before you arrive!

Camco 40064 Brass Water Pressure Regulator with Gauge – Lead Free  

 

6. Extra Hose Washers

This is one we added! 

Twice we were on the road and our washers fell out and were missing. 

Just pick up this 10 pack and you’ll be all set!

Camco 20153 Garden Hose Washer – Pack of 10  

 

7.  Wheel Chocks

These wheel chocks do just fine. 

They come in packs of 2 so make sure you order the correct amount for your trailer.

Camco Wheel Chock Without Rope, Helps Keep Your Trailer or RV In Place (Pack of 2)  

 

8.  Leveling Blocks

I can honestly say that we have only had to use these once or twice in our travels. 

We were lucky that most of the sites we had were level.

One of the first times we needed them we backed into our site and saw there was a drop off below our back end. 

Our extenders were fully extended and we quickly hunted in our storage area for our leveling blocks. This is the other time we had to use them.

The back of the trailer was lower than the front so we pulled out our levelers and we were set!

   

We were sure happy we picked them up when we were shopping.

 

 

These are the ones we have and they work great!

Tri-Lynx 00015 Lynx Levelers – 10 Pack  

 

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9.  Smart Tote Portable Waste Holding Tank

This is another item that we added to OUR list.  We were at our first campground which was not a full hookup. 

We were there for four days and had five people with us (two adults/one teenager/two young adults) none of whom were used to camping. 

As we watched several trucks pulling a “grey water tank” to the dump station, my husband and I looked at each other and said…we need to get one of those!

Just down the road happened to be a Camping World and they helped us choose the size of tank that was best suited for our trailer and needs.

This is the one we have. 

Thetford 27 Gallon Waste Holding Tank. 

You can also get a 35-gallon tank. You can get the tank in either a two-wheel or four-wheel.

One thing to consider when purchasing is whether you want the strap or not. 

We wanted to have the strap so that we could hook it onto the hitch of the truck and then we just pull it to the dump station with the truck.

 

Thetford SmartTote2 Standard 2-Wheel Portable Waste Tank, 27 Gallon Camping World  

10.  Rubber Gloves

Well, you can guess why you’ll need these…I’ve read some comments from the ‘ole timers that they never use rubber gloves. 

You can make your own decision but I strongly suggest you pick up a pack!  

 

11.  First Aid Kit

This one is highly rated.

 

 

12.  Bug Spray

This is what we use and works well  

 

 

 

13.  Extended Mirrors. 

We also added this to our list. 

They work great and fit right on most truck mirrors.  Our truck didn’t come with the automatic extended mirrors for trailers like some do so these were a great add-on. 

You have to order the mirror to fit your particular vehicle.  

 

 

                               

 

CIPA 11800 Ford F-150 Custom Towing Mirror – Pair  

 

14. Weber Portable Grill

Yes…this is a Must-Have on our list!  We use it all the time…and it works great!

The grill can sit on a table or on the portable legs.

               

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weber 53060001 Q2000 Liquid Propane Grill

 

And you can purchase legs so that you can move the grill wherever you want on your site.  

 

Weber 6557 Q Portable Cart for Grilling  

 

And finally, my suggestion for one of the main items is an outdoor mat. 

I can’t tell you the number of times it rained and if we hadn’t had the mat the area as you step down from the stairs was completely in mud. 

It’s nice to sit under your awning on something. 

These mats can be swept off easily. 

They also roll up easily and have a carrying strap  They are perfect to have!

 

**Update 7/2019 – Our mat is now in its 2nd third (3rd) season and still looks great! 

We wash it with mild soap when we get home and it is not frayed or worn at all!

Here is ours:

 

RV Camping Mats – Outdoor Patio Mat – Reversible RV Mat – Carrying Strap (9 x 18)

 

 

Here are a few other miscellaneous items that I suggest you pick up that we have found very useful when we travel.  

 

16. Bungee Cords

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       Bungee Cords  

 

 

17. Toilet Treatments

 

                       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RV Toilet Treatment Drop Ins  

 

 

Related Reading:  You might enjoy reading my post The Best RV Kitchen and Pantry Must Haves

 

 

18. Storage Bins

These Storage Bins are invaluable! 

They fit in the trailer storage area perfectly and hold all the little stuff!

 

   

                 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

19. Broom – this is so handy to sweep off the mat and your trailer steps

 

                   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20. Zip Ties, clips for table cloth, corkscrew, cotter pins, lighter torches to light citronella candles and the fire!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

             

 

I know this may seem a lot of information but just make your list and as you pick up the item, cross it off. 

You will always be adding to your list as you can see we did. We still need to pick up items we had on our very first list! (Gotta get that small ax!)

I’m sure as we continue our camping adventure, our list will change as will yours.

Enjoy your new RV or travel trailer! 

You will be so glad you made the decision to go camping.

The people you meet are the best people around and if you did forget something, they will be right there to lend it to you!

What are some of your “Must Haves” for RV Camping?

Happy Camping!  

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If you’re like me, you’re always “Making a List!”  So, I created these Cute RV Camping Notes Printables!

 

Learn More About The RV Camping Notes Printables

 

 

 

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20 RV Items New Campers Need To Have

Best List Of Must Haves All New RVers Need To Get First

Beginning RVers need to have these 20 Must Haves For Their New RV

 

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49 comments

  1. Great list of must haves. I remember making those lists when we first started and relying on what others thought everyone needed, come to find out, we didn’t need a lot of those extras. It depends on what type of camping you will be doing or living full time, we find we need things after each trip out. We do live in our RV full time so we pretty much have everything and then some for every day living. Take care, happy trails

  2. I have 2 packs of the Tri-Lynx 00015 Lynx Levelers – 10 Pack. They work great on pavement or concrete parking pads. (be careful they can slide on concrete) They tend to break or crack on gravel parking spots. They sink in the ground when we park on unimproved places boondocking. With that said I still like them and am going to try used rubber conveyor belt to put under them in the gravel and unimproved parking places.

    1. Hi Wayne! Thanks for letting us know about your experience with the Tri Lynx levelers. We haven’t tried boondocking yet so no experience there! Also haven’t had a problem with them sliding on concrete so good to know to watch out for that! Let us know if using a conveyor belt helps so we can pass that tip along to everyone.

      Thanks again for your tips! Safe Travels!
      Lori

      1. I know what you’re saying about a list.Last time we were camping we had to made a corkscrew out of a screw,& what ever it was fun,but funny too.We now have a couple of them.I add stuff all the time.

  3. Those are not all the extra you NEED. Be prepared to spend another $2k for everything that does not come with the camper. Don’t think oh this one will do on most things. Like on the portable tank used to empty your black & grey water. A 4 wheel one is best and well worth it. And be aware if you lend it out ppl will keep borrowing instead of buying one till you move to your next rv site. Just saying…:)

    1. You are so right Jimmy! There are definitely a lot more items you will find you need. We just keep making a new list! Ha ha. Sounds like you have some experience lending out your portable tank … lol. Thanks for the heads up!

  4. Thank you for sharing your experience with your new trailer and your suggestions!
    We have popup and are planning to upgrade to a travel trailer soon. We also have a running list every trip out! And as you mentioned, you need different things for different types of trips. What we need as a family camping isn’t the same as my husband’s hunting trips!
    All of these little all-purpose things are the ones you forget about but desperately need when you are out in the middle of nowhere! (bungees lol)
    We just purchased the Lynx Levelers for our popup and they have already been a lifesaver! Don’t have to scramble around for rocks, wood, etc.
    I am looking forward to seeing what new adventures (and items) you encounter!

  5. Great site and lots of helpful information. Many thanks Lori for taking the time to document!! Just starting out on my adventure with an RV motorhome. Appreciate your realistic approach!!

  6. We camp year round in our RV. We keep a couple of 8′ x 10′ tarps to use as a windscreen. Tied between trees, it can make sitting or eating by the fire a little cozier!

  7. Great Article…I got all the required things you suggested and all work well…poop tube, water regulator, levelers… We just bought a Winnie Drop with a slide out. I love that I didn’t need to add mirrors because of its inside the fenders body. It is really easy to park and your suggestions made our first trip across county a breeze!

  8. We started with a tent trailer 20+ years ago. We just bought a new Mallard and have a few to add to your list:
    Curved RV shower curtain bar

    Cooling memory foam mattress topper

    Magnetic hooks for potholders

    Toidy kit (*rubber gloves and purell)I put this together for my husband and you mentioned them separately.

    Plastic organizer bins of various sizes including 8 x 12-14 x 5 for plastic wrap, aluminum bags and ziplock bags and folded clothing.

    Plastic containers that are microwave safe and stackable

    Big black garbage bags for longer trips. Good for garbage, recycling and more.

    1. Hi Kay Lyn! Sorry for my delay in responding! We were camping with my parents in the mid-west in their 5th wheel and there wasn’t any internet connection where we were!

      You brought up GREAT items that are Must-Haves. My parents just bought the cooling memory foam mattress topper for their bed. They liked it but if yours is anything like theirs, they are now about 4 inches higher! Plus, my mom mentioned that now she needs the sheets with the deep pockets to go over both the mattress and pad – but she loves it!

      Those plastic organizer bins are key to staying organized. We need to purchase more of them because – well now of course – we HAVE more stuff that we bring. Having a curved shower curtain bar can give you a little more room in the shower for sure.

      We bring garbage bags but seem to use a lot of them – one for garbage and one for recyclables. We recently saw another RVer with a collapsible container that we thought we might get for the recyclables. The cans and bottles begin to stack up under the trailer until we get them to the recyclable bin.

      Putting together the “Toidy Kit” is a great idea! Sometimes there is a line at the dump station and my husband feels rushed to go wash his hands so he just uses a wipe instead of looking for the Purell. I’ll have to put a kit together!

      Thanks for all your good ideas to add to the list!
      Safe Travels & Happy Camping!

        1. Hi Nona! That does happen from time to time…it can be done, but realize that you cannot run your appliances as usual!! (I’m guessing you do have an adapter because you will need one). If you have 2 ac’s, use only 1. Maybe don’t use the microwave at this site, keep the RV & refrigerator door closed…things like that. You must be conscientious about the energy you are using at all times because you will only be getting 30 amps of service.

          Safe Travels & Happy Camping!

      1. Hi Lori,
        My husband and I just bought our first motorhome. We haven’t camped since our kids were young and we used a tent and then a tent-trailer 20 years ago. Your ideas for first-time RV’ers have been invaluable! Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom and experience.

        1. Thank you so much Sandra! I hope to make it just a little easier for those who are just beginning their RVing journey!
          Best of luck with your new motorhome and safe travels!

          1. We are looking forward to full time rv living. Will probably rent out the house. Tired of snow and cold.
            We’re novices who’ve just bought a well maintained 1984 coachmen senator.
            The tips are great.

          2. Hi Michael!
            Thanks for stopping by! Best of luck with your new RV! Once you get into a routine, you will be an expert in no time. I’m glad the tips helped! Safe Travels & Happy Camping!

  9. Hi great list, I also have something to add. A plastic shoe holder hanging in the bathroom for hair brushes wash rags hair tie trash bags bandaids peroxide
    Cleaners ect. I hang mine on the side of the shower….
    Happy Camping!!!

    1. Hi Sheryl! That’s a great idea! We were just in New Hampshire camping in the White Mountains and I was looking around the bathroom wondering what I could do to add more storage. My sink vanity is so small in the trailer my hairbrush, hair ties, toothbrush holder, toothpaste doesn’t fit all at the same time when I’m trying to hurry so my husband can get in so we can start our day! We don’t have a permanent toothbrush holder like my parents do in their 5th wheeler so I’m constantly opening and closing the upper vanity.

      Thanks for your ideas!
      Happy Camping!

      1. I found this great door belt with 3 magnetic hooks. 2 holds baskets for brush, hair ties and room deodorizer and the last hook is great for plastic bag for trash

        1. Hi Vikki,
          That sounds like it would be great organizer for the bathroom. Where did you find the door belt? I was just looking at our bathroom last weekend about new ways to organize the things we use the most. Let me know where you found the door belt!

  10. I ordered stick on led lights that are motion activated and I LOVE THEM!!! I put them in every dark cabinet and they come on by themselves and go off. Brilliant! Also I picked up a small dehumidifier we used for the first time our last camp and it really helped a lot. The sheets didn’t feel dampish when we crawled into bed and our hanging towels dried out better.

    1. Hi Misti! I never thought about putting motion activated lights in the cabinets! Very clever! And the dehumidifier is also a good idea. There’s nothing like those towels hanging in the bathroom not drying out…and our bathroom isn’t that big in our travel trailer so they take up room! Do you put the dehumidifier in the bedroom? Or just the in main room area? Thanks for your tips!

  11. I purchased stretchie bands for picnic tables to hold my cloth down (looks like a super huge ponytail holder). Many times the clips don’t fit the big wooden tables. These fit any size and work great! Use at each end of the table! I bought mine at Camping World.

    1. Hi Sarah! What a great idea! I’ve never seen the stretchie bands but I know what you mean about the big wooden tables! I am finding that the picnic tables at the sites are now long and narrow so they don’t fit my cloth. Plus…the wood plank is thick and you’re right – they don’t fit the clips! I’ve poked holes in my nice plastic table cloth I love the last three campgrounds we’ve been at. The picnic tables were very nice but now we need table cloths to fit them!

      Thanks for your tip!
      Happy Camping!

      1. Just a thought–a fitted twin size bed sheet fits over most picnic tables, and can be washed (even by hand if need be and hung over a “quick” clothes line (rope between trees or tree and camper!), if it gets yuckied up. You need to bring it in overnight so the dew doesn’t get it wet for breakfast, but that works for us! Found a fun patterned sheet at the “dollar”-ish stores. Guess Wally World or a garage sale could be other sources. Happy camping!!!

        1. Hi Nance! What a great idea and I’ll bet you’re right – the twin size bed sheet will fit the picnic tables. Have you noticed that at some campgrounds the picnic tables are different sizes? I found my cute Dollar Store camping table cloth too short! So, your idea is great! Thanks for stopping by!

  12. I go to tire stores requesting expired inner tubes. Tubes cut to make any width band, or spiral cut tube for straps finished with simplest knot to any length needed. Sometimes a small sheet of rubber can find many uses!

    1. Hi Peter! What a good idea to have on hand! You can use them like a bungie cord to hold the hoses together, keep things from moving around, and I’m sure many other uses! Thanks for your tip!

  13. So glad to find this site we will be heading out soon on 2nd trip. Last time my hubby said I brought too much food we don’t often eat in it but at times, perhaps you can tell me some normal stables to take along??

    1. Hi Dianna! We just came back from the Catskills – one of our favorite places to camp! What part of the US are you heading to? I know what you mean about taking too much food along! I’ve gotten it down to a system now though – learning to mix up our dinners so that it’s not the same ‘ole thing every time. I take along a lot of mixed veggies to make in foil packets as sides and we love corn on the cob made in foil on the grill. I get the veggies already cut up from the grocery store and the container fits nicely in the trailer fridge. For our main meals our staples are grilled chicken (that I freeze individually and take out to use that day), hamburgers/chicken burgers (again freeze individually), Rapaki sausage that my husband likes, steak, ribs (that are already packaged in the sauce), potatoes (again in foil packets)…and that about takes us through our usual 3-4 day trip! If I don’t use the meat in the freezer, we use it when we get home so it works well. Also if my kids decide to come along – I have plenty.

      I know others who make meatsauce and chili at home and freeze to take along too! You’ll get it…it just takes a few times out to decide what you like to eat and then you’ll know how much to pack!

      Thanks for your comments! Happy Camping & Safe Travels!

    1. Hi Linda! Great idea! I’ve been finding more and more of the picnic tables at campgrounds are longer and thinner that normal sized tables and my tablecloth doesn’t fit! If you use the fitted sheet, you won’t need the clips either! Thanks for writing in!

  14. Hi Lori, great tips here’s one for you on cooking your corn. Leave your corn in it’s wonderful husk, soak in water for 40 minutes or so and then place on the grill or fire for about 20 minutes turning every now and then. Don’t worry if the husk looks blackened just turn as needed. Around 20 minutes give or take remove your corn and enjoy the best corn you’ve ever had! The husk steams your corn, saves on foil, and tastes phenomenal!

    1. Hi Vicki! Thank you for the tip! I always wondered how people made corn on the cob in the husks! I’m definitely going to try making it that way next time! Sounds very easy to do! I’ll let you know how it turns out…may have to wait until sweet corn is available though…does that mean camping season is almost over? Noooo!!!

  15. This is great, thank you!! We just started planning out our RV trip starting next year and have a long way to go to get ready! I love your notes in your phone, I do that exact same thing for everything! Keep up the great content!

    1. Thanks Amanda! I still find my handwritten notes from each trip, but when we’re sitting by the campfire, the phone is the next best thing! Thanks for stopping by and have fun on your camping trip!

  16. A camping shovel is good to have also. We also hung a shoe holder on the wall to keep shoes out of the way. Also we made shelves in the cabinets to use the spaces more efficiently.

    1. Hi Linda!
      That’s one camping item we don’t have – a camping shovel! Great idea! Yes, others too have suggested hanging a shoe holder on the wall to keep the shoes out of the way. My son has a 13 size shoe and boy do I get mad when I kick it walking by! And I don’t know about you, but in our bedroom, there are tall cabinets on either side of the bed with one shelf. My clothes are stacked high inside that cabinet too! I may have to get Tom to add another shelf for us – esp in the bedroom.

      Thanks for your suggestions! Safe Travels!

  17. Hello, thank you for all this helpful tips. We are in the process of looking for a travel trailer and we also have an F150 so we’re looking at your trailer. I know it’s a Jayco Jay Feather but do you mind sharing the model?
    Thanks

    1. Hi Lorell! We have a 2018 Jay Feather 23RL (Rear Living) and we got it in the summer of 2017. I believe they now have the 24RL which gives you another foot in the bedroom. I must say, it’s a nice improvement to this model for sure! Sometimes it gets pretty tight going from the bedroom to the bathroom at night. Most of the time I just end up just going around Ha Ha. That’s about the only bad thing I can say about this trailer. We love this model because it sleeps 6 when we need it to (couch to trifold bed, dining table bed, queen bed) or when our kids don’t come camping with us, it’s perfect for my husband, our golden, and me!

      Let me know if you have any other questions! Lots of luck with finding the perfect camper!

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