So you’ve finally taken the plunge and you’ve got yourself your very own trailer. Way to go! Aside from all of the exciting plans you may have to redecorate and really put your own mark on it, there are some absolute essentials you’re without a doubt going to need.
Unfortunately, and do not ask me why, the majority of these items will not come with your new RV. Even items such as a shore power cable, sewer hose and dog bone adapters. You may be lucky and find the previous owner has left you some items, but what condition are they actually in?
Remember, when you’re out in your RV miles and miles from any hardware stores and sometimes civilization in general, you’re going to need to be prepared for a maximum of eventualities.
A lot of newbies ask me to check they’ve not forgotten any essentials and even chatting with other seasoned RVers, it’s always interesting to find out who’s carrying what. So, take a look at my list of the top RV accessories you’re going to need for your new travel trailer.
Generators are essential for RVing. Even if you’ve got a good solar set up or you don’t intend on parking up without shore power, let’s face it there are always cloudy days and sometimes plans don’t quite work out the way you made them. Power outages, unexpected stop overs, your better half forgot to charge up the RV batteries…
Enough said. Purchasing a generator is an important decision and you’ll need to think it over. If you want my opinion, check out the Champion 3100 75537i. It’s got a wireless remote start, has enough power for your average set up and it’s pretty quiet as far as generators go. At less than half the price of many of its competitors and plenty of good reviews, it’s definitely the one to beat in my book, and I haven’t been able to find one better than this.
2. Wheel Chock
Wheel chocks are essential to keep your RV from rolling away. Even on a level site, you’ll struggle to keep your trailer securely in place without them. They’re also invaluable for easy re-hitching. Basically, these are absolute essentials to keep your travel trailer safe. Spend a few dollars and save potentially thousands in costly repairs.
I use these wheel chocks, their bright color stops me from misplacing or forgetting them, which is what happened to my previous pair. They’re strong and sturdy, and even made in the USA, what’s not to like?
3. Leveling Blocks
If you don’t level your RV or travel trailer you may end up damaging your axles, and wheels, or even twisting the frame. Plus even just one night in an unlevel camper can be pretty uncomfortable. When I first got into RVing I stayed over outside a friend’s for a few nights without leveling. Big mistake, my propane fridge got completely messed up and needed replacing.
I don’t believe in making life more difficult than it needs be, so I use these Anderson Hitches camper levelers. They work a dream and get you level on the first try. They’re heavy-duty and USA made, I highly recommend them.
4. Cordless Drill and Drill Socket
Aside from any changes you may want to make to your new trailer, a cordless drill is also extremely useful for putting up and taking down your trailer jack stands. Using a cordless drill saves you time and effort. In this case, a lot of time. When you’re just pulling up or setting off you’ll have plenty of other things to do rather than spending ages doing this by hand. If I was in the market for a new drill, I’d go for this one. Dewalt is a good quality brand and I’ve always been happy with their products.
5. Fire Extinguisher
No-brainer really. Not only are the majority of RVs made from highly flammable materials, they also often contain highly flammable fuels and a kitchen, heaters… Need I say more.
Play it safe and kit our your trailer from day one with the appropriate fire safety equipment. Extinguishers, like this one, are essential and could save you from having a potentially devastating fire on your hands.
6. First Aid Kit
You keep one in your house, so why not in your trailer? If you get injured and you’re miles from civilization, with no cell phone coverage to call for help, you’re really going to need a first aid kit. Also useful for when you just cut your finger making dinner and your other average mishaps. This first aid kit has got just about everything you’re going to need from bandaids to CPR masks. It’s also compact and neatly stored. If you go hiking on your RV travels, you could stick this in your backpack no problem.
7. Shore Power Cord
If your trailer does not come with a shore power cord, then you will most definitely need one! Check your amperage before you buy one, you do not want to turn up for your first night of your trip and find you can’t hook up! For such an important piece of kit I recommend spending a bit more and purchasing a heavy duty model. You can never be too careful with electrics, so play it safe and choose one like this Camco one. It’s weather resistant and comes with hassle-free power grip handles to save you from struggling each time you hook-up to shore power.
8. RV “Dog Bone” Electrical Adapters
Sometimes you’ll pull up at a campsite (usually late at night) and you’ll find that all the sites that provide your amperage are taken. Or maybe the campground doesn’t even provide your amperage. You have two choices, keep on driving until you find somewhere else, or use your dog bone adapter and hook-up and settle down for the night. I use this sturdy Camco Dog Bone adapter. It’s good and solid with an easy-to-use, flexible design and power grip handles.
9. Surge Protector
Better to be safe than sorry, so the saying goes. A surge protector gives you peace of mind as well as protecting your wallet. Do not use one at your own risks and peril. We all think it will never happen to us, but if just one place that you hook-up at has a badly wired supply or other electrical problems, then you run the risk of your RV sustaining severe damage. Play it safe and get one of these surge protectors. They’re easy to use, weather resistant and they even come with a lifetime warranty.
10. Replacement Fuses
Okay, spare fuses, no big deal you might think. Not if you’re out boondocking in the back country, miles from the nearest hardware store. Pack up, cancel your vacation plans and drive for hours just for that little “no big deal” fuse. Or you could be smart and buy this fuse set. It’s got a whole range of different amperage fuses, so the next time one goes you wan’t have to worry about replacing it, especially as these things all seem to blow at the same time. Or is that just me?
11. Tool Set
This is another no-brainer, you’re heading out into the wilderness in a vehicle towing a trailer, what could possibly go wrong? In the majority of cases it’s going to involve a tool kit to put whatever the problem is right again. Especially as you’re likely to be some distance away from the nearest repair place. Purchasing a tool set like this one here by Crescent means you’re going to have the tool you need for pretty much every job. All of these tools meet ANSI and ASME specifications, so you can be sure they won’t let you down.
12. Flash Lights
Another absolute necessity. When all the lights go out, you’re going to need to find out why and how to get them back on again. Also useful for checking around outside in the dark. You’ll need a reliable, heavy duty one, like this flashlight here.
13. Water Hose
You’ll need a dedicated water hose to hook-up to the water supply at a campground, or to fill up your holding tank.
I like this Camco water hose, it’s great quality and doesn’t kink Iike cheaper, thinner ones I’ve been let down by in the past. This one’s made to last and doesn’t leave you with that rubbery taste in your mouth.
14. Water Pressure Regulator
Protect your trailer from flooding with one of these RV water pressure regulators. Simply screw on and you won’t have to worry about dealing with the aftermath of a burst water line. Simple, inexpensive and effective.
15. Sewer Hose
You’ll need a sewer hose to get rid of your waste. Make sure it’s the best you can get, because you really don’t want it splitting on you. Trust me.
Nowadays I use a Camco Rhinoflex sewer hose. It’s a good quality product and it even comes with a transparent elbow section. Before you tell me how gross that is, let me just point out that it really is much more disgusting if you can’t see that the hose is not running clear and you disconnect prematurely. Now that really is gross.
16. Sewer Hose Support
While not strictly essential, a sewer hose support makes life that little bit easier. I use this one by Camco. Simple to use, it ensures a smooth emptying of your tank and helps to avoid blockages. It also protects your sewer hose by keeping it off the floor as well as providing the necessary angle for things to flow.
For me, anything that makes emptying the black tank go a little smoother is well worth the price.
Pick up a few packs of these handy gloves. You don’t want to run out when you’re about to dump your black tank. I like that they’re thicker than other brands and they have a certain grip to them which makes for easier handling of the sewer hose with them on. They’re also useful for a ton of other stuff too, any task you risk getting your hands covered in paint, oil or dirt.
18. Toilet Chemical
You’ll need these to use toilet chemicals to break down toilet paper, waste and prevent smells from building up. Like most RVers, I use these handy Porta-Paks. Just stick one down your toilet and you’re good to go!
19. Toilet Brush
RV toilets are not quite as deep and roomy as regular toilets, making a toilet brush pretty indispensable. While I’m on the topic, let me just say even if you already have a toilet brush, you might want to consider replacing it. RVs are small spaces and hygiene should be a priority.
I’m currently on my second of this model. Second because I was so happy with the first one I bought the same to replace it when time came to change it out. Its ideal for RVs as it’s compact and the brush neatly stores inside the container which opens automatically. This prevents you getting any spills or drips off your brush over your bathroom. The brush itself is tapered and it’s a good size for an RV toilet. As someone who regularly changes their toilet brush, this one is a winner and trust me, I’ve been through a lot of different ones.
20. Bed Sheets
Yes, you probably could use what you’ve got at home, provided they fit. But wouldn’t you prefer to have a nice new set for your new trailer? Also, in a smaller space you tend to notice things more, like that stain you’ve never seen before on your cover. Do you want to go spend a week looking at that?
I recommend you buy two sets like this. The microfibre cloth is really soft and feels great, even if you have sensitive skin. I really think you need a minimum of two so you’ve got a change while you do laundry. If the weather’s wet and you’ve got a lot of driving to do you’ll really appreciate just being able to throw on a second set.
Small spaces require greater organizational skills. Or you could just get a few hampers, like this one here, bung a load of stuff into them and stick them in your cupboards. Job done. You’re going to need at least one for your dirty clothes and I recommend a second for those bits and pieces that invariably clutter up your living space, but you just know they’ll come in use some day.
22. Duct Tape
Every trailer needs a few rolls of duct tape. It’s an absolute necessity. Stuff rolling about on the road? Duct tape it down. Shower hose started leaking miles from civilization? Apply duct tape and keep showering. Hole in a panel? Wires hanging loose? Skylight leaking? You get the idea. While I’m not saying it’s a fix, it is a quick, it’ll-do-for-now fix until you’re near a hardware store or repair shop.
Now, I’m going to let you in on a secret. Not all duct tape is created equal. Gasp. If you want to check out some of the special stuff, the ultimate gold standard in duct tape, check out this one right here.
23. DampRid Moisture Absorber
Damp can be a big issue with travel trailers. You need to get to grips with the problem before it even starts. Even with the correct ventilation systems in place, living in such confined quarters can still lead to excess humidity and before you know it, the dreaded mold starts to take over. Protect yourself and your trailer with these DampRid Moisture Absorbers. Aside from the ones suitable for larger rooms, ie your whole living space, don’t forget to pick up a few of the smaller ones to stick in your closet and basement if you’ve got one.
24. Hand-held Vacuum
A quick vacuum with a handheld cleaner gets rid of crumbs and dirt from carpeted areas as well as round your kitchen. Space being a priority you don’t want to get a full size one and end up tripping over it as you’ve got nowhere to store it. It’s important to remove all crumbs or else you’re risking getting infested by a family of mice. Which can also equate to thousands of dollars worth of damage in some cases.
I’ve got this cool Black and Decker Pivot Vacuum, that looks like a prop from a sci-fi film. Looks aside, it cleans really well and even takes the guilt away from a weekend breakfast in bed or supper lounging in front of the TV.
25. Broom or Swiffer
Sweep up your hard floors and keep any opportunistic mice at bay. I personally use these swiffers. They leave your floor much cleaner than sweeping alone and you can use them wet too. Perfect for cleaning the kitchen floor after cooking up a storm.
26. Bug Spray
In the confines of an RV, what is annoying in a regular house becomes extra irritating and bug spray is kind of essential when you don’t want the outdoors coming indoors with you.
Get smart and stock up on this insect repellent and don’t let the bugs stop you from enjoying your scenic vacation.
27. Command Strips/Hooks
You want to make it feel like home, now that it’s finally yours. With space at a premium decorating your walls with prints and photos is a great way to personalize your living space.
Trailer walls are fragile and you don’t want to be making holes willy-nilly. Get yourself a few packs of these command strips and hang up your decorations and posters without any hassle or fuss. They also remove cleanly so when it’s time to change you’re not left with any marks to cover over.
28. Grip Shelf Liner
You’re going to need quite a few of these depending upon your kitchen size. Grip shelf liners help to stop items sliding about when you’re on the road. Just remember to secure the liner itself first or else everything will go sliding with it.
I recently changed out my liners for these ones, the old ones were looking a bit tired and weren’t gripping so well. These are a great purchase and are a decent thickness with a good grip. Simply cut to size and don’t forget to fit out your drawers too.
29. Kitchen Items
You’ll need a range of kitchen accessories for your RV. Just remember when possible pick up multipurpose items that will save space or buy a handy kit with an organizer so you won’t have stuff rattling around. I’m thinking of getting one of these, they look great value and there’s everything you need.
Getting your first trailer is a bit like having your first kid. You need a whole load of stuff to be fully prepared, although there’ll always be certain things that you will need that you just cannot foresee or other things that you buy but don’t end up ever using. If you can tick off everything on this list then you’re all set. If not, don’t worry, take things one step at a time and purchase the things that are most important to you first. Spending quality time in your RV will help you to find out what you really need to make it home for you. In any case, check out some of my recommendations. With quite a few years’ experience RVing under my belt, if I can spare you from making some of the mistakes I once made, then you’re very welcome.