When you first get an RV travel trailer, it can be overwhelming to think about all the RV “must have” accessories you will need. In fact, it’s impossible to prepare 100% because you learn so much about which travel trailer accessories you need and don’t need with each RV trip. Our RV trip checklist is always changing and being updated. In fact, I even created an interactive RV checklist for my always changing travel trailer accessories.
However, there are definitely a few RV accessories essentials you need to purchase before your first camping trip with your new travel trailer.
In this guide we will share our list of travel trailer accessories and must haves for rv camping as well as include a few fun rv accessories we think you must have for camping.
What are the “must have” camping accessories for your travel trailer?
First, let’s talk absolutely “must have” RV accessories. In most cases the travel trailer accessories on this list will not be included with your new travel trailer, even if you purchased it brand new from an RV dealer. Therefore, you should familiarize yourself with these camper trailer accessories and purchase each item before you even consider taking your new travel trailer out for the first time.
Be sure to invest in a great tactical flashlight before heading out in your camper. I’d even go so far as recommending you purchase 2 or 3 of these heavy duty tactical flashlights. We keep some in our travel trailer and 2 or 3 at home. You will want one for the kids room as well as by your bed in case of a power outage in the camper or at the campground.
Without a doubt, you can not take your new travel trailer out for the first time without a quality properly fitting rv sewer hose. Trust me when I tell you, that you do not want to skimp on this particular travel trailer essential item!
A few things to keep in mind when purchasing your RV sewer hose. We all know that this job is NOT FUN and it isn’t one that you want to mess up. (Sorry for the unintended pun). You will need to ensure you have the right length of RV sewer hose.
You can purchase a 10 foot, 15 foot, or 20 foot hose. We recommend you either go with a 20 foot that can be detached down to 10 feet, like the one in this Camco RhinoFLEX 20ft RV Sewer Hose Kit or get a the Camco 15 foot dump hose kit.
It’s also a good idea to look for a hose that fits inside the bumper of your trailer. You really don’t want to store this hose anywhere else. Ick!
Another thing you may not think about, but trust me, it is something you must have for this job, is the translucent elbow attachment. Like it or not, you are going to want to see the waste coming out of the tank through the hose and you will want to know when the water is flushing clear and you are able to remove the hose. Some elbows are frosted so that you don’t have to get all the vivid details, but either way, make sure you buy an RV sewer hose kit that has a clear elbow included.
Both the Camco RhinoFLEX 15ft RV Sewer Hose Kit & 20 ft with again are great options because it comes complete with everything you need to safely and securely ‘get er done’ when it comes to this not so fun camping job!
RV Water Hoses
You will also need to purchase two types or RV water hoses. You need an RV water hose to use when flushing out your gray and black water tanks and for obvious reasons, you will need to purchase a separate RV fresh water hose to attach your fresh water system to the city water at the campground.
Be sure to purchase two different colors to ensure you don’t mix them up. Many people purchase a white water hose for their fresh water system, like this Camco 25ft TastePURE Drinking Water Hose. It isn’t necessary that the hose is white, however, it does need to be a different color than your black & gray water rv hose.
You also need to only purchase a fresh water hose that is BPA and lead free.
For flushing your RV gray and black water tanks you will want to purchase a separate hose. Again, a 25′ hose should be sufficient for the job. This Camco 25ft RhinoFLEX Gray/Black Water Tank Clean Out Hose is a bright orange color for a great contrast to the white freshwater hose.
While many private campgrounds do have a sewer dump at your campsite, most state and national park campgrounds will only have a central dump site for the entire campground. Unless you only plan to camp for 1 or 2 days, you definitely need to purchase an easy to use and easy to transport waste holding tank.
It doesn’t take very long to fill up your RV black and gray water tanks and without a waste holding tank, you will have to hook up your rig, pull it to the dump site, dump your waste, and then set up your camper all over. This is NOT how you want to spend your relaxing camp time! With a waste holding tank you can easily dump your RV tanks into the holding tank and simply pull the tank to the central dump station for disposal. Granted this is still a less than fun job, but it definitely beats tearing down your whole rig.
If you purchase a tank that includes a removable steel tow adapter, you can even pull the tank slowly with your tow vehicle or golf cart to the central dump station. Investing in a waste holding tank will lengthen the amount of time you can be in your camper or dry docking so it’s well worth getting one.
This is something you may not know about until you have your first RV, but you should never use standard household toilet paper in your RV waste system. There have been a few debates about whether you have to buy specifically “RV toilet paper” or an off brand of “septic save paper” and I’ll leave that up to the experts. (You can read about how to do the Toilet Paper Breakdown Test here)
Whatever you decide, be sure your paper is biodegradable septic safe toilet paper so you don’t clog up your black water tanks and lines. Aqua Soft RV Safe Tissue & Scott RV Safe Tissue are both good options and available on Amazon.
While the city water hookup at the campground should be potable, we like to have an RV water filter as an added measure of safety as well as to help eliminate any foul taste in the water.
I recommend you let the city water run for a few minutes before attaching your rv water filter and hoses to clear any sediment or mud that may be in the pipes.
The filter will then help keep any additional sediment out of both you and your rv fresh water tank!
This is a time and headache saving RV camper must have because without it, you will be filling your water tank for ages. This inexpensive Camco Water Tank Filler with Shutoff Valve attaches to the hose and goes down into your tank eliminating any bubbling back of the water and making the job a cinch.
Shore Power Cord (50amp or 30amp)
Having the right shore power cord for your RV is crucial. This is the electrical power cord that runs from your travel trailer to the campsite power source. You will need to check your RV Owner’s manual to ensure you purchase the right shore power cord for your rig.
We own a 2015 Jayco Eagle which is equipped with a 120-volt AC/30 amp power cord and load center. Therefore, we can only consume a maximum of 30 amps of power at any given time. This 120-volt AC system provides the power to most of the appliances and all of our electrical outlets.
The “shore line power cord” is designed to ground the RV electrical system through the external power source located at your campground. It is designed to carry 30 amps at a nominal 120 volts. If you have a 50 amp system, you will want to purchase a shore line power cord that accommodates 50 amps.
NOTE: You can use a 30 amp external power cord in a 50 amp plug and not overload your system, you will still only receive 30 amps of power. However, you cannot plug a 50 amp power cord into a 30-amp plug without an adapter so you may wish to purchase an adapter (Dogbone Electrical Adapter) as well.
Please note that mishandling and careless behavior around electrical components (as with any electrical sources) in your RV can be fatal and you should always take proper safety precautions when working around your RV electrical systems. Please familiarize yourself with all the information in your RV owner’s manual.
While we are on the subject of RV electricity and being safe, let’s talk surge protection. This is a no brainer RV “must have” camping essential!! Do not even consider going on your first RV trip without a surge protector. You will need to get the correct surge protector for your particular amperage needs. Our surge protector has shut off our power supply on many occasions and saved us costly accidental damage and perhaps even fires to our electrical system and RV. Electrical storms are quite common in the campgrounds and this extra measure will save your RV power system from being fried.
- Check price on Camco Heavy Duty 125 V 30 amp integrated surge protector
- Check price on Camco 125/250V 50 amp Dogbone RV Circuit Analyzer Integrated Surge Protection
You Might Also Be Interested In: Best Rotomolded Coolers On the Market
Since we are on the topic of power sources through electricity and generators, we may as well mention another very important power source for your RV: BATTERIES! It seems like every system in your RV will need batteries so you need to familiarize yourself with each system and its power needs. Here are a few to keep in mind.
- Auxiliary Battery- Your RV has many 12-volt DC loads which, when combined, will total more than your converter can produce. An auxiliary battery can meet the demands for 12-volt power for limited periods of time.
- Smoke Alarm 9-Volt Batteries- The smoke alarm will not function if the battery is missing, disconnected, dead, or the wrong type. Most smoke alarms will emit a low beeping sound when the battery is weak, but we recommend you replace your smoke alarm battery every season and check it before every camping trip. Most RV factory installed smoke alarms will take a standard 9-volt battery, but check your specific owner’s manual and RV to be certain.
- Carbon Monoxide Alarm- It is very important to ensure that your Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarm is properly functioning and has good batteries. Check your owner’s manual for the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) page. This will list the information about your specific Carbon Monoxide monitor and it’s manufacturer so you can consult for the type of batteries needed in your monitor. Many RVs will have CO monitors with a dual battery 12 volt hookup and a 9 Volt battery backup, but consult your OEM to be certain.
**If you have any concerns that your CO monitor is not working properly, do not remain in your RV but exit immediately and contact a service technician.**
Wheel Chocks & Stabilizers
Trust me when I say, this is one area not to go skimpy on! For years we have used inexpensive wheel chock and blocks of wood, but with three kids bouncing around in the camper, we have suffered tremendously from bouncing and rocking and shifting of our travel trailer.
We finally broke down and purchased a nice set of RV stabilizers and are in the market to replace our chocks with this set of wheel chocks. The trailer is already so much better and I can’t wait to try it again with our new chocks combined with these stabilizers.
RV Leveling Blocks & A Good Level
As I already mentioned, there is nothing more frustrating than an unlevel travel trailer, unless you enjoy feeling like you are in a carnival funny house on your way to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Be sure to purchase a set of good leveling blocks and a level.
PRO TIP: Keep a level IN YOUR TRAVEL TRAILER. Don’t rely on remembering to pack the one you use in your home.
Do yourself a favor and take this extra measure of protection for your RV water lines from any extra high pressure you may encounter coming from the camping city water hookups. Buy a water pressure regulator( Check price here). Dimes today can save you dollars and headache later!
A tire pressure gauge may be another item that you really don’t think about until you need it! But, you will need to check the tire pressure on your tow vehicle as well as your travel trailer so be sure to pick one up.
RV Ready Portable Inverter Generator
This final RV “must have” is only necessary if you plan to do any dry camping or boondocking. If so, you will want to invest in a good RV ready portable generator. The Champion 3500 watt portable inverter generator receives great reviews for it’s quietness and ease of use and it’s price point is much better than the gold standard Honda Quiet Portable Inverter Generator.
What Should I Pack In My RV? You Need a Checklist!
Are you overwhelmed yet? Remember, this is just a short list of the things you need to get started with your travel trailer.
We haven’t even scratched the surface. Here are a few other checklists you are going to need.
- How to prepare and sanitize your RV water systems
- Occupant safety checklists
- RV camp departure checklists
- De-winterizing and Winterizing your RV travel trailer
- Travel trailer interior accessories and camper checklists
- and more….
After camping for years, I started growing tired of always forgetting the RV camping essentials I needed to pack and, yet, over buying the things I didn’t really need. To solve that problem, I created checklists that I could use on my phone or laptop and take anywhere. I’d love to tell you more about it!
If you’d like to learn more about my Interactive Packing lists and if you can answer yes to any of the following questions, then click on the link at the bottom of this post and learn more about our Interactive RV checklists packing lists.
- Always FORGETTING something you were sure you left in the camper last year?
- Always OVER BUYING supplies every year?
- Tired of OVERSPENDING at the camp store or running back into to town because you forgot something?
- Would You love to have a RV PACKING LIST on your phone that you can take with you while you shop, go through the house, & pack up the camper?
If you are interested in our RV departure bundle lists, click this link.