We may earn money when you make a purchase via links on this page. Learn more

21 Essential Items You Need Before Your First Camping Trip

PublishedApril 3, 2017

Congratulations! You bought a new RV!

You're finished with all the hassle.

Finished with dealing with the (UGH) RV salesman... finished haggling the price... finished with the walk-through, and you even finished getting your brand new (or new to you) RV home!

You're anxious to take your first trip!

Not. So. Fast.

There are some must-have items you will need first, if you want to have a successful and enjoyable outing.

Never leave home without these items.

ESSENTIAL MUST-HAVES FOR YOUR RV:

Sewer Hose: You have to empty your black and grey tanks! Always have a good quality RV sewer hose on hand for the job.

Lippert Waste Master sewer hose

Fresh Water Filter: You never know what is in the water where you will be parked.

Filter it from the start to keep your pipes clean and to know your water is safe for drinking.

Camco TastePure water filter

Tire Pressure Monitoring System: If your motorhome does not come with this, you MUST get a system.

It should be your #1 safety concern- watching your tires for correct pressure and for leaks.

EEZ tire pressure monitoring system 10 tire

Gloves: For personal hygiene when you are dumping your tanks.

Microflex Diamond Grip latex glove

Extra Fuses: Your motorhome or travel trailer/fifth wheel will have fuses.

Find them and get the right kind to store in your rig.

You will be overjoyed the day you need one of them.

Fuses assortment

Levelers: Your camping spots won't always be level.

Your rig NEEDS to be fairly level for your enjoyment and so you don't damage your absorption refrigerator. 

Your rig should be no more than 3 degrees out of level to work properly.

Use RV leveling blocks to make your rig level.

You, and your refrigerator, will be happy.

Andersen Levelers travel trailer chocks

Hoses: You need a dedicated fresh water hose (two comes in very handy- a shorter one around 10', for when you are close to the water source, and a longer one, around 25' when your 10' doesn't reach.

You also need a sewer hose, such as a garden hose, for use ONLY with your septic tank.

Camco Taste Pure drinking hose

Fridge Thermometer: Best to know early if you are having a problem with your fridge keeping temperatures where they need to be.

Digital fridge thermometer

Tire covers: Your tires are easily affected by UV light.

When stored, it's a good idea to keep them covered so they will last longer and not fail prematurely.

Classic Accessories Tire Covers

CHECK YOUR TIRE SIZE WHEN ORDERING


Swim Noodles: What?

Swim noodles???

Yep.

If you have a Class A with slides, these can be a lifesaver.

Simply cut them lengthwise and slide them over the edges of your slides, which can darn near take out a brain, and you and your friend's heads will thank us for this!

Pool noodles

Chocks: RV wheel chocks keep your rig from rolling on uneven ground.

Even if you are on level ground, it's a good idea to keep these under your wheels.

Warning- if you buy the little yellow ones from Camco, your rig might easily roll right over them.

They look and feel like toys. That won't happen with this guy below:

YM Wheel Chocks

Water Pressure Regulator: In a campground, when you have your water hose hooked up to your rig, the water pressure COULD cause your lines to break and leak if the pressure is too much.

The easy fix (cheap insurance) is simply to get a water pressure regulator.

Valterra brass water pressure regulator

Power Management System: Also commonly called 'surge protectors', these protect your electrical components and systems from being fried from a surge or from much too low voltage.

This, as well as a water pressure regulator, is cheap insurance.

Progressive Industries EMS-PT50X surge protector

Dog Bone Adapters: An RV power adapter allow you to use your 50 amp rig at a 30 amp pedestal, or vice versa.

A typical adapter style is shown below - the dog bone adapter.

Camco 55165 15 amp to 30 amp dogbone adapter

Coaxial Cable: At campgrounds, they usually supply cable, but they don't supply the cable to hook it up.

You need to have that on hand if you want to watch cable TV.

Media Bridge coaxial cable

Lug Wrench and Jack: If you have a travel trailer or a small enough motorhome, this is essential in case of a blowout.

It's also a good idea to have some sort of roadside assistance.

12 Ton bottle jack

Stick-on Level: If your RV doesn't come with levels on the outside (or inside) and if your RV doesn't self-level, you need to get some stick-on level indicators for the front and the side of your RV.

This way, you know which way you need to level when you park.

It is necessary to be level for your refrigerator to work properly.

Hopkins bubble level

Backup Camera: This is not totally essential unless you are driving solo.

It's not ESSENTIAL if you are solo, but it sure makes things a lot easier for you to do as far as driving, backing up, and hitching up goes.

Learn more about RV backup cameras.

Rear View Safety RVS-2CAM monitor and camera

Extension Cord: An RV extension cord will come in handy in the event that your rig's cord doesn't reach the pedestal at the campground.

You MUST get a heavy duty cord like the ones below for effectiveness and safety.

Camco 55194 15 foot 50 amp extension cord

Braking System For a Vehicle Being Towed: If you are towing a vehicle, (aka your 'Toad') it is against the law (in most circumstances and states) to tow without a towed vehicle braking system.

It's also bad for your toad to not have a braking system in place.

RVIbrake 3

Weight Distribution Hitch: If you have a travel trailer that weighs 50% or more than your tow vehicle, you need a weight distribution hitch.

This keeps the weight of your trailer from overloading your rear axles on your tow vehicle, improving your traction, control and keeps your axles from being over-stressed.

Anderson hitches have a very good customer satisfaction rating. 

WARNING: Check your specifications in order to order the correct size hitch.

Andersen weight distribution hitch

There's your essential guide to all the basic necessities you will need to outfit your RV.

Camp on!!

Kelly Headshot

He-llllo. I'm the co-founder of Camp Addict, which my biz partner and I launched in 2017. I frigging love the RVing lifestyle but in December of 2020, I converted to part-time RV life. Heck, I lived in my travel trailer for over 5.5 years, STRICTLY boondocking for pretty much all of it. Boondocking is a GREAT way to live, but it's not easy. Anyway, I'm passionate about animals, can't stand campgrounds, I hardly ever cook, and I love a good dance party. Currently, I can be found plotting and scheming whether or not to start collecting farm animals (or plotting my next RV trip!) at my beautiful new 'ranch' named 'Hotel Kellyfornia', in Southern Arizona. 

Other Articles You Should Read

  • All the information was very helpful I do have all the items but it’s always good to know I’m following the rules to be a happy camper
    Thank you for your advice

  • Your list and the amended one are great. We have most of these items already but your recommendations and comparison chart for the “sludge snake” has already helped

    • Yay! The website is working. : ) Glad to hear it has helped you and thank you for the praise. Keep checking back for more information, guides and reviews. Camp on, Jon!

  • Fantabulous! Great list. I’ll add a few things: screen sink drainer (probably not the right name). It keeps all those little bits from going to your grey tank. Oh, and tension refrigerator bars. And vent opening pillows; they provide insulation (from heat and cold) when your vent is not in use. Epoxy. Ask Lon.; he is always finding uses for epoxy. Tie downs for your awning? With our 5W, the awning is so tall so don’t actually use it much. But we sure did with our travel trailer. Roof repair kit: probably should have listed that first since we tore the roof on our tt AND our 5W on one of our first trips. In Florida in the tail end of a hurricane.

    • Wow, REALLY great ideas, and for sure, the refrigerator bars and the vent cover especially. I (Kelly) only just got some bars about 3 weeks ago, after 2 years dealing with stuff falling out of my fridge after a move!! I can’t believe I didn’t get them sooner. Thank you for the input, Diana! And oh, that’s why you stay out of Florida. ????

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
    >
    Scroll Up
    Send this to a friend