Gear Needed for Your First RV Camping Trip

Within the world of RVing, there is so much gear on the market. From after-market additions to mechanical upgrades to aesthetic enhancements and beyond, the equipment possibilities surrounding the RV industry are seemingly endless. 

When you first purchase an RV, it can be easy to get swept up in purchasing all the latest and greatest gear and supplies available. However, some folks may want to start with the basics and slowly upgrade their collection over time. If you are an RVing newbie and want to start with the essential gear for a simple trip, then you’ve come to the right place. Here, we’ve compiled a list of all the twelve items you’ll need to make your very first RV camping trip a successful one.

1. Water Hose

Your first essential piece of gear is an RV water hose. This is what you will use to fill up your freshwater tank. A regular garden hose will not work because these are made with unsafe toxins and are not suitable for potable water (drinking water). There are various tiers of hoses on the market, ranging from basic 25-foot hoses to more-expensive, 100-foot hoses. Your best bet is to buy the best brand and longest length hose that fits into your budget. Whether you are dry camping at a Harvest Host or enjoying full hookups at a campground, you will need a hose to fill your tank. This is an item that you will use frequently, so it’s best not to skimp when making this purchase.

2. Water Pressure Regulator

This item is necessary because it regulates the flow of water from the source into your tank. Some RV parks can have highly-pressurized lines, and these can burst your water lines or trigger leaks without warning. A water pressure regulator will ensure a water flow that is safe to your water system while still maintaining enough water pressure for showers, washing dishes, and flushing your toilet.

3. Water Filter

Potable water is water that is safe for drinking. However, safe, potable water is often of the same quality as tap water, and you may want to filter this water further before drinking it. This piece of gear attaches to your hose and filters your water as it leaves the source and enters your fresh water tank. There are a variety of RV water filters on the market, and the most basic ones are rather inexpensive and well worth the investment.

4. Shore Power Cord

Some RVs may come with a shore power cord, but if yours didn’t, you will need to pick one up before your first RV camping trip. Most RVs run off of 50-amp power, but some older rigs require 30-amp, so be sure to check your specs before purchasing. As with your water hose, you will want to purchase the best quality and longest length cord that you can afford. Most campgrounds recommend at least fifty feet of cord length.

5. Dogbone Adapter

Adapters are necessary at many campsites. Most modern RVs run off of 50-amp electric, and many campgrounds may only offer 30-amp electric. In this case, you would need to adapt your power situation to be able to plug into the lower power source. A basic adapter is inexpensive and can be a lifesaving piece of gear to have on hand.

6. Surge protector

Some RV parks are prone to power surges at random times with no warning. While this is not all that common, power outages do occasionally occur, and these can be extremely damaging to your RV’s electrical system. A surge protector will keep your RV safe from temporary outages and surges, ensuring that nothing in your system is at risk.

7. Sewer Hose

This essential item’s basic purpose is to move waste from your black and gray tanks to a sewer. If you are hooked up to sewer at an RV park, your sewer hose will be deployed sporadically, as it empties your waste and waste water into the sewer. It is best not to skimp on this item, since cheaper hoses can occasionally leak. In addition, some campsites may require a longer hose depending on the distance from the parking space to the dump station. It is recommended to purchase the longest and best sewer hose within your budget for the best experience using this item.

8. Disposable Gloves

Dealing with the sewer hose can be a dirty experience, and disposable gloves will make this messy chore a bit more pleasant. You will want to keep a box of gloves handy by your black tank at all times when camping in your RV. Be sure to purchase these in the correct size for your hands, and avoid latex if you are sensitive to this material.

9. Holding Tank Treatment

This magical substance is a chemical that makes your black tank much more manageable. It helps to liquefy solids (including toilet paper), preventing clogs and ensuring a cleaner finish each time you dump your tanks. It also helps to minimize odors and messes, making this unpleasant chore a bit more feasible. There are a variety of chemicals and tank treatments on the market, so be sure to do your research when deciding which is best for you.

10. Septic Safe Toilet Paper

Even though your holding tank treatment will help to liquefy toilet paper, it is still best to purchase septic-safe toilet paper to minimize issues. Clogged tanks are never any fun, and it’s better to play it safe and ensure a hassle-free camping trip. You can find septic safe toilet paper at most RV supply stores or in the toilet paper section of most grocery stores.

11. Levelers

Not all campsites are created equal, and, unfortunately, many campgrounds have unlevel sites. Leveling your RV is imperative for propane refrigerators and overall balance and stability, so you will need to purchase some leveling blocks to help your RV level properly from time to time. There are a variety of block types on the market, and different sizes and types are better for different RVs. Be sure to do some research on what is best for your rig type before purchasing, and plan to purchase at least 6-10 blocks to ensure you can level yourself no matter where you end up.

12. Wheel chocks

Last but not least, wheel chocks are essential for towable rigs. This simple tool wedges underneath each side of your wheels to prevent the RV from rolling while it is parked. For RVs without a braking system, this is vital to ensure your RV will not roll away. If you have a motorhome, your E-brake should be plenty to keep your RV in place while you are camping. However, some motorhome users also like to use wheel chocks for peace of mind, so this item may or may not be a necessary purchase for you. At least eight wheel chocks are needed for most RVs.

The world of RV supply purchasing can be difficult to navigate, especially if you are a brand new RV owner. We hope that this list provides you with a great launching point. While there is obviously way more RV gear in existence, these twelve items are the basic essentials. Be sure to have all of these products on hand before leaving for your first RV camping trip.

What supplies did you bring along for your first RV camping trip? Are there any basics that we missed? Feel free to share in the comments below!


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  1. Sam Leash
    11th February, 2020

    Hi Jennie! Great tips, especially for the tools! I tend to travel with tools on hand, and TPMS sensors or a tire pressure gauge are vital. I’ll add these to the list! 🙂

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  2. Jennie Benson
    13th January, 2020

    At least a pair of slip joint pliers, both flat tip and Philips #2 (cross tip) screw drivers, and a tire pressure gauge. Lots of people have much more extensive lists of “essential” tools but at least have those. Pliers are essential for loosening stuck on hose connections. The bouncing and twisting of going down the road can loosen screws like crazy. Checking tire pressure EVERY time before you hit the road is vital for safety. That means checking before you leave the campground, too!

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