GoGear: 10 Top Must Haves for the Brand New RVer

James & Stef Adinaro James & Stef Adinaro  |  02.16.2017

So, you bought a new RV! Fantastic!  Now what…

At least that’s what we asked ourselves once we made our first big RV purchase. Between reading all the manuals and trying to learn the systems, purchasing a new rig can get overwhelming…we remember the excitement AND the sleepless nights very well. One thing we quickly learned is that the RV itself wasn’t to be our last purchase before hitting the road. There were a few things we needed to make our RVing experience run smoothly and efficiently.  To save you some of the hassle of figuring it out yourselves, we put together this list. Here are 10 things you’ll want to pick up right away!

1:  Disposable Gloves:

OK people, there’s no getting around this.  At some point in your RVing life, you’re going to have to deal with the reality of dumping your black tank.  If you do it correctly, it’s actually not a messy process.  Even so, it just makes good, clean sense to do this while wearing some gloves.  So get yourself a box of these and leave them with your RV sanitation accessories.

2:  Sewer Hose with Secure Connections:

If you’ve ever seen a large rock at an RV dump station and wondered what it was for – here’s your answer.  If your rig came with a basic sewer hose, it probably has connections on one end to secure it to your RV.  The other end may be just… hose.  “The Rock” is there to hold your hose in place when the nasty stuff starts gushing out.  But there’s a better way:  RV sewer hoses are available that lock in at both ends, and they come with adapters and fittings to secure them into any dump station you’re likely to roll across.  Save the rock for your radio, and get yourself something like this.

3:  Water Pressure Regulator:

Basically, you need a water pressure regulator because you never know what pressure the campground water is running.  You don’t want to hook your rig up to that and risk blowing up part of your plumbing system.  We’ve previously done some testing of water pressure regulators here on Winnebagolife.com.  The “Best Value” option from that roundup is cheap – and easily packed – insurance against watery disasters.

4:  Dedicated Fresh Water Hose:

The water that comes into your RV will be used for bathing, washing dishes, drinking, cooking, you name it.  The fresh water hose is the under-appreciated lifeline that brings it in.  It will be outside, in the sun and weather, and under pressure almost all of the time, so it makes sense to get a good one.  You’ll want something that is long enough, drinking safe, and clearly color coded so that you’ll only ever use it in clean and fresh water hookups.  In RV-land, they’re generally colored either white or blue, like this one.

5:  Portable Water Filter:

Not everyone drinks the water from their RV’s plumbing system, but we do!  At home, we installed a water filter, and our home on wheels deserves the same treatment.  Fortunately, there are inexpensive alternatives that will provide basic filtration and won’t leave a bad taste in your mouth… or your wallet.  This is the one we travel with; it’s just installed in line with the fresh water hose.

6:  Dedicated “Dirty” Water Hose:

Just as you’ll want a dedicated hose for your fresh water, you’ll want to dedicate a hose for “less than fresh” water.  You’ll use this hose for rinsing the sewer hose, for example.  For RV use, these are generally colored green, brown, grey… anything EXCEPT white and blue!!  If you’re looking for suggestions, this one fits the bill nicely.

7:  RV Surge Protector:

Your RV’s electrical system is safe when it’s isolated.  But just like a TV, it’s vulnerable to whatever it’s plugged into.  You could be at risk if there’s an electrical storm nearby, or if the power pedestal is mis-wired.  These kinds of things have the potential to damage your RV, so it makes sense to travel with some protection.  Portable surge suppressors may seem expensive initially, but when you consider what they’re protecting, it’s just good insurance.  Something like this will protect most rigs.

8:  Electrical Adapters:

Eventually, you’ll roll up to an RV site that provides power in a different configuration than what your RV was designed for.  Maybe your rig takes 50 amp service, but the campground only offers 30.  Or the situation could be reversed.  For us, it happened for the first time in the middle of the night with no stores open.  Since then, we’ve learned our lesson, and we always travel with an assortment of RV electrical adapters.  Be safe when using them, pay attention to the amp ratings, and these could one day keep you out of the dark.

9:  Jack Pads or Leveling Blocks:

Everybody is different, but most people don’t like to sleep with their feet higher than their heads.  But even if you could deal with that, it’s no fun to have doors swinging open or closed on their own because you’re parked on a slope.  Leveling your RV is about to become part of your life.  Some rigs have built-in leveling jacks.  And whether these are hand cranked, electrical, or hydraulic, putting a jack pad down under them not only keeps the jack from damaging the pavement, but it could help keep it from sinking into soft ground.  So if your RV has leveling jacks, consider getting some jack pads, like these:

Now, if your rig doesn’t have leveling jacks, you’ll want to level your rig by rolling it up onto blocks of various heights.  This is the adult version of giant Lego blocks for your RV.  Most RVers at one time or another get themselves a set of something like these:

10:  Head Lamp:

Pretty much anything you do with your RV, at some point in your RVing career, you’re going to wind up doing in the dark.  That means you’re going to need a portable light source.  And it just makes sense that you’ll want both hands free while you do whatever it is that needs being done.  That’s why we roll with a couple of these – a quality LED headlamp.  (They’re a little expensive, but once you have them, you’ll be surprised how many times you reach for them.)

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  1. Dave A. Posted on 06.14.2017

    Good list. Last June we ended our two-year “full-timing” adventure throughout the US (2013 Itasca Sunova 35G pulling 2014 Honda CR/V). We sold our house, sold / donated a good portion of our “stuff,” and rented a storage locker for the rest. 34 states plus Canada and Mexico – truly a “bucket list” adventure that I’d highly recommend.

    Started out with surge protector like the one shown, but soon found it was “tripping” too often where if we just plugged in, everything worked, so we left it behind.

    Suggest a higher-end water regulator (one with big dial that you can set max pressure). Stayed at a upscale RV park near San Antonio where park water pressure was 140 psi, and they sold regulators at front desk!

    Carry an extra length of sewer hose for those sites with far-off drains. Ditto for coax cable if you will be using park’s cable TV system (and have a few extra coax adapters if the previous occupant took the one from your site when they left).

    Carry a foldable step ladder for washing your rig (especially the bugs from the windshield).

    Bring along extra 6″ hoses that connect the in-line water filter to your rig. They always seem to spring a leak someplace where a new washer doesn’t fix.

    Sure, bring black-water tank treatment to keep odors manageable, but don’t forget the gray-water tank. We use that orange Thetford enzyme solution. We had a situation where we had some sort of algae bloom that built up in the tank and pipes. The smell was so bad, it forced us into a hotel for a week before we finally figured out what was happening. Now, we don’t drain the gray water tank until it just starts coming up through the floor drain in our shower. That insures that the drain pipes get exposed to the solution as much as possible. We also had our tanks pressure-washed during our trip.

    Have a good GPS system! For planning our route from one site to the next, we used the ALLSTAYS Camp & RV app on our iPhone to insure that bridges and overpasses wouldn’t scrape the top off of our coach. We chose our Honda CR/V with built-in navigation, which we didn’t regret (even though we had our smart phones with mapping apps).

    Be sure to carry cans of spray-on silicone lube for all of the tow-bar moving points, and a can of specialized spray for the slide-out rubber seals.

    Just a quick note: When we departed, we really loaded up our coach with just about every conceivable thing we felt we might need. Seven months later when we were about 200 miles from our starting point, we filled up our car with a full load of stuff we were not using at all, and drove up to our storage locker to leave it behind. That gave us much more room for souvenirs, t-shirts and what-have-you.

  2. charles d. Posted on 04.01.2017

    tire pressure gage, I/o theromrter

  3. Richard R Posted on 02.22.2017

    Info was awesome. Only 3 items was missing from my kit and will be going out today to purchase them and I will be all set to go on the road next week. Keep the great info coming for us new RV’ers. To all traveling, may God be with you.

  4. Fish Posted on 02.20.2017

    smack on and what you mentioned hits the mark. Two things I might add would be a first aid kit and bug spray for ants , fly’s and people eating bugs!
    Good list and advice as usual from you folks. Thanks!

  5. Tom Parker Posted on 02.20.2017

    Thanks for this great list. My wife and I will start full time in our first Rv next year.

  6. Ted Posted on 02.19.2017

    I prefer the heavy duty rubber gloves you can buy from any hardware store. In my experience the thin disposable (and even the slightly thicker kitchen gloves) tear too easily when connecting and disconnecting the sewer hose ending up with “the bad stuff” all over my hands.

  7. Bill Grey Posted on 02.18.2017

    From an experienced RVer this article and list is very good advice for the novis.

  8. Joanie Helm Posted on 02.18.2017

    You guys are the best! Can’t wait till I need each of these. Still a wannabe~

  9. Tom&Barb Franta Posted on 02.18.2017

    Thanks James
    Just the article that we need being we are in fact “newbies”!

  10. MSgt K Posted on 02.18.2017

    Yep, mission essentials for sure. Walmart and Ebay are the cheapest place to get these items. However, Id spend the extra few bucks and get the water pressure regulator that has the gage on it. Definitely buy the sewer hose in the picture (available at WalMart) as the cheaper ones are thin and get holes easily. Mine has lasted FT for 18 months so far.

  11. Joel F. Muprhy Posted on 02.18.2017

    Fantastic, Just the type of list I was looking for.. My wife and I are looking forward to our new adventure in our new Micro Minnie FBS2106..


  12. Will A Posted on 02.18.2017

    Bravo & Brava:
    Keep the info coming. We plan to start our last hurrah this Spring at 80 and in a small RV. Ant tips are welcome.

  13. David Karol Posted on 02.18.2017

    Great list. Thanks.