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10 Essential RV Camping Gear Items You Shouldn’t Forget

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The open road is calling, beckoning you with promises of breathtaking landscapes, starry nights, and unforgettable adventures. Whether you’re a seasoned RVer with countless miles under your belt or a newbie hitching up for the first time, packing for an RV trip can feel like a monumental task. It’s a delicate dance between anticipating every need and maximizing precious storage space. But fear not, fellow adventurers! We’ve crafted the ultimate guide to ensure you have all the essential RV camping gear to make your trip comfortable, safe, and brimming with fun.


This isn’t just another cursory glance at the obvious necessities. We’re diving deep into the heart of RV prepping, exploring the “why” behind each item, offering insightful tips gleaned from seasoned road warriors, and even suggesting some optional extras to truly elevate your camping game. So, buckle up, adjust your rearview mirror, and let’s equip you for the journey!


1. The Unsung Heroes: Essential RV Hookup Gear


Before you even start daydreaming about comfy pillows, twinkling campsite lanterns, and campfire treats melting in your mouth, let’s talk about the often-overlooked backbone of your RV setup—the hookup gear. These essential items act as the vital bridge between your home-on-wheels and the campsite facilities, ensuring a seamless flow of water, power, and proper sanitation. Don’t let a missing adapter or a leaky hose put a damper on your adventure before it even begins!


  • Heavy-Duty Extension Cord: Picture this – you arrive at your dream campsite after a long day’s drive, eager to set up and unwind. But as you pull out your trusty power cord, you realize it’s woefully short of reaching the electrical hookup. Campsite power outlets aren’t always conveniently located, sometimes playing a game of hide-and-seek behind trees or nestled between other RVs. That’s where your secret weapon comes in – a 25-foot, 30-amp extension cord with a built-in surge protector. This robust cord provides the reach you need while ensuring the safety of your RV’s electrical system. Trust us, you don’t want to be that RVer stringing together a tangled mess of flimsy extension cords across the campground, resembling a holiday light catastrophe gone wrong!
  • Drinking Water Hose: We all know staying hydrated is crucial, especially when you’re out exploring nature’s playground. But that mantra goes beyond simply stocking up on beverages. It’s about having access to clean, safe water for drinking, cooking, and even brushing your teeth. This is where a dedicated drinking water hose – clearly labeled and stored separately – becomes your best friend. This hose should never be used for anything other than filling your freshwater tank, ensuring the purity of your water supply throughout your trip. Pro tip: a water pressure regulator might seem like an unnecessary extra, but it’s actually a worthwhile investment. This nifty device controls the water pressure flowing into your RV, preventing damage to your plumbing system and those dreaded leaks.
  • Sewer Hose Kit: Let’s be real—handling wastewater isn’t the most glamorous aspect of RV camping, but it’s a fundamental part of responsible RV living. Just like at home, what goes in must come out, and that’s where a reliable, sturdy sewer hose kit steps in, complete with its own designated storage container. This isn’t the area to skimp on quality! Invest in a top-notch kit with securely fitting connections to prevent any messy, unpleasant mishaps. Remember, a well-maintained sewer system ensures a hygienic and odor-free RV experience for you and your fellow campers.


2. Power Up Your Life: Electrical Essentials


From keeping your smartphones and laptops juiced for capturing and sharing those Instagram-worthy moments to powering those essential appliances that make RV life a breeze, a reliable electrical system is paramount for a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Don’t get left in the dark just as your favorite movie is about to reach the climax! Here’s the gear you need to keep the energy flowing seamlessly throughout your RV:


  • Surge Protector: Consider this essential item your RV’s personal bodyguard against the unpredictable whims of campground electricity. Power surges – those sudden, unexpected spikes in voltage – might be invisible, but they can wreak havoc on your valuable electronics. A surge protector with a high joule rating acts as a buffer, absorbing those jolts of energy and protecting your devices from potentially damaging fluctuations. Think of it as an insurance policy for your peace of mind.
  • Power Adapters: In an ideal world, all campground power outlets would be created equal. But alas, the world of RV hookups isn’t always so straightforward. Different campsites offer different amperage options, and that’s where having a variety of power adapters tucked away in your toolbox becomes your saving grace. Adapters are like universal translators for your electrical system, ensuring you can connect to the grid regardless of the outlet configuration. 30-amp to 15-amp adapters are particularly useful, as some campsites might have lower amperage outlets that don’t quite match your RV’s needs.


3. The Comfort Zone: Creating a Home Away from Home


Now that we’ve covered the essential groundwork, let’s move on to the part that transforms your RV from a mere mode of transportation into a cozy, inviting home away from home. After all, RV camping is about experiencing the freedom of the open road without sacrificing comfort.


  • Bedding: Leave those flimsy sleeping bags and deflated air mattresses at home! We’re talking about creating a sleep sanctuary worthy of a good night’s rest after a long day of hiking, biking, or simply soaking in the scenery. Invest in comfortable, supportive bedding specifically designed for RVs. Look for mattress toppers that add an extra layer of cloud-like plushness, making you forget you’re even sleeping in a moving vehicle. And don’t underestimate the importance of fitted sheets specifically made for RV mattresses. These ingenious sheets are designed to stay put, resisting the urge to bunch up or slide off, even on those bumpy backroads that test your vehicle’s – and your own – suspension.
  • Towels and Linens: Stepping out of a refreshing shower only to be met with a damp, musty towel is a surefire way to put a damper on your day. That’s where quick-drying, absorbent towels become your new best friend. Look for microfiber towels or those made with similar quick-drying materials. They’re not only efficient at wicking away moisture but also pack incredibly compactly, a crucial consideration when storage space is at a premium. And while we’re on the subject of linens, consider packing a separate set of towels specifically for outdoor adventures. These can be designated for drying off after a dip in a lake, wiping sandy feet after a beach excursion, or even serving as makeshift picnic blankets.


4. Culinary Delights: Gear for Campground Chefs


One of the most rewarding joys of RV camping lies in the ability top whip up delicious meals amidst stunning scenery. Imagine sipping your morning coffee as the sun peeks over the horizon, the aroma of pancakes sizzling on a nearby camp stove filling the air. Or picture gathering with loved ones around a crackling campfire, the stars twinkling above as you savor a perfectly grilled steak. These culinary dreams can easily become a reality with the right gear.


  • Cast Iron Skillet: A true camping icon, the cast iron skillet earns its place in the RV kitchen hall of fame. This culinary workhorse, loved by generations of outdoor enthusiasts, distributes heat evenly and boasts incredible versatility. From perfectly searing steaks and sauteing fresh vegetables to baking gooey campfire cobblers and fluffy cornbread, the cast iron skillet can seemingly do it all. Plus, its durability is legendary – with proper care, a good cast iron skillet can last for generations, becoming a treasured heirloom passed down through your family.
  • Nesting Cookware Set: We’ve already emphasized that space is a valuable commodity in the RV world. The last thing you want is your cupboards overflowing with bulky pots and pans, resembling a chaotic orchestra of clanging metal every time you hit a bump in the road. That’s where the ingenious nesting cookware set comes to the rescue. These sets are specifically designed for small spaces, with each pot and pan nesting neatly inside the other, like a culinary game of Tetris. They provide all the essential pieces for cooking up a storm without hogging precious storage space.
  • Sharp Knives and Cutting Board: Trying to chop vegetables with a dull knife is not only frustrating but also downright dangerous. Struggling to dice tomatoes on a wobbly surface is a recipe for disaster, turning your culinary masterpiece into an unplanned finger-food experiment. Do yourself – and your ingredients – a favor and invest in a quality chef’s knife, a smaller paring knife for delicate tasks, and a sturdy cutting board. Your taste buds – and your fingers! – will thank you.


5. Safety First: Essential Gear for Peace of Mind


Venturing into the great outdoors is about embracing adventure, but adventures are best enjoyed with a healthy dose of preparation and a sprinkle of caution. That’s why prioritizing safety is non-negotiable, ensuring that your RV journey is filled with cherished memories, not preventable mishaps.


  • First Aid Kit: No matter how cautious you are, accidents can happen. A scraped knee during a hike, a minor burn from a rogue campfire ember, or an unexpected encounter with poison ivy can quickly put a damper on your outdoor fun. That’s why a well-stocked first aid kit should be your constant companion, a reassuring presence tucked away in an easily accessible spot. Your kit should include a variety of bandages, gauze pads, antiseptic wipes, antibiotic ointment, pain relievers, allergy medication, and any personal medications you or your travel companions require. Remember, it’s always better to be overprepared than caught off guard in the wilderness.
  • Fire Extinguisher: Fire safety is paramount in any camping situation, regardless of how experienced you are. Always carry a working fire extinguisher – not just any fire extinguisher, but one specifically designed for RV use – and ensure it’s readily accessible in case of emergencies. A fire can spread rapidly, especially in dry conditions, so be prepared to act swiftly.
  • Carbon Monoxide Detector: This odorless, colorless gas is a silent but deadly threat. Carbon monoxide can build up from various sources, including faulty heating systems, malfunctioning generators, and even charcoal grills used too close to your RV. The danger lies in its stealthy nature, making a carbon monoxide detector an absolute must-have for any RV. Think of it as a silent guardian, constantly monitoring the air quality and sounding the alarm if carbon monoxide levels reach dangerous levels, potentially saving lives.


6. Outdoor Living: Embracing the Great Outdoors


RV camping is, at its heart, about immersing yourself in the wonders of the natural world. It’s about breathing in the fresh air, feeling the sun on your skin, and awakening your senses to the beauty that surrounds you. But enjoying the great outdoors doesn’t mean sacrificing comfort. Pack this gear to fully maximize your enjoyment of nature’s embrace:


  • Camping Chairs: Find yourself a comfy spot with a view, settle into your camping chair, and let the cares of the world melt away. But not just any chairs will do! This is about serious relaxation, and that requires investing in comfortable, supportive chairs specifically designed for camping. Look for chairs with sturdy frames, adjustable backrests, and even features like cup holders and side tables for added convenience. Trust us, your back will thank you after a long day of exploration.
  • Portable Table: Whether you’re engaging in a spirited game of cards, enjoying a leisurely picnic lunch amidst a meadow of wildflowers, or simply need a level surface to rest your drink, a portable camping table is a worthwhile addition to your outdoor setup. Choose a table that’s lightweight, folds compactly for storage, and can withstand the rigors of outdoor use.
  • Outdoor Lighting: As the sun dips below the horizon, casting long shadows across the campground, it’s time to create your own ambiance. Outdoor lighting transforms your campsite from a simple parking spot into a magical, inviting space. String lights, draped artfully between trees or strung across your RV, add a festive touch, while lanterns provide focused illumination for cooking, reading, or simply enjoying late-night conversations around the campfire.


7. Personal Items: Don’t Forget the Essentials


Amidst all the excitement of packing gadgets, gizmos, and all those creature comforts that make RV life special, it’s surprisingly easy to overlook the small but mighty personal essentials. These are the items that ensure your individual comfort and well-being, allowing you to fully embrace the adventure without limitations.


  • Sunscreen and Insect Repellent: The great outdoors is an invitation to explore, but it’s also home to powerful elements that should be treated with respect – namely, the sun and its trusty sidekick, the ever-present insect. Protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays with a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, reapplying frequently, especially after swimming or sweating. Equally important is a reliable insect repellent containing DEET or picaridin, forming an invisible barrier against pesky mosquitoes, ticks, and other biting insects that might try to hitch a ride.
  • Medications: Don’t let a forgotten medication derail your well-planned RV adventure. Pack a sufficient supply of any prescription medications you rely on, ensuring you have enough to last the duration of your trip, plus a few extra days just in case. It’s also wise to pack over-the-counter remedies for common ailments like headaches, allergies, upset stomachs, and motion sickness.
  • Comfortable Shoes: Whether you’re embarking on challenging hikes through breathtaking terrain, enjoying leisurely bike rides along scenic trails, or simply exploring a new town with its charming shops and local eateries, comfortable shoes are non-negotiable. Pack a variety of footwear, each serving a specific purpose – sturdy hiking boots for conquering rugged paths, supportive walking shoes for comfortable sightseeing, and even a pair of flip-flops or sandals for those relaxing moments around the campground.


8. Tech Gear: Staying Connected (Or Not!)


While part of the allure of camping lies in disconnecting from the digital world and reconnecting with nature’s rhythms, certain tech gadgets can truly enhance your RV experience, keeping you safe, informed, and entertained.


  • Cell Phone Booster: In today’s hyper-connected world, we’ve grown accustomed to instant communication, relying on our smartphones for everything from navigation and weather updates to staying connected with loved ones and sharing our adventures on social media. However, venturing off the beaten path often means venturing beyond the reach of reliable cell service. That’s where a cell phone booster acts like a magical signal amplifier, drawing in those weak, wavering signals and boosting them to usable strength.
  • Portable Charger: Imagine this – you’re exploring a national park, capturing stunning photos of towering redwoods or majestic waterfalls, when suddenly your phone screen goes dark, the dreaded low battery symbol flashing ominously. This scenario is all too familiar in our tech-dependent world. Don’t let a dead phone battery leave you stranded and disconnected. A portable charger – compact enough to slip into your backpack or purse – ensures your devices stay juiced, allowing you to capture memories, stay connected, and navigate with confidence, even when you’re far from a power outlet.


9. RV-Specific Essentials: Geared for the Road


Beyond the usual camping suspects, there’s a category of often-overlooked items that are specific to the unique challenges and joys of RVing. These aren’t your average camping accessories; these are specialized tools designed to make your RV life smoother, safer, and more enjoyable.


  • Leveling Blocks: Don’t underestimate the importance of a level RV. It’s not just about aesthetics or a sense of order, though those are certainly bonuses! A level RV ensures a comfortable sleeping experience – no more rolling towards the center of the bed or propping pillows precariously to find a flat spot. More importantly, leveling your RV prevents appliances that rely on gravity, such as refrigerators and propane-powered appliances, from malfunctioning. Leveling blocks are simple yet incredibly effective tools that make achieving that perfect level a breeze.
  • Wheel Chocks: Imagine parking your RV at your dream campsite – a picturesque spot overlooking a serene lake or nestled beneath a canopy of stars. You’ve leveled your rolling abode, set up your outdoor oasis, and are about to kick back and relax when you feel it – a slight rocking motion as if your RV has a mind of its own. That gentle sway might seem harmless, but it’s a reminder that even the most solidly built RVs can shift subtly on uneven terrain. This is where wheel chocks come into play. These sturdy wedges are placed behind your RV’s wheels once it’s parked and leveled, preventing unwanted movement and providing an extra layer of safety and stability.


10. Optional Extras: Elevating Your RV Experience


Ready to transform your RV from simply comfortable to downright luxurious? These optional extras might not be essential in the strictest sense, but they add those finishing touches that elevate your camping experience, making it feel more like a home away from home.


  • Outdoor Rug: Define your outdoor living space and create a visual boundary between your RV and the surrounding campsite with an outdoor rug. Not only does a rug add a touch of visual warmth and personality to your setup, but it also serves a practical purpose – trapping dirt, grass, and debris, preventing them from being tracked into your RV. Choose a durable, weather-resistant rug that’s easy to clean and can withstand the rigors of outdoor use.
  • Hammock: For the ultimate in relaxation and a true taste of that carefree camping lifestyle, string up a hammock between two sturdy trees. It’s the perfect spot for an afternoon nap, lulled by the gentle swaying motion, or for simply losing yourself in a good book, serenaded by the sounds of nature.


Final Thoughts: Gear Up for Adventure!


Remember, this list is a roadmap, not a rigid set of rules. Tailor it to your specific needs, preferences, and the nature of your RV trip. With the right gear in tow – thoughtfully selected and packed with care – your essential RV camping gear list transforms from a mere checklist into a passport to unforgettable adventures. So, pack your bags, hit the open road, and let the journey begin
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