Want to know the camper accessories you need for your new rig? It could cost you thousands if you don’t have some of these items. Don’t hit the road without these rv accessories and camping gear must haves!
Before we start, let me say congratulations! YAY! You finally did it! Welcome to the crazy, adventure-filled life of RVing! I’m so excited for you!
If you haven’t already done so, sign up for my email list so we can stay in touch! There is an entire community of RVers just like you, and I would love for you to join us! There is SO much to learn about RVing. What better way to do that than to learn from seasoned, and newbie RVers as well, and make lifelong friendships at the same time.
I also want to see your new rig! Send me some pics or a video, and I will feature you in one of my upcoming “Welcome to the Family” posts! I know everyone would love to meet you. We can never get enough of seeing other people’s rigs! I call this OPR syndrome (Other People’s Rigs Syndrome)…it’s definitely a thing…I’m serious.
Where to start
So you bought your new or “new to you” RV, camper, Travel Trailer, Fifth Wheel, Conversion Van (one of my new obsessions btw)…I just refer to all of them as RV’s, or campers, or whatever comes to mind at the time haha, but you catch my drift.
You are probably wondering what next, right? What RV accessories or camper accessories do I need? Have no fear…I’ve got you covered with this list.
If you were lucky enough to purchase a brand spankin’ new RV, chances are you do not have most of the gear you are going to need to use this thing. If you purchased a used RV you may, or may not, have some or all of these things already.
Don’t buy poor quality camper accessories
I purchased my Fifth Wheel used, from a private seller, and it came with about half of the things on this list already, BUT I ended up having to replace most of it, because their choices were terrible. It was all crap, basically. Everything was either already falling apart, or eventually did (at the WORST possible times I might add!), so learn from my mistakes, and don’t cheap out and buy crap!
You will spend more money doing this, because you WILL eventually have to replace all of it with better quality items. You will have basically just thrown all of the money that you spent on the original crap right out the window. I keep saying “crap,” because that’s exactly what a lot of the products in the camping industry are…nothing but CRAP!
Ok, I’m done with my rant (apparently, I have a lot of pent up frustration on this subject!). Needless to say, I didn’t know it at the time, but looking back, the previous owners of my 5th Wheel definitely didn’t know the proper equipment to buy…and that is ok…you don’t know what you don’t know right?!
I will do a post on purchasing a new, or used, RV soon, so be on the lookout for that…especially if you haven’t purchased yours yet. You will want to learn from my mistakes…trrrruust me!
The bare essential camper accessories
Now remember, this list is just the bare minimum. There are many other camper accessories, camping gear, RV upgrades and mods that I highly recommend, and cannot imagine not having. But, if you are on a tight budget and just want to get the bare minimum for now, this is what you need to get.
Unless you are boondocking, or dry camping (meaning you won’t be using shore power or any water or sewer hookups), you absolutely cannot use all of the systems and features of your new rig safely, or use them at all for that matter, without these camper accessories.
Note: I may make a commission on any of the products you purchase using my links, at no additional cost to you. These are all products that I, either use myself or have done extensive research on and can recommend with confidence.
Ok, so let’s dive right in!
1. Surge Protector: One of the most important camper accessories that you must have.
Let me say that again. THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT CAMPER ACCESSORIES THAT YOU MUST HAVE FOR YOUR CAMPER OR RV! Do not even think about not having one!! (sorry, I didn’t mean to yell at you!), or maybe you’re one of the stubborn ones, and I do need to yell at you a little haha. Please please please please do not plug your rig into the pedestal at a campground without this. Don’t do it. Just don’t.
Don’t tell yourself you will get it later…don’t make excuses why you don’t have the money…don’t. Get it. Period. End of story.
Why you need a Surge Protector
Just this one camper accessory alone could literally save you thousands of dollars and a lot of ugly-crying! Don’t believe me? Just do a quick search on the internet, and you will find horror stories of people who had every appliance and electrical system in their RV destroyed because of a power surge or low voltage at the campground they were staying at.
Can you afford that? A couple hundred bucks is not sounding all that bad now is it? You know the old saying, “If you play with fire, you’re going to get burned.” And eventually you will. You don’t want everyone to see you ugly-crying…it’s not pretty!
Don’t be another horror story on the internet. Learn from other people’s mistakes. I call this OPM, “Other People’s Mistakes.”
Hardwired vs Portable
You can get one that is hardwired into your electrical system like the Progressive Industries EMSHW50C Surge Protector, or a portable one like the Surge Guard 34830 Surge Protector. You simply plug it into the pedestal and then plug your electrical cord into the other end of it.
I prefer the hardwired surge protectors, but I ended up getting a portable model. At the time, the hardwired ones were double the price of the portable ones, and I really couldn’t afford it. And then there was the hassle of having to find someone to install it. They are priced a little more comparably to the portable ones now though.
There are two major brands that you will see the most. Surge Guard and Progressive Industries.
Surge Guard Surge Protectors
Surge Guard claims that, as of 2017, they are offering a lifetime warranty on their surge protectors, but I’m not seeing that advertised with any of their retailers. Everything still says it is only a one year warranty, so if you go with Surge Guard, check with the retailer before you purchase, just so you know for sure.
Progressive Industries Surge Protectors
Progressive Industries has the best surge protectors in my opinion, but they are a little higher in price, so if you can swing it, get the Progressive Industries surge protector.
I like Progressive Industries products because they come with a lifetime warranty! That in itself makes the higher price worth it to me, plus you are getting a superior product as well.
I have now had two, yes TWO, of these fried due to power surges in campgrounds. Better than my appliances, my entire electrical system and any TV’s, computers and cell phones I may have had plugged in at the time. All I had to do was give them a call, and they sent me a brand new one within a day or two. So freakin awesome, and boy was I glad I had this thing to protect me!
If money is no object, then go with a hardwired surge protector with remote display, and get an auto transformer installed as well. If you would like more info on this, just send me an email, and I will find the best option for you.
I have done a lot of research on these, and Progressive Industries is my number one pick, with Surge Guard being my second choice. Price point, features and warranty are the main factors involved in my choices, but I won’t get bogged down in the details of that in this particular post.
Less expensive RV surge protectors
If you just absolutely cannot swing any of the models I mentioned above, get one of the less expensive models from either company, preferably Progressive Industries.
Here is the less expensive 30 amp model SSP-30XL from Progressive Industries, and here is the less expensive 30 amp model 44280 from Surge Guard. Here is the less expensive 50 amp model SSP-50XL from Progressive Industries, and here is the less expensive 50 amp model 44290 from Surge Guard.
These are not nearly as good, but they are absolutely better than nothing at all. Just get something…whatever you can.
Surge protector lock
One last thing…this isn’t a must, but I highly recommend getting a lock like this one for the Surge Guard models, so yours doesn’t “walk off” while you are away from your RV. I like to believe that this won’t happen to you, but it’s possible. I have seen it happen before.
All of the Progressive Industries models come with a built-in locking bracket. You just need to buy the lock, so just another plus for Progressive Industries.
I really could go on and on about surge protectors, but let’s move on…for now.
2. RV Electrical Cord
Most RVs, even brand new ones, will come with the electrical cord, but I’m including it in this list just in case yours did not.
30 Amp vs 50 Amp
Your RV will either run on 30 amps or 50 amps. In case you are unsure which one you have, this is what a 30 amp plug looks like…
And this is what a 50 amp plug looks like…
If you need a 30 amp electrical cord, get one like this. If you need a 50 amp electrical cord, get one like this. Just make sure they are 90 degree angle plugs on both ends, and the female end is locking. A typical cord is 25′-30′ long.
Not all RV Electrical Cords are created equally or safe
Be careful about the cord you buy. The higher the amperage, the lower the gauge of the wire used needs to be. A 30 amp electrical cord should not be made with anything higher than 10 gauge wire, and a 50 amp electrical cord should be made with 6/8 gauge wire or lower. It is unsafe to deviate from these standards. Believe it or not, they are being sold all over the place.
RV Extension Cord
I highly recommend getting an extension cord for situations where the pedestal is on the wrong side of the campsite, or farther away than usual. I won’t be including that in this list, as it is not an absolute must at this point. But, if it is in your budget (I know, I know…I’m starting to sound like a broken record), go ahead and get one like this for 30 amp, and this for 50 amps. You will eventually need it.
Also, keep in mind that the gauge of the wire might need to be even lower if you are using a really long cord or adding a super long extension cord. Lower gauge = thicker wire = not burning down your camper = happy camper 🙂 If you are unsure, please don’t hesitate to contact me, and I will help you with this. Don’t burn down the campground…es no bueno!!
3. Dog Bones
No I don’t mean actual dog bones haha. These are just called dog bones. In a nutshell, they allow you to power up, or down, your amperage.
50 Amp Service
If you have an RV that runs off of 50 amp service, but you’re at a campground that only has 30 amp service. You will plug your 50 amp electrical cord into the female end of a dog bone like this, and the male end of the dog bone will plug into the pedestal at the campground. Correction…into your surge protector and THEN into the pedestal! This will allow you to run your 50 amp RV on 30 amp service.
This scenario will limit what you can use in your RV, so keep that in mind. For example, I use 50 amps, so when I’m only running on 30 amps, I cannot run my A/C and microwave or my A/C and hairdryer at the same time.
30 Amp Service
Same goes with the opposite situation as well. If my RV runs off of 30 amps, and I only have 50 amp service at my campsite, I can use a dog bone like this one, to allow me to use the 50 amp plug at the pedestal. The first situation is more common, however.
You should not have any problems using your appliances and other electrical items as usual if the pedestal has 50 amp service.
15 Amp Service
15 Amp service is just your standard sized plug, like you would use at home. It is always a good idea to have a dog bone that will allow you to run off of 15 amp service as well, but I am not technically including it in this list since it is not an absolute must-have.
4. Sewer Hose: An RV Accessory Must Have
Remember earlier when I mentioned things failing or falling apart at the worst times? Well, this was one of them.
You do not want to get a cheap sewer hose. Get one that is thick and will not crack. Or start spewing sewage all over the place when you’re dumping your tanks with five other RVers watching, impatiently waiting on you. Yes, that happened to me, and boy was that embarrassing to say the least. I think I turned a shade of red I have never seen before, not to mention eeewwwww!!
Which RV sewer hose should you choose
Get a GOOD sewer hose. I have the Camco RhinoFLEX sewer hose, and I love it. It’s thick and durable, and I don’t have to worry about it falling apart on me or making me want to crawl in a hole and never come out.
This Thetford Titan sewer hose is another good option. You can run over this thing with your truck, and it will not crack!
What length sewer hose do you need
I would get at least a 15′ hose. I have been to many campgrounds where I barely had enough hose to reach the sewer connection, so I also have a shorter extension hose like this one that I have had to use many times as well.
You will be glad you have it, and it’s better to have to use an extension on a few occasions, than to deal with a super long hose on every occasion.
Even if you are only going to be using the bathhouse at campgrounds, yo are going to want to be able to use your kitchen and bathroom sinks, so you will still need a sewer hose to empty your gray water tanks.
5. Sewer Hose Support
This little guy will ensure that your “sewage” does not sit, all grody and stagnant, in your sewer hose. It keeps it up off of the ground, and also provides a gradual slope for all of that “yucky stuff” to make it out of the hose and go away forever as quickly as possible…that is the goal here!
They are not super expensive, so there’s really no reason why you wouldn’t get this. Some campgrounds actually require that you use one, and in some states, it’s actually a law.
I have the Camco Sidewinder Sewer Support. It works great, does it’s job and then folds up neatly for storing when not in use.
6. Disposable Gloves
Ok, so these are not really a must, they are for me, but maybe not for everyone? Although, why would you want to risk getting that “stuff” on your hands? So I’m including it, because…well…that’s just gross haha, and you may not have thought about getting them until it’s too late to run to the store. You’re welcome.
7. Potable Drinking Water Hose
You’ll need a water hose just for your potable (drinking) water. You’ll want to get a different color than your other hoses, so you can keep this one separate. Never, and I mean NEVER, use this hose for anything other than potable water. I have a white one like this Camco Tastepure drinking hose.
Get one that is at least 25′ long. You will want the hose to be lead free, BPA free etc.
Smaller extension drinking water hose
I also have a smaller 10′ hose like this one for those situations where the spigot is farther away than usual.
I prefer to have two smaller hoses vs having one long hose that is cumbersome and hard to deal with. You won’t need a super long one very often.
RV Water Filter
This will not be part of this list, because it is not an absolute must, but I highly recommend getting a water filter like this one. There are sediments and other things that you don’t want running through your lines and settling in your tanks if you can avoid it. Over time, it can cause serious problems. You can always get this later, but if it’s in your budget, go ahead and grab one.
A Heated RV Water Hose is an essential camper accessory for cold weather RVing
If you are camping in temperatures that dip below freezing, you really need to get a heated water hose like this one.
8. Water Pressure Regulator
A water pressure regulator is also a must on this list of camper accessories.
The water pressure at campgrounds can be extremely high, so you will want one of these bad boys to regulate it, and avoid doing damage or causing a leak in your RV’s plumbing.
Again, this is one of those things that you must have. This one is not an option if you want to protect your investment and avoid costly repairs Don’t flood your bed if you want to sleep in it. Mmmmmkay.
9. Water Elbow
This will keep your water hookup from getting damaged from the constant stress of the water hose pulling down on it. Make sure you get a metal one like this.
An ounce of prevention, in situations like these, can save you a lot of money and headache down the road. And these are super inexpensive, so do yourself a favor, and don’t skip this one, even though I know, those of you on a budget, want to. Don’t do it. Just get it.
Stick with me…we’re getting there! I know this is a lot of information, but it is IMPORTANT information, and I want to set you up for SUCCESS!
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10. RV Tire and Wheel Chocks
Chocks are a must on your list of essential camper accessories.
You absolutely cannot skip getting chocks. They are placed in front of, and/or behind, your tires when your RV is parked.
Chocks will keep you from “moving.” Or rolling down a hill. Or taking out your neighbors rig. Or flat out rolling over your neighbor. Are you pickin’ up what I’m throwin’ at ya here? You don’t want any of the above scenarios taking place…my work here is done.
Which chocks should you choose
There are a variety of different chock options. You really don’t need anything fancy or expensive here. Just get something. You’ll want to have at least four.
Wheel Stabilizer Chocks
I love these X-Chock Wheel Stabilizers. They are durable, and will help stabilize your rig. I beefed up my tires, so they are really close together, and these will not work for me, otherwise I would be using these.
Basic Wheel Chocks
But if your budget is tight, just get two sets of these less expensive ones. I used them for years, and they are just fine…I actually ran over one, and I could still use it if I really wanted to. Don’t ask me why I still have it!
This is another less expensive wheel chock option. These are what I currently use, and I really like solid rubber chocks. They are strong and durable.
Be careful when purchasing this style, though. There are some plastic versions that look like the solid rubber ones in photos. If you are shopping online, you may think you are buying the solid rubber ones if you are not paying close attention.
The plastic ones would work just fine as well though, but cost almost just as much, so you might as well get the rubber ones…they will be more durable.
Wheel chocks and levelers system
I’ve been hearing really good things about this Andersen Chock Kit. These are actually levelers, which we will talk about next, as well as wheel chocks. A lot of RVers seem to really love them, but I read a few reviews that said they snap in half easily, so I decided against going with this system.
I also read that they slip easily, so if you decide to try these out, be sure to get the the ones that come with the non-slip pads, as shown in my link.
If you have these, or end up getting them, let me know what you think about them and how they hold up!
If your budget is tight however, I would rather see you spend your money on things like the surge protector, than to buy expensive chocks and not get the better quality surge protector as a result.
11. RV Leveling Blocks
Why do you need leveling blocks you ask? Leveling blocks are important if you don’t want to feel like you are in a fun-house at the fair.
Or if you don’t want all of the food in your skillet, when you are cooking, to slide to one side of the pan. Or if you want your fridge to continue to keep your food cold. Or if you want your slides to function properly. Or if you like all of your dirty shower water to go down the drain without having to “help” it along. Catch my drift? You need them. Trust me. Get them.
How many leveling blocks do you need
You’ll want to get ten of these, if you can, but a minimum of four. Even if you think you’ll only be at campgrounds that have level sites…they won’t be completely level, and you’ll need them eventually.
If your budget is tight, just get a set of these and move on. If you have it in your budget, get a set of ten like this. Or you could get a system like the Andersen Chock Kit that I mentioned previously.
Another optional camper accessory
I use these flex pads with my leveling blocks. They are really great to use under your leveling blocks for uneven or slippery surfaces, but these are not a “must”, so I’m not including them in this list.
I also have these larger flex pads, but again they are not a “must.” Spend your money elsewhere if your budget is tight.
You can also use leveling blocks as jack pads for your jacks and stabilizers. There are a lot of other uses for leveling blocks as well, but I won’t get into all of that in this post.
Now that you have the leveling blocks, get yourself a level so you actually know if your RV is level or not and how much you need to adjust. You can get these stick-on levels, or just get a level like this one.
I needed a level for other things, and I like to buy things that have multiple purposes/uses, so I just went with a good ol’ regular level.
Obviously, if you’re lucky enough to have an RV with an automatic self-leveling system, then you won’t need a level for this. But you’ll need a level for numerous other things, so go ahead and grab one if you can.
13. RV Holding Tank Deodorizers: A must have camper accessory!
You’ll want to eliminate the bad smells that will inevitably come up from your holding tanks, so pick up something like this for your black tank. I have used this brand before, and it works great, plus it is organic.
You will not be able to eat, sleep, breathe or even be in your camper if you do not have something to get rid of the smell your holding tanks will create, so do not forget to get this.
I am currently testing out the GEO method, so I will update you on that soon. You’ll need to use this for your grey tank as well (yes your grey tank will smell terrible too).
14. RV Toilet Paper
You will need to get some toilet paper that is quick dissolving. It doesn’t necessarily have to be “RV” toilet paper. I really can’t recommend actual “RV” toilet paper…it is such a rip-off, but if you must buy it, here is a link.
You can test the toilet paper you already have at home to see if you can use it, by putting some in a jar of water (with the lid on it). Shake it for a few seconds. If the toilet paper dissolves quickly, it is safe to use in your RV.
If not, get some RV specific toilet paper until you find a brand you know you can use, or don’t flush toilet paper down the toilet altogether. A lot of RVers go this route, to avoid clogs and gunking up their tank sensors.
Either method will work. I will write a post on some tips and hacks for these issues (man my to-do list is getting longer by the minute haha!).
Just be careful about what you are putting down your toilet and sink drains…you do not want to clog up your pipes…that will be a BIG problem…BIG…HUGE. ‘Nuff said.
15. Tire Pressure Gauge: The #1 MOST important camper accessory.
If you listen to anything I say in this post, let it be this.
Check out this post I wrote regarding your tires and safety concerns when it comes to traveling. It really is important that you know this information! Your jaw will seriously drop to the floor when you see what happened to me and the damage done to my 5th Wheel my FIRST trip out!
You absolutely, hands-down MUST get a tire pressure gauge. You can get one like this if you are on a budget. You can actually get these free from most tire shops like Firestone or whatever tire shop is closest to you. They usually give them out for free and will air up your tires for free as well.
You need to be checking your tire pressure, before you leave and every time you stop, while on the road.
Please speak with a professional if you are unsure what the pressure in your tires should be.
Well, I think that about covers the basics…whew…I know that was long, so thank you for sticking with me! Oh, I almost forgot! Get some Duct Tape! Just get some…you know you’re going to need it…do it haha!
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What else is a hands-down, must have, basic essential for the new Rver? Let me know what yours are in the comments!
See you again soon!