10 Things You Didn't Know You Needed for Your New RV

What are the RV items you need that are beyond basics?

If you are a new RV owner, there are some things that everyone will tell you that you need like basic hoses and RV toilet paper.   But, what are the things beyond the basics that you are going to need and want?  We felt like we knew what we needed because we were moving from a pop-up camper, but we quickly learned about new items that were not on our original list.

Before you rush out and start buying anything, get the basics.  A good RV starter kit is the way to go as a beginner or with a new camper.  It is an economical way to take the guesswork out of those first few purchases.  After you have tackled the basics, I suggest starting a list of extras to add to your gear and make a budget.  You can spend a lot of money fast stocking an RV.

Add a few things at a time to your gear, and don't feel like you have to do everything at once.  It will make the task more manageable financially and to get organized.  Otherwise, you may quickly feel like you have entered into a money pit right after your big purchase.  Check everything off of your list as you add it and enjoy the journey of it all.  It is also wise to keep a running tab of your gear and the costs for insurance purposes.  It is hard to know how to value the contents of your RV without a running list.  Many people underestimate the value of their belongings, and this can be a costly mistake if you ever need to file a claim.

Shelf Liner

One of the conveniences of having a travel trailer is being able to pack your pantry and cabinets before you leave with everything you need.  To keep items from shifting about as much, line your shelves with Gorilla Grip liner.  You can cut it to fit your spaces perfectly.  This particular brand has a stronger grip than the ordinary kind that you might find.  I recommend using it with your dishes, pantry and even in the bathroom to keep toiletries in place.  Some things are always going to shift, but this does help.

Black Tank Needs

We had never used a blank tank other than our porta potty.  So, we have learned a lot about black tank upkeep.  We bought an RV Starter Kit.  It has all the bare necessities for connecting your RV to hookups.  However, our friends quickly recommended getting a clear sewer adapter.  It is gross to watch your sewer tank drain, but you will also know when the water runs clear.  I apologize for the mental image there, but it is part of the job!  Your welcome for a helpful hint and disgusting image.  (Sorry, but you can thank me later when your tanks are clean!)

You are also going to want a black tank flush hose.  Most RV technicians and salespersons are going to tell you that there is a mechanism to keep your black tank from backing into you hose when you flush.  But, I still want to keep my clean water hose far from my sewer hose.  Just get a separate hose.  One won't come with a starter kit, but they are easy to add on (and cheap)!

Slide Awning

If you are buying an RV that has a slide, ask the dealership about putting this onto your RV before you leave the lot.  Or, if you are handy, you can install it yourself.  We are about to install one on our new RV and will be doing a full a review and guide on how to do this.   If you are unsure about how to measure for this job, here is a video to help you get started.  When you order a slide awning, make sure that you include all of the necessary hardware to install it with your purchase. 

Flying Insect Vent Cover

We live in the deep south, and flying insects can be more than a little problem.  While doing our RV walkthrough, the technician told me about these vent covers that keep dirt dobbers and wasps from building nests in your RV.  In our pop up camper, our old AC was basically destroyed by dirt dobber nests.  These covers install over your vents on the exterior of your RV and prohibit insects from getting in and building nests.  I bought this at the dealership before leaving on the day we picked up our new RV!  Put these covers at the top of your list.  They are inexpensive and will prohibit a pricey problem.

Grey Water Odor Control

Your RV starter kit will come with black tank treatment drop-ins.  But, you are going to need something for your grey water tanks as well.  Whatever you do, only use RV specific products in our tanks.  A little of this product will go along way and can prohibit odors in your tanks that are really hard to chase once they get started!  You can read the label to see how much your specific tanks will need each time. 

Packing Cubes

I heard about packing cubes for years before buying them to use on the road for work.  I really love mine for weekly travel.  However, these are the way to go when packing for trips in your RV too.  I received my packing cubes as a gift, but I also bought a set each for our son and my husband.  Each person can have their own color.  Pack your clothes into the cube and just take them out to the RV and stash in your drawer or cabinet space.  Everything stays together and organized.  So easy.  The Amazon Basics brand is what I bought my husband and son.  I like these better than the ones I own from another brand.  They have thicker fabric and handle on the top.  The mesh also seems to be of a sturdier quality.

Ice Maker

You need an ice maker.  This applies to pop up campers and travel trailers.  It was life-changing to get this.  We always have clean ice on demand.  I can use it for drinks or refill our cooler.  I have an aqua one, but this color seems a little more difficult to find.  However, the Igloo brand is what I have, and we have loved it.  I also think this item will pay for itself easily without having to buy bagged ice all of the time.  They take up about an 8 1/2 by 11 spot on the counter, so it doesn't take up a ton of space.  Think about laying a sheet of typing paper on your counter, and this is about the exact size of our Igloo ice maker.  I can't imagine camping without this.

Cordless Vac

Having a cordless vacuum is a must for a small RV.  It helps to keep everything clean.  You can just run it over the floor quickly and pick up a mess.  Cordless models are a little more expensive, but they are also easier to manage in a small space.  My friend has a Bissell Cordless Vaccum.  I have the Dirt Devil.  I think both are great tools.  The only thing wrong here is if you don't have one!  I also recommend getting one with a detachable vac that you can use as a handheld to get into small spaces and crevices.  I use this on our sofa and just all over to make sure I'm not leaving crumbs, dirt or dust behind.

New Mattresses

What?  Replace brand new mattresses?  Yes.  You read correctly.  Most RV owners replace their mattresses that come with the unit.  I know it sounds crazy, but just do it.  Our Murphy Bed is a great feature, and the mattress is not comfy.  We replaced the ones with our pop up camper using sofa replacement mattresses from Classic Brands.  They were perfect for the interior of a pop-up. 

We are going to use the same brand, but we are using a different mattress thickness.  The sofa replacement mattresses are 4.5 to 5 inches thick.  However, you can go with whatever thickness is on the bed when you purchase.  Memory foam will be heavier than the original mattress.  Consider this fact in your purchase.  The weight does matter in an RV.  Finally, you can trim memory foam mattresses to fit the different shapes and sizes of an RV mattress.  This will make a difference because RV mattresses tend to be odd shaped on bunks and can be less than standard sizing.  Memory foam is the way to go.

If you have purchased a new RV recently, I'd love to hear from you and what items you added to make life better on the road.  Adding a few well-placed items will make life so much more comfortable while you travel, and this can appeal to everyone in your tribe!

Until next time...

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  1. Why do you replace your mattress ?? For comfort ? Thanks

    1. Yes! RV mattresses are terrible uncomfortable. It is just a sad truth. Thanks for following along!!


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