Travel Trailer Essentials for your RV

Our Grand Design 312BHTS!

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New to RVing?

We’ve got you covered with our travel trailer essentials list.  Jen and I spent a lot of time researching our rig and set up before leaving Hawaii.  Knowing what you need to get started can be a big task, especially if it’s your first time RVing.  There are some RV necessities you must have to travel safely and comfortably in your RV. These should be accessible when you pick up your RV or before your first outing.

Pulling out of General RV
First time pulling! Notice the boxes in the back of our stuff?

16,000 Miles of Research

The great thing about the RV community is it’s interactive.  The list has changed slightly since we started but we currently use all these products with our Grand Design 312BHTS on our full-time travel adventure.

Travel Trailer Essentials List

Here is a quick rundown of each item and why we feel it’s an essential item:

  1. Surge Protector – Keep power spikes and bad connections at RV parks in check.  It’s too risky “not” to have a surge protector if you’re connecting to an unknown power source.   The cost to fix an electrical system in an RV can run up very fast!
  2. Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) – A TPMS to us was just as important as the surge protector when it comes to RV gear. Monitoring your tires’ temperature and pressure while towing helps warn of possible issues with your tires before they happen.
  3.  Shore Power Cable – Your RV should come with a primary shore cable.  If it does not, you’ll need one to connect your RV to park power poles.  Depending on your RV, you’ll need a 30 Amp or 50 Amp cable.
  4. Electrical adapters – Sometimes, you’ll find yourself in odd situations to connect to power.  It’s always good to have a varsity of ways to connect.  Since we have a 50 Amp connection, we’ve included ways to connect to 30 Amp and 20 Amp power (standard home outlet).  This allows us to convert our 50 Amp power all the way down to 20 Amp.
  5. Sewer Connections –  You’ll find a variety of hoses, elbows, cleaning connectors, caps, and extensions to choose from when deciding what your sewer hose system will look like.  Each rig is set up differently, so you’ll want to ask some questions upfront.  Questions like, where are the connections? Is their onboard hose storage? Is there more than one connection, etc.?  At a minimum, you’ll need a basic setup like one of these.
  6. Holding Tank Biologic – It’s recommended to use a biologic to assist with odor control and waste breakdown in RV tanks. This is a place you DON’T want problems when RVing.  We use an organic enzyme called Happy Camper that has worked very well in our black and gray tanks.
  7. Water Pre-filter -Reduce bad taste, orders, chlorine, and sediment from water in your RV. There are various solutions for filtering water while RV’ing, but having a baseline setup will work well enough on day one.  Pre-filters are offered in 20-micron filters all the way down to one micron.
  8. Water Pressure Regulator -If the city’s water pressure is higher than the RV’s plumbing water system can handle, leaks can occur. Water Pressure Regulators help protect RV plumbing and hoses from damage caused by high-pressure city water. Regulators reduce water pressure to a safe, consistent pressure regardless of any fluctuations. This protects equipment and prevents hose failure, prolonging equipment life.
  9. Water Hose – There are many different types of hoses on the market today, but as far as your RV water hose is concerned, you want to get one that is specifically safe to use for drinking water.  You should see a label or marking saying it’s safe to use for drinking. One we’ve found we really like is the Zero-G hose. They are high quality, don’t kink, easily store, and don’t weigh much.
  10. Leveling System –  Leveling your RV is very important not only for your comfort & safety but also for operating your slides. Andersen Camper Levelers could almost be considered “an upgrade,” but for us, it was something we wanted on day one.  They just made it easy to get level quickly.  The baseline alternative is the Camco Leveling Blocks.  You can customize the size of the level you need with these, and they work great for smaller rigs as larger rigs can actually crush these.  We use the Camco Leveling Blocks on our stabilizer jacks to keep our landing jacks directly off the ground.
  11. Air Compressor – How many tires do you need to maintain when towing?  Six, eight, or even ten??  An RV compressor is a useful tool if you travel a lot.  I’ll consider it one of the essential items for a full-time RVer and high on the “should have” list for weekend warriors.  You’ll need a compressor that can provide 80+ psi to your tires, so be sure to check the specifications before buying.
  12. Wheel Chocks – A good goal to have is to keep your RV from moving once you’ve unhooked. Don’t travel anywhere without a way to chock your tires.  Wheel chocks should be positioned downhill and below the vehicle’s center of gravity.
  13. Extension Cord – Lastly, a heavy-duty extension cord.  This is just good practice to get power around your rig when you need it: power tools, air compressors, auxiliary power, or any appliances you may want to run outside.

View our Travel Trailer Essentials list on Kit.co

RV Gear

Conclusion

After 16,000 miles of traveling, I can say this list is “seasoned” and complete.  Some may debate whether the TPMS and air compressor are “necessities,” but I prefer to have them than not for the safety of my family, rig, and peace of mind when on the road.

Feel we missed something?  Want to contribute to our baseline list?  Please send us a message – we would love to hear from you!

About the author

Jay

The expedition driver, holding tank specialist, slide safety observer, and resident tech geek.


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