Outfitting Your New RV

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So, you bought a camper. No, really, you bought a camper! Seriously, get excited because you are joining a great community and there are some seriously awesome times ahead of you! But first, you need to outfit your RV. Yep, that means getting a lot of gear. Don’t worry! Bonnie and I have you covered.

We bought our first camper back in March 2016, took two weekend-long break-in trips in it, then took it on the road for 38 days straight. We have now spent the past seven summers taking our camper all over the country and this is the stuff we use and love.

First and foremost, let me give credit where credit is due. I did the same thing you are doing when I first got my camper: I got online and Googled how to outfit a new RV. Warren Petkovesk’s article on This Old Campsite came up and I started buying stuff off the list.

Pulling our camper over Powder River Pass in Wyoming
Pulling our camper over Powder River Pass in Wyoming.

Instead of forcing you to have to find out what works best for the RV and go search for a place to buy it, I have compiled a gear list for you and linked it all to Amazon. In general, we shop a lot at Amazon. We have Amazon Prime for two-day shipping (and movies… more on that in another post) and we have the Amazon Prime Rewards Credit Card, both of which we love. When you combine the two, you get 5% off your purchases at Amazon and the added bonus of 2% back at gas stations.

(Disclaimer: When we link to places you can buy our stuff or places we stayed, we are using special codes which earn us commissions on the sales at no additional cost to you. Please see our Review Policy  for more information.)

Updated May 2023

Outfitting the Outside of Your New RV

Hitch

Your hitch is one of the most important pieces of gear you can get and keeping everything about your hitch working properly is one of the best ways of reducing headaches.

Hitches for a travel trailer are very much a matter of personal preference. I suggest most folks towing a travel trailer should get some sort of weight-distributing hitch with sway control. It helps keep the back end of your truck from sagging and keeps the trailer from swaying all over the place.

Husky Centerline Hitch
Husky Centerline Hitch

I use the Husky Centerline TS because it is fairly easy to use, does not need to be disconnected when making tight turns and has worked like a champ for us.

That said, there is plenty of discussion in RV forums on other brands out there. The reason I have this particular hitch? This is what the dealer I bought my camper from carried and I got them to toss it in the price! After more than five years of towing with it, I recommend it.

Gear for Your Hitch

Hitch Lube

Regardless of which hitch you get, get some hitch lube! I use Reese Towpower Hitch Ball Lube. It reduces noise and keeps everything moving smoothly on the various components of the hitch. Be sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions on what to lube!

Hitch Ball Cover

Once you lube up your ball, you are gonna need to cover it to keep from smearing the lube on your clothes, etc. You can read all the innuendo you want into that comment, too. My wife and I call this thing the ball condom.

Another, easier and cheaper trick is to grab hold of the hitch ball with a dirty, rubber-gloved hand. While you are holding on to the ball, pull the glove off your hand and onto the ball. That will cover the ball and prevent getting grease everywhere.

Leather Work Gloves

Work gloves are mighty handy for keeping your hands clean and not torn up. Trust me on this, you are gonna want leather work gloves when it comes to dealing with the hitch, among other things. The hitch is heavy and it will tear up your hands, plus the grease is, well… greasy.

Hitch locks

So, you bought your beautiful new trailer and expensive hitch… Are you really going to leave them unlocked when you park it? Nah, didn’t think so. We replaced our locks with the ones I am linking to. Why? Because one key is better than two keys!

Gear for Your Tires

Tires keep you rolling (pun intended) and you both need to take care of them and prepare for their failure.

Tire Gauge and Lug Wrench

First and foremost, get yourself a decent tire gauge. You will need it, period. Next, get yourself a lug wrench that will actually do something. This is the one I have in my truck right now.

Trailer-Aid

We tried to use our Trailer-Aid and were a bit disappointed. While it got close, it did not quite get the other wheel off the ground when changing a tire. This was mainly due the spacing of our axles. If you have a Keystone camper like we do, you might want to skip the Trailer-Aid. If you don’t have such widely-spaced axels, this would work like a charm. Still, we highly suggest testing it first.

An alternative we found is using a LOT of Lynx Levelers to get the wheel high enough off the ground to change it. It is the same concept, we were just able to get it high enough to change out the tire.

Safety Markers

These are simple reflective caution triangles you use if you break down on the side of the road. It’s a small price to warn someone before they plow into your trailer.

Tire Covers

If you are going to be storing your RV for any period of time, you want to protect the tires with covers. These go on easy and fold up just as easily.

Chocks

These are simple, yellow chocks that will keep your trailer from rolling. Get four of them (two packs of two).

Leveling Gear

It does not matter how much the campground advertises having level sites, they won’t be. You will need to level your trailer at least a little pretty much every time you camp. Sometimes, it will be easy. Sometimes, it will be hard. These gizmos will help make the process better.

Level

Ok, so the first time you level your camper, you are going to want to use a nice carpenter’s level to make sure it is squared away. Once you do that, stick these guys on the outside of your camper, near the front. They will tell you how many inches the camper needs to come up in order to be level.

Lynx Levelers, Caps and Stop n’ Chocks

Once you figured out how much you need to level, lay these bad boys down and drive the trailer up onto them. The cool thing is one layer of them is one inch on the level. It takes a lot of the guesswork out of the process.

I know some guys will just haul 1”x4” scraps to level with, which I am not a fan for a few reasons: 1) Lynx Levelers are plastic and won’t rot and 2) they work like LEGOs and won’t slide.

I suggest three bags of 10 of these. We started out with two bags and ran out in a couple of places leveling our camper and supporting the stabilizing jacks our first year. For the last two summers, three bags has done the trick.

Lynx Caps go on the levelers to protect the “LEGO” connectors and are great as stabilizer pads and can be used by themselves. Despite saying they do not add any height to the leveling stack, they add a bit and can be used by themselves for leveling.

That said, with the above levels and a cap, the “one level for one inch off” rule maybe not quite exact. With a little practice, you’ll learn to read the gauge and determine what you need. Get two packs of four.

Stop n’ Chocks link into the Lynx Leveler to secure your trailer on the levels. Get one pack of two. I have a total of four and never use the other two.

You can even use Lynx Levelers to help you change a tire!

X-Chocks

The new addition to our camping gear is X-Chocks. These metal contraptions spread between the wheels on your camper to prevent your wheels from moving. They add a lot of stability to your camper, even more than the stabilizing jacks themselves.

X-Chocks added a lot of stability to our camper.
We recently picked up some X-Chocks and were quite impressed without much additional stability they brought to the camper.

I will be honest, putting them on the first time is a bit of a hassle. It takes a lot of trial and error to get them on. That said, once you get them on, you just need to loosen them a small amount to take them off, which will make putting them on a second time a lot easier.

We had to order the extended version of X-Chocks so they would fit our Keystone trailer, which has wider than normal separation. Once we got them installed, we noticed a significant difference in the stability of our rig. These are well worth the price.

Ryobi One+ Gear

Scissor Jack Socket and Cordless Drill

ONE+ gear from Ryobi makes for great RV gadgets
All three of these tools use the same battery and charger.

I can’t tell you how much time this little gizmo, combined with a cordless drill, will save you. You put this in your drill, then the stabilizer jacks go up and down in seconds. We saw a poor guy in Baker, NV putting down his scissor jacks by hand in 100+ degrees.

I went over to help him out with my drill only to discover the scissor jacks on his camper did not have a drive nut. My recommendation: if you have a camper that has jacks without a drive nut, pay to have them replaced with ones that do. This one trick will save you so much sweat.

Other Ryobi One+ Gear

We really like Ryobi One+ gear from Home Depot for our camper. The system all uses the same rechargeable batteries, can easily be found at most Home Depot stores and there are a bunch of useful tools for a camper. That makes finding a replacement or additional battery easy. I have included links to Amazon to make shopping easier for you, but you can likely get these cheaper at Home Depot.

I got this drill, a bare-bones model I picked up at Home Depot. It lives in the camper and I rarely use it for much more than driving the scissor jacks, but I have a bit kit just in case I need it.

I also have a portable fan that runs off either batteries or an outlet. This is great for boondocking (camping without connections) when it is a bit hot at night. Both of these are great additions to any camper.

Need a hand vac? Ryobi makes those, too. We have that plus we got a handheld air compressor to be able to top off tires. Yes, it has enough juice to inflate the tires on the camper and is great for making sure they are full before a long drive. All run on the same batteries and charger, which makes it quite convenient.

Electrical Gear

Your camper relies on the electricity you put into it, so don’t skimp on the gear you use to connect your camper to the pedestal.

Power Cord

If your camper did not come with one, you will need one in the correct amperage, either 30 or 50 amps. We have a 30-amp camper, so I picked up a power extension cable. On our last two trips, we have run into several campgrounds where we needed a power cable extension. The pedestal was at the back and our power connection is close to the front of the camper. It’s just prudent to have an extra power cable.

Power Management

Like the hitch, power management is a source of serious debate among RVers. There are a few different brands, each with plusses and minuses. We ended up buying the Progressive Industries model and it has been great so far. Basically, the device works like a surge protector for your camper. It analyzes the power coming from the pedestal, looking for all sorts of electrical problems.

The best part for me is the lifetime warranty. Our model actually failed on us. It was working just fine, caught a low voltage problem at a campground. Then, a few nights later, it just stopped letting electricity through the unit. It would analyze the power, not give any error codes, but no juice was going to the camper.

We called Progressive and they FedEx’ed a new unit to us to our campground in Bar Harbor. Seriously, you can’t beat that kind of service! I have linked to their most up-to-date model.

Dog Bones

A dog bone is not something for your pet. It is a plug adapter for your camper. Let’s say you are out on the road, no reservation, just going to stop at an RV park along the way. You get there and they have a spot, but only a 50 amp connection for your 30 amp trailer. What do you do then? You pull out the dog bone and plug right in!

Since I have a 30 amp camper, I have two: I have a 50 amp to 30 amp and a 15 amp to 30 amp, covering the two different plug types out there. You will need to get the dog bones that work for your camper.

One thing to bear in mind: a dog bone is just a plug adapter. It will not magically make more power come out of a lesser connection. You will not be able to function normally on a 30 amp connection if you have a 50 amp RV. Typically, that means you will not be able to run A/C, which is often the biggest power draw.

Coax Cable and Surge Protector

If your camper has a cable connection, you might as well have some coax cable to take advantage of the cable at your campsite. I suggest a 25-foot length and a one-foot cable for using an in-line surge protector.

You protected your main electrical system from getting zapped, but make sure you protect your TV, too. Connect this to the shorter coax cable on the exterior of your camper and then to the connection to the park.

Water Connection Gear

Just like electricity, water is essential to the good operation of your camper… Keep it fresh and clean.

Drinking Water Hose

Let’s talk water connection. First things first, you will need a water hose. But not just any water hose. You need a food-grade water hose. These are typically white or blue. I suggest at least 35 feet of hose. Indeed, on our second trip, I had to drive half an hour to the nearest Wal-Mart to get a second water hose because we didn’t have a long enough hose.

Originally, we had a standard white rubber hose for our water connection, but the collapsible hose I use for flushing is so convenient, I looked for a similar hose for drinking water. Once I found one, I was hooked!

This is seriously one of the best upgrades I have gotten for the camper after our first major trip. This is so much easier to use than the hose above. Yes, it costs more but is well worth it in terms of hassle and space it takes up. GET THIS HOSE!

Be sure you get the 50-foot model. We ended up having to run to Walmart on our Great Lakes trip because we needed a longer hose. After three summers of camping, we thought we were good. We were wrong. I now have a 50-foot rubber hose for when my 35-foot water hose is not going to reach. I hate the rubber hose.

Water Pressure Regulator

This is a must. You don’t know what the water pressure is at the campground you are going to. It could be 120 psi. Your camper, on the other hand, only needs 40-50 psi.

Pro tip: connect this to the campground’s water supply, then connect the filter, then connect the hose, which will connect to your camper. Here’s why: the pressure will build up at the regulator, but will be reduced on the other side. You don’t want your components (hose and filter) dealing with additional pressure. That will lead to hose failure a lot faster. See the picture above.

Water Filter

There are several different systems you can use for a water filter. There are some campers that have filters built into their system. If you are not full-time, this is a good, easy-to-use filter. One thing I like about this filter is you can easily find it at Walmart if you need to replace it on the road.

Water Splitter

I recently added a simple connection splitter to my gear. What this allows me to do is connect to the black water tank flush valve when I am setting up the camper. I use this to add water to the bottom of the black water tank to prevent the build-up of solid matter. It’s simple and effective, letting me accomplish two things at the same time. I got this one at Walmart while on the road but here is a nice brass one on Amazon.

Sewer Gear

Every camper is different and some have funky sewer connections, but this gear works for me and is the most common stuff I have seen out there up to this point.

Sewer Hose Kit

The first thing you want to buy is a sewer hose kit. This kit has just about everything you need to get started. Get the 20-foot kit. It comes with a 10′ connecting hose and a 10′ extension hose. Most of the time, that is all you will need in terms of connecting to a sewer hook-up. I have linked to their new, improved model which has a clear elbow connection.

The only thing you may want to add if you are often connecting to a campground that has a wider than normal or unthreaded connection is a rubber donut. I have not needed one yet, but I might get one to toss in there just in case.

Typically, the sewer hose connection is a few inches above the ground and you want a smooth flow into it. This will allow the hose to run smoothly over uneven ground to the sewer connection. I recommend getting the 20-foot support.

Pro tip: Sometimes your Lynx Levelers will come in real handy when doing a sewer connection, like when we stayed at Fishing Bridge RV Campground in Yellowstone National Park. Sometimes, you have to improvise, adapt and overcome!

Sewer Tank Rinser

So, after staying at several campgrounds without other bathrooms to deposit solid matter in, I noticed some build-up in my black water tank. We solved part of this problem by partially filling our tank. But that didn’t solve the problem of the existing build-up. So, I picked up this attachment and blasted out my black water tank from the drain and it worked exceptionally well. I was able to flush out a lot of solid matter easily and it was easy to tell when the tank was clean.

Sewer Rinse Adapter and Hose

I can’t begin to tell you how much I love this thing. Most of the time, it is attached to my secondary hose (see below).

So, you drained your black tank and your gray tank and now you are ready to rinse that sewer hose out because who wants to travel with funk in your hose? Just attach this to a generic hose, turn on the water, uncouple your sewer hose from the camper and couple it to this adapter. Turn on the valve on the adapter and voila! No mess. No fuss.

You do not want to ever use your freshwater hose to do any sort of cleaning, much less cleaning your sewer hose. Yes, you can get a cheap garden hose to use when you clean the sewer hose, flush the tank or spray down the camper, but this is so much better and takes up a lot less room.

Winterization Gear

While you won’t need it right away, you will need some equipment to winterize your camper. There are a couple of different methods. For how we winterize our camper, be sure to read up on it here.

Air Compressor

I got a small, pancake-style air compressor that would store easily in the camper. The idea is, using an adapter, you blow all of the liquid out of the lines. This worked like a charm. While it is loud, this is not something you should need to use all the time.

Water Blow Out and Tire Inflation Adapters

Camco makes a great adapter to use with your air compressor to blow out the lines. You will need a quick connect adapter, but you can easily get those at Walmart or The Home Depot.

If you are getting an air compressor for your camper, you might as well get an adapter to inflate the tires on your camper, too.

Gear to Keep in Your Pass-Through

This is the gear I keep in my pass-through storage that just makes RV life easier.

Rubber gloves

I keep a box of disposable gloves in the pass-through for two reasons: dealing with the sewer system and dealing with the ball lube. Once I am done with both, take them off and throw them away. I probably picked up the above box at Wal-Mart when I ran out of the linked product. Both are great.

I tried the Camco ones which stick onto the door of the pass-through. I was not impressed in their durability for dealing with some of the more difficult jobs around the camper.

Shop Towel

I keep a box of these in the pass-through and they are great. The box itself is a little big, but we love being able to pull a couple out as needed. These are great for cleaning up after dealing with the sewer connection, the hitch or cleaning out the grill.

Storage Bins

I have not used these bins in particular, but I have several just like them that I picked up somewhere for just storing stuff in our storage unit. When we bought the camper and got rid of the storage unit, these started to get used for stuff in the pass-through and stuff under the bed. I love the built-in lids.

I keep bins for leveling gear, electrical stuff, drinking water hoses and sewage stuff. Note: I keep a lot of this stuff separate from each other. That is especially important when it comes to your drinking water stuff and the sewage stuff. Don’t mix hoses or store them together! The reason I am linking these is the various sizes. Every pass-through is different. Measure yours and get the bins that fit your compartments.

Basic Tool Kit

Every RV needs a basic tool kit. Like the bins, I don’t own the linked kit, but it is a pretty close approximation of what I do own. You don’t need to keep a ton of tools in your camper but something like this will help you solve most problems you run into. The only tool I really feel is missing from the kit is a pair of vice grips. I had to use those to separate my pressure regulator from one that the campground put on the spigot.

Gear for Spending Time Outside

Once you have your camper set up, it is time to set up the fun stuff. Here are a few recommendations:

Grill and Grill Tools

My camper has one built-in, but there are plenty of good grills out there for campers. Back when we were tent camping, we had a great tabletop grill, made by Coleman similar to this one. They make some other really good portable grills that use the very easy-to-find 16.4 oz propane bottles.

The grill tools I have are suited for a grill without a nonstick coating (the one above has one… use plastic tools on it). This one is very similar to the one I have that lives in my pass through.

Chairs and Footstool

You are gonna want some camp chairs so you can enjoy the outdoors (otherwise, why are you in a camper to begin with?). If you have a large motor home or fifth-wheel, there are some amazing folding chairs that will fit in your storage areas with no problems. For us, in our travel trailer, we need chairs that fold down smaller but still provide serious comfort.

We have had these chairs from Picnic Time for a few years and love them. They are very comfortable and, combined with these footrests are just about perfect.

Zero Gravity Chairs

We recently got a couple of Caravan Sports Infinity Zero Gravity Chairs. These things are great! They are super comfy, the backs are mesh so they breathe really well. They recline far further than I need and you can easily lock them in position. Plus they are cheap!

They do have a couple of downsides: It can be a bit difficult to get them started reclining and they do not fold down nearly as small as our old chairs. Indeed, I have some difficulty storing them in the pass-through with the grill in there as well. Still, for the money, they are great!

If you decide to get them, get a couple of these little side tables. They work like a champ!

Table

Having a table to set things on is always nice. This table from ALPS Mountaineering has been a great addition to our campsite. I got the model with the checkerboard on it, in case Bonnie and I ever decide to play checkers or chess on it.

Hammocks

One of the recent additions to our gear is a couple of hammocks for relaxing at a campground. We like nylon hammocks because they pack down to almost nothing. We got this hammock in a Cairn Box and it has since been a constant companion with us at campsites. It sets up easily in just a few minutes.

Boondocking Gear

Using an EcoFlow River to power fans to keep us cool.
Using our solar generator to power a fan to keep us cool in a serious heatwave.

Solar Generator

The folks from EcoFlow sent us one of their River solar generators to test out and I have to say we love it. A solar generator is essentially a large battery pack with a solar charge regulator built in. It is great for boondocking and dry camping. We were able to keep all of our devices charged (phones, tablets, laptops and cameras) and Bonnie was able to have a hot cup of coffee every morning while we dry camped outside Crater Lake National Park.

We were so impressed with the device, we bought an EcoFlow 110W solar panel to charge it. As long as you have a clear shot at the sun, it charges the generator quickly. This system is great any time you are without power, camping or not. We also bought a battery add-on, which doubles the capacity of this excellent piece of gear.

Rechargeable Lantern

If you are boondocking, having a good source of light that is not draining power from your RV’s batteries is pretty essential.

We recently got a rechargeable lantern similar to this one which has both a USB port and solar panels to charge it. This lantern is bright enough for most indoor tasks and makes for an excellent basic outdoor lamp.

A Few Other Pieces of Gear for Outfitting the Outside of Your RV

A few other items I suggest, but I don’t have a specific gear recommendation for:

• A large outdoor mat or rug to set up under your awning for muddy and gravel sites.

• Some sort of mosquito repellant… I have yet to find one I am really happy with.

Outfitting the Inside of Your New RV

Now, it’s time to work on the inside of the camper. A lot of this gear is personal preference, just like furnishing a home. That said, I am going to cover the basics of what we have purchased for our camper to make long road trips with it work.

Refrigerator

The fridge is one of the most important components of making RV travel work. Not only does it keep your leftovers for the next night, it keeps those tasty adult beverages frosty, which is very important after a stressful setup in a tough back-in site.

Fridge Thermometer

A fridge thermometer takes the guesswork out of whether your fridge is working properly or not. We originally bought an electronic one with a large display but ended up with an old-school thermometer. Sometimes, old-school stuff just works better.

Fridge Cold Packs

One of the best purchases we made was two sets of Cooler Shock packs. These packs go in your freezer for 48 hours to charge and will provide very cold ice packs for your fridge.

Here’s how we use them: We freeze them going into a trip. We toss all but one pack in the fridge to keep everything cold as we drive. The other pack goes in the freezer to cool it down. Once we get to our location, we fire up the fridge and move some of the packs into the freezer to refreeze. As the fridge starts to keep cold on its own, we transfer the remaining packs to the freezer to recharge.

The Cooler Shock packs work so well we do not use propane at all to run the fridge while driving. I know a lot of RVers out there run the propane fridge while driving/towing. We don’t. I would rather spend a little money on these freezer packs, which work great, than risk a propane fire… or spend the propane for that matter.

Magnetic Bottle Opener

You are gonna want to get a bottle opener for those aforementioned refreshing adult beverages. We ended up getting one from a souvenir shop in Bar Harbor, but this one is what we have at home and it works like a champ!

Ice Cube Tray

When we first hit the road with the camper, we didn’t get any ice cube trays for the fridge. We didn’t want to deal with the mess of water everywhere if the fridge stopped working (power loss, etc.) So, we tried both plastic and metal “ice cubes.” We even tried whiskey stones. None of them worked as well as we wanted.

So, for the summer of 2022, Bonnie got this nifty ice cube tray and storage system. It allows you to store a decent amount of ice and if it melts, the box contains it. It worked like a charm.

Bonnie also got some molds for large blocks of ice, perfect for whiskey on the rocks. The molds have a lid, making it good for travel as well.

Outfitting Your Kitchen

One of the first things you are going to want to do is outfit your kitchen with a permanent set of gear. The reason for this is simple: your time is worth more than the cost of an extra set of pots, pans, kitchen tools, etc. You don’t want to have to pack and unpack your kitchen every time you take the camper out on a trip.

Plates

The great folks from Zak Designs sent us some camper-themed plates and bowls, plus tumblers. We have used them a few times and are really impressed. We love how sturdy the plates are plus how easy to clean. The only downside is they are not microwave-safe. That said, we have other things we can put in the microwave and these are just too cool not to take with us.

Waste Basket

This waste basket hangs over the edge of one of the cabinet doors, which keeps it off the floor (floor space is valuable). The other advantage is supermarket plastic shopping bags fit it perfectly. We found in New England there were several campgrounds with mandatory recycling programs, so consider purchasing a second wastebasket to use for recycling.

Paper Towel Holder

Like the wastebasket, this holder hangs on the top of the cabinet door and holds a roll of paper towels, freeing up counter space for cooking. Very handy, indeed!

Dish-Drying Rack/Drainer

I think the one thing Bonnie hates more than doing laundry is drying dishes, so she bought a dish-drying rack/drainer. It collapses for easy storage and works fairly well.

Nesting Mixing Bowls, Measuring Cups and Spoons

Bonnie loves these nesting mixing bowls and measuring cups because they take up so little room. They are perfect for the limited amount of space in our kitchen area.

Small Cutting Board and Knife Set

Our current cutting board is a bit small, so we will probably eventually upgrade to this one. Get a cutting board that you like, in whatever size you think you will need and can store easily.

This knife set is similar to a set that we have had for several years. Our camper doesn’t really have space for a knife block and I hate having knives in a drawer unless they are covered. There are bigger and there may be better sets out there, but a set of three has worked well for us so far.

Shelf Liner

To keep things from sliding around, line the shelves with your plates, etc. with this liner.

Kitchen Bins

Bonnie uses bins like these in various sizes, both plastic and cloth to hold spices and dry foods, as well as other kitchen essentials, in the cabinets. It keeps them from sliding all over the place and makes the food easy to get out.

Cleaning Supplies

Make sure whatever you get is RV safe. The materials used in RV construction are not the same as in normal house construction. We use Method cleaners and they work pretty well.

Fire Extinguisher

Every camper comes with a fire extinguisher but, to be honest, you probably need at least one more to store by the bed. Having an extra fire extinguisher where you sleep can make all the difference in getting out of a burning RV or not.

Jim Rudolph, the president of Safety First, sent us this FireAde extinguisher and we are quite impressed with its bonafides. It puts out fires quickly, washes clean with just water and will not expire. This has a permanent home in our camper by the bed. As someone who has already lived through one house fire, I am a firm believer that you can never be too careful.

Some Other Items You Will Need to Outfit Your RV Kitchen

•Basic kitchen utensil set

•Flatware and drawer organizer

•Pots and pans

Outfitting Your RV Bathroom

There are a couple of things you need to understand about RV bathrooms: 1) By nature, they are almost always cramped and 2) you need special stuff to make the toilet/black water tank work well.

RV Toilet Paper

You CANNOT use normal toilet paper in your camper. It will not break down and will become a problem in your black water tank. This is the stuff we use. You can often find this at Walmart (most of the time near the automotive section, but sometimes near the camping section), so if you run out on the road, you should be able to find it. Also, a lot of campgrounds carry it in their camp stores, but sometimes those are pretty pricey.

Toilet Deodorizer

Use these tabs, along with a lot of water, to prevent odor from coming up from your black water tank.

Toilet Paper Roll Holder

Our camper did not have a toilet paper roll holder by the toilet, so we bought this one and it works just fine.

Toothbrush Holder

Another easy way to save on counter space is a toothbrush holder. This one works well for us, though you may have to replace the adhesive after a while.

Tissue Holder

My wife uses tissues like there is no tomorrow and this holder saves on serious counter space in the bathroom. Even she initially thought this was a somewhat frivolous purchase but has come to really appreciate this little space-saving device.

Towels

We started out using cotton towels from Ikea, which have hanging loops and dry ok, but if it is a driving day or a rainy day outside and they are cooped up in the bathroom all day, they can get a bit musty.

So, we got microfiber towels like these and they are great. They dry quicker without having to be hung outside. The towels are not quite as comfy as cotton towels but they do a great job nonetheless. They are a bit long, so we had to put additional hooks on the door for them.

Toiletries

I suggest keeping a second set of toiletries in the camper, as practical. The less you have to pack, the more time you can spend enjoying your camper. That said, some items just won’t store well in extreme heat or cold, so use your best judgment here.

Bedding

You will need bedding appropriate to your bed. Some RV beds are custom sizes, so make sure you know your bed size before you get anything.

Having a set of sheets, pillows and a comforter ready to go for your camper definitely cuts down on the prep time for each trip. Again, your time camping is worth more than the additional expense of bedding.

If you live in an area near Ikea, you can get quality sheets and bedding for a cheap price. Remember, you want your bed in your camper to be as comfortable as possible. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Mattress and Mattress Pad

The mattress that came with our camper was awful. It was quite thin and offered no support whatsoever. So much so that we bought a mattress topper online before we finished our first weekend with it.

We found a great memory foam mattress topper on Amazon and it kept us going for two summers.

After two years, we bought a mattress on Amazon. It was a bit of a risk since we like to try a mattress out before we buy it, but the price and the reviews convinced us.

The new mattress is great (at least for me). I like it a LOT better than the Tempur-Pedic we had at home. It is firm, but not overly so. Bonnie would love if it were about 10% softer but, for the money, it can’t be beaten. Indeed, we ended up replacing our too-soft Tempur-Pedic mattress at home with another one of these mattresses.

Other Gear For Outfitting the Interior of Your Camper

Heater and Fan

Propane is expensive. One of the first pieces of advice we received for our camper was to buy a small, electric space heater in lieu of using the furnace on cool nights. This one is relatively small and works like a charm.

While the AC system has a fan that can be set to always on and blowing air, it is pretty loud, so we bought a small fan to use at night or outside. It is quiet and the lowest setting makes for a nice cool breeze.

If you are going to be using the Ryobi One+ system, you might want to just get the Ryobi fan. You can operate it with a battery or an extension cord. If I were only going to get one fan, I would get the Ryobi model because of its flexibility. That said, this one is quieter and has more settings.

Power Strip

Our new surge protector in our camper
We got this new surge protector with six USB ports, 3 USB C ports, including enough power to charge an iPad, and 3 USB A ports.

If you are anything like Bonnie and I, you have a plethora of things that need recharging or power. I recently upgraded to this power strip as an electrical hub for the camper. Behind the TV mount in our camper is a decent-sized cabinet area with an outlet.

This power strip sits back there with chargers or cables for our iPads, iPhones, Apple Watches, drill battery and Fire Stick.

The reason I like this particular power strip for all of those applications is the six USB ports, including three USB C ports with up to 40 watts of power delivery.

Amazon Fire Stick

I used to take an Apple TV with me as well but now Fire Sticks have just about every app you can find on an Apple TV, including Apple TV+. There is just simply no reason to take an Apple TV now.

Zip Ties and Velcro Straps

All of those electric cables, plus a dozen other things, will need tying down. Get some zip ties in various sizes and make your life less cluttered, cable-wise.

The other thing you will need (trust me on this!) is velcro straps. These get a ton of use in our camper.

Extra Fuses

Eventually, a fuse will blow on your camper and you will need to replace it. Check your electrical system to see if you need more or less of any particular fuse type, but this is a pretty good variety of fuses for your camper.

Command Hooks

Get a bunch of these. Trust me, you will want to hang things like your keys, towels, coats, hats, etc. in different parts of your camper.

One Last Essential for Outfitting Your New RV: Our Book

So, you have gotten everything you need for your camper and are ready to hit the road? But where are you going to go? We have you covered there too!

Our new book, Moon USA RV Adventures, has 25 routes across the country with everything you need for a great trip, including where to go, how to get there, where to stay, what to eat and what to do when you get there.

Seriously, we take all of the leg work out of planning an outstanding RV trip!

Final Thoughts on Outfitting Your New RV

Like I said at the beginning: welcome to a great community! We hope you have found this list helpful and if you have any questions or comments, feel free to drop us a line!

I know this article is focused primarily on travel trailers and that different types of campers have different needs. But we also know, for a lot of folks, a travel trailer is their first camper. It was for us back in 2016. Since then, we have visited 48 of 50 states with our camper (we have been to the other two states, just not in our camper). So, when you read about this gear, this is the stuff we use on the road… Otherwise, we wouldn’t recommend it!

Forrest Gump Hill
Monument Valley on the Utah/Arizona border

Pro Tip: Every camper is different and you are sure to find several things unique to your camper that you need on your first, second or even third time out. I suggest staying somewhat near a Wal-Mart for the first couple of trips while you work out all the kinks. Don’t worry! It gets better.

Again, we are so glad you have joined the RV community and we look forward to seeing you on the road!


Travel Resources
What do you use to find a flight?

We use Skyscanner to find deals on flights. Skyscanner has a great interface and compares tons of airlines for the best pricing and routing. That said, it does not always have every airline and some airlines will have better deals on their website. Still, Skyscanner is a great place to start.
Click here to search for a flight.

What do you use to find a hotel?

We typically stay at Hilton properties, so we use the Hilton website. You can find good Hilton Honors discounts or AAA discounts for a hotel there. We make great use of our free night certificates from our Hilton Honors American Express.
Click here to book a Hilton property.

If there are no Hilton properties available, we use TripAdvisor to read reviews and book the hotel. We find we can get the best price that way.
Click here to search for a hotel.

We recently partnered with Stay22 to add interactive maps to each of our destination posts. This will allow you to see a plethora of hotels and vacation rentals all in one responsive map of the area.

What if I need more space than I can get at a hotel?

We use Vrbo for the times when we have rented a cabin for a weekend getaway, like this cabin in Townsend, TN, or needed to rent a house for a large family vacation. We had a great experience with them in terms of refunding deposits when COVID hit and will continue to use them.
Click here to search for a vacation rental.

Who do you use for rental cars?

As a general rule, we book with Hertz for rental cars. We have had nothing but good experiences with them. Plus, we really like unlimited mileage and not worrying about crossing state lines. We have even rented from Hertz overseas in both Slovenia and Croatia.
Click here to book a rental car.

How about booking a cruise?

We have found some amazing prices booking a cruise through Cruise Direct. We have saved a lot of money on our cruises compared to what we found elsewhere, making a last-minute Bahamas cruise even cheaper.
Click here to book a cruise.

What if I want to rent an RV?

We highly recommend Outdoorsy for RV rentals. We rented a camper van for a week to visit Rocky Mountain National Park for the elk rut and Custer State Park for the Buffalo Round-Up and had a blast. The program was easy to use and we really enjoyed the freedom of having a camper van for that trip.
Click here to rent an RV.

What do you use for booking tours?

We don’t often book tours. Typically, we like to do stuff on our own. That said, there are some experiences you just can’t have any other way. So, when we do want to book a tour, we always check Viatour first.
Click here to book a tour.

Do you use anything to get discounts on the road?

We make extensive use of both Good Sam and AAA on the road. Good Sam is normally regarded as a discount card for RVers at campgrounds and Camping World but anyone can use the 5 cents off a gallon at the pump at both Pilot and Flying J.
Click here to get a Good Sam membership.

We have had AAA as long as we have been married and it has more than paid for itself in discounts at hotels, aside from the peace of mind of having roadside assistance. Add in paper maps and the ability to get an international driver’s license and it is more than worth it for any traveler out there.
Click here to get a AAA membership.

43 thoughts on “Outfitting Your New RV”

  1. Went through this a year ago. No argument on your suggestions. However, I couldn’t handle the hooking and unhook ingredients, in and out, etc. I just bought a Class C and took delivery yesterday. I set both with solar, satellite, lithium ion house battery and a 4in. bed topper. Yes, a little more investment, but it sure makes life on the road a whole lot better and more comfortable. Also, I have a multitude of self-locking plastic boxes in different sizes that I got at Walmart to store anything and everything. Also, I have a shoe cleaner that sits right by the stairs. Enjoyed your article and it is spot on!

    Reply
    • Fred, I have to say I am more than a bit jealous of the solar system you have in your Class C… That is one of my planned upgrades for our camper. We just bought a mattress for our camper and we will update the recommendations once we try it out. It was less than $200 on Amazon for a queen, so not a bad price.

      Thanks so much for the recommendation on the shoe cleaner. That is a really good idea. I will have to add that to our camper and the list!

      Reply
  2. Thank you so much for compiling this list. I wish I would’ve found this at the time we bought our trailer last year…. I believe we have everything on this list now or at least pretty close. The only difference is that it took many YouTube videos and research to find all of this stuff and get it in my trailer. These are all very good ideas and products that you are suggesting. Happy Camping.

    Reply
  3. Thanks so much for this list. We just bought a 27 ft pull behind, picking it up in a week… and there are a few things I would have never thought about. Like the water pressure regulator and filter. Thanks for compiling all this info.

    Reply
    • Your dealer should have told you about a water pressure regulator and so many other things here!! Unless you bought your trailer from a private party, I’d avoid your dealer for lack of the above advice…

      Reply
      • We certainly agree any good RV dealership should walk you through and ours did, but it was a ton of information. That’s one of the reasons we wrote this article… To put that information in an easy-to-access and re-access place.

        Reply
  4. This list is great for my husband doing his set up thing, I went searching for outfitting the interior, do you have such an article, is there a Part 2? At the age of 70, and 48 years of marriage, my husband finally got senile enough–ha ha–to give in and let me start camping. He has a large touring BMW motorcycle and I knew toy hauler/camper would sweeten the pot. First, we bought our first pick-up truck and I get to drive it around town. Some friends are envious but not many. It was fully equipped for towing what we planned to buy. We are minimalist, we got a toy hauler/camper trailer. We are ignorant and innocent as babes in the woods. The camper package is very generous, hoses and cords are included and the ultimate selling point was electric levelers and they “threw in” the sway bar. When we pick it up and they demo it I’m going to use your list to check which items we still need to make this undertaking as easy for the Mr. as possible. Also, that interior outfitting list for me—kitchen, bathroom, bedroom–at least what I can’t get along without at first until I decide what our needs are. Thank you, I’m going to add your site to Favorites.

    Reply
  5. I inherited a trailer from my dad, and am trying to figure out how to outfit it to meet our needs. Your site provided me with excellent information. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

    Reply
  6. Thank you! Great article. We just bought a class c rv and have never camped. This is so helpful and have used the links to buy several items. Now on to read part two.

    Reply
  7. As for the mosquitos and other pesky little flying biters, have you tried Tea Tree Oil? It will even keep gnats away, believe it or not! I usually mix it in lotion and put it on that way. It may burn a bit if you do not put it in some type of carrier product like lotion or baby oil or coconut oil. Also, you can get Tea Tree oil conditioner and use that as a lotion or rub it in your dry hair and do not wash it out until you are ready to head in for the night. It has a strong, but clean and earthy smell and the bugs do not like it.

    Reply
  8. It¡¦s really a great and helpful piece of information. I¡¦m satisfied that you shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  9. Great article glad I came across it. It has given me some ideas that i did not think about but i do have one other suggestion for you though. When looking for ideas on leveling my travel trailer i came across levelers made by anderson that are shaped like curved wedges that you basically just drive up on and chock and camper is leveled. No need for all those blocks. thanks again for this article headed over to read the inside one now.

    Reply
  10. Great article, however, my husband has one more suggestion- a padded kneeler. When he has to crawl under the slide-out to drain the gray water and black water tanks, it’s murder to have to kneel in the gravel!

    Reply
  11. Thanks Grant! I’ve been doing this for years, but reading this article, I’m going to add a couple of things to my kit.
    I’ve found it handy to have a nail bar in my tool kit to pull stakes up from anchoring my pop-up. I also carry a military style folding shovel and a small landscaping rake as well.

    Reply
  12. I need to to thank you for this excellent read!! I absolutely enjoyed every little bit of it.
    I’ve got you bookmarked to look at new stuff you post!

    Reply
  13. I love what you guys are usually up too. This type of clever
    work and exposure! Keep up the great works guys I’ve included you guys to my
    personal blogroll.

    Reply
  14. Howdy! Someone in my Facebook group shared this website with us so I came to look it over.
    I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’m book-marking and will be tweeting
    this to my followers! Great blog and wonderful design and style.

    Reply
  15. Hi There! Thank you both so much for all the effort you have put into this article. We are pretty much newbies. Have done a lot of tent camping, boat camping, and had a solid side pop up trailer for a while, but that’s many years ago. Now we are close to purchasing a new travel trailer. This information you have provided is a huge help. We have been out of the camping thing for so long that everything is new for us again.
    Cheers
    John.

    Reply

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