Things New Owners Need to Have for Their RVs

Updated on August 23, 2019
TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

I am an RV enthusiast with more than 50 years of experience owning, driving, traveling and living in recreational vehicles.

If you have recently purchased a recreational vehicle, there are certain items you absolutely must have.

Although RVs come with basics such as furniture, TV sets and built-in appliances, there are many items new owners will need to buy to make them functional and more livable.

Some people will need to add more items than others because individual needs and tastes do vary, but there are some things RVs must have before they are taken out on the road.

Much will depend on the size and design of a unit.

For example, larger coaches usually have carpeting while smaller ones likely do not. Therefore, a vacuum cleaner becomes a necessity in one but is not needed in the other.

It is easy to be lured into the trap of overbuying because there are literally thousands of things people can spend money on to equip their travel units.

Therefore, it is important to stick to the basics.

Those who bear in mind that an RV is actually only a vehicle with a very limited area for living and storage do much better financially and comfort wise if they follow the above advice.

If you overload your travel unit or put so many items in it that you make it claustrophobic or dangerous to drive, you’ll be unhappy and likely will cause problems for yourself.

How to Load and Pack Your RV for Safety and Comfort provides some good tips about deal with loading issues, but common sense should prevail.

For example, if you have several hobbies, choose one that takes up very little space to carry with you, rather than trying to take any that will severely limit your living area.

A guide for new RV owners that will help them to avoid buying things they don't need to have for their recreational vehicles.
A guide for new RV owners that will help them to avoid buying things they don't need to have for their recreational vehicles. | Source

Household Items

Supplying basic household items such as dishes, cooking utensils, pots and pans, things with which to clean your unit, paper goods, plastic ware, and linens is a “must do”.

However you need to find ways of doing this that limit the amount of items you keep on board.

For instance, if you take a service for four of Corningware and also keep a supply of paper and plastic goods on hand, you’ll always have enough dishware to serve as many people as you like.

Corningware is a good choice because it uses minimal space due to the fact that it is lightweight, stackable and unbreakable.

I’ve been RVing for more than 50 years and have been using the same set of Corningware successfully all of that time. Using it has reduced the weight in my RV and has made clean up extremely easy. It also looks great!

Good quality plastic dishes work well, also, but people are more likely to need to have to replace them because they can scratch and fade. Furthermore, using Corningware gives more of a homelike feel to family meals.

New RV owners must stock their coaches with household goods that save space and are light weight.
New RV owners must stock their coaches with household goods that save space and are light weight. | Source

Small Appliances

Some people like to use their stove tops and ovens, but I do not. Both use a great deal of expensive propane and require regular cleaning.

For these reasons, I generally advise people to do as I do and use a variety of small appliances instead.

This is because they are easier to manage, store well, and make cleanup a snap. How Hard Is It to Cook in an RV? explains more about how to use and store them efficiently.

Also, by using small appliances, you can make a cover for the burners on your stove and gain extra counter space.

If you want to use my method, make sure to buy smaller sizes where possible.

For example, I use an under-the-cabinet coffee pot and to save space. The rest of my small appliances fit nicely in the cabinet space above my sofa and thus are easily accessible.

Also, some of them can be used for more than one thing. For example, I can make baked potatoes in my crock pot and stir fry in my electric frying pan!

Small appliances store easily and make cleanup a snap.
Small appliances store easily and make cleanup a snap. | Source

Sewer Cleaning Equipment and Chemicals

The Best Way to Dump and Deep Clean Your RV's Sewer Tank provides you with good information about the products you need to have for doing this.

Normally, an RV comes with the special hoses that connect an RV’s tanks to a sewer. However, new coaches never come with water and garden hoses, protective gloves, donuts, tank cleaning chemicals, or pressure cleaning wands.

Older travel units may or may not have such items, so it’s always important to check before buying new ones. Even when they do have these things, some may be worn out or broken, so check for problems with them as well so you’ll know if you need to buy new ones.

All of them (except maybe the pressure cleaning wand) are important to have if owners want to avoid the upsetting and sometimes expensive problems that come from not maintaining their tanks properly.

Certain tank tools and chemicals work better than others, so don’t be coerced into buying products you really don’t need. If you buy the items shown in the above article, you won’t need any others.

For example, if your coach already has a built-in water pressure system for cleaning your tanks, you won’t need to purchase an RV toilet cleaning wand.

On the other hand, you may want to purchase a clear tank connector that allows you to see what is coming out of your tanks so you’ll know when they have been thoroughly cleaned. This is not a necessity, but is a really good item to have.

You also should avoid buying chemical products that are made for general household use because many of these are too caustic for RV plumbing and can cause a good deal of damage.

Electric Wires and Adapters

It's extremely important to make sure that you will be able to hook up to electricity when setting up camp.

Parks offer a variety of choices for doing this, so you need to be prepared by keeping adapters and wires that will connect properly.

Small RVs generally only need 30-amp connections, but larger ones require 50 amps or more. An adapter combined with proper wires will guarantee that you won't have problems.

My husband and I once had to leave a campground that only offered 20-amp hookups because we did not have the right equipment with us. We made sure that never happened again!

A Rear Camera Monitoring System

Whether you tow a vehicle or not, it’s always a good idea to be able to see what is behind you, especially when trying to park your vehicle.

This item is important for your safety and although somewhat expensive can save you many problems and a good deal of money.

New coaches rarely come with a rear camera monitoring system, and while you don’t have to buy one, it’s a good idea to buy it and install it.


What You Need to Have in Your RV’s Tool Box has in-depth lists of tools and gadgets you should always take with you when you travel.

These items are important to keep on board because you are not always near a repair shop when something goes wrong.

They don’t have to cost a lot, and it is likely that you already have many of them at home, but you need to make sure to keep those directly related to RVs such as tire gauges and levels with you when traveling.

Appropriate Towing Equipment

If you will be towing a vehicle, you will need equipment that will help you to do so correctly and safely. No matter the equipment, you will need to make sure that it is properly weight rated for the vehicle it will be towing.

There are several towing methods available.

You can use

  • a tow bar,
  • tow dolly or
  • enclosed or open trailer

The best and easiest one to use is a tow bar that adjusts.

Dollies are awkward to use and trailers can be quite costly.

Each type has its own pros and cons, so it is up to a new RV owner to decide whether he wants to tow, how much he wants to spend and what type of equipment he wants to buy.

Travelers can choose not to take a car with them, but will quickly learn that doing so severely limits mobility.

Most people find that they will want to have a car with them, and that choosing the right type of equipment will make vacationing much easier.

A Good Campground Guide

You should always carry a good campground book such as The Good Sam RV Travel and Savings Guide.

My husband and I have always used this guide when traveling and have found it to be extremely helpful because it provides contact information for campgrounds nationwide along with a wealth of equally important information.

It has been especially helpful when we’ve run into problems because it also lists RV repair facility contact information for most areas of the country.

Outdoor Furniture

Most, but not all, campgrounds provide picnic tables at campsites. For this reason it’s a good idea to carry a few lightweight outdoor chairs and at least one small folding table with you.

Anything beyond these items will take up too much space.

Comfort Items

The items mentioned here are basic, but most people like having other things with them, depending on their personal interests and tastes.

For example, my husband and I like to read, so we always keep a small library with us. We exchange books as we travel in campground libraries, so we don’t have to carry many of them with us.

We also like to watch movies, so we keep a DVD player and some movies with us to use for those times when there is nothing on TV or there is no TV!

Others have hobbies they can enjoy while on the road or sports in which they like to participate.

All of these things are good to have with you, as long as they don’t use up too much of your storage space.

Know Your Needs

Some people would have you think that you must have every gadget there is to be able to enjoy your RV, but if you know what you really need to buy, you can avoid overspending and overloading your coach.

If you learn to think “weight, size and necessity” when equipping your recreational vehicle, you’ll always have the things you need to make your vacations enjoyable.

Doing this will keep you comfortable and will save money, too!

Do you agree that you will need these things for your new RV?

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© 2018 Sondra Rochelle


Submit a Comment
  • TIMETRAVELER2 profile imageAUTHOR

    Sondra Rochelle 

    4 weeks ago from USA

    Glad to hear you're paying attention! You'll find lots of money saving ideas within my work and also many ways to make your RV more comfortable. Good Luck!

  • Jodah profile image

    John Hansen 

    4 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

    A very helpful article TT2. We bought an old Toyota Coaster bus that we have been converting to a motor home. Recently did our first major road trip...Brisbane to Darwin (approx 7000 km round trip) which gave us time to find out many things we still need, and which are not necessary. It is still always good to get tips from experienced RV users however so I will probably visit more of your article in future.


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