RV Essentials and Awesome Gift Ideas
Let’s talk rv essentials for a few minutes. Did you know that there are over 10.5 million campers on the road today? That’s a lot of people traveling around the country, and their own cities, to relax and enjoy life. Camping is such an awesome hobby that it has now become a lifestyle for over 1 million people. Yes, I said 1 million people are living in an rv right now! How can that even be? (Here‘s an article about that crazy number).
Just like a house, there are rv essentials that you will need to purchase before you hit the road on your next adventure. Here’s a little peak into our Amazon cart from the last year and a half. Products we own and love, a few that we don’t actually use too much, and a couple that are in our cart as wish list items. If you’re heading out on a new adventure soon you might want to add these to your holiday wish list. There’s something magical about getting things you actually need for gifts.
RV Essentials for All Campers
These first few items are things that we don’t recommend leaving without whether you’re a weekend camper or you are taking longer trips. We call these our rv must haves. The links point to the exact products that we have purchased and are using in our rig TODAY.
If you plan on camping in a campground, you’ll definitely need a power cord. Check to see if your camper is 30amp or 50amp before you purchase and buy accordingly. We like this one because it has a longer reach and the power poles in some of the older campgrounds aren’t in especially convenient places.
Just like in a house, there this the possibility of a surge in power that could blow the electric in your camper. The electrical is often not an easy fix and it could ruin anything that was plugged in at the time as well. We use this surge protector to keep the current at a regular level and protect our electronics from disaster.
Since our camper is a 50amp, this adapter has saved us multiple times. Not all campgrounds have 50amp service and even if they do, you might not get a 50amp spot when necessary. This adapter allows us to use 30amp or even 15amp service for our camper. When using this adapter we won’t be able to use both ac units but we will have power and that’s the most important part!
Here is the water hose that we are using. Connects the spigot and the camper so we have water inside for our faucets, shower, and toilet. You only want to use this for potable water. If the sign says non potable, move on…
Whenever we are hooking up our water at a campground we use this filter. Going from city to city you never know what the water is going to be like. This filter has worked great to provide clean water without a funky taste. We replace ours about every 6 months.
Not much to say here. A necessary piece of equipment if you ever plan on using the toilet inside your camper. Don’t skimp out on this essential or you could end up with a shower you never wanted to have!
Deodorizer for the poo tank. Get them. No one wants to smell poo.
This little guy here is an inexpensive way to have a little piece of mind when leaving your camper to go explore. While camper theft is minimal, it always makes us feel better using this deterrent.
Love grilling? This tiny piece of equipment makes it easy to connect your grill to the propane tank. Let’s be honest, grilling is where it’s at. Simple clean up, no extra heat added to the camper, keeps you outside socializing, you get it.
A single serve coffee pot that uses K cups and takes up little space. It’s Dustin’s new favorite thing. (Besides me of course).
We joke that we should have stock in 3M since we have so many of these Command Strips. If you plan on hanging anything in your camper, you will want these. Heck, even if you don’t plan on using them get some, you’ll change your mind eventually. We use these for everything from hanging pictures to potholders. The Velcro ones are great too, especially when you need something to be flush against the wall. There might be a bag of random sizes in our cupboard for “just in case” situations. Shhh.
Our new rig has more storage so we are only rocking one of these right now but there was a time when we had three! It’s called a shoe organizer but don’t be fooled, it is SO MUCH MORE! Currently we cut ours in half and are using it to organize all the things we need by the door. Sunglasses, keys, walkie talkies, etc. In our old rig we had all of our bathroom items in one over the bathroom door and it worked great.
I debated on which category to put this in but I really think it’s necessary. When you have to set up in the dark, search for something in the underbelly, try to find a dropped marshmallow stick, or go check out the unidentified noise after sunset, you’ll thank me. We actually have two of these. They are both well loved.
Those that have seen me pack or arrive at a travel destination know that I travel with a fan always. I cannot sleep with it! I love this portable fan for when we are boondocking and are without electric hookups. It’s also made a couple hotel trips with me when my bigger fan can’t come. This one is for Momma and it keeps me happy.
For those that are going to be camping in colder weather, check out our post about cold weather camping here. This year we’re *trying* to avoid the cold weather more. Hopefully that works out for us!
RV Essentials for Longer Stays
Now that we have listed those must haves for every camper, let’s add a few for those that are venturing out for longer periods of time. These aren’t absolutely necessary, but they make life so much easier.
What do you need a utility cart for? Laundry of course! This item has made our laundry adventures much less stressful and also made it a one person job. Now Dad can go by himself. Whoop! Also great for lugging stuff to the pool.
Long periods of time without sewer hookups make this purchase a necessary one. We used our most when we were stationary at my Dad’s house for the summer. Just let all your grey and/or black water flow into this bad boy and then pull it to the dump station. It’s not a glorious job but hey, it sure beats having a mess in the rig.
This is obviously up for debate. We know some that never watch tv, we’re not those people. Ours gets used when it’s drizzly outside and we need some downtime or when the sun sets at 4pm and there’s still lots of awake time left. Dustin has a great video on how to use it here.
Things We Bought & Don’t Use That Often
So, we bought a few things that we don’t actually use that much. Part of it is laziness and part of it is that we don’t see a major difference from with to without. I’m not saying that they don’t work, I’m just saying that when moving often we don’t take the time to put them to use. Ask a few other people and decide if they are right for you!
As you could see, campers don’t have many points of contact with the ground so they tend to be a little shaky. We bought the stabilizing jack and the X-chocks to reduce the amount of movement inside the camper when people are walking, wind is blowing, etc. While we do notice a small difference, it’s not a lot in reality. I’m including these items because I wanted to be transparent and show everything in our cart. In all honesty, we wouldn’t purchase these two products again in the future. Everyone and every camper is different though so others might tell you different. You make the choice.
Fun Extras From Our Cart
Obviously not everything we bought was a rv essential. These next few items have made a positive difference in our lives but you could easily go on a fantastic adventure without them. These items would be great gift ideas as well.
A state sticker map is a fantastic conversation starter! We absolutely love walking around campgrounds and looking for these maps. It’s so fun to see where everyone has been. We consider it a challenge to convince people to come to Minnesota since that is a state often missing on the map!
Hiking is one of the leading pass times when camping. Thirsty hikers are crabby hikers. (Not that I would know from experience). Each of our kids have one of these hydration packs and it has made our hikes 1000% better. There are tons of different hydration packs on the market but we have this one and like it.
If you are setting out on a long adventure across many states, this poster is a great way to track your progress. When we left Minnesota we put this map on our table with contact paper and started marking our path in red Sharpie. Our intent was to frame this when we were done traveling, now we’re choosing a different color and keeping the tradition going. This is an awesome conversation piece for us!
Okay, we kind of cheated with this one because it didn’t come from our Amazon cart this year. This hammock is so awesome that we have TWO from our house days and they have earned space in our camper. Nothing better than taking a nap or snuggling in a hammock on cool day. One of the best gifts my hubby has ever given to me. Thanks Babe!
I feel like the Instant Pot needs no explanation. I will say that pulled pork, baked potatoes, and corn on the cob have been our favorites. I’ve yet to try a dessert in here but with the sun setting so early now it won’t be much longer. What I love about it is that you set it and forget it.
We have a few things in our cart that we haven’t purchased yet but definitely want to get. We’ve camped with people who use these so we have some firsthand experience and can’t wait to finally get them shipped. These things are not rv essentials but absolutely add a little extra to the experience.
At the top of my wish list is the propane fire pit. While I love gathering around a wood campfire with good friends, I don’t like the smell. It gets in my clothes and hair and drives me nuts! I know that it’s not a direct replacement but the aesthetics are good and it still attracts awesome people!
Anyone like Osaka? I’ve drooled over amazing photos of food made on this grill and it makes me want one so bad! Meat and veggies all in one. Plus the hubs is in charge of grilling so I’ll have more time to use the hammock.
So we used to bring hard kayaks with us but not anymore. I loved being on the water and being so calm. Maybe one day I’ll write about the roof rack incident but until then you’ll just have to use your imagination. Anyway, a couple weeks ago we were able to borrow one of these from a friend and go out on Lake Powell. It felt amazingly sturdy and was so easy to use. Hoping for one of these for Christmas.
We hope you enjoyed a peek into our Amazon cart. If you have any questions on our rv essentials list, let us know! Also feel free to share what’s in (or has been in) your cart!