FOLLOW YOUR KNOWS: Accessories
Second in the Follow Your Knows series, by guest blogger, Elaine
Congratulations! You are the new owner of a brand new or previously enjoyed RV! You shopped for the perfect camper and finally found the one that suits your needs. That is quite an accomplishment. (If you are still looking, this article might help you). So, let’s hit the road! Well…. not so fast. Now you need to make sure you have all the RV accessories that you will need to have safe and enjoyable trips right from the start.
You have found the perfect RV so what else could you possibly need? Most RVs do not come with all the right tools, unless you bought a previously enjoyed camper. Sometimes the seller will give you most of the items you need with the rig. Even still, there are a few RV accessories that you will want to purchase new to add your personal touch.
There is a difference between necessary items and things that you just want for your RV. This list only scratches the surface, but gives you the top absolutes needed for the journey. I advise you to make a list of the necessary accessories and a list of wanted. Then you can keep it all in mind and add the wanted gradually.
To start your journey, start with these seven important RV accessories to set-up the outside areas of your RV, (our next Follow Your Knows blog will focus on interior necessities), as you begin this new adventure.
7 Knows for Exterior
#1 Amp Adaptor – Know your power! Most campers run on 50 or 30 amps of electrical power. It is very important to learn your power amps and to have the right adapter. Campgrounds come with 20, 30, and 50 amps – sometimes they have 30 and 50, sometimes only one so you have to adapt. Having an adapter allows you to plug a 30 amp power cord into a 50 amp receptacle using an adapter. You can also plug a 50 amp power cord into a 30 amp receptacle using an adapter. Know the amp of your camper, so you purchase the correct adapter.
#2 Surge Protector – Know you are protected with a surge protector for your exterior power plug! RV appliances and wiring can be destroyed if there is a power surge and your camper doesn’t have a surge protector plugged into the campground power pedestal. Do your research to figure out which one you want to use, as the prices do vary. (TVC recommends the 50A Surge Guard Portable Total Electrical Protection 34951 by TechnoRV) Some can be very pricey, but compared to the cost of replacing RV wires and appliances damaged or destroyed from a power surge, it is worth it. Also, make sure to get a surge protector that can be reset, some are only good for one power surge
#3 Blocks – Know how to level your RV properly! Leveling, or the lack thereof, influences how efficiently your refrigerator works, how hard it is to open or close your door, whether your interior cabinet and doors stay open or closed, the general stability of your camper, and the ease of walking around inside. Always use wheel chocks to make sure your RV stays put and doesn’t roll. Usually that isn’t an issue unless you are on a hill, but it is always better to be safe than sorry. You can use wooden blocks or you can purchase leveling block sets and wheel chocks, usually made from thick plastic. Keep in mind your camper weight. The thinner plastic leveling blocks tend to crack when you have a heavier RV. If your camper doesn’t have an automatic leveling system, you might also carry a level with you to check your camper’s stability.
For those with travel trailers, TechnoRV makes a great leveling system called the LevelMatePRO+ that can save you time and headaches!
#4 Water Hoses – Know your water is safe! Clean water is very important when you are camping! To ensure fresh water is going into your RV, there are a few necessary accessories.
- A 90◦ hose fitting ensures there is not a leak where the freshwater hose attaches to your RV. It also keeps a kink out of the hose, so the water flows better.
- Speaking of hoses, buy a new freshwater hose. Make sure this hose is used for fresh water only. Never use this for anything other than filling your freshwater tank and hooking up to the water at the campground. This hose is not for anything to do with the sewer connection on your camper. The standard RV freshwater hose is usually white or blue (there are also zeroG hoses which come in other colors and are collapsable, great for storage in small spaces. Check to make sure its drinking water safe before purchasing).
- A water pressure regulator with gauge is also very important. Water pressure at a campground can be strong; a water regulator with a gauge allows you to determine how strongly the water flows into your camper. Too strong of pressure can damage your pipes and cause leaks, leading to expensive repairs. Some campgrounds require pressure gauges so it is a definite must-have.
- A water filter which attaches to your hose and filters the campground water as it comes from the hookup into your camper. This assures for fresh tasting water at any campsite you visit. You can also get one that attaches to your sink inside the rig but it will depend upon your system so check for options.
#5 Sewer hoses – Know your sewer system! Knowing how your black tank works is very key in keeping away the “poop pyramid.” Yes, I said it. You need to keep your sewer system healthy to keep you happy. Avoid the anxiety and educate yourself on how your RV sewer system works. There are a few products that will help make the experience easier and help to avoid issues.
- A sewer hose kit. Most RVs do not come with a sewer hose or its components so this is a must. Make sure the hose is durable! Most are accordion style and fold up to fit within the black tank area so keep an eye on it to make sure it stays flexible and doesn’t have holes. The Camco system comes with everything you need.
- A clear elbow. If you get a kit without an elbow, get one. This elbow attaches the hose to the sewer opening. The transparency allows you to see the contents of your gray and black water tanks as they empty and to watch the flow as it ends.
- Cleaning hose. You will also need a separate hose to clean out your sewer hose. Do not use your freshwater hose! You can use a normal garden variety hose or another Zero G hose to save room. You will need to clean your sewer hose after you have finished dumping your black and gray tanks at a campground or dump station. Never store this or your sewer hose and accessories with your freshwater hose. It is a great idea to clearly label it and have a bucket or container to store this hose within the bins of your RV.
- Sewer accessories. It is helpful to have hose support ramps (they look like little brackets and hold hose off the ground for protection and to give it a downward slope), a rubber sewer seal (campgrounds may require these), and extra sewer hose lengths in case there is a longer than normal distance to the sewer hookup.
- Gloves. Gloves are handy for several uses around the RV and it is a good idea to purchase thick plastic or rubber type gloves that will last a while and can be washed off after using. Some people like to use disposable gloves that are one and done for black tank duty or leather work gloves dedicated to this one job.
#6 Extension cord – Know your limits! There will be times when you will use an outdoor extension cord. It comes in handy when you want to brew your coffee outside in the morning as you watch the sunrise, for electric grills, or to keep your computer charged for working outdoors. Some RVs have outdoor electrical outlets in an exterior bin or you can plug directly into the campground’s power pedestal. It can also be handy to have an outdoor electrical reel with a retractable reel for easier storage that allows for multiple plugs, just watch your power limits.
#7 Fire extinguisher – Know you are safe! We hope you never need an extinguisher, but nice to know it is there! You will want one outside, easily accessible when grilling as well as one indoor.
* First Aid Kit – enough said
* Outside door mat – get the kind that helps dislodge dirt from shoes and easily washed off of mud
* Emergency Road Kit – things like flares, caution triangles, jumper cables, etc.
* Picnic table cover & small bungee cords or clamps to hold it down – a nice to have that quickly becomes a necessity when the table is a rough wood
As you can see, you want to really understand how to use the basic features (water, sewer, power) of your camper. Knowing and understanding how your RV works will decrease problems and increase time for adventure.
I hope this helps you as you begin your RV adventures. I’m sure there are other gizmos and gadgets that you acquire as you travel and learn what you need. but this set of accessories will get you started on the right foot! If I have missed any that you feel are necessities, please leave a comment below!
See you down the road!!
Guest blogger and “Follow Your Knows” writer, Elaine, has been camping since she was 5 months old. She started camping in a 17’ Smokey travel trailer with her family who also owned a 28’ Golden Falcon travel trailer and a 40’ Bounder motorhome. Since getting married she has had a pop up, a StarCraft and now a Rockwood. Camping has always been a big part of her life and she loves to learn all she can. Camping is a must as often as possible with hopes of being a full timer in the next few years. Her husband is an RV technician. Elaine also enjoys songwriting, traveling, reading and journaling.
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