7 Essentials You Need Before Your First Road Trip


Kaydon Fosler

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Going on your first RV trip? No matter what kind of RV you have there are a few main necessities you will need to bring. Trust us, you don’t want to be caught at the campground without these camping essentials. But don’t worry – Camping World and Gander RV & Outdoors carry these essentials at our stores and online!

Whether you’re planning on being a weekend warrior or a modern full-time nomad, you need to have these 7 essentials on hand for every trip.

Safety Tools

A successful camping trip is a safe camping trip. Be prepared to the inevitable accidents with a first aid medical kit that lives in your tow vehicle or RV. Any parent can tell you that kids at play are bound to get a few cuts or scrapes. Be sure you can solve any minor injury with a well-stocked first aid kit.

Staying safe is about more than just staying healthy, it’s also about preventing accidents before they happen. Always carry a fire extinguisher on hand so that in the event of an unlikely RV fire, the damage is minor.

Getting stranded at the campground, or worse—on the side of the highway, is no fun. A pair of jumper cables will help you get started faster without waiting on tow or jump from roadside assistance.

Be the campground MacGyver with gorilla tape and a can of WD40. This dynamic due can solve just about anything, or so most dads will tell you. Don’t be caught without a roll of gorilla tape–its capabilities are limitless.

First Aid Medical Kit

Leveling Essentials

First things first, always chock your travel trailer before unhitching. Wheel chocks are one of the first items an RVer uses when at the campsite. It’s common konwledge–anything on wheels is prone to rolling. Even a shift of a few inches can trap a finger, leading to disaster. Chock up your RV at the campsite so it doesn’t shift while you get set up.

Not all campsites are level. In fact, they rarely are. Level your RV right the first time, every time, by coming prepared for a lopsided campsite with a leveling system. A wireless system makes it so easy to level your RV on the first try every time. It uses Bluetooth which is compatible with Apple and Android smartphones or tablets. Also, it works with travel trailers, 5th wheels, and all drivable RVs. 

But nothing works like the good old fashioned leveling blocks. Use the yellow blocks, or Andersen levelers, to get your RV just right. Add a bubble level to your RV so you know when it’s even side to side. No one likes to feel like they’re constantly off-kilter. Investing in the right leveling tools is a camping essential.

Andersen Levelers

Water Essentials

If you’re like me, you used to drink out of a green garden hose as a kid without a care in the world. Turns out, those green hoses aren’t meant for drinking. In order to ensure safe drinking water coming through your faucet in your RV, you’ll need a special fresh water hose. These hoses are made without any harmful chemicals, metals, or contaminants. This water hose connects your RV to the city water available at campgrounds and RV parks. A non-kinking hose easily attaches to the faucet, prevents tangles, and is designed to resist mildew and mold.

An RV’s pipes and plumbing are not constructed like a home’s plumbing system. This means that hooking your RV up to city water without a water pressure regulator could be disastrous. High pressure city water could burst your pipes and flood your RV. As a general rule, never let your RV’s water pressure exceed 60psi. A water pressure regulator set at around 50psi takes care of this worry for your so you never have to think about.

To truly ensure you have safe drinking water for you and the family, pick up a water filter and water softener. You never know the quality of a campground’s water source. This could be bad for your health and also your RV. Hard water and well water can cause damage and staining to your RV over time.

Freshwater Hose

RV Waste Essentials

We know what you’re thinking, ‘Can’t I just buy any toilet paper?’ No! You will need to use toilet paper made for RVs, or that is septic-safe. You don’t want it to clog the sewer or septic, so buy fast-dissolving toilet paper. RV toiler paper is designed to work with black tank digesters and will make pumping your waste tanks all the more easier.

Unless you have a compostable toilet, you will need a sewer hose. This hose connects your waste tank to the sewer drain. We recommend getting the longer options offered since you never know how far from the drain you’ll have to park.

A sewer hose slinky ensures the right grade to help your hose drain completely. A clear elbow shows when your tanks are clear and you are good to disconnect. Learn how to empty your RV’s holding tank like a pro.

RV Power Essentials

Surge protectors could save your from thousands of dollars worth of repairs. A spontaneous thunderstorm could strike the power grid and fry your appliances. Or, a crowded campground could cause a surge. Often, campgrounds have old power systems, and the power posts may not be reliably wired or water tight. By using a surge protector, you protect your investment for a smaller price than having to completely rewire your roving home. Set it and forget it for the rest of your camping trips.

50amp RVers know the struggle of finding a campground with the right hookup. If you can’t snag that campsite, but the 30amp site is free, you can still camp! Get an electrical adaptor (in this case, 50amp –> 30amp). Often referred to as “dog bones,” named as such for it’s dog-bone like shape, these adaptors allow you to hook up to a power source with different amperage.

Wondering how RV electricity systems work? Don’t fret, it’s really not that complicated.

Propane Essentials

Whether you’re grilling up some burgers or running your furnace to stay warm, propane is a fundamental part of RV camping. Beyond equipping your RV with propane tanks, you should also invest in smart propane accessories, like a level indicator and a propane leak spray or alarm. Propane leaks can be highly dangerous, particularly if there’s a spark or fire nearby. Not to mention, a slow propane leak could leave you without enough fuel to stay warm or the tools to cook your food.

Good Sam Membership

A smart camper is a savvy, budget-conscious camper. A Good Sam Membership will save any RVer money from the get-go. Here are just a few rewards for joining the club:

  •  Save 10% at 2,400 Good Sam Parks and Campgrounds across the U.S.
  • Save 10% off discount at Camping World and Gander RV & Outdoors Super-centers
  • 5¢ off gas & 8¢ off diesel at participating Pilot Flying J locations
  • Free RV & boat dump station service at participating Camping World and Gander RV & Outdoor Super-centers
  • Access to Good Sam’s RV Trip Planner

What other essentials would you take on your RV trip? Tell us in the comments below.

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