Essential Camping Gear According to Full-Time RVers


Samantha Baderschneider

Favorite Trip

Baja, Mexico!

Home Base

We are full-time RVers and do not have a home base

Favorite RV

Our fifth wheel toy hauler. Although I am trying to convince Blake to give class A a try!

About Contributor

We are a full-time travel family living our dream, one adventure at a time. Samantha, a rehabilitated adrenaline junky with a passion for hiking, photography and creating. Blake is a Marine Corps Veteran who loves to write, climb, run and cook. We spend our time chasing adventure with our two children, Atlas and Zora.

Camping in an RV presents endless opportunities for people to have unique journeys. There are different kinds of camping and RV adventures, but each requires a baseline of essentials and gear to ensure that you and your group are always safe. Having critical camping gear or a camping “kit” is the best way to camp like a pro.

Having emergency / essential supplies provides peace of mind and security to any travel environment. Most adventures require you to rely on yourself in some capacity, so having these tools empowers you to take control of your situation and survive no matter what.

Some essentials can be carried with you, while others are tools, systems, or components that work with your RV. It is important to be ready for all kinds of scenarios, even if it is just fixing an AC on a hot day. Essential is essential.

Tools of the Camping Trade

Essential Tools for RVing
Image: Samantha Baderschneider

Critical gear starts with ensuring your equipment works or can be fixed. A toolbox composed of electrical tape, wrenches, screwdrivers, superglue, self-tapping screws, tinsnips/wire cutters, white lithium or lubricant, and a carpenters knife will cover most jobs that may arise.

Ensure that your tools fit the bolts or screws in your RV, and you will be ready to tackle most jobs. Come to expect minor repairs. For example lights fall, jackets rip, and leaf springs rattle loose. Good preventative maintenance is one of your best defenses against a crisis or significant problem.

Clean Water Systems

Water systems are essential to every camping experience. Having a water filter, water hose (not garden hose), and water pressure regulator go a long way to ensuring you have a safe and satisfying adventure. In addition, having access to water keeps everyone hydrated and healthy.

Purifying your water and moving it through water-friendly receptacles is critical for your adventure. Make sure that the equipment you use is safe to drink from — for both you and your pets.

Use our guide on How to Get Clean Drinking Water in Your RV for the absolute best water quality on the road.

Dog Drinking Water
Image: Shutterstock

Also, having a pressure regulator will ensure that your RV is safe from unregulated water pressure that could damage your RV’s pipes or water system. You should also carry extra water and water purification tablets if you are going into unfamiliar or unknown areas.

Some towns are small, have limited supplies, and close early, so even if you are close to urban hubs, don’t expect to always have access to fresh water or the availability of new equipment. Before starting any adventure, always ensure your freshwater tank is functioning and clean so that when you need to fill it up, it works.

Properly Functioning Air Conditioning/Heat Source

Photo by Camping World

In addition to water, having access to heat or air conditioning is a must. Familiarize yourself with the resets necessary to deal with any potential malfunctions to your RV during camping. A space heater and fans is also a great addition to any travel environment. Sometimes conditions get extreme, and having the ability to increase your comfort or safety without further taxing your RV systems is a must. Learn how to maintain your RV’s air conditioner.


A cooler is also a critical part of any RV experience. In addition to keeping your drinks cold, they also provide access to watertight storage and provide alternate options should your refrigerator or freezer malfunction.

Being on a camping trip and not being able to keep your food cold can prove costly and even end your trip. Having a durable cooler will allow you to extend the life of your food while you troubleshoot any issues.

Propane Tanks

Many RVs rely on propane in some capacity, whether it is a backup for the refrigerator or to run the gas stove. Some people also carry fire rings or portable grills, with each requiring a dedicated propane source. Taking an extra propane tank makes it easy to fuel any other camping system but, more importantly, allows you to have a backup propane supply should you run out.

Sometimes propane stores are not nearby your campground, or you might use more propane than usual to deal with extreme weather conditions. It’s important to have a backup source that will allow you to comfortably continue your stay without sacrificing the resources dependent on this fuel source.

Want more information about your RV and propane? Check out the articles below:

Quality Generator

Image: Camping World

Along with propane, having a generator (or alternate power source) is an invaluable addition to the RV experience. Power at campsites can be problematic or unreliable nationwide, so having an alternative source of power enables you to continue your adventure unimpeded.

An alternate power source also allows you to go off the grid or to remote locations while still maintaining the full functionality of your RV. In addition, having a generator combats most issues from unreliable power.

Find out more about generators:

Surge Protector

RV Surge Protector is Essential
Image: Samantha Baderschneider

A surge protector provides defense against unreliable power and poor campground electrical wiring. Some surge protectors go beyond covering surges and cover drops in power by boosting the amperage. Both are important to protect against, as drops and surges can cause significant damage to your RV electrical systems.

Bad electrical wiring can also create a fire (make sure you have fire extinguishers on board, always, and remember to check your smoke alarms regularly). At a minimum, a good surge protector will ensure that you do not have to reset your RV systems, which sometimes take hours depending on the RV and internal protections in place.

Power Adapter

A power adapter allows you to connect your RV into nearly any camping or RV-friendly environment. It is an essential part of RVing, especially if you do not have a generator, or are adventuring to areas unknown.

Adapters range from 15 to 50 amps with various lengths depending on your need. They are made to fit your RV’s main power cable and allow you the flexibility necessary camp almost anywhere. Adapters ensure you can take full advantage of any available power pedestal.

Sewer Hoses

The last and often commonly overlooked RV essential is sewer hoses. It’s common for folks to neglect carrying enough sewer hoses, which can cause a slew of problems. Nasty smells, cracks that cause heavy leakage, or damaged ends that spill extensive amounts of waste, having a well-maintained sewer line can make all the difference.

Also, having enough sewer lines is vital as some RVers have had to drive their RVs to a sewer dump because the sites have sewers in between two sites, causing campers to have long sewer lines to share. Or you may be stuck moving your RV every week as the connections between power lines and sewer hookups could be far away. Keep several sewer hoses on hand so you can reach the nearest dump site without testing your limits.

Essential Camping Gear for Full-Time RVing

Essential Camping Items for RVing
Image: Samantha Baderschneider

There are a lot of essentials that full-time RVers find necessary, but the items listed above will ensure that you can have a quality camping adventure almost every single time. RVs have obstacles, but covering your food, water, and waste should not be one of them!

What are some of your camping essentials? Tell us in the comments below.

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