Essential Items to carry in your RV
Essential Items to carry when you go camping
Many new RV'ers want to know what essential items they need to carry in their RV. As with almost everything, essential items will depend on each individual and that individuals "style" of camping. To give you an idea of what I am getting at consider:
Camper "A" works but has a TT (Travel Trailer) that they carry to the lake, 25-miles from home, where they essentially stay in the same spot each time. They put out the canopy, and a cooler full of beer, and hook up the TV and chill until time to grill burgers on the grill.
Camper "B" works but attends all his teams Football Games/ Nascar Races/ Dog Shows/ motor cycle rallies/ etc., This camper will consider a generator as essential because the places they are camping do not generally have utility connections. This camper will also consider a cooler full of beer and a grill as essential.
Camper "C" heads for the most remote place imaginable and eschews normal campgrounds. This camper is looking for a place to be alone with absolutely NO utility connections and above all no neighbors. This camper is going to consider essential equipment as that equipment that can keep them out as long as possible. Good house batteries, a generator, solar panels, large fresh water tanks, a large black water tank, and things like that are essential equipment for this type camper.
Camper "D" is a sightseer that stays out for months at a time staying in different campgrounds 2 to 3 times each week. This type camper might not ever put out their canopy, doesn't need a grill or a cooler full of beer and some of the other things other campers deem as essential. What this camper considers essential would be equipment that would connect their RV to utilities in the wide variety of campgrounds that they plan to stay in. Things like extra lengths of fresh water hose, water-pressure regulator, water filter, electrical extension cords for those times the campground electrical connection is further away than normal and requires that extension. Electrical adapter plugs are also essential when this camper needs to connect to a 15-amp circuit. This camper would also want a generator because they are in that RV for months on end and want electricity when they overnight at a Wall-Mart, or spend two weeks in the Tetons with no utility connections.
Camper "E" is a fulltimer that that only stays in a few campgrounds each year 6-months in Florida then 6-months up north where it is cooler. They may connect to a few other campgrounds when moving from summer campground to winter campground but you get my drift.
As I have tried to explain essential gear will be different for every RV'er for a variety of reasons. You need to decide which type camper you are and make your decisions based on that. We are Camper "D", the sightseers who stay out for months at a time and stay in many different campgrounds.
We carry three 25' sections of white hose for our drinking water. Most of the time 25' will do just fine. However, we stay in 2 to 3 different campgrounds each week for 5 to 7 months. We see a lot of different set ups and sometimes we need all 3 of the 25' hoses to reach a water faucet.
We carry a water pressure regulator and consider it essential. 95% of the places we stay have normal water pressure but some campgrounds have water pressure over 100 psi. If you plan to visit a variety of campgrounds you will need a water pressure regulator. The pressure regulator screws on to the campground water faucet then you attach your fresh water hose to the water pressure regulator, that way the pressure doesn't explode your hose or anything in your RV. If you do not understand what excessive water pressure can do just think about when you put too much air in a balloon. High water pressure will cause leaks in your RV's water lines, it can cause your fresh water supply hose to explode. What you DON'T want is for a fresh water line in your RV to come loose. Talk about expensive.
Some people think it is essential to filter all incoming water. That is a personal preference. If you think you might be camping where water may be a problem you might find that at least a sediment filter is necessary.
I carry a 50' hose that I use to wash our automobile with as well as the RV. Remember we are out for 5 to 7 months. You might not need hose to wash your automobile with.
We carry two 25' lengths of 30-amp electric cord. Usually I can reach campground electricity with the normal 25' electric cable but on occasion I need to add the other 25' extension to make it to the electric outlet. You may not need this if you are going to the same place every time. In addition I also carry a heavy duty 50' extension cord that will carry over 20-amps. I have used it when at friends/relatives houses and staying in their driveway. We have also used that 50' extension cord when our Motorhome was in the repair shop and we were still using it as our "home". When you are on the road for 6-months and your motorhome breaks down your home is still your motorhome so you have to make do in the repair shop. They may not have 30-amps but they will have a 15-amp or 20-amp circuit that we can plug into. That is really all we need unless it is so hot out that an air contitioner is necessary.
I also carry the electric adapter that enables a 30-amp plug to plug into a 15-amp outlet. This adapter is pretty essential in my opinion. That 30-amp to 15-amp adapter is the item that enables us to connect to electricity at a repair shop or when staying in a friend/relatives driveway.
As far as Sewer connections go I carry a 25' heavy duty slinky that is currently 7-years old. The end that fits into the campground sewer is an elbow joint with several different threaded options available so that I can actually screw it into the campgrounds sewer connection. I also have a sewer doughnut. In some places a sewer doughnut is mandatory.
I carry normal tools including a volt-ohm meter, heat shrink in a variety of sizes, spare fuses, a soldering gun, and an assortment of electrical connectors.
We carry a variety of campground directories, Woodalls, Trailer Life, Wheelers, COE, PPA, plus I have computer data bases of all municipal type campgrounds and several other campground data bases available. Each of these are essential as is the current WalMart Atlas with the listing of all WalMart locations in the back. We have been known to overnight in a WalMart parking lot when traveling and that Wall-Mart locator is extremely handy
When traveling out west we think the book Mountain Director West
is essential. It is a book that details all the significant mountain
My laptop & my wife's laptop, our Delorme GPS units and our Garman GPS units are also essential.
For us our research material is essential. We generally spend a good bit of time researching the places we are going to visit. Having our research work handy is very important to us.
Since we spend 5 to 7 months out in the Motorhome we have to have a variety of clothes. We leave warm Florida in the late Spring and do not return until the late Fall most years so we see very hot weather and some very cold weather. We carry shorts and jackets. We have a down comforter, it gets cold in the Tetons and Yellowstone! Amen!
We have two ceramic heaters that we use for most of our heat.
As far as food and other stuff like that we depend on WalMart However, if you are going to be gone for an extended period you may want to think seriously about any specialty food items that may not be available in other parts of the country.
I remember one year we forgot our pepper sauce (southerners sprinkle pepper/vinegar on greens). That stuff is not on store shelves outside the deep south. If you are from Michigan and LOVE pasties, best you stock up on them before leaving Michigan! There are dozens of other food items like that pepper vinegar & pasties that are strictly regional things. If you just have to have them best to carry them with you. VBG
We do carry our pillows from our stick & brick ----- remember we are out for 5 to 7 months.
Essential things to us include: WD-40 and other spray lubricants, a sewing kit for buttons and such, a first aid kit, fire extinguishers, an ax that I have never used, 6-mil plastic sheeting (if you ever have to crawl under your RV you will want to do it on something like plastic) plastic sheeting is also good to cover a broken window or cracked skylight, mechanics wire (sometimes called safety wire), duct tape, etherbond roof repair tape and a gallon of roof sealer, a ladder to access your roof, and J B Weld (if you are not familiar with J B Weld look for it in the glue section of your favorite hardware store---it is as essential as duct tape in my opinion).
We do carry spare light bulbs as well as spare AA, AAA and 9-volt batteries. Some of these spare batteries are for our flashlights while the 9-volt batteries are for our smoke detectors & weather radio. We always check to assure our smoke detectors are working properly before we head out and that the 9-volt battery is working in the weather radio. To us having these spare batteries is as essential as having the smoke detector or weather radio. What is the sense in having a smoke detector if the battery is dead? Weather radios generally have a 9-volt battery for backup when the power goes out.
We have a weather radio that we think is an essential. When we move we always assure that our weather radio is set to the proper frequency. If bad weather is in the vicinity this weather radio warns us. Being in an RV during severe weather isn't smart. That weather radio also gives us information when we are traveling.
Flashlights are also essential in our opinion. We have a small one (5" mag light) that we keep in our Saturn tow car and use it when we are arriving back at a state park late at night after they have closed the gate. The light comes in handy to see the combination on the gate locks. You will see these type gate locks in a variety of settings and without a small flashlight they are a BEAR to see in the dark. We also have a large Mag Light flashlight that is located near the exit door of the motorhome. If you have to do anything outside at the campground, after dark, that flashlight is essential.
Cell-phones and cell-phone charger are also essential as is our digital camera and the battery charger for the camera batteries.
I carry a good 12-volt battery charger. This is something I have used several times. Over the years we have managed to do something stupid, on several occasions, that will run down the chassis battery and that charger has saved the day. It is definitely essential in my opinion.
We also make a list of things that we should have carried with us and want to bring next time.
Another thing we tend to do is spend a night or so in the motorhome with it in our driveway before we head out on one of our long trips. That way we do not forget those little things like my electric razor or the electric toothbrush that we have become attached to.
And finally, I think a GOOD Roadside Assistance policy is essential. You never know when your RV is going to break down. When it does, and it will, you will certainly want to hear that positive voice on the other end of the telephone connection that will tell you help is on the way.
Some campers feel that a solar panel is essential, we just do not do that type of camping so for us it is not essential.
Some campers feel that having access to satellite TV is essential. Some want access to movies.
Lawn chairs are essential for some activities as are picnic table cloths/covers.
When we get home we take out everything that we did not use. Some things never go back in the RV.