'Round The Campfire

How to Outfit Your RV

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Pen tick a box on a checklist
Outfit your RV properly to make sure you have everything you need.

Once you've purchased an RV, the next on your agenda will be how to outfit your RV with everything you'll need for camping. There are actually quite a lot of items to think about so to help out we've come up with a checklist below. Armed with this you can go to your nearest RV supply store and stock up.

RV Hookup Items

The first things you'll need to get when outfitting your RV are items that will allow you to hookup your RV. It is important to note that these are items that you should focus more on durability rather than its price tag. That's because if any of these get faulty, it can start a chain reaction to the other items you have in your RV, and getting these fixed can easily cost you unnecessary frustration and thousands of dollars worth of repair.

Electrical Hookups

  • Power cable extension. Although most RVs come with a 25-foot power cable, sometimes it is not long enough to reach the power posts installed at campgrounds at their RV sites. An extra 25 feet of power cable will be enough to get you to easily plug your power cable onto the power posts provided by any RV campground.
  • Amp adapter. Normally your RV will come with a 30 amp or 50 amp plug. However, sometimes the campground you stay at offers a different amp service. So an adapter will allow you to use the different amps on offer.
  • Plug-in voltage and polarity tester. Before hooking up your RV onto the power post, it's recommended to first check the actual voltage it provides and whether the post is wired properly. A plug-in voltage and polarity tester can check this and will help prevent possible problems that may occur with the other electrical items you have in your RV.

Water Hookups

  • Water hoses. They may look like your regular garden hose, but getting an RV water hose is highly recommended because they don't flake inside and cause rubber pieces to contaminate your water supply later on. Usually one water hose measuring 25 feet is enough to provide your RV with a steady water supply. However, we recommend getting two since there are some RV campgrounds where you'll need both sections hooked up to get a steady supply of water during your camping trip.
  • Water pressure regulator. This is to make sure that the amount of water coursing through your RV's plastic piping doesn't exceed 50 lbs. Any stronger than this can lead to cracks and leaks in your piping. A cheap brass water pressure regulator would work fine with most RVs, but if you purchased a large Motorhome that has got a walk-in shower, it's recommended to get a water pressure regulator that's meant for the piping system for a house and then set this at 50 psi.
  • Water filter. Installing a water filter system helps filter out particles and a variety of contaminants.
  • Hose washers. If your water hose or filter system doesn't come equipped with these, it's highly advisable to get these to make sure that it traps any debris that may clog up your piping system.

Sewer Hookups

  • Sewer hose and fittings. When choosing a sewer hose for your RV, make sure that it's heavy duty so that they don't wear out too fast and break.
  • Clear plastic 45-degree elbow. This attachment will help you monitor your black and gray tanks to see if they are empty.
  • Sewer hose donut. Many states and RV parks require that your sewer hookups have a watertight connection to prevent the contamination of the grounds. Installing a sewer hose donut onto your sewer hose will be more than enough to do the job.
  • Sewer hose supports. Aside from requiring a watertight connection, a lot of states and RV parks in the country also require that your sewer hose is properly supported and sloping downward towards the sewer fitting provided in most RV sites. If you have the extra cash to spend, you can buy these from your local RV supply store.

Other Items

  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Toilet chemicals - if you have an RV equipped with a toilet
  • Wood blocks and levelers - to assist in leveling your recreational vehicle
  • Rock salt supply - for water softener
  • Power inverter
  • Battery jumper, cables, flares and flashlight
  • WD40, Duct Tape and Scissors
  • Wrench and Screwdriver
  • Motor Oil
  • Windscreen Wash
  • Engine Coolant

Outfitting Your RV for the Outdoors

Unless it's raining, you and your family will be spending most of your time outside rather than inside of your RV. Below are some of the essential items you'll need to outfit your RV for the outdoors.

  • Firewood, matches and fire starters. These will come in really handy when you want to build a campfire in your site, and also cook your meals while enjoying the outdoors. Note you shouldn't take firewood across State lines to avoid spreading bugs and diseases. You can often buy firewood at the campground or at a nearby gas station, supermarket or Wal-Mart.
  • RV awnings. Not all sites provided by RV parks and campgrounds have sufficient shade so it can get quite hot between mid-day and early afternoon. Installing an awning on your RV will provide you and your family sufficient shade while spending your time outside. If you have one as standard, then make sure you get a demo on how to use it before you leave with your new RV.
  • Battery powered lanterns and flashlights. Getting a couple of battery operated lanterns and flashlights will not only help you light your way around campgrounds at night. They can also come in very handy in the event that you need to make some quick inspections and repairs on your RV during your camping trip. We recommend going for a head lamp as they are very bright and allow you to have the use of both of your hands.

Outfitting Your RV's Bedroom

When you're out camping, you'll want to have your bedroom comfortable enough to get a good night's sleep.

  • Bedding. Instead of buying new bedding, opt to use bedding from your home. The familiar scent and feel of the bedding would make sleeping in an unfamiliar bed more comfortable and save you money, too.
  • Pillows. Just like bedding, it's better to simply bring your own pillows when you go camping instead of buying a new set to be more comfortable sleeping.

Outfitting your RV's Bathroom

  • Basic toiletries. Since you'll be out camping, you don't need to pile your RV's bathroom with all sorts of creams and fancy toiletries since you have very limited space. All you really need are soap, shampoo and conditioner. Get one of those 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner items to further save on space. Other toiletries that you need are:
    • Toothbrush
    • Toothpaste
    • Razor
    • Shaving cream (for the men)
    • Deodorant
    • Sunscreen
  • Bath towels. Buy some bath towels to outfit your RV's bathroom or use ones from home.

Outfitting Your RV's Kitchen

  • Cooking ware. Head over to your local home depot store to get a set of durable cooking ware to outfit your RV's kitchen. You can easily find complete sets of cooking utensils, pots and pans that actually cost you less than buying them by the piece.
  • Food storage containers. While looking for your cooking ware, go and get some plastic food storage containers like Lock-and-Lock. These help keep all your food fresh and avoid spillage while you're driving on the road. They will also save you money by limiting the amount of tin and aluminum foil that you need to replenish in your RV's kitchen, and help minimize your trash, too.
  • Dinner ware. Paper plates, plastic cups and utensils are all good, but they also can cost you a lot of money in the long run and are not exactly friendly to the environment. Getting a set of glass dinnerware like Correl, and stainless steel utensils will minimize your long term expenses while still being able to enjoy your meals in your RV.
  • Hand towels. Instead of going out to buy some new ones, why not recycle your old kitchen towels at home by using them in your RV?
  • Microwave oven. Sometimes, you might be too tired to cook your food. Having a microwave oven will make it more convenient for you to heat up your food after a long day of enjoying the outdoors, or warm up your water for your coffee in the morning. Most RV's come with this as standard.

Safety Items

You can never be too careful when you go on a camping trip with your family or friends. That's why it's essential to outfit your RV with the following safety items below:

  • First aid kit. A well-equipped camping first aid kit is an essential item to pack for any camping road trip.
  • Fire extinguishers. Fires can happen when you least expect it, especially in really small living areas like an RV. Outfit your RV with two fire extinguishers and keep one behind the driver's seat and another near the door or any place where it can easily be grabbed in the event of an emergency.
  • Survival ditch bag. If you were to get caught in a sudden emergency situation, such as a fire and had to abandon the RV immediately you should consider a survival ditch bag, just in case.
  • Bug sprays. Keep yourself and your family safe from insect bites and all sorts of bugs crawling and flying around while you're enjoying the outdoors. Make sure that you travel with one that is meant for your RV and another one that is meant to be used on your skin.

Campground Navigation and Entertainment

With smartphones and tablets widely available make sure you download all the apps you'll need. In particular, you should have an app to find the best campgrounds and RV parks like Camp Finder. Read our list of best apps for a camping road trip. Also take an e-reader with you.

Outfitting Your RV for Children

Children need to have a lot of activities to keep them occupied, especially while on your way to the campground. Instead of outfitting your RV with electronic games which may make it difficult to get your kids out of the RV once you arrive, outfit your RV with drawing supplies, books, and other non-electrical items to keep them occupied and busy while on your way to your camping trip. Here's some ideas to entertain kids on the road. Also at the campground you could make a camping scrapbook or try other fun camping games for kids.

Outfitting Your RV for Pets

If you're planning to take your pet with you during your camping trips, make sure that you outfit your RV with the following items:

  • Food
  • Water
  • Treats
  • Bowls
  • Pet toys
  • Leash
  • Plastic bags for picking up after your pet (if you're bringing a dog) or a litter box (if you're traveling with a cat).

We also have some tips on camping with dogs.

These are just the essentials on how to outfit your RV. Of course, as time goes by, you can easily add more items to outfit your RV to personalize it, and make it truly your home away from home. See What to Bring With You on a RV Trip for a complete checklist of RV and personal items.

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1 comment(s) so far...

If you're a motorhome camper, you might also want to bring a large traffic cone to mark your campsite while you're away from it and some reflecting triangles in case you break down and need to pull off on the side of the road. Wheel chocks are also a handy safety addition if you are ever forced to park on a slope.

By LewisEdge on 5/22/2014 9:11:23 PM
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