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RV Camping Checklist: Bare Essential Items You Will Need to Buy, After you Buy

RV Camping Checklist featuring a class c camper camping on the water surrounded by trees by rv boondocker

We wish someone would have provided us an RV Camping Checklist. The essentials, a list of items that you really need to have that don’t come with your RV.

So you’ve made the decision to purchase a camper. Congratulations on your new journey! Welcome to the world of RV Life. 

When we purchased our new Catalina Legacy, I just assumed that everything I needed was included.  Unfortunately, it was not.



As soon as we signed the paperwork, the sales person walked us right over to the accessories store. He “suggested” that we purchase more items. We were actually shocked these things weren’t included. 

We could have saved a ton of money by having an RV Camping Checklist. The opportunity to purchase these items from Walmart or Amazon or someplace cheaper would saves tons. Therefore, I have put together a RV camping checklist. A list of items that you will need to purchase when buying a new RV.

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RV Camping Checklist Essentials

Things you will need to buy after getting your RV

Believe it or not, no, your brand new RV does not come with a sewer hose. So, if you plan on using water, the toilet, or the shower in your new RV, you will need to purchase one.

Most of the time, a 10 foot sewer hose will do the job. Some times you need it to be a little longer. I have, and suggest, a 15 foot sewer hose, with a clear 90 degree attachment and a separate 10 foot extension.

The RV Sewer hose extension is just in case you roll up to a spot where the attachment is on the opposite side. This is for when you cannot get the RV close to where the hose needs to go. I suggest this 15foot hose for your connection, and this 10ft extender.

What about Emptying your Black Tank when out RV Boondocking? Did you know that there are ways to empty your black tank without even moving your RV? Check out our Black Tank article for more information.


What about Emptying your Black Tank when out RV Boondocking? Did you know that there are ways to empty your black tank without even moving your RV? Check out our Black Tank article for more information.

RV Sewer Hose

rv sewer hose for rv bathroom

RV Water Essentials

Water Hoses and Water Filters

An RV water hose needs to be dedicated to your drinking water only. It must be specifically made to be safe to drink water from. You can not use a garden hose or something that may cause you harm over time.

I suggest a 25 ft hose, as this will be enough in most situations.

Water Filters

In addition, a good water filter is a must. A reliable way to filter water coming into your RV is  this charcoal water filter.  It has a wide body for higher capacity and flow rate, the in-line RV water filter lasts an entire camping season and has Activated Carbon to provide safe drinking water. It can even improve the condition of your skin, hair and nails.

I have been to so many places where the water didn’t smell, or seem very clean. Remember, even if you are planning on filtering your water once inside, or drinking bottled water, it is still wise to have a filter.

The water coming in is also your dishwater, shower water, etc. I have a Berkey Filter at home, so naturally, brought it in the camping. It gives me peace of mind, knowing we have pure, clean water available. In my opinion, best on the market.

Good Sam


The Roadside Assistance program usually pays for itself in one or two outings.  It’s really a no brainer.  After signing up you immediately get cash and percentage discounts at most campgrounds, Camping World and Gander Mountain. Other features of this plan include, but are not limited to:

  • Towing
  • Roadside Service
  • Locksmith Service
  • Hotel Discounts
  • Rental Car Discounts
  • Campground Discounts

If you travel a lot, there will indefinitely come a time when some sort of emergency happens. You forgot your prescription, have a health emergency, or maybe even an accident.  Maybe you forgot your prescription or glasses?  No problem with this plan.  Other features on this plan include :

  • Returning Your RV in a medical situation
  • Medical Transportation
  • Ambulance service
  • Flights home after emergency
  • Coverage and care for pets 

RV Camping Checklist Essentials Continued

I cannot stress this to you enough. Get wheel chokes and use them!! Use them as soon as you get to your camp site. Before you do anything else, as soon as you know where you want your RV to sit, put them in place.

Wheel Chokes

Even before you detach your vehicle. This is an item that should appear on ANY RV camping checklist. You do not want your RV to move at any time after you decide where to place it. Without chokes, it can roll and potentially roll into or over something. You don’t need anything fancy. These are the chokes I use. I highly suggest getting 4 or one for each wheel.


Essential RV Power Adapters

Most of the time, the dealership will provide you with a power cord. However, they will only give you the cord that is appropriate for your unit. So, if your RV runs on 30 Amps, you will get a 30 Amp Cord. But, if you drive up to a camping site that only has 50 Amp hookups, or if you want to plug in to someone’s home electric, you are out of luck.

So you will need to get power adapters, also know as dogbones. If you have a 30 Amp RV, get the 50 Amp dogbone, and visa versa. If you do not have one of these and need to buy it at the campsite, and you are lucky enough that they have them, the price is typically outrageous. We have a 30 Amp camper, so I have this 30 to 50 converter.




essential rv power adapters to change amp

RV Electric

A Surge Protector is an Essential to protect all of your precious RV Electric System.

rv electric surge protector

Never leave home without one. Also, it is a good idea to lock it up. Unfortunately, it is a common item that is stolen. 

I realize these are not quite as important as the items above, but I can tell you that it is more important than you think. It really stinks rolling out of bed in the middle of the night because you are uneven.

Also, the water in your shower, sink, etc, will not sit properly and therefore will not drain correctly causing mildew or potentially mold to grow. In addition, if you are storing anything in your camper, you don’t want it to be uneven and fall.

The leveling blocks are a great way to level out your camper, and I also suggest the levels below, so you can “proofread” your work. We have these leveling blocks, and this simple level.

RV Black Tank Care



There are a lot of things on the market to place in your tank. It’s important to remember to keep this as natural as possible. We found Biocide Systems Shocker Treatments work really well. 


Keep the humidity out of your RV Camper

Keeping moisture out of your camper will save you a lot of time, money, and effort over the years. There are small portable dampness removers to choose from. If you have a smaller camper, you can use something like these reusable plug in dehumidifiers. We usually place these in the small storage spaces like kitchen cabinets and dining area.

There are bigger dehumidifiers, still small, but for tiny living, but helpful to treat the whole RV. Being from Florida, this is definitely something we need, we’ve stopped moisture and beginnings of mold in their tracks using these simple and essential tools.

In conclusion, there are many other items that make camping in your RV much more enjoyable, safe, and healthy. The items above should get you out on the road right away after purchasing your new RV.

RV Travel Books and Reference Guides

Having guides is essential to organizing your time and where you want to spend it. There have been many times when phones and devices don’t work while in remote locations. Some of these guide books are a tremendous help. There are great discount RV books like Good Sam as well as destination RV books with helpful tips on the national parks. Find RV living guides and other inspiring RV books below.

RV books are still relevant, even in today’s world. Most information is still at the tip of your fingers. It is simply a matter of picking up your phone or tablet and typing in a question. This technology has made things for the frequent traveler much easier. Within seconds you can know where a campsite is, how long your trip is going to take you, or where the next gas station is.  

When we are out on the road, we are very grateful to have our cell phones, GPSmobile hotspot, laptops, etc.  However, there have been several times in our RV Travel when internet and even cell phone service is NOT an option. There are A LOT of “dead spots” across the US. As a matter of fact, most camping spots have very little to no cell phone or internet service.   

RV Books

RV Camping Checklist - Creature Comforts You May Enjoy

comfortable rv chairs for camping

There’s nothing better than setting up at your campsite and taking your first relaxing sit with an ice cold beverage to enjoy the beauty of your scene.

 After a long drive it’s extremely helpful to put your feet up. That’s why we recommend these anti-gravity chairs. They help elevate your feet after a long drive or long walks, it’s heaven.

directors camping chair in black
Professional Tall Directors Chair By Pacific Imports
Freestyle Rocker Portable Folding Rocking Chair
Oversize XL Padded Zero Gravity Lounge Chair

RV Life Should Include Restful Sleep on a Comfortable BED

Replacing your RV mattress is almost mandatory, you will know once you’ve slept one night on that rock mattress that normally comes with your camper. A cheap solution we’ve found is adding a mattress topper to it. There are many toppers to choose from, we like the memory foam style.

Many choose to replace their whole mattress and upgrade to something extremely comfortable. We found this great company offering customized sizes for RV living. Tochta offers quality mattresses for RVs.

RV Replacement Mattress Topper
Journey mattress is made with high density foams, with cooling gel memory foam on top. Good quality. Good support. Good comfort. Medium firm feel.
RV Mattress Topper
4 inches of thick, plush gel memory foam add a soft and conforming feel that will result in a deeper sink that cradles your body more than a thinner topper

From the owners of Tochta

For over 25 years, we have been making comfortable and customized mattresses, creating better sleep for over 2 million customers! We have owned personal travel trailers and RV’s and are saddened to see the horrible quality of mattresses being put into our “house cars” (as our young kids have called them). Some of those beds barely qualified as a mattress at all! Don’t spend all of your money on a vacation, just to be exhausted from horrible sleep! C’mon! We want our RV vacations to be 100 percent trouble free and relaxing. Spending our time on some horrible cloth-covered metal spring is not our idea of relaxation!

Fortunately for us, we own a factory making hundreds of beds every day. After 25 years, we know a thing or two about making customized mattresses We quickly took measurements and replaced every mattress in our RV, treating ourselves to the most comfortable beds we make. On our vacations that followed, we met many new friends who were frustrated by the quality of beds in their RVs and the difficulty of obtaining better ones.

RV Storage and Organizing

Next, you will want to organize your stuff. First, so it doesn’t slide around everywhere. Second, so it is easy to access. From command strips to hold your brooms, to keeping all of your cans organized.

Laundry – Where do you put it? It seems like a small thing, until you have piles of laundry everywhere. We found this slim design laundry basket a nice space saver. It’s tall, thin, and,….bonus…it has wheels.

First Aid Kit

A good first aid kit is so important to have. I have a standard kit to keep in the camper and a mini one to take out on hikes. Even for a tiny scratch, it’s helpful to have some basic medical supplies with you. When you are traveling those rural roads in the middle of no where, you realize the value of having these basics on hand.

first aid kit for camping

You can easily find a first aid kit on Amazon, or Check out this company that sells really great kits for first aid. They are called My Medic. Check out their site.

Thanks for reading RV Checklist, Essentials for getting on the Road

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Happy RVing!

5 Responses

  1. Getting ready to go full-time RVING and cannot wait. Need some assistance on how to go about selling everything and hitting the road . Any suggestions will be appreciated.

    1. Thank you so much for reaching out! This is an awesome question that I actually currently writing an article about now. Definitely check back in about a week or two and I should have a full article about it. But, I would be happy to give you a few basic suggestions. First, be sure you get your current home situation settled. If you are selling or currently rent and are just leaving where you are, then you don’t have to worry about this. But if not, be sure you get a reliable renter or a management service of some kind. We have been fortunate enough that we rent to people that we know and trust, so this was a big plus for us. It is very nice knowing that the house is taken care of. Be sure you have everything settled like who is going to mow the law, etc. Your mail is another thing. At first, we had our mail forwarded to someone we trust, and that person would just text us a picture of the actual mail if anything important came along. That can be a lot to ask for a long period of time. We are currently using a mailbox at a ups store. You ask 50 people about this, you will get 50 answers, and most situations are different. Next is the internet. If you need/want the internet, you will have to prepare yourself for this. It is a topic that you don’t realize is so difficult until you are out there. Wrote an article about it here. I do have a guy that I can direct you to that offers unlimited data for hotspots. I really like this plan cause its cheap and as long as you have cell service, you are good. PACK LIGHT!! Once you leave your house and all of your stuff, you will realize how much you don’t need all of that stuff!! I am amazed at how little I don’t have something that I need. Hope this gives you a little help, and if you have any other questions, feel free to ask!

  2. Most RVers are considerate of fellow campers when staying at a campground. A good rule of thumb is to treat others as you would like to be treated. If we all follow these simple campground etiquette tips, everyone in the campground will have an enjoyable and safe camping experience.

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