Get Ready for Spring Camping! 12 Must-Do Tasks

Camping season is revving up and so are RVers! Here’s what you need to do to get ready for spring camping.

It’s time to dust off the RV sitting in storage (literally and figuratively) and get it ready for spring camping. There is a LOT of camping fun just around the corner but we need to put in some work to prepare.

Here’s my list of must-do tasks to run through every spring. Of course, you’ll need to tweak this list based on your RV, camping style, and whether you store your RV in the off-season.

But overall, this list will get you going (again, literally and figuratively) for spring.

Replace your water filter © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1. Replace your water filter

As you probably know, I recommend using a water filter on your freshwater system and spring is the perfect time to change it. If you camp regularly I recommend changing it at the top of every season.

That way, you have clean, good-tasting water from the start of the season. Some filters may last longer especially if you don’t camp that often.

2. Replace your water hose

Many RVers replace their drinking water hoses every year. Bacteria can accumulate in the old hose over time or while sitting in storage.

You may be able to use it longer if you buy a quality hose, keep it clean, and carefully store it. However, it’s always good to start with a fresh one every spring. Otherwise, it’s just too hard to know what’s growing inside.

3. Lube the wheel bearings

If you have a travel trailer or fifth wheel, add lubing the wheel bearings to your must-do list. It needs to be done at least once a year as well as being inspected.

You can take it to your local tire shop to get them inspected and greased up. Or, you can do it yourself if you know what to look for. Gooping it up isn’t rocket science but you’ll need to know what to look for to make sure the bearings are in good shape before you hit the road.

4. Inspect and seal your roof

You don’t want to start your spring season with a leak during your first camping trip.

If you’re not comfortable getting up on the roof, hire an RV tech service or employ the help of a handy family member or friend. Look for cracks, bubbling, or discoloration. Then use RV caulk and sealants and repair accordingly.

5. Evaluate your internet service provider

Remote programs change constantly. Make sure that whatever Internet system you have does not lock you into excessive rates. Make sure that the amount of data you’re paying for is what you’re actually using and that it’s at the best possible price.

One phone call to your Internet provider to discuss your rates will often result in savings and/or better speeds.

Check your awnings © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

6. Check your awning

Before you head out, check your awning to make sure it extends and retracts properly. Awnings are one of the most common things to break in an RV. So, make sure it’s in working order.

While it’s extended, check for mold or mildew on the material. This often builds up when RVs are in storage during the wetter seasons. If need be, give it a good clean with tips from my RV awning cleaner guide.

While it’s extended, check for mold or mildew on the material. This often builds up when RVs are in storage during the wetter seasons. If need be, give it a good clean with tips from my RV awning cleaner guide.

7. Check all lights on your RV

Check all of the lighting on your RV, especially exterior lights, turn signals, and brake lights. Having to stop at an auto shop mid-trip wastes a lot of time when it’s an easy fix to do at home.

If you don’t have a spotter to help you check the lights, back up to a wall or garage door at night. Then, you should be able to test the lights by looking for the reflection.

If none or most of the lights aren’t working on your travel trailer or fifth wheel, check the electrical harnesses that connect the trailer to your tow vehicle. Make sure there’s no corrosion or build up on the metal pins or prongs on the connectors. Sometimes all you need to do is rub or clean them off and plug them back in.

8. Return everything you removed in the fall

If you removed anything in the fall because of freezing or attracting animals, you’ll need to replace all those now. 

Some items that might have been removed are your running batteries, smaller appliance batteries, and liquids (cleaners, repellents, etc).

And before you put these items back in, you’ll want to check your batteries: clean them if that seems necessary and check their charge.

Tip: If you’re removing things because you don’t want them to freeze, don’t just leave them in the garage where they might freeze.

9. Check your detectors/batteries/extinguishers

Spring is a good time to ensure your smoke alarm, carbon monoxide detector, and fire extinguisher are all in working order. It is recommended that batteries in detectors are replaced annually and this would be a good time to do that.

You’ll also want to make sure your flashlights, headlamps, and lanterns are still working and being stored in their proper place.

Check water and plumbing systems © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

10. Attend to the water and plumbing

You’ll need to flush water through the lines—especially if you winterized with anti-freeze in the fall.  Even if you didn’t winterize it’s a good idea to flush and clean the lines and make sure the plumbing is still working and there aren’t any leaks anywhere.

11. Check the electrical

It’s always a good idea to check the electrical and make sure all your appliances are still working (fridge, stove, microwave, etc). You might also want to move the slides in and out and check for water damage there and to ensure they’re working smoothly.

This is also the perfect time to hook up your unit. Make sure the lights are in working order, that your trailer brakes are good, and check the condition of your tires.

Fixing an electrical short is much more pleasant when the kids aren’t already packed in the truck ready to hit the road!

12. Inventory your first aid kit and tool box

Do a quick inventory of your first aid box and take a peek into your tool kit to make sure everything that should be there actually is. If something’s missing or past the due date, replace or replenish.

It’s time for spring cleaning © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What about spring cleaning?

Spring is always a great time to give your RV a thorough cleaning. There’s something about spring showers and fresh flowers that inspire us to refresh our living spaces.

When the weather starts turning warmer and thoughts turn to planning epic RV road trips, there are numerous RV maintenance tasks to complete including RV spring cleaning. Here are some articles to help you get started.

RV Spring Cleaning Tips for Every Season

Spring is a great time to give your RV a thorough cleaning. There’s something about spring showers and fresh flowers that inspire us to refresh our living spaces.

But, really, any time is a good time to declutter and spruce up your RV. No matter the season, these RV spring cleaning tips will help you clean, declutter, and organize. So, whether it’s spring or winter, summer or fall, here are the tools, tips, and tricks you’ll need for RV spring cleaning.

Go to the full article…

Get Your Rig Ready for Spring Camping

It’s spring and with the traveling season right around the corner now is the perfect time to clear out the cobwebs and tidy up your RV.

Spring is right around the corner and your RV is calling. The beginning of camping season is the perfect time to assess the condition of each distinct part of your motorhome or trailer. So go ahead, break your RV out of storage.

Go to the full article…

Cleaning Your RV Interior

Just like your home, your recreational vehicle requires a thorough cleaning on a regular basis. It’s a fact of life that nothing stays clean for long—and that includes your RV. A newly mopped floor is just waiting for a spill. That’s especially true with a young family.

The need for cleaning never disappears. Fortunately, most cleaning isn’t difficult. Occasionally, though, you run into something that refuses to come clean, or you are convinced that there must be a better way.

When cleaning an RV interior start from the top and work your way down. Begin a thorough cleaning by dusting the ceiling, wiping light fixtures, and cleaning ceiling vents.

Go to the full article…

Clean your RV exterior © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Cleaning Your RV Exterior

Following are a few RV cleaning tips to use the next time you clean and maintain your RV.

Since there are myriad RV cleaning products on the market, choosing the one that’s right for you can be a challenge.

Opt for a high-quality cleaner that will help make the finish on your RV last longer. Look for a multi-purpose RV cleaner as well to save some money.

Go to the full article…

A helpful checklist

Of course, there is a LOT of little things you need to do to get ready for spring camping from packing to food prepping. The above covers a lot of the big tasks but here is a helpful checklist:

Worth Pondering…

Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing up is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.

—Phyllis Diller

Life Threatening Winter Blast: Dumb Winter RVing Mistakes to Avoid

Even the best home on wheels can only give limited protection from cold weather. The rest is up to you. Don’t learn winter RVing mistakes the hard way. If severe weather is approaching, it’s time to get serious about keeping warm, safe, and enjoying this year-round lifestyle.

RVing is now a year-round activity. Many RV owners are bypassing the RV storage lot to take part in winter camping.

According to the RV Industry Association (RVIA), “RV ownership has increased over 62 percent in the last twenty years with a record 11.2 million RV owning households.” A University of Utah study reflects these findings by revealing that more visitors are exploring the state’s national parks in winter than ever before.

Here are some helpful resources:

Can you be comfortable RVing in winter? And safe?

Winter RV camping doesn’t have to be brutal. But even snowbirds that travel south for winter can get caught in unexpected snow storms. You can be warm, safe, and comfortable in cold temperatures if that happens to you. Just don’t wait to learn how to do it the right way. If you’re planning an RV trip during the winter but are unprepared for winter weather you may never want to do it again.

12 dumb winter RVing mistakes you want to avoid

Wherever you travel in your RV, make it your goal to avoid these common cold weather blunders. Don’t learn them the hard way so that you can enjoy four seasons of fun.

Clean snow off slide toppers before retracting © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

1. Not clearing snow off the slide-out roof (before retracting it)

In winter, carry a ladder and something that easily removes snow from RV rooftops. This lesson will hit home if a sudden snowstorm catches you by surprise. Don’t forget to look up before retracting your slideout. A massive pile of heavy snow accumulated on the slide-out will cause the motor to stall, sometimes with disastrous results.

2. Delaying RV generator maintenance

Is your RV generator prepped for winter weather? Make sure it operates efficiently before your comfort depends on it. Even starting a well-maintained generator can be tough in freezing weather. Generator starting is especially rough if you have an external model.

Understand your RV maintenance needs. A well-running machine may be the only thing between you and freezing temperatures inside the RV.

Heated water hose © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

3. Keeping the fresh water hose connected

Don’t wait for the first hard freeze to teach you the agony of thawing your drinking water hose with a hair dryer. When the weather starts to go bad, fill your RV fresh water tank with water and disconnect and stow your RV drinking water hose. You’ll be glad you did when you can still use water from your water tank and not the campground bathroom.

Alternately use a heated water hose available at most RV dealers and stores selling RV supplies.

Read more: Winter RV Camping Must-Have: Heated Water Hose

4. Forgetting to check propane levels before departure

Use a propane safety tool like the GasStop to alert you when your RV propane supply runs low. Always carry two full tanks especially if you’ll be cold weather boondocking in remote areas. If not, you could end up getting stranded in a remote campsite without fuel to keep you warm.

Electric space heater © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

5. Not carrying an alternative heat source

If your RV’s propane furnace isn’t keeping your RV comfortable enough (or if you’re running low on propane), it’s time to purchase another heat source. Just be sure to choose a space heater that is safe and practical for your situation. Some can be dangerous if knocked over and will require electric power. Be sure to review the safety risks of using electric heaters before making your purchase.

Check this out to learn more: How to Prevent and Detect Carbon Monoxide in Your RV

7. Skipping extra insulation

You aren’t throwing money down the drain by purchasing extra insulation. Add it to your rig and you’re already better off. The RV insulation most commonly used to retain indoor warmth during cold temperatures is Reflectix insulation material.

This lightweight stuff can be cut to the size of your RV windows and ceiling van vents. Lay it over them and you have one more way to keep cold out. Many RVers also use Reflectix in summer to keep the heat out.

8. Plugging an electric space heater into a 20-amp circuit

Using electric space heaters inside an RV is not inherently dangerous. But not being smart about how you use supplemental heat sources can sometimes end in an RV fire. Don’t leave a space heater turned on when you’re away from your RV or overnight. A pet could easily knock it over and burn your RV down. Or an electric cord can overheat and start a fire. That’s why we never use the high setting on our space heater.

Read more:

Winter camping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

9. Not opening cabinet doors on freezing cold nights

Keeping RV cabinet doors open at night is one of the best tricks to prevent frozen water lines.

Leaving your cabinet doors open allows for warm air from within your RV to circulate exposed pipes under sinks and vanities. When you keep your cabinets closed, you prevent air from warming them, essentially keeping them isolated in cooler air.

By keeping cabinets that contain pipes open whenever possible and maintaining adequate heat levels throughout your RV, you’re taking crucial steps towards ensuring that your plumbing system remains intact even during winter’s worst conditions.

10. Check your seals and furnace vents

One of the easiest and least expensive ways to help prevent a cold RV is to keep up with your maintenance! Make sure there are no cracks or gaps in the seals around your windows to avoid unnecessary drafts in your RV. You can repair the seals with some caulking or completely replace the seals if needed. 

11. Blindly following Google trip directions without checking road conditions

We’ve all read about drivers who don’t invest in an RV trip planner and end up paying the price by getting lost, or worse. Don’t tempt fate by blindly following your GPS as it can lead to deadly consequences. Always verify that road conditions are safe for us before heading out.

Here are some articles to help:

Winter camping © Rex Vogel, all rights reserve

12. Don’t learn RV lessons the hard way

Create enough camping checklists and soon the list of summer and winter RVing mistakes grows shorter. The positive side of learning from common mistakes is that you will have plenty of great campfire stories to share with friends and family.

Cold climate winter camping is not the best time to attend the RV school of hard knocks. It pays to talk to more experienced RVers about winter camping. Learn from everyone else’s mistakes, so you can avoid them in your awesome RV travels.

Worth Pondering…

No winter lasts forever, no spring skips its turn.

—Hal Borland (1900-1978)

What Is the Difference Between a Garden Hose and an RV Drinking Water Hose?

Read this before buying an RV water hose

A hose is a hose … or is it? Before you’re tempted to save a buck by connecting a garden hose to your RV freshwater tank, stop and read this article. There are good reasons why RV supply stores want to sell you a real RV freshwater hose instead.

On the surface you might think that all water hoses are the same. And RV drinking water hoses cost at least twice as much as a garden hose. If you’ve ever wondered if putting an RV water hose label onto a hose is just a marketing ploy, you’re not alone. The truth is, RV drinking water hoses are not just a gimmick.

The important differences between a garden hose and an RV water hose can mean the difference between putting poison into your body and staying healthy.

An RV water hose may seem like a pretty simple thing: it’s just the tube connecting you to the city water hookup and ensuring fresh water comes flowing out of your taps, shower head, and toilet.

And in many ways, an RV water hose is pretty simple. But there are also a few things to know about these important pieces of equipment before you set out on a camping trip.

For example, an RV water hose is different from a standard garden hose and you will also need a water pressure regulator to ensure the city water pressure isn’t too strong for your RV’s sensitive systems.

In this post, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about RV water hoses—so let’s get started.

Water hose and pressure regulator attached to city water connection © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What is the best RV water hose?

You will find an RV water hose on every RV accessory and camping checklist. After all, since we all need water to survive it’s a pretty important piece of equipment. If you have visited a local RV supply store you know there are different types of water hoses for your RV. The two main types of RV freshwater hoses are:

  • RV drinking (or potable) water hoses
  • RV heated water hoses

The best water hose will vary for each RVer depending on their needs (or even just their current destination and season).

But there’s one rule of thumb I want to ensure you have locked down before you even think about buying an RV water hose and that’s this: No, your normal green garden hose will not cut it!

Garden hoses are not rated for potable water in the same way RV drinking water hoses are and they can leech chemicals into your water supply that taste and smell bad and can even be toxic.

So when you’re in the market for a water hose for your RV make sure that first and foremost you find one that’s specifically made for drinking, or potable, water.

Different types of RV water hoses

Let’s take a more detailed look at the types of RV drinking water hoses.

RV potable water hose

I’ve already mentioned potable and drinking water hoses as the terms are interchangeable. Often, these hoses are bright white or blue to distinguish them from typical green garden hoses.

Heated RV water hose © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Heated RV water hose

If you’ll be traveling somewhere where the temperatures dip below freezing a heated water hose is essential to ensure your water source doesn’t freeze up. If you keep using a regular hose at sub-freezing temperatures the hose is apt to split when the water inside it freezes leading to a mess that’s no fun to clean up in chilly temperatures—not to mention a lack of water coming out of your taps.

Heated RV water hoses are well-insulated and come with electric elements to physically heat the hose itself and keep the water inside from freezing. They are also rated for drinking water and thus are safe to use for RVers. The heated hose usually has a heat strip along the side of the hose. That strip is plugged into a standard 110 volt electrical connection to heat it up. Since the hose stays above freezing the water in the hose will not freeze and continues to flow freely into your RV. They are sometimes also called no-freeze water hoses.

Heated water hose attached to city water connection © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Benefits and features of RV water hoses

Of these various types of RV hoses many also advertise additional perks such as no-kink, no-twist, or no-tangle.

RV water hoses come in various lengths but the most common are 6-, 12-, 25- and 50-foot lengths. If you have camped much at all you know the distance from the campground water source to your RV can vary greatly. Having different hoses with different lengths can come in handy. Ideally, you want just enough length to get you connected without putting a strain on the hose. You also do not want a curled up hose as they tend to kink and restrict water flow (even when they’re advertised as no-kink hoses. If you have more hose than you need its best to stretch it out to create a smooth water flow inside.

That said, it makes sense to carry multiple drinking water hoses in your RV. The best RV water hose is the one that’s long enough to cover all your bases without being unwieldy. That is why I recommend two 25-foot hoses rather than one 50-foot hose.

RV water hose and reel © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RV water hose pricing

RV water hose pricing does depend on the brand and type you get and heated RV water hoses are, not surprisingly, considerably pricier than those that don’t come with insulation and heating elements. A heated RV water hose might set you back about $100 whereas an uninsulated (but potable-water-safe) RV drinking hose will cost about $10-$30.

What to look for when buying an RV water hose

When shopping for an RV water hose, be sure to look for one that specifically states its drinking water safe. After that, you’ll want to buy your hose based on whether or not you need a heated hose for winter camping and then you can think about extra additions like kink-free or tangle-free hoses. Some RVs come with built-in storage devices like a hose reel; hose bags are also available to keep your coiled-up hose stored neatly and securely.

Another accessory you need for your RV water setup is a water pressure regulator which helps ensure the city water pressure isn’t too strong for your RV’s sensitive system. Water pressure regulators are relatively inexpensive with prices starting at about $10-$15 and it’s certainly a whole lot less expensive than dealing with a plumbing system fiasco.

Psst: Your RV water hose and its various accompaniments are only one of the many RV parts and accessories that can make or break your camping trip! Click here to read my post on must-have RV accessories which will get you up to speed on everything from sewer hoses to electoral adapters.

This is why you need to attach a pressure regulator to your city water connection © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Garden hose

  • Often made from unregulated e-waste materials
  • Usually contain unregulated amounts of lead, BPA, and phthalates
  • Another toxic plasticizer used to make garden hoses includes polyvinyl chloride, a substance connected to various cancers and health problems
  • Other harmful substances include organotin and antimony
  • Water tastes terrible when taken from a garden hose

RV drinking water hose

  • Must meet a set of federal standards
  • Drinking water hoses must comply with the 2014 Federal Safe Drinking Water Act
  • Materials can withstand UV breakdown and chemical leakage into water
  • RV drinking water hose materials don’t have BPA or phthalate toxins
  • A DWS Drinking Water Safe hose is NSF certified and FDA approved
  • Water tastes better

Connecting a garden hose for RV drinking water purposes puts you at great risk of health issues now and in the future. Is your life worth saving a few pennies? What about your loved ones?

Buy an RV water hose and use it to prevent health problems. Add a high quality RV water filter system for a higher level of protection.

Water filter © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RV water hose: FAQs

I’ll finish out this article about RV water hoses by answering some of the most frequently asked questions about them.

Can I use a garden hose for my RV?

Remember my first rule of thumb above: NO! Your general green garden hose is not safe to drink from. They release heavy metals and other toxic substances into the water that can make us humans sick.

Can I use a drinking hose as a garden hose?

Now, in the other direction, exchanging your garden hose for a drinking hose would work just fine but a drinking hose is more expensive than a garden hose so it would be a waste of money.

What are RV water hoses made of?

Potable water hoses are made of various food-safe ingredients such as UV-stabilized polyether-based polyurethane.

Happy camping—and stay hydrated out there!

Now that you know all about the RV water hose and pressure regulator accessories you need you’re almost ready to hit the open road. Plan your route with one of the many online tools available today and don’t forget to take photos of your experiences. Happy travels!

Worth Pondering…

I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.

—Stephen Covey

15 Things to Buy After Getting a New RV

RVing is so much easier when you have the right gear

Congratulations! You just purchased your first RV. That sense of accomplishment, excitement, and joy is mixed in with “What the heck did I just do?” Now it’s time to get those 15 things you have to buy after getting a new trailer or motorhome.

The call of the road is stronger than ever and you’re ready to hit the gas pedal. You bought a camper, now you need to prepare for the road.

Your wallet may feel like it’s smoking from the large amount of money you just spent on your RV, but now you have some essential gear you’ll need to purchase. The good part is the amount of money you need to complete your travel trailer supply checklist is like adding a few sticks to the fire, not another gas can.

To make this as painless as possible, I’ve put together an organized list for first-time RV owners on what you should keep in your recreational vehicle of choice. You don’t need to wait until you have your RV this is what you need to know before buying an RV concerning essential gear.

Sewer hose and attachment © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What comes with a new RV

If your sales representative was good at their job, they did a complete walkthrough of your new RV. We hope you came prepared with your own version of an RV checklist to make sure everything is in proper working order. You may be asking yourself, “Do new RVs come with sewer hoses?” or other questions about essential gear.

RV dealerships may have a “new owner’s kit” or some other goodies they give to their customers but there’s no such requirement. If they do offer basic hoses, they may be too short or poorly made.

You’ll either want to walk into their parts department, take a ride over to a camping supply store, or go home and jump on Amazon to find the best RV gadgets.

Electric, water, and sewer connections © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Essential supplies checklists

1. Hoses

There are a few different hoses you’ll need. If you’ve seen that movie with Robin Williams, we promise the real versions are a lot more sanitary.

Sewer hose: A high-quality sewer hose is essential to avoid any unpleasant leaks or malfunctions. I prefer the Camco RhinoFLEX kit that includes a 15-foot hose, a fitting that connects to your RV sewer outlet, an adapter that fits any sewer connection, and storage caps for each end. The durable hose is reinforced with steel wire so you can shape it as needed. Also, carry a 10-foot extension—you’ll be glad you did.

See-through sewer hose attachment © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Sewer hose attachments: There are various attachments that make the draining process easier. One type connects to the end of the hose to create a good seal to the dump station. Another is a clear plastic elbow that lets you monitor the flow.

Disposable protective gloves © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Protective gloves: There are two schools of thought to keep your hands clean. Some like to use rubber gloves that can be washed while others prefer disposable latex gloves they can throw out after each use.

Water hose: RV potable water hoses are lead and BPA-free. I recommend traveling with two hoses since you never know how far your RV will be parked from a city water connection. This hose looks like a garden hose but it’s white in color instead of green. The interior of the hose is lined to keep it sanitary for drinking.

Heated water hose © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Heated water hose: A heated RV water hose is required for winter camping. This product will give you safe drinking water even when temperatures dip below freezing. These hoses cost $100 or more depending mostly on length but will save you a lot in frozen pipes. A heated hose has a heat strip along the side of the hose that heats up when plugged into a 110-volt electrical connection. Some brands are rated to keep water flowing at minus 40 degrees.

Water pressure gauge © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Water pressure guage: This brass attachment connects between the campground’s shore connection and your water hose. It protects your RV’s plumbing system from receiving too much water pressure. It only takes one situation for your water lines to blow.

Water filter © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Water filters: RV water filters probably aren’t the first thing to leap to mind when you’re contemplating everything you need before you hit the road in an RV. But water flavor and quality can be variable when you’re camping. The goal of an RV water filter is to remove sediment (like dirt and sand) and other unwanted contaminants from your RV’s water supply.

Campground water quality is all over the map and that goes double if you’re getting your water elsewhere like an unknown water tap at a truck stop. There are two main categories of RV water filters you can use. One is an exterior RV water filter that goes between the spigot and the RV’s fresh water tank. The other is an interior drinking water filter that goes between the fresh water tank and the faucet used for drinking water.

Progressive electric management system © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

2. Electric

Most RVs come with electric cords that plug directly into shore power. There are additional things you’ll need to hook in correctly.

Electrical protectors: There are four electrical issues an RVer can encounter while traveling: surges, miswired pedestals, high/low voltage, and wiring issues inside the RV.

What exactly are you protecting your RV from when you use an electrical protection device? It’s much more than power surges which we typically associate surge protectors with. Surges are actually the least common problem with RV electricity. An RV typically has a lot of sensitive electronic circuitry in it and having steady power is crucial to keeping these components from having an early funeral. Failure of components like AC units, refrigerators, washer/dryer, and computers plugged into a wall outlet can be very expensive to replace. You can use one of the Progressive Electric Management Systems or Surge Guard portable or hardwired units.

Extention cord: Sometimes you may have to park your RV further away from the utility box than your cord can reach. You’ll want the same amp extension cord that your unit comes with (30 or 50 amp).

Power adapters: Every RVer needs to carry a few power adapters often referred to as dogbones to make sure that they can connect to whatever power is available to them. These power adapters will have a smaller, lower amperage plug (male blades) on one end and a larger/higher-amperage receptacle (female terminals). Look for UL-listed versions of these adapters preferably with rigid grab handles. They do not change the power output.

Recommended electric adapters include:

  • 50-amp RV plugged into the 30-amp source
  • 50-amp RV plugged into the 15-amp source
  • 30-amp RV plugged into the 15-amp source

Fuse kit: Pickup a set of fuses that handle different amperages. Each color represents a different level of current. They’ll work for your automotive and coach systems.

Stabiiizer jack pad © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

3. RV jacks

Using your jacks on grass or dirt can be problematic. You may start out level but as you move around in your RV they may start to sink into the ground.

Stablilizer jack pads: Prevent hydraulic or electric jacks from sinking into the ground by using RV stabilizer jack pads. Available in sets of four they are solidly constructed of durable polypropylene with UV inhibitors.

Jack blocks: Jack blocks work like Lego to give your jacks a higher surface to sit on. They are useful if your jacks can’t reach the ground. Interlocking for convenient storage they are available with a handy strap.

Tire chocks: If you’re on an incline, tire chocks prevent your RV from rolling. Use these first, and of course make sure your brakes are set. Always use with travel and fifth-wheel trailers.

Bubble levels: Putting bubble levels on your trailer will help you with the leveling process. Higher-end travel trailers and motorhomes use auto-leveling systems that won’t require the use of bubble levels.

4. Toilet

Your RV’s bathroom doesn’t need to smell like a state fair’s port-a-john. Using the proper tools can keep your RV bathroom smelling fresh and toilet clog-free. Preventive maintenance isn’t that difficult but you do want to keep up with it.

Black tank chemical: This chemical comes in your choice of liquid, powder, and packets. A weekly treatment poured down your toilet is all you need to prevent odors and proper breakdown of waste. An an alternative to commercial products you can use Dawn dish soap.

RV toilet paper: Toilet paper designed for RVs are designed to breakdown in black holding tanks. Most residential toilet papers are too thick and will create clogs.

5. Emergency kit

Nobody wants to think about it, but emergency kits are one of those items you want stocked and ready to go. There are still places take hours or days for emergency services to reach. Making sure you’re safe if a disaster strikes is essential.

Road Side Kit: A good quality kit will have hazard signs, flares, jumper cables, and tow cables. You may not find an all-in-one kit with everything you need, so you’ll probably have to piece it together yourself.

First Aid and Survival Kit: You’ll want more than just band-aids and gauze. Good quality first aid kits have everything you need for almost any situation. You’ll also want survival items like matches (waterproof matches if possible) and freeze-dried food for a couple of days. Your freshwater tank will be your source of water, so use it sparingly.

6. Tool kit

Every RVer should have a basic knowledge of D.I.Y. repair. A couple of quick YouTube videos will show you travel trailer dos and don’ts in basic RV repair. Your tool kit should have the following items:

  • Hammer
  • Set of screwdrivers with flat and Phillips heads
  • Set of Allen wrenches
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Drill (if it’s cordless, have at least two batteries where one is fully charged)
  • Drill bits, screwdriver bits, and bits that fit your jacks
  • Heavy duty tire gauge
  • Two (or more) flashlights (preferably one wearable one to keep your hands free)
  • Small tube of silicone caulk
  • Work gloves
  • Rhino, duct, electrical, and masking tape (If you don’t know why, watch a couple of episodes of the Original Macgyver)

7. Generator

If your RV doesn’t have a factory-installed generator, it’s always a good idea to invest in a good one. There are many affordable options that are relatively quiet. This way you’ll have a power source when you’re dry camping or in a power outage.

Pack supplies for your pets © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

8. Pet supplies

If you’re one of the over 65 percent of RVers that bring your pet with you having separate pet supplies just for the RV is a great way to avoid forgetting something. Outside safety equipment like leashes, latching devices, and outside toys will make their RV adventure a fun time. If your coach doesn’t have a built-in dog station I recommend a dog dish with a collar to prevent messes.

9. Back up camera

If you have a motorhome, you’ll already have a backup camera. Most towables now come prepped and wired with backup camera brackets. This camera makes traveling and parking easier.

10. Kitchen supplies

RV kitchen must-haves are essential. Having cookware, dishware, cutlery, and other kitchen items separate from your home make it less complicated when you’re getting ready to leave for your camping trip. Camping accessory manufacturers make these items specifically for camping to hold up to the conditions of camping.

RV mattresses come in different sizes © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

11. Linens

RV mattress sizes can be different than residential sizes. Queen mattresses come in short, three-quarters, and other near residential measurements. Sheets, towels, and a portable laundry basket designated for your RV will keep your home linens from degrading too quickly.

12. Outdoor furniture

Picnic tables are good to use but they aren’t that relaxing. Having a mat at your entry will help you keep the dirt outside. Folding tables, folding lounge chairs, and other outdoor furniture will help you make the most of the outdoor camping experience.

Dawn dish soap © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

13. Cleaning supplies

Camping and dirt go hand-in-hand. Vacuums, laundry detergent, and cleaning wipes should always be in a cabinet. Many veteran RVers like to use Dawn dish soap because of its many uses to clean other items besides dishes.

14. Internet service

Pretty much everything we do these days, we do online—so if you’re going to be spending significant time in an RV, internet is an essential. The bad news is, there’s no one easy answer to this question. Staying connected will depend on where and how you camp and what kind of surfer you are. But that bad news is also good news because it means there are plenty of ways to secure internet for your RV, which means you’re bound to find an option that will work for you. Here are the basic options for RV internet:

  • Public WiFi
  • DSL or Cable
  • Cellular data 
  • Satellite
  • Starlink

15. RV insurance

The last and most important thing is RV Insurance. RV insurance is different than car insurance. That’s why motorhomes, travel trailers, and campers need custom coverage. RV insurance gives you many of the same benefits you get with car insurance coverage but includes more protection based on the unique risks that RVs face.

Worth Pondering…

Learn from yesterday, live for today, look to tomorrow, rest this afternoon.

—Charlie Brown, from Peanuts

Everything You Need To Know About RV Water Pressure Regulators

Making a list of must-have items for your new RV? A water pressure regulator needs to be on that list. Learn why in this article.

Most people understand that when they purchase an RV, they must purchase certain things to go along with the rig and make it fully usable. A sewer hose, for instance, is a must-have. A freshwater hose is important as well and nobody would even consider going camping without these things.

Water pressure relator © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

However, there is one item that many people don’t realize they need to have on board before hitting the road on their first adventure: an RV water pressure regulator. RV water pressure regulators may be tiny but they are incredibly useful pieces of camping equipment.

If you connect your RV to a city water connection that has a very high water pressure, you are gambling on the possibility of bursting the fresh water pipes in your RV. Bursting water pipes can cause significant damage to your RV if the leak is not caught quickly.

Connected to city water (with pressure regulator), power, and sewer © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

When you arrive at an RV park, you do not know what water pressure they are running in their city water system. It is not unheard of for some campgrounds to have water pressures exceeding 150 psi. A water pressure regulator is an insurance policy for your RV’s freshwater plumbing system. 

Related: Your RV Camping Checklist: 10 Essentials for RV Travel

In this article, I will discuss what a water pressure regulator is, why you need one, how to use it, what to look for when purchasing a pressure regulator, and how to know if it is faulty.

Connected to city water (with pressure regulator), power, and sewer © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What is an RV water pressure regulator?

An RV water pressure regulator is exactly what you might expect: a tool to reduce the water pressure of the water entering your rig. It’s a small piece of equipment and is usually made using brass. Some are adjustable or have gauges while others have no special features whatsoever. However, each and every one has the important job of protecting your RV water system.

Connected to city water (with pressure regulator), power, and sewer © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Do I need a water pressure regulator?

Wondering if you actually need to invest in a water pressure regulator? The answer is a resounding yes, you definitely do. The water lines in RVs are not made to withstand a lot of force. Water pressure that is too high can cause serious damage to these lines, resulting in leaks.

Obviously this is an issue, and to top it all off, these leaks are often difficult or even impossible to reach and repair. A water pressure regulator will ensure the pressure never gets too high, preventing this problem altogether.

Connected to city water (with pressure regulator), power, and sewer © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

How to use a water pressure regulator

All RV pressure regulators are installed using twist-in threads. The water pressure regulator should be connected directly to the RV park’s city water connection. Any in-line water filter and your drinking water hose should then be connected to the water pressure regulator—this will prevent them from being damaged.

Related: The 10 Essentials Every RV Owner Should Buy Before Their First Road Trip

If you find that your regulator tends to leak once screwed into place, try using a washer in the regulator or tighten the regulator with a pair of pliers.

Connected to city water (with pressure regulator), power, and sewer © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What to look for when buying a water pressure regulator?

There are numerous water pressure regulators on the market and even the ones with all the bells and whistles don’t cost too much.

Here’s what I recommend looking for while shopping for an RV water pressure regulator:

  • Material: Stick with the brass options as these are very durable and safe for drinking water.
  • PSI: You will want to make sure the regulator you purchase provides the correct water pressure to your RV. Most recently manufactured RVs have a water pressure limit of 60 psi. Meanwhile, older rigs can only withstand around 50 psi. Keep this in mind while shopping.
  • Adjustability: An adjustable water pressure regulator allows you to adjust the water pressure to suit your needs while remaining within the safety threshold for your RV.
  • Gauge: Some RV water pressure regulators come equipped with a gauge. Gauges are nice because they allow you to see exactly where you stand in terms of water pressure ensuring you always remain well within the safe zone.
Connected to city water (with pressure regulator), power, and sewer © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

How to tell if a pressure regulator has gone bad

Occasionally, an RV water pressure regulator will go bad or get clogged. If you notice a dramatic decrease in the water pressure inside of your rig, a bad or clogged pressure regulator might be to blame. In this case, the best thing to do is to replace the faulty part with a new one.

Related: 7 Tips for Newbies to Know BEFORE the First Trip

Of course, low water pressure can be caused by a number of issues. Be sure to check these things as well as the regulator if you experience a problem with your RV water pressure:

  • Clogged water filter
  • Clogged mesh at the water inlet
  • Kinked, cracked, or clogged freshwater hose
  • Low campground water pressure
Connected to city water (with pressure regulator), power, and sewer © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A water pressure regulator is an important addition to your RV tool kit. Be sure to use it each and every time you connect your RV to a water source in order to protect your rig and keep your water system in tip-top shape.

Worth Pondering…

Learn from yesterday, live for today, look to tomorrow, rest this afternoon.

—Charlie Brown, from Peanuts