Unplugging from the modern world and leaving technology behind are two of the most common reasons why people hit the road on their RV. True, you will enjoy having stars staring back at you some nights and owls screeching in the dark. Most days, however, you will need to cozy up inside your mobile home and live as you normally would. You’ll need to cook, do your laundry and dry them, clean your living area, and stretch to sleep.
At best your RV home will be space-challenged, and at worst it can be very uncomfortable. But we know very well that living off the grid and on the road has its rewards and offers a different kind of fulfillment. Bringing the essentials on board without crowding them in will make a significant difference to the space problem. We have created a checklist of must-haves for every RV home. We’ve also included practical hacks under most of these items, which you will undoubtedly find helpful.
12 Items That You Shouldn’t Go Without
1. A compact travel-size water filter system
Instead of lugging gallons of drinking water that add up to your motorhome’s weight, outfit your kitchen with a countertop water filter system which you can refill at water stations and camping sites. Choose one that can store 1-2 gallons of water. That should be more than adequate for three people.
2. An RV drinking water hose
These hoses are different from your garden hose which can leach harmful chemicals. RV drinking water hoses are specially made to ensure that you tap water safely. Here’s a neat little tip: Make sure that you can join the threaded ends together when the hose is not in use. This hack ensures that bugs don’t get in the path of your drinking water.
3. An amp adapter appropriate to your RV
Campground power posts may vary in the amps they provide, so keep an appropriate adapter handy. If your vehicle needs 50 amps, then you must have a 30-to-50 amp adapter. Conversely, if your RV needs 30 amps, make sure that you have a 50-to-30 amp adapter for parks that provide only 50-amp power outlets.
4. A power surge protector
Protect your RV from electrical damage due to power surges. To get double protection, choose one that also has an electrical management system feature or EMS which protects against low voltages and electrical accidents.
5. A portable generator
Don’t hit the road without a portable power source. Don’t limit your camping prospects to sites with power hookups because the great adventure could be out there where there are no electric outlets. The ideal generator for a travel trailer campers should be compact yet powerful enough to supply your electricity needs. Tip: Back up your generator with portable solar panels to conserve fuel especially during the summer months. You’ll have a limitless energy source while doing your share in reducing carbon emissions.
6. Easy-carry gas burner and barbeque grill
Have a barbeque and eat your dinner with fewer plates to wash or none at all. Some regulations don’t allow burning wood, but you can still enjoy outdoor cooking with a portable cooktop. Another option to gas grills would be solar stoves, cookers, or ovens. You get to conserve on propane fuel, too.
7. Compact propane fire pit
What’s camping without a campfire? You can simulate a campfire without burning wood by using a propane-fueled fire pit. Tip: Pick one with a lid to protect it from rain and a latch for keeping it secure when in storage. Turn gas halfway to prolong the life of your propane tank.
8. All-around instant pot
Downsizing your mobile kitchen means choosing your appliances wisely. Invest in an all-around pot that you can use for slow-cooking, pressure-cooking, making stews and soups, braising, steaming, boiling, warming, and cooking rice. Tip: When traveling, keep your meals simple. Reserve your gourmet cooking skills for your full-sized kitchen at home.
9. RV-friendly refrigerator
Your mini home fridge won’t be the best option for your travel trailer. What you need is called an absorption refrigerator which is RV-specific and uses a different process to cool itself. Find one that is compatible in size to your available space, has a high energy rating, and features both freezer and fridge functions. Tip: You can explore the possibilities of canning to forego having a refrigerator. Canning food is particularly attractive for people who have an abundant source of fresh produce.
10. Pre-measured storage bins and other organizing tools
Don’t randomly buy bins and baskets that you’ll later find too large for your shelves or cupboard. The best way would be to organize first, find out what type of storage is best for your items, and then measure the space available. Tip: A shelf with non-slip surface or brace will keep bins from falling off. We also suggest using wire rack shelving because its material is much lighter than solid panels.
11. Two-way radios
A two-way radio would come in handy when traveling in remote camping areas where network signals can be very weak or absent. It will be easier to enjoy the boondocks safe in the knowledge that you can reach someone if you need to. People are intensively using digital two-way radios for hiking, trekking and other events where they need to be in touch with other people.
12. Internet connection accessories
Not all trailer travelers intend to unplug entirely from the internet and the rest of the world. In fact, many of them work from their trailers when they’re not driving. If that sounds like you, then you will undoubtedly need Wi-Fi reception boosters and other connectivity accessories. Though there will be hot spots along the way and in most campsites, the signal will not always be strong enough.
Bottom Line: Simplify RV Life
You might have fifty or a hundred items on your list of must-haves. What you consider as RV essentials depend on your lifestyle, the length of time you usually spend traveling, and the number of people living in the trailer with you. Since space and comfort issues are inherent to RV living, it’s important to simplify your needs. If you’re carrying a tool, gadget, furniture, or garment that you don’t use at least every other day, it’s highly likely that you can live without it. Leave it at home on your next trip or drop it off on your next stop.