Creating our Camping Supplies List
As newbies to the motorhome owners world (read our becoming Full-Time RVers), we knew we needed a bunch of RV and camping gear, but where to start? There are literally thousands of RV camping accessories out there! How do you figure out which ones to spend your hard-earned bucks on and which are… well, just junk?
We decided to do lots of internet research, talk to as many RV’ers as we knew, go to as many RV accessories stores as we could find, and finally try the best way to see everything in one place- go to an RV Show! Lucky for us the largest RV show in the country was coming up in Hershey Pennsylvania, so it was a perfect opportunity to see tons of great RV camping accessories, RV gadgets, and lots of cool camping stuff.
The shows are also a great place to go if you are looking for RV supplies or parts and they offer show specials that can beat the prices of the discount RV supply stores. During our initial research, we saw many great motorhome accessories, but it can be hard to decide which are RV must-haves and not just fun RV accessories. Before we went to the show, we created a list of things that we definitely wanted to learn more about and planned our trip.
Cool Camping Gadgets and Motorhome Accessories
As we were researching what RV stuff we needed, we created a list of things we wanted to spend more time investigating. Once we took a look at our list, we realized we were all over the map (or camp, LOL)! Things like electric bikes, zero gravity chairs, and even a golf cart made the list! We had absolutely no idea what we really needed, but there sure was lots of fun stuff to think about!
One thing I really wanted to learn more about was RV kitchen accessories. There are lots of those out there, but not all of them are must-have camping accessories. After looking into the hundreds of different gadgets and gizmos, I decided it was best to use what we already have in our home kitchen and get a little more experience under our belts. Once I do learn a little more, I’ll publish a post focused on what worked- and what didn’t.
Mike really liked the idea of Electric Bikes and one of the manufacturers, RAD Power Bikes, was at the show. At a price of over $1,000 each, this is another one that we decided could wait. We’ll look into those again in the springtime and provide a comparison post in the future.
One of the other fun things we saw was the mini-golf carts called Crickets. They fold down to 28” high and 32” wide and weigh in at around 300 pounds, so they’re not too heavy if you need to bring along a cart for mobility reasons. We really don’t need a golf cart at this point, so this one was not too hard to cross off our list.
What Did Make our Top 12 Must-Have RV Accessories List?
Portable BBQ Grill
One of our RV essentials was a grill. We definitely wanted gas, because we didn’t want the hassle of having to carry charcoal and, we can tap directly off of the coach’s propane tank. No more little green bottles needed! It also needed to be fold-able to fit into one of the basements (under the RV) and it had to be as light as possible. We don’t need the extra weight in the motorhome and it needs to be easy to get out and set up. We selected the Coleman RoadTrip LXE Portable Propane Grill.
It’s reasonably priced, lightweight, fold-able, and offers optional griddle and stove grate attachments. Since we plan on doing a lot of cooking outside, this made it onto our must-have camping gear list.
We added two options to the grill. The first option was a high-pressure propane hose to tap into the motorhome’s propane tank, so we didn’t need to carry additional gas bottles. It’s very easy to set up, just pick up the items below:
The second grill option we chose was the griddle attachment. We bought a set of 6.5″ Lodge cast iron skillets and made our first breakfast skillet using the griddle as a cooking surface! If you want the recipe just leave a note in the comments section or share your favorite campsite breakfast recipe.
Why we chose it:
- Propane- no charcoal to carry
- Collapsible- makes it easy to store and set up:33.8 x 13.5 x 19.1 inches
- Lightweight- 48.5 pounds
- Easy to clean- cast-iron and porcelain-coated surfaces with a removable grease tray
- Two burners and 20,000 BTUs of heat
- Plenty of cooking space over 285 square inches of grilling surface
- The Instastart button ignites the grill without the need for a match or lighter
- Interchangeable cooking surfaces- griddle and stovetop attachments (sold separately)
Zero Gravity Chairs
The second item we wanted immediately was a couple of zero gravity chairs. Many campsites have picnic tables, but you need to have your own comfortable chairs to settle into or bring a to neighbors campsite for happy hours! We liked the Best Choice Products brand chairs. They come in a two-pack and are very reasonably priced. You can select from several different colors to match your RV. They recline and are made of aluminum so they’re light, fold-able, and even come with their own cool cup holder trays. Maybe they are not RV necessities, but you gotta be comfortable when you are chill-laxin’!
Why we chose it:
- Very affordable
- Comfortable and they recline
- Fold-able – easy to store
- Easy to clean
- Cup holder trays are included
Two other items made our list of “buy now” RV must-haves. A very important one is really strong and reliable flashlights. Whether you are taking the dog for a walk or just getting some exercise, it gets very dark in the campgrounds. Since you never know what kind of critters (or snakes) might be in your path, carrying a bright flashlight is kind of a no-brainer. We purchased two of these to cross them off of our must-have camping items list. We found these very bright LED lights made by Powertac.
Why we chose it:
- Very bright- 5 levels of brightness, from .51 lumen in firefly mode to 1180 lumen in turbo mode, plus a strobe function
- Lifetime warranty
- Magnetic tail-cap lets you to stick it to any ferrous metal to illuminate your field of view
- Waterproof and impact resistant
- Includes a USB single bay charger and 18650 2600mAh battery
Outdoor Rug and Step Rugs
This one isn’t really one of those must-haves for RV camping, but more like a good idea to have. Many campsites are on gravel or grass. It only took one night to realize that we needed a rug big enough to fit under the awning to keep us out of the dirt and to keep from tracking it into the motorhome. These polypropylene outdoor rugs are reversible and can be hosed off before folding them back up to store in the provided carrying bag. They come in a variety of sizes and colors to match your RV and do a great job of keeping the inside of the RV clean. We picked the biggest one at 8’x20′ feet so that we could put it under the entire awning and entry steps to the RV.
Another nice to have are the rugs that wrap around the entry steps. It helps knock sand and dirt off your feet before tracking it inside. We picked two different colors for each step to match the outside of the RV.
Why we chose it:
- UV coated to protect against fading and other sun damage
- Soft and durable 100% virgin polypropylene material
- Easy to clean – mold and mildew resistant-sweep away dirt or spray clean with water
- Lightweight and compact – folds for easy storage into included
- Breathable material won’t damage the grass
Some of the other camping items we learned about are pretty basic RV gear that we needed before we hit the road.
Stabilizing Jacks and the Importance of Being Level
Since every campsite is different, you cannot be sure how level each site you visit will be- especially in different seasons. That’s how we learned where the stabilizing jacks come in and just how important being level is. If you cannot get your motorhome level, you cannot safely open your slides and take the risk of leaks, or worse- slide damage!
Our motorhome has an automated leveling system that adjusts the stabilizing jacks according to the slope of the campsite terrain. While the leveling system is automated, we still needed a way to keep the jacks from sinking into soft ground. If you are not on a hard surface, it’s hard for your leveling jacks to work properly. This is why you need jack pads. They keep your jacks from sinking into the soft ground and allow you to level your RV.
Why we chose it:
- Helps prevent jacks from sinking into soft ground
- Comes in a variety of sizes
- Interlocking design and handy storage strap for easy storage
- Built-in handle for ease of use
Sewer Hose Support and Why You Need It
Another thing that many campgrounds require you to have is a sewer hose support. It cradles your sewer hose while it is connected to the dump stations at your campsite. This keeps the sewer line off the ground and helps to protect it from punctures that can cause leaks. There are a variety of lengths available depending on how long your sewer hose is, we chose the 20’ Camco brand. Its heavy-duty lightweight plastic and is angled to help drain the hose.
While we’re talking about the dirty end of things, definitely buy a big box of disposable gloves and a big bottle of hand sanitizer and store them in your sewer hose compartment. You will want both of them very handy when emptying your black water tank. We went to the local dollar store and picked up a paper towel holder and a small plastic basket to hold the hand sanitizer and attached both to the door of the compartment.
Why we chose it:
- Many RV parks require that you have a support system
- Keeps your sewer hose off the ground and helps prevents punctures
- Collapsible and easy to store
- Lightweight- Plastic
- Easy to use- deep cradles and grooves that will secure your sewer hose in place without having to use straps.
- Easy to clean-just hose it off and let air dry
- Angled to help drain sewer hose contents, it is 7.25” at its highest point and 4” at its lowest ensuring better drainage in comparison to a non-angled surface
Electrical Adapter Cable Comes in Handy
Our motorhome uses 50-amp service for the electric hookup. Some campgrounds only have 30-amp power available, so this is where having the 30-amp adapter helps. Since the plugs are different depending on the amps, this allows you to plug into the 30-amp service. If your motorhome uses 50-amp this won’t allow you to power everything in the RV, but you should be able to run most lighting and entertainment and one air conditioner. They are very inexpensive and if you have a 50-amp power supply requirements, this eliminates the need to run the generator.
Why we chose it:
- Convenience- didn’t want to get stuck running the generator all night
Folding Step Ladder
Last item on the list… a step ladder for cleaning the tops of slides and windshield. Enough said!
Our Quick List of 12 Camping Must Haves
- Gas Grill – more
- High-Pressure hose for Gas Grill – more
- Griddle for the grill – more
- Lodge cast iron skillets – more
- Zero gravity chairs with cup holders – more
- Powertac Flashlights – more
- Outdoor rug – more
- Step Rugs – more
- Stabilizing Jack Pads – more
- Sewer Hose Support – more
- 30 amp adapter – more
- Folding Stepladder – more
Do you have more favorites that we should add to our list? Please leave them in the comments below. If you enjoyed this list please like and share it!