When you first downsize to an RV, it can be overwhelming knowing what to keep, what to get rid of, and what you’re going to need to buy. This guide is going to help you decide what RV gadgets are worth having and which RV gadgets are a waste of money.
I am a minimalist to the bone and so a lot of things that I’ve seen on other people’s blogs when it comes to essentials of RV living, I have never bought. Not that you shouldn’t either. It’s just you should decide based on your personality, your budget, and where you see yourself living or traveling to.
If you are looking for an easy way to shop for everything listed on this blog, head over to our Amazon Shop Page where I have all the resources on this blog listed in one spot.
Table of Contents
Sewer, Water, and Electricity Gadgets You Need For RV Living
Yep, this one goes on the top of the list because no matter if you camp at RV resorts or boondock on forest service roads, at some point you’ll have to dump the poo. For the most part, all you need is one tube, but make sure you get the 20′ one like this one by Camco because it gives you the option to make it shorter and only use one of the ten-foot tubes or attach both sections for a longer tube. I’d also get a 20′ over 15′ because some campgrounds put the sewer way back in the site and I’ve had many times when my shorter hose wouldn’t fit.
Make sure to also buy the sewer hose support so that the waste flows at a slight downhill into the sewer hole because you don’t want that sh*% sitting in the tube. Pro Tip: Keep your sewer valves shut so the pressure builds up and then pull them to dump once every day or so. This helps fully empty the holding tanks and prevents smells from the underground sewer from seeping up into your RV. Also, pull the black valve first so your gray water washes the poo down the tube.
A lot of larger RVs like our 42′ fifth wheel has 2 sewer holding tanks which means you’ll need to buy two of the Camco hoses and two of the supports I mentioned above plus you need this adapter to connect the two hoses so that they both empty into one sewer hole.
Stock up on disposable gloves to make the entire sewer situation less disgusting 😜.
RV’s need a special toilet paper that breaks down easier so you don’t get clogs. You can use TP that is septic safe, we buy the TP at Costco because of this, however, RV-specific TP is a little thinner so you have fewer issues with clogs.
This is important to have to break down the waste and keep your sewer from getting smelly.
This is good if you don’t have a sewer hookup at your campsite and you want to stay put for a week or longer. You use this to transport your waste from the RV to the campground’s main dump station. I’ve never actually had a reason to use this but when we camped at Silver Strand State Beach there were no hookups but there was a dump station and I noticed there were a lot of people who did use these so they didn’t have to pack up their RV just to go dump.
This one is good because it is BPA-free. Typically a 25ft hose is long enough but with our fifth wheel, we have to connect two hoses at some RV parks to reach. You could just get a 50′ hose but most of the time 25′ is enough and it’s easy to connect 2 hoses so you just have the choice.
This lead-free regulator helps prevent damage to your RV and boat appliances and plumbing fixtures and hoses from inconsistent or high water pressure
This is great for reducing odors sediment and chlorine from city water and for making your water taste better. You could just skip this step and buy a Berkey Water Filter System. If you can afford it, it is a great option for having clean water to drink. When we are in San Diego we refill our Igloo Water Cooler with filtered water from the water store and add ice so the kids always have cold water.
If your RV doesn’t come with an outdoor shower, this is nice for beach camping so the kids don’t get the RV dirty and it’s also great if you have a dog.
This one is a lower-end one and is probably fine if you aren’t running A/C with electrical devices. Honestly, we’ve managed to camp for 4 years without it in our Class C because we are almost always in 70-degree weather. But when we moved into our fifth wheel and had to run the A/C often, I made sure to get one right away. These are great so that if the electrical that you plug into has a power surge, it doesn’t blow your entire electrical system in your RV which can cost thousands to repair.
When RVing, adapting to different electrical setups is crucial. In our class C, the 30-amp setup meant carrying a 30 to 50 dog bone adapter, though rarely used. We also had a 30 to 15-amp adapter for occasional stops at family homes. In our 5th wheel with 50-amp electricals, encountering 30-amp sites was common in state parks. So, a 50 to 30-amp dog bone adapter became essential. Having this adapter allows you to utilize a household extension cord if you’re “borrowing” electricity from your family. Another useful addition is an outdoor extension cord, not essential but frequently handy.
You don’t have to have a generator if you plan on always camping in a campground with hookups. You technically don’t even need it if you don’t want to run things with electricity. We dry camp all the time without using the generator. How? Well, the coach batteries power our lights and the propane keeps the fridge running and we just cook with propane.
But there are some times when it is nice when we are boon docking with our Class C to have a generator even if it’s just so that I don’t have to hand grind my coffee. If you go the generator route, you should have an idea of how much wattage you will need it for. Again, I rarely need it for A/C so I can use a lower wattage to power a few appliances or charge computers.
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Gadgets For The Exterior Of Your RV
I can’t believe we still haven’t bought these. These are great for added stabilization so your RV rocks less 😉. As opposed to having Wheel Chocks, which are to prevent your RV from rolling, which I’ve also never bought because a 2×4 or piece of wood can do the same thing.
We often are camping in locations where the ground is uneven. Leveling blocks are space-efficient to store and allow you to prop up your tires to make your rig level.
I don’t want to know how much gas money I’ve wasted by driving 10,000 miles with the wrong tire pressure. I seriously never checked my tire pressure the entire trip to Alaska and back. But if you are the type who finds safety important and maximizing your fuel economy then please, buy a tire pressure gauge and keep the tires filled to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure.
These are so important to prolong the life of your RV if you are sitting still for long periods. At first, we were always on a road trip and this didn’t make sense but now that our fifth wheel stays almost permanently in San Diego, we finally got these.
We are a bit too busy for TV so this one is another thing we’ve just done without. But most RV parks offer cable for free so it might be worth having a waterproof coaxial if you’d like to have the option of watching TV for free.
This is not an essential but we ended up putting it in when our RV keys got stolen out of our car and I love it. Now I don’t have to remember my RV keys ever and it’s great with having teenagers that are coming and going at different times.
If you will be living somewhere that has intense sun rays, a sun shade to attach to your awning could be nice. We needed one when we stayed in Santee, but it was only for a month so I passed because I didn’t force us in such direct sunlight again any time soon.
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Gadgets That Make Your Outdoor Living Space More Inviting + Comfy
I think this is a total necessity because you don’t want to be tracking dirt all over your house. Get the larger ones so you can create a comfy outdoor living space for yourself.
We only carry 3 chairs with us, even though there are 7 of us, because they take up so much valuable space and most sites have picnic tables that you can pull up to the fire pit. But if my understorage wasn’t packed to the brim with surfboards, wetsuits, climbing gear, helmets, and backpacks) then I’d have all these great choices to pick from.
- I’m young (at least at heart) and so I am super happy with my low beach chair like the one pictured above.
- And I think Eno’s Eagle Nest Lounger is one of the most comfortable chairs ever.
- These are the most popular camping chairs since they recline, have cup holders, and have a bungee system that makes you feel like you are floating. Some even come with a sunshade.
- If getting in and out of a low chair is hard on your knees and back, you might want a more supportive chair like this.
- These papasan-looking chairs appear comfy but I don’t know if they are very functional. I see them outside of many rigs but rarely see people use them.
- I kind of prefer this style of low seat and love how lightweight and compact they are.
- If you camp in the forest, then an Eno hammock is a must.
- And last, if you will be RV Living and not having to move sites very often, then live in style with a full outdoor sofa set. I see a lot of people with them in their campsites now.
I feel like we have our life in these. We have one for wetsuits, tennis shoes and flip flops, backpacking essentials, and climbing gear, and one dedicated just to Tatiana because she’s a hoarder but we love her dearly 💕.
I love being able to cook or at least food prep outside so I always have a table (or two) set up outside for it. It’s certainly not a necessity, but it makes the experience nicer.
I love having a propane fire pit when we are living in our 5th wheel. It’s so easy and then my clothes don’t smell like a campfire. Of course, when we are living in our smaller motorhome in the forest then we go old school and build a fire.
If you camp in places prone to wildfires then it might be worth buying a propane fire pit. Also, if you camp in places where it is cold, you might want an outdoor propane heater that is easy to move around.
A lot of families in the campgrounds we stay at have their kids carry walkie-talkies with them when they are out playing with friends in the campground and this way they can communicate to come home or make sure they are okay. Walkie-talkies are also great for backing up a huge trailer because when my kids spot me in the back, I can’t hear them that far away.
Gadgets You Need But Probably Have
These are things you might already have in your house that you’ll need occasionally while living in an RV.
Gadgets That Are Nice But Not Necessary For RV Life
These RV gadgets are things that depend upon your lifestyle and since we adventure travel they may not be something you’d use.
If you plan on road-tripping, bikes are so great especially because they allow you to get around without driving your RV into cities or on narrow roads.
We used this all last summer when we camped in Bend and Breckenridge. We’d set it up and use it as our family room to hang out, stretch, and watch movies sometimes.
Most people love to BBQ, myself included but think through storage before you get one. It’s awkward to store and takes up a lot of valuable space.
This is what I wish we had bought instead of a portable BBQ. My friend has one and uses it all the time when she camps and I just love the diversity of meals you can cook on it and how easy it is to clean up with these accessories.
We use these all the time in the winter in San Diego and most RV parks we stay at don’t charge for electricity so they are free to use. Watch your rampage though, you might not be able to run more than one at a time.
I hate how much space these take up and we had very little carpet in our Class C, so we just used a dust buster. I need to get this one because our new RV bedrooms have carpet and using a dust buster is kinda silly.
Kitchen Gadgets I Use Almost Everyday in My RV
This may seem ridiculous but preparing healthy food is one place I never skimp on living small. We use our Instant Pot, Standing Mixer, Juicer, Vitamix Blender, and Espresso Machine almost every day when we are sitting still in our RV in San Diego.
Gadgets To Get Internet in Your RV
I can’t be a digital nomad without having wifi access most of the day. We bought this Alcatel a year and a half ago and it has worked surprisingly well in most places. Our carrier is T-Mobile, which overall works worse than Verizon and AT&T in the States, but abroad T-Mobile is great. I did notice though this summer that T-Mobile is getting better.
Gadgets To Help You Organize The Interior of Your RV
Last but not least, living in a small space takes some creativity and these cool gadgets can help you make the most of your limited space. When we remodeled our RV gadgets, we walked through an IKEA to get a lot of ideas on how to manage everyone’s stuff in our tight quarters.
And that’s a wrap! These 50 RV gadgets will help make your RV more comfortable and your trips more enjoyable!
Have questions about downsizing to an RV? Ask us in the comments below!
RV living Resources:
- 66 Tips From 8 Years of Fulltime RV Living with Kids
- Pros & Cons of RV Living
- Guide to Roadschooling
- How Much Does it Cost to Live in an RV with Kids?
- How We’ve Traveled the World Full Time for 3 Years with 5 Kids
- Lessons Learned Living Small
- How to Save Money to Travel
- Why RV Living is Freaking Awesome