After years of living in an RV and traveling, we have definitely had the opportunity to test out a lot of items related to the RV lifestyle. Some things have been invaluable, while others really aren’t worth the hype. If you’re an RVer or want to become an RVer in the future, you might want to consider this gear if you don’t already have something like it! Here is our favorite camping gear!
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Our Favorite, Must Haves
We didn’t include anything that we consider necessary for your first time out. We will have a separate post and video for that later. Below are a collection of some of our favorite camping gear that we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend!
Item #1: An Instant Pot or Crock pot
Either of these is great because of the large meals it can cook and the ease of preparation. It’s great to make something and just transport to someone’s RV site for a potluck. And it doesn’t heat up your RV a ton like using the oven might. We used to have a crockpot, but switched to an Instant Pot last year when we found a great deal. We find there’s more versatility with the instant pot, especially because we have the 8 Qt Duo Crisp Pressure Cooker 11 in 1 with the Air Fryer, so it has that added functionality.
It was kind of funny because at a full-time families rally a while back we were doing ice breaker games and one was finding people who had or had not done various RV related things. One was someone who didn’t have an instant pot, and we were some of the few so we got sought out for that quite a bit at the time. They are popular!
Our Instant Pot w/Air Fryer: https://amzn.to/3nwZICN
Item #2: An Air Purifier
We have a HEPA Air Purifier for Medium-Large Rooms from Pure Enrichment. We originally got it because we found ourselves in the path of wildfire smoke out West and it was getting into the RV. It has really helped with that whenever we’ve encountered smoke since. Since we have a dog it helps with pet hair and dander, and just eliminating bacteria, pollen, dust, and those things in general. It makes us feel a lot better about the air we’re breathing for sure.
Air Purifier: https://amzn.to/2Z1yZ7U
Item #3: A Space Heater
We have been really happy with these Honeywell space heaters. Some features we thought were important were, most importantly, that it will turn off if it tips over & it has overheat protection. You can set it to low or high heat or select a temperature. We actually have 2 of these, and it helps keep the RV nice and warm, especially when you have electrical hookups, so that you don’t have to use all of your propane.
Space Heater: https://amzn.to/3kRARYG
Item #4: A Dehumidifier
Moisture is something you really have to be cautious of in an RV. You do not want to end up with a mold problem. In certain climates, and during certain parts of the year, you can be especially prone to having moisture buildup. So we think some form of moisture absorption is really important. We went the route of a dehumidifier, though you can look into moisture absorbers like Damp Rid for example.
Our dehumidifier is a Frigidaire FAD301NWD Energy Star 30-Pint Dehumidifier rated for a small room. We went with a larger dehumidifier that takes care of the whole RV. It can also hold more water so we don’t have to empty it as frequently. We pull it out and run it mostly at night, when needed. Florida and the Pacific Northwest have been the places we’ve needed it the most. Our specific model is discontinued but we’ll link some similar options.
Item #5: Shoe Storage
Storing shoes can be the bane of an RVer’s existence! At least it felt that way to us at first, especially as a family. The more people and the more shoes the more important it gets to have a solution for this or there will be shoes flying around everywhere. We have the Ikea STÄLL Shoe cabinet with 4 compartments, and for now that gives each of us about 1 compartment. I say “about” because sometimes Kevin’s pair of shoes fits in here, and sometimes Christine takes up all the space!
We liked this one as without the feet it fit well in this space and we could mount it to the wall, but another good option from Ikea are the Trones. These are more lightweight, which is important in an RV, and because each little Trone compartment is separate, you can customize how many wide and high you configure them and even mount them on the wall above the floor.
Item #6: A New Mattress
RV mattresses are notoriously bad. Ours was awful! We didn’t sleep on it a single night. It was still in the plastic cover when we got rid of it. Instead we bought a Plush Beds Eco Green 8″ Natural Latex Mattress, and it’s made with a lighter core to specifically be listed as an RV Mattress. We wanted to get something that didn’t have all the chemical emissions and they were having a great sale.
Item #7: A Sewer Hose Support
We use a Camco 20ft Sidewinder RV Sewer Hose Support. It keeps the sewer hose up off the ground and creates a downhill slope from the RV into the septic connection so you have better drainage. It’s nice not having to lift the hose to get “things” to move along!
Sewer Hose Support: https://amzn.to/30B0WDZ
Item #8: A Portable Waste Tank
We originally bought a wastewater tote to extend our Boondocking capabilities. Many of the Thousand Trails campgrounds we’ve stayed in this year haven’t had sewer hookups and this has been tremendously useful. The ease with which we can empty our wastewater without moving our RV means a lot less stress about water usage. We highly recommend it if you find yourself camping without a sewer hookup frequently.
Wastewater Tote: https://amzn.to/30Cn0hI
Item #9: A Voltage Tester, Multimeter, or Clamp Meter
For just a few dollars more than a cheap multimeter, you can get a Clamp meter. They all come with leads so you can test the voltage on an electrical outlet or the campground power pedestal. The nice part of having a clamp meter is that you can just put the clamp around a wire to see how much current is running through it. This little tool is all you need for troubleshooting RV electrical issues.
Clamp Meter: https://amzn.to/2Z0KWuw
Item #10: An RV Rated Bike Rack
RVs almost always put more strain on a bike rack because the hitch is further away from the rear wheels than they would be in a car. This means there’s more movement back there and I can’t count how many times I’ve heard of bike racks breaking when used on an RV. This Swagman Escapee bike rack is both RV and e-bike rated. Ours holds two bikes up to 60lbs each and has been trouble free for almost 4 years now. It’s been great to have our bikes along to use as we travel, but it’s definitely important to get the right bike carrier!
Similar bike rack but only 35lbs per bike (ours is unavailable): https://amzn.to/3DyNWgS
Item #11: Folding Outdoor Camp Tables
Depending on your needs you may just need a small table to use as a side table for drinks, or to set a few things as you’re cooking or grilling outdoors. You may also need a long table. You might think, why do I need one if I have a picnic table? Well you’d be surprised how often you won’t have a picnic table, and especially if you’re out boondocking. They’re great for having people over, and setting up food for a potluck! We always feel it’s so convenient when we’re with others, who have one. Our wish list actually includes a larger one too!
Our small folding table: https://amzn.to/3FLsWEr
Item #12: Camping Chairs
We love our Timber Ridge Folding Director’s Chairs. We love how sturdy and supportive they are, especially in the seat and the back. The arm rests are a hard plastic as well. Regular camp chairs were just so slouchy and felt like you had no support and as they wore out you’d be sitting closer and closer to the ground. Not to mention the chore of getting out of those things! We love the built in side table and cup holders too. You’ll find a lot of RVers definitely have strong preferences about their camp chairs, and we love these!
The best deal on the chairs we have is at Costco.
If you don’t have a Costco membership, they can also be found on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3CqI4F2
Item #13: An Outdoor Carpet
An outdoor carpet will give you a nice place to hang out, and arrange your outdoor setup. We recommend a weave type carpet that’s breathable so it doesn’t damage grass underneath and is made of a material you can easily sweep off and clean. We had another outdoor carpet initially and it was a nightmare. Now we have an 8 x 16 ft Reversible RV Patio Mat from Camping World that’s made of polypropylene that they say is UV-stabilized to prevent fading and mold and mildew. This works really great and is nice for us and there’s lots of options out there, and some really nice patterns and colors to fit your style too.
Camco also makes one that isn’t as big: https://amzn.to/3nxJcCt
Item #14: A Propane Fire Pit
What we really like about having a propane firepit is the convenience of it. There’s no smoke and you can almost always use them even when there’s a fire ban in effect. Since it’s so easy to turn it on and off, we can still enjoy a fire even if we only have 20 minutes before we have to get kids to bed. In that case we can shut it off and start it up again when they’re asleep. It’s also nice for the occasional campsite that doesn’t have a firepit.
We have a separate propane tank in an extra bay on the side of the RV (since we didn’t get the on board generator option), that we can just connect the fire pit to. One final benefit is that if there’s a large group gathering, additional people can bring their propane fire pits so that everyone can be near a campfire instead of a huge circle around a single traditional fire ring.
Propane Fire Pit: https://amzn.to/2Z6Inaj
Item #15: Outdoor Lights
There’s the practicality of outdoor lighting including lanterns you might put on your picnic table, solar lights that stake into the ground to light a path around your campsite, and clip on lights for things like your grill. There’s also ambiance, and that’s really nice too! It sets the tone for relaxation and enjoying your RV camping experience. We currently use several strands of Christmas tree lights, but there are larger bulbs that look really nice, lights in various colors and so on.
Option #1: https://amzn.to/3nBWCNZ
Option #2 (We’ll probably go with these next): https://amzn.to/3HDHLdL
Option #3 is more colorful: https://amzn.to/3DFGEYv
Other Favorite Camping Gear Items We Didn’t Mention Above
Here’s a list of other ideas:
- Hitch Lock
- Picnic table cloth
- Awning sun shade
- Outdoor pavilion like the Clam
- Outdoor fan
- Y-adapter (50 amp to 30 and 15 amp)
- Cube Ottoman or Foldable ottoman
- Dog Crate Bench Seat
- Bread machine
- Water flow meters
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If you’d like to read about our RV and other RV adventures, then check out some of our other posts :
- RV Solar System Lessons Learned
- Flexible VS Rigid Solar Panels
- Soft Starters For Your RV AC, Why?
- Portable RV Waste Tank, Freshwater Tank and Pumps
- RV Tank Sensors Not Working? We Use An RV Water Flow Meter Instead!
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