“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” –Benjamin Franklin
Recently, we’ve had friends and family who have purchased their own RV and they have had lots of questions about what tools we use for various tasks. We understand. We had those questions too! So, I write this blog for anyone just getting started or thinking about making the leap into RV life!
As we prepared to buy our RV, we immersed ourselves in reading RV-related materials and watched our favorite YouTube RV families for advice. So, by the time we bought our RV, we had purchased a lot of the vital tools we felt were needed to go camping the day we picked up our RV. Yes, you might think all you need are some chairs, firewood, S’mores supplies, and hiking boots but you will find that the suggestions in this blog are for the fundamental operation and safety of your new RV.
Buying an RV is an exciting and sometimes intimidating experience. The best part is that you will have a piece of equipment that you can take nearly anywhere while having all the comforts of home you might want. However, most RVs will not come with some of the equipment essential to its safe operation.
To get you safely started with your camping experience, these are 4 areas of your RV where we feel you will need the right equipment to enjoy your camping experience.
Water is an important feature of nearly any RV and dealing with the water that goes into your rig is important. To deal with water safely, we suggest a water pressure regulator, water filter, and two water hoses.
As you go from campground to campground, you will find that the water pressure can differ. Any sudden, strong water pressure can cause damage to your RV’s water system and a regulator is a great tool to have to protect you from possible costly repairs.
We also choose to use a water filter. Water quality in campgrounds can be unknown so it’s better to be safe than sorry for both your water system and for you and your family if you choose to drink the water. A simple filter will be a tool you rarely think about but it can prevent contaminants from entering your water system and possibly making you sick.
Finally, for most RV’s, it’s a good idea to have two water hoses, one for your potable water and the other for rinsing your black tank.
When we are camping in a campground, the hose for our potable water will be hooked up to the campground’s water supply through our water pressure regulator & filter. This is the water we use to shower and wash dishes.
The hose for rinsing your black tank should be for that use purpose only. All supplies for the black tank maintenance should be kept apart and separate to prevent cross-contamination and we suggest caution on this point. Not only are our hoses separate, but they also differ in color so there is no error in which hose is being used.
Black tank supplies
Speaking of the black tank! Dealing with this part of your RV can be a messy job and it is vital to do everything you can to keep your tank as clean as possible and to prevent cross-contamination when emptying your tank.
We found it odd that our RV did not come with a sewer hose but it was just as well. We opted to purchase the best hose we could get to ensure that we had the absolute right tool for this particularly important function! We also opted for a clear elbow that goes into the sewer point. As gross as it sounds, you want to know when the liquids are running clear so you know that your tank is clean.
We also carry gloves, anti-bacterial wipes, and paper towels, all kept separately in a large zipped plastic bag and solely dedicated to the black tank operation. We make the task a two-person job. While my husband is the “surgeon,” dealing with the surgical operation of actually hooking everything up and dumping the tanks, I follow along as the “Surgical Assistant,” passing tools and staying as uncontaminated as possible with the goal of keeping the procedure as clean and tidy as I can. When the process is finished, I pass him anti-bacterial wipes and a paper towel if needed. I have a trash bag at the ready for his gloves and the used anti-bacterial supplies, all of which I dispose of. We work in concert to ensure that our supplies are not cross-contaminating and we stay healthy. I’m sure that anyone watching thinks we are germaphobes, and we are!
Leveling Equipment & Chocks
No matter whether you like to boondock or camp in a Resort campground, getting your RV level might not seem like an important task. However, being level is important for your comfort as well as the proper operation of some of your RV’s equipment, most notably, some RV refrigerators. So, what do you do to get level?
Some lucky RV owners have equipment that is already part of their rig that automatically levels, making this task fairly simple. Having a trailer, we started with an actual level but later purchased a Level Mate Pro Leveling System. This turned out to be the best purchase for our RV ever! Part of the system is installed in your RV and connected to a smartphone through blue tooth technology. It makes getting level a breeze from left to right and front to back.
We also have blocks that my Dad made us that have been vital tools in helping us to be solidly in place in even the most unlevel site we have experienced. We also use an Anderson Leveler/Chock kit and a Trailer Tongue Jack stand (all of these tools can be found on Amazon).
Finally, a sturdy set of wheel chocks are a must to keep your RV from moving as you camp, hook up, and disconnect..
Surge Protector and Dog Bone power adapter
Protecting the electrical system in your RV is something to consider. Just as the water pressure can vary from campground to campground, electrical services can be equally unpredictable. No matter where you enjoy camping, if you plug into any electrical service, if you don’t have a surge protector, your RV could experience a damaging power surge.
We also have a Dog Bone power adapter. Most campgrounds offer 30 and 50 amp hookups but on occasion, you could find instances when a campground does not offer the amp level you need and this handy tool will help to convert power.
With these basic supplies, you can get out there and safely enjoy your new equipment and the great places you can go with it!
Remember, safety first. Know your rig and its limits. Our advice when setting up and breaking down camp is to follow a checklist, check behind yourself repeatedly, and never be in a hurry (even when it’s raining cats & dogs)!
Let us know if there are any other vital pieces of equipment that you use that make your camping life a breeze.