Unlike a car, you're going to need some essentials for your first RV. Products that I think you should consider even before buying it. This will help you budget and prepare you for when your get your RV.
1. External Water Filter
Even with a heavy-duty onboard water filtration system, we always run a filter at the water spigot. This keeps our drinking water hose clean and protects our inlet debris filter.
Many onboard filters are placed just after the water pump. This means that, even if you are using city water connection or your onboard holding tank, all of it will pass through your pump before being filtered.
Experiencing a failed water pump gave us firsthand experience with the hassle and headache that we will not soon forget. That is why we choose to keep any water entering the system as clean as we can make it.
2. Pressure Regulator
As some of you know, the more modern RVs are equipped with PEX lines. Because of this, most people skip the option to buy a pressure regulator. I'm here to tell you why you shouldn't.
When you're traveling hundreds of miles at 70 miles per hour, you'll find that the dozens and dozens of fittings and connections rattle themselves loose naturally. And, when they decide to leak or drip, it will be difficult to reach and address.
With that said, I think it's important to keep any unnecessary stress off this system by utilizing a pressure regulator. With a maximum of 40 PSI, there is plenty of pressure to take a great shower...just so long as you don't wash the dishes at the same time.
3. Sewer Hose w/ Sewer Stand
Those tanks can't stay full forever, and I don't think you'd ever want them to. Ensure you don't skimp on quality to save a buck. We replace ours a lot more frequently than required as they are quite durable, but there's just something (perhaps smelly) about lugging around and reusing the same sewer hose for too long.
A sewer hose stand helps prevent any build-up or pooling when emptying your tanks by letting gravity do the heavy lifting. You'll want to keep your hose dry and clean for pack-up day anyway, so this will help. Some parks may require a stand so their staff can easily identify whether you have a leak before it becomes a mess.
4. 50/30 Amp Converter & Surge Protector
If you have a 50-amp RV, a converter will most certainly come in handy for campsites that only allow 30-amps. You'll be limited to what you can run, but in ideal weather, you won't notice a difference.
A surge protector will guard one of the most critical systems in your RV, preventing a surge from damaging any components in your electrical system.
Choosing a surge protector that also protects from opposite polarity will prevent any mistakes in the wiring to the shore power outlet you are about to plug into.
Even with most modern RVs, having an extra layer of protection to electrical systems on board will give you peace of mind and perhaps even save your home.
5. RV Windshield Cover
Honestly, I ordered a cheaper cover from Amazon. It's not an ideal fit, but it does the majority of the job. Providing an additional layer of reflective sunscreen, it gives us adequate protection and privacy.
If you can, find an internal solution. The wind frequently beats ours up, causing tears cracks, along with an annoying tapping on windy days.
6. Tire Covers:
Pretty straight forward. Tire covers help safeguard the UV component in your tires' material. We only use them for long-term stays, and it's worth the investment. Tires are expensive, so why not preserve their longevity? The only downside: spiders love crawling in and calling it their home.
7. Leveling Blocks
Honestly, we should've bought these sooner. Leveling blocks will help you adjust on uneven surfaces. More often than not, the surface you rest on will be uneven.
They will also help preserve your jack hydraulic system. The less space the jacks have to lower, the longer they will likely last. But beware, like your tire covers, spiders love to call them home.
1. SimpliSafe Monitoring System
This easily-installed system is the best purchase I've made. When you think about it, two very simple locks stand between you and vulnerability. To give an example: after leaving for several hours, we returned to discover that the door to our new home was wide open. Everything in our home and all we loved was threatened, including our two boys. So, when your heart stops because something failed, you want to ensure it never happens again. Thankfully, despite the new environment, our curious cats stayed inside.
SimpliSafe has given me the peace of mind I needed to continue with this journey. We purchased the "Foundation Security System," which, with a promo code, included a free SimpliCam. Keep in mind, I had to make my own adjustments to accommodate a system built for homes. But, at the end of the day, I made it work, and we are much safer for it.
2. Porta-Paks / Poo-Pourri
I'm going to be honest; it can stink while you're on board. Our bathroom is right next to our bed. Because of COVID, we endured living through the summer in blazing hot Yuma, AZ. It made all things, including our black tank, nice and HOT. If you don't care to take a walk while your partner takes an inevitable number two...Porta-Paks and Poo-Pourri will come to the rescue.
3. Memory Foam Mattress Topper
The stock RV mattresses are not comfortable at all. Thankfully, there are a variety of purchases you can make to improve your quality of sleep.
Some purchase goose down, cotton, or egg crate topper mattresses. Some even purchase all new mattresses. For us, the most budget-friendly and attractive option was a 3-inch memory foam topper.
The only downside is that in our bed is retractable, so we have to readjust the memory foam quite often.
4. Septic Safe Toilet Paper
Septic safe toilet paper is needed to function in this nomadic life. It can be thin and scratchy, but it gets the job done, so it's worth it.
5. Compatible Cookware
Our RV came with both an induction and propane stovetop. Right away, we knew that we wanted to save as much propane as possible, so we invested in cookware that accommodated the induction stovetop. Not to worry though, if the cooking elements can withstand your induction stove, they'll most likely withstand your propane stovetop.
6. RV Vent Insulators
These keep you cooler when you want to be cool and warmer when you need to be warm. RV vent insulators will help you with temperature management.
7. Over-the-Sink Dish Rack
This collapsible dish rack adds a lot of value in a tiny kitchen. When space becomes a commodity, it's essential to make the most of every inch. The rack is very easy to clean and store on move days.
8. Tension Rods
Tension rods have certainly saved us from much heartache. From exposed shelving to refrigerated goods, these rods will keep your things in place as you roll down the highway on to your next destination.
9. Privacy Screens
These screens are an inexpensive way to secure your privacy. Not all parks will provide you with a picturesque view. Sometimes, you'll have a neighbor on the left, right, and behind. The magnificent thing about this window treatment is that you can still let in all the natural light without sacrificing your privacy.