Welcome new camper! Today we are still seeing newbies in the RV world ask, “What do we need for our first RV?” and we wanted to put together a short list on what every new or existing RV’er should have. We will do our best to cut out the long drawn out format most articles carry and get right to the meat of the question. So lets get right to the RV’er starter kit!
The Sewer Hose
First is the sewer hose. When we use the bathroom, take a shower, or do the dishes all the “waste” goes into one of two holding tanks. The black tank and the grey. The grey tank is what collects your waste from most plumbing areas such as the kitchen and bathroom sinks. The black tank is connected directly to you toilet and we’ll let you take a guess at what waste this collects.
In order to clear out both your tanks you need a sewer hose. Most sewage kits will come with a hose and special fittings: one for connecting to the pipe on the RV and the other to an end piece that fits into the pipe in the park grounds. There is a list of many brands, lengths, and fittings to get but we will make it simple for you. The one we prefer is the Titan Premium Hose (pictured above) for three reasons. It is the strongest made hose compared to the high end Rhino Flex, it comes in two separate hoses both equally 10′, and an elbow fitting that is clear enough to see when the tanks are finished flowing but not clear enough to see what comes out. There are lower cost ones out there like the Valterra 10′ Bayonet kit (pictured below), however these kits tend to deteriorate much faster especially with full timers so we only recommend these for the part time camper.
Another good add-on to the hose is the hose snakes. If you refer to the Valterra Sewer Kit picture you’ll notice the hose is sitting on stands. These “stands” run together making up the hose snake and are ideal for directing the flow of the waste since all RV toilets don’t use pressure when flushing. They use gravity and gravity only flows one way: down. If you would like to see what snake stand pairs with the Titan 20″ premium hose click here.
Next on our RV’er starter kit is, drum roll please….toilet paper! Okay so it isn’t the most exciting but it is one of the most important and often over looked. As we mentioned, RV toilets do not use pressure to flush, but instead rely on gravity which causes a major issue for us campers. When you let gravity be the driving force behind waste removal you don’t really clear the waste out such as tissue paper and other sediments. To combat this there are two things you must have to ensure you don’t create a clog which can turn into a hefty, and pricy, repair. The first is RV specific tissue paper and the other is sanitation chemicals.
RV specific tissue paper is very thin and easily breaks down naturally with water. It is almost like septic paper but better (do not use septic paper in an RV sewage system) and can still do the job, however it is not comfortable by any stretch of the imagination! The chemicals you will use come in the form of pods or a liquid you pour directly into your toilet. These chemicals will help aid in breaking down tissue while masking the nuisance of odor bound to come.
RV Water Hose
Having a water hose is a no brainer, I mean how do you expect to have constant flowing water from a hookup without actually hooking up your water supply? The real question is why do I need a specific “RV” labeled hose vs the one in my garden? The answer is simply safety and we will not get into this but if you would like to read more on why click here. Instead we want to just give our advise on what setup you should get. When we camp we don’t know exactly where the water spigot will be and there is no “standard” layout camp grounds follow. Some might be a few feet away while others can be a whole lot site or more and a basic length hose isn’t enough. We recommend you don’t get the longest you can find but instead buy two 25′ RV water hoses and if the occasion should arise you’ll be prepared for most campgrounds regardless of where the spigot is located. We recommend the Camco 25′ Premium Drinking Water Hose.
Water Pressure Regulator
Now this is a necessity on our RV’er starter kit list, the water pressure regulator. Its function is in the name itself, it regulates the pressure of the water going into your camper. RV’s use what is called Pex Plumbing and Pex plumbing fittings which are not designed to handle excessive amounts of pressure. If these “lines” undergo pressure at high amounts or for long periods of time you chance blowing out the lines at connectors and ultimately water leaks.
The ideal pressure to stay under is 60psi (pounds per square inch) in order to maintain a healthy plumbing system which is why we recommend the Valterra Pressure Regulator (pictured). This fitting is designed to stay around 50 – 55psi which is below the threshold but still a good amount of pressure. Unfortunatly, water pressure regulators are not the best of friends when it comes to a good shower because it robs the system of high pressure. The solution to this is an adjustable regulator such as the Renator Pressure regulator. This will allow you to adjust the pressure but beware, don’t leave the pressure up too long!
With your new camper the sites you can visit are almost limitless! But this means you’ll also hook up to numerous water supplies as well and not all are created equal. We will keep this section short, you need a water filter whether it is built in or external like the Camco TastePURE Carbon Water filter. It is super easy to install!
It will connect right into the spigot, your water pressure regulator, and comes with flexible hose connection so no spot is too tough to install. In the case of areas known to have terrible water you can always install two together or just grab a case of water like us.
Mud Dauber Screens
Mud dauber screens are to keep out wasp and other insects from getting into openings found on the outside. These spots are the furnace (bottom right), water heater (top right), and refrigerator (only required on gas/electric refrigerator’s, left)
The furnace is the big one. Wasp like to fly into the furnace and house a nest which disables the function of the furnace. It is a very expensive fix and definitely not a problem you want popping up in the middle of the colder season. All three pictured are the Camco brand but you cant go wrong with other names, just make sure you’re getting the correct ones. The furnace is a standard size and can be found here
These are very handy to have because not every park, or every spot for that matter, are wired the same. We have found some parks only have 50amp service while others may have both 50amp and 30amp so its always a good idea to have power adapters handy when you need them. Now depending on what RV you have will decide which adapters to get but you really only need two to start. The 30amp to 15amp (left), 30amp to 50amp (top right), or 50amp to 30amp (bottom right). The 30/15amp adapter is handy when plugging up at your house, we use ours to cool down the fridge and charge our batteries the night before we head out.
The final item on our RV’er starter kit is the surge protector. They come in both 30amp (left) and 50amp (right). These are highly recommended for many reasons such us surge protection against the elements, miss wired pedestals, and the “dirty” power that is delivered through the pedestals. Now surge protectors come in many models and prices starting around $84.99 to over $400 bucks! With so many options what separates them apart and what should you look for? Below is the list and the reasons behind them.
Surge Protection – Self explanatory, to protect your RV from spikes and storms
Delayed Start – feature gives the protector time to see if the power is okay before dishing it to your unit.
Voltage Regulation – This is important. Appliances require a “range” of voltage to operate correctly and maintain a long life. If the volts are too low the appliance, such as your A/C, will have to run harder to keep up with the load and will burn out faster.
Pedestal Diagnostics – The protects against reverse polarity and checks that power is good.
Weather Protected – Just keeps surge protector safe from the elements.
These reasons are why we recommend the Southwire 34931 30Amp and the Southwire 34951 50amp. Both will offer these features as well as some added bonuses. To learn more simply hover over and click the names.
This concludes our RV’er starter kit list. There are many more items you can get that we didn’t mention such as leveling blocks, wheel chocks, RV tool kits, and much more. We hope this list helps you leap in the right direction and if there is anything you would like to add to this list feel free to leave a comment. Also, if you would like to see the 3 things to look for in an RV click here. Thank you and happy camping!
(Full discloser, throughout this article you will find links that take you to the recommend product. These are affiliate links and pay me a commission at no additional cost to you should you purchase)