RV Camping Essentials: 22 Must-Have Items

RV Lifestyle


Packing for your first or next RV camping adventure can be stressful. But one of the best ways to beat the stress (and make sure you don’t leave anything behind) is by creating a checklist of must-have items for any camping adventure. It’s easy for this list to balloon to massive proportions, so don’t be afraid to start small and continue adding to it and subtracting from it over the first few trips. If you’re not sure where to begin, continue reading our list of 22 must-haves to ensure you hit the road safely and have fun.  

22 Must-Have RV Camping Essentials

When it’s time to stock up and pack your new (to you) RV, here are 22 RV camping essentials for beginners, professionals, and everyone in between. 

For the RV

While the items in this section may not all be everyday essentials, you won’t want to be caught without them on any RV trip. Don’t leave any of these must-haves behind whether you’re venturing out overnight or for the long haul. 

1. Wheel Chocks 

Don’t risk your investment (and your home) rolling away! 

2. Leveling Blocks 

Making sure your RV is level is a crucial step in setting up camp. It’s important to look for the flattest area when parking, but use leveling blocks to fine-tune the details and prevent extra stress on the RV. 

3. Separate Hoses

One for gray water and one for drinking water. You’re not going to want to get these confused so make sure they’re labeled and, ideally, in different colors. 

4. Electrical Adapters and Extension Cords 

Not every RV park will have the same electrical outlet. You’ll want an adapter to go from 30 to 50 amps (or vice versa), so you can plug in anywhere. 

5. Regulators

You will need a surge protector to keep your electrical system safe in case of any fluctuations. Don’t forget a water pressure regulator as well to make sure the water coming into the RV has a safe amount of pressure as well — save yourself the splashes!  

6. RV-Friendly Toilet Paper

Having a bathroom on board is wonderful, but it’s different from the plumbing at home. RV-safe toilet paper is thinner and designed to break down quickly, so you don’t have to worry about it clogging your system. 

7. Water Filter

Take the extra step to filter water on its way into the RV to access safe, reliable drinking water. 

8. Tool Kit 

Eventually, something is going to break. It is handy to have some basic tools around to jump in for the easy things. Leave the bigger fixes to a professional if you are uncomfortable.

9. Flashlight / Headlamp 

Great for leaving the RV at night, but also in case of any outages or if you’re camping at a spot where you can’t plug in. Make sure you keep at least one or two in the RV’s storage, so they’re easy to access. 

10. Emergency Road Kit 

An emergency kit will contain jumper cables, tools to change a tire, reflective accessories, and possibly more to keep you and your passengers safe in case of a driving malfunction. 

11. First Aid Kit

Make sure this is stocked with basics like bandages, antibiotic ointment, and burn cream. Depending on where you’re headed, you may need to add more specific treatments according to the risks of your activities and the area. 

12. Bucket

Bring a 5-gallon bucket. Maybe even two of them! Believe me, they’re incredibly handy whether you’re using them to transport water, wash clothes or dishes, or even as a portable toilet — you’ll be happy to have at least one of these on board. 

13. Protected Documents 

Have your crucial documents all in one place where they are easy to access, including your registration, insurance information, important numbers, reservation information, and even backup maps altogether. Many like to keep them in a large gallon-size storage bag to keep them waterproof as well. 

For Easy Livin’ 

These RV camping essentials add to the experience in a different way — they’ll make RV life feel a little cozier and add a few home-style comforts.

14. Pot Holders

It’s easy to remember plates and silverware, but sometimes the extra kitchen items get left behind. 

15. Trash bags 

Don’t leave these behind. You don’t have to bring separate bags — many RVers just use plastic grocery store bags in a small trash can as a solution for daily trash.  

16. Outdoor Camping Grill 

Cooking in the RV is great, but sometimes it can get very hot inside. Having the option to cook outside on a lovely day can help reduce the strain on your summer AC use. 

17. Reusable storage bags / Tupperware

Sometimes, you won’t be able to finish the meal. Make sure you bring several food storage items to keep unfinished food safe to eat another day. 

18. Cooler

A small cooler can be stocked with drinks and/or snacks to keep them close at hand without going in and out of the RV. 

19. Camp Chair 

A place to sit outside for each person on board. You can’t guarantee that every campsite will have a picnic table, so bring your own collapsible chairs. 

20. Tablecloth

Make clean-up a little easier, or cover the outdoor picnic table with an easy-to-clean tablecloth and add a splash of personality to the campsite.  

21. Outdoor Rug & Doormat

You will need at least one of these to help keep mud, dirt, and leaves out of the RV. 

22. Indoor/Rainy Day amusements 

Most RVers are looking to get out and stay out in nature, but sometimes you have to shelter inside. Don’t forget the fun stuff to keep you busy when you can’t (or don’t want to) hang outside. 

This list is a great place to start when packing your RV, but this list is by no means exhaustive. If there’s something that you think is missing or an essential item for your family, then don’t hesitate to pack it and add it to your personal must-have RV list. The checklist you create for your specific style of camping will become your official checklist and an essential part of preparing to hit the road in your Cruise America RV rental.