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Sometimes you just don’t know what you don’t know. And that can be a frustrating spot to find yourself in especially when it comes to RV camping accessories.
There’s nothing much you can do about being in that state…except keep working to know more. That’s how the RVing adventure has gone for us so far.
Critical Preparation for the Journey
We started our full-time RV journey preparation by focusing on and taking care of the “critical RV camping accessories” that we knew we had to address before ever hitting the road. Things like the water, sewer and electric accessories (that I covered in this crucial accessories post).
These are the products that would actually make our Adventure Capsule operate properly and keep us from destroying it before we even got started.
Yes, I had legitimate fears about the early and complete destruction of our RV due to those things that I didn’t know. The stories are out there about RV electrical systems being fried in the blink of an eye, etc.
And I was petrified as a complete newbie to the RV life. At times, it was paralyzing, overwhelming, almost depressing. I was determined not to be one of those horror stories.
One Logical Step at a Time
Once those critical items were checked off my list, I was able to move forward and start dealing with some of the items that addressed convenience and sanity.
The RV camping accessories that I’m going to cover in this article fall into that “convenience and sanity” category. They are not absolutely necessary in order for you to hit the road, but very useful in making your RV experience a very positive one from the beginning with less stress and strain involved.
That’s what the RV lifestyle is about anyway, right?! (You did know that, didn’t you?)
Yes, We Own Every One of These RV Camping Accessories
I actually purchased four out of these five items before we ever set out on our full-time RVing adventure around the continent. Before we ever pulled into our first RV park.
We added the fifth item (pop-up gazebo) just before our 1-year mark on the road. And we should have done that sooner, no doubt about it.
So, just to be clear: I DO own all of these RV camping accessories that I will be talking about and can recommend each of them to you without hesitation.
Trust me when I say that they are worth every dime.
Alrighty then…on to the list!
If I could only recommend one single product to save your sanity, this is it. It is the king of the RV camping accessories, in my opinion.
Here’s the truth: Since I was a complete RV newbie and purchased this leveling kit before our first trip to an RV park, I have never had to endure the crazy-making, back-breaking, can-we-please-just-set-up-camp-already experience of leveling the RV the “old fashioned” way.
Don’t hate me. I think I was just born into the RV world at the perfect time.
All joking aside, unless you have a rig where you can just push a button to level everything up, click here to see how to spend the BEST $90 of this decade.
(**Please be aware that there is also a slightly less expensive purchase option that does not include the two rubber mats. These mats can help you out in wet or slippery situations. You could save a little bit here, but I can tell you that we have used those rubber mats to get the grip we needed on multiple occasions. So choose wisely.)
How Do These Strange Things Work?
You simply stick the curved wedge levelers under the tires on the side of your RV that you need to raise, have someone place a level on that side of the RV as you slowly roll onto the levelers, and they tell you to stop when it is perfect! Stick a provided chock under each leveler and you are locked into place and ready to LIVE.
Note: The Amazon listing has a short video included to demonstrate how the product works, so click here to take a look at the video if my description just isn’t cutting it for you.
So When Do They Not Work?
After more than 17 months and countless RV parks and campgrounds, I can tell you there was ONE time where we had to “get creative” and do anything besides simply roll onto these levelers and call it good.
In that instance, where the site was heavily sloped to one side, we simply had to put some Lynx Levelers under the Andersen levelers to give it the extra inch or so that it needed. Still far simpler than the stone age alternative of guessing how many blocks you need on each tire and trying multiple times to make it perfect.
As If That Weren’t Enough…
On top of their primary function, we have also used the Andersen levelers as jack stabilizer blocks on several occasions when we had one end of the travel trailer exceptionally high without enough Lynx levelers to reach the jacks.
Simply turn one of the leveler wedges on its side and you have roughly an additional six inches of height to help keep the RV stable. Genius.
And a Fantastic Warranty to Top It All Off
We are all used to seeing a standard 12-month warranty on many types of products. It’s kind of the standard these days in many industries, including the RV accessory industry.
But Andersen provides a 3-Year Warranty on this product to put your mind completely at ease. These levelers are as solid as they come and Andersen backs them up 100%.
One Last Recommendation on Your Purchase: Skip the Spendier Storage Bag Option
For over a year, we have used the original box that the Andersen Levelers were shipped in to store and transport them. I’m not even sure they had the storage bag as a purchase option when I bought ours in early 2017.
Have we had to tape that box up a bit and give it some extra life? Yup! Total cost: $.003. Give or take.
Trust me, just use the sturdy cardboard box the levelers arrive in unless you are just itching to drop some extra cash to keep things looking pretty. No judgment here.
If you are new to the RV camping accessories world, you might be a bit confused right now. More levelers? Isn’t $90+ enough to spend on that category?
But stick with me here because this product has a very different function (for us, at least) than the Andersen Levelers we just covered.
While some people might use them in place of a product like Andersen Levelers to get the RV level (their original intended use, I believe), Lynx Levelers have been an extremely convenient RV accessory option for us over the past year for other purposes.
How can this product be used?
For our setup, we use the Lynx Levelers in two primary ways:
1 – As a stable pad for the trailer tongue jack (normally 3-4 blocks)
2 – As a solid platform to support our four stabilizer jacks (normally 3-4 blocks per jack)
They are lightweight, very durable and very versatile and we have a total of 20 blocks (two 10-packs) that we use at every stop. Plenty of other RVers might choose to use wood blocks instead of a solid and lightweight plastic option like this, but that just didn’t make sense for me.
As I mentioned before, weight was a serious consideration for me from the beginning. And splinters are always something I try to avoid. Call me crazy…
So spending a grand total of less than $60 to give me all of the stability my rig needs on an RV site made perfect sense. I have not questioned the Lynx Levelers purchase for a second and they have proven to be a top quality product.
Click here to take a look at the 10-pack option that I recommend. As I said, we have regularly used two of these 10-packs for our needs.
Plenty of other Amazon buyers agree since this product has a high star rating on nearly 1,200 reviews. You won’t find great ratings like that very often in my experience.
The ability to access the roof of your RV is crucial. Some type of ladder is an absolute must while on the road. Whether it’s for repairs, cleaning off a slide before it comes in, cleaning the RV, or whatever comes up.
Some RVs, especially Class A’s, come with their own ladder already attached to the back of the rig for easy roof access.
I’ve also seen plenty of RVs driving down the highway with a standard 8 or 10-ft aluminum ladder strapped to the back of their rig. I guess you can make that work if you want to keep things as inexpensive as possible and don’t mind messing with attaching the ladder before each move.
But you should also be uber-confident in your ability to securely attach that type of ladder because the consequences of having it break free out on the highway…well, I don’t want to think about that.
Advantages of the Telescopic Extension Ladder
Just click here to see the details of the 12.5 foot telescopic extension ladder that I purchased before we left. It is still lightweight at about 24 pounds. It also fits easily into my pass-through storage at the front of the travel trailer once it is inside its own carrying bag for protection.
I have had absolutely no issues with the ladder so far, no concerns about safety. It is designed to hold up to 330 lbs, but take into account that I weigh less than half of that. So I can’t speak to how much it can safely and comfortably hold from my own experience or how it will perform with considerably more weight on it on a regular basis.
Convenience, Functionality and Quality
But as far as convenience, functionality and quality, I give this RV accessory the highest overall ratings. On Amazon it has 4+ stars on more than 400 reviews. Click here to see Amazon’s Choice for “collapsible ladder”.
**Note: When I bought this ladder over a year ago, it was actually less expensive than it is right now. But just take my experience and the potential safety concerns of transporting a standard aluminum ladder into account and make the choice that’s right for you.
Yes, I am aware this isn’t technically in the RV accessories category. But I consider it a necessary RV LIFE accessory based on our experience.
Because one thing was certain from the moment we moved out of our 2,300 sf house into our 26-ft travel trailer: That long bed truck we bought would be key to making everything fit!
That 8-ft x 4-ft space was a lifesaver when it came to fitting five people (and all of their crap) into a tiny space. But…I knew it couldn’t just sit there in the back of the truck open to the weather, possibly blowing out of the truck bed on the highway, etc. Pretty obvious.
I had to protect it and secure it somehow, and I felt like I had two primary options:
(1) a fiberglass truck bed topper (which would easily cost $1,000+ for my long bed truck),
Now, to be honest, I thought it would be really nice to have that fiberglass topper on the back for additional storage space and as a spot for a couple of us to sleep if we wanted to go out in the boonies somewhere and camp along the way. More adventure!
But I came up with several drawbacks to going the topper route:
- The additional weight of the fiberglass topper.
- The additional weight of the crap the topper would allow us to (inevitably) pile in there.
- The limited visibility the topper would force me to deal with (and resulting safety concerns).
- The significant additional cost.
I figured I was already going to be pretty close to my max payload with the truck and travel trailer we purchased, so the weight consideration was not a small thing.
Also, as a complete newbie to RVing (and towing in general), I did NOT like the idea of having my visibility further limited in any way, shape or form. I wanted to see as much of my surroundings as humanly possible while I got used to this whole new experience and sharpened my towing skills!
And the cost…well, I will save 75-80% every chance I get. Duh.
So, I paid far less for the Tyger Auto Tri-Fold Tonneau Cover and it only took about 10-15 minutes for me and my two boys to get it installed properly (it can easily be done by one person). I have never had to mess with it since. Just as simple and user-friendly as it gets, my friend.
I figured I could always upgrade to a fiberglass topper later if I thought it would be necessary or more convenient, but I have not been tempted in the slightest to go that route because the tonneau cover has proven to be exactly what we needed.
Will It Last?
I was definitely concerned about the durability and longevity of the cover before buying since this was not a hard tonneau cover option, but I really had nothing to worry about.
The cover is still in GREAT condition after 17 months of use and exposure to beating sun, blankets of snow, sheets of ice, etc.
This is a high-quality product that has stood the test of time and travel and I believe it still has years of life left in it.
Last Word on Tyger Auto Tonneau Cover
One final note on this: The tonneau cover will NOT keep out every bit of the rain and water that you will encounter. Especially at the tailgate, you will have some water intrusion during heavy rains, going through a carwash, etc.
We have just been cautious about what we placed in the bed of the truck, being certain that whatever goes back there will not be destroyed by a little water. Not a big deal for us at all, but figured I should mention it.
P.S. – PLEASE make sure you put your truck information in so that you end up with the correct product that will fit your truck. Nobody needs that extra hassle.
Again, this product falls in the category of RV Life Accessory and I strongly urge you to consider it for your sanity, convenience and enjoyment.
You know how I mentioned above that we just purchased one of these products a little before our 1-year mark? Well, this is it. Click here to take a closer look at our latest purchase. The only thing is, I truly wish I had not waited so long.
I mean, talk about some cheap additional living space! (A couple bucks per square foot, give or take.)
Right now, we have it set up just outside our travel trailer and are able to use it extensively to get some fresh air and sunlight while avoiding the flying pests that have kept us indoors far too often over the past year.
It easily fits our two full-size reclining outdoor chairs and could fit 1-2 additional smaller chairs as well. In our family of five, it’s extremely rare that four or five of us would want to use the space at the same time. So, the “4 person” option was the right choice for us, but Gazelle does have a larger option available as well that is made to fit 8 people.
As I researched the different portable screen room options on Amazon, there were plenty of cheaper options available. Believe me, I was tempted to “go cheapskate” and try one of those other options.
Why Would You Spend More Money on a Gazelle Tent Product?
But, here’s what finally convinced me to give this more expensive Gazelle option a chance:
- Quickest and simplest setup available on the market. (Seriously, it takes me 1-2 minutes to get it out of the carrying bag and fully set up without any assistance. The “umbrella” design is really sweet…and easy on the back.)
- No sliding joints that can get very sticky and hard to deal with, and also no pinched fingers in those joints!
- 4.5+ stars on Amazon reviews AND Amazon’s choice for “pop up gazebo”.
- Lightweight! Under 24 lbs for this much living space is really remarkable.
I just don’t have anything negative to say about it or any cautions to give you. It is the highest quality construction I could have hoped for in a portable structure and also fits easily into my travel trailer’s passthrough storage for easy access.
I am 100% confident this pop-up gazebo will stand the test of time even with the wear and tear we might inflict upon it with our frequent moves on the road.
Can we wrap this up already?
Ok, ok, chill your peaches there homeslice. I know this is a lot of RV camping accessories information, but the truth is that I wish I had seen a post like this (and one covering water/sewer/electrical accessories that you can see here) around the time I purchased my RV and was trying to figure this all out. I might have a little more hair left. (Nah, I shave it off anyway.)
Maybe one of these items is exactly what you didn’t know you needed, and maybe all of them are.
Whatever your situation, whether a full time RV family or an avid weekend RVer, I sincerely hope this post has been helpful for you. I know from experience that it is tough as you consider how best to spend your money to create the RVing lifestyle you desire.
Be sure to check back in as we continue to shed some light on helpful RV camping accessories that have stood the test of our full-time RVers life.
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Todd Bonner is the slightly quieter half of the dynamic TREKKN duo. He spends most of his time sharing information about RV travel and safety, RV accessories and tips, and the National Parks he has visited and still desperately craves. When he’s not busy working on TREKKN, you will often find him staring at breathtaking pictures of Glacier National Park, probably his favorite spot on earth.