These must-have RV accessories are what we use daily for our RV travels. Stop wasting money on unnecessary RV gear and read Todd’s top 15 recommendations!
I just stood there, clueless and more than a little terrified, staring blankly at this 26 feet of mobile living space.
It was ours now. It was new. It was perfect. And obviously, I was also excited on top of everything else.
But what I slowly realized as the newness of the moment wore off was this: This thing is also very incomplete.
It slowly dawned on me that if we hit the road with this rig right now, we wouldn’t make it far.
This shiny new travel trailer needed help. It needed partners. It needed supporting characters in order to become the “adventure capsule” we dreamed of.
Sigh. And so the next chapter of research and preparation began.
*You might also like to read about how we went from a house to full-time RV living in just 100 days.
How Do I Know What I Really Need to Buy for My RV?
This is the million dollar question, right? Because we are all willing to buy what we know we will actually need and use, but nobody wants to buy stuff they will never use.
Buying unused stuff simply sucks. Especially when all of that stuff is on the road with you for months!
Believe me, I had this big question rolling through my head day and night as I watched video after video online about how to adequately prepare for this monumental journey ahead of us.
But I had such a hard time finding a resource that covered all of the items I needed in one spot. I didn’t have the time or energy to try and pull together recommendations from 12 different sources.
One video from that person about your holding tank accessories, one list from another couple about cellular connection accessories, one about tires, etc.
So, I’ve decided to do a series of posts covering all of the RV accessories we have found to be the most useful broken down by category: Sewer/Water/Electric, Internet Connection, and Tires & Overall Safety.
So…let’s get this thing rolling with Sewer/Water/Electric accessories!
15 Must-Have RV Accessories for Sewer, Water and Electric in 2020
RV Accessories: Sewer Connections
Let’s get the dirtiest stuff out of the way quickly, sound good? Nobody likes dealing with this stuff, but that’s not going to keep your tanks from filling up!
Here’s the deal: You should have a minimum of 20 feet of quality sewer hose in order to be confident you can make it to your sewer connection in all scenarios. After dozens of RV parks, our 20 feet hasn’t let us down yet (but it has been close a couple of times). From all that I have seen, the Camco Rhino Sewer hoses are the standard in the industry and are widely considered the best RV sewer hose on the market.
While we have the 20-foot RhinoFLEX setup pictured above, I would possibly go with the 20-foot RhinoEXTREME option if I was starting again. I might even replace it soon. Although…there are far more 1-star reviews for the EXTREME hose (mainly about leaking issues), so take a close look and make the choice that’s right for you.
I have had minimal issues with leaking after nearly a year with the RHINOFlex. Just click here to see an assortment of the Rhino products to choose from. Remember, I wouldn’t recommend anything less than a 20-ft RV sewer hose to avoid a major disruption to your good RVing vibes.
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RV Sewer Tank Rinser (transparent)
RHINO also makes a handy accessory called the RHINO Blaster Sewer Tank Rinser.
It’s not especially cheap for a piece of plastic, but being able to rinse the main sewer drain pipe out AND actually see what’s coming out of the tanks so you can get a good flush of the system are both very important. This is not an area you want to pinch pennies on, trust me.
Sewer Hose Rinse Attachment
After you have completed the tank draining process and detached your hose from the rig, this Camco Hose Rinse Attachment with Power Jet Cleaning Action snaps on to the end of the sewer hose and blasts water through so you can get a good rinse into the sewer before detaching that end.
Honestly, I have been a bit lazy and haven’t used this item as much as I should…and I regret it. For such an inexpensive item, I can pretty much guarantee you will regret it if you don’t have it.
RV Sewer Hose Support
Before you decide that this RV Sewer Hose Support is not a necessity, be aware that some RV parks we have stayed at have actually required that sewer hoses are kept off of the ground with a sewer hose support. Click here to see the product that has been perfect for us for over a year. I honestly have no complaints at all and can highly recommend it.
(The RV sewer hose support comes in different lengths, just like the hoses. So be sure that if you have a 20-ft sewer hose, you get the 20-ft sewer hose support to match.)
On top of the occasional RV park requirement issue mentioned above, this sewer hose support is also very useful in achieving an optimal run for the hose that keeps things flowing along. It will save you time, energy and possibly mess in fighting to drain the sewer hose when it’s time to pack up.
The more you have to fight with the hose to get it fully drained, the more wear and tear the hose and fittings will experience. And we all know what that could mean…
Disposable Gloves for Sewer Tasks
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you should absolutely use disposable gloves for sewer tasks, in my humble opinion. I use them each time and immediately sanitize after I’ve completed the chore and it’s the smart thing to do even if it costs you a few extra bucks.
Obviously, there are plenty of different glove options, from polyethylene like you see above, to vinyl gloves, latex gloves or nitrile gloves. What you choose ultimately depends on your comfort level in handling this dark deed.
RV Holding Tank Treatment
The truth is that I have been using whatever I can track down at Walmart for most of our travels so far. But the best RV holding tank treatment product that came highly recommended to me from RV professionals is Happy Campers RV Holding Tank Treatment.
Happy Camper Tank Treatment is an organic product that is apparently superior in its ability to break down the waste. It’s more spendy than what I normally use, but it’s probably worth it.
Alright, that’s enough with the poo water. Let’s move on to the drinking water side of things and explore our top recommendations.
RV Accessories: Water Connections
Drinking Water Hoses
Now, you wouldn’t think this decision would be that crucial. But let me tell you, making the right decision here will save you money and major hassle in the long run.
I went through two hoses in the first two months of our travels because they started leaking at the connection fittings. Every time it was a struggle and lots of water was also wasted. Not cool.
Finally, I had to replace the hose again while at an RV park near Glacier National Park in Montana and this is the one they had in stock. The heavy-duty nickel-plated brass machined fittings made all the difference.
(I should mention the fact that I paid nearly three times more than the current online price because I had to have it at the RV park. Choose wisely now….)
One last point on this: I do recommend having two (2) 25-ft hoses available for use in those situations where your water connection is in a strange location. Personally, I don’t want a 50-ft hose that I have to wrestle with every time I connect. The second 25-ft hose that I only have to use infrequently makes much more sense in my book.
Holding Tank Rinsing Hose
I know, I know. You’re thinking that three hoses for one RV is complete overkill. I get it. And I would have agreed a year ago.
But here’s the deal: You can’t use a drinking water hose to attach to your black tank (sewer) flush valve! There is always the possibility of backflow from the black tank, even with safety measures in place, and that could be a medical disaster.
Honestly, the drinking water hose I referred to above is no more expensive than any other standard 25-ft garden hoses on Amazon. But you want to have a different type of hose for flushing the tanks to be certain you don’t get them mixed up. So just going with a 1/2 inch, lighter weight garden hose will be your best bet.
Brass Water Connector Elbow
Here’s a nice cheap little item to break up the expenses a bit. It’s under 5 bucks but will absolutely help you ensure you are not placing unnecessary pressure on that RV water connection.
Water Pressure Regulator
Now, I made a mistake with this relatively small purchase. Originally, I bought a water pressure reducer like this. Yes, it’s called a regulator, but another RVer educated me on the difference between that type of device and an actual water pressure regulator that allows you to see the pressure on the gauge.
This one is pretty straightforward. These simple and inexpensive filters you place between the brass elbow and the hose help to keep sediment out of your RV’s water system and also improves taste. Each one lasts 2-3 months, so it is a pretty small price to pay for a little peace of mind.
Heated Drinking Water Hose
Now this is an expensive option you should only consider if you are going to be RVing in temperatures below freezing. And have I got a story behind this one!
I spent over $100 on a similar heated hose when we made the decision to head into Utah (and then Colorado) in November 2017 as temperatures dropped. You can click here to see the variety of heated hose I purchased. I had grown tired of having to disconnect the water hose every night and drain it, only to reconnect it in the morning before anyone could brush their teeth, wash a dish or even flush the toilet.
Ummm…Moab, Utah Gets Cold!
But at our stop in Moab, Utah, just days after spending the money on this item, I made a critical error. I plugged the hose’s cord into the outlet on the pedestal next to the water connection…but I did not double check to be sure the outlet was actually ON. The next morning, the hose was frozen solid (temps hit about 10 degrees Fahrenheit).
The heating element had also frozen and cracked. No more heated hose. (I was able to just remove the heating element and still use the hose as a backup drinking water hose, so not all was lost.)
One last note: After I destroyed that expensive heated hose, I was shown a way to create my own heated hose, with very little hassle, using parts that cost 1/3 to 1/2 as much as your average heated hose off the shelf.
I will have to share the details of that little project a bit later, but you can also take a look at this quick tutorial on YouTube that follows pretty much the same steps that I did. I only used a 10-ft hose which made my process quicker and a bit less expensive, but that DIY project hose has served me well for months and cost about $45 total.
RV Accessories: Electrical Connection
A 30 amp RV surge protector and circuit analyzer was one of the first items that I purchased when I brought my travel trailer home. Why? I had seen too many horror stories about shore power electrical issues that fried an RV’s electrical system. If something was wrong with the power grid I was about to plug my huge investment into, I wanted to know!
This might be one of the pricier RV accessories you need to buy, but it is absolutely worth it when you factor in the investment you are trying to protect. I highly recommend the brand based on my experience with a similar product. You can click here to take a closer look.
Note: This particular item is an RV Surge Protector 30 amp for a system like mine. If you have a 50 amp system (usually indicated by two AC units on the rig), click here to see the RV Surge Protector 50 amp you will need.
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50 Amp to 30 Amp Adapter (Dogbone)
I have run into some situations where the only shore power available at an RV park was 50 amp. If I just had the surge protector above, I would not be able to plug into that power supply. It is a completely different type of plug on the two power supplies.
But take a look at this cheap little item. It is a 50 amp to 30 amp adapter that gives me the option to plug into that 50 amp supply with my 30 amp travel trailer without an issue.
**Make sure that you have Male 50 Amp and Female 30 Amp on the dogbone you purchase if you have a 30 Amp travel trailer.**
So I actually put the circuit analyzer and the adapter together in situations like this. I simply plug the 50 amp adapter into the power supply, then plug the circuit analyzer into the adapter, and finally my power cord from the travel trailer into the bottom of the circuit analyzer. Adapted, protected, done. Zero hassle, zero headache, zero risk.
30 Amp to 15 Amp Adapter (Dogbone)
I know! You’re thinking, “Enough friggin’ dogbones already! Jeez!” That’s what I was thinking as well as I collected my “toys”.
But here’s the deal: This last RV electrical adapter is a 30 amp to 15 amp adapter that allows you to connect to a standard household 15 amp power supply in order to run the basics on your RV.
For us, this little adapter came in handy during our first few days in the RV while we were parked at my wife’s parents’ home in Texas. As I said, a 15 Amp power supply is only going to run the basics in your rig…no A/C or heater, probably no microwave. You might get away with the toaster. But primarily, this simply allowed us to keep our electronics charged using the electrical outlets in the RV.
Just click here to see this product that lets you plug in at home. (Side note: We did trip the breaker at the house a dozen times by trying to use one too many appliances simultaneously. So be prepared for that small hassle of taking trips to the circuit breaker when using household power.)
RV Done with this List Yet?
And….there you have it! Lots of purchases, lots of details, lots to think about. Just take it one step at a time.
Believe me, my head was absolutely spinning as I tried to compile my most wanted (needed) RV accessories list before hitting the road. I thought I would never get to the bottom of that list, but it all came together in the end.
Remember, this is just a portion of the accessories I would recommend before hitting the road. You should also click here to check out my top 5 RV camping accessories to maintain your sanity on the road.
In addition, I’ve covered the travel and safety side of the equation (tires, tire pressure monitor, torque wrench, etc.) as well as the on-the-road data connectivity issues (cellular devices, hotspots, satellite, etc.).
But these 15 RV accessories will give you a great start on your mission to hit the road, see the country (or countries) and live life fully and safely!
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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.