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I adore the great outdoors. However, the allure of sleeping under the stars lost its luster after I found one too many creepy crawlies in my bedroll.
When I scored a sweet deal on an RV, I couldn’t wait to hit the dusty trail and unplug for a few days!
Unfortunately, as a first-time RVer, there were a few things that I had overlooked. I mean, I had the typical RV gear — including hoses aplenty. But I lacked lots of other necessary RV supplies.
The 8 things below would have made my first RV trip much better…
Must-Have RV Supplies
#1 – A Backup Compass
Did you know that those handy magnetic snaps that outfitters include on survival clothing nowadays can cause your compass to fail? I didn’t either — until I wasted half a day hiking in circles.
My compass was telling me one thing while my instincts said, “I know I’ve passed this rock before.”
Before I knew it, I felt like I was in a remake of “The Blair Witch Project.” Fortunately, I didn’t stumble upon any abandoned houses or supernatural murderers, but I did immediately download a backup compass app on my phone upon returning to civilization.
My top tip for RVers and campers of all stripes is this: bring a backup compass!
I don’t care if you dropped hundreds on a model calibrated for Navy SEALs… carry reinforcements anyway.
#2 – A More Well-Stocked First Aid Kit
In my defense, I carried everything I needed to sling a broken arm or bind up a wound.
However, when it came to the migraine I started developing on my second day, I was up the proverbial creek — and I wasn’t on a kayaking expedition.
Life lesson learned — don’t forget to include the little things like aspirin and ibuprofen in your RV first aid kit.
And if you take any prescription medications, be sure to carry them with you on the road. If you tend to forget things, then ask your doctor if they will give you a 2-week travel supply that you can keep in your glove box!
#3 – Extra Socks And Underwear
When you’re deep in the countryside — especially if you’re doing a bit of hiking — your feet go through the wringer.
You can get trench-foot from sitting around in damp socks.
Bacteria flourishes in foot sweat. And the stuff you keep next to your private parts is a breeding ground for germs.
Even if you don’t pack a change of outerwear for your overnight RV trip, carry clean socks and drawers with you!
#4 – Home Away From Home Protection
One evening I was parked for the night and noticed a suspicious truck pull up a little bit away and sit there for a long time without moving. I couldn’t see inside, but I felt very strongly that I was being watched. They eventually pulled away.
Around 1:00 AM, I was thankfully still awake — because that same truck pulled up again. I turned on my headlights, and they immediately took off.
I don’t know for sure, but I think they may have been targeting me since I was alone.
Turning on the headlights scared them off. But if it hadn’t, I had nothing to protect myself. 41% of firearm owners say carry a gun for protection, and I intend to be one of them the next time I’m RVing.
#5 – A Way To Keep The Dirt Outside
If you’ve camped in a tent, then you know how the inside of your tent gets filthy — even when you take off your shoes before climbing inside.
The same is true when climbing into an RV. Only now, you have carpeting you can get muddy, too.
Just as you should always take a big enough ground cloth to add a front porch of sorts to a tent, you should carry a place to wipe your feet before getting in your RV.
#6 – A Better Assortment of Cooking Supplies
“I can use sticks to toast marshmallows,” I thought.
True enough. But twigs are hardly useful for flipping burgers on the grill!
Maybe you don’t technically need an immersion blender when you decide to rough it — but it can make prepping the toppings for your fire-roasted hot dogs a lot less labor-intensive.
You have enough work to do carrying firewood. Make kitchen duty easier by packing the right RV kitchen tools.
#7 – A Roadside Assistance Package
I know how to change a tire like a pit-crew boss, thank you very much. However, I’m not a mechanic by trade.
RVs are more massive than your average vehicle and have a ton of moving parts that can break.
It’s easy to say, “Well, at least I won’t be stranded without shelter” — until your generator is running low, putting your AC in jeopardy along a scorching desert highway!
Don’t listen to your foolish pride — a roadside assistance membership doesn’t cost too much, and it can save you considerable headaches if you break down.
At the very least, grab a portable battery charger so you don’t become stranded with a dead battery. And of course, always tell someone where you’re going — especially if your plans change.
#8 – A Mobile Hotspot
What’s worse than breaking down on a hot day?
Having your radiator spring a leak in a location where the Wi-Fi signal is nonexistent!
Granted, mobile hotspots won’t get you blazing fast Internet in the most remote areas. However, if you stay anywhere close to civilization, a mobile hotspot device enables you to work (or surf social media) while you wait for help.
WiFi hotspots can also act as a backup communication portal if you accidentally drop your cell phone in a lake and have only a laptop left. Not that I’ve ever done such a foolish thing. (Okay, maybe once.)
The Bottom Line
If you want to make the most of your first RV trip, make sure you come prepared!
The right RV supplies will make your trip more enjoyable… and safer.
In addition to the links I’ve included above, here are some of our other resources to help you make the most of your first RV trip:
- All Our Best Tips For Driving An RV For The First Time
- 12 Ways RV Driving Is Completely Different From Car Driving
- All The Best RV Checklists For New RVers
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I’m an automotive journalist, YouTuber, and blogger who babbles about Jeeps, RVs, and other vehicles on the Internet. In my free time, I enjoy hanging out with my wife and 2 sons, working on our home & lawn, and watching the Pittsburgh Penguins.