10 Affordable Essentials Worth Having in Your RV

Here's what you need to know.
Written by Eric and Britney Highland

Eric and Brittany Highland are full-time RVers who travel around the country in their 40’ Phaeton by Tiffin Motorhomes.

RV trip in Arizona

The more storage you have, the more you accumulate. 

Space is always a factor when you are RV-ing. It doesn’t matter if you have a tiny RV or a monstrous behemoth, all RV-ers struggle with the question of what to take and what to leave behind. Find out more about RV insurance by contacting an insurance agent in your area.

We’ve just completed our first year full-time RV-ing, and it is astonishing to realize the amount of stuff we’ve been carrying around that we haven’t used once in the past year.

But rather than focus on the things we’re carrying that are fairly ridiculous, here is a list of 10 things we carry in our RV that we actually use and why they are important to us.

As a quick note, we don’t get paid to mention any specific brands, and the links are not affiliate links. This is just a list of 10 things we honestly love having in our RV.

1. Roadside Assistance Card

When you need a tow, you’ll be thankful to have roadside assistance. We’ve had to use our membership three times in the past year and it has paid for itself at least 10 times over. There are many companies to choose from: Good Sam, Coach-Net, AAA, insurance carriers, etc.

Do yourself a favor. If you don’t have a roadside assistance membership, get one. We actually have two different types of coverage.

Cost: About $140/year

2. Portable Folding Propane Grill

What would RVing be without a great grill? Don’t go cheap on this. If you like camping, you’ll use it all the time. We went with the Weber Q2200. We’ve been really happy with it and have had no issues in a full year of heavy usage.

Cost: About $250

3. Folding Table

You can purchase folding tables practically everywhere. What you won’t find everywhere is a table at your campsite. The nice thing is that folding tables are lightweight and can serve a variety of purposes.

You’ll probably end up using your folding table at nearly every campsite, even if there’s already a table there. They are great for meals, games, hobbies and to help hold down your outdoor rug to boot. 

Small rigs benefit greatly from folding tables, too. They fold up to have a thin footprint and are weather resistant. So you only need to keep them inside the rig while you are traveling. They’ll be one of the first things to come out when you park.

Cost: $30 to 80 depending on quality

4. Brass Y Valve

Nearly every campsite we’ve stayed at in the past year has had a water connection with only one spigot. It’s easy to double the functionality of this connection with a brass Y valve.

Whether you need an extra line for washing your hands, your rig, your car, or just to wet down your traveling partner for fun, this is an indispensable item!

Cost: $10 to $15 

5. Internet Connectivity

We work for ourselves online and like to stream movies in our downtime. But unlike conventional stick and brick homes, RVs don’t have the luxury of unlimited Internet. So if you want to stay connected on the go, we recommend signing up with a reputable carrier before you hit the road.

You probably don’t need the ridiculous amount of data we have. But in case you’re curious, we have a Verizon Jetpack and our iPhones through AT&T. We have 30 gigabytes on each carrier for a total of 60 gigs.

As a note, we keep two carriers because we’ve run into places where one carrier has excellent coverage and the other has none.

Cost: $50 to $250/month depending on data requirements


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6. A Great Vacuum

Remember that you are staying at campsites. This means dirt, mud, grass and bugs. So having a top-of-the-line vacuum is a must. But your vacuum should have a small footprint and be rechargeable and cordless for maximum functionality.

We have the Dyson Digital Slim and couldn’t be happier with it.  

Cost: $250 to $300

7. GrooveBook Subscription

In this day and age, we all have digital pictures. We have them on our computers, phones, social networks and data cards. Heck, we even have them in the cloud. But did you know that for a very small monthly fee, you can have hard copies of 100 of your photos delivered to you? It’s true! 

The photos come bound in a book (the GrooveBook), but they are perforated so you can tear them out and give them to relatives and friends. The GrooveBook’s footprint is tiny and it makes for great conversations with people you meet on the road or by the campfire.

If you are RVing around the country, you’re going to take a ton of photos. At this price point, preserving your memories in a tangible form is a no-brainer!

Cost: $2.99/month

8. Folding Step

Our folding step gets so much use that we’re in need of a new one! We use it to sit on while we are outside our storage bays, like when we’re dumping our black and grey water tanks. The step is a great back saver. We also use it when we’re at a site that isn’t terribly level and we need an extra step to get into our entrance. It’s also handy for standing on to reach things that are just out of reach when doing repairs or cleaning.

A small folding step is one of the simplest things to carry and it gets a ton of use!

Cost: $10 to $30

9. High-Quality Sewer Hose

If you’ve ever had a sewer hose burst, rupture or otherwise explode while you were emptying out your black water tank, we feel your pain.

One of the first purchases we made was the Dominator RV Sewer Hose Kit, which has performed perfectly. It is solidly built, collapsible and dependable.

Don’t skimp here. Make sure you fork over some dough upfront on your sewer hose.

Cost: $60

10. Portable Dehumidifier

This little gizmo is fantastic! When you live in a small space, even taking a shower can cause the humidity in your RV to climb off the charts. This is not a good thing. But with a tiny dehumidifier, you can remedy that situation.

We have the Eva-Dry Renewable Mini Dehumidifier and it is a must-have. We’re actually thinking of getting a second one even as I write this. Because it is small and portable, you can move it around the RV as needed.

We normally keep ours in our pantry to keep things cool and dry.

Cost: $20 to $25

Other Things Worth Carrying 

There are plenty of other things we think are worth carrying in the RV: 

  • Collapsible crates from Ikea
  • Collapsible anti-gravity chairs
  • Bikes and a bike rack
  • High-pressure nozzle for washing the rig
  • Bungee cords
  • High-quality rubber gloves
  • Cordless drill and impact driver
  • Telescoping ladder

…and many more.

What to Ask When You Can’t Decide What to Keep

Whether you’re just starting out on your RV adventure, or you’re doing some spring cleaning to get rid of the things you haven’t used in a while, here are some questions to ask yourself when making decisions:

  1. Have I used this item in the last year?
  2. How many times have I used this item in the last year?
  3. Is it cheaper to donate the item and buy a new one if I need to use it again?
  4. Does this item serve multiple purposes?
  5. Where will this item be stored when I’m traveling?
  6. Where will this item be stored when I’m camping?

We hope you like our list and tips. We’re interested to hear your own must-haves and tips in the comments below. Find out more about RV insurance by contacting an insurance agent in your area.

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