It’s crazy to think that we’ve been living full-time in our fifth wheel for over a year and a half now! There are certain items you know you need for RVing- sewer hoses, water hoses, you get the point! What I want to share with you today is 13 must have products for RV Living from 13 full-time RVers. While many of these items could be used by part time or weekend warriors too, this is NOT your average RV trip packing list. There’s quite a difference between camping in your RV for a short amount of time and calling your RV home. So, these items may be a bit more out of the box than what you’d see on a typical “what to bring on your RV trip” list.
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Mike and Steph of @lifererouted said “Our RV Lock is one of our favorite purchases. We’d lived in the camper full-time for a year and a half before we decided to “splurge” and buy it. It’s amazing! Leaving the camper without worrying about having the keys is so worth it. It’s something we never really thought about, but definitely an RV essential for us!”
I have to say, I agree! This was actually one of the very first upgrades we did to our fifth wheel, not only to make our lives easier but also for security purposes. Did you know there are only a hand full of keys that can open just about any RV?? Check out our blog post about our security system to learn about how you can protect your home on wheels.
2. Trailer Aid
Janae of @adventures_with_tucknae suggests having a Trailer-Aid. “We’ve had multiple tire issues during our travels and having a trailer aid made changing tires on the side of the road a lot easier. It’s something I recommend every RVer have on hand during their travels!” On their trip down to Texas to pick up their new RV, Tucker had to change tires 4 different times, including one nasty blow out and a flat. You simply drive your good tire up onto the trailer aid to lift the flat off the ground. Change the tire out and then you’re back on your way.
Bonus item: TPMS to monitor your truck and trailer tires as you’re driving! We found one that was able to be integrated with Ford’s system which is great since we can see all the info on our dash. Janae and Tucker have been using Lippert’s Tire Linc TPMS system and love it. Having a system like this is super helpful as it allows you to keep an eye on tire pressure and temperature. You’ll know pretty quickly if something is off, and hopefully spare you a blow out.
3. Air Compressor
Morgan and Ross, @morganmyoungblood, full-time RVed in 2018/19 before moving aboard a sailboat.They’re currently on the hunt for their next RV to jump back into full-time RV life. Morgan said “For us, you can’t beat the convenience of a portable air compressor. Being able to adjust the air in the tires on the fly without hunting down a gas station is something we valued – both for our time and safety.” You can check out the one she suggested here.
Philip and I use this air compressor we got at Harbor Freight. You can’t see it here but it’s behind all our stuff in the outside storage. The orange hose pictured is the air compressor hose. We have it on a reel and can easily pull it out to air up our tires and reel it back in. Either way, you’ll want to have some type of air compressor on hand so you can ensure your tires are at the proper pressure so you can be safe on the road!
Marissa from @simply_theschwartzs said their RV living must have would definitely be a good quality generator! Not all RVs come equipped with generators, so it’s definitely a nice thing to have in emergency situations or if you plan to be off grid. “There have been so many instances traveling and last minute places have closed down (state parks) due to covid or power outages in some areas where we were left with finding a spot to boon dock for a few days to weeks! We wouldn’t have had the piece of mind without it. We are enthusiastic about off grid living and we are in the process of getting solar together however, we have a Cummins generator built in and a 18 gallon gas tank built in to our toy hauler as well and we comfortably rely on this bad boy for all our power needs full-time. Solar might not always be reliable source of energy on its own too depending on weather conditions so I think every full timer should definitely a quality generator.”
Like Marissa, we also have a toy hauler. Thankfully, ours came equipped with an onboard generator- a Cummins Onan QG 5500. We’ve used it many times, most notably this past week when Texas got hit with a snow storm and we lost power for several hours at a time. We were able to start up the generator and get our furnace turned back on so we could stay warm.
5. Washer / Dryer Combo
While Jen & Brandon of @zo_agape aren’t currently living in their RV while renovating a rental house, they plan to move back into their RV once they complete the C-17 pilot qualification training and move to CA! Jen says, “After a year and a half in the RV l have to say the must have for RV living is a washer and dryer combo! No more late night walks through the RV parks or annoying reminders to change your washer to dryer. Plus, you can do as many loads a day as you’d like, score! A total MUST HAVE.”
This is definitely one of those items that’s a high priority for us. We started out with a small portable washer and spin dryer. Keeping up with laundry was difficult because we were air drying our clothes inside the RV… not a good combo! I’m sure there are people out there that don’t mind heading to the laundry mat, but I am not one of those people. We upgraded to a Splendide WD2100XC and have been spoiled ever since! We did the install ourselves, which required cutting a 4 inch hole in the side of the RV to install the vent… no big deal 😅 All I’ll say is measure twice…
After months of using a portable washer and a spin dryer (wrings out excess water and then you hang dry) and/or taking our laundry to
6. Instant Pot
Vanessa from @theroamingbackyard said the item she probably uses most is the Instant Pot Duo Crisp (pressure cooker & air fryer combo). “Since we mostly stay at campgrounds, I cook most meals out of it. It doesn’t take up a ton of space, it’s easy to clean, the smoke alarm goes off way less, and it saves money on propane. Plus, since the oven doesn’t cook super evenly, it’s great for roasting. I’m a huge fan.”
If you’ve been following us for awhile, you’ll know I’m a huge Instant Pot fan! Anyone remember this IG post?? ⬆️ Prior to RV life I had never used one, but I didn’t think there was anyway we were going to fit two giant crockpots and a rice cooker in the RV. So best of both worlds – Instant Pot! We have the 3 Quart Instant Pot, which is a great size for two people. I’ve considered picking up one that does the air frying too though because why not have multiple appliances in one? Hands down one of the best purchases you can make for your RV kitchen.
7. Collapsible Non Stick Silicone Bakeware
Speaking of best purchases you can make for your RV Kitchen… Laura from @coolmomandcollected suggests collapsible non stick bakeware. “When I started RV living full time, I was disappointed that none of the bakeware I previously had fit in my RV oven, and they were too clunky to even store in my kitchen! My collapsible, silicone bakeware has been perfect for baking in my RV oven, storing, and creating endless and delicious memories with my family! Easy to clean, easy to store, easy to bake!”
Before Laura mentioned this, I actually had no idea there was such a thing as collapsible bakeware! I have an awesome set of collapsible bowls and measuring cups/spoons, but I never thought to look into collapsible bakeware. RV ovens are typically not as wide as a regular oven so only a handful of sizes fit inside. I think this is a great option to look into if you’re a full-time RVer!
8. Water Filter
LeAnn from @the_hauling_hubs said their must have item is the Berkey Water Filter! “Not only does our water always taste great but during the Polar Vortex we experienced in Texas it saved us. Totally worth the investment!”
Personally, we haven’t used a Berkey, mostly because it’s just one more thing sitting out on the counter. But, we know lots of RVers who love using one. Regardless a good water filter is a must! When you’re constantly changing locations, you never know what the water source will be like. We use a dual water filtration system that filters all our water as it comes into the RV. If you’re interested in learning about what options you have for filtering your water, take a look at our previous blog post where we dive into the different types of filtration systems.
9. Museum Putty
Brenda over at @ourmobilejourney suggests museum putty “for RVers to keep everything secure and in place while traveling from place to place. This was one of the first things I purchased for our RV. This stuff works on EVERYTHING! It works on almost all surfaces and the best part is it’s removable and reusable! Its a miracle worker in an RV.”
She uses it for:
We’ve actually used museum putty to hold our spice rack and instant pot to the countertop as we travel. The first time we tried it out, I’ll admit, I was a little skeptical. I thought for sure my precious instant pot would end up on the floor in transit, but I was actually very pleasantly surprised. Along the same lines, you can never have too many command strips/hooks. I’m constantly finding new places to use them in the RV.
10. Outdoor Mat
Sammy from @bigheartstinyspaces said “We love our double sided RV mat! The pattern is bold and it’s made out of recycled materials! It’s waterproof design makes it perfect for camping and hanging out without a mess. Love that purchasing one is helping a family reach their RV traveling dreams!
11. Camping Chairs
Jodie of @jokotravels says that they love their zero gravity chairs. “Wether you’re a weekend warrior, full-time RVer, or just on vacation, these chairs are a must! You’ll be spending a lot more time outside either cooking, entertaining or just sitting around the campfire, these chairs make it that much more enjoyable. Plus they recline for a perfect view of the stars 😉”
If you’ve ever kicked back in a zero gravity chair then you know how comfy they are. Every time I sit in one I nearly fall asleep 😂 We’ve also really been enjoying the hammock chairs we bought last year. You can rock back and forth- perfect for a person prone to fidgeting like myself. A quality camp chair can make such a difference when you’re wanting to spend time outdoors.
Another popular option among RVers is the Blackstone griddle. We had one of the larger sized ones for awhile. While we loved it, it was too big for us and we didn’t have a good place to store it. Ever since we sold it I’ve missed it. Lately, I’ve had my eye on the Camp Chef Versa Top Grill. It’s a flat top griddle, but with Camp Chef you can purchase additional accessories that work with it- cue the Outdoor Artisan Oven. Yep you heard right, griddle and pizza oven. What more could you ask for?! I’m sold but I’ve still got to get Philip onboard. Anyways, cooking outside is a great option especially when you’re trying to avoid heating up the whole RV with your oven.
13. Cordless Vacuum
And last but not least, my personal must have item for RV living- a Dyson Cordless Stick Vacuum. Our fifth wheel actually came with an onboard central vac system. We used that for the first couple months, and while it did okay, I never really felt like it was picking up as much dog hair as it could. If you’re not aware, we have two dogs that shed like crazy. Between the dogs, Philip and myself, things get dusty/hairy/dirty pretty quickly. So after much consideration we took the plunge and bought a Dyson.
I have to say, this is the most expensive vacuum we’ve ever bought. But, it’s also the best vacuum we’ve ever owned and I have no doubt we will have it for year and years to come. We went with the Cyclone V10 Motorhead Vacuum for a few reasons:
- The suction power of this thing is insane! I literally had just vacuumed the carpet in our bedroom when we brought this home to give it a try. I was shocked, disgusted and impressed all at the same time by how much dirt this thing sucked up.
- It hangs on the wall where it gets charged. We don’t have a full length closet anywhere in our RV so it hangs on the wall in the corner of our bedroom. Even if we didn’t want it hanging up, it could be easily tucked away in our bedroom closet.
- It’s cordless so no fussing around with cords getting in your way and having to plug and unplug to reach certain areas. I’m able to take it out to the truck and vacuum out there too when needed!
- Empties out quick and easy without making a mess.
So that wraps up our list of 13 must have items for RV Living! This might not be your typical list but we wanted to share some items that help make the living aspect of RVing easier and more enjoyable! Do you have any of these items? What would be on your list?