RV for Beginners | Essentials for RV’ing
Going on a road trip? Are you looking to hitch up your truck camper, caravan, motor home, or pop-up camper and head out on the open road? Not so fast! First, we need to plan what to pack on our RV adventure.
Here are some essential items to bring when you are RV’ing
Before We Start - What Type of RV Are You Using?
The term “RV” covers a lot. Everything from modest caravans and truck campers to fully-loaded motor homes are considered an RV. The amenities and functionality offered by different models vary a lot.
Before you go RV’ing, you need to figure out what kind of RV you will be using. Does it have a toilet? A kitchen? How many beds are there? This guide will try to cover every model of RV, but be aware that every model is slightly different. Be mindful of what features your RV does and does not have, and adjust your packing accordingly.
Water and Sewage Hoses
Not every RV comes with plumbing and a toilet, but if yours does, water and sewage hoses are an absolute necessity. You should bring your hoses on every trip, as getting caught without them can be a huge problem. It is best to use the manufacturer’s suggested equipment, as it should connect with the necessary hardware.
Before going on an RV trip, ensure that you have the water and sewage hoses and that they are working correctly. If your hoses are missing or damaged, it is difficult to repair or replace them once you are on the road. If you can, you should also check sewage and water levels before your trip, as it will save you trouble down the road.
Oh, and don’t forget to bring rubber gloves for handling with your sewage line, for reasons that are hopefully obvious.
Tools – Wrenches, Screwdrivers, Bungees, and More
RVs are complicated pieces of equipment that sometimes need you to tighten a screw, adjust a part, or wrench a pipe into place. Going on the road without a toolbox is risky, as minor issues can grow into big problems as you travel thousands of kilometers.
Your tool selection on the road should reflect the complexity of your trip. Are you going away for the weekend to a location close to a city or town? You probably only need the bare necessities. Are you hauling a 15-year old motor home from Vancouver to Halifax? You will want a whole aisle from Canadian Tire in your toolbox.
Here are some of the most essential tools to bring on any adventure:
- Level – make sure your RV is balanced to reduce stress on your tires and chassis
- Adjustable wrench – tighten any bolt! Loosen any hose!
- Bungee cords – there is always something to tie down or tie-up
- Fuses and light bulbs – make sure you can fix any important lights or electrical features
- Screwdriver set – an exchangeable bit set saves space; just make sure you have all the pieces
- Jack, spare tires, and tire iron – don’t let a flat ruin your whole trip
A Generator for Your RV
Generators allow you to turn fuel into electricity to electrify your RV. While not every RV needs a generator, every RV will enjoy one. Even if you prefer a more low-tech experience, having a small generator can be handy in case of emergencies.
The size of the generator you need will depend on your setup. If you don’t plan to use any appliances, you can get a decent generator for a few hundred dollars. If you have a fridge, an oven, or an air-conditioner, then you might have to invest a couple thousand dollars in a 3000-7000W generator.
Also, make sure your generator is filled and functional before you hit the road!
Kitchen Supplies for RV’ing
Large RVs usually have a partial kitchen, including sink, heating element, mini-fridge, microwave, and maybe an oven. In this case, you likely just need to bring general kitchen staples like a pan, a pot, cutting board, knife, anything else you often use in your home kitchen.
Even if you have a full kitchen in your RV, you need to be strategic about the kitchen supplies. Are you going to a park with a full water hook-up, or are you relying on your water tank? Wasting water washing loads of pots and pans after every meal is not realistic if you won’t have consistent access to water. Unnecessary and duplicate kitchen stuff can also take up a lot of space, so try to bring multi-tasking tools and avoid single-use gadgets.
Most smaller RVs do not have any kitchenette space. In this case, you will need to think more like a camper than an RVer. Check out our blog on essentials for camping. There you can find an explanation of why you should invest in a camp stove rather than rely on a campfire to cook your meals.
If you stick to the major highways, you can also use the “eat at restaurants 3-meals a day” strategy. This does simplify your kitchen packing, but it can also limit your choices. Some areas of Canada just have bad restaurant selection (I’m looking at you, Northern Ontario). Your doctor and your wallet will also not approve of this choice.
Make sure your kitchen equipment also includes a garbage management solution. Storing your trash can be awkward – keeping it in the RV will stink up the place at night, but you will attract animals if you put it outside. The EcoGarby Collapsible RV Garbage Can is an excellent solution to this problem, as it uses a lid to traps odors. It is also flexible, easy to use, and collapses when you want to tuck it away into storage.
Hitting the Road
RVs are a lot of fun, but they are also a lot of work to maintain and equip. Just jumping in and going on a trip can lead to problems down the line. With good planning and a bit of experience, you should be ready to hitch up and head out in no time.