Updated September 23, 2020
So you’ve found the perfect RV and are about to embark on the first of many new adventures. Congratulations! Before you hit the road, you’ll need a few RV parts and accessories to ensure a smooth journey.
While there are countless accessories you can buy for your motorhome, fifth wheel or travel trailer, for this post we’re focusing on the bare necessities. These are the 10 things new owners need for their RVs.
Some of these accessories will protect your rig, so it looks and works great for years to come. Other parts on our list will help you use all the features of your new RV, including the plumbing and electrical systems. Learn which RV parts you need below and start making your shopping list!
10 Must-Have RV Parts & Accessories
Let’s start with the parts you need for your plumbing system.
A water pressure regulator is a simple device that helps protect your RV’s appliances, plumbing fixtures, and hoses from high-pressure city water. It ensures that the water pressure stays within a safe range of 40-50 psi. Water pressure regulators are easy to use – just connect to the faucet at the water source with ¾-inch garden hose threads. Many models are available, including some that have an easy-to-read gauge.
As you travel with your RV, you’ll find that water pressure can vary from campground to campground. It can even change as other campers connect or disconnect from the site’s water source. If you don’t use a water pressure regulator, you’ll risk flooding your RV because unregulated high pressure can put too much stress on your RV’s pipes. This can cause leaks. Water damage is very expensive to fix so it’s highly recommended that you use a water pressure regulator.
Cleaning drinking water is a necessity for any RV adventure. To fill your RV’s fresh water holding tank, or to connect to city water while at a campground, you need a dedicated drinking water hose. Like the water pressure regulator, water hoses will have standard fittings that are easy to connect and disconnect at the campsite.
When shopping for your RV water hose, make sure the hose is marked for potable or drinking water. It should be free from lead, BPA, and phthalates. Some have Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) approvals for added peace of mind. Choose a hose made from polyurethane because rubber or vinyl hoses can alter the taste of the water. Water hoses will wear out over time and with repeated use. Fortunately, these RV parts are very affordable so replace yours when it starts to show signs of age.
Unless you have a composting toilet in your RV, you need a sewer hose. This essential RV accessory helps you empty your RV’s black and grey water holding tanks. You’ll want to choose one that is strong and sturdy enough for repeated use. Don’t skimp here! A cheaply made hose could fail at the worst time. Thicker hoses will be heavier and will require more space to store but will also last longer.
Typically, RV sewer hoses are available in 10-foot or 20-foot lengths, and you can buy extensions in 10-foot segments. You can also purchase additional accessories like sewer hose seals, elbow adaptors, and sewer hose supports to make this dirty job less of a chore. Many new RVers are particularly anxious about emptying their black and gray tanks, so speak to an RV expert in our Parts Department if you have any questions. They’ll be happy to help so you can camp with confidence.
Holding tank treatment chemicals help break down solid waste so it doesn’t clog your RV’s toilet, pipes, or holding tanks. In addition to helping with waste removal, it keeps your RV bathroom smelling fresh by controlling odors.
There are multiple options and brands available, but one our RV experts recommend is RV Digest-It Holding Tank Treatment. This non-toxic and eco-friendly product is safe for your family, septic systems, and the environment. RV Digest-It will go to work on your camper’s toilet by putting billions of healthy bacteria into the holding tank that will biodegrade all of the contents that cause odors and backups. It works overnight and makes dumping your tanks simple because everything is turned into liquid.
Last but not least on our list of must-have RV parts and accessories for your RV’s plumbing — toilet paper. Everyone goes, and when you go you gotta clean up after yourself. This toilet paper is designed for RV and marine tanks. It’s designed to break down rapidly and help prevent clogs. RV toilet paper is cheap is this is one supply you definitely don’t want to find yourself without so stock up before you hit the road.
Now, let’s talk about some accessories that help you camp safely.
Not all camping spots are level. Using an RV on uneven ground puts extra stress on the RV frame and chassis. If not corrected, this can cause serious problems in your appliances, door frames, windows, slide-outs, tires and more. Not to mention, it’s dangerous and difficult to walk inside an uneven RV. That’s why levelers are essential. Some newer, well-equipped RVs have self-leveling systems. These systems should be inspected annually to ensure they are functioning correctly.
If your RV doesn’t have a self-leveling system, you’ll need to invest in RV levelers. In addition to leveling your trailer or motorhome on uneven terrain, they provide added stability on soft ground. While RV levelers are built to withstand a tremendous amount of weight, they are lightweight and fairly easy to set up. To level your RV, you’ll need a bubble level (like a carpenter’s level but for your RV), RV levelers and wheel chocks. Level your RV from side to side first, then from front to back.
Once you’ve found the perfect campsite and leveled your RV on it, you want to keep it there. That’s where wheel chocks come in. Wheel chocks are placed in front of and behind the wheels of a motorhome or trailer to prevent it from moving or rolling anywhere.
Since levelers and chocks work together, you can often find sets that include both RV parts, like this Camco Curved Level and Wheel Chock Set. These have a non-slip rubber grip on the bottom to prevent them from sliding. The important thing to check for when buying chocks is that they are rated for the weight of your rig.
Last on our list are three RV parts and accessories that will protect your investment.
Many of the features in your RV that make camping more comfortable require electricity to work. Surge protectors prevent your RV’s electronic components (fridge, microwave, AC, TV, etc.) from being damaged in case of a power surge. Power surges can be caused by brownouts affecting the electrical grid, lightning strikes, or faulty wiring at the hookup. Use a surge protector whenever your RV is connected to an electrical hookup to protect your RV’s electrical system.
RV surge protectors are available in 30 and 50 AMP sizes, so check your RV owner’s manual and ask a Parts Department expert for help when choosing one.
RV air vent covers allow musty air, smoke, and cooking odors to escape your motorhome or trailer so it stays smelling fresh. They are designed to work even when it’s raining and to keep water out of your RV.
Air vent covers are easy to install and most are built to fit over a 14” x 14” standard RV roof vent. Look for one with a removable bug screen to help keep out insects and other debris. They are available in multiple colors to coordinate with your RV’s exterior paint.
If your motorhome or trailer has slide out rooms, slide toppers are an essential RV part you should consider installing. Slide toppers are basically awnings that extend and retract as you open and close your slide outs. They help reduce damage to your RV and provide extra protection from water leaks.
Slide toppers are installed over the top of a slide out room to block leaves, branches, bird droppings, and other dirt and debris. Without toppers, you’ll need to climb a ladder and clean the slide out roof after each use so that dirt and debris doesn’t get in the seams or seals around your slide out room.
Shop for these must-have RV parts and more at General RV
That wraps up our list of 10 must-have RV accessories. Investing in these parts now will help ensure your rig works properly and your travels are less stressful.
Visit the Parts Department at your local General RV Center to pick up these essential RV parts and accessories. And ask one of our team members about our Platinum RV Starter Kits that includes all these items. Plus check out our great selection of towing equipment, camp kitchen gear, and more! If you have any questions, our RV experts are ready to help.
Looking for more RVing 101 articles for first-time owners? Check out our list of RV terms and definitions. Or read here for RV myths that we’ve busted. And if you’re ready to plan your first camping trip, check out these articles for some destination inspiration.