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Top Ten RV Accessories

Introduction

So you have purchased your first RV. Before you head out on the road, you will want to consider the accessories you’ll need to suit your vehicle for the many adventure to come. To this purpose, we have put together a list of the ten most important and beneficial RV accessories. The first three items are essential to ensure a safe and seamless plumbing system in your RV.  The following two items will protect your electric system from fires and surges. After that, we discuss two essential wintering accessories that will protect your RV in the colder seasons when it is not in use. The final three items are items we recommend for the sake of comfort and personalisation.  These ten additions to your RV will ensure you have all you need for a safe, clean and cozy home away from home. 

Drinking-Water Hose

Most campgrounds and RV parks will have a drinking water faucet that can be hooked to your RV. To transport freshwater from the source through to your RV tank (and eventually up to your faucet), you will need a drinking water hose. The most important quality of a drinking water hose is that it does not leach harmful chemicals into the water you use for consumption. A regular garden hose will not fit the bill, nor are all hoses marketed as RV freshwater hoses safe to drink from. You’ll want to look for one that is FDA approved, BPA, phthalate, and lead-free. It is also important that you find a hose that will resist wear and tear. For this reason, we recommend selecting a hose that is silver reinforced so it can withstand being stepped on or even driven over and resists becoming kinked. The sun can also damage your water hose, so, it is a good idea to purchase a hose that is UV stabilized, or better yet UV resistant. Drinking water hoses range from 4 to 35 feet in length. Longer hoses have the advantage of allowing greater flexibility as far as parking; shorter hoses tend to be cheaper and take up less space to store.

RV Water Filter

If you have invested in a high-quality freshwater hose, you will not have to worry about toxins from the hose itself leaching into your water. However, this does not guarantee that the water source itself will be safe for drinking. To avoid upset stomachs or worse, we advocated for the use of an RV water filter system. Most water filters attach directly to your RV water tank and have an outlet for a drinking hose to be attached. This way, you know all the water stored in your tank is potable. There is a wide range of options for water filters ranging from 20 to 5 micron filtering capacity. The high micron filter option naturally provides cleaner, tastier water, but if price is a concern, it is better to have some filtration as opposed to none. Keep in mind that water filters are only guaranteed to last a season or two and may need to be replaced on a semi-frequent basis. Watch out for filters that reduce the water pressure in your RV, especially if you struggle with low water pressure to begin with.

Drainage hose

What goes in must come out. Along with providing a water source, any true campground or RV park will have a dedicated dumping station where your grey and black water tanks can be emptied. In order to utilize these stations, you will need a drainage hose. As with a water hose, you will want to purchase a durable piece of equipment, likely reinforced with steel or another type of metal. It is also worth looking for a sewage hose with a 90-degree joint piece designed to avoid easy (and messless) attachment. Often drainage hoses will be retractable to reduce storage space and feature caps that prevent residue from leaking out the ends while the hose is not in use. RV black and grey water tanks can hold anywhere between 5 and 150 gallons of waste. We recommend paying close attention to the fill level of your holding tank and emptying before your reach 75% in order to reduce smell and the risk of overflow. If you find you need additional holding space, it is possible to purchase portable sewage tanks to increase available volume. As always, when you are emptying grey and black water tanks, remember to use gloves and disinfectant.

Surge Protector/EMS

Unless you have your own generator, you will likely want to connect to an external power source at your RV park or campsite. However, connecting to the grid comes with the risk of surges. A surge is a burst of power above the voltage that your electrical infrastructure is built to handle (either 30 or 50 amps for most RVs). Such surges are typically caused by lightning, damaged power lines, or improper pedestal wiring and can cause the electrical circuitry of your camper to be fried completely. To insure against hundreds, even thousands of dollars of damage (not to mention a ruined vacation), we encourage frequent RV users to invest in a surge protector. Surge protectors insert between the outside source and your RV cord and prevent excess power from entering your vehicle. Portable surge protectors will set you back between 60 and 100 dollars—a reasonable price for a piece of equipment that won’t need to be replaced and the peace of mind that comes with it. In addition to offering protection from surges, a good surge protector will also indicate whether the site outlet is improperly wired and if your system is overdrawing (and at risk of overheating).

Levelling blocks

Most parks and campgrounds will boast of level sites. However, the reality is often not quite so idyllic. Not only is it awkward and uncomfortable to dwell in a tilted camper, but it can also actually pose a fire hazard to your absorption refrigerator. To avoid getting stuck in a lurch—in this case, a literal lurch—levelling blocks are a must-have. The two most common types of levelling blocks are wedge-shaped and stackable; both types function the same way. The blocks are simply placed behind the wheel(s) that needs to be elevated and driven onto. Wedge-shaped levellers tend to be a little more expensive, but easier to use. The reverse is the case for stackable blocks. When choosing your levelling system you should be mindful of the weight of your RV and choose a product that can support the size of your camper.

RV Cover

Like all vehicles, RVs should be fitted with a high-quality rv cover when not in use. Such a cover protects your RV from all manner of elements from rain to snow to debris to hail, while also reducing the likelihood and severity of damage caused by other vehicles. It is especially important to invest in a cover for one’s RV because they are vehicles that tend to remain parked for most of the winter. Additionally, due to the size of campers, they often cannot be housed indoors; thus, protection from harsh weather is a must.

Winterizer Kit

At the end of a satisfying summer, you will have to begin to look at winter storage—unfortunately, it is not just a matter of finding a parking spot and leaving it to rest. There are several steps you must undertake to prevent damage to your RV over the winter and ensure it’s in shape to be taken out the following summer. Along with covering the exterior of your RV with a car cover, you will need to protect your pipes from freezing. Typically, this is done by filling one’s pipes with antifreeze. In addition to your freshwater pipes,  you will need to empty your black and grey water tanks also to prevent the contents from freezing. While it is possible to buy the products you need to winterize your RV separately, it is easier and often less expensive to purchase your winterizer materials as a kit. At the very least, winterizer kits contain antifreeze and a pump. Some high-end kits will include one or more dehumidifiers.

RV Awning

Typically campers come with a canvas awning that pulls out over the entrance side of the rig. This allows you to sit outside your camper while being protected from the elements, greatly increasing the square footage of your living space. If your RV does not have an awning, or the awning it came with is damaged or otherwise inadequate, you will undoubtedly want to invest in a new one. Awnings come in a variety of fabrics, sizes, colours and retraction mechanisms. One of the most important decisions you have to make is whether you want to purchase a manual or automatic (battery-powered) awning. As you might imagine, automatic awnings are faster and easier to use, while manual awnings tend to be cheaper and more reliable. You will also have to decide whether you want an awning with walls or not. The standard awning simply provides overhead coverage. However, it is possible to find awnings with mesh or canvas walls to enclose your living space and protect you from UV rays and mosquitos. Awnings tend to be made of acrylic or vinyl fabric. Acrylic is best for warm dry climates, while vinal is the preferred choice for wetter cooler weather. A high-quality awning can greatly improve the comfort of your camper. However, you must remember to dismantle your awning before any bluster comes your way or risk losing your investment.

Awning Matt

Nothing makes your outdoor space cozier than having a mat rolled out under your RV awning. Not only does such an addition add an aesthetic touch, but it also serves a practical function. Awning mats are designed to collect dirt, sand, leaves and pine needles from being tracked into your camper. As far as cleaning goes, an awning matt is a huge time-saver. There are a lot of options when it comes to awning mats and it is difficult to go wrong. This being said, it is advantageous to purchase a matt that is mould, mildew, and UV resistant. For an eco-friendly option, you can find awning mats that are made from entirely recycled plastic. The awning mat is an RV accessory that you can really get creative with. Check out funky colours and prints to add pizzazz to your home away from home.

New Mattresses

As usual, we at carcover.com have got your back— in this case literally. If you are planning to spend a lot of time in your RV, we recommend you replace the original cheap flimsy mattresses with quality ones. Luckily, most RVs take standard mattress sizing, so customization is not an issue. After a sound slumber, you’ll have the energy to enjoy the great outdoors.

Conclusion:

With this list, we have presented the ten RV accessories that we consider must-haves. This includes a drinking water hose, a water filter, and a drainage hose to ensure safe and effective amenities. We also have advised the purchase of a surge protector and levelling blocks to protect your wiring from blowing out and your family from fires. An RV cover and a winterizer kit will prove essential when the season turns, and your RV goes into storage. Our final recommendations are an RV awning and awning mat, in addition to new mattresses for your sleeper. These items will greatly enhance your comfort in the great outdoors. With this list, we hope that you have gained the information you need to enjoy many beautiful summers in your camper. 

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