Camping in a RV is one of the best ways to experience the outdoors. If you’re interested in camping, consider investing your money in an RV instead of in a tent. Prior to camping with a RV, however, you should set aside some time to inventory your vehicle carefully.
Here are some of the most commonly overlooked items in RVs:
After you’ve made your list, check out these 12 useful tips for new RV owners.
12 useful Items for new RV owners
1. Storage space
The maximum amount of storage space allowed by law is 30 percent of the vehicle’s length. Consult your state’s safety inspection and registration requirements to determine whether any additional provisions apply to you; different states have different rules.
You’ll probably need a box or bin for trash, extra clothes and other things that are likely to get dirty in transit or that you might need when you arrive at your destination.
Consider installing an under-bed box if there isn’t enough room below the bed frame already, especially if you’re tall (it can be harder to store things while you’re in bed).
Check your vehicle’s storage spaces and organize them so that they are easy to access, even while driving.
For example, if the cargo space between the back of the front seats and the trunk/hatch area is too full or not easily accessible when driving, it’s a good idea to remove as much excess equipment as possible before hitting the road.
2. Spare tire
Even though most new RVs come with four-wheel drive systems these days, it can still be a smart move to carry a spare tire in case your tires get punctured during travel.
The law requires all vehicles to carry two replacement tires for each of their original tires; however, this rule does not apply to trailers or motorcycles.
Read More Complete Guide: RV Camper Tires and More
Examine your spare tire and make sure it has sufficient air pressure before hitting the road. Check any toolkit that comes with your RV for a jack, lug wrench and other tools that might be needed to change a flat; some kits even come with a little compressor to help you keep an under-inflated tire adequately inflated during travel.
Replace worn or frayed warning tags as soon as possible, especially those on the trailer’s emergency brakes.
3. Emergency medical supplies
It’s a good idea to always have life saving essentials in your vehicle at all times: distress flares, reflective triangles, signal mirrors, non-perishable food items (enough for each of the people in your party), bottled water and blankets.
If you don’t feel qualified to administer first aid (and even if you do), make sure your vehicle is stocked with emergency medical supplies.
All of the items in your kit should be checked regularly, and replace any expired or defective items immediately. Keep these things organized so they are easy to find in a hurry; for example, store flares away from food and water containers.
A well-stocked vehicle will give you peace of mind, especially when driving alone at night through unfamiliar territory.
4. Emergency contacts
If someone in your traveling party becomes injured or ill while on the road and requires medical assistance other than that which you can provide as an amateur first aider, it’s important that they be able to notify appropriate authorities as soon as possible.
Keep a list of your emergency contacts on hand, and program pertinent information into your cell phone, including contact numbers for local police precincts or sheriff’s offices.
Check the area around your vehicle before departing on a long trip to check for items that could potentially damage your tires and wheels (such as protruding nails or exposed tree roots).
For added safety, place reflective warning triangles around these hazards before driving over them; you should never drive at night without flares or reflectors in place.
If an accident occurs while you’re traveling with children, it may be necessary to prevent further injury by creating a makeshift shelter that will protect occupants from further exposure to weather conditions such as rain, snow or excessive heat.
In this type of emergency, it’s also a good idea to have tools at hand with which you can quickly secure items like tents, tarps or quilts.
Check your tool kit and make sure that all the necessary implements are present and in working order before hitting the road. While traveling on the highway, keep at least one flashlight handy in case of an emergency situation such as driving through a construction zone.
If possible, use lamps instead of flashlights so as not to disrupt other drivers’ night vision; however, never operate any light source around indoor flammable objects (candles for example) or while smoking (because of fire hazard).
6. Fire extinguishers
When cooking in your RV on a gas stove, be sure to keep a fire extinguisher nearby. If you do accidentally set your RV ablaze, try to contain the fire by closing all of its doors and windows before trying to put it out; this will help eliminate the spread of flames throughout your vehicle.
Fire extinguisher that comes with your RV prior to every trip and replace any gas cylinders that are leaking or have expired tags. Think about installing smoke alarms in your trailer’s kitchen as well as its bedrooms—it only takes a few minutes on each camping trip to make this simple safety modification.
7. Vehicle properly maintained
When traveling, it is important that you perform regular maintenance checks on your vehicle so that any problems can be detected in advance before they turn into something more serious.
Have your tires checked for air pressure, have the oil and fluid levels of your engine, transmission and hydraulic systems inspected, and ask a qualified technician to check for proper tire tread depth (especially if you plan to drive on unpaved terrain).
Check all working parts of your vehicle before each trip in order to make sure they’re in good condition; this is especially important for things like seat belts, windows, door locks and fire extinguishers.
If it’s been some time since you last serviced or repaired your RV, don’t hesitate to take it into a shop for an inspection first—this way you’ll be certain everything is safe to use when traveling long distances.
8. Weather conditions and Weather alerts
Setting up camp in a storm can be just as dangerous as driving during one. Be sure that you have some type of shelter that will keep you dry and protected from high winds or falling rain if night falls before you’re able to reach your destination.
Check weather reports before embarking on any long trip, and make note of any storms or other severe conditions that could develop in the area where you are headed.
If there are frequent thunderstorms, plan for an alternate route; it’s better to miss part of your vacation than risk being caught up in violent weather while traveling.
During any extended camping trip, you’ll need a steady supply of bottled or boiled water to drink and cook with. If your RV’s water-supply tank runs low, fill up on fresh water at campsites before continuing on your journey.
Also be prepared for the potential loss of running water while driving (if you have an onboard freshwater well that may freeze if not properly maintained).
Keep track of how much drinking and cooking water is left in your vehicle so that any problems can be detected early on; it’s better to find out about a leaky hose while at home than when hundreds of miles from civilization during a camping trip.
Check the water-supply system in your RV before each journey, and fill it up with enough bottled or boiled water to last your whole trip (you may want to reserve an extra jug for drinking purposes). If you plan on showering while traveling, consider taking along a collapsible bucket as part of your emergency preparedness kit; this way you’ll have some fresh clean water available if there’s a problem with your onboard water tank or piping.
11. First aid kit
Before setting out on any long trip, make sure that you have at least one well-stocked first aid kit stored in your vehicle. Store all of these supplies inside a waterproof container so they won’t be ruined by spills or leaks.
12. Tow rope/cable
Keep this safety item in reserve in case of unexpected vehicle failure; many people have been towed safely back to civilization when they experienced car trouble far away from anyone else.
If possible, carry at least 20 feet of tow rope with ratchet straps attached to your vehicle in the event that an emergency occurs.