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Over the years, you’ve accumulated a stash of essentials in your home that cover nearly any need, from your basic day-to-day essentials to repair tools. If you’re just beginning your RV adventures, you’ll need to do that for your RV too, but you’re starting from scratch. Where do you begin?
There’s a lot to think about when outfitting your RV, but we’re here to help. This guide has all the shopping lists you need.
How to Stock Your RV
Stocking an RV isn’t the same as stocking a home or stocking a vehicle - it’s both at the same time. As you collect the items you need, it’s important to consider how you’ll be using the RV.
Are you using the RV for long-term or short-term use? Will you be boondocking off the grid? What types of trips do you plan to take? Are you using your RV to visit beaches? Mountains? These will affect the types of supplies and safety gear you need in your RV. Keep those factors in mind as you explore the shopping lists below.
Our Top RV Shopping Lists
These shopping lists will guide you through everything you may need for your RV.
RV Repair and Roadside Emergency Tools
Incidents can happen on the road in any vehicle, including an RV. You need to be prepared for emergencies and unanticipated repairs. For that reason, make sure you have these necessities available:
- Tire pressure gauge
- Portable air compressor
- Bungee cords
- Electrical wire
- Owner’s manual
- Jumper cables
- Emergency lights
- Vehicle fluids such as motor oil, brake fluid, transmission fluid, windshield wiper fluid, and coolant/antifreeze
- Spare tire
- Scissor jack
- Spare sewer hose, connectors, and other RV sewer parts
- Battery jumper
- Fuel can
- Ice and snow scrapers
- Kitty litter to help free your tires if you become stuck on ice
- RV leveling blocks
- Wheel chocks
- Kit of replacement fuses
- Headlamp, especially if you travel alone and may need to make a nighttime repair without someone else available to hold a flashlight
Home Repair Tools
RVs have appliances, furniture, plumbing, electrical systems, and everything else that could break in a home. In the same way that you have basic repair tools for your home, you need to be prepared for issues in your RV too. Stock up on these home repair essentials:
- Duct tape
- Electrical tape
- Spare light bulbs
- Handheld drill
- Extension cords
- Vice grips
- Utility knife
- Ratchet and socket set
- Work gloves and disposable gloves
- Folding step stool
Your RV is your home away from home (or perhaps your only home) for quite some time, so there’s a good chance you’ll experience severe weather and other hazards at some point. Being prepared can make all the difference, so be sure to have these items for your safety:
- First aid kit
- Bear mace
- Extra blankets
- Non-perishable food that can be eaten without using fuel or energy in the case of an emergency
- Bottled water in case of an emergency
- Battery packs to charge phones and other devices if power is unavailable
- Fire extinguisher
- Emergency crank radio
- Portable water filter
- Atlas in case of a loss of cell reception
Some people live in their RVs for years at a time. Others only call their RVs home for a few weeks at a time while they travel. Regardless, your RV will be the home where you rest your head for many nights, so be sure to have these household basics:
- Set of pots and pans
- Cooking utensils
- Cutlery and dishes
- Staple spices and pantry items like salt, pepper, olive oil, peanut butter, and so on
- Desired small appliances such as a coffee maker or French press, toaster, crock pot, and kettle
- Lighter or matches
- Wi-Fi hotspot
- Surge protectors
- Entertainment items like a TV, books, gaming equipment, and so on
- Solar chargers and/or a generator
- Paper towels and toilet paper
- Cleaning supplies and black tank disinfectant
- All-purpose soap, hand sanitizer, and baby wipes
- Trash bags and baggies
If you’re like many RVers, you love to take your RV to destinations like national parks and remote areas so you can enjoy the outdoors while still having the comforts of home. To better enjoy your favorite destinations, keep these camping essentials in your RV:
- Camping chairs
- Materials for starting a campfire
- Outdoor mat for lying under the stars
- Picnic blanket
- Bug spray and sunscreen
Tips for Buying RV Supplies
As you start shopping for your RV supplies, there are a few tips to keep in mind. First of all, as you browse your options, whenever possible, choose the option with the lowest weight and size. Both space and weight are limited in an RV, so smaller products will pay off.
Second, remember that unless you’re living in your RV long-term, you’ll be bringing toiletries and other day-to-day items from home when you head out on a trip. You don’t need to buy a second shampoo, a second toothbrush, and so on. Save your budget for enjoying your destinations.
Third, keep safety on the road in mind. When possible, choose items you can secure while you are driving and items that fit nicely inside a drawer or container rather than sitting on a counter.
Creating Your Own RV Shopping List
The beauty of RVing is that it allows each person to make the experience their own. You can write your own adventures, and the way you use your RV will dictate what you need to have on hand. The shopping lists above offer suggestions for essential items, but be sure to also think through your destinations and add other items you may want like beach gear, hiking shoes, and a rain jacket.
A well-equipped RV can take you nearly anywhere you want to go and set the stage for endless stories and experiences, all without sacrificing your safety or comfort. Use the lists above to prepare for your first outing and set yourself up for a fantastic RV experience.