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Travel Essentials for the RV Season Ahead

Originally Published in MotorHome Magazine


Get ready for the best summer ever with these must-haves for your motorhome

If you’re like us, you’re ready to hit the road. We’ve all been waiting for a return to normal, and for RVers that means loading up the rig and (responsibly) exploring our surroundings even if it’s somewhere close to home. That also means it’s a good time to make sure you have everything you need to make your travels safer — and more stress free — than ever before. Even though motorhomes have a limited amount of storage space, there are some items that are simply must-haves, which is why we’ve rounded up some of the best RV essentials available to make your summer travel safe and carefree. See you on the road!

Hookup and Set Up Essentials

Most of us think our camping adventure begins once we arrive at the RV site, but before relaxing with a cold drink and a hot meal, there are a few things that need to be attended to.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System from TireMinderYou should always check the pressure in your motorhome’s tires before you depart (and whenever possible, while en route to your destination). Make that task easy with a TireMinder tire-pressure monitoring system. The TM-77 includes 10 transmitters, a large display and easily replaceable batteries. It’s a good idea to also carry along a reliable RV tire gauge for quick checks while in camp.

Motorhome LevelerOnce tire pressure is optimum, make sure your motorhome is situated on an even surface at the campsite. Many RV sites may appear level, but are actually off-kilter, which can affect slideout and refrigerator function, not to mention overall comfort. A simple leveling pad can even things out. And, chocking your motorhome’s wheels increases safety and makes for an even more stable home base.

Progressive Surge GuardCampground power can be unreliable and dangerous to sensitive electronics in the event of a power surge. The Progressive Industries Surge Guard Portable 50-Amp surge protector ensures those components are protected from energy spikes and improper pedestal wiring. A built-in scrolling digital display makes it easy to diagnose voltage issues.

And the water hookups? Well, let’s just say we recommend some type of filter to ensure a certain RV Water Filterlevel of safety for your motorhome’s plumbing — and you. Durable Taste Pure water filters install in-line with your water system to help improve taste and remove sediment with a 100-micron fiber filter. Pair it with a hose, such as this Apex NeverKink, to help deliver cleaner water to your motorhome and your family.

RV Sewer KitThat leaves the sewer system. A good-quality hose is a must here. The RhinoFLEX Swivel RV sewer hose kit is ready-to-use with preattached swivel fittings for ease of use. The kit also includes a durable hose in either 15 or 20 feet lengths, plus a four-in-one adaptor on the business end to ensure a tight seal.

And, complete your sewer setup duties with Walex Porta-Pak holding-tank drop-ins. Each fresh scented water-soluble packet is biodegradable and formaldehyde-free, and is designed to break down waste and toilet paper (available here) in addition to lubricating valves and seals and combating foul odors. One packet can treat a 40-gallon tank.

Patio Essentials

Family camping playing dominoesYour motorhome is your oasis, but it never hurts to increase the space by utilizing the area right outside your door. The best way to do this is to create the ultimate patio area, which not only cuts down on the mess inside (by covering up the dirt or gravel at the RV site) but extends the good times once the sun goes down by acting as a makeshift living area.

Magnolia Patio RugA patio mat is the obvious place to begin; it serves as the foundation of any patio area. The Reversible Magnolia Design RV Patio Mat is available in three sizes and two colors to help you customize your patio area. Easy to clean and lightweight, the patio mat is constructed of polypropylene material and highly breathable, which means it won’t hurt the grass below.

Make sure your mats and rigs stay in place (and avoid tripping hazards) with zinc-plated steel patio mat stakes. Available in a pack of six, these rust-resistant stakes measure 7 inches long (retainer washers included).

Proper lighting is also a key component of any ultimate patio. Plug in some weatherproof LED rope lights, which come in 16-foot lengths, for safe lighting that is not only bright, but looks good as well.Bluetooth camping lantern

Or if you prefer, the Axxess Bluetooth Media Speaker with LED Lantern Function allows you to pair a smart device to listen to your favorite tunes, with 12 watts of LED bulbs lighting the way.

Keep the bugs from enjoying your patio setup using the Dometic Veranda Room screen setup. The veranda attaches to your awning for an enclosure up to 120 inches tall. The starter kit includes two side panels, a door panel, skirting, a wheel well cover hardware and a storage bag. Choose from front panels measuring 2-, 4- or 8-feet in length (sold separately).

Progressive Surge GuardAnd finally, once it’s time to head back inside, add further dirt and grime protection (not to mention help avoid nasty slips and falls) by covering motorhome steps with Outrigger RV Step Rugs. The universal rugs are available in five colors and are made with a micro-ribbed texture to improve traction, while built-in 3mm grommet holes and attaching springs make for easy installation.

Campsite Essentials

Campers in outdoor camping chairsThere’s still plenty of outdoor space in your RV site apart from the patio. And though these essentials may in fact be used on your patio (hello, seating!), we recommend spreading out a bit to avoid campsite congestion. There’s plenty of fun to go around.

Black Stone Portable GrillOur motorhomes are outfitted with exceptional cooking facilities, but one of the highlights of the RV experience is grilling and eating outdoors. The first (and perhaps the most important) thing you’ll need is a quality grill. The Blackstone Gas Tailgater Combo Grill/Griddle offers 35,000 Btus of propane-fired grilling power on a 477-square-inch surface area. The grill comes complete with a stand and a griddle, perfect for any mealtime. The dual burners are powered by two adjustable heat controls with a built-in electric igniter.

If you already own a portable gas grill, we strongly advise against utilizing the wooden picnic table at your site for grilling — it might be contaminated and is a potential fire hazard as well. The portable GCI Outdoor SLIM-FOLD Outdoor Cook Station is made from durable powder-coated steel and features a heat-resistant aluminum countertop for the grill. Foldout side tables and a lower storage rack ensure there’s plenty of room for storage, condiments and even plates and flatware.

Venture Forward Camping ChairOnce the grilling is finished, you’ll need a comfortable place to sit (assuming, of course, the picnic benches have already been claimed). Or perhaps you’d like to lounge by the campground fire ring? The Venture Forward Folding Chair with adjustable lumbar support features a weight capacity of 300 pounds and is built on a powder-coated-steel frame. And, it looks great with the Venture Forward Ottoman, which can be used as intended or as a place to temporarily set your heaping plate of burgers and hot dogs. Both Venture Forward products conveniently fold for storage and come with a handy carrying bag.

Now it’s time to bring on the condiments! Using a handy wire picnic caddy helps avoid multiple trips to the motorhome and holds utensils, paper plates and all the extras your cookout needs to be flavor-forward.

Clean Living Essentials

man washing Class C motorhome

Photo: Donya Carlson

A motorhome is a large investment, and pride of ownership always dictates we keep it looking its best, inside and out. Doing so not only garners praise from fellow campers, but can prolong the life of your prized motorhome and help it retain its resale value.

RV Wash & WaxPremium Gel-Gloss RV Wash & Wax is formulated for fiberglass, metals, poly finishes, rubber and wood — you know, all the surfaces on your motorhome’s exterior. Simply add 2–3 ounces to a bucket of water, apply with a soft cloth and rinse. (We always recommend testing cleaning products on an inconspicuous area before full application.)

303 Mold & Mildew CleanerInside your RV, mold and mildew are perhaps even more prevalent than in a residential home. 303’s mold and mildew cleaner is bleach-free, formulated to work on most water-safe surfaces and can even prevent stains from recurring on the treated surface.

One often-overlooked area (until it leads to system failure, that is) is the air filter on the air conditioner. The RV Air AC 101G air filter fits popular Coleman A/C units and helps remove dust, pollen and pet dander using 40 layers of unwoven polyester to capture air particles as small as 3 microns.

Safe-T-Alert RV Carbon Monoxide and Propane Gas AlarmWhile we’re clearing the air, let’s also make sure it’s free from harmful gasses, like carbon monoxide and propane. The Safe-T-Alert alarm will sound if either gas is detected. Should you hear the alarm, vacate the motorhome immediately. It’s also a good idea to replace your motorhome’s smoke alarms as well.

Pet-Friendly Essentials

Man and woman outdoors with dogBefore we go camping, let’s not forget about our four-legged friends. Our pets are family, too, and deserve the best of what RVing has to offer.

Dog travel harnessSince your pets are traveling with you, it’s important to do it safely. Absolutely no lap sitting on the driver while the vehicle is in motion, and the co-pilot’s lap offers its own set of dangers as well. The Pink Canine Travel Safe Harness allows your pooch (or kitty) the same seat-belted protection as their humans, with a loop that will accommodate a lap or shoulder belt for additional safety.

Foldable pet bedAnd, when it’s time to relax, inside or out, a foldable pet bed is the way to go, offering comfort and personal space for your furry friends.

Now that we’ve covered all of the essentials you need in order to be safe and secure in your travels, it’s time for you to start planning your next trip — and don’t forget to pack the marshmallows!

Roasting marshmallows at campsite


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