Must Have Outdoor RV Accessories
There is no denying this full-time RV lifestyle is very different from the one we left behind. We had absolutely no idea what we were doing when we launched in the fall of 2018. I feel confident saying we have all adjusted to living in an RV full-time with flying colors! Along the way, we’ve found items that have made this lifestyle easier and more fun. We’ve put together a list of our must-have outdoor RV accessories that we highly recommend whether you only camp a few times a year or if you full-time.
We boondock, or dry camp, a lot. This wouldn’t be possible without our generator. We conserve electricity as much as humanly possible when not hooked up, but when we need to charge electronics, turn on the lights in the evening, or use the smoothie maker (yes, this is a priority), we need to flip on the ole’ generator. We went with the WEN 56200i Super Quiet 2000-Watt Portable Inverter Generator. It’s super quiet, efficient, and powers all of our appliances except the air conditioner. It’s similar to a Honda and Yamaha generator but about half the price!
While our generator is great for nights and cloudy days, we are beyond thankful for the solar system our rig came with. It gets us through most days while boondocking! We have a 100W panel that came with our RV when we bought it and installed a UXCell MPPT 20A Charge Controller before hitting the road. The system works great for charging our Renogy 100ah Gel batteries and allowing us to save on gas in the generator yet still have power!
You might think any old hose will do to fill up your freshwater tank. Think again! We first purchased just a standard green lawn hose to get water from the spigot into our tiny house but found the hard garden house was too difficult to work with. It kinked up easily and was a pain in the butt to roll up and store when not in use. We ended up doing away with that hose and getting a Zero-G Lightweight, Heavy Duty, Kink Resistant Garden Hose. As the name states, it’s lightweight and doesn’t kink. The best part is, it’s easy to store in the RV basement when we are not using it!
We fill up our freshwater at some pretty random places. When not at a campground with hookups, it can be at a gas station, roadside rest area, or city park. To ensure our water is clean, and for peace of mind, we never fill the fresh water tank without our water filter. It fits right onto the spigot and the water hose and filters the water at the source. It removes aluminum, bad taste, cadmium, heavy metals, hydrogen sulfide, iron, lead, mercury, odor, and turbidity. I’ve had water from the same source with and without our filter and it’s amazing to taste the difference. Our water is so much better with the filter!
Dealing with the black and gray tanks is a dirty job, but someones gotta do it. And that someone is Ross ;). To make that job as easy as possible, we wanted to make sure he had reliable equipment. For the hose, we opted for the Camco RhinoFLEX 15ft RV Sewer Hose Kit. The hose is super sturdy yet easy to handle. The kit comes with everything you need including swivel fitting, translucent elbow with 4-In-1 dump station fitting, and storage caps. For the “stinky slinky” support, we went with the Camco 20ft Sidewinder RV Sewer Hose Support. It keeps everything flowing as it should and is easy to work with.
To make life less stressful, we like to have two sewer hoses hooked up at a time. One for the black tank and one for the galley gray tank. This means less touching and moving around sewer hoses. Our WYE fitting keeps everything flowing smoothly and makes dealing with the sewage system less difficult.
We’ve heard some horror stories about faulty electrical hook- ups at campgrounds. In order to protect the electrical system in our RV and to be safe, we use our Camco PowerGrip RV 30-Amp Circuit Analyzer Adapter with Integrated Surge Protection and Fault Indication to test the campsite’s outlet before plugging in. This lets us know the electrical box is in fact working and working properly.
Just for Fun
Our large outdoor mat is an extension of our home. We use it as an outdoor living area, play area for the kids, and cat sunning area on warm days. I’ve even used it as a laundry room for folding clothes! We’d be lost without it. It folds up compactly and fits in the basement on moving days. I didn’t know how much we needed an outdoor mat until we had one!
The best part about living the RV life is spending a lot of time outside. We use our chairs around the campfire, when we want to take the laptop outside and work, or for just relaxing in the great outdoors. While camping chairs can get pretty fancy, we have good ole’ fashioned mono-mesh and polyester seats with cup holders. What else do you need!
Cooking in the RV kitchen can be hot and stuffy. The day we got our Portable Gas Grill and Griddle Combo I said goodbye to my tiny indoor kitchen and never looked back. I mean, I do cook inside when the weather is bad, but the majority of our meals are made on the grill/griddle. This set-up allows us to cook anything we’d want to do on the stovetop or oven! It comes apart easily, making storage for travel days a breeze. Food comes out delicious. We can’t imagine RV life without it!
We loved our hammock even before we started RVing. The hammock is the perfect place to relax, the kids have fun swinging in it, and Ross even sleeps in it when he goes overnight backpacking. We’ve had our ENO hammock for years and it’s still in as good of shape as the day we bought it. Our campsite is not complete until the hammock has been hung!
When you camp every night, having a campfire can get sort of old. It can be a pain to get wood, start the fire, then put it out every time you want to sit under the stars with a little warmth. A propane fire-pit can fix that! Super convenient and easy to use. Starting and ending your nightly fire is a breeze when it uses propane. These portable fire-pits are also great when you want to get a big bonfire going with your neighbors. Everyone can BYO fire-pit!
As Dr. Suesss says, “It’s fun to have fun, but you have to know how.”. After being full-time RVers for a year, I feel like we’ve learned how to have fun even while getting the hard work done. The “tools” we’ve talked about here make this lifestyle possible and we couldn’t, or wouldn’t, want to do it without them. What is one thing you can’t RV without? Give your answer in the comment below!