Ultimate Guide to RV Accessories and Upgrades

The Ultimate Guide to RV Accessories and Upgrades

Taking your new RV out for the first time is a fantastic experience. But, once you start to settle in, you are likely to think of a few things you wish you had or would like to change. It seems like almost every RVer has made some sort of modification to their rig along the journey to make it their own—it’s all apart of the fun!

Whether your RV is your home or your home away from home, customizing your rig to fit your needs will make for a much easier and more enjoyable camping experience. But, where should you start? You will probably think of some of the things you need when you go to use it, and it’s not there. But, in some cases, you may know you’re missing something or that there must be an easier way to do something, but you just don’t know what it is.

This guide to useful RV accessories and upgrades is sure to help you find exactly what you need or what you didn’t even know you needed.

Contents

For The Exterior

What you might begin to notice first before you even arrive or get settled into your campsite, are things you want to do differently regarding towing, hooking up, and all of the exterior stuff.

Hopefully, you didn’t leave home without your sewer hoses, leveling blocks, drinking water hose or other essentials regarding the exterior of the RV. Most of these items are more so extras. But, these upgrades and accessories are still considered essentials to many RVers, and they may make your RV life easier too.

Mechanical and Towing

Ready brake

If you flat tow a vehicle, the Ready Brake is a simple system that assists with stopping. A system like this is even required in most States and Provinces. The great thing about the Ready Brake is how simple the design is while still providing effective braking power from your tow vehicle.

Tire pressure monitoring system

Most tires fail because of running them far beyond their service life, or from low pressure. While it’s easy to check your tires with a tire pressure gauge before heading out, what if something happens while you’re driving? You could pick up a nail in a tire, and it will slowly leak. On a long drive, this could be extremely dangerous if gone unnoticed. A tire-pressure monitoring system can warn you if there is a problem with one of your tires on your RV or trailer so you can pull over and check it out before it’s too late.

Electric tongue jack

Hitching and unhitching your trailer can be a difficult process especially if you are prone to back pain. An electric tongue jack will lift and lower the front of your trailer so that you can go about the process with ease.

Anti-sway bar

Getting pushed all over the road because of a little wind or even a semi passing does not make for an enjoyable RV journey. Upgrading your trailer with an anti-sway bar will improve the way your RV handles and increase your control.

Wireless back up camera

Backing up your rig can be one of the most frustrating parts about RVing. Having someone help you while using a phone or a walkie talkie is helpful. But, a backup camera provides an extra level of ease and safety.

Towing mirrors

In addition to helping you back up, towing mirrors will contribute to your overall safety on the road. They will help increase your vision while you are towing a trailer or fifth-wheel which can be invaluable.

Water and Sewer

Water pressure regulator

The water pressure at campgrounds and RV parks can be very powerful. This might sound great at first, but if it’s strong enough it will burst the pipes in your RV. A water pressure regulator will help keep your pipes and faucets from being blown away by the high pressure. You can simply attach it to your hose and leave it there forever if you want.

Water filter 

Constantly buying water bottles is not environmentally friendly or economical. A water filter attached directly to your hose will filter out the rust and gunk from your water before it even goes through your faucet. Some RVs have water filters built in. But, many RVers prefer to filter their water more than once. You may also want to use a Brita dispenser in your fridge or a water pitcher that filters water for maximum purity.

Sewage tracks

Sewage tracks keep your sewage line off of the ground. This is great if your site is not level (which they rarely are) or if it has been raining and the ground is muddy. They are designed to let gravity help your waste make it to the dump connection easier. Some campgrounds or RV parks even require you to use sewage tracks.

Toilet chemicals

Toilet chemicals are an absolute must for any RVer. You will soon find after you dump your tanks and are ready to head to your next destination that a horrific smell has taken over your RV. To avoid this from happening, add toilet deodorant to your toilet right away. There are a variety of different options to choose from, and you can usually find them at your local Walmart. But, the liquid toilet deodorant is considered the best by many RVers.

Black tank rinser

In addition to emptying your black water tank after your trip, you will also need to do a more thorough cleaning of the tank from time to time. Waste and tissue can build up on the walls of the tank causing clogs, a smell, or your sensors to give you a wrong read. Some RVs are equipped with an RV flush valve. But, if yours is not, you can either install a flush valve or you can use an RV holding tank rinser like the Camco Swivel Stick. The Swivel Stick will spray water in multiple directions in the tank cleaning the waste and tissue from the sides.

More Accessories:

Electrical

50 AMP to 30 AMP plug

If you are an RVer who has a 50 AMP rig, you are most likely going to find yourself at an RV park at some point that either doesn’t offer 50 AMP service or is sold out of 50 AMP sites. A 50 AMP to 30 AMP electrical adapter will allow you to hook up anywhere that offers 30 AMP service, widening your options of available campsites. Many homes also have a 30 AMP outlet outside of the garage, so if you find yourself parked in a friend’s or family member’s driveway, this will be an essential investment.

Surge protector

If you have laptops, TVs, cell phones or other sensitive electronics with you, you may want to install a quality surge protector. This will protect your electronics from power surges that could ruin them. Depending on the surge protector it may even automatically disconnect the rig from a faulty power source.

Storage

New Storage Bay Locks 

It is important to be sure your RV is secure and protected from any break-ins, especially if you are a full-timer. Storage bay locks can be flimsy and also tend to break over time. And believe it or not, if someone else staying in the campground has your same rig, they also have a key to your storage locks. Upgrading these locks can be a pretty simple and inexpensive process depending on the locks you choose.

Miscellaneous

Hide-a-key lockbox

Locking yourself out of your rig can be an easy yet disastrous mistake—especially if you are camping in the middle of nowhere with no-one around. A magnetic hide-a-key lockbox can be hidden on a piece of metal underneath your rig, so you always have an extra key available when you need it.

Electric awning

Many RVers will agree that there are few things better than sitting outside surrounded by peace and quiet or laughing with friends under the shade of an RV awning. However, setting up the awning can be a huge pain. Not to mention, you either have to tie it down or set it up and take it down every time there is a lot of wind. An electric awning gives you that nice shade with a push of a button. If it starts to storm with no warning, you don’t have to run out into the wind and rain to take down your awning, so it doesn’t rip or blow away—you simply push a button.

Roof gutter drip extenders

When it rains, or condensation builds up from your AC unit, the extra water runs down the side of your RV creating black streaks all the way down the sides of it. If you don’t want to constantly scrub these streaks off, or you don’t want to risk the streaks leaving permanent stains, drip clips are an easy fix. You can install them in minutes and they will direct the water away from your RV.

Extend-A-Stay

An outside grill is a great accessory to any camping trip. Or, even a propane fire pit that is portable and cuts down on smoke because it uses propane. A Camco Propane Brass 4 Port Tee is a fantastic RV accessory that will allow you to connect your grill or propane fire pit to your rigs LP tank. This way you won’t have to bother with the hassle and cost of propane bottles. It will also allow you to hook up to a portable LP tank so you don’t have to fill up your onboard LP tank on a longer stay.

For The Interior

There are a lot of things you can do to your RV to make it function more efficiently and feel more like home. Even though you may be camping, there is no reason to be uncomfortable where you’re staying. RVs are also obviously a small place to live, so any RV accessory or upgrade that allows you to save space in the interior of the RV feels more like a necessity.

Kitchen 

Stovetop oven

It’s not uncommon for an RV to not be equipped with an oven. This might not seem like a big deal if you are the occasional camper but, if you are a full-timer this means a life without homemade brownies—and what kind of life is that? A stovetop oven is a great solution. A stovetop oven opens up your options and can make your RV feel a little bit more like the home you’re used to.

Moka pot coffee maker

RV kitchens are small, which makes space-savers invaluable. Many RVers try to start out keeping their big Keurig or classic coffee maker but overtime many realize it is taking up too much-coveted counter space. A Moka pot is a small stove-top coffee maker. It is easy to store and doesn’t use electricity which is great for those mornings you find yourself without electricity but still needing that cup of joe.

Counter extensions

While some fifth-wheels do have a nice kitchen island, many Class As, Bs, and Cs are lacking when it comes to counter space. Adding a counter extension is an inexpensive fix that will give you a little bit more counter space for cooking or kitchen utensils.

Portable Grills

There is nothing more rewarding than having a delicious meal surrounded by untouched nature.  However, preparing food isn’t always easy while you are on the road, as you may not always have access to power or enough car battery in your to cook food. That’s why buying a portable RV grill can prove to be one of the best decisions you’ve ever made.

Bathroom

Vent dome 

RVs typically come with ventilation fans in the bathroom and throughout the RV. These are great for helping keep the RV cool and dry. To make these ventilation fans even better, you can add a hooded cover so you can still use your vent when it is windy or raining. With a vented dome, you can even leave your vents open while you drive down the highway which is perfect for airing out the RV.

Wet bath

There are many different ways to camp. Teardrop campers, for example, are perfect for those who want something small, light, and simple. Teardrops or extra small campers really let you get in tune with nature. But, you have to consider that they may or may not come with a bathroom. Often times, you will have to choose to upgrade or add on a wet bath style bathroom during the purchasing process. If you don’t want to add a wet bath, you could also consider a portable toilet with its own tent or an outside shower.

Showerhead and Faucets

shower head

If you have a shower in your RV, it will already have a showerhead. However, that showerhead is likely to be a relatively cheap option, and even if it worked well when you first got the RV, it might be time to replace it. Get a high-quality showerhead and high-quality faucets, and they will work better, look great, and also last longer.

Fury RV Shower Kit

If you plan on staying in your RV for long stretches of time, you will probably be itching for a “home” shower at some point. With the Fury RV Shower Kit, that’s what you get. Plus it allows you to adjust water pressure based on your camping situation. Trying to conserve water so you don’t have to dump as often? You can adjust the flow accordingly. Hooked up to septic and you don’t need to reduce pressure? You can have a full pressure shower too

The shower heads that typically come in RVs are made out of cheap and flimsy plastic. They also seem to cause you to loos all of your hot water instantly. You will want to upgrade your shower head to something that has better water flow and will help you save water. A great choice for those who like to boondock which means taking military showers is a shower head with an on/off option that will cut water flow when you need to conserve water.

Soap dispenser

It seems like RV showers hardly ever have space to put your soap or shampoo. Bottles can crowd the tub and make it a pain to use. Finding a shower caddy that will work with RV showers is also difficult to find, and can still take up a lot of space. Installing a soap dispenser is an easy way to save space in the shower.

Bedroom

Mattress

One of the most disappointing things about settling into a new RV is heading to bed and laying down on what feels more like a rock than a mattress. If you wanted to feel like you were sleeping on the ground, it would be a lot less expensive to sleep in a tent.  A mattress may be one of the first things you will want to upgrade and customize to fit your needs.

Dehumidifier

Camping in damp or cold climates or even just cooking and showering in your RV inevitably builds up a lot of moisture in the air. This humidity that builds can make things uncomfortable and wet feeling in the RV. It can also potentially ruin soft surfaces or even contribute to health problems. A small RV dehumidifier is a lifesaver in these situations. It does not have to go in the bedroom, but if it is in your bedroom, it may help keep your sheets and clothes dry.

Storage

Extra shelves

If you struggle to find space to put your kitchenware or if you have ever had your cups and plates go flying out of your cabinets when you turned a sharp corner, you may want to upgrade to newer and better shelving. Stacking a few extra lipped wire shelves in the cabinets can make all of the difference. To help keep things in place, you may also want to lay down a few non-slip grip shelf liners.

Collapsable kitchenware

Collapsible kitchen accessories like storage/prep bowls, a colander, or mixing bowl will save you a ton of space in your cabinets. They also make it easier to organize your cabinets so when you open them things don’t come flying out at you. If you want something a little more sturdy, stackable bowls are another great option.

Electrical

LED lights

Installing LED lights is really a fantastic upgrade for the interior as well as the exterior of your RV. LED lights for the interior of your RV will give you better lighting and will actually help keep it cooler in your RV. They also consume 99% less power than incandescent bulbs and have a 22-year life-span.

Replacing the lights on the exterior of your RV with LED lights will help people be able to see you on the road at night much easier. Also, stringing up some LED rope lights on your awning or even under the bed can make it easier to find what you need in a dark place or can let you enjoy an evening outside without being in total darkness.

Miscellaneous

Pet area

Pets are a part of the family, and they can be a ton of fun to bring along on a camping trip—even cats! And, if you are a full-timer, you don’t want to give up your furry friend just because you are hitting the road. But still, space is limited. Upgrading a space in your RV like under the booth or under the bed can make a great little space for your pet without sacrificing much space.

Ditch the carpet

RVs should simply not come with carpet. Whether you have a new or used RV, upgrading your floors can make a significant difference to the enjoyment of your RV. Wherever you travel to, you are likely going to be having fun outside, and it is too easy to bring the outside in with you. Unless you want to spend half your trip vacuuming or cleaning mud stains or even mold out of an RV carpet, make the switch to vinyl or laminate floors.

Extra fire extinguishers

Making sure you have an adequate number of fire extinguishers in your RV is essential for a safe trip. Many RVs come with one fire extinguisher, but many RV experts say in a large fifth wheel, for example, you should have about five through the RV. You also need to make sure your CO2 detector and fire detectors both work properly. If they are old or defective, you definitely need an upgrade.

For Boondockers

If you want to head out into the woods or the desert with no one else around as far as the eye can see, you would probably be interested in “boondocking” or “dry camping.” If this sounds like your perfect camping trip, or you at least want the option to try it, there are a few RV accessories and upgrades you should consider. After all, you will have to rely solely on your rig for power and water.

Bathroom

Composting toilet

When you are boondocking, dry camping, or wild camping, you are trying to conserve as much of your fresh water as possible. Using a regular toilet to flush your waste with your fresh water just seems…wasteful. Composting toilets are great because they do not use any water. Upgrading to a composting toilet is easier than you might think. It also means no messing with a black tank, and many RVers say it actually smells better than a regular RV toilet.

Power

Get Extra Batteries and an RV Generator

RVs tend to have quite a few appliances within them, and they will need to have some type of an electrical supply in order to work. Those who like to get out to areas that do not have power hookups might find that having several of these batteries as a backup is a good idea. You should also get an RV inverter, which will convert 12-volt power from the RV batteries to 120-volt power, which can then be used in common appliances, like a coffee maker or a television.

While you will need to have a deep cycle RV battery for your RV, you might also want to consider using a generator to get the power you need. When you are searching for an RV generator, you will find that you have a range of options from brands like Cummins, Westinghouse, and Honda, for example. They are available in different sizes and have different levels of power, so you should be able to find one that will work well for your RV.

When you are making your choice, you want to have a generator that will be powerful enough to provide you with all you need. However, you will also want to make sure it is quiet, so it is not too distracting when you are using it.

Cummins Onan RV QG4000 EVAP Generator

The Cummins Onan generator is a moderately priced RV generator but with the reputation of Cummins to back it. The generator is gasoline powered and puts out enough to run a 15,000 BTU air conditioner. It is fuel efficient and operates quietly. It is an ideal option for fifth wheels, travel and sport utility trailers.

RV Battery Solar Charging Kit

Looking to go off the grid and not worrying about the fuel required to run a generator or the noise? Another upgrade that you might want to consider for your RV would be to get a solar kit for it. These kits include solar panels and other accessories, that can help to provide you with some additional power if you need it. While it is not necessary if you have a generator and an RV battery, it can be a nice way to reduce your carbon footprint.

Generator

While many Class A motorhomes come with a generator, you may be surprised to find that hardly any travel trailers come with an onboard generator. If you plan to boondock, having a generator is a must. If you aren’t sure what generator to choose, check out this article.

Solar Power

Campgrounds are great, but it is also great to have the option to go beyond the limits of a campground. Installing a few solar panels on your roof will allow you to go anywhere anytime. Solar panels will charge your batteries using clean energy from the sun.

Extra batteries

If you don’t want to try solar power, you can also add a few batteries to your supply, so you don’t run out of electricity on your boondocking adventure. Upgrading your inverter as well will help your electricity last longer. It’s also a good idea to keep an extra battery on board even if you don’t want to boondock. You never know when there could be a problem.

Cell Service and Wifi

Often times, if you plan to take your RV on the open road and get into nature, you probably want to disconnect from the world for a little bit. While that is great, being able to use your cell phone could save your life if you run into a problem. Or, if you are a full-timer who possibly even works from your RV, having adequate cell service and wifi are a must.

Cell service booster

Using a hotspot on your phone can allow you to stay connected even without wifi. But, you still need a signal. A signal booster like the Weboost 4G will help you get a signal almost anywhere whether you are in motion or not.

Wifi extender

Campground wifi has a reputation for being awful. If you aren’t parked right next to the office, you may not get any at all. A wifi extender boosts your signal and can even overpass “deadzones.” It also improves connection. A wifi extender can help you pick up a signal from about two miles away. If you are a boondocker keep in mind that if you are in the middle of nowhere with the nearest town being 50 miles away, this isn’t going to help you out too much.

Other useful things to have for your RV

RV Awning

rv awning

Having an RV awning is fantastic, and while there are some RVs that have awnings installed by the manufacturer, this is not always the case. If you have an RV that does not have one of these awnings, you are missing out. They are relatively easy to install, although you might want to have the professionals do it for you. The awnings will provide you with an outdoor space that can be kept out of the sun and the rain, a place where you can cook, dine, and enjoy the great outdoors while being just a step away from your RV. These are a must-have for just about anyone who has an RV.

There are a wide variety of awnings available on the market and you will want to choose one that fits your particular RV. You can get a basic awning providing shade or you can upgrade your awning to a “family room.”

The Solera Family Rooms attach to your standard RV awning and turn your “patio” area into a screened in porch area. These are ideal if you are traveling during the summer and want to keep the gnats and flies away while still being able to enjoy the outdoors.

If you are getting an awning, you will also want to get some lighting that you can use with the awning. Having some quality exterior lighting for your RV will mean that you can stay out longer in the evening since you won’t just be sitting in the dark.

Signal Booster for Digital TV

tv signal booster

Just because you don’t have cable television with your RV does not mean that you will be relegated to watching old DVDs and Blu-Rays or streaming when you can connect to the Internet. Consider getting a digital TV signal booster, which will help you to get more over the air television stations. These tend to be easy to install because they will go right onto your current antenna. One of the most popular manufacturers for these antennas is Winegard, but other manufacturers are available, as well.

Shades for the Windows and Vents

window railways

The heat and light can enter your RV through the windows and through the vents on the ceiling. This means that the interior of your RV is going to heat up and probably stay a bit warmer than you might like, even after the sun has set. This would mean running the AC to get it to cool down, which you probably don’t want to do. To help combat this problem, consider getting shades for the ceiling vent, as well as shades for the windows.

Even if you have a curtain for the main window, it could still be absorbing more heat than you realize. You will want to get a shade that will fit in the window and that can reflect the light.

RV Cover

rv cover

You want your RV to continue looking great for many years to come, and you want to reduce the amount of damage it takes from the sun and from other environmental factors. One of the best ways for you to do that is with an RV cover. You can find quality covers that can provide protection for RVs of all sizes. Always make sure that you are getting a cover that is large enough to cover your RV, of course.

Maps and a GPS Unit

map and gps

Even if you feel you have a great sense of direction, you should invest in a quality, talking navigational GPS unit. It will make getting to all of the locations you want to visit and camp much easier.

You should make sure that you have maps of any areas that you will be visiting when you are out with your RV. Having traditional maps ensures that even if something goes wrong with the GPS, you will still have the ability to navigate to where you need to go.

Things to consider for your RV

Protect Appliances With a Surge Protector

surge protector

You will have quite a few appliances in your RV that you will want to keep them safe, so you do not have to replace them prematurely. One of the ways to help keep them safe is to use an RV surge protector.

Getting a hard-wired surge protector that can monitor the voltage that is coming into the RV when connected to power can be helpful, too. They will disconnect automatically if the power is too high or too low. Even though they might be a costly addition to your RV, they will be worth it. It’s better to have it and keep all of your appliances safe than regret it after a power surge.

Upgrade to a Digital Thermostat

Most of the RVs on the market will have a standard slider control thermostat. While these work just fine, you will find that having a digital thermostat instead will provide you with more precise control over the temperature. They tend to be relatively easy to install, and once you have one available, you will enjoy just how easy it is to control the temperatures in the RV. This can be quite helpful during the hot or cold times of the year. Some of the brands to consider include Coleman, Dometic, Suburban, and ASA Digital. It is a low-cost upgrade that many find to be well worth it.

ASA Advent Air Digital Thermostat

advent thermostat

The ASA Advent Air Digital Thermostat is a basic and cost-effective upgrade for your RV. It provides all of the basic functions necessary to give you complete control over your AC and Heat pump keeping your RV perfectly temperature controlled.

Signal Booster for Digital TV

Just because you don’t have cable television with your RV does not mean that you will be relegated to watching old DVDs and Blu-Rays or streaming when you can connect to the Internet. Consider getting a digital TV signal booster, which will help you to get more over the air television stations. These tend to be easy to install because they will go right onto your current antenna. One of the most popular manufacturers for these antennas is Winegard, but other manufacturers are available, as well.

Plenty of Choices

Please keep in mind that the brands that were mentioned in the article are only some of the options available. There are plenty of other options that you might want to consider, as well. These can help to point you in the right direction though, so you can do further research on the makes and models of accessories or upgrades.

To Wrap Up

A simple life on the road or an adventurous trip into the wilderness can be an incredible experience. These RV accessories and upgrades are sure to help you with everything from saving space to creating solar power so you can make your experience even better. So, get out into nature and try a few of these simple RV accessories and upgrades on your next camping trip!

You Might Also Like: