15 essential items for use in any RV

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By Bob Gorden

Although downsizing is necessary when living full time in an RV, there are still many items that are either very useful or quite necessary to have available at all times.

Here are my 15 essential items for any RV:

  1. Gorilla glue: Useful whenever superglue is needed. It has been used to seal leaks around windows in my motorhomes, to hang hooks for small items, reattach tiles, molding, plastic parts, etc. It is very easy to use to solve a variety of problems.
  2. Professional-size Velcro tape: Wider than the regular size velcro, it is strong, tenacious and sticky. It held the awnings and tailgate in place on my diesel pusher, keeps my printer from moving on my computer desk, and holds the refrigerator door closed while traveling. Velcro is one of those “wonder” products as in “I wonder what I would do with out it.”
  3. Mailing tape dispenser: Dispense scotch tape for sealing boxes, letters, etc.
  4. Nonskid matting: Prevents dishes and other items from sliding in cabinets and drawers. It also holds the coffee maker in place on the countertop while traveling.
  5. Crockpot or InstaPot: For a single guy who is much less than a gourmet chef and barely able to cook anything, a small crockpot is a blessing. The crockpot can be filled with meat, veggies, some water, seasoning and turned on. Several RVers have related that they plug their crockpot into the inverter and cook while driving from site to site. That way the meal is ready when they arrive.
  6. Breadmaker: A good friend has provided me with a breadmaker by Oster. This is the best breadmaker that I have ever used. There are recipes for different types of bread, but the 58-minute white bread has turned out very well for me in several tries. In the past, I have used other breadmakers, but it usually resulted in heavy, flat or sunken, non-rising loaves. The 58-minute bread model uses rapid rising yeast and has proven to be successful every time.
  7. Road service membership: Although I have traveled for many years in RVs, I am happy to say that a recently purchased emergency road service plan has paid for itself within a few months.
  8. Stop/turn lights on the toad: For several years I used a lighting harness hooked directly from my RV to the vehicle I tow behind my motorhome. About two years ago, I switched to the separate lighting system with large tail/directional lights attached by magnets to the rear of the toad. They are easy to connect, give large, clear light signals and are less expensive than connecting to the car lights.
  9. Calendar: My RV resorts, boondocking sites, daily stops and some activities are recorded on a calendar, along with the cost of each stop. This continual record reminds me of where I have stayed and my monthly cost for lodging. It is also a good reminder of where to stay if I ever find myself back in that area again.
  10. Various hooks and hangers: These are used to hold keys beside the entry door, fly swatters, miscellaneous items in handy places. 3M Command hooks are the easiest to use and can be removed without leaving marks on the walls.
  11. Fulltiming and RV repair books: Books of this type can save an RVer time and money. Although not all questions are answered, nor are all problems solved, there are still many useful clues and hints for a happy RV lifestyle inside those soft covers. I make it a point to frequently flip through the books. Often I see something I glanced over in the past that would solve a current problem.
  12. Fire extinguisher: This necessary item is located right beside the entry door, is accessible from inside or outside the coach and is one item that I hope that I never have to use.
  13. Small inverter: An inverter transforms 12-volt power to 120-volt AC power. My 400-watt inverter is connected directly to my coach batteries and is located in an easily accessible area near the entry door. It can be used to power a small crockpot, laptop computer or similar electric item. Their use is a convenience and does drain the battery. So be sure to connect devices when you’re done using them. You can also find one at a electronics store that plugs into a DC outlet to give you one or more electrical outlets.
  14. A battery-powered flashlight: A friend  recently gifted me with a Trie light which features 3x Cree LEDs. This light has a magnetic base, rubber non-skid feet, a full rotational head for directional lighting and which closes for lens protection. It is, of course, rechargeable and is easily carried using the attached lanyard.
  15. A campground membership: Various memberships are available at reduced rates at the RVParkstore.com. I bought a membership for Thousand Trails at that site and it has served me well for more than two years.

Each RVer may have additional favorites and items that he or she considers to be absolutely necessary for their survival on the road. I have listed my favorites. What are yours?

Robert Gorden

Robert Gorden

Dr. Robert Gorden is a retired environmental engineer and head of the Aquatic Biology Department at the University of Illinois. Today, he is a frequent RVer who enjoys travel writing.

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