Must Have Supplies for Your New Camper and Towing Vehicle That You May Have Never Thought of

 

Ensure an Enjoyable RV Camping Experience with these RV Supplies and Towing Vehicle Equipment

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Life with an RV will be easier with just a couple additions for safer towing and onboard RV accessories. 

Yay! We were so excited when we finally found a travel trailer that would fit our family, had all the amenities that we wanted and was within our prince range.  

With some flippin’ RV experience under our belt, our whole family was so excited about the new camper.  But wait, we still needed some equipment for the travel trailer and the towing vehicle.    “Seriously,” I told Charles, “after all this, we still need more stuff?”  sheesh.

Yes, indeed RV supplies and tow vehicle equipment are necessary.  There are some really important things to have for your new RV purchase and the towing vehicle.  Most RV accessories and tow vehicle equipment can be bought online or at the local trailer shop and can be installed by a mechanic or the avid DIYer like Charles. 

RV Towing Vehicle Equipment:

The tow vehicle for either travel trailer and a fifth wheel will need some new equipment for hauling.  With a new truck and trailer set up, some of this may come as a package from the dealer so make sure to ask what is included in your purchase and what cost extra.  Hopefully, you are reading this in the shopping stage! 

Hitch – necessary tow vehicle equipment if you plan to take the trailer with.

A quick lesson in RV camper speak:  A motorhome is a complete unit mounted on the truck frame.  The motorhome is a camper and tow vehicle all in one.  A travel trailer is a bumper pull camper.  It connects to the bumper hitch of the towing vehicle. The tow vehicle can be truck, SUV or van, as long as it has the correctly matched towing capacity.   A fifth wheel requires a truck because it connects to a fifth wheel hitch mounted inside the bed of the truck.  You need to make sure to have the correct hitch for the trailer you have. 

For a travel trailer, the correct size ball hitch will be required.  The size of the ball and the weight rating must match the travel trailer.  The hitch installation is easy – it will slide right into the hitch in the back of the vehicle.  But you can always check with your local trailer shop for help. 

In addition, a stabilizer and sway bar will help distribute the weight evenly across the trailer and the tow vehicle.  The sway bar will add stability, helping to tow straight. 

A fifth wheel requires a fifth wheel hitch installed in the bed of the tuck.  Fifth wheel hitches can be a basic hitch or, if the truck bed is short, a sliding hitch may be required.  Another poplar option is to change the hitch on the camper and the tuck to a goose neck.  This hitch is more versatile because many other trailers, such as flatbed and horse trailers, have a goose neck.  

Trailer brakes for safety

In general trailer, brakes are required on any trailer greater than 3,000 pounds.  AAA has a good summary of each state’s requirements for trailer breaks.  

A brake controller is mounted in the driver side and connected to the tow vehicle braking system.  It engages the trailers electrical braking system, either time delayed, or in proportion to the tow vehicles brake engagement.   The trailer should come equipped with the braking system that will be activated with the controller in the vehicle.  

The controller will need to be installed in the tow vehicle and connected to the trailer brake system. 

Trucks and SUVs with towing capabilities generally have a plug for the controller.  When we changed tow vehicles an adapter was needed for a different plug, but we used the same controller.  Otherwise, additional wiring may need to be installed.  

Transmission Temperature Gauge and Cooler for the Tow Vehicle

Unless you tow in cool weather and going on flat land only, this might be a good idea.  We initially towed with a gas truck and were towing in the mountains of Colorado, going over passes and all.  

After some discussions with our mechanic, Charles bought a temperature gauge for the transmission and a cooler.  This is an added heat exchange for the transmission to help run most efficiently.  Just like everything else, these range in features and price.  You can install yourself, have your personal mechanic do it or check with your local trailer store. 

Tow Vehicle and RV supply:  Wireless Back Up Camera

Back up cameras are becoming very popular on cars and even new campers, for good reason. You can’t see anything behind you.  You can add backup cameras to the back of your tow vehicle as well as the camper itself.  

Charles installed a camera on the tuck and uses it to back up exactly to the location of the hitch.  He can match the ball and hitch much better with the camera than me standing back there directing him.  And thats one less thing to stress about when we are loading up!

He installed a wireless camera to the back of the camper to see everything behind him.  Between the mirrors and the campers, gone are the days of me hopping out and directing him in.  I am yet to drive the set up forward – much less backwards with cameras though! 

 

RV Supplies

A few additional accessories will make your RV camping experience more enjoyable.

Generator to Supply Power to the Camper

Your RV will come equipped with an two power systems.  One that runs off 110V alternating current (AC), just like everything in the house. Anytime the camper is plugged you have a constant supply of electricity for the air conditioner, appliances and 110 outlets.  

The other is the system that runs off the battery or direct current (DC) system.  This system operated when you are not plugged in.  The problem is the battery has a limited amount of power – you can’t run an air conditioner or other large appliances- and ​limited life.

If you want to power your appliances, hair dryer and possible air conditioner, when a power outlet is not available, you will likely want a generator.  Generators can be loud and that mechanical noise drives me crazy in the peaceful outdoors.   

So we opted for this quiet generator with enough Watts to run everything we wanted.  This site has a good tutorial to help you figure out how large a generator to buy.   

Batteries the other Power Supply

When not connected to power outlet the camper will run on the 12V DC system from the batteries.   New campers should come with one 12 Volt deep cycle battery.  An older camper will likely have an older battery as well.  You may want a new battery or more power requiring more batteries.  You can choose a new 12 volt battery or two or more 6 volt batteries for a little more power.  This is a good discussion of batteries and care.  

Surge Protectors

Another RV power accessory that is a must have is a surge protector for plugging your RV into shore power.  Thats RV speak for the power outlet at the campground. 

Just like protecting sensitive equipment in your home, you should protect your RV from voltage spikes with a surge protector.   If you do not have protection built in you should get 15, 30 or 50 Amp surge depending on the power requirements for the RV.

RV GPS

An RV is much longer and taller than a regular vehicle.  An RV specific GPS can make life so much easier. You can get an app for your smartphone and use that.   A portable GPS will plug right into the power outlet in your vehicle. Some models combine GPS and back camera in one monitor.
That’s​ great because the dash can start to get cluttered with all the new accessories.

 

Traveling in an RV is so much fun and great for the family. I hope some of these suggestions for RV supplies and towing vehicle accessories make your RV camping experience a little easier and safer! 

 

What do you plan to buy for your RV?  What are your favorite accessories? 

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