Items You’ll Need
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Most of the time when you buy a trailer or an RV off of a new and/or sometimes used lot, the dealer will give you a “Freebie” package… a “Starter Kit”, which may include some or all of the following items; a fresh water hose, a water filter, a water pressure regulator, a sewage hose kit, a 30 to 15 amp electrical adapter, waste tank chemicals, a package of disposable gloves, a package of marine/RV toilet paper and a bubble level. If you’ll notice on my videos, I always carry duplicates of most of these so we’ll list some of these items for you to take a look at and quite a few others for you to consider. The one thing that is cool about Amazon is that it’s a great place to compare prices against your local sporting goods store or RV parts and accessories store.
***To get more information on each item, click on the pictures and the prices and options will come up in a separate tab!***
This book is your #1 must have item. It contains almost every campground imaginable in California and has extremely detailed information about each one. It also contains tons of other information and resources that you wouldn’t have even thought to read up on or consider. When you combine this with a really decent Atlas, you are miles ahead of that guy that just passed you thinking that he’s gonna get there before you and nab the best site! We never, ever, ever leave home without this book and a good Atlas! There are many, many more of these books for many of the other states, also… ya’ might want to take a look!
At the top of your priorities should be this awesome outdoor mat. We’ve used this now for at least seven years with very little signs of wear and tear. The durability off these mats are incredible! But the best part of all is how easy these are to clean. We camp in the pine needles, oak leaves, rain and snow and never, ever have to do anything more than just brush it off with a kitchen broom before putting it away. Pine needles and oak tree leaves just brush right out. If it’s been sitting in wet soil or mud, it just brushes right off and dries very quickly. This has to be one of the best investments yet to date. There are also several colors and patterns to choose from and the price here is usually $4 to $5 cheaper than WalMart. Check out a bunch more selections…Here!
After getting the above book, the first item that you will need is a fresh water hose.There are quite a few selections to choose from in price and quality. Normally, the hose that you will get in the “Freebie” kit will be the bottom of the line but should last you a season or two.
This second one that you see is also a 25 ft fresh water hose but is a step or two above the previous one. It is a little less prone to kink and has lasted several camping seasons and is definitely worth the few extra bucks.
You may have noticed that we had a third fresh water hose that is a 50 ft hose. Once in a while we will decide on a campsite that is a little farther than just 20 ft or so from a water spigot and then another 50 to 75 feet of hose really comes in handy… ya’ just won’t realize it until you’re there camping and you go to stretch a hose out to refill your fresh water tank and ya’ wind up having to shuttle 40, 50 or maybe more gallons of water.
Many more fresh water hoses and accessories are available HERE…
Another important item for camping in campgrounds with water hookups is a water filter. These types of filters usually will last us through most of a season with the amount of this type of camping that we do and are well worth the money spent.
The plastic water pressure regulator that you may receive in the Freebie kit lasted us around 3, maybe 4 trips, and then we replaced it with this water pressure regulator. We always carry a spare in one of the plastic tubs that we stow in the pass through storage area.
One of the most important pieces of equipment that some may consider optional is the 90 degree elbow. This item is used when you are camping in a campground with water hookups and mounts to the “city water” port on your RV or trailer. More info on this can be seen on the first video (Pt.1) on the Videos and Such page.
An item that you’re going to want at home for hooking up to your electricity is this 15M to 30F amp adapter (the one in my videos is black). Not all trailers and electrical hookups are exactly the same, so the specific adapter that you need is something that you’ll have to make sure of. I always have at least 2 of these on each trip. I always use one when hooking up to the generator during our dry camping trips.
A hatchet is a must have. So far we haven’t taken an axe with us but we do always have a hatchet. Sometimes you’ll use it for some strange things but I use ours daily for preparing the campfire. Always remember to keep it sharp. The last thing you want is to swing a dull hatchet! More hatchets and accessories are available HERE!!!
This is the Rhino sewer hose that we have used since the hybrid trailer that came after our pop-up tent trailer. The one that came with it just went into the tub with all the backup parts and equipment and again, has been there since. That’s how durable Rhino hoses are; I wouldn’t go anywhere without it.
A definite must have is a good quality battery charger. This is Black and Decker’s replacement for the one that we’ve been using since before the first trip with our pop-up tent trailer. It has the features on it to keep guys like me from totally destroying batteries. This is a great battery charger for dummies like me!
Here is an example of a tire compressor for a decent price. We have never had to use ours so I really don’t know if the one that you see in our video actually is something to brag about. What I do know is that you should always have one with you on your camping trip. One of the main things that you need to look for is the type of electrical source and hardware that you prefer. Also double check the type of connections and adapters that come with the unit. Shop around and really read the descriptions closely. Take your time on this and choose wisely.
Another tool that you don’t want to leave the driveway without is an inexpensive folding spade. I couldn’t even begin to tell ya’ how many times I’ve pulled it out and used it. I always keep it in the half tub that stays at the tailgate area of my truck where I keep all of my “go to” stuff for every trip.
And yet another tool that you never want to pull away from home with. This is a 12inch level which also stays in my half tub. It’s tough and durable and gets used every single time that I spot my trailer before unhooking the pickup. Your main concerns when leveling are your fridge and your drainage. I have missed the mark before when leveling and had the fridge not operate at all. And I have had the tub not drain completely, so I am a little more careful to level off properly now before unhooking and setting the stabilizers.
In our opinion these leveling blocks are a must have for a few different reasons. The first is that they are light weight and easily stowed in a tight space. The other is that they tend to bite in to most surfaces and not slip and they are also interlinking. One thing I really like now is not throwing a piece of wood under a tire having forgotten to check it for nails.
A step ladder is a must have for so many different reasons. When we purchased our latest trailer, we also bought a 6ft ladder that we will take a look at a little later on this page. This step ladder is real handy for stepping up into the bed of our truck and like I said, many other things. We never leave home without it.
This is a 22 gal waste water tote and when you look at the price, you tend to wonder if maybe it’s something that you can wait and get later. However, the first time you’re dry camping and you inadvertently fill up your black (waste) water tank… OK… so what’re ya’ gonna do with that?
If you are going to do a lot of dry camping and during seasons that are a bit chilly in the mornings and during the evenings, the Mr. Buddy portable heaters are a great line of heaters to choose from. We have had ours’ since we began our adventures in camping and it has always been worth twice what they go for. However, ours is an older model which houses (2) 1 lb propane bottles instead of just one and the BTU may be a little higher than the one pictured. For more info, check out my review on our Big Buddy!
Again, one more thing that is so important is torquing your tires to the proper setting. I can’t even begin to tell ya’ how many times we’ve passed someone on the side of the road missing a tire or having a problem with one of their axles. Correct tire pressure and properly torqued lug nuts are crucially important every time you leave the driveway. I think we found ours at Harbor Freight for a pretty decent price!
One thing that you never, ever want to have problems with is your black water tank (sewer tank) and toilet. Even starting out with our pop-up tent trailer I spent a lot of time reading up on the different ideas and theories as to the perfect chemical blends and mixtures to use in our black water holding tanks. Down through the years and progressing from one trailer to the next, I have always used the same formula.
So here is the formula that I use…
… after dumping my black water tank and being sure that it is totally empty, I pour around 11 to 12 ounces of the Thetford Campa-Chem and 1 capful of the liquid Calgon into the tank through the toilet followed by 3 to 4 gallons of water. If I know that I’m going to go more than a week between dumping on a long trip, I’ll go ahead and throw an extra cap full of Calgon in. The Campa-Chem breaks down the waste and keeps the odors down wonderfully in the tank and the Calgon does a great job of keeping everything very, very slick so that you’re a lot less likely to get waste piling up and sticking in one spot. Like I said, we have never had any issues whatsoever with our sewage system… well, maybe once! Just a tip on the Campa-Chem, we sometimes are able to find the larger bottles in RV service centers and the miniscule RV sections at WalMart.
This Yamaha EF2400iSHC Portable Generator is what we have used since we started dry camping. As with the black water chemicals, I did a crazy amount of researching before we bought this generator. A long time seasoned camper told us that one of the main things to think about when buying a generator, is the decibel level. One thing that we have really grown to appreciate over the years are the campers around us with quiet generators. Yes, you can get a great deal at Harbor Freight and other places, but for your sake and everyone else, please spend some time researching which generator is the best one for your. Things to consider are the decibel level, gasoline or diesel fueled, fuel capacity, fuel usage, will it run a blow dryer, will it run an A/C unit, will it run the microwave at the same time as a blow dryer, heater, A/C unit? With the amount of money you’re spending on a generator, please do your research thoroughly.
Having comfortable, quality chairs are a must. This chair is very similar to the ones that we have and you may have seen in the video. However, we did find ours at Costco a short time ago and I’m not sure if they are available everywhere. Ours do seem to be extremely comfortable and durable and we totally love the tables that pop up on the side of them.
Spare fuses are another must have. Ya’ never think about ’em until ya’ need ’em. But once ya’ need them, you will be so happy that you have them. I also pickup some 1.5’s, 2a and 3a’s and throw them in the kit. Most of the newer trailers and RV’s have breakers but they still use fuses in conjunction with the breakers.
You probably don’t need any help with this one. This will be one of the most important tools in your tool box. The cool thing is that most of us have a spare roll out in the garage right now that we can throw in the tool box or accessories tub.
For anyone that does a bit of dry camping and doesn’t have the best of luck finding water that tastes fresh, this TastePURE is a must have. You may not use this every time but it sure comes in handy just at the right time.
Some type of tool kit or box is also a requirement for every trip. It’s hard to know if and when you’re going to need some tools and many times it’s someone else that needs your help but for a minimal cost the assurance that ya’ get out of carrying an inexpensive tool kit with ya’ is priceless. I have one that is similar to the one pictured and I also carry a small red tool box in the back of my pickup that has a few other things in it. I’ve been into both, my tool box and my tool kit many, many times. I’ve been fortunate to have what was needed to help out several people!
One of the best investments that we made last year (2012) was this closet organizer from neatfreak.com. This model is the 5612-ST closetMAX and has 6 shelves. Some trailers and RV’s have larger or smaller areas to store clothes in and we actually trimmed a shelf off of both of ours. I was really wary when my sweetheart ordered us both one but they are actually built as sturdy and durable as just about anything else in our little trailer.
Another great use for one of these units is in the pantry area. They do offer units that have taller shelf areas if that is one of your requirements.
If you have any storage space in your unit with a hanger rod, this is an absolute must. And yes, they do come in various sizes and shapes to meet your every need. You just have to check ’em out!
One of the things that we do everytime we break camp and move down the road is climb up a ladder and sweep off the top of our slide-out. Sometimes there’s leaves and sometimes there’s not but there’s always a little dust. This is a 6 ft. folding-collapsible ladder similar to what you’ll see in our video. This is another one of those items that we never, ever leave home without. You can also find the exact one that we bought at Camping World with a regular price of around $196, I believe… but they do have frequent sales available!
Again, another piece of equipment you probably don’t want to be dry camping without. I usually tighten up a clamp around it and keep it in the half tub and that way I’m always prepared for those campground hosts that for some crazy reason think it’s funny to replace the water spigots with no-threaded spigots. The inexpensive water bandit will pay for itself many, many times over!
If you are one of those campers that love to get away from everything and camp in places that are a little farther more removed from ‘hookups and cable’, you’re probably used to toting the 6 gallon water containers from the water faucet to your campsite. Sometimes ya’ get lucky and you have enough hose(s) to reach the spigot.
Now that I’ve had to start using a cart to tote ’em back to the trailer I’ve searched and found the answer in this 45 Gallon Folding Water Tank by New World Mfg out of central California. This is totally a no-brainer for the boon-dockers! Portable RV Fresh Water Tank: 45 Gallon Now at Camping World
One of our newest edition is the Renogy 100W Suitcase Portable Solar Panel. One of the things that is most impressive about this unit is that it comes totally ready to plug in and enjoy (includes $130 PWM 30 Amp Solar Charge Controller).
Once you attach this unit to your battery, all you have to do is set up a few parameters on the controller to maximize the intake and you’re done.
Our unit , out of the box, kept our 26 foot Salem trailer topped off during the day while we listened to the stereo (4 to 6 speakers engaged). Later we discovered that our batteries were beginning to fail, but this Renogy 100W unit still kept us charged up and topped off each day with minimal drop in charge during the evenings to 2/3 charge. Each morning this unit would bring our batteries back up to full charge by 1 or 2 in the afternoon and again… we had a load on the batteries most of the day! This has to be one of the greatest tools in your tool box. A complete review is available now after a little more time experienced with this incredible solar panel!
While shooting the review video for our sewage system routine, I realized that I hadn’t included this WirthCo 30000 RV Locking Bumper Plug in with the other ‘items you’ll need’. Until we found this bumper plug, we consistently lost a bunch of plugs. So now we have a Camco 4″ Polyethylene Bumper Cap on the opposite end of the bumper with a hole drilled in the top of the bumper and down through the lip of the bumper cap and a nail secured in hole.
And again, we use the WirthCo Locking Plug on the access end. We’ve had this one now for at least 5 years and so far it’s stayed perfectly in place.
If you want a sure thing in a fishing lure, try the Thomas Buoyant Fishing Lure T-102 GR (Gold Red). My wife has been consistently using this lure from Rock Creek in the Bishop, Ca. area to Robinson Creek just south/west of Bridgeport, Ca.
If you’re thinking about lake fishing simply order the heavier one available and allow it to drift down into the colder channels of the lake before reeling it in. Remember that most trout are attracted to colder water and many of the larger ones will head for the deep and for the active channels.
As I mentioned in the Items Review page, I usually prefer using salmon eggs and power bait on a #8 or #10 hook/leader with one or two split shot depending on the depth and speed of the water. But each season I’ve been paying more and more attention to my wife and the amount and size of trout that she consistently pulls out of the stream and I’ve been using more and more lures and really enjoying the size of trout that goes after these Buoyant lures.
Thomas Buoyant does make a great selection of spoons and spinners including some double spinners that look very interesting. Personally, I can attest to the Thomas Special Spinn gold and red lure. When ya’ get a chance, check ’em all out!
This season (2014) we changed out several of our regular light bulbs (921’s) in our travel trailer to the equivalent in LED light bulbs. LED bulbs usually use less than a quarter of the energy that the regular ones do and when you’re trying to conserve on your battery(ies) usage, these LED bulbs go a long way.
We started out with two LED bulbs that gave off the bluish hue. But we wound up with 8 of the bulbs pictured above which give off a more natural white lighting. Now that we’ve found the exact type of bulb that works the best for us, we’ll probably change out the rest of the regular bulbs in the Salem before the summer of 2015 hits.
There are many different sizes, shapes and wattages to choose from. Click here to check some out!
If you want to make sure that every time you use a dump station to clean out your Black and Gray Water holding tanks results in a mission complete, then I recommend that you use this awesome product by Camco. The Camco RhinoFlex Clear 45 Degree Sewer Hose Swivel makes it simple to see what is coming out of your holding tanks and when it is finished coming out. Never leave with “stuff” still in your tanks… get this great product from Camco!
When we decided to buy a new generator we wanted something with a smaller footprint allowing us to pack a few more things on our long trips. Not only did the Smarter Tools AP2000iQ have a smaller footprint but it was 30 lbs lighter which worked nicely with my aging back. And if the smaller footprint and the much lighter weight wasn’t enough the price was definitely a deal maker for us. Check it out at Amazon and then compare it to others and then let us know what ya’ think!
Now that our gate is built and the gravel is poured we’re almost ready to park the rig in the back yard. So… we just purchased a very important key to the whole parking issue. These curb ramps by Guardian are just the ticket for getting over an 8″ curb. They measure 17.7″ x 23.5″ x 7.8″ and are constructed from heavy duty industrial grade thermoplastic rubber. Also, they’re hefty enough to handle up to 30 tons, 60,000 lbs. For more information check this curb ramp out at Amazon where you can compare other items to it or find a smaller size if need be! And again, be sure and let us know what you think about these great portable ramps!
One of the more quality 9 Person Instant Setup Tents today is this family unit manufactured by Camp Valley. Unfortunately, they are very hard to find in stock anywhere but have a very close twin easily available! Included in this great family tent are an extra side door, enough floor space for two queen sized air mattresses, a room divider, a rain fly, a screen room setup and other outstanding features. One of the most amazing features though is the ability to completely set up this tent or take it down in approximately one minute. Here are a few other similar tents that you absolutely must check out before you purchase a family sized unit! This is tent camping at it’s best!!!