We are full-time RVers who have traveled to 25 states, 19 national parks, and over 12,000 miles in our fifth wheel. Living, working, and traveling full-time in an RV means needing the right accessories on hand to stay safe and keep your home in working order so that you can spend less time worrying and more time enjoying the epic adventures our beautiful world has to offer. We want you to learn from our mistakes. Beyond the basic RV essentials every camper needs, here are 7 must-have RV accessories that have saved us time, money, and headaches… and that we wouldn’t RV without!
Must-Have RV Accessories For Your RV & Tow Vehicle
Portable Air Compressor
One of the biggest concerns for RVers on travel days is the dreaded tire blowout. That is why the first two products on our must-have RV accessories list are dedicated to helping you avoid the hassle and damages of a blowout or having to wait around for a tow truck or AAA.
Viair Portable Compressor Kit
The Viair portable air compressor has helped us to keep all of our 6 truck tires appropriately inflated, as well as the 4 tires on our fifth wheel. With frequent changes in pressures associated with fluctuations in temperature or altitude, we find ourselves using this reliable compressor almost every time we move the RV.
The Viair is compact enough to travel in the toolbox of our truck bed and at 150 Max PSI pressure, it’s powerful enough for all of our tire inflating needs within minutes. It is 12V operated, comes with a carrying case and anti-vibration tray, and is easy to move around at only 18 pounds.
We have found the Viair to be more reliable than other options on the market and have used it to deflate our tires after our EEZ Tire TPMS system alarmed us to high pressures after towing over steep grades, inflate & deflate tires after drastic changes in temperature, and re-fill tires after a faulty valve on our dually tire left our tire flat.
We have consistently used all parts that come with the complete kit:
- Portable air compressor
- Two 30′ air hoses
- Air pressure gauge
- Two attachments to fill accessible valves and hard-to-reach dually valves
We have even used the Viair to help out fellow RVers who were in a bind. When traveling with family who got alerted to a flat tire due to a loose valve, we were able to resolve the issue with a quick and painless pit stop off the highway. The Viair is in the top position for must-have RV accessories as it gives us peace of mind, no matter how far off the grid our travels and adventures take us.
TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System)
Did you know that one of the leading causes of the dreaded tire blowout is low tire pressure? Having a tire pressure monitoring system allows you to monitor your RV tires at all times while towing (and your tow vehicle tires as well if not built-in). A TPMS system is one of the must-have RV accessories because it provides real-time updates and alerts so you can constantly know each of your tire pressures and temperatures and make proactive decisions before it’s too late.
We chose the EEZ Tire TPMS system due to recommendations from fellow full-time RVers. It was easy to install and connects remotely through a display we take with us in the truck. With its alerts and feedback, we have been able to pull over and use our Viair portable air compressor to keep our tire pressures within the recommended ranges while towing. Thankfully using our TPMS and Viair, we have avoided a blowout or any major tire issues on the truck or the RV.
In addition to using a TPMS system, it is also important to choose the proper truck tires for towing your RV. We have a complete guide on the best truck tires for towing to help you choose the best setup for your needs based on a variety of factors so that you can get out and explore the world safely and efficiently!
Water Filtration System
The human body is roughly 60% percent water. It’s a vital life force and when you travel in an RV full-time, you learn not to take it for granted. Water quality is important for everyone’s health and we heard enough horror stories of water born illnesses during camping excursions to encourage us to prioritize a high-quality water filtration system solution.
When visiting campgrounds, water pipes might be old and contaminated, and if you don’t have water hook-ups or love boondocking like us… sometimes your water sources can be a bit sketchy. For the safety of you and your family, high-quality water filtration is a must-have RV accessory that is an investment in your health.
Has anyone else ever had to fill their tank with a water source a little too close to the dump station? Avoid that additional source of stress by not having to worry about your water quality.
Berkey Water Filter
Our Berkey Water Filter is a purification system that allows us to bypass any concerns about the cleanliness of our RV’s water lines. It sets up on our counter and stores quickly during travel days and uses an all-natural filtration method that had made the system a world leader (it’s even used by the Red Cross!). Berkey even touts that you can filter standing pond water, turning it into immaculate drinking water. We haven’t needed to test out that claim just yet…
The bottom line is that sometimes guaranteed potable water can be hard to come by, or the potable water sources you do have, might not be of the finest quality. Our DRV Mobile Suites fifth wheel comes with a whole house water filter, but we wanted to be sure and provide ourselves with another layer of protection.
Having a quality water filtration system is one of the top must-have RV accessories in our eyes because water is a necessity and water quality can so drastically impact your health. It is also a good idea to regularly sanitize your water lines with a bleach solution. Every 6 months or so can be a good benchmark. The RV Geeks have a great article about best practices when it comes to sanitizing your water lines!
Little Giant Ladder
Having an expandable ladder can really come in handy for times when you need to fix things on the outside of your RV that are just out of reach. For example, we had an emergency exit window get stuck open in the upstairs portion of our fifth wheel that was out of reach. It also comes in handy for places that are hard to reach to clean or caulk. It can also help you with cleaning off slide roofs if you prefer to do so with a leaf blower rather than climbing onto the roof.
We think an extendable ladder is one of the must-have RV accessories because you always want to be able to access all parts of your RV for maintenance, repairs, or emergencies. We love our Little Giant Ladder because it is small enough to fit nicely in our fifth wheel’s basement and is able to extend into a 13ft ladder when fully extended.
Finally, it can also be a great way to break into your RV through an upstairs window if your door gets jammed. Yes, it was quite a sight!
RV Specific GPS
There is no worse feeling than hitting the open road with your RV and suddenly thinking…this doesn’t look right. Whether it’s a bridge that’s a bit too low, a road that says no trailers, or a few sharp turns that make your hair stand on end, there are plenty of ways to end up in a sticky situation when traveling with an RV or camper.
Using an RV-specific GPS helps relieve some of the stress of driving an RV or towing a trailer or fifth wheel by helping you feel more confident that you are navigating along a route that is RV friendly.
We love RV Life as it works as an app directly on our phones and can provide tailored routes based on your RV specifications for height and length. As rookie RVers, we got ourselves into our fair share of wrong turns and sticky situations which required a bit of stressful maneuvering. While no technology is perfect (always use your best judgment as well), having the right tools at your disposal can make a big difference.
RV Life does a great job of estimating time, based on the fact that you are traveling in an RV or towing. Your subscription also includes a great tool called RV Trip Wizard, which is a really helpful trip planner. It allows you to see your routes in real-time as you build out trips to different destinations and campgrounds and then use that itinerary to select places to navigate in the RV Life App. Check out our in-depth guide to RV LIFE, what we consider to be the single best rv travel app, as well a complete list of best RVing apps to help you set yourself up for many fulfilling adventures!
Tools for RV Maintenance
If one thing is for sure, RVing means RV maintenance. Whether it is your home on your wheels or your vacation vehicle, it is well-known that RVs are rolling earthquakes when they are traveling down the road. Long story short, things break. RVs require consistent maintenance to help avoid costly repairs.
That is why we invested in compact, lightweight tools to have on hand for any job we might need to do while traveling.
We opted for the Milwaukee M12 line as it offers high-quality, powerful 12V tools that are perfect for those with limited space. They are also a great option for RVing as they are lighter weight than standard 18V tools. These are the tools we have found to be must-have RV accessories throughout our travels:
In our RV “basement”:
- Drill – to tighten loose screws, drill holes for installations (such as solar)
- Impact Driver – drive larger screws and bolts
- Impact Wrench – key for pulling lug nuts off (for checking hubs, bearings, brakes, seals)
- Torque Wrench – for tightening lugs between travels (tires or fifth wheel)
- Tape measure – dimensions for furniture, projects, and installations
- Gloves – For filling diesel at truck stops, electrical work, running power tools, etc.
* Milwaulkee M12 links are not sponsored or affiliate links. Better deals than the retail prices can be found if you wait for sales to come along
In our truck’s toolbox:
- Deep Impact Socket set – help reach nuts on longer bolts
- Ratcheting Wrench Set – allow for much quicker turning
- Socket Set – handy to have a large assortment of socket sizes
- Grease gun – for bearings, suspension, fifth wheel hitch
Extra/Spare RV Parts
Did we mention things break? To avoid some large RV headaches or finding yourself in a bind while waiting for a specific RV part, we believe must-have RV accessories are some form of spare RV parts. You will pay much more for repairs at an RV shop, which also potentially means not having your RV for a little while.
Many RV repairs or simple part replacements can be done on your own. Zach has become quite the RV handyman throughout our time RVing. Data science didn’t prepare him for this, but he learned as we traveled and you can too. Don’t sell yourself short.
Here are some of the spare parts we think are must-have RV accessories to have on hand:
- Slide Cable Repair Kit
- Brake pads and bearings
- Remco water pump (or other brand depending on your RV)
- Assortment of Solvents, Sealants, and Lubricants – water intrusion is a real risk when RVing. Be sure to keep up with your RV caulking! We recommend Lexel
- Electrical connectors, butt connectors, heat shrink, zip ties, spare screws, and hardware
- Large bottle jack
- Pex crimper for RV plumbing
For more information on RV maintenance – check out our Ultimate RV Maintenance Checklist
Must-Have RV Accessories Overall
RVing is an investment in experiences. You can travel with the comforts of home, bring along your beloved pets, and create the adventure you dream of. Whether that is luxury RV resorts with all the amenities or getting into remote areas and living off-grid, the choice is yours. These must-have RV accessories will help you to spend more time having fun and experience fewer headaches. With the right tools, parts, and accessories, necessary maintenance can be more of a breeze and you can spend more time living your best life!
Read more about all things RVing, based on our experiences as full-time RVers:
- The Best Apps For RVing: Proven Reliable Resources
- Best RV Boondocking Tips: How to Live Well in Wild Places
- Starlink Roam for RV Remote Internet: Complete Guide & Review
- Best RV Camping Essentials
- Unique RV Accessories & Gadgets