How to Stock Your New RV and Not Break the Bank

how to stock your rv

When we bought our first RV, a friend told us that we should plan on spending about $1,000 to fully stock our new RV with everything we needed. This was a hard pill to swallow. We just spent tens of thousands of dollars on our rig and now we needed to spend MORE money on stocking it? Give me a break!

I am going to share with you the essentials that you need to purchase, what you can use from home, and what to find in a thrift store. 

The Must-Haves

RV/Marine Toilet paper. This “special” toilet paper is made to rapidly dissolve. This is necessary so you do not clog your blank tank or hoses that drain the black tank. You do not want to use regular home toilet paper.

Tank Treatment Even if you are using sewer hookups nightly – when you are traveling between destinations, you can get a pretty offensive odor if you do not throw some chemicals down the toilet. Black tank smell is not something you want to be smelling as you are driving down the road. 

Water Pressure Regulator Most campgrounds have water pressure that is not super high – but some campgrounds have water spigots using a good type of system. Rather than risk blowing a water line and flooding the inside of your RV, always use a water pressure regulator. We have our regulator hooked up to our water filter and flex hose,  and then to the freshwater hose. 

Fire Extinguisher Most RV’s/Campers come with these already, but if not you will want to make sure to have one on board.  

Items you may have on hand or purchase at a thrift store/garage sale.

  • Towels – you will want to have plenty on board. Most campgrounds have pools, and shower houses and of course, if you are headed to the lake or beach you need towels and lots of them! 
  • Flatware – I picked up a whole bunch of spoons, forks, knives, etc at our local thrift store for .5 cents a piece. You can always opt for plastic flatware too, but there’s nothing worse than poking your fork into a steak and having it break. (Plus why put more into our landfills?) We opted for the “real” stuff when it came to “eating weapons.” 
  • Plates/cups/bowls – again, I used some of what we had in our home and purchase some second-hand at a local thrift store. Garage sales are also a great place to pick these items up. Opt for the melamine as well so they do not break. 
  • Cast Iron Skillets – these are something you will want to have. You can cook over a campfire, on a grill, or on the stovetop in your RV. You can pick these up second-hand or purchase them on Amazon for under $15.  
  • Paper Towels and Napkins
  • Camp chairs – you most likely have some of these already in your garage at home – toss them in the camper/RV!
  • Large patio rug – this is something you most likely will need to find new. You want something woven and not a solid piece of fabric. This is so the dirt falls through the cracks and doesn’t become a mess when trying to fold/roll up. 

Just for Fun

There are some items that we purchased that are not necessary at all but make RVing a little more fun. 

  • A map of the United States to fill in as you go. This was a great way that we taught our kids some geography and had some fun too. When we traveled this past summer, our kids looked forward to the evenings when they could add a sticker or two for a new state that we had been in or crossed. 
  • Nesting bowls – these are awesome for space saving – but not a necessity. 
  • Rainbow sticks – these are fun on the campfire and turn the flames into “rainbow” colors. 
  • Portable Grill – In case there is a fire ban and you cannot cook over a fire, having a grill alone is great. These portable grills fit in the storage compartment of an RV very well and are light and easy to move around. 

There are many other things that you will find yourself collecting along the way and over the years, but you will realize quickly how very little you actually NEED. After our first several long trips (40 days +) I quickly realized how very little we all need for day-to-day life. I was ready to sell everything in our home and hit the road full-time! 

Happy travels and stay Grateful. 

If you are not sure if you are ready for an RV yet – try renting one for a trip or two. Outdoorsy connects RV owners with people who want to try out the RV lifestyle.

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  1. I m a newbie RV’er- just bought our 1st RV (YIKES!), I’ve learn so much from your YouTube videos. Your blog for RV essentials mentioned “Winnies (sp?) slipper socks which had a magnetized outer shoe. I could not find this on Amazon. Can you please forward the link? Thank you.
    Looking forward to more of your videos to come.