Home RV TravelRV Gear Outfitting Your New RV – Inside Gear

Outfitting Your New RV – Inside Gear

by Grant
Outfitting Your New RV Part 2 -Interior Gear

Before you start, be sure to check out our other article on outfitting your RV – outside gear. It covers everything you need to set up your new camper on the outside.

Now, it’s time to work on the inside of the camper. A lot of this gear is personal preference, just like furnishing a home. That said, I am going to cover the basics of what we have purchased for our camper to make long road trips with it work.

(Disclaimer: When we link to places you can buy our stuff or places we stayed, we are using special codes which earn us commissions on the sales at no additional cost to you. Please see our Review Policy  for more information.)

Updated February 2019

Refrigerator

The fridge is one of the most important components of making RV travel work. Not only does it keep your leftovers for the next night, it keeps those tasty adult beverages frosty, which is very important after a stressful setup in a tough back-in site.

Fridge Thermometer

A good fridge thermometer allows you to make sure the food is still good.
A good fridge thermometer allows you to make sure the food is still good.

A fridge thermometer takes the guesswork out of whether your fridge is working properly or not. We originally bought an electronic one with a large display but ended up with an old school thermometer. Sometimes, old school stuff just works better.

Fridge Cold Packs

These Cooler Shock packs are great!
These Cooler Shock packs are great!

One of the best purchases we made was two sets of Cooler Shock packs, one large and one medium. These packs go in your freezer for 48 hours to charge and will provide very cold ice packs for your fridge.

Here’s how we use them: We freeze them going into a trip. We toss all but one pack in the fridge to keep everything cold as we drive. The other pack goes in the freezer to cool it down. Once we get to our location, we fire up the fridge and move some of the packs into the freezer to refreeze. As the fridge starts to keep cold on its own, we transfer the remaining packs to the freezer to recharge.

The Cooler Shock packs work so well we do not use propane at all to run the fridge while driving. I know a lot of RVers out there run the propane fridge while driving/towing. We don’t. I would rather spend a little money on these freezer packs, which work great, than risk a propane fire… or spend the propane for that matter.

Refrigerator Magnetic Bottle Opener

The bottle opener is great.
The bottle opener is great.

You are gonna want to get a bottle opener for those aforementioned refreshing adult beverages. We ended up getting one from a souvenir shop in Bar Harbor, but this one is what we have at home and it works like a champ!

Kitchen Gear

One of the first things you are going to want to do is outfit your kitchen with a permanent set of gear. The reason for this is simple: your time is worth more than the cost of an extra set of pots, pans, kitchen tools, etc. You don’t want to have to pack and unpack your kitchen every time you take the camper out on a trip.

Plates

Dinner at the campground in Big South Fork NRRA.
The dinner plates from Zak Designs really complete a meal.

The great folks from Zak Designs sent us some camper-themed plates and bowls, plus tumblers. We have used them a few times and are really impressed. We love how sturdy the plates are plus how easy to clean. The only downside is they are not microwave-safe. That said, we have other things we can put in the microwave and these are just too cool not to take with us.

Waste Basket

This waste basket is great because it easily hangs on a door and keeps the floor of the RV clear.
This waste basket is great because it easily hangs on a door and keeps the floor of the RV clear.

This wastebasket hangs over the edge of one of the cabinet doors, which keeps it off the floor (floor space is valuable). The other advantage is supermarket plastic shopping bags fit it perfectly. We found in New England there were several campgrounds with mandatory recycling programs, so consider purchasing a second wastebasket to use for recycling.

Paper Towel Holder

This paper towel holder fits on top of a cabinet door and is perfect for keeping your counter space clear.
This paper towel holder fits on top of a cabinet door and is perfect for keeping your counter space clear.

Like the wastebasket, this hangs on the top of cabinet door and holds a roll of paper towels, freeing up counter space for cooking. Very handy, indeed!

Dish Drainer

Collapsible dish drying rack
Collapsible dish drying rack

I think the one thing Bonnie hates more than doing laundry is drying dishes, so she bought this dish drainer. It collapses for easy storage and works fairly well.

Nesting Mixing Bowls, Measuring Cups and Spoons

Bonnie loves these nesting mixing bowls and measuring cups because they take up so little room. They are perfect for the limited amount of space in our kitchen area.

RV Gadgets
Bonnie loves how little space these nesting bowls and measuring cups take up.

On our first big trip with the camper, we mistakenly thought we didn’t really need mixing bowls. Even though we typically are not baking, we now use these mixing bowls all the time to prepare a salad or marinade. Add in the measuring cups and spoons, strainer and colander and this set has everything you could possibly need in one small space.

Small Cutting Board  and Knife Set

Cutting board
Cutting board

Our current cutting board is a bit small, so we will probably eventually upgrade to this one. Get a cutting board that you like, in whatever size you think you will need and can store easily.

A set of knives with covers will keep you from cutting your hand when reaching into a drawer.
A set of knives with covers will keep you from cutting your hand when reaching into a drawer.

This knife set is similar to a set that we have had for several years. Our camper doesn’t really have space for a knife block and I hate having knives in a drawer unless they are covered. There are bigger and there may be better sets out there, but a set of three has worked well for us so far.

Shelf liner

Non slip shelf liner
Non slip shelf liner

To keep things from sliding around, line the shelves with your plates, etc. with this liner.

Kitchen Bins

Storage bins for under the counter storage
Storage bins for under the counter storage


Bonnie uses bins like these in various sizes, both plastic and cloth to hold spices and dry foods, as well as other kitchen essentials, in the cabinets. It keeps them from sliding all over the place and makes the food easy to get out.

Cleaning Supplies

RV safe cleaner
RV safe cleaner

Make sure whatever you get is RV safe. The materials used in RV construction are not the same as normal house construction. We use Method cleaners and they work pretty well. You can get them at Target if you don’t shop Amazon Prime Pantry.

Some other items you will need

Basic kitchen utensil set
Flatware and drawer organizer
Pots and pans

Bathroom Gear

There is a couple things you need to understand about RV bathrooms: 1) By nature, they are almost always cramped and 2) you need special stuff to make the toilet/black water tank work well.

RV Toilet Paper

RV Toilet Tissue
RV Toilet Tissue

You CANNOT use normal toilet paper in your camper. It will not break down and will become a problem in your black water tank. This is the stuff we use. You can often find this at Wal Mart (most of the time near the automotive section, but sometimes near the camping section), so if you run out on the road, you should be able to find it. Also, a lot of campgrounds carry it in their camp stores, but sometimes those are pretty pricey.

Toilet Deodorizer

Black water tank deodorizer
Black water tank deodorizer

Use these tabs, along with a lot of water, to prevent odor from coming up from your black water tank.

Toilet Paper Holder

Toilet paper holder
Toilet paper holder

Our camper did not have a toilet paper holder by the toilet, so we bought this one and it works just fine.

Toothbrush Holder

Toothbrush holder
Toothbrush holder

Another easy way to save on counter space is a toothbrush holder. This one works well for us, though you may have to replace the adhesive after a while.

Tissue Holder

Tissue holder
Tissue holder

My wife uses tissues like there is no tomorrow and this holder saves on serious counter space in the bathroom. Even she initially thought this was a somewhat frivolous purchase, but has come to really appreciate this little space-saving device.

Towels

We really like our new towels. They dry very quickly.
We really like our new towels. They dry very quickly.

We started out using cotton towels from Ikea, which have hanging loops and dry ok, but if it is a driving day or a rainy day outside and they are cooped up in the bathroom all day, they can get a bit musty.

We got these microfiber towels and they are great. They dry quicker without having to be hung outside. The towels are not quite as comfy as cotton towels but they do a great job nonetheless. They are a bit long, so we had to put additional hooks on the door for them.

Toiletries

I suggest keeping a second set of toiletries in the camper, as practical. The less you have to pack, the more time you can spend enjoying your camper.

Bedding

You will need bedding appropriate to your bed. Some RV beds are custom sizes, so make sure you know your bed size before you get anything.

Having a set of sheets, pillows and a comforter ready to go for your camper definitely cuts down on the prep time for each trip. Again, your time camping is worth more than the additional expense of bedding.

If you live in an area near Ikea, you can get quality sheets and bedding for a cheap price. Remember, you want your bed in your camper to be as comfortable as possible. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Mattress and Mattress Pad

The mattress topper saved our backs for a couple years.
The mattress topper saved our backs for a couple years.

The mattress that came with our camper was awful. It was quite thin and offered no support whatsoever. So much so that we bought a mattress topper online before we finished our first weekend with it.

We found a great memory foam mattress topper on Amazon and it kept us going for two summers.

The new mattress is great, especially for the money!
The new mattress is great, especially for the money!

Last summer, we bought a mattress on Amazon. It was a bit of a risk since we like to try a mattress out before we buy it, but the price and the reviews convinced us.

The new mattress is great (at least for me). I like it a LOT better than the Tempur-Pedic we have at home. It is firm, but not overly so. Bonnie would love it if it were about 10% softer but, for the money, it can’t be beat.

Other Interior Gear

Heater and Fan

Space heater
Space heater

Propane is expensive. One of the first pieces of advice we received for our camper was to buy a small, electric space heater in lieu of using the furnace on cool nights. This one is relatively small and works like a charm.

While our camper has a fan built into the AC, it rather noisy. This is a much quieter and more controllable alternative.
While our camper has a fan built into the AC, it rather noisy. This is a much quieter and more controllable alternative.

While the AC system has a fan that can be set to always on and blowing air, it is pretty loud, so we bought a small fan to use at night or outside. It is quiet and the lowest setting makes for a nice cool breeze.

If you are going to be using the Ryobi One+ system, you might want to just get the Ryobi fan. You can operate it with a battery or an extension cord. If I were only going to get one fan, I would get the Ryobi model because of its flexibility. That said, this one is quieter and has more settings.

Power Strip

Power Strip with USB ports makes charging electronics easy.
Power Strip with USB ports makes charging electronics easy.

If you are anything like Bonnie and I, you have a plethora of things that need recharging or power. I bought this power strip as an electrical hub for the camper. Behind the TV mount in our camper is a decent sized cabinet area with an outlet.

This power strip sits back there with chargers or cables for our iPads, iPhones, Apple Watches, drill battery, Apple TV, Fire Stick and will be home to our cell phone booster and WiFi booster once we get those installed.

The reason I like this particular power strip for all of those applications is the four USB ports, with two of them being able to charge tablets.

Amazon Fire Stick

The Amazon Fire Stick is great for traveling with or without your camper.
The Amazon Fire Stick is great for traveling with or without your camper.

I am an Apple guy and am typing this on an iMac. We  use Apple products almost exclusively in our home. But for RVing (or travel in general), I recommend the Amazon Fire Stick as a streaming device and here is why: It allows for logging in to a WiFi systems with a Web-based password. That is something my beloved Apple TV, Roku and Chromecast simply cannot do.

Your ability to actually use the stick very much depends on the WiFi at your campground (or if you are lucky enough to have an awesome unlimited data plan), but if you are thinking about streaming Netflix, etc., this is your device.

If you are an Apple person, like me, you might want to consider taking an Apple TV as well. The main reason is being able to stream content from your other Apple devices. You can also, on the fourth generation devices, load it up with games to play.

Zip Ties

Cable ties
Cable ties

All of those electric cables, plus a dozen other things, will need tying down. Get some zip ties in various sizes and make your life less cluttered, cable-wise.

Velcro Straps

Velcro straps
Velcro straps

The other thing you will need (trust me on this!) is velcro straps. These get a ton of use in our camper.

Extra Fuses

Assorted fuses
Assorted fuses

Eventually, a fuse will blow on your camper and you will need to replace it. Check your electrical system to see if you need more or less of any particular fuse type, but this is a pretty good variety of fuses for your camper.

Command Hooks

Command hooks
Command hooks

Get a bunch of these. Trust me, you will want to hang things like your keys, towels, coats, hats, etc. in different parts of your camper.

Pro Tip: Every camper is different and you are sure to find several things unique to your camper that you need on your first, second or even third time out. I suggest staying somewhat near a Wal-Mart for the first couple of trips while you work out all the kinks. Don’t worry! It gets better.

We hope you have enjoyed the lists. If you have any questions or comments on our reviews, feel free to contact us!

Our guide for new RV owners on all the gear for the inside of campers, from bedding to zip ties, they will need to hit the road in style.
Enjoy this story? Be sure to pin it on Pinterest and share it to Facebook and Twitter!
Share This

You may also like

37 comments

Avatar
Randy Moon April 16, 2018 - 10:58 am

Thanks for all the info. I will use and apply about 95% of your suggestions. No doubt saving me future headaches and a ton of cash. I live near you in North Georgia. Best wishes in your journeys. Many regards, RJ

Reply
Grant Sinclair
Grant Sinclair April 16, 2018 - 11:03 am

Thanks so much, RJ! Please let us know if there is anything we can help you out with.

Reply
Avatar
Evea April 16, 2019 - 10:33 pm

I thought the dish rack took up too much space so I got a dish drying mat and love it. I also use a large dish drying mat on the floor in the bathroom for showers. It dries fast and washes up nicely.

Reply
Grant
Grant April 17, 2019 - 10:06 am

Our Dish rack collapses but we completely understand. We have a lot of counter space in camper compared to many we have seen. The large dish drying mat on the floor for the shower is a great idea!

Reply
Avatar
Yvonne Byrne April 19, 2018 - 5:28 pm

Thank you for your helpful information. Just a recommendation for the towels – we purchased Turkish Cotton Peshtemal Towels with a thin terry lining on one side. They dry very fast!
Yvonne

Reply
Grant Sinclair
Grant Sinclair April 19, 2018 - 5:31 pm

Thanks so much for the recommendation Yvonne! We are gearing up for our next big summer road trip and some new towels would be a good idea. Glad you liked the article!

Reply
Avatar
Crystal Suksi April 20, 2018 - 5:53 pm

We recently upgraded to our camper from a tent trailer and I was shocked to see an exact replica of our new one on your page! I must admit it is a bit odd to see our same floorplan, cabinets, wallpaper and countertop colors with someone else’s touches but very cool at the same time! We can definitely share tips since we have the same rig!

Reply
Grant Sinclair
Grant Sinclair April 22, 2018 - 5:21 pm

Hi Crystal,

Isn’t it a great floor plan? My wife and I love the size and that it is just right for the two of us. We love the area right behind the TV for our charging station. Works great.

Reply
Avatar
Gail Downs June 11, 2018 - 5:59 pm

This information is great! Thanks!

Reply
Grant Sinclair
Grant Sinclair June 11, 2018 - 9:04 pm

Thanks so much! Please let us know if there is anything we can help with!

Reply
Avatar
Mondie Gonzales August 7, 2018 - 1:17 pm

We have the exact same model. Have you changed the closet area at the back of the trailer? I’d like to use it more for food storage and such, but it has a clothes hanging bar. Ideas?

Reply
Grant Sinclair
Grant Sinclair August 7, 2018 - 3:16 pm

We have not changed it yet, but we did buy a three-drawer plastic number from Wal-Mart to store folding clothes. We are thinking about adding shelves on the right side for clothes and leaving the left side open for backpacks and camera gear, but we agree we don’t need as much hanging space.

Reply
Avatar
Cindy September 20, 2018 - 12:31 am

We have a towel warmer in our bathroom it it in the wall behind the toilet. No musty bath towels or anything else that get wet. Great for drying beach towels, laundry, wet pants and socks on those rainy days.

Reply
Grant
Grant September 23, 2018 - 3:25 pm

What a great idea! We are totally going to have to look into this!

Reply
Avatar
Jeannine Brown April 21, 2019 - 1:49 pm

Where did you purchase the towel warmer and does it plug in or is it hardwired?

Reply
Avatar
Janet January 29, 2019 - 5:47 pm

I use large plastic hair clips with teeth, (along the same concept as a clothespin), to hold towels on the towel bar while going down the road. I also use suction cup hooks around the top of the shower to hang wash cloths (I’ve added hanging loops just like IKEA does) , shower loofah’s and wet swim suits on. Another thing I like to have along is a small step stool. I’ve vertically challenged and can’t always reach things on the top shelf of the pantry. We just bought a new travel trailer and we’re outfitting it in preparation for an extended trip in April and May, and my 90 year old mother will be joining us. We’re still seeking storage ideas for the bathroom. As you know, space is SO limited in there.

Reply
Grant
Grant January 29, 2019 - 8:03 pm

Great suggestions Janet! We got a small stool for Bonnie. The suction cup hooks for bathing suits is a great idea and we will have to add some to the list!

Reply
Avatar
Nancy June 17, 2019 - 2:00 pm

I bought an expandable shower curtain rod that we put over the shower to hang wet jackets or towels on rainy days.

Reply
Grant
Grant June 19, 2019 - 2:39 pm

Another great idea!

Reply
Avatar
Katey July 17, 2019 - 11:47 pm

So many great ideas!!! Thanks so much!! Also love the small Disney items throughout the camper.

Reply
Bonnie
Bonnie July 18, 2019 - 1:50 pm

Thanks! Glad we could be helpful. We really enjoyed camping at Fort Wilderness at Disney World!

Reply
Avatar
Susan October 16, 2019 - 3:52 am

Toilet paper in Rv….never put it down the toilet! We use a small plastic container about 6” wide to place toilet paper inside and dump every day with the garbage. With two people there was never much to dump and if the shape is round no corners to catch. Lastly we poured in a little pine power to control any smell or germs. In eight years of full time, we never that problems with an RV black tank clog.

Reply
Grant
Grant October 16, 2019 - 6:18 pm

That’s an interesting idea, Susan. I completely understand why. We have never had a problem in our four summers of camping but you have a lot more experience than us. We use the RV/Marine toilet paper and it has worked fine for us.

What kind of toilet paper and whether or not to flush it is a hotly debated topic in the RV world.

Reply
Avatar
Evea April 19, 2020 - 11:25 pm

We love the Beddy’s bedding. It zips up like a sleeping bag, but fits on the bed like a fitted sheet. It works great in our motor home that has a pop out for the bed, that requires us to fold the mattress up to close. The bed stays made and is ready to go when we stop.

Reply
Grant
Grant April 20, 2020 - 4:17 pm

Thanks Evea! That sounds like a great idea for a folding bed! We actually have a Coleman sleeping bag leftover from tent camping that might work on our folding bed. We will have to try that out!

Reply
Avatar
Janet Walsh May 1, 2020 - 10:13 am

TOTALLY AGREE WITH ALL THE SUGGESTIONS. We have only been travelling 2 years but found out pretty quickly there are just somethings (like everything mentioned in this article) that are light weight and help with organizing and storing. Great suggestions!

Reply
Grant
Grant May 1, 2020 - 10:25 am

Thanks so much, Janet!

Reply
Avatar
Kay May 5, 2020 - 4:39 am

Finally someone who is practical when it comes to camping gear essentials. I have looked at many lists and this is the best one for usable ideas. Thank you!

Reply
Grant
Grant May 5, 2020 - 10:27 am

Thanks so much, Kay!

Reply
Avatar
Candy May 22, 2020 - 12:02 pm

We just bought our first used 5th wheel and I’ve been working on a list of must haves for the inside. Your list has helped me a lot!

Reply
Grant
Grant May 22, 2020 - 12:22 pm

Thanks so much, Candy! Be sure to check our list for outside gear as well. Obviously, you will have different needs than we do because of the differences between a fifth wheel and a travel trailer but, hopefully, you will find some stuff that helps!

Reply
Avatar
Jan Andrews June 1, 2020 - 4:04 pm

WE just purchased a 17′ Colema searching for ideas/suggestions to get it stocked & ready for the road. Your suggestions were fantastic…some I had not thought of. We’ll put most of them to good use. Were in Northwest GA also. We’re looking for some campground suggestions…we have 2 small doxies that will travel with us (they’re actually the reason we purchased the camper) We’re looking for secluded both in the mountains and beach areas – always on water. Suggestions?

Reply
Bonnie
Bonnie June 3, 2020 - 11:41 am

Glad our gear suggestions were helpful! In terms of campgrounds on the water, we really haven’t stayed at many and the few we have stayed at weren’t really secluded. I use campgroundreviews.com and Good Sam (need a membership, but it’s worth it) to find campgrounds. Campendium (web site & app) is another good one that I use occasionally.

Reply
Avatar
Linda Oliver June 24, 2020 - 7:38 am

Suggestion……we have a permanent spot in Hiawassee at River Bend Campground. We have camped here for years and LOVE IT! The Hiawassee River borders the property and is BEAUTIFUL! Lake Chatuge is <3 miles away and is even more beautiful! We are just over the mountain from Helen on one side and Clayton/Dillard is just on the other side. It is also <20 minutes to some great small towns in NC.
We leave Saturday for a week at a new RV resort (open <1 year I think) near Myrtle Beach called Carolina Pines. It is not on the beach, but we prefer it that way!
Have fun camping this Summer!

Reply
Grant
Grant June 25, 2020 - 11:21 am

We will have to check it out! We are always looking for local campgrounds to use for weekend trips!

Reply
Avatar
Jeanne Fell June 24, 2020 - 5:12 pm

Great list!!! I bought a whole bunch of stuff that I wouldn’t have thought of. So glad I asked you for a ride that day at Veteran’s Lake.
Jeannie

Reply
Grant
Grant June 25, 2020 - 11:20 am

Jeanne, we are so glad we can be of help! We are glad we met you and can’t wait to hear more about your adventures! Feel free to email us, etc., if you ever have any questions!

Reply

Leave a Comment