Casita travel trailer at night by Oklahoma's Skiatook Lake
Nighttime in the Casita at Oklahoma's Skiatook Lake

Travel Trailer Accessories You Absolutely Need (Read This BEFORE Your First Trip)

Boats are often described as "a hole in the water, into which you throw money." Travel trailers aren't much different.

Boat owners often describe theirs as “a hole in the water, into which you throw money.”

First-time travel trailer buyers quickly realize that RVs, motorhomes, campers, and travel trailers aren’t much different.

Purchasing your travel trailer is only the first step. Modern campers require a lot of extra “stuff” to ensure they’re comfortable, safe, and well-maintained.

We’ll assume you’ve already shopped the basics. Many — like safe drinking hoses, sewer hoses, and wheel chocks — are obvious. But, if you’re a new owner or just bought your first travel trailer, these are the must-have travel trailer accessories that may not have occurred to you.

This isn’t a fluff list of RV kitchen gadgets that we’re calling “essential,” but rather the must-have travel trailer accessories that we never leave home without. No matter where we’re going or for how long, we always pack these.

View from River’s Edge Trail Camp, Virginia

Electrical Travel Trailer Accessories

Surge Protector

Hughes Autoformers PWD30-EPO, 30 Amp Spike Power Watchdog, Shut Off
  • Package dimension : 11.684 cm x 26.67 cm x 58.42 cm
  • Product type : AUTO ACCESSORY
  • Package weight : 2.585 kg

Last updated: 2021-12-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The electrical systems in most travel trailers are complex and delicate. The electric systems at many state parks and campgrounds are (often) old, shoddy, and unpredictable. It’s a terrible mix.

Plugging your new or new-to-you travel trailer into shore power is always a gamble. All it takes is one incorrectly wired 30-amp socket to fry your trailer’s electronics, and you’re looking at a costly repair.

The solution: A surge protector designed specifically for travel trailers and RVs. This is hands-down one of the most important travel trailer accessories, as it acts as a “go-between” from campground power to your travel trailer. If something goes hinky with the campground’s electrical system, the surge protector will shut off before a potentially dangerous spike hits your rig.

For us, we love the Hughes Autoformers PWD30-EPO Power Watchdog Smart Bluetooth Surge Protector Plus EPO. At around $200, it’s the most expensive accessory we purchased for our travel trailer. But, we can’t recommend it more highly.

One really nice feature is that we can monitor the surge protector on our phones via Bluetooth. On the occasions where we’ve overloaded the circuit, the PWD30-EPO can be easily reset through the dedicated app. We don’t even have to leave our travel trailer.

If yours is a 50-amp rig, check out the Hughes Autoformers PWD50-EPO-H Power Watchdog Smart Bluetooth Surge Protector Plus EPO with Auto Shutoff.

Extension Cords

Camco (55191) 25' PowerGrip Heavy-Duty Outdoor 30-Amp Extension Cord for RV and Auto | Allows for Additional Length to Reach Distant Power Outlets | Built to Last
  • Safe and Durable Construction: Extension cord is constructed with 100 percent copper wiring coated with a heavy duty flame retardant, heat resistant PVC sheath that serves as protection from outdoor elements, wear and tear. Listed with CSA
  • High Conductivity with a Flexible and Sleek Design: Bendable extension cord adapter allows easy conversion from a standard 30 Amp male to 30 Amp female. Rated for 30 Amp 125 Volts. Constructed with 10 gauge wires for greater conductivity
  • Hassle Free Power Grip Plug: The patented Power Grip handle eliminates frustration by assisting users in safely and conveniently gripping, plugging, and unplugging the male and female ends without straining or damaging the cord

Last updated: 2021-12-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Depending on where you camp, extension cords are something you won’t need often. But, like RV insurance, when you need it, you’ll be very, very glad you have it.

For a 30 amp travel trailer, I highly recommend having at least a 10-foot 30-amp extension cord. A 25-foot cord is better. We keep a 10-foot 15-amp extension cord on hand as well.

LED Light Bulbs

Bayshe 3W 12V BA15S S8 SC Bayonet Single Contact Base 1156 1141 LED Light Bulb 2700K Warm White,Low Voltage AC/DC 12volt Landscape Path Deck RV Camper Marine Boat Trailer Lighting-Pack of 5
  • 【BA15S Bayonet Single Contact Base】Pls kindly check the bulb size & base in picture-It's BA15S #single contact#. 35000 Hours Lifespan, Lower maintenance costs by reducing re-lamp frequency. 2 Year Warranty.
  • 【AC10-18V& DC10-30V】Wide Voltage range both AC10-18V & DC10-30V compatible, 360 degree 3W 300Lm high-brightness very stable to work with any low voltage fixture with BA15S base.Plug and play in 1156 7506 1003 1141 etc.
  • 【Easy Installation】BA15S base led bulb 3W 300lm,360 Degree angle: Can be easily fitted to replace low voltage 15-30watts halogen light,saving energy over 90%.Creating a cozy and warm white full glow ambient atmosphere, perfect lighting source for outdoor landscape yard applications such as step lights, deck lights, driveway lights, path lights, gazebo lights and paver lights; Interior Car RV Trailer Camper Boat light.

Last updated: 2021-12-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Some would argue this isn’t completely necessary. They’re not wrong. You can certainly live with your factory-installed incandescent bulbs.

The problem is that they suck a lot of power — like a lot relative to their size and the function they serve. When you’re running a small, 30-amp travel trailer, every amp counts. I want every last bit of power available to me.

The solution is to replace the factory bulbs in your travel trailer with LEDs. For a small travel trailer, like our 17-foot Casita with around a dozen bulbs, that costs about $30. The bulbs are rated to tens of thousands of hours, so basically they’ll outlast you.

If you’re worried because you’re not handy, just know that replacing the bulbs in your RV is not much different than replacing the light bulbs in your home. Pop the old ones out, pop the new ones in.

It’s one of the most inexpensive upgrades you can make to your travel trailer, and it’s more than worth it.

Battery Tester

Innova 3721 Battery and Charging System Monitor
  • Easily plugs into vehicle’s cigarette lighter or power receptacle to monitor battery and charging system voltage
  • Designed for 12-volt negative ground systems
  • LCD displays measured voltage with a bar graph to indicate battery charge level

Last updated: 2021-12-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Travel trailer owners quickly learn that so much of their sanity and comfort while camping revolves around a healthy battery. Many RV and travel trailer issues center around the electrical system. So, when problems arise, the first and easiest thing to do is to check the battery.

Thankfully, testing your battery is as easy as, well, using a battery tester. Just plug this little device into a 12v outlet somewhere in your travel trailer and check the reading to ensure your battery is charged and working properly.

All hooked up at Hideaway Campground in Everett, Pennsylvania

Water & Plumbing Travel Trailer Accessories

Water Pressure Regulator

Camco Brass Water Pressure Regulator with Gauge- Helps Protect RV Plumbing and Hoses from High-Pressure City Water - Easy Read Gauge, Lead Free (40064)
  • Helps protect RV plumbing and hoses from high pressure city water
  • Attaches easily with 3/4" garden hose threads
  • Pressure is factory pre set at 40 50 PSI

Last updated: 2021-12-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The same reasons you should buy a surge protector — fragile travel trailer electrical systems and shoddy campground electrical systems don’t mix — are why you need a water pressure regulator.

Unregulated campground water pressure can vary between a trickle and over 100 psi. The latter is enough to literally break the plumbing in most travel trailers and cause a catastrophic flood in the process.

A water pressure regulator is an inexpensive metal piece that physically restricts the flow of water at the spigot. There are hundreds of options but we went with this brass model from Camco.

It’s less than $20 and dead-simple to use: Screw it directly to the spigot, then hook up your travel trailer’s water hose as usual. It’s factory set to no more than 50 psi, so you can rest assured it won’t break your plumbing.

You don’t absolutely need a regulator with a gauge. But, I like being able to see how strong the flow is. Plus, it means that I can get a visual reading on whether water is actually flowing without even leaving our Casita.

Water Filter

Culligan RV-800 Exterior Pre-Tank Recreational Vehicle Water Filter with Hose
  • Provide your family with visibly clean, great-tasting water for drinking, cooking and more
  • Features: Reduces bad taste and odor, chlorine taste and odor, sediment. Flexible 12 in. connector hose included
  • Compatibility: Easily attaches to exterior of RVs, campers, trailers, motor homes, and boats.

Last updated: 2021-12-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Campground water quality is often as questionable as the water pressure. If you’re planning to drink the tap water (or shower with, or do dishes with, or cook with, or brush your teeth with …), you’re going to want a water filter.

There are dozens of great RV water filter brands on the market. We went with Culligan, and have been very happy with it. The filters run about $25 and are designed to last an entire season. So, at the end of the year, just toss it and buy a new one next year.

Happy Camper Powder

HAPPY CAMPERS RV Holding Tank Treatment - 64 Treatments
  • ODOR FREE: Eliminates odors in the RV holding tank. Absolutely no chemical or sewer smell.
  • Septic tank friendly
  • EFFECTIVE: In extreme hot & cold temperatures ( over 100 Deg)

Last updated: 2021-12-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Most travel trailer toilets are designed not to stink — as long as you take care of them. Febreze and Poo-Pouri will only take you so far before your camper-mates begin to hate you.

The dirt-cheap solution is Happy Campers holding tank treatment powder. Follow the directions on the package to the letter, and you’re toilet (and bathroom) will never smell. Plus, it’s biodegradable, eco-safe, and septic-friendly.

Everything Else …

BioLite Headlamp 750 in Nevada’s Desert Wildlife Refuge


BioLite HeadLamp 750 Lumen No-Bounce Rechargeable Head Light
  • Powerful lumens and rich features in an ultra-compact space. This pro-line model puts you in complete control of your illumination thanks to Constant Mode, Run Forever pass-thru charging, and 8 different lighting modes that enable you to see and be seen on your next adventure. And with BioLite's proprietary 3D SlimFit construction, you'll wear major functionality with maximum comfort.
  • Max Output 750 Lumens. Front Modes: Red Vision, White Spot, White Flood, White Combo, Strobe, Burst Mode.
  • Rear Red Visibility Light with Solid & Strobe modes. ALL modes are dimmable.

Last updated: 2021-12-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Most people think to pack a flashlight. And you should. I love this multipurpose, solar-rechargeable light from Goal Zero.

But, I would strongly suggest packing a headlamp too. Despite our best intentions, we occasionally wind up pulling into camp after dark. A headlamp (instead of a flashlight) guarantees that I have both hands free while unhitching and hooking up our water, sewer, and electric.

Rubber Gloves

Bestseller No. 1
Med PRIDE Medical Vinyl Examination Gloves (Large, 100-Count) Latex Free Rubber | Disposable, Ultra-Strong, Clear | Fluid, Blood, Exam, Healthcare, Food Handling Use | No Powder
  • Medical Exam Vinyl Gloves – Designed for handling bodily fluids, or for food service use, our latex-free gloves help provide reliable protection
  • Thick, Heavy-Duty Resilience – Crafted with a 4 mils thick PVC, these versatile medical gloves are stronger than nitrile or latex while still giving you the dexterity and control you need for needles or equipment.
  • Commercial or Industrial Use – These vinyl medical exam gloves can be used by emergency personnel, home or hospice care, lab technicians, elder care specialists, veterinarian and medical staff, and dental professionals.
Bestseller No. 2
Powder Free Disposable Gloves Medium -100 Pack -Clear Vinyl Medical Exam Gloves
  • EXTRA STRONG DISPOSABLE GLOVES: These heavy duty clear vinyl gloves are 4 mil thick (5 gram average weight) and designed to be rip and tear resistant. They are transparent, tough, and can handle a workload! From the kitchen to the lab and everywhere in between.
  • FOOD SAFE GLOVES: Perfect for use in home and commercial kitchens, these gloves are safe to use while handling food. They also have a superior grip and texture, and can even be used with many touchscreen phones and devices.
  • POWDER FREE & LATEX FREE: Free of natural rubber latex, a common allergen, these non latex gloves are perfect for medical facilities, hair, nail and beauty salons, tattoo parlors, and other offices with patients or clients with latex allergies.
Bestseller No. 3
100 Pcs Disposable Gloves Medium, Black Gloves
  • HIGH-QUALITY MATERIALS:Better puncture resistance, better abrasion resistance.
  • TEXTURED FINGERTIPS GLOVES: The entire glove is finely textured to provide maximum gripping power for wet and dry objects.
  • WEAR & REMOVE EASILY: Rolled cuff for easy opening, quick donning, and fast removal. A convenient dispense pack keeps gloves clean and organized while providing easy access.

Last updated: 2021-12-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

On a checklist of travel trailer accessories, rubber gloves might seem like just a “nice-to-have” item. But, trust me, they’re essential, even if you’re not a germaphobe. And especially now in the time of COVID-19.

When you’re hooking up at a dozen different campgrounds on your next trip, you’re going to be sticking your hands in some questionable places. There’s just no way around it.

Reusable gloves work just as well and are much better for the environment. But, this is one thing that I prefer to go the disposable route. I use one pair to hook up when we arrive at camp, and another when we’re breaking down. Finish with plenty of hand sanitizer, of course.

Bonus: Ceramic Space Heater

Amazon Basics 500-Watt Ceramic Small Space Personal Mini Heater - White
  • Compact personal space heater design that is small enough for tables or desktops
  • Featuring efficient ceramic coils that heat up in seconds
  • Available in 4 colors to custom-match your decor

Last updated: 2021-12-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Travel trailer owners who camp in winter or anywhere that cold weather is an issue know that reliable heat is critical. Propane is dirt cheap and fairly reliable in most RV furnaces.

But, we’ve found that a ceramic heater is even better. They’re small, ultra-portable, and inexpensive. (Tip: Get one with tip-over protection, especially if you have pets.)

Plus, if you’re hooked up to shore power, you can use the campground’s “free” electricity rather than paying to burn your own propane. It’s also a great backup in the event that your furnace fails or you run out of propane in the middle of a brutal, 20-degree night in February in the Outer Banks when nothing is open for miles in every direction (ask me how I know …).

What are your most essential travel trailer accessories — those bits of camper kit you never leave home without? Let us know in the comments below!

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