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Full-Time RV Living Must-Haves for Beginners

Updated: Jun 17, 2022

As we mentioned in our first blog, From Condo Living to RV Living Full Time: The Decision, my husband and I recently decided to buy an RV to live in full-time. After only a few months of living in an RV full time to save money, my husband and I have come up with a list of must-haves that everyone considering the full time stationary RV lifestyle should know about. Here's the list:

In the Winter

Although there are a lot of pros of full time RVing which we have mentioned in our blog The Pros of RV Living vs Condo or Apartment, there have been some learning curves. RVs are not necessarily designed for below freezing temperatures and as such, you must make sure you have a few things to survive the cold. Though the cold snap where we live only lasted a week or two, it did cause some damage. The damage would have been much worse if our super helpful neighbour had not come to our rescue to show us how to properly do a few things.

Space Heaters and Electric Blanket

It is very expensive to heat purely on propane in the winter so we bought a space heater for each bedroom to compensate. I am just one of those people who is always cold so, I purchased a heating pad and a heating blanket so I could warm up faster and stay warm. We would have spent a lot more money on propane without the heaters and heating blankets this past winter. Lucky us to have the record breaking low temperatures in our first month of living in an RV full time.

Water Jug

In the event that your water pipes do freeze, you will want to make sure you have plenty of water available to you. My husband and I suggest buying a big water bottle and filling it with water before those below freezing temperatures arrive. Make sure to pay close attention to the weather to be fully prepared.

Bare Necessities

In the winter months it is always important to make sure you have the bare necessities at any given time; just in case you get snow or iced in your RV and you live too far to walk to get what you need. You definitely wouldn't want to be stuck in your RV for a few days without heat, food or toilet paper!

Make sure you are always stocked with non-perishable food to last a few days, the jug of water mentioned above, and have an extra tank of propane ready just in case the power goes off.

Heated Water Hose

Just spend the extra money and buy the heated water hose instead of using pipe insulator, heat tape or other methods of trying to keep your hose from freezing in below freezing temperatures. They do not work! We have tried them all and our hoses kept freezing or breaking.

RV Skirt

We were stubborn and didn’t get an RV skirt because the winters don’t last very long where we are in British Columbia, so what’s the big deal anyways? It is a BIG deal and we will make sure we have one by next winter. Brrrr!

Heater Gun

So, this sounds silly, but sometimes the water pipes freeze and you simply need to put a little heat on the water source to get the water flowing again. This is where a heater gun comes in handy.

Sewer Hose Support

This is something you will need all year round, but it is especially important to have in the winter. Not having sewer hose supports prevents the gravity from pulling the sewage down into the drain, thus freezing your sewage hose. Grosss!! This is exactly what happened to us this past winter in our first month of living in an RV because we didn't want to be upsold and buy something we didn't need. But we need these! They are really important because once the sewage lines freeze other things will follow.

The Rest of the Year

The rest of the year is just like camping, right? I hope so, but we will keep you updated on how it's going in our summer as well.

Levelling Tools

Make sure you have some type of block or wood to keep your RV level when you first park it. We didn't know about this when we purchased our RV so we had to go out and buy four two-by-four planks of wood on moving day! Please note that some RVs come with an automatic levelling system. -- See picture above with sewer supports for our levelling two-by-fours under our RV wheels.

Sewer Hoses

We learned the hard way that we need matching sewer hoses for each of our bathroom holding tanks. Make sure you get the same hoses for each holding tank to ensure they connect to the Y-bracket. When both bathroom sewer hoses are not connected to the Y-braket you can only use one toilet at a time and can only drain one holding tank at a time.

WiFi Range Extender and Booster

If the RV resort you're staying at has free WiFi or there is free WiFi somewhere on the site, you may already know how unreliable the connection is. We are parked just on the cusp of being within or outside of the WiFi free zone. Before we purchased our range extender we had to roll up our roller shades a little and place the TV in an exact position to get a single bar of WiFi which would disconnect frequently and gave us a bad picture. I found it very difficult to find a WiFi range extender that would work with an open source WiFi network that is not secure but luckily the Netgear Dual Band WiFi Range Extender worked for us..

Storage Shed

If you have not been able to part with some things you cannot fit into your RV, we suggest buying a storage shed. Some RV resort parks allow them while others do not. Check in with the site staff to see what restrictions they have on storage sheds as this could make your life a lot easier and put you at ease quickly about downsizing... Or may be the thing that makes you decide RVing full time is not for you.

Garden Planters

If you are like me and like to garden but your RV resort park does not allow you to plant your own garden, you may want to look into garden planters. Depending on what you plant in your garden planters, they can also provide you with some added privacy too. We will be buying ours soon to start a couple of different types of gardens, though we haven’t decided on exactly what… Stay tuned for that one…

Outdoor Carpet

If you don't have a few thousand dollars lying around to spend on having a deck made for you, consider buying an outdoor carpet. I am not too fond of the gravel pad we have so I opted to buy a huge outdoor carpet to cover some of the area beside the outdoor kitchen. Now it looks a lot neater and we won’t have to worry as much about rocks in our sandals or shoes in the summer months. Though, I may need to buy a couple more to be fully rid of the gravel yard.

Indoor Dry Rack for Laundry

To avoid conflict, my husband and I decided a long time ago that we would hang-dry our clothing as we would sometimes put the wrong items in the dryer and accidentally shrink each other’s clothes. So, having a dryer rack has proven to be very helpful with this. I am sure this will prove to be useful in the summer as our pool area opens up too!

Space-Saving Cupboard Racks

Our space is smaller than your average two-bedroom condo, so space-saving cupboard racks make a big difference in keeping our counters free from clutter. This matters not only because our counter space is limited, but also because little things like these have made our transition from condo living to full-time RVing a much easier transition.

Other than these basic items we weren’t able to come up with much more from our own personal experiences because the beauty about moving into an RV is that it comes fully furnished! Also, we have only been living in an RV full-time for a few months so far.

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