What RV Parts Do I Need and What Do They Do?

If you’re considering buying an RV or are a first-time RV owner, have you wondered what parts or accessories you need to buy before taking your camper out for the first time? 

Here is a rundown of the essential parts you’ll need, why you’ll need them, and the approximate price ranges to purchase them, so you can have the best camping experience possible, without any surprise costs.

Essential RV Parts to Have

RV Sewer Hose

Costs: $40 to $175

A sewer hose is used for dumping your grey and black tanks. You may have heard this referred to as the stinky slinky. If you don’t have a sewer hose to control the flow, then the, ehem, “contents” in your black tank will spew all over, causing a big mess. Trust me here, you really want one of these.  

I recommend choosing a higher quality sewer hose to make sure you don’t have any leaks or “accidents.” If you are purchasing your first sewer hose, you are going to want to make sure you also have an elbow attachment. This attachment will either screw into or sit on top of the dump station, allowing you to dump your waste without having to use your hands. 

Just a heads up, make sure to always close your black tank valve. Leaving the valve open can cause your tank to dry out. A completely dry tank will leave dried out waste inside the tank, causing a blockage and limiting the flow of the waste. A blockage like this can damage your black tank and cost you money down the line. We regularly see first time campers who forget to close their valve at our service facilities but doing this one small thing will mean you don’t have to be one of them.  

Toilet Chemical

Costs: $11 to $50

When you’re RVing, you’re going to want to use toilet chemicals to clean your black tank. Toilet chemicals contain enzymes that break down waste and tissue in your black tank, which makes it easier to empty the tank and prevents blockages. Neglecting to use these chemicals can cause a buildup of sludge in your black tank, which can damage your tank monitors, cause nasty odors, and restrict your tank from dumping properly.  

Water Hose

Costs: $25 to $60 (standard), $350 to $500 (upper-end, heated hose)

You will use a fresh water hose to fill up your fresh water tank or to plug straight into a city water port if you’re at a campsite that provides water plug-ins. A fresh water hose could be something as simple as an extra garden hose or something more luxurious, like a powered and heated water hose. Powered and heated water hoses are nice to use when you are camping in cold climates because they are made to prevent freezing. Where you are staying can determine what kind of fresh water hose you will need. 

RV Toilet Paper

Costs: $5 to $10 (4-roll pack)

RV toilet paper dissolves faster because it is made of a different material than regular toilet paper. A faster dissolve means it will flush easily without clogging your black tank. The toilet paper needs to be quick dissolving and fully biodegradable for it to be considered safe to flush in your RV. Some RVers have had success using regular toilet paper, however, I personally would opt for the RV toilet paper to prevent any sort of clogging issue. Really, at this point, I don’t think we overstate how much we don’t want your black tank to clog. 

Water Pressure Regulator Valve

Costs: $15 to $130

A water pressure regulator valve reduces the amount of water pressure as the water enters your camper. If the incoming water pressure is too strong, your water lines can blow, causing interior leaks and water damage in your camper. Having one of these is important, especially if you camp in multiple locations, since the water pressure levels at each campground are different.  

The basic regulator models are preset to keep your water at a certain pressure range, whereas the higher-end models will allow you to dial in the pressure yourself and include a monitor to set your water pressure.  

Wheel Chocks

Costs: $3 (plastic wheel chocks) to $240 (x-chocks)

Campsites can be uneven and the last thing you want to worry about is your camper running away from you on its own! Luckily, wheel chocks were designed to keep this from happening, and they prevent your camper from rolling once in place. 

There are several types of wheel chocks to keep your camper stable. Some find that cheaper, plastic wheel chocks do the job just fine, while others opt for fancier x-chock wheel chocks that lock your double-axle and tires into place. Along with preventing your camper from rolling, x-chocks also reduce swaying and rocking.  

There is a drastic price difference between these chocks since they do perform different tasks. If you choose regular wheel chocks, both Josh the RV Nerd and I recommend you spend a few more dollars to buy rubber wheel chocks since they are higher quality and won’t wear down as fast as some of the cheap, plastic ones will. The video below shows what RV parts are worthwhile, and what parts aren’t!

Power Adapter Cord

Costs: $25 to $75

An RV adapter cord converts the energy up or down depending on where you are plugging in your camper. You will need to convert your camper plug to the outlet you are plugging into. Some campers require 30 amp service while others require 50.  

Some campsites will only provide 30 amp service. You should always take this into consideration when you are choosing a campground, since a camper with 50 amp service that is plugged into a 30 amp energy source, can run all of your essential appliances, but will lose access to running multiple ACs at a time, washer and dryers, and residential dishwashers.

RV Surge Protector

Costs: $140 to $480

Surge protectors stop power surges, which can completely fry your camper’s electronics and electrical lines. In the event of a power surge, you would have to replace all the lines or electronics that are damaged, and that would likely be all of them. With a surge protector, you will not have to worry about this, as the surge event will be stopped at the surge protector. Higher end surge protectors can even be hardwired to the camper. 

Although this part is not essential to go camping, we list this as an essential item because, in our experience, Rvers who experience power surges without a surge protector are very unhappy (this is an understatement) they did not have one to protect their camper. The risk of a surge event and the damage it could cause far outweighs the cost.  

Honorable Mentions

Water Filter

Costs: $50 (water filter) to $580 (water purifier)

Most RV campsites will have some sort of water filter, but not all do, so you may have to use well water. We do recommend you get a water filter to keep you and your family healthy and drinking clean water, even though it’s not always necessary. A water filter will get rid of sediment and larger debris and smooth the water, whereas a water purification system will clean the water more completely. A purification system will clean the bacteria in the water, giving you clean, purified water.  

If you are at a campground, you probably won’t need a full purification system because the water is more than likely being filtered. A water filter is all you need to improve the quality of the water, under these circumstances. If you are pulling your water from an untouched source (for example, from a well or river stream), the water will still carry all of the natural bacteria. A purifier to filter and clean your water is definitely a good choice for this situation.  


Costs: $5 to $35

Many people are unaware of the utility of a simple stick-on level. This inexpensive tool can tell you when your camper is level. Being level will help with the sway when you are walking around inside your camper. Some campers do already have levels on them, so be sure to check your RV before purchasing one.  

Overall Cost of Essential Parts

At Bish’s RV, we make purchasing essential parts simple by providing a recommended parts guide for customers to choose from, with pricing attached. All of the items on this list will cost about $350 for a Bish’s RV owner. For all of the essential parts (excluding the surge protector and level), it will cost about $175. These prices reflect the Diamond Club Membership discount customers receive when they purchase a camper from Bish’s RV. Keep in mind, the overall cost of parts will vary depending on what parts you buy. 

We hope this guide eliminates any surprising extra costs for necessary parts during your RV buying journey. Buying a new RV is fun, but can also be frustrating if you don’t know what costs to anticipate, so we hope to have saved you some frustration.  

Bish’s RV would love to help answer any further questions you have about buying an RV or the parts you need. Reach out to hear from one of our RV Outfitters by clicking the link below!

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