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12 of our favorite RV Hacks, Mods and Products

| Updated Dec 26, 2023

In more than ten years of RVing, we have tried a lot of RV hacks, tweaks, modifications, and products to enhance our RV Lifestyle experience. We're always experimenting and trying new things!

And folks are always asking us about them. So we thought we'd put together this report showing what we've used in the past with many of our RVs.

AND we're going to update this list (from 2020) in a special Amazon LIVE event coming up on Dec. 28th, 2023, at 3pm Eastern. And if you missed it live, no worries, you can use this same link to watch the replay!

Our Favorite RV Hacks

Surge Protector

The electric pedestals at many campgrounds are outdated and in bad shape. Bad power can damage or destroy the appliances in your RV so getting a reliable surge protector like this is critically important. We bought and use the  Southwire Surge Guard, model 34930. This unit installs between the electric pedestal at the campground and the power cord that connects to your RV. It provides protection against power surges, open ground, open neutral, Low and High voltage, overheating of the plug or receptacle, reverse polarity, miswired pedestal, and elevated ground. The unit continuously monitors for and displays voltage and Amp draw. It does an automatic reset on power restoration in the event of a blackout so everything is clean before feeding power back into your rig.

Step Lube

One of the most used pieces of equipment on your RV is the retractable step that you use to go in and out. Without frequent lubrication, it squeaks and can easily get stuck. A mistake many RVers make is spraying WD40 on it. Don’t.  WD 40 will collect road dirt and make a mess. We use a product called Kwik Lube. It is a strong, protective grease used for keeping RV steps in working condition. This lube will hold up against water and doesn’t collect road grime. We lubricate out step every four to six weeks..

Thetford Slide Out Rubber Seal Conditioner

A can of this stuff costs just over $13 on Amazon but the rubber seal around RV slide outs is what keeps out water and thus, in our book, anything we can do to protect those rubber seals its pretty important. This product repels water, cleans, conditions and protects the rubber seals around our slide out. It also inhibits damage from those destructive UV rays that beat down on the slide all day long. We spray a light coat on the rubber seals twice a year.

Preview Product Price
Premium RV Slide Out Premium RV Slide Out $19.42Amazon Prime

Fresh water drain extension hack

Too many RVers leave water in their fresh water tanks for too long. That water can get real skunky and it is always best to empty it after each camping trip. But the fresh water drain on most RVs seems to never be in a convenient spot. On our Leisure Travel Van Unity model, I had to lie flat on the ground and then reach way under the coach to drain that tank. I saw the solution on the coach of an RVer named Richard McGarrity at a recent rally. So, at Holland Motorhomes in Holland, MI – the same dealer Richard used – I had them add a pipe extension to bring the drain knob out to a location I can reach without having to get down on the ground. They firmed it up with braces and fashioned a shield to protect it from anything kicked up from the road. Cost of parts and labor, about $400.

Fresh water quick disconnect

Speaking of fresh water, here’s something we added to the fresh water hose and the intake connector on our RV – a quick disconnect. This solves the problem of having to thread and tighten the connectors by hand, something that had to be lined up just so and always seems to result in an annoying little leak. The quick disconnect takes seconds, it snaps on and off instantly and is totally leak-free. You can get them at any RV shop or Amazon.

Fresh water filter

One more must-have for fresh water – filters. We use Camco inline filters every time we hook up to a fresh water connection at a campground and whenever I fill my fresh water tank with a drinking water safe hose. They reduce bad taste, odors, chlorine, and sediment, and they also protect against bacteria growth when the filter is not in use inside a hot storage compartment.  We’ve seen too many RVers connect directly to campground spigots with no filter. That’s just not a smart thing to do. Always use a filter. We change them out about every three months.

Fresh water pressure regulator

You need one more thing related to your fresh water hookup on the RV: A pressure regulator. Too much water pressure from a campground’s city water connection can blow out your plumbing lines. Putting this little screw-on connector at one end of the hose regulates water pressure flow to a safe, consistent 40–50 lbs of operational pressure. All RV shops sell these and they are available on Amazon.

Happy Camper Black tank deodorizer

Now let's talk about the black water tank. We all have experienced the odor that can come from those tanks. The most important thing to do to minimize those smells is to use enough water when you flush. And before you empty that tank at a dump station, run lots of water into the toilet. Fill it right up if you can before you empty. As for further reducing odors, we use a holding tank deodorizer called Happy Camper. It’s all organic and comes in powder form. One scoop handles a tank up to 40 gallons.

Shine Armor Waterless RV wash

This is one of the handiest products we’ve ever come across. A lot of campgrounds don’t allow RVers to wash their rigs. But no one likes to have an RV covered in road grime. This little bottle called Shine Armor works wonders. It washes the surface without water, shines, and protects as well. Spray it on a cloth and wipe it on the RV. It’s amazing. We use it for spot touch-ups and even have done the whole RV with it. It took most of the 8-ounce bottle to do the entire RV but that’s about what it costs us at one of those coin automated vehicle washes. It’s not meant for windows but does clean and shine stainless steel and, of course, the RV body.

Rear ladder

We added this accessory ladder to the rear of one of our RVs. There are a lot of reasons I need to get on the roof. To clean the solar panels of debris, to squirt down the roof, to adjust my WiFi and cellular antennas, to check the caulking and to do general roof maintenance. The ladder comes in two sections. The top is firmly attached. A lower section snaps on and stores securely in a side storage cabinet. I ordered mine through a dealer and had it professionally installed for about $475.

Mega Cuff Hose and cord clamps

This is such a simple little do-dad. But so handy. This is the Mega Cuff and it is an adjustable clamp that we use to wrap around hoses and power cords to keep them neatly wound up. We use the large size with a three-inch diameter. The clamp has serrated teeth to get the perfect tightness and it releases easily with just the push of a button. We bought ours at one of the big box home improvement stores, but they are also on Amazon. We found a four-pack listed there.

Leveling Blocks

Last on our list are leveling blocks. They kind of look like giant Lego toys. They’re great for leveling some Class B vans or towable trailers. You put one or two or whatever you need under your wheels. But they are handy even if you have an automatic leveling system like we do with our Leisure Travel Van’s Unity Class C RV. We put these under the hydraulic leveling jacks when parked on grass or soft ground. They’re widely available for under $30 at Walmart, most RV shops, and on Amazon.

How about you? What are your favorite RV hacks, modifications, and products for your RV? Share in the comments below!

REMEMBER we're going to update this list (from 2020) in a special Amazon LIVE event coming up on Dec. 28th, 2023, at 3pm Eastern. And if you missed it live, no worries, you can use this same link to watch the replay!

Want to see my remote working hacks?

I thought I’d put together some of our remote work tips. Some of this material first appeared on the Leisure Travel Vans Blog in a post I wrote specifically for them in 2020.

Last update on 2024-06-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Mike Wendland

Published on 2023-12-26

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

12 Responses to “12 of our favorite RV Hacks, Mods and Products”

December 28, 2023at9:20 am, Mike Cook said:

I added an electrical outlet inside our TT that plugs into the power pole 20 amp outlet outside. This gives a little extra power for things that will trip the breakers in a 30 amp service. (Heaters, hair dryer…)
PS. Love your article every day


January 02, 2024at12:57 pm, Team RV Lifestyle said:

Thanks for sharing this tip, Mike, and thank you for the encouragement! Team RV Lifestyle


August 01, 2020at3:02 pm, 17 steps for quick RV setup at a campground | RV Lifestyle said:

[…] 12 of our favorite RV hacks, mods and helpful products […]


August 21, 2019at9:26 am, Brian said:

Really excellent. Short, easy to understand, and all needed information to order. Thanks. Really love your info.


August 16, 2019at9:41 am, Ron Rangel said:

You may consider adding more slip proof step covers to the aluminum steps on rv’s as they get real slippery when wet causing you to fall in or out of rv


August 15, 2019at6:48 pm, Krystal said:

Proof read please


September 04, 2019at5:43 pm, Diane said:

Let he without sin cast the first stone!! Cut them some slack!! Be kind!!


September 04, 2019at5:45 pm, Diane said:

Let him without sin cast the first stone!! Cut them some slack! Be Kind!!


August 15, 2019at6:47 pm, Krystal said:

I 2nd that!


August 15, 2019at11:10 am, Shirley said:

What was the name of the cloth Jen used to clean the interior of van?


August 15, 2019at9:41 am, Judy Hodson said:

We have noticed a lot of campers not using the white tasteless hose for fresh water. Is there another type of hose that could be used? An expandable one would be great but we weren’t sure if they are safe for drinking water.


August 17, 2019at6:52 am, Dan Walters said:

The blue hose with the S.S.fittings are better.I got mine at the RV section at Walmart


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