A couple who traveled to 48 states in an RV share 17 things they would never go on a trip without

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A couple who traveled to 48 states in an RV share 17 things they would never go on a trip without
  • Packing for an RV trip can be daunting if you're traveling in a motor home for the first time.
  • RV experts Marc and Julie Bennett shared their essential packing list for a road trip with Insider.
  • You don't want to drive off without a paper atlas, basic tools, or camping chairs, they said.

Marc and Julie Bennett drove through 48 US states in an RV. To help others planning a trip, they've shared a list of essential items to pack.

Marc and Julie Bennett drove through 48 US states in an RV. To help others planning a trip, they've shared a list of essential items to pack.
The Bennetts have traveled to every US state. RVLove

The Bennetts started living and traveling in an RV in 2014, according to their website.

Since then, they say they've been to all 50 states, driven through 48, and written two books about how you can, too: "RV Hacks: 400+ Ways to Make Life on the Road Easier, Safer, and More Fun!" and "Living the RV Life: Your Ultimate Guide to Life on the Road."

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Don't drive off without a lead-free, safe drinking water hose, and only use it for drinking, the Bennetts say.

Don't drive off without a lead-free, safe drinking water hose, and only use it for drinking, the Bennetts say.
Marc and Julie Bennett's drinking hose. RVLove

Rather than green or black like garden hoses, drinking water hoses are usually white or blue, the Bennetts said. They recommend the Camco Lead and BPA-free drinking water hose.

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You'll also need a quality sewer hose to dispose of waste, the couple said.

You'll also need a quality sewer hose to dispose of waste, the couple said.
Marc uses a RhinoFLEX sewer hose. RVLove

"There's not a big price difference between a cheap sewer hose and a good quality hose," Marc said. "So don't cheap out if you want to avoid sewer hose leaks or fails."

Marc and Julie use a RhinoFLEX sewer hose.

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A wastewater treatment product is a must for reducing odors, the Bennetts said.

A wastewater treatment product is a must for reducing odors, the Bennetts said.
The Bennetts use Happy Campers in their RV. RVLove

The Bennetts advise putting it in both gray and black tanks, and say they prefer to use Happy Campers because it's organic, biodegradable, and works well in their experience.

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To check your tire pressure before every trip, you'll need a gauge, Julie said, or even better, a monitoring system like the one pictured below.

To check your tire pressure before every trip, you'll need a gauge, Julie said, or even better, a monitoring system like the one pictured below.
The Bennetts' tire pressure monitoring system. RVLove

Julie said that it's important to check your tire pressure before every RV trip because RV tires often require higher air pressure than regular cars to support their extra weight.

"We check our tire pressure before every trip, and have never had a serious tire incident," Julie added.

A tire pressure monitoring system is even better than a gauge, the couple said. If you're thinking about upgrading, Marc and Julie reviewed their recommendation — a TST 507 Tire Pressure Monitoring System by Truck System Technologies — on their website.

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While it's not as essential, the Bennetts said they wouldn't leave for an RV trip without a portable air compressor so they can fill their tires themselves.

While it's not as essential, the Bennetts said they wouldn't leave for an RV trip without a portable air compressor so they can fill their tires themselves.
The Bennetts' air compressor kit. RVLove

RV tires typically need high pressure, the Bennetts said, and many gas-station air pumps can't hack it. But small, portable air compressors like the Viair often can, they said.

This also saves you the trouble of navigating tight spaces in gas stations with a gigantic vehicle, they said. You can find more information about the Viair compressor on the couple's website.

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Relying on cell service can get you lost, the couple warned, so a road atlas is essential. And if your RV is on the bigger side, consider getting an RV-specific GPS.

Relying on cell service can get you lost, the couple warned, so a road atlas is essential. And if your RV is on the bigger side, consider getting an RV-specific GPS.
A large atlas is best, according to the Bennetts. LUVLIMAGE/Getty Images

You're not always going to have service or internet, Julie said, so having a large paper road atlas is essential.

The Bennetts also recommend getting an RV-specific GPS for your travels, especially if you have a particularly large rig.

"Many roads are not suitable for RVs because of height, weight, width, steep grades, tight turns, or tunnels that don't allow propane," Julie said.

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They said you should carry basic tools, like a multi-tip screwdriver, pliers, and an adjustable wrench for minor fixes and adjustments.

They said you should carry basic tools, like a multi-tip screwdriver, pliers, and an adjustable wrench for minor fixes and adjustments.
You'll want to bring some basic tools. Joey Hadden/Insider

RVs tend to shake and rattle a bit when you're driving, Marc said, which can loosen screws.

"Having a few basic tools on hand means you can tighten things up, and make minor adjustments, which can help avoid a bigger problem that could ruin your RV trip," he said.

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Comfortable folding chairs will make the outdoors more relaxing and enjoyable, according to the Bennetts.

Comfortable folding chairs will make the outdoors more relaxing and enjoyable, according to the Bennetts.
Marc sits in a comfy chair. RVLove

There are seemingly endless options when it comes to folding camp chairs, but the most comfortable ones Marc and Julie say they've found are Strongback Chairs because they're portable, durable, and easy on your back.

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Level sites are hard to find in nature, the couple said, so leveling blocks are a must if you're camping.

Level sites are hard to find in nature, the couple said, so leveling blocks are a must if you're camping.
Marc puts leveling blocks under the tires. RVLove

Carry leveling blocks to put under your tires to keep your RV level, and make sure they are made for the weight of your RV, Marc and Julie said, adding that they use the Tri-Lynx Levelers, which come in a pack of 10.

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If you have a trailer, Marc and Julie suggest getting wheel chocks to prevent it from rolling away.

If you have a trailer, Marc and Julie suggest getting wheel chocks to prevent it from rolling away.
The Bennetts set up camp. The Bennetts set up camp.

Similar to the need for leveling blocks, you'll need wheel chocks at the front and back of your tires if you have a trailer to prevent it from rolling away once it's disconnected from a vehicle. The Bennetts recommend these wheel chocks from Camco.

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The Bennetts make sure to bring disinfecting wipes everywhere to clean their hands quickly after dirty jobs.

The Bennetts make sure to bring disinfecting wipes everywhere to clean their hands quickly after dirty jobs.
The Bennetts suggest antibacterial wipes. Joey Hadden/Business Insider

After dumping your sewer tank or making mechanical repairs, you'll be glad you have disinfecting wipes nearby to clean your hands and your tools, the couple said.

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A sand-free patio mat is a must for camping, the couple said.

A sand-free patio mat is a must for camping, the couple said.
Marc sets up a patio mat at a campsite. RVLove

"Any patio mat can significantly reduce how much dirt and sand can get tracked inside your RV," Julie said. "But a sand-free mat works even better as it traps dirt and sand fall under the top layer of the mat."

Julie said she and Marc use the C-Gear Sand Free Patio Mat because it's lightweight and compact.

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Some thick-grip shelf liner in your cabinets will help keep items in place while the RV is in motion, the Bennetts said.

Some thick-grip shelf liner in your cabinets will help keep items in place while the RV is in motion, the Bennetts said.
Julie's shelf liners. RVLove

The couple recommends putting some shelf liner (like these from Duck) or jar grippers (like these from Super Z Outlet) between plates, pots, and pans to keep them from rattling or breaking.

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Water pressure can vary from one campground to another, Julie said, so a water regulator is essential for protecting your RV's plumbing system.

Water pressure can vary from one campground to another, Julie said, so a water regulator is essential for protecting your RV's plumbing system.
An arrow points to the water pressure regulator. RVLove

If the pressure is too high for your RV, it could cause a leak or other water and plumbing damages, the Bennetts said, adding that they recommend a lead-free and adjustable water pressure regulator, like this one from Valterra.

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Electrical power can vary from campsite to campsite, too, Marc said. That's why you'll need an electrical surge protector.

Electrical power can vary from campsite to campsite, too, Marc said. That's why you'll need an electrical surge protector.
Marc uses an electrical surge protector at a campsite. RVLove

"Many RV parks were built decades ago when there were very different types of RVs," Marc said. "Today's RVs are often much more power-hungry and demanding on their older systems, which can cause fluctuations in power that can damage sensitive electronics, or even cause a fire."

While the Bennetts said some RVs have built-in surge protectors, they recommend getting one if yours doesn't, adding that they like both the Southwire Surge Guard and Hughes Autoformer Power Watchdog.

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A portable lithium battery jump starter isn't essential for everyone, the Bennetts said, but they wouldn't travel without one.

A portable lithium battery jump starter isn't essential for everyone, the Bennetts said, but they wouldn't travel without one.
The Bennetts jump-start a vehicle with their portable battery. RVLove

The Bennetts said they've used their portable jump-starter several times during their travels when they or others have had a dead battery.

The couple uses a NOCO Boost jump-starter, they said, adding that it also can charge other electronics with a USB charger. Head to their website for a full review of the product.

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Fires are more common in RVs than in traditional homes, the Bennetts said, so they travel with five fire-suppressant foam cans.

Fires are more common in RVs than in traditional homes, the Bennetts said, so they travel with five fire-suppressant foam cans.
The Bennetts use Fire Fight handheld foam cans. RVLove

The Bennetts said they have three Fire Fight handheld foam cans in their motor home, one on the outside of the vehicle, and one in the driver's area.

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