Even the most experienced RV camping set up person may find something new and helpful from reading this post. Don’t hesitate to forward a link to someone who you feel will benefit from the information within.
Electrical / Electronic items are an important part of recreational vehicle camping (RVing).
Detailed in this post are five very important things needed before you go on that RV trip. This doesn’t mean this is all you need but this is a great beginning. One more thing, if there is something more or something better out there that you can purchase (other than what I have listed in this post), get it.
Make sure you read the instructions that come with anything you buy, before you use it.
(1) Surge Protectors for 30 AMP and 50 AMP
Right after you buy your RV, you need to buy a surge protector for when you plug into power.
A surge protector is used anytime you will plug into electrical (like when you plug into a power pedestal in a RV campsite). A simple surge protector will prevent a surge of electricity from ruining electrical devices that are plugged into the RV. Yes, your coffee maker, toaster and can opener will be protected from having their internal electronics fried. More importantly your water heater, air conditioner, heating system, stove, refrigerator, lighting system, electric fireplace, stereo, TV and more will be protected from having their internal electronics fried.
A simple surge protector isn’t enough though. You need to protect all of your plugged in electrical devices through the use of a surge protector with an EMS (an Electrical Management System).
Surge protectors with EMS protect your plugged in electronics from those nasty sudden upswings of power, but they also protect against low power (like what happens when there is a brownout). Low power can damage electronics too.
I recommend you purchase a portable surge protector with EMS (one you can easily put away when not in use). Southwire is a brand I recommend. They get great reviews for their units, for their improved design changes and for their customer service.
At the time of this writing, Southwire surge protectors come with a lifetime warranty and connected equipment coverage.
If your trailer is a 50 AMP, you may want to purchase this 50 AMP surge protector with EMS.
If your trailer is a 30 AMP, you may want to purchase this 30 AMP surge protector with EMS. I’d purchase a 50 AMP surge protector instead (you never know, your next RV might be a 50 AMP unit).
That is exactly what happened to us. We had a lovely little A frame unit by Chalet.
After you are done reading this post, click here to read about “Camping (or Glamping) in Our Little Chalet”.
We loved our little Chalet, but found over time that we wanted more room. We had bought a 30 AMP surge protector for the Chalet. Then we sold the Chalet and bought a bigger RV unit.
Because we upgraded to a 50 AMP RV we had to purchase a 50 AMP surge protector (hind site is 20/20 they say).
Use a cable and padlock to secure the unit to the electrical pedestal (after all, these units are fairly expensive and too easily walked off with).
(2) Dogbone Electrical Adaptors
Many people may not know that most of the RV campsites out there, have 30 AMP electrical pedestals. Some newer campsites have 50 AMP pedestals. A house may have a 15 AMP outlet that may need to be plugged into. You need an adaptor when plugging into anything that is different in AMPs than your RV and surge protector. The electrical adaptor you will want for each circumstance is called a “Dogbone”.
Lets say you have a 50 AMP RV. You will want to purchase a 30 AMP dogbone because that is what you will come across most often at a campsites electrical pedestal. It wouldn’t hurt to get yourself a 15 AMP dogbone too, in case you want to charge up your RV at home. Often people do this to get the refrigerator cold in advance of a trip. They will load up their cold items right into the refrigerator, which should be able to keep things cold for many hours.
Any time you plug in a Dogbone adaptor, the male end (the pronged end), is plugged into the electrical outlet or electrical pedestal. You plug your surge protector into the female end (the socketed end). You plug your RV electrical line male end (the pronged end), into the surge protector’s female end (the socketed end).
Here are the adaptors you need to purchase if your RV and surge protector are 50 AMP;
30 AMP Male to 50 AMP Female dogbone Adaptor
15 AMP Male to 50 AMP Female dogbone Adaptor
If your RV is a 30 AMP, you may need a dogbone that allows you to connect to a 50 AMP electrical pedestal.
Here are the adaptors you need to purchase if your RV and surge protector are 30 AMP;
50 AMP Male to 30 AMP Female dogbone Adaptor
15 AMP Male to 30 AMP Female dogbone Adaptor
(3) Electrical Cable
Your RV very likely came with an electrical cable. If it didn’t or the cable is damaged in any way, it needs to be replaced. For a 50 AMP RV buy a 50 AMP electrical cable. For a 30 AMP RV buy a 30 AMP electrical cable.
You will need to decide the length, based on where your RV’s outlet is and where you will need to plug it in. If your RV isn’t very long and the outlet is at the back of the unit, you may only need a 30 foot cable. If your RV is very long and the outlet at the campsite is closer to the middle or the front of a campsite, you may need a longer cable. What if you want to charge your RV at your house? You might need a longer cable to do that. The decision is all up to you.
I’d be more apt to purchase the longest cable I could afford to get, as you never know what you will find when you get to a campsite.
50 AMP 30 foot long electrical cable
50 AMP 15 foot long electrical cable
30 AMP 25 foot long electrical cable
30 AMP 50 foot long electrical cable
(4) Kind of Electrical – Definitely Electronic – Headlamps
A headlamp is a device that you can wear on your head. It has a light mounted on the front of it, at your forehead. Yep you will probably look funny, but you will get whatever job you need to do, done quicker because you will easily be able to see what you are working on.
Headlamps are very important during set up, tear down and troubleshooting problems. They can be used hands free.
Make sure you get one that has a center head strap, so the unit doesn’t move down you forehead, out of position.
Some headlamps just die over time and they have to be thrown out (disposable headlamps). Others require alkaline batteries.
The one my husband asked me to get him for his birthday is this headlamp. It is a headlamp with an LED battery that is rechargable.
(5) Kind of Electrical – Definitely Electronic – A Pair of Walkie Talkies
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people trying to park a trailer as a team. One person is in the drivers seat with the window down. They are trying not to hit a tree or a bush or a water spigot as they back into their campsite. The other person is outside on the ground. They are in the campsite behind the trailer trying to guide the driver with hand signals or yelling out to them.
My husband is a genius. He bought us a pair of walkie talkies just for this task. It takes all of the guesswork out of “Did my partner say stop? Or cut it? Or what? When left was indicated, was I supposed to move the trailer left or where they trying to tell me I’m about to hit something on the left?
If you have a helper for parking your trailer, get yourself a nice set of good quality walkie talkies. My husband recommends Midland Brand walkie talkies.
Your partner will appreciate that you have a pair of walkie talkies and so will all of the surrounding campers who don’t have to listen to you yelling commands to the driver.
If you sign up, I’ll send you an e-mail 2 times per week with a link for you to go and read my latest post. Each post is created with the intension of helping you find ways to increase the joy in your life. Camping and Travel are just one of many ways to help increase your joy.
I’m so very lucky. I have the most joyful husband there is.
Can You Think Of Anything Else That Is A Must Have for Electrical or Electronics, Pertaining to RV Set Up?
Well, this is all I have to say about electrical or electronics during campsite set up and your RV. If you think of something else, drop me a line and I’ll check it out.
I hope you have safe and joyful adventures when you are out and about in your RV.
If you haven’t already read them, make sure you go read my posts titled, “9 RV Camping Things You Must Have for “Clean Water” and “10 RV Camping Things You Must Have for “Gray and Black Water, (Sewer)“.