"Must Haves" for the first time PUP owner

Discussion in 'First Time & New Camper Owners' started by DelorFamily, Aug 7, 2008.

  1. webhannet

    webhannet Member

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    Feb 8, 2016
    Re: \

    It's impossible to imagine everything you might want or need - and it's far more difficult to carry it all. Weight is a major factor, so you must pare it all down. The nicest thing about campgrounds is there is lots of help nearby. If there's something you need, just ask around. The campground owner will know who the "go to" guy is for your particular problem. You really don't need to worry about it all.
  2. Donald

    Donald New Member

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    Oct 9, 2015
    Re: \

    We also have a Rav4 and our Viking is full load at 3500lbs but i don't use the water tank and try to be smart with what i'm bringing. i installed torsion bars and stabilizer, and a transmission oil cooler system.

    I would love to buy a GMC canyon, with tow kit 7000lbs capacity.
  3. Redbird

    Redbird Member

    Likes Received:
    Feb 28, 2016
    West Michigan, USA
    Re: \

    I'm one of those people who likes to have field guides with me in the great outdoors -- birds, trees, shells, etc. It's fun to identify things we come across. There are also some really nice field guide apps from Audobon available for the iPad.
  4. dnb

    dnb 1996/97 Coleman Yukon -- PacNW

    Likes Received:
    Feb 18, 2016
    Re: \

    ALL the pertinent stuff in this thread to date. Sorry if I missed something or duped something.

    In no particular order:

    1. Carpet for outside the door will keep the inside much cleaner, especially with kids/pets!
    2. Deck of cards. Small, cheap, and easy to store, cards are great time killers for those late afternoon thundershowers.. Games can range from poker, euchre, or hearts to more little kid games like go-fish or old maid.
    3. First Aid Kit. It doesn't have to be a fancy one, but it should cover all the basics. "Field and Stream" had a great article about DIY first aid kits, from small "Altoid Tin" kits to larger ones. F&S article
    4. Flashlight with working batteries
    5. Anti-bacterial wipes
    6. Pen/paper for notes about next time
    7. Camper journal to record your experience or notes to self about future trips to a particular CG
    8. Small broom/dustpan
    9. Trash bags that stay in the PUP
    10. Fan
    11. Camp Chairs
    12. Dish cloth and towel that stays in PUP
    13. Bug Repellant
    14. Small toolbox to fix minor issues
    15. Extension cords
    16. Tarp
    17. Rope - has many uses from clothes line to tying down the tarp (or the kids...)
    18. Collapsible trashcan
    19. Paper & pen for list of forgotten items
    20. Cameras
    21. Reading material
    22. Coffee & hot chocolate
    23. Anti-bacterial wipes
    24. trash can liners
    25. Flashlight
    26. Broom & dustpan
    27. Doormat
    28. Camp chairs
    29. Dish cloth & towel
    30. Log of campsite stays
    31. Bug repellant
    32. flip-flops for show
    33. Small tool box
    34. Dishes & utensils
    35. Bedding
    36. Levelers / pads for below them
    37. Water hose
    38. Water pressure regulator
    39 In line water filter
    40. Spray nozzle
    41. Plexus plastic cleaner
    42. Wheel chocks
    43. Stabilizer jack pads
    44. Collapsible trash cans & bags
    45. Beer open. Beer & ice.
    46. Chips & salsa
    47. Advil 7 other analgesics
    48. Camp ax
    49. Bone saw
    50. Shovel
    51. Rope / clothes line
    52. Water jug
    53. Fans
    54. Extension cords
    55. extra wheel bearing
    56. Games / dice / cards / rules book
    57. Camp stoves
    58. Lanterns
    59. Fire extinguisher
    60. Duct tape
    61. Wheel chocks
    62. Midnight pee bucket
    63. Measuring cups, oven mitts,
    64. 30A / 50A Converter
    65. 90deg. Hose Elbow
    66. Bungee Cords
    67. Crank Handle
    68. Extension Cord - heavy
    69. Lug wrench / Jack
    70. Power Strip
    71. Ratchet Straps
    72. Sink Drain Hose
    73. Tent Stakes
    74. Electrical Tape
    75. Adj. Wrench
    76. Screwdrivers
    77. Pliers
    78. Hammer
    79. Spare Lights Bulbs
    80. WD-40
    81. Work Gloves
    82. Y Hose Adapter
    83. Air Mattress Pump / Patch Kit
    84. Bag Clips
    85. Broom / Dustpan
    86. Carpet
    87. Citronella Candles
    88. Clothes Line / Clothes Pins
    89. Coleman Fuel Cans
    90. Dirty Laundry Bag
    91. Fire Grate
    92. Fire Starters
    93. Fly Swatter
    94. Grill
    95. Kleenex
    96. Lighters
    97. Matches
    98. Newspaper (fire)
    99. Ponchos
    100. Rope Lights
    101. Rug
    102. Salt / Pepper / Spices
    103. Sewing Kit
    104. Spare Batteries
    105. Tablecloth / Clips
    106. Tarp
    107. Tent
    108. Toilet Paper
    109. Water Bottle
    110. Weiner Forks
    111. Aluminum Foil
    112. Baby Wipes
    113. Baggies
    114. Can Opener
    115. Cleaner (fantastic?)
    116. Clorox Bleach Wipes
    117. Coffee Maker
    118. Coffee Mugs
    119. Cutting board
    120. Dish Rags
    121. Dish Scrubber Sponge
    122. Dish Soap
    123. Dish Towels
    124. Dishpan
    125. Frying Pan - Large
    126. Frying Pan - Small
    127. Hand Soap
    128. Knife
    129. Napkins
    130. Paper Plates
    131. Paper Towels
    132. Plastic Pitcher
    133. Plates / Bowls / Cups / Etc.
    134. Pot - Medium
    135. Pot - Small
    136. Saran Wrap
    137. Spoons / Ladles / Etc.
    138. Steak Knifes
    139. Air Mattress
    140. Bath / Shower Kit
    141. Bikes
    142. Blankets
    143. Cooler (s)
    144. Firewood
    145. Fishing Equip?
    146. Folding Table
    147. Pillows
    148. Radio
    149. Sleeping Bags
    150. Sunshade Canopy
    151. Swiffer Sweeper
    152. Towels / Washcloths
    153. Umbrella
    154. Coffee / creamer
    155. Kool-Aid / Lemonade Mix
    156. Sugar / Sweet & Low / Equal
    157. Greywater tote
    158. Battery clock
    159. Grilling utensils
    160. Propane
    161. Lighter fluid
    162. Sewer line
    163. Dutch oven
    164. Charcoal
    165. Daypack
    166. Hiking and water shoes
    167. Hitch locks
    168. Toilet paper
    169. Canvas repair kit
    170. Bikes / helmet / pump / repair kit
    171. Laptop / DVD player / MP3 player /
    172. 5 gal bucket
    173. utility knife
    174. Batteries batteries batteries
    175. Corkscrew
    176. Zip ties
    177. Contact saline solution
    178. Prybar
    179. Jack crank
    180. Pet supplies (leash, food, bowls, crate, etc)
    181. Headlamp
    182. Electrical cord converters
    183. Welding gloves for around the fire
    184. Ear plugs
    185. Pool patches for tenting (clear)
    186. Rake
    187. Fly strips
    188. Fire tools
    189. Hand-crank weather radio
    190. Spare camper keys
    191. Lug wrench
    192. Change for showers
    193. Lithium grease for hitch
    194. Milk crate
    195. Step stool
    196. Rubbing alcohol
    197. Q-tips
    198. Potty sanitizer
    199. Rubber mallet
    200. Essential meds
    201. Swimwear / goggles / fins / towels
    201. Perimeter bug fogger
    202. Rope lights
    203. Aloe vera
    204. Sun hats
    205. Spare TV keys in pup
    206. Oscillating fans
    207. Solar Charger
    208. Ladies “Go Girl”
    209. Velco ties / zip ties
    210. Teflon tape
    211. Solar panels / lights
    212. Night light
    213. Waffle iron / toaster oven
    214. Silicone seal
    215. Cash / credit cards
    216. “Personal protection”
    217. Water purification
    218. Damaged lugnut remover
    219. Spare fuses / in-line breaker
    220. Collapsible laundry basket / drying rack
    221. Asst propane fittings / wrench
    222. S hooks
    223. Butane torch
    224. Clothes pins
    225. Fire ant killer / wasp killer
    226. Camper manual
    227. Road flares
    228. Guitar
    229. Shoe holder / organizer
    230. Clotting pads
    231. Zipper bags / vacuum bags
    232. Crock pot with liners
    233. Spare tire properly inflated
    234. Tweezers / nail clipper
    235. “basic essentials for hiking” (look it up!)
    236. Extra zip locks
    237. Bluetooth wireless speaker
    238. Spare resetting circuit breaker
    239. Butane torch

    Camping Supplies
    Popup maintenance

    This is a great list...


    1.Before un-hitching camper from vehicle, level it side-to-side by selecting level ground or use 2x6 or 2x8 pieces of wood under tires
    2.After un-hitching, level camper front to back using tongue jack
    3.Unlatch four corners
    4.Walk around again to insure that all latches are down!
    5.Insert crank, turn Clock-wise until canvas is nearly taunt; then turn slowly until stopped
    6.Pull rear bed fully out. Pull from center of bed to minimize binding of rails
    7.Unlatch and secure bed supports. Use back of shoulders to lift end of bed
    8.Pull canvas loose on three sides. Reach inside and raise canvas support bar
    9.Slide canvas under bed, secure by stretching bungee cord to hooks
    10.Set up front bed using same procedure as rear bed. Remember to install bed support first.
    11.Open propone tank valve.
    12.Using small key, unlock door and secure to open position. (Larger key is for hitch padlock)
    13.Pull out step from under camper
    14.Remove items stored on floor inside
    15.Lift up and set in place galley top; p/u plastic trays from floor and store in galley
    16.Remove Sheppard’s poles from under mattress; insert under bed canvas and secure to ceiling bracket
    17.Unsnap door retainers, remove door from clip on roof. Lower door into its slot in door opening
    18.Set up door and secure (two turn bolts) to roof
    19.Go outside and secure lower Velcro to door both sides. Go inside and secure Velcro to door
    20.Remove dining seat backs temporarily to bed
    21.Pick up table, un-do Velcro strap, fold out legs, set table upright
    22.Slide seat cushions forward until they hit stops. Then insert seat backs in place
    23.Go outside and set up four stabilizer jacks.
    a.Grab body of jack and slide towards center of camper until it is released
    b.Let it swing down until it snaps in place at slight angle outward
    c.Insert jack rod through holes front and back; crank down to extend jack.
    d.As necessary, repeat with second set of holes

    You have completed your setup; enjoy your camping stay!

    Comments on set-up

    Locate the camper so that (1) you can reach the power post w/your electric cord; and (b) face the door opening into your campsite; towards the picnic table and fire ring.

    If you are using the refrigerator, make the electrical connection before starting set-up

    If you are using awning, raise roof only to head level, then unzip bag and allow awning to unroll and drop to ground.

    Do not pull down stabilizer jacks until the camper is completely set up. Otherwise, you may create binds in beds or door. Stabilizer jacks are not to be used to level camper, nor to lift the weight off wheels for winter storage. They are only used to stabilize the trailer so you can walk comfortably inside. They will work fine on hard surfaces. For sandy soils, you may need some 6”x6”x1” wood blocks.

    The set-up instructions assume that the level and roof crank are stored in your vehicle. If stored in camper, then door must open first. Unlatch (X 4) corners. Unlock and unlatch door. Using your shoulder against the awning, push up on roof enough to clear the door and allow it to open. This is same techniques to get into camper to access stored items while traveling.


    Fridge is good for storing meats, cheese, fruits, butter, etc. Anything that need cooling, but you don’t want floating in water in your cooler. Use your cooler for liquids (milk, OJ, pop, juices, etc.)

    Controls are outside. Remove lower grill. Select Elect for power source. Turn temp to highest. Replace grill. Set up camper the day before leaving and turn on fridge. Fill fridge before folding down camper. Just before leaving, disconnect electric cord. If the fridge is full, food should stay cold for a couple hours.

    To use on propane, turn power source to Gas. Then press gas control and light pilot flame. See instruction manual. The gas should stay lit while traveling. Use propane if you are traveling long distance. You can always switch to elect when you get to a campground. If you stay on propane, you will probably need to turn the temp control down to a middle level. Propane on high will turn your refrigerator into a freezer! (Not so w/elect).


    The awning has a metal channel across the front of the canvas. The two corner support posts are stored in that channel. Pull them out from the middle and establish awning heights using adjustable part of the poles. Stretch out and pin corner ropes to hold corner posts in place. If not included, you will need to buy a couple tent stakes.

    When you first unroll the awning, three supports poles will fall out. They have a pin at one end and a rubber (or vinyl) tip at the other end. The pin goes into a hole in the channel; the soft end goes up against the roof. These three poles hold the awning taunt away from the camper. You may now need to reset the corner posts and tighten or reposition the anchor ropes. Lower one corner of the awning such that rainwater will drain off.

    To take down awning. Lower roof to shoulder level. Remove anchor ropes; place ropes and stakes on top of awning. Remove three support poles and lay them horizontally on the awning. Shorten corner posts and pinch them into the channel. Fold the awning flap over the ropes, stakes, and poles and start rolling up the awning. To prevent zipper or bag damage, have someone hold one end of the rolled awning while you hold the other end and zip the bag shut.


    Buy a piece of outdoor carpeting to lie on the ground outside the entrance to keep dirt and mud out of camper.

    I would always set up the awning. It helps with the sun; it keeps rain away from your entrance; it protects items left outside. For extended stays (more than a couple days) I would also set up the screen room. With another piece of carpeting, it makes a nice play area for the kids. It can be a large storage room. Buy a folding table; stackable crates, any storage units to pack many of your needs. I even stored my pots and pans outside. The screen room protects your stuff from rain and prying eyes.

    Store bicycles under beds. Broom and dustpan across tongue.

    P/U a 5 gal pail for wastewater from the sink. Many campgrounds will not allow that water to fall to the ground. The pail becomes a storage container for wood blocks for wheels and jacks.

    May need to improve bedding for adults. A good quality air mattress (Coleman) is great, but a king size is too big. Could consider a queen mattress and buy queen bedding. Memory foam is nice, but expensive. Egg foam will work, but get medical quality. Less than half the price of memory foam. Both foams can be cut to size.

    King and Full sheets will be too long and too wide. You have to fold the excess under the mattress.

    If your overhead lights do not work, check:
    a.Elect source
    b.Fuse in the converter (under dinning seat)
    c.Connector outside at the road side rear corner
    d.Safety switch on galley. When the galley is down, the switch is open and the lights cannot turn on while camper is folded.

    If you have added mattress pads, the roof will not latch easily. If it fits your plans, take a 15 – 20 min break and the roof will slowly compress the beds. Then you should be able to latch the roof.

    Stabilizer Jack binds against ground. The jacks swing down and then back up to the lock position. At the bottom of the arc, the jack base may wedge against the ground. (Not a problem on paved RV pads.) To solve this, lower tongue jack until rear jacks clear and latch in position. Then raise tongue jack to clear front jacks. Then lower tongue jack back to level camper position. Finally, use stabilizer rod to extend four jacks to stabilized position.

    When closing, push beds in, but pull canvas out and allow to fall. Use broom to clean dirt from top of canvas. At home, raise roof and pull out canvas. Use hose, brush, and necessary cleaner to clean canvas. If you are forced to close the camper wet, then be sure to open it up at home to dry out. Do not store wet canvas for an extended time. You will get mold.

    If winter storage is outside, do NOT cover tightly with plastic tarp. You may trap condensation inside and – again – mold. The trailer is fine uncovered. In the spring scrub the top and plastic ends, then put a little wax on the painted sides. If you want to cover it, use some framing to hold the tarp away to allow air circulation between the tarp and camper.


    1. Remove Sheppard’s poles and store under mattress’s
    2. Remove dining seat backs and set aside. Push seat cushions all the way back. Pick up end of table, lower legs and secure with Velcro strap. Set table down on wood supports. Place two seat backs on table surface.
    3.Place screen house bag under table. Pillows and outside table on top of table
    4.Close curtains; raise door panel
    5.Remove Velcro from outside of door, and then from inside. Disconnect door from roof. P/U door from base; move top over your head to full overhead position. Secure bottom of door into latch on roof. Secure top of door with cloth snaps.
    6.Remove utensil pans from galley to floor. Fold over galley top
    7.Fill floor space with stored items.
    8.Close beds:
    a.Remove bungee cord from connectors
    b.Loosen canvas and lower support rail
    c.Fold canvas under three sides
    d.Remove and store bed supports
    e.Slide bed in until it stops
    9.Shut off gas valve
    10.Lower roof (counter-clockwise) to shoulder height and roll up awning
    11.Check that canvas is folding neatly inside
    12.Lower roof to about 6”; insure that all canvas is inside
    13.Lower the rest of the way.
    14.Put away tools, close and secure door, and slide in step.
    15.Latch four corners.
    16.Raise stabilizer jacks.
    17.Disconnect and store elect cable

    Note: if using wood blocks, then hitch camper to car before closing door. Pull away, collect blocks to pail; place pail in camper. Then complete closing.
    tcolborg and KamperKel like this.
  5. PointyCamper

    PointyCamper Active Member

    Likes Received:
    Nov 25, 2015
    Re: \ HUH??

    "49. Bone Saw"
    I can confidently say that I will NEVER need this while camping!
    [ALPU] [TV]
  6. The Hillbilly Hilton

    The Hillbilly Hilton New Member

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    Feb 28, 2014
    Re: \ HUH??

    I believe it comes in handy when trying to dispose of those noisy neighbors who let their kids run through our site, play music all night, let their dogs bark, run the geni way outside allowable hours....did I miss anything..
    Mrs.Woody and bob barnes like this.
  7. PointyCamper

    PointyCamper Active Member

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    Nov 25, 2015
    Re: \ HUH??

    Ahh, yes, burn plastic in the campfire and run a smoldering, wet wood stinky mess all day.
    But can't I just give the bones to the dogs??
    bob barnes likes this.
  8. Haybale

    Haybale I'd rather be camping!!

    Likes Received:
    Aug 22, 2013
    San Diego via MN
    Re: \

    Sleep stuff
    Food stuff
    Washing/cleaning stuff
    Sitting stuff
    Drinking stuff
    Fire stuff
    Emergency stuff

    And extra stuff!!
    bob barnes likes this.
  9. ChocoChock01

    ChocoChock01 On the road aagaain See Rallies below;

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    Mar 7, 2012
    Re: \ HUH??

    Depending on the bones (chicken.turkey, quail,rat....)
    the emergency medical bills (if u go that far) is not worth not making the trip to the trash AND the WRATH you will receive until the grave for not wanting to spend that EMERGENCY $$ at the PET hospital!

    *Disclaimer: I do not know where this wisdom came from...to give CREDIT to!
  10. PointyCamper

    PointyCamper Active Member

    Likes Received:
    Nov 25, 2015
    Re: \

    CC--Was referring to -camper - bones
    We stick to Nylabones
  11. dnb

    dnb 1996/97 Coleman Yukon -- PacNW

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    Feb 18, 2016
    Re: \ HUH??

    Your examples are just "a cut above"
  12. Nosam

    Nosam New Member

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    Mar 1, 2016
    Re: \

    This is an awesome list - thank you

  13. randaroo

    randaroo New Member

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    Mar 5, 2016
    Re: \

    Great list. Thanks!

  14. niagarafam

    niagarafam Active Member

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    Jan 25, 2014
    Re: \

    Cash dollars for all of the stuff.
  15. HappyFamily

    HappyFamily Member

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    May 20, 2014
    Re: \

    Funny thing about this thread. The "must haves" change as time goes on and your style of camping changes as well. A lot of the stuff I bought right away after getting our PUP has been since taken out and replaced with other things. I wish I hadn't been in such a hurry to make everything perfect from the start.

    I do love my pop up gizmos and my bal leveler though and those will never change. I wouldn't have known about either of them if I wasn't a member here.
    Adina*Moo likes this.
  16. rjhammetter

    rjhammetter Husband, Dad, Engineer & Camper

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    Mar 1, 2016
    Re: \

    This is a great thread. Plenty of information here and recommendations for camping must haves. I've camped enough to know what I need for camping, but being completely noob to PUs/RVs, I didn't know there were things the trailer needed - but didn't come with - to make it camping ready. I assumed you could buy an RV and go camping. I wish someone dumbed the thread down for me -- in other words, provided a list of basics I needed with the camper.

    Maybe PUP members could collaborate and publish an Idiot's Guide to Popups. Or the dealership could have told me I needed the items in the post below. Anyway, this is what we've purchased in the last 2 months just to use the PU. Noobs like me take note:
    • Chocks (I went with plastic rather than rubber/wood)
    • Levelers (I went with Lynx - I got Lynx stabilizer jack pads too)
    • Water pressure regulator
    • Water bandit
    • 30A-to-15A adapter (RV plug to standard outlet)
    • Exension cord (at least one 12/3 to run power to trailer)
    • Two 90deg elbows (one for city water and one for gray water)
    • Drinking/clean water hose (white)
    • Gray water hose (green remnant)
    • Gray water system (whether you go with 5gal pail or tote, it has to go somewhere)
    • Funnel or water tank filler w/ shutoff (I have a long-neck funnel and Valterra filler)
    In addition, I added some basic security to the trailer while sitting in my driveway:
    • Braided cable lock (I run mine through one rim and the propane tank)
    • Coupler lock (either for ball or through the latch pin)
    I guess I was surprised you need so much stuff after you buy a PU/RV. My list is similar to this section of this great post:

    Turbulent likes this.
  17. WingShot

    WingShot New Member

    Likes Received:
    May 14, 2014
    Re: \

    You can buy an RV/PopUp and just go camping. One campers "must haves" are another campers "no way".

    Just from your basic list...I don't need a water pressure regulator or water bandit, no use for a 30/15A adapter, extension cord, or 90deg elbows.
  18. Ryanincc

    Ryanincc Truth is poetry. Most Americans do not like poetry

    Likes Received:
    Dec 28, 2013
    Corpus Christi, TX
    Re: \

    Ive noticed that a LOT of the things I bring are just in case things. Not things like a slow cooker or a big griddle incase we want bacon on a whim. Stuff like a second 25 ft drinking hose in case the faucet is really far away, a 30 Amp extension cord if the post is really far away, a collapsible canopy (i have an awning too), Roof supports in case of cable break, the majority of my tools and hardware for the unpredictable repairs on site. Things that I'm SUPER happy I have when I need them but do not need them often. Also stuff that eliminates the risk of having to go go home an hour after arrival because you forgot or broke something. [SIZE=78%]BUT I have to store my pup away from home so when I break something while using it, I can't say "Oh Ill just fix that when we get home". A drawer broke this last trip that is roof up access only, I happen to have the rollers, track, and other associated tools to repair it in a few minutes. 19 out of 20 trips we take, when the roof goes down at the campsite, it doesn't come up again until the next campsite. [/SIZE]
  19. randaroo

    randaroo New Member

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    Mar 5, 2016
    Re: \

    A superlative list, thanks!

  20. leningradka

    leningradka Spending a small fortune to live like homeless guy

    Likes Received:
    Apr 26, 2016
    Phoenix AZ
    Re: "Must Haves" for the first time PUP owner

    I buy dollar store laundry hampers and use them as trash cans - fits a 13 gal trash bag perfectly and collapses to nothing!
    JerneyMoore likes this.

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