Your New Used RV: Make a Checklist and Outfit it Properly

Second hand RV - 1950s Volkswagen Type 2 (T1) Transporter Kombi or Microbus campervan

Thinking of buying an RV for 2014? Buying a new RV, whether it’s brand-new or new-to-you, is an exciting purchase that promises countless weeks and weekends of family fun ahead in the new year. If you had the chance to go to the  51st Annual National RV Trade Show, which was held at the beginning of December, you might have noticed that the newest RVs on display were outfitted with essential gadgets that one cannot usually find in a used RV.

If you’re looking at some of the great deals out there on previously-owned RVs, there are things you should consider before that first trip – things to outfit your new rig the way you want it, and to make sure you’re safe and ready for the fun that awaits.

First on your list, before you buy and again once you have your RV home and in the driveway, is a good walk-thru. Make a checklist of things you need, things that need updating and things that may need fixing.

These should definitely be on your checklist:

Safety equipment
Check for fire extinguishers and make sure they’re in proper working order. Most RV owners never think to replace their fire extinguishers, so if yours is more than a few years old, a new one is a good peace-of-mind investment. Same goes for smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. And again, if the RV is a few years old, it may not have a carbon monoxide detector at all. Get one. Again, better safe than sorry. Make sure common health and safety staples are also on your list, including any aspirin and antibiotic ointment and over-the-counter medications you are likely to need, and that a First Aid kit is onboard.

We’d rather not think about it, perhaps, but buying a used RV means you’ll be sleeping on someone else’s bed. Consider a new RV mattress. Just like at home, your camper mattress is a magnet for things like dead skin, oils and – in a worst-case scenario – bed bugs. Don’t let them bite. You’ll not only gain comfort with a new mattress, but will also rest easier at night knowing your new trailer mattress is your very own.

Depending on where you plan to camp, make sure you have enough extension cord, and, if yours is self-contained RV with air conditioning and an electric hot water heater, make sure you have the proper 30-amp cord and adapters to reach the furthest electric service you’re likely to encounter. Check the battery and, if you’ll be camping without electricity, make sure it’s up to snuff. Additionally, an inexpensive pressure-limiting fresh water adapter will protect your trailer plumbing against high-pressure damage. Other things worth considering include de-flappers to prevent wind damage to your expensive awning, carpet liners to prevent slipping on wet steps, and outdoor carpeting or a purpose-made RV mat to limit dirt and sand under your awning.

Years of fun await in your new RV. Make the first trip the best it can be with some forethought and a checklist to make sure convenience and health and safety needs are covered.