Congratulations, you bought an Airstream! Now what? You may be wondering which accessories and tools are essential to have on-board as you start your Airstream adventures. Questions about this show up at least once a week on various forums. For that reason, Major Airhead and I decided to create what we consider to be the ultimate list of Airstream accessories to help newbies outfit their rigs. This list represents extensive research we’ve conducted, advice we have received from veteran owners, and suggestions based on our experience as new Airstream owners ourselves.
First and foremost, our advice is to be selective. It can get expensive and you have limited space to work with! This list is divided into what we refer to as “must-have” accessories and “nice-to-have” accessories, so you can quickly read through and prioritize. Tip: Bookmark this blog post right now so you can refer back to it often. When available, affiliate links are provided to products on Amazon so that you can review them in greater detail and purchase, if desired.
When you buy your new Airstream, you may be able to negotiate with the dealership and get them to throw some accessories into the sale. When we bought our Shining Hope, we were successful in doing that. My advice is to go ahead and ask…it’s worth a try.
Must-Have airstream Accessories
A surge protector is a must. Let’s face it, you are making a large financial commitment when you purchase an Airstream – you need to protect it. Many campgrounds and State parks are older and you’ll have peace-of-mind knowing that no matter how the electrical post looks, you are protected from both low-voltage issues and voltage spikes. You want a surge-protector that protects against both. Our recommendation is the Progressive Industries EMS-PT30X for 30 AMP units or EMS-PT50X for 50 AMP units. We encourage you to read our full blog post on selecting a surge protector.
Anytime you camp, you want to make sure your Airstream is as level as possible. A good leveling system is worth its weight in gold! Being level not only makes you feel more comfortable while camping, it helps your appliances operate better and helps to ensure that your Airstream door opens and closes easily. Being out-of-level puts undue stress on your Airstream’s door. We recommend the Andersen leveling system. It’s easy to use and works like a charm. Read our full review and blog post on how the Andersen Leveling System helped to save our marriage. *Wink wink*
Potable Water Hoses
Sure, you probably have extra garden hoses laying around your house, but you’ll want to purchase two dedicated drinking water hoses for your Airstream. You use these hoses when you hook up to the water supply at the campground or fill your fresh water tanks. We’ve only needed one hose so far, but we keep two on board just in case we need the extra length. They don’t take up much space and they are not expensive.
Sewer Hoses with Clear Piece
Although most of the time you are able to pull into a RV spot close to the sewer drain, it may not be ideally where you want to park. So, we keep two sewer hoses in tow at all times and also have an additional clear elbow that allows us to visually monitor the draining of the tanks. Sounds a bit gross, I know, but being able to witness solids move out of the black tank and watch the flow of liquid eventually turn to clear when using the Airstream’s black water flushing system confirms that we’ve emptied and rinsed our tank well.
Portable Outdoor Grill
You will definitely need an outdoor grill. We wanted a grill that felt solid, yet was portable. Many fellow Airstreamers gave the Weber Q series grills good reviews. We decided to check them out, conducted lots of research, and settled on the Weber Q1200. It’s portable yet very sturdy, has a large cooking area, has heavy-duty removable grates, and includes fold out trays to provide additional work space. You can also purchase disposable foil grease pans for the Weber Q1200 which makes clean up easy. And, it comes in a number of terrific color options in case you like everything to coordinate like I do! At $199, it’s priced right! We highly recommend this grill.
30 to 50 (or 50 to 30) Adapter
Most campgrounds offer sites with either 30 or 50 AMP electric posts. So what if the best site in the park has a 50 AMP post, but your Airstream has a 30 AMP system? You don’t need to forgo that dream site! Purchase an adapter that can step you down from 50 AMPs to 30, or vice versa. We keep ours in our Airstream’s toolbox at all times. You never know when you’ll need it and you certainly don’t want to be limited by an obstacle that is so easy to overcome!
We do not currently have a generator, but it is on our list to purchase in the near future. If you want to do any sort of boondocking for more than a day or so (that is, camping with no electric, water and sewer hookups), you’ll need either a generator or a solar panel system. The Honda EU2000i generator is very popular on Airstream forums and it is known for its quiet operation. It will require two Honda units in parallel to run the air conditioner(s).
Solar Panel System
Our unit is solar-ready, but did not come with solar panels. Many Airstream owners upgrade and install them after-market or use portable solar panels. As mentioned earlier, if you want to do any sort of boondocking, you’ll need to purchase either a generator or solar panel system. Check out this great do-it-yourself article from The Snowmads on adding solar panels.
Volt Meter for Batteries and Battery Tender
Tending to your Airstream’s batteries is important. You must keep a close eye on the battery levels so as not to drain them too low. Having a Volt Meter handy allows you to closely monitor them. When we have our Shining Hope parked in our garage in between weekend trips, we place her in “Store” mode and hook her up to a Battery Tender. Check out Major Airhead’s blog post about our lessons learned with the Interstate 24 Batteries.
New Airstreams come equipped with a fire extinguisher, but if you have an older unit that you bought second hand, it may be missing. Make sure your unit has one and that it is charged at all times.
RV Toilet Paper
Mr. Wipple probably never traveled in an Airstream, because Charmin is not for RVs! It’s important to purchase toilet paper that is septic safe for your Aistream. Septic safe and RV toilet paper breaks down more easily and helps to minimize clogs and issues in your black water tank. We use Scott’s Rapid Dissolving RV Toilet Paper. The Winn’s did a great video on this subject on their blog Gone with the Winn’s. Take a moment to watch.
A good tank deodorizer is a must to help solids break down in your black water tank and to help minimize odors. We use Thetford Aqua-Kem deodorizer because it comes in convenient toss-in packets which eliminates the need to measure and deal with messy powders and liquids. Mind you, this is not the most cost-effective product but it works great for us and we have not had any issues or odors in our unit. Tank deodorizer should be added each time you begin to fill an empty black tank. Flush about one gallon of fresh water in the tank before adding the deodorizer.
Newer Airstreams come equipped with an inline water filter under the galley sink. It didn’t take us long to figure out that having a filter at the hose bib was a much better idea. When winterizing for the first time, we learned that the filter under the sink had to be removed as part of the process, which was a pain. So we decided that we’d replace that with a whole unit filter that is installed at the water hookup site. We purchased the Camco 40043 TastePURE Water Filter with Flexible Hose Protector. It does the job and filters up to 100 microns. The manufacturer recommends replacement every 90 days.
You’ll want to ensure you keep a supply of basic tools on board at all times. You never know when you’ll need to do some quick maintenance or will want to hang a picture to add to your Airstream’s décor! Major Airhead recommends keeping the following basic tools in a carry along toolbox: hammer, pliers, wrenches, screwdrivers, duct tape, electrical tape, socket set, hatchet, crowbar, grease and flashlights. Make sure you also have extra fuses, including a few for the tongue jack. I also keep a supply of 3M Command Strips that I use to hang pictures and place hooks strategically around the unit.
The Voyager back-up camera that came with our Airstream is invaluable. Not only does it provide visual assistance when backing into a site, but because it displays when the tow vehicle is in both forward and reverse, it also allows us to view what’s behind us as we travel down the road. We can see approaching trucks as well as those pesky tail-gaiters! In my humble opinion, it’s an important safety upgrade.
Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
While we do not personally have a TPMS, many veteran Airstream owners recommend it. Monitoring your Airstream’s tire pressure as you travel down the highway can help avoid blowouts and other catastrophes. We’ve seen way too many stories online recently of tire blow-outs. This is an upgrade that Major Airhead and I will likely make in the near future for peace-of-mind.
You never know when you’ll need to perform maintenance on your Airstream. We had a situation recently where we were at a campsite in 95 degree weather and we discovered that mud wasps had built a nest in our air conditioner unit. Needless to say, having a ladder in tow would have been very helpful in this situation. As soon as we returned from our trip, we purchased this portable collapsible unit through Amazon. It’s light weight and compact.
Nice to Have airstream Accessories
Upgraded Toilet Seat
One of the things I love about our Airstream is that it has a porcelain toilet, however, it came with a cheap plastic toilet seat that is hard to clean. We found this Dometic upgraded toilet seat on Amazon, which is an enamel coated wooden seat. What an improvement! It is easier to clean, more comfortable, and has a residential look. Although it didn’t make the “must have” list, we highly recommend you make it one of your first upgrades!
Rug and Floor Mats
For the interior of your Airstream, you’ll want to add a couple of indoor rugs or floor mats to make the unit more cozy and to help keep the dirt at bay. We purchased our rugs at Wayfair.com – they have a great selection and they are of good quality. Walmart, Target and Bed, Bath and Beyond also offer many good options.
Comfy Camp Chairs
We spend most of our time outside our Airstream. Whether we are sitting by the campfire, engaging in a game of Rummy, or just relaxing and taking in all that nature has to offer, a comfy chair is a must for Major Airhead and me. We usually travel with four of them, as we realized early on that it is super awkward when people drop by to chat and you don’t have a place to offer them to sit.
Having an outdoor rug helps you to create an outdoor living space under your awning. The outdoor rug also serves another important purpose – it helps to keep dirt and gravel from being tracked in your Airstream. You’ll want a rug that is waterproof and that will quickly dry after getting wet – and believe me, it will get wet. There’s nothing worse than having to break camp and stow a wet rug. We purchased our rug from Bed, Bath and Beyond. It’s actually made of recycled bottles, which is cool. Ours is small at only 6 x 9 feet. I recommend larger if you have the space to store it.
Having a couple small end tables to sit next to your chairs under your awning is a plus. We purchased these great little folding tables and they are perfect for our needs. They are lightweight, yet sturdy and they come in a variety of great colors to match any décor!
Table Cloth and Clips
Campground picnic tables vary in their condition. While some campgrounds have brand new tables, others may be warped and dirty. It’s a good idea to purchase a reusable vinyl felt-backed cover for the table. Clips will also ensure that your tablecloth doesn’t blow away while you are out on a hike!
V-Aire Portable Air Compressor
We have this handy little portable air compressor that we tote with us on our travels. This pump can fill your tow vehicle and Airstream tires, as well as bicycle tires! Major Airhead says that we may even be able to use it this Fall to blow out our lines when winterizing instead of using our large air compressor. Read our full review on the V-Aire 88P here.
Step Covers will help to keep campground dirt and pebbles out of your unit and make your steps more comfortable to use. Our steps are black metal. They get very hot in the summer sun and if you aren’t careful, its easy to scrape your feet the edge of them. I’ve done this one too many times! So, we found really great heavy felt stair covers at the Hershey RV Show last Fall. When I go back this year, I’m going to get the name of the vendor who I bought them from and I’ll share out! You can easily find covers from other makers online or at camping stores.
Folding Step Stool
I’m 5’ 2” short. I keep this handy step tool inside the unit so that I can see in the upper cabinets and into our convection oven, which is located over the refrigerator. I also use this stool to rest my feet on when I’m sitting at the dinette (otherwise they wouldn’t touch the floor). This stool folds up and stores easily and comes in lots of great colors to match your décor.
Even in the summer, you can experience cool nights and mornings. We keep a couple extra throws on hand at all times. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve wrapped one around me while having my morning coffee under our Airstream’s awning. Somehow, it makes a cup of coffee taste that much better.
Deciding which items to purchase for your Airstream’s kitchen was worthy of its own blog article. Please check out my post from earlier this year: The Top Seven Must-Haves for the RV Kitchen.
And there you have it folks, our comprehensive list of items to consider purchasing for your new Airstream. What would you add to this list? We welcome your feedback and would love to hear from you in the comments area below. Be sure to share this out to fellow Airstream Fanatics. And while you are at it, be sure to join our club for newbie Airstreamers and Airstream fanatics “The Streaming Airheads Club”.
Safe travels to one and all!
Libby, on behalf of The Streaming Airheads
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