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What Kind of RV Extension Cord Do You Need for Your Camper?

Yes, you can use an extension cord for your RV. If your RV is too far from the plug you can extend it, but you need to keep a few things in mind when you do. Using the wrong cord could cause damage to your RV or even a fire. Let’s take a look at everything you need to consider with RV extension cords.

How to Choose the Proper RV Extension Cord

Your extension cord choice should be able to handle the power of the plug it is plugged into. Basically, larger cords can carry more power. Extension cords in the U.S. use the American Wire Gauge (AWG) rating. The lower the number, the thicker the wire and the higher the capacity.

For instance, most of the inexpensive cords that you see in a big box store are 14 or 16 AWG, which is good for handling up to 15 amps or 1,800 watts. That’s rarely enough capacity to handle the needs of most RVs, which use 30- or even two 50 amp circuits. A 50 amp connection can handle 12,000 watts! Six times more than a standard house extension cord.

Here are the gauges of wire your RV extension cords need to be.

RV Power PlugGuage
20 Amp12
30 Amp10
50 Amp6
RV extension Cord Adapters
Note: any time you go from a big cord to a small cord, you will be limited on the amount of power you can draw.

How Long Can an RV Extension Cord Be?

The simple answer is: As short as possible. The longer answer is, as long as needed, but it depends on the cord gauge size. Here is a chart for the most common RV cables and how long they can be.

RV Power Cable TypeMax Length Full PowerMax Length Half Power
50 Amp 240V130 Feet270 feet
30 Amp 120V100 Feet200 Feet
20 Amp 120V100 Feet150 Feet

You can extend your RV power extension cord further by using a thicker wire gauge or even stacking your larger wire together using adapters. For example, a 50 amp 50-foot cord connected to a 30 amp 50 foot cord connected to a 20 amp 100-foot cord can easily carry 20 amps over 200 feet. This is because the wire is generally thicker and will experience a lower voltage drop. This is common when plugging into a standard 110 outlet at home if you need to reach a long way. Just keep in mind you need to limit power use.

An extension cord that’s too long and undersized can underpower and damage the appliances you’re trying to run. It can also overheat and become a fire hazard depending on how it’s connected.

Long RV extension Cord
This is a long extension run. However, it is a very large cord and the RV is not running its AC.

Best RV Extension Cords

The best RV extension cords cost a good bit more than most of the typical extension cords you’ll see in a big box store. That’s because it takes thicker wires to meet an RV’s needs. Also, they come with some benefits that go beyond typical extension cords.

Camco 30-amp RV Extension Cord

The Camco 30-amp RV extension cord is 25 feet long and handles up to 3,750 watts, which gives it a bit of a buffer for any 30-amp service. It’s also constructed with a heavy-duty, fire-retardant PVC sheath for added safety, as well as 90-degree, PowerGrip handles that make it easy to connect and disconnect.

Sale
Camco Power Grip 25-Ft 30 Amp RV Extension Cord -…
  • POWER YOUR RV EFFORTLESSLY: Power up your RV with Power Grip’s…
  • PREMIUM DESIGN & ENGINEERING: This ultra-flexible RV must-have is…
  • 100% COPPER WIRE CONSTRUCTION: Get reliable power with standard…

Pro Tip: You can turn a 30 amp RV extension cord into a heavy-duty 20 amp cord by using two adapters at each end: a 30-t0-20 and a 20-to-30.

Sale
IRON FORGE CABLE 15 Amp to 30 Amp RV Adapter -…
  • DESIGNED FOR RUGGED OUTDOOR USE – Flexible vinyl covering…
  • SUPERIOR CONDUCTIVITY – Iron Forge Cable’s RV power adapter is…
  • REINFORCED BLADES protect the RV electrical adapter’s prongs…
Sale
Leisure Cords 30 Amp Male to 15 Amp Female Dogbone…
  • RV Dogbone Electrical Adapter, Safely converts power for use at…
  • 30 AMP Male (TT-30P) to 15 AMP Female Standard Home style Cord
  • Rated 125V/1875W; Cord type STW

Camco 50-amp RV Extension Cord

Camco’s 50-amp RV extension cord is slightly shorter at 15 feet, but it can handle 12,500 watts, which provides a buffer for 50-amp service. Like the 30-amp cord, the 50-amp RV extension cord uses a heavy-duty, fire-retardant PVC sheath and 90-degree, PowerGrip handles.

Sale
Camco Power Grip 25-Ft 30 Amp RV Extension Cord -…
  • POWER YOUR RV EFFORTLESSLY: Power up your RV with Power Grip’s…
  • PREMIUM DESIGN & ENGINEERING: This ultra-flexible RV must-have is…
  • 100% COPPER WIRE CONSTRUCTION: Get reliable power with standard…

Choose the Right Cord To Power Your RV

The convenience of always having power in an RV is one of the things that makes it such a comfortable way to travel. Understanding your rig’s power requirements and how RV extension cords work can help you make better choices about powering your RV.

What kind of extension cord do you have? Let us know in the comments below.

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Tom, a Pacific Northwest native, is our technical genius. Born in Washington and raised in Alaska before settling in Michigan. He's the man who keeps our operation running, both figuratively and literally.

With a background in Electrical Engineering, Tom specializes in RV solar systems and lithium batteries. He made history as the first documented individual to use a Tesla battery module as an RV battery. Tom has personally assisted countless RVers with system installations and has educated thousands more through his videos and articles.

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Marek Eaton

Tuesday 5th of July 2022

Great information on extension cords. Do you have any recommendations on 50 Amp cord reels? I would love a cord reel for my 50 amp shoreline that could mount under my travel trailer.

Mortons on the Move

Sunday 28th of August 2022

In general Im not a huge fan of cord reels because the slip ring introduces a lot of reliability concerns, but the types the pull the cord into a bucked to not have these issues.

Dalton Bourne

Tuesday 11th of January 2022

I chose Camco's 30 amp power cord after a friend recommended it. It really lives up to my expectations of perfectly matching my RV. The connectors are NEMA TT-30P and TT-30R compliant. What I had to do was connect the RV's power cord to the female connector, then plug the male connector into the power supply. I especially like the PowerGrip plug because it makes me feel safe when plugging in and unplugging the chord-the handle on the plug itself is a nice safety feature and doesn't require much effort on my part.

Samantha Nichols

Thursday 11th of November 2021

I bought Camco 30 amp extension cord because of a suggestion of a friend. This helps reach it perfectly. Will come in handy when we go to a campground that our standard cord won’t reach. Each end has a built-in handle making it tremendously easy to insert and remove the plugs. Despite being so heavy-duty, the cord is flexible enough that it can be coiled and stored with relative ease.

Boni Curtis

Monday 11th of October 2021

Thank you for writing this post, it is really useful for me. I am in need of a gauge extension cord that fits my RV.

Tom Brian

Wednesday 1st of September 2021

Thank you for your guidance; as a newcomer to RVing, this information is really beneficial to me.