Skip to Content

What Are RV Dog Bones? (And, Why You Need One)

Everyone knows what a dog bone is. You probably have several if you have furry friends at home. But an RV dog bone? What in the world is that?

Wheel chocks, a surge protector, and a good sewer hose are all essentials to camping. An RV dog bone is also an excellent item to add to your gear.

We’re taking a look at why they’re so important and learning more about how RV dog bones make traveling easier and less stressful.

Let’s dive in!

What Are RV Dog Bones?

An RV dog bone is an adapter that allows you to plug into a power source with different amps. When dealing with electricity and campers, you always want to make sure you are plugging into the correct amperage or risk severe damage to your RV. It is shaped similar to a dog bone.

If you have a 50-amp fifth wheel and arrive at a campground that only offers 30-amp hook-ups, you must use a dogbone adapter to plug into the pedestal. If you have a 30-amp travel trailer and want to connect to your house power, you must use a dogbone adapter.

The good news is, there are different types of adapters to fit all needs. Most are reasonably priced, so you won’t have to spend a fortune.

What Are the Benefits of an RV Dogbone Adapter?

It’s a good idea to have an RV dogbone adapter on hand. Even if you booked a 50-amp site, someone could have written something incorrectly, or the online system could have malfunctioned and assigned you a 30-amp site. And you certainly don’t want to be stuck without power.

Since they aren’t costly, go ahead and get an adapter that takes you from your current amperage down to or up to the next level. For example, choose a 50-amp to 30-amp to step down or a 30-amp to 50-amp to go up.

If you plan on hooking up to your house power, it’s not a bad idea to go ahead and get your correct amperage to 15-amp dog bone, too. Now no matter where you travel, you’ll be able to hook up to shore power.

Not only is it beneficial to be able to hook up to any type of outlet, but RV dogbone adapters are also weatherproof and provide strong connections. If your shore power pedestal is far away, and you really don’t want to strain the power plug on your RV, use a dogbone adapter with matching male and female ends just to extend it a little bit to relieve that strain.

Dog bones are also lockable, so adding that strong connection further protects your RV’s electrical system.

Pro Tip: Unsure of where to get power from when at an RV park? Discover more about What is RV Shore Power?

RV plugged into power source
Come prepared for RV life with an RV dog bone adapter.

Are There Any Disadvantages?

RV dog bones don’t provide more power. They just deliver a safe connection. If you use a dogbone adapter to plug your 50-amp Class A motorhome into a 30-amp power source, you can’t run your motorhome like normal. You don’t have 50 amps of power. You only have 30-amps of power. So don’t think your dogbone adapter is giving you the same power. This could result in overloading the circuit.

You also don’t want to use an RV dog bone for a long-term stay. If you’re staying for weeks or months in one location, you need to find shore power that offers the proper amperage for your rig. A dogbone adapter is a short-term solution.

Are RV Dog Bones Safe?

RV dog bones are safe. They provide good connections that are weatherproof and strong. As long as you use it correctly, you don’t have to worry about whether or not using a dogbone adapter will endanger your electrical system.

When you’re shopping for an RV dogbone adapter, make sure you’re looking for high quality. Don’t buy the cheapest. You don’t have to buy the most expensive, but you want to check out reviews and make sure to buy an adapter that has been appropriately tested and used by lots of RVers.

When Should You Use an RV Dogbone Adapter?

If there are no shore power connections that fit your RV, use a dogbone adapter. If you can relocate to another site or another campground close by, connecting into the correct amperage is better.

But again, RV dog bones are safe short-term solutions. So it’s okay to hook up to a 50-amp site with your 30-amp to 50-amp dogbone adapter if that’s the only choice you have.

Camco dog bone adapter product shot from website
Keep in mind whether you’ll need a 50-amp or a 30-amp dog bone adapter.

How Does a 50-Amp to 30-Amp RV Adapter Work?

A 50-amp to 30-amp RV dogbone adapter connects a large RV like a fifth wheel or motorhome to a pedestal that provides less power. Because 50-amp power plugs have four prongs, they won’t fit into 30-amp sockets.

A dogbone adapter that has a 50-amp female end will plug into the end of your RV power plug. The 30-amp male end of the adapter will plug into the shore power. Thus, now you can safely plug your 50-amp RV into a 30-amp pedestal. Just remember, you can’t operate on your normal 50-amps because you only have 30-amps.

How Does a 30-Amp to 50-Amp RV Adapter Work?

The reverse is also possible with an RV dogbone adapter. If you have a 30-amp travel trailer and need to hook up to a 50-amp power source, you have to use an adapter because your three prongs won’t fit into a four-prong outlet.

The 30-amp female end of the dog bone will connect to the end of your RV power plug. The 50-amp male end of the adapter will plug into the shower power. Just like the previous example, now you’re safely connected with an RV dogbone adapter.

Pro Tip: You’ll need more than a dog bone adapter to be prepared for life on the road! Make sure to also stock up on These Weird RV Tools Actually Work Wonders.

Do You Need a Surge Protector When Using a Dog Bone Adapter?

You should always use a surge protector, whether you’re using a dogbone adapter or not. You can’t control if lightning strikes or the power pedestal malfunctions. Having a surge protector blocks the extra surge of electricity from entering your RV. Dogbone adapters are not surge protectors. They both have very different functions.

Are RV Dog Bones Worth It?

If you rely on shore power, RV dogbone adapters are a must-have. If you’re stocked with solar power and extra batteries, then you may be able to get by for a few days without power. But if you need an electrical pedestal to plug into, save yourself some frustration and go ahead and have one or two dogbone adapters on-hand for when the time comes.

You don’t want your weekend getaway to be ruined because you thought you signed up for a 30-amp site and all the campground offers are 50-amp sites. Be prepared and enjoy your adventure!

Do you have RV dog bones? Drop a comment below!

Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA

To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).

You should give it a try!

As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.

Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers that love to score the best site! 

We’ll send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA (one per state). Access the list by submitting your email below:

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Julie Gant says:

    We used our dogbone multiple times in our full-time years, especially when we were in a certain campground membership’s parks. The newer RV parks typically have 50-Amp, but a lot of the older parks don’t.