Red Dead Redemption 2 is a massive game, taking you 70 hours just to get through the main story, and easily over 100 hours to do everything. Not only is the game huge, but it also has a ton of stuff in it and can be a tad overwhelming for players to discover what everything does.
Some items and upgrades are must-haves, while others can be skipped. There are only a few items and upgrades that aren’t really useful, but there are some that could be better. On the opposite side, though, there are some great weapons and upgrades that are super valuable (to the single-player experience)! Players will come across most of the items in the game naturally, especially if they’re looking in all the stores, but some items can be a bit hard to find.
Updated by Gabrielle Huston on August 21, 2022: It’s essential to have the best gear and upgrades to be prepared for everything Red Dead Redemption 2 will throw at you! We’ve updated this list to make sure you know what to get.
Committing crimes in a mask will help you avoid warrants, so they’re an essential resource. In addition, they make other people intimidated when they see you wearing one.
As a nice bonus, you’ll earn tons of fashion points. The Psycho Mask, for example, is a black hockey mask and looks so cool! There are five in total to be found in the game.
12 Horse Station Camp Upgrade
Once you get to the point in the game that you have a camp, you can contribute to it and upgrade it. One of the must-have upgrades is the Horse Station, so you have plenty of room to hitch your horse. It costs $300 to upgrade.
You can’t ride your horse in the camp, and hitching your horse will raise the bond with it. Pretty much everyone in your camp has a horse, so, later in the game, this is something you will definitely want to have!
There are some sections in this game where a bunch of dudes group up in shootouts, and using dynamite on them is very satisfying! On the way back to camp one time you’ll run into an… interesting group of people in hoods, and that’s an amazing place to use one because they are already in a big group.
It’s also useful to just get people out of cover too! Or, you could always just throw some in the air, go into Dead Eye, and shoot it!
10 Explosive/Fire Cartridges
In RDR2, you can craft fire and explosive damage rounds for your guns! These are so fun to use, but you will need the crafting equipment.
The explosive ammo isn’t really what you may think, though; it’s pretty much just a more powerful punch for the ammo. Now, the fire ammo, that is what you are thinking! Tell us, when are fire arrows not cool? You need animal fat for those, but as long as you’re hunting regularly then you should have some.
9 Gun Oil
You do need to clean your guns in this game, and you can do that by taking them to a gunsmith or by cleaning them yourself with gun oil. Some people feel it’s a bit much to have to clean weapons for some people, but it undeniably adds to the immersion.
If you clean it yourself, you just hold down the appropriate button and it cleans in a few seconds. Cleaning improves the performance of the gun, so it’s not something you can ignore the whole game.
8 Gun Belts/Bandoliers
These fall into the ‘must-have’ category of things to get while playing the game! The gun belts will allow you to have more ammo for all your guns.
There’s a ton of ammo in the game, so as long as you have the gun belts you’ll basically never run out. Once you get to Valentine, they become available to buy at the general store. You can literally have 400 rounds for most guns with these and have two handguns at once!
7 Arthur’s Lodging Camp Upgrade
This is the most important upgrade you can get for the camp, because it unlocks fast travel! You get a map by your bed and you can fast travel to any major place you have already been to.
You may want to wait on getting this upgrade a while, though. It’s a relief in the late-game, but, towards the beginning, it’s much more fun to explore the world and ride across it yourself. Getting fast travel too early could definitely ruin that experience.
6 Lancaster Repeater
The Lancaster Repeater is one of the most accurate guns in the game. The damage is pretty solid, but the accuracy is why people love it!
It takes repeater ammo, which isn’t uncommon, so you’ll never have to go without it. We must warn you, though: this gun is for people, not animals, so you definitely shouldn’t hunt with it.
5 Long Barrel/Iron Sights Upgrade
These weapon upgrades are the most important ones because they increase the accuracy of the weapon.
The game does have a snap-to kind of auto-aim feature, but these upgrades are still valuable. Some people found the shooting in the game lacking, so any help to make combat easier is good. Having these also makes aiming in Dead Eye easier as well. You can get these at any gunsmith and they are pretty cheap.
4 Miracle Tonic
A Miracle Tonic is probably the best healing item in the game. It fully restores the outer circle of all your cores, which is kind of a full heal. You can buy these or craft them.
Always made sure you have a few of them every time you go into a big mission, just in case. Just be warned: if you’re going for gold medals in missions, most have a stipulation of not using healing items.
3 Pump-Action Shotgun
The Pump-Action Shotgun is perfect for gunfights on a horse, because it’s basically a one-shot to them. Once you fully upgrade this gun, you can almost use it like a rifle since the range is actually decent.
When you make/buy some slug rounds, this gun can own anything and it’s so fun to use. Also, when you get a headshot with this gun, the feeling is so satisfying!
2 Legend Of The East Satchel
Getting this is the main reason you are going to want to hunt in this game. You have to make all the satchels before this one to be able to make this one, but it can hold 99 of most items!
The base game satchel only lets you hold 5 of most times, just for perspective. You can buy all the satchels, including this one, post story.
1 Horse Reviver
This game has perma-death for your horses, and you need one of these to revive them! It’s really easy to become very attached to your horses, so their demise is a real downer.
Another reason you will want to have one of these is if your horse goes down in the middle of nowhere, you’ll have to walk to a town or restart the game.You can get them at general stores and stables.