When you travel full time in an RV, you realize you need a lot of nifty gadgets to keep your trip rolling. We’ve laid out some of our favorite must have items for your new RV. These gadgets have made our travels a little easier, we’re confident they’ll do the same for you.
Cost: $100 – $2,000+
Why we like it: Solar panels allow you to harness the power of the sun’s rays to charge your batteries. From a tiny solar panel to keep your chassis battery charged, to a 4 panel 1000 watt system to power all your electronics, a solar panel system is our favorite RV gadget. We have a basic 2 panel system that keeps our batteries charged when living off the cord. With 2-80 watt panels we can stay charged while using lights, laptop computers, and general low wattage devices.
Cost: around $400 + installation and membership
Why we like it: A cell phone sized electronic device that tracks you RV movement, battery levels, and allows you to share trips with friends. The Smart RV will alert you via text or email if your RV moves without your permission (i.e. being stolen), or if you battery is running low. With the Trip Journal feature you can share your favorite trips and destinations with your Facebook friends, and other Smart RV users. Best part is the device provides an extra sense of security for RV owners.
Cost: $20-$40 per bulb
Why we like it: LED light bulbs replace the halogen bulbs most commonly found inside an RV. LED bulbs use approximately 90% less energy than halogens. Other great reasons to switch to LED: cool to the touch, reduced heat inside the RV, longer lasting and more resistant to vibration. Since LED’s consume less energy you can boondock longer without running the generator. FYI – make sure you understand the Kelvin Rating (color temperature) of the bulbs before you purchase.
Stainless Insulated French Press
Cost: $50-$200 depending on brand/style
Why we like it: Coffee and Tea lovers far and wide will tell you it tastes better. Eco-conscious people will tell you it’s the green way to brew! We’ll simply tell you a French press is perfect for an RV. Simple design means less moving parts to break while traveling and no electricity needed to get that morning buzz. Purchase a double walled insulated French press for 2 reasons: 1. Stainless steel won’t break like glass 2. The contents inside the press will stay warm for hours.
TripMaker RVND 7710 GPS
Cost: around $400
Why we like it: When traveling in an RV a standard car GPS doesn’t cut it. The RVND 7710 has a HUGE easy-to-read 7” screen, perfect for a more setback RV windshield or dash. Type in the details of your RV and this GPS unit will help keep you out of “trouble”. No more worrying about low bridge clearance, weight restrictions, or locating a campground. With millions of POI’s (Points of Interest) it’s easy to plan while on the road. Our favorite option is the speed limit warnings: when approaching a reduced speed limit a voice warns you “speed limit reduced ahead” giving you ample time to slow down. If this GPS saves you from one ticket it’s paid for itself!
AC/DC Universal Laptop Charger
Cost: around $150 depending on brand/model
Why we like it: A universal charger allows you to plug into 120 volt AC power or 12 volt DC power. DC power is great for two main reasons: 1.When you’re driving you can power a laptop without draining the house batteries through your inverter 2.When you’re boondocking a 12 volt DC charger pulls much less power than an inverted 120 volt allowing you to live off the cord a little longer without running the generator.
Cost: around $70
Why we like it: The bolt is a wallet sized solar panel with a built in battery. Simply stick it on the dash of your RV and it charges the internal battery with the sun’s rays. If your cell phone, e-reader, camera, etc. runs out of juice, just plug directly into the USB port on the Bolt and you have instant charging power ANYWHERE!
Nook or Kindle Tablet
Cost: around $249
Why I like it: With the tablet I can store all of my books, magazines, movies and more all in one device! It satisfies all of my multimedia desires and then some. CNET and other resources all agree they are the two best tablets on the market. Light weight and no more magazines taking up our very valuable space! Yeah for more space and less paper!
Cost: around $300 + additional transmitters
Why we like it: This small wireless device monitors the tire pressure & temperature saving you from a blow-out! To be honest the initial setup may seem a little overwhelming (trying to get your psi to an exact number) but once you use it a few times its quite simple. Just screw on the transmitters to the tire valve, turn on the receiver, and bam! You can monitor ALL of your tires. We have transmitters on wheels of our RV and our tow car. I’ve been using the system for a year and can honestly say it’s saved my butt a few times.
Cost: $79 – $199
Why we like it: We love sparkling water and sparkling lemonade, but we don’t like carrying a bunch of extra bottles around. You can enjoy fresh, convenient, homemade sodas, and protect the environment at the same time. No heavy bottles to carry, store or throw away. We like to make our own syrups for an all natural treat, it beats the pants off a typical soda.
MaxxAir Vent Covers
Why we like it: A no brainer! These should be installed on every RV. Allows for your vents to be open while traveling down the road for added ventilation. Also allows for you to leave the vents open during a rainstorm letting in that fresh from nature smell and sound!
Why we like it: When you’re plugged into shore power why waste your propane? A griddle is a great way to make a majority of your food in a small space. Purchase the griddle with removable plates and you can have a waffle maker and Panini press too! Hello toasty, yummy, goodness!
Comfortable Camp Chair
Cost: $50-$150 each
Why we like it: Picture this – you just rolled up to the quietest campground in the mountains you’ve ever seen. The sun is falling slowly behind the mountains in the background, the sound of Champagne popping as your partner prepares a beautiful cheese plate…..aaaahhhhhhh the perfect end to a long drive as you bend down to sit on a pile of rocks? No way, good camp chairs are worth every penny. Make sure you purchase the kind that breathe, spend the extra money on the most comfortable ones you can find, and thank us later!
Silicone Bake Ware
Why we like it: Lightweight, nothing sticks, doesn’t rattle while driving down the road. It comes in every shape and size as any other traditional baking pans.
Solar Outdoor Lights
Why we like it: Exterior lighting at campgrounds is extremely important, especially when staying off the cord. Solar lights can be purchased year round in the gardening section of your local store. Solar string lights are available online and in store around the holidays.