Regardless of the type of RV’ing or camping you enjoy, everyone has something that they simply will not camp without. These “RV Must Haves” take the form of tools, kitchen items, leveling blocks, chairs, coolers and countless other items.
We hear about so many great RV must haves. Talking about the best products for RVing is something that RV owners find enjoyable to share with each other.
Mini Solar Device Charger
Power is always available when the sun is out, as long as you bring the right equipment. Keeping your gadgets charged has become an important part of our lives (or your kid’s lives). Products like this Solio Bolt Battery Pack + Solar Charger serve as an inexpensive way to keep devices charged as long as the sun is shining. If you’re new to solar power, read this introduction to RV solar panel kits and systems.
Portable Meat Smoker
RV grill chefs without lots of storage space for a grilling unit might consider the Cobb Portable BBQ Grill and Smoker. This device grills, smokes, bakes, roasts, fries and boils. The unit measures 14 x 14 x 14 inches, weighs 10 pounds and requires only seven or eight briquettes to get up to temperature.
Frozen Drink Maker
Who doesn’t love a cold, slushy beverage on a hot summer’s day? Whether you’re hooked up to electrical power or living off grid, you’ll find options in both corded and cordless portable frozen drink machines. The highest rated battery powered frozen drink machine is pricey, but it also delivers up to 80 drinks on a single charge! Boondocking piña coladas anyone?
We know a few folks who definitely carry paper maps. But most RV’ers have converted to some form of GPS device. Some use their smartphones and tablets. Most decide on a standalone rv GPS unit that is purpose-built to find routes for you based on the height and weight restrictions of a RV. The most popular options are the Garmin RV 760LMT, Magellan RoadMate RV9145-LM, and the TomTom VIA 1605M.
Walkie Talkies (Two-Way Radios)
Two-way radios make for a handy RV tool. They can help with parking, keeping in touch at large venues, and they’re simply fun to use. Kids love them, too. If you’re in an area without mobile phone service, a two-way radio will still allow you to communicate outside of shouting distance.
For RVers short on storage space, a single-serve micro blender is a great addition to even the smallest RV galley. These powerful blenders perform a variety of kitchen tasks ranging from making breakfast smoothies to blending sauces. Some of the best-selling options include those from Hamilton Beach and Oster.
Cast Iron Cookware
Cast iron pots are one of the most versatile kitchen tools around. They can be safely used on the stove, in the oven and over any camp fire without risk of damage. Season the skillets regularly to develop and preserve a nice non-stick surface.
Aero Press Coffee Maker
Move over French press, the Aero Press is the new champion of portable, high-quality coffee makers. This little one-minute coffee maker unit uses gentle air pressure brewing to produce one to four cups of richly flavored coffee. The micro filter removes almost all particulates, leaving you with pure coffee concentrate for lattes and espressos. Dilute the concentrate a bit to make your regular (American) coffee. At $25, it’s the perfect size and price for the frugal RV’er!
A bicycle comes in handy for more than short errands. If your vehicle becomes disabled, you can pedal away to get help if necessary. If you’re a casual rider, get an all-terrain, upright hybrid bike with street tires wide enough for any surface. Most folks are buying based on budget, but if space is a concern you might have a look at foldable bikes. Some of the most popular come from Schwinn, Dahon and Columbia.
Protect Your Sensitive Information
If you were caught in a disaster (or the home you left behind was), do you have your most important information stored and ready to go? Some RV’ers, especially folks on extended trips, are using an encrypted USB thumb drive, like this waterproof version available with military grade encryption from Integral.
Tankless Air Compressor
A portable tankless air compressor is handy for small jobs from filling bicycle tires to topping off a spare tire during a roadside emergency. Look for units that can pump to 150 psi and run on 12 volt and/or 120 volt. Tankless compressors can also be used to winterize your RV.
Tire Pressure Monitoring System
At upwards of $200, a tire pressure monitoring system isn’t cheap. But having a blowout while driving on the highway could be a lot more expensive (and dangerous). Many seasoned RV owners install an add-on system if their rig didn’t come with tire pressure sensors. Read this article on how to properly measure the pressure in your RV’s tires.
Folding Step Stool
If you had a nickel for every time something was out of reach then you would probably have enough nickels to purchase a folding step stool. These are great for reaching the high cabinets, washing the RV, messing with the awning, and countless other tasks.
Weather Radio/Device Charger
Having a weather radio and device charger might prove to be the most important of the RV must haves. If weather is going to get rough, at a minimum you want to know about it and perhaps even get out of the way. A weather radio can help. This device however, has a few tricks up its sleeve. It is not reliant on batteries as it also has a hand crank so you can use it in any situation. It also can charge your devices in a pinch. It can also serve as a flash light as well making it one of the most adaptable gadgets to have in the RV.
Flameless Battery Operated Candles
Flameless battery operated candles are great for decoration and even more so for light while camping. These flameless battery operated candles hold a small light and a battery to make for a great tool for safety minded lighting.
Insect/Mosquito Repellent (Citronella, Sprays, etc.)
Finally you arrive and get setup. You set your rear end in your favorite camping chair with a refreshing beverage, then your uninvited guests arrive. Tiny buzzing vermin flying by your ear. Some even poke you and draw blood. No thanks! Keep a highly rated insect repellent and/or citronella on hand instead.
Mobile WiFi Hotspot (RV Internet)
All you want is a campsite in the middle of nowhere…. with WiFi right? Leaving the smartphone, tablet, and PC at home is becoming a thing of the past. Forget relying on undependable campground Internet access, now take your connectivity wherever you go with amobile WiFi hotspot (RV Internet). Many consider a strong WIFI connection to a defining factor in their travel plans!
RV Solar Charging System
There is something liberating about losing the reliance on the traditional power hookup. Harnessing the freely available energy from the sun can be extremely cost effective way to camp wherever you choose with out the need for campground or RV park power. RV solar power also tends to be great for the environment in comparison to running a generator!
Waterproof Lighter and/or Matches
Having a way to start the grill and fire is just a flat out necessity for most camping trips. At the very least carry a cheap lighter or matchbook. If you are serious about it, then spring for a waterproof lighter that will still produce a flame in up to 80mph winds and is refillable.
Serving Tray for Outdoor Dining
Moving food items from your RV kitchen to the picnic table outside is a task all its own. It makes it so much easier if you have a serving tray to load up to transfer things back and forth. They come in all shapes and sizes, most folks prefer the serving trays that are dishwasher safe!
Extra Hoses and Cords
Whether it is water hose, sewer hose, or a 30/50 amp extension cord, it is better to have too much then not enough. The best bet is to carry and extra 50’ of water hose, 50’ of extension cord, and 30’ of sewer hose to be safe.
Outdoor Stove and Ovens
Cooking outdoors can be one of the most gratifying aspects of RVing. Making breakfast, lunch, and dinner while taking in some fresh air doesn’t hurt! Outdoor propane grills are extremely popular, especially the Weber Q series Other favorites include Camp Chef Dutch Oven , Camp Chef Outdoor Oven
Indoor Cooking Tools
Thought outdoor cooking is preferred by many, weather and preference keep folks inside the RV. Some of the favorites for indoor cooking are the NuWave Oven (indoor/outdoor use) and the electric skillet.
Memory Foam Mattress
Just because it is camping does not mean you need to be uncomfortable right? Many RV owners choose to swap out the bulgy unforgiving mattress that comes standard in lieu of something a little more consistent with a good nights rest. The most popular options come from Tempurpedic, Sleep Innovations, Lucid, and Spa Sensations. The options vary widely in quality and pricing based on your budget. Keep in mind that many RV’s feature a mattress size that is not available from most mattress manufacturers. Be sure to measure twice and buy once. The nice part about memory foam is that it can be trimmed to the size to suit your needs.
RV Satellite Dish
Camping certainly means different things to different folks. Some like to leave technology at home while others like to bring the creature comforts along for the ride. Having RV satellite TV service allows for entertainment where ever you are and can be one of the most entertaining aspects of the RV lifestyle.
Minor Repair Gear
When you have something as mobile as a RV, it is bound to have a few issues. Having the items handy to make small repairs is very important.
- Many of the RV owners we heard from touted the necessity of a tool kit (basic at a minimum), duct tape, and work gloves. It is probably worthwhile to have them all!
- Throw in a small axe and shovel along with keeping a stash of items for electrical repairs such as fuses, electrical tape, wire connectors, etc.
- It doesn’t hurt to keep a cordless drill around for all kinds of uses. Repairs, lowering and raising stabilizers, some folks even use it to wash clothes in a bucket!
- Keep some Silicone Rescue Tape available for quick fixes on fuel lines and hoses. It will only be temporary for some applications but it can be a permanent solution for water lines and hoses.
Every single person has a unique taste when it comes to their musical preference. So whatever it is that relaxes you and puts you in a good mood, have it handy. But to do that you will need a way to get that music to play at your campsite. It is popular to have a accessory speaker that connects to your particular mobile device (android, iphone, or tablet) via cord or Bluetooth. You could also bring a portable boom box that connects to your smartphone, plays CD’s and even the radio. If you are musically inclined then perhaps leave the technology behind and pack your guitar!
Stuff to Sit/Lay On
We received more messages and recommendations on this topic than any other. RV’ers are passionate about this topic and rightly so! The most popular variations were camping chairs and hammocks.
- The most recommended camping chairs were: Sport-Brella Recliner Chair, Picnic Time Portable Reclining Camp Chair, GCI Outdoor PICO Arm Chair, Director’s chair (multiple brands and styles were submitted), and Zero Gravity Recliner (many companies make them, most popular is Camco)
- The most recommended hammocks were: Texsport La Paz Hammock, Kijaro All in One Hammock, ENO DoubleNest Hammock, and Slumber Hammock.
Auto Sewer Flush Valve
Dealing with the realities of the black water tank can be a little tough for some RV owners to deal with. It is important to keep both your black and grey water tanks clean for a plethora of reasons. With a flush valve this process becomes far less of a chore. Great video here on how it works if you are curious.
Portable Ice Cube Maker
Freezing cube in a RV can be a pain. Many folks end up making trips to the general store to keep coolers full of ice. The alternative is to keep a portable ice maker handy that can pump out as much as 50lbs. a day of ice!
Some people swear by the baby wipes while others prefer the Wet Ones, or Lysol wipes. They are wonderful for almost any cleaning project and ready to go when you are.
If you exit your RV at night for any reason then it makes sense to have a light. Whether it is to check someone outside the RV, walk the dog, or to walk to the front office. Most RV owners keep a high quality flash light at a minimum. The folks who are more active outdoors at night or those that bring pets along seem to enjoy head lamps. Head lamps can help you avoid issues with your walking path and make a nighttime repairs SO much easier.
Tablet (iPad, Android)
It seems that more and more RV owners are leaving the laptop and PC behind and bringing their tablets instead. If you have one then you probably are already aware of the dozens and dozens of things a tablet can do. Some of the favorites of our readers are using it as a mobile library where thousands of books can be stored on a single device, a digital recipe book, mapping system, internet browser, a digital photo album, movie screen, camping checklist, music player, and countless other functions. The majority or tablet owners choose an iPad as far as we can tell. The more budget minded and tech-savvy choose a tablet running Google’s Android Operating System.
When you are traveling and away from home enjoying the outdoors it is a “when” not “if” situation when it comes to safety and injury. This inspires many RV campers to carry a thorough first aid kit, life vests (for children primarily), and reflective vest (roadside emergency).
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