Our Ten Favorite Things for the RV
Now that we’ve been RVing for a while, we thought it would be fun to make a list of our ten favorite things that make RV living easier. It was hard to narrow the list down, and Jeff actually ended up adding three “Bonus” items in his list! We’ve included more details about each item below.
Are any of these on your list of favorite things? Is there something you love that we missed? Please let us know in the comments.
Tooletries Silicone Organizers
We struggled with how to best describe these on our video. What it basically comes down to is that these are not sticky, but they cling to smooth surfaces such as glass and mirrors using what the company calls “silicone grip technology” (whatever that is). And they really do stay on if you follow their instructions, but they also peel right off and leave no residue behind. With our small bathroom and kitchen counters, getting everything that we can off the counters is a win. You can find them on Amazon, sold separately or in sets, at https://amzn.to/2Jhrqjj
AT&T Netgear Nighthawk MR1100 Mobile Hotspot
We don’t actually have this model, having purchased a “Netgear Unite Explore” before the Nighthawk was released. And since it works very well, we won’t be replacing the Unite Explore anytime soon. So why are we recommending the Nighthawk? Because that’s the current top recommendation from our friends Chris and Cherie at www.rvmobileinternet.com. No matter what your mobile internet needs are, we wouldn’t consider buying anything without consulting their website first! They not only know the best gear; they are also always up-to-date on the best data plans from every cellular network. We trust their advice so much that we’ve actually subscribed to their premier service – and it’s been worth every penny. https://amzn.to/2Jjq6MJ
Verizon Wireless Jetpack 8800L 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot
This is Verizon’s latest and greatest hotspot, and the difference between this and our old 6600L is like night and day. We like that we can use this with the same Mimo antenna that works with our AT&T hotspot when we are in an area with weak signals. It also broadcasts a strong WiFi signal that we can access from anywhere in the RV, or even outside at the picnic table. Since we already have an ongoing subscription for our AT&T service, we just prepay a month at a time for our Verizon service, only when we need it. Sweet! https://amzn.to/2V6tD38
Netgear 6000450 Mimo Antenna
Once again, this was recommended to us by www.rvmobileinternet.com. It’s an inexpensive way to enhance the cellular signal compared to the internal antennas in the hotspots. Yes, it works! https://amzn.to/2JhGhKm
E-Cloth General Purpose Cloth – Durable Premium Microfiber for Chemical-Free Cleaning
What? We’d pay $19.99 for rags? You bet! We’ve purchased similar products for less money at stores, but these just work better. No need to use an additional disinfectant or soap, or paper towels to dry off afterwards. They’re machine washable. With all the mirrors we have in our RV (9), including the kitchen backsplash, we give these quite a workout, and we’ve never been disappointed. We also use them to wipe down counters and our dinette table. We have them in different colors so we know which cloth to use for different tasks. https://amzn.to/2Wo46UC
SensorPush G1 WiFi Gateway and Sensors
The safety of our pets is one of our top priorities, and an RV that gets overheated in the sun can be deadly. But we also have to leave the “fuzzy faces” behind from time to time when we go out to explore, go to church, or enjoy a good restaurant. That’s why we bought the SensorPush system for our RV. Basically, a sensor is constantly reading the temperature and humidity in the coach and broadcasting that information to the Gateway. The gateway is connected to our WiFi network, and it sends us alerts whenever the temperature goes above or below limits that we choose. So, if it’s a hot day, the power goes off in the RV park, and the coach starts overheating because the air conditioners stopped, we will get an alert on our phones so that we can do whatever is needed to rescue our pets. But there is a weak link in this chain. Our Wifi hotspots have battery backup, but the SensorPush Gateway only runs on AC! So, we needed one more gadget to keep the SensorPush working even when the power isn’t.
SensorPush Gateway https://amzn.to/2UKqZQF
BESTEK 300W Silent Power Inverter
This small inverter plugs into the “cigarette lighter” (I’m showing my age here, I know) or 12v power outlets, which run off our RV batteries. We plug our SensorPush Gateway into this invertor, which constantly converts DC power from our batteries into AC power for the gateway. Problem solved! https://amzn.to/2DDNl0d
Squish 41093 Sink Stopper/Strainer Stopper/Strainer
One of the weird realities of RV life is the ongoing concern about one’s septic system. Surprisingly, the gray waste tank (that collects all waste water except the toilet) often smells worse than the black tank (toilet)! The reason is the food particles and other detritus that so often goes down the drain. The traditional metal stopper didn’t work all that well, so we tried several others and chose the Squish. This strainer/stopper does an admirable job of both plugging the drain to fill the sink and straining out the food particles when emptying it. And the stopper has a suction cup so you can stick it on the side of the sink for storage. We’re not saying that now the gray tank smells like a rose, but this sure does help! https://amzn.to/2Lt5kNh
Outland Firebowl 883 Mega Outdoor Propane Gas Fire Pit
Camping and campfires go hand-in-hand. There’s just nothing like being outside, sitting around the fire, toasting S’mores, and singing old scouting songs. Well, maybe not the singing. Right up front we want to agree that nothing beats a real wood campfire. But it takes some dedication to purchase wood if available (usually $5-$7 for a small stack at the campground or a store) and then build a roaring fire and keep it going. We’ve also discovered that, for a variety of reasons, many campgrounds do not permit wood fires at campsites. Our Firebowl takes two minutes to set up, starts in an instant, and creates a beautiful fire that’s suitable for S’mores and warming your hands on a cold night of camping. And when you decide that it’s time to go inside, you just turn it off! No pouring water on the logs and stirring wet ashes. Wood campfires are still the best, but this pulls a close second for both ease and safety. https://amzn.to/2V22nrs
UNICOOK Heavy Duty Ceramic Pizza Grilling Stone
We are surprised by how many RVers never use their RV’s propane oven for anything other than storage. Sure, they’re small, but you can bake lots of good things in a small oven! The biggest problem that we encountered is that the small size also makes the temperature in the oven difficult to regulate. A pizza stone (it must be stone or ceramic) placed on or near the bottom of the oven acts as a heat-sink, absorbing heat when the burner is on and holding heat when the burner turns itself off and on, thus keeping the oven temperature within a much narrower range. By the way, this will of course work in your oven at home as well! Now Kathy can make all kinds of baked goodies without burning them! https://amzn.to/2POgwCN
Quake Hold Museum Putty
There are so many small things in an RV that you don’t want to have to put away every time you go out on the road: clocks, flower pots, hotspots, tissue boxes, etc. Just a small ball of this sticky putty will hold your favorite things in place, even on the roughest roads. https://amzn.to/2DHVH7k
Tire Shades and Nano Shades
We found out about these great products at an RV rally and ordered the Nano Shade on the spot. Magne Shade makes a variety of shades to cover your windshield, windows, and tires when parked. These are intended for the outside of your RV. The indoor Nano Shade mounted on the driver’s side window keeps the sun out of the driver’s eyes at certain times of day. Even though these are kind of see-through, we trimmed the lower part of the shade for safety so that it doesn’t hinder his view of the rearview mirrors. Easy to put on, easy to pull off, it does the job. We love the ease with which our tire shades go on and off (so much easier than the traditional covers), and we no longer delay putting them on to protect the sidewalls of our tires from the damaging UV rays of the sun when setting up camp. RV tires are expensive, and they tend to dry out before they wear out. Having a blowout in a 11-ton motorhome can be downright deadly. These covers help extend the life of our tires and attract the curiosity and compliments of other campers. Made by Hunckler Fabrication LLC, they can only be purchased direct from the manufacturer. https://magneshade.com/products/
Bins and Shelves
Bins and shelves are the secret to staying organized in an RV. We’ve bought storage bins in a wide variety of shapes, styles, and sizes. Dollar stores are usually the cheapest by far, although some are better stocked than others. We make sure we can return any that don’t fit well or aren’t needed after all. Under the bed we had a very specific height we couldn’t exceed, so we wrote down the dimensions and finally found the right size at Walmart. But most of the time, it comes down to just moving containers and shelves around until finding the best arrangement—and then rearranging them if need be so that the things we use the most are easily accessible. We use plastic bins for food, clothes, shoes, silverware, kitchen tools, medications, charger cords, and so on. And sturdy portable shelves can effectively double your storage space in large cabinets. In our outside storage, we have larger bins to keep tools and other supplies organized. It’s all about maximizing limited space, minimizing clutter, and staying organized in our small house on wheels.