RVs are like small, portable houses on wheels. And just like you stationary home, there are certain must-have items that will make your RV more functional, safe, and fun.
So before you head out on your next road trip, take a look at this list of 15 must-have items to make your journey a success.
1. Portable Smoker
Yes, it has come to this. Grills, campfires, and electric stovetop grills are no longer enough. If you want to retain your ‘grill master’ rights you need a portable meat smoker. This one weighs in at less than nine pounds, and measures only 6 -7/8” x 13” x 13-1/2″ making it ideal for RV use. The Nordic Ware Indoor/Outdoor Kettle Smoker has a high dome for maximum capacity and transforms ordinary meals into smoked delights. $74, amazon.com
2. Walkie Talkies
Remember the old walkie talkies? They were scarcely more technical than two tin cans attached by a string. While your kids will mock these as not high-tech, these walkie talkies will get the job done at the campground where cell phone connections may be spotty or non-existent. These will let you keep in touch while the kids are hiking, exploring, or gathering firewood. $80, bestbuy.com
3. Solar Charger
This handy, lightweight Solio Bolt Battery Charger can provide electric power for all your small gadgets. Small enough for easy storage, it provides power as long as the sun is out. This gadget will keep your other gadgets charged, and your kids happy. $70, amazon.com
4. WeatherRadio and Device Charger
This might well prove to be the most valuable item in your RV. You need to be prepared for rough weather so you can batten down the hatches or beat a hasty retreat. A weather radio can help. But this device has a few extra tricks up its sleeve. It doesn’t depend on batteries. Instead it has a hand crank for use it in any situation. This item can also charge your devices in an emergency. It is also a flashlight. This is one of the most useful items in your RV. $73, amazon.com
5. Wi-Fi Mobile Hotspot
Yes, you can have a campsite in the middle of nowhere…. with Wi-Fi!! No need for your kids to be separated from their beloved smartphone, tablet, and laptop! No need to relying on undependable campground Internet. Take your connectivity with you when you have a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot. $200, Verizonwireless.com
6. RV Satellite Dish
For those who hate to leave technology behind when they go camping, now you can bring your comforts along. RV satellite TV service brings entertainment with you wherever you travel. The kids will thank you.
One of the scariest things about camping is tripping over things in the dark. Avoid the dangers of walking at night by investing in this lightweight, adjustable Yalumi Headlamp. Now you can light up the night and have two hands to carry the firewood. $25, amazon.com
8. Waterproof Matches/Lighter
Having a way to start the grill and fire is a necessity for most camping trips. Carry a cheap lighter or matchbook. If you are safety conscious, buy a waterproof lighter that will give a reliable flame in up to 80mph winds and is refillable. Coglan’s Matches $5, amazon.com
9. Aero Press Coffee Maker
This little gadget is the camper’s answer to the French press. Portable, high-quality coffee makers like the Aero Press are precious. It makes four cups of rich coffee in a minute using gentle air pressure brewing. The micro filter removes almost all particulates. It is also perfect for lattes and espressos. $30, amazon.com
10. Micro Blender
If your RV is tight on storage space, this single-serve micro blender will be a welcome addition. These powerful blenders can make breakfast smoothies, whip cream, dice, crush and blending sauces. Micro Blenders are available from several manufacturers including Hamilton Beach ($18) and Oster ($25).
11. RV GPS
While maps are always a good thing to carry, many RVers also like to have a portable GPS device. You can use your smartphones and tablets. But a standalone RV GPS unit is built especially to find the best routes based on the height and weight restrictions of your RV. GPS for RVs are available from manufacturers including: the Garmin RV 760LMT, Magellan Road Mate RV9145-LM, and the TomTom VIA 1605M.
Bicycles are great for running short errands and tooling around the campground. They are also a way to get to help in case of vehicle trouble on the road. For the casual rider an all-terrain, upright hybrid bike with street tires wide enough for any surface is a practical choice. If space is a concern you might consider foldable bikes from such manufacturers as Schwinn, Dahon and Columbia.
13. Tankless Air Compressor
A portable tankless air compressor is invaluable for small jobs like filling bicycle tires or topping off a spare tire during a roadside emergency. Find a unit like the Kensun D1002 AC/DC Portable Air Compressor that can run on 12 volt and/or 120 volt. You can also use your tankless compressor to winterize your RV. $60, amazon.com
14. Folding Step Stool
How often have you wished for a step ladder or step stool? A folding step stool is great for reaching the high cabinets, washing the RV, adjusting the awning, and washing windows. $20, amazon.com