When it comes to a successful RV camping experience, I find it is the little things which make the most difference… little tools, tips and gadgets which make the annoying things more bearable. Here are some of our favorite RV gadgets.
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Unlike a lot of RV campers out there, we do not store our camper at a house, but rather in a storage lot. So, we are unable to plug-in the camper to power before we leave on a camping trip. That means our fridge is downright hot when we start. We also don’t run the fridge when we pull the camper, mainly due to safety concerns.
So, how do we get the fridge cold in a reasonable amount of time? These amazing freezer packs. These are relatively inexpensive, are completely reusable and all but eliminate the need for ice when we camp, or just when we are putting things in a cooler at home.
We have two sets of them, one set of large and one set of medium. We are able to get the fridge cold and keep it cold even when we are not connected. That said, they do need a freezer to re-freeze once used, so they do have their limits. Still, we love them!
Bonnie and her tissues… Oh, she goes through a lot of them. We have them in the house, in the truck and, of course, in the camper.
The problem, as anyone who has a camper knows, is shelf space is always at a premium. There is simply never enough room in a bathroom, ever. This little gizmo sticks onto the wall, holds a square box of tissues and makes it easy for Bonnie to grab a tissue when she needs it.
State Sticker Map
If your goal is to travel the US (like us), having a travel map to brag about where you have been is essential.
Seriously, though, it allows us to easily see where we have been in the camper and where we still need to go. We have plenty of destinations in mind and there are some great places we haven’t been to yet.
Yes, it is bragging, but it also sparks some great conversations with our neighbors at campgrounds all over the country. This isn’t the same one we have… we can’t find that one on Amazon anymore… but I really like this one with the state flags as part of the sticker!
Scissor Jack Drill Adapter
This, in conjunction with a drill, is probably one of the best gadgets you will ever have if you have scissor jack stabilizers on your camper.
This attaches to the front of your drill and you can quickly raise or lower a stabilization jack in seconds. No hard work. No sweating.
I ran into one poor soul at the campground in Baker, NV who was lowering his jacks by hand in nearly 100-degree temps. I grabbed the drill and went over to help him, but upon closer inspection, his jacks did not have a drive nut. So, I couldn’t help him.
Pro tip: If you are getting a new camper, make sure the jacks have a drive nut and you get a drill adapter. If the jacks do not have a drive nut, ask the dealership to replace them with ones that do. It will save you a lot of time, sweat and frustration.
Ryobi ONE+ System
There are tons of brands of drills out there. Some are better than others, some are worse. I have used Ryobi tools as a consumer and as a technical theatre teacher for years. They are not the best tools out there, but they do the job well and are relatively inexpensive.
The ONE+ system from Ryobi creates a variety of products which run on their batteries.
I bought a drill to use with the drill adapter above. The battery and charger I got can also be used in the new fan we got. This battery or cord-operated fan is perfect for getting a breeze when boondocking.
Cool, but what else can it do? Well, we now have a hand vac and are getting a power inflator, all of which use the same battery. One charger, one battery type, multiple tools. There are also lights, radios and, of course, plenty of yard and shop tools available.
The other thing I like about them is Home Depots are relatively easy to find. Need another battery? Easy enough to find a Home Depot on the road. I have included Amazon links for these items, but you can likely find them cheaper at Home Depot.
Fan and Heater
A corded fan and a small space heater are two of the best investments you can make for your camper.
While the AC for our camper is outstanding, it is also loud, which makes it hard to sleep. A small fan allows us to keep the temperature relatively low while keeping a consistent breeze on us when sleeping. Yes, we presently have two fans… The one I have linked here and the Ryobi one above. The Ryobi one is good, but is a little louder than this one and does not have quite as many settings. If I were to do it all over again, I would just get the Ryobi fan since it is more versatile.
We have a propane furnace in the RV and it does a very good job of keeping the camper warm, but the space heater is amazing for keeping the bed warm, which is the most important part. The other nice thing about the space heater is it works off electricity, meaning I am using a lot less propane to heat the camper when it is cold.
Power Strip with USB Ports
If you are anything like us, you have a ton of devices which need power, many of which use a USB cable to power them.
One location in the camper for all of our charging needs. It works like a champ.
Nesting Mixing Bowls
Bonnie loves these nesting mixing bowls and measuring cups because they take up so little room. They are perfect for the limited amount of space in our kitchen area.
On our first big trip with the camper, we mistakenly thought we didn’t really need mixing bowls. Even though we typically are not baking, we now use these mixing bowls all the time to prepare a salad or marinade. Add in the measuring cups and spoons, strainer and colander and this set has everything you could possibly need in one small space.
I keep two kinds of gloves in the camper: leather work gloves and nitrile disposable gloves.
The leather gloves are great for handling all of the heavy, dirty work associated with the hitch. They protect my hands from getting banged up by the hitch, putting in the sway bars, etc., as well as keeping them from getting greasy while working.
Especially with being on blood thinners, these gloves have saved me some bloody minor cuts and really nasty-looking bruises.
The nitrile gloves are used when I am connecting and disconnecting the water and sewer connections. These keep things sanitary for me and for the water connection. I also use them to grease up the hitch and sway bar connections.
Sidewinder Sewer Hose Stand
I have a new appreciation for this particular device since our last trip. I saw a guy have to line up his camper with the sewer connection because his hose stand would not curve.
This thing curves very easily and keeps drainage from backing up.
I love this water hose. It seems a strange thing to say, but this hose is durable, easy to use and packs down to nothing.
I also use a different, cheaper collapsible hose for my sewer rinse and flush hose. Again, it is so easy to deal with.
Final Thoughts on RV Gadgets
We know these are not the end all, be all of RV gadgets, but these are the ones we love after three summers with the camper.
What are your favorite gadgets? Please let us know what you like for your camper. You might have a suggestion we’ve never thought of!
We use Skyscanner to find deals on flights. Skyscanner has a great interface and compares tons of airlines for the best pricing and routing. That said, it does not always have every airline and some airlines will have better deals on their website. Still, Skyscanner is a great place to start.
Click here to search for a flight.
We typically stay at Hilton properties, so we use the Hilton website. You can find good Hilton Honors discounts or AAA discounts for a hotel there. We make great use of our free night certificates from our Hilton Honors American Express.
Click here to book a Hilton property.
If there are no Hilton properties available, we use TripAdvisor to read reviews and book the hotel. We find we can get the best price that way.
Click here to search for a hotel.
We use Vrbo for the times when we have rented a cabin for a weekend getaway, like this cabin in Townsend, TN, or needed to rent a house for a large family vacation. We had a great experience with them in terms of refunding deposits when COVID hit and will continue to use them.
Click here to search for a vacation rental.
As a general rule, we book with Hertz for rental cars. We have had nothing but good experiences with them. Plus, we really like unlimited mileage and not worrying about crossing state lines. We have even rented from Hertz overseas in both Slovenia and Croatia.
Click here to book a rental car.
We have found some amazing prices booking a cruise through Cruise Direct. We have saved a lot of money on our cruises compared to what we found elsewhere, making a last-minute Bahamas cruise even cheaper.
Click here to book a cruise.
We highly recommend Outdoorsy for RV rentals. We rented a camper van for a week to visit Rocky Mountain National Park for the elk rut and Custer State Park for the Buffalo Round-Up and had a blast. The program was easy to use and we really enjoyed the freedom of having a camper van for that trip.
Click here to rent an RV.
We don’t often book tours. Typically, we like to do stuff on our own. That said, there are some experiences you just can’t have any other way. So, when we do want to book a tour, we always check Viatour first.
Click here to book a tour.
We make extensive use of both Good Sam and AAA on the road. Good Sam is normally regarded as a discount card for RVers at campgrounds and Camping World but anyone can use the 5 cents off a gallon at the pump at both Pilot and Flying J.
Click here to get a Good Sam membership.
We have had AAA as long as we have been married and it has more than paid for itself in discounts at hotels, aside from the peace of mind of having roadside assistance. Add in paper maps and the ability to get an international driver’s license and it is more than worth it for any traveler out there.