Life in an RV isn’t more difficult than living in a house, it’s just different and just takes a little adjusting to get used to. And there are a few items out there that can help make life on the road a little easier. I’ve come up with a short list of some things that make my motorhome life more enjoyable. By no means are these things must haves or apply to everyone. It’s just a few things that I like and thought I would share, so here they are in no particular order:
Kindle / E-Reader:
I’m a reader, put a book in front of me and I’ll read it. I love fiction, non-fiction, new, old, how-tos, whatever. And when it comes to weight and mass, books don’t receive good marks for storing in an RV. Space is precious, we have a hard enough time storing clothes and food, let alone books. That’s when I picked up a Kindle. It stores hundreds of books, weighs nothing, and gives access to all the reading material that I’ll ever need. Buying books on the Kindle are generally cheaper than buying dead tree books at a brick and mortar and you can also pick up a lot of classics for free. Libraries are now allowing you to “check out” books on your e-reader. You check it out using your library card and they give you a few weeks to read it before it disappears off the device. I still have a library card while we’re staying local, but some libraries charge a fee to non-residents. It’s not too much, I’ve paid $10 for a card when we were in Hill City for 5 months. The Kindle is easy to read and operate. You can read on a tablet if you’ve got one, but staring at those backlit screens can cause some eye strain. I can read on the e-reader for hours and be fine, it’s just like reading on paper. And now you can pick them up at the sub-$100 level, a good investment if you’re a heavy reader.
Shower space in most RVs is laughable. I feel like I’m packing into a clown car when I try to move around our shower. If you’ve got a curtain instead of a glass door in your shower, a curtain extender definitely gives more room. It’s got two joints in the pole that allow it to swing out and give considerable more arm room when in the shower. And when you’re out of the shower you can swing it inward to give more room in the rest of the bathroom.
A little while ago we got sent some Zip Bags to try out. You’ve seen something like them on TV I’m sure, you put clothes or blankets in these bags and use a vacuum or pump to suck out all the air and compress the contents. Comes in handy for storing winter coats or comforters that don’t get used all the time.
Okay, you can’t put a Redbox in your RV, but normally there’s not one too far away. I’ve always loved movies – I’m a film student for crying out loud! Movies, like books, can take up a lot of room, especially if you feel the need to hold on to the cases. If you ditch the cases and keep them in a DVD wallet, you’ve saved quite a bit of space. But buying movies aren’t cheap. That’s why we get our movie fix by renting from a Redbox. You could use to get a movie for a buck a night from a Redbox, but they’ve recently upped the price to $1.20. The process is pretty simple: pick up a moive at a box, watch it, drop it off at the next box that you come across. The selection of movies and video games is mostly limited to recent releases, so I have to keep some of my staples on hand: The Back to the Future Trilogy, Into the Wild, and anything from Mel Brooks.
Yeah a lot campgrounds have internet, but it can be sketchy and unpredictable if it’s going to be available or not. We rely on the internet for our income, so sketchy won’t cut it, that’s where the smartphones come in. I have a iPhone with Verizon and Jessica has an HTC EVO with Sprint. We both have “tethering” plans that allow us to use the 3G or 4G internet from our phones on our computers. It’s not lightning fast or anything, but it let’s us check our email and jobs.
A simple item I know, but when you live in a tin box with someone else full time, headphones can be invaluable. If one of us wants to work, listen to music, or watch a movie without disturbing the other, a good set of headphones can be vital in getting some alone time or keeping the peace.
Clear Elbow for Sewer:
Sewer, not the prettiest subject, but a necessary part of RV life none-the-less. Before we got a clear elbow for draining the tanks, the stuff moving through that hose was a mystery… actually it probably would of been better if it stayed a mystery…. But the elbow gives a clear picture of what’s going on and when it’s “really” done draining. Plus, the elbow has a hose hook up so that you can back wash the tank, that way you can see when you’ve really cleared it out. Enough of that talk, let’s move on.
Folding camp chairs, might not be the first thing that comes to mind as a favorite item. But the folding camping chair has this weird sense of community to it. When meeting new people or neighbors at a campground, when someone offers to bring out an extra folding chair for you to sit in, there’s a good chance you’ve might of just made a new friend. It’s like offering a olive branch or a peace pipe or something. We’ve spent countless hours in those chairs sitting around campfires sharing stories and a few beers with people we’ve just met.
A fashion statement, these hats are not, but they serve their purpose. You really get a good sense of their true value when you’re using both hands to fix something on the side of the road, in the dark, while it’s raining.
Another essential for us! Gotta light a campfire, grill, or pilot to light? I need not go further.
Like I said these items aren’t really necessary or preferred as key items by everyone, just me. Most RVer’s aren’t really materialistic, but just a few choice things can make all the difference. So what are the things that you can’t be without while on the road?