accessories

Video: RV accessories

Boats and houses aren’t the only “money pits.” RVs, we’re learning, is an RV. Still, half the fun of RVing is enhancing the experience with handy extras. I have a long list of things we’re planning on getting or already have. In this video, I show you the first three major purchases we’ve made – a very powerful GPS unit aimed strictly at RVers, a great bicycle rack and an amazing telescoping camp chair that fits it a very small case that is the size of a laptop carrying bag.

As I say in the video, sometimes I find myself just sitting in the Roadtrek in the middle of my driveway. I can’t wait till the next trip.

The first thing we bought was a good GPS unit. The one we selected is the Rand McNally TripMaker RVND 7710. It has a seven inch screen and comes with free lifetime maps. A USB connection hooks it up to your computer and you can download constantly updated road information, like detours, traffic issues and construction delays, as well as new POIs (Points of Interest). It attaches to the inside windshield with a very powerful suction cup and can thus be taken down and hidden when the rig is parked or unattended. It;s designed designed specifically for the RVer and camper with detailed routing assistance that includes legal weight and height restrictions designed for the type of RV you are using. That means you’ll never get stuck on a road with a low overpass that would rip your top AC unit off. It has detailed information on what’s available at the next exit on the interstate you’re traveling, as well as special RVer Tools including Checklists, Quick Mileage Calculations, Maintenance Logs, and Breadcrumb Trails to get you back to your campsite. I also really like the Predictive Traffic feature, which takes typical traffic patterns into account when routing your vehicle. Another factor which tilted me to buying this unit is it has a bult in database of 13,000+ RV parks and campgrounds with amenities such as dump stations and electric hookups. And if you;re stuck with ideas on what to do or where to go, the unit has “Best of the Road” 3-4-day adventures, regional trips, scenic tours, and weekend getaways that it can suggest. You can also get info on pet-friendly locations such as animal hospitals, hikes, stops, beaches, and more. Best cost I found is on Amazon.

Every campsite needs camp chairs. The ones we took on our trip to Florida were big and cumbersome and took up a lot of space. We’ve replaced them with the PICO Telescoping Arm Chair. They cost $99 but are amazing. They store in what looks like a laptop bag. That’s because these chairs collapse to 1/16th of its size. They are very easy to easy to open, close, carry and store and yet are rugged and quite comfortable. They support someone up to 250 pounds, have handy beverage holders, media pockets and storage pockets. The chair measures 17” x 22” x 34” when open and 20” x 3.75” x 12”.

Then, there’s my bicycle rack. I’m a big time cyclist. I have had lots of bike racks over the years but the one I got for my Roadtrek is the best yet. It’s the Swagman XTC Cross-Country 2-Bike Rack and it is wonderfully designed to make it easy to carry two bikes securely on your vehicles standard ‘s hitch with no risk of bike-on-car, or bike-on-bike damage. Thanks to a built-in anti-wobble device, the platform-style rack secures solidly to 2 or 1.25-inch hitches. To load the bikes, simply lift them into the wheel platforms, secure the wheels with the integrated wheel straps, and secure the grip arms over the frames. With push button ratcheting arms and sliding wheel platforms, the rack provides a custom fit for bikes with 20 to 29-inch wheels and can accommodate multiple frame types.

Those are the first of three accessories. All were suggested to me by other RVers I have met here or on various forums. I have more stuff on order and more on my shopping list. But maybe you have some suggestions. If so, use the comments for below.


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13 comments

  1. Ah, you’re turning into a RVing gear head, Mike! I’m a Garmin guy and have a StreetPilot 7200 in our RT. One of the many things I like about it is the fact that it doubles as a monitor for the backup camera. While I’m totally comfortable backing into anyplace just using the mirrors, I have the backup camera so I can see precisely how close I am to an object behind me. I spent a lot of time aiming the camera so I can tell when the trailer hitch receiver is inches away from a stationary object.

    I guess I told you about the Thule Revolver bike rack, which does double duty hauling up to four bikes (usually just one) and a couple of nice LL Bean folding “zero gravity” recliners. The rack swivels out of the way of the back doors, with the bikes and chairs attached, so access to the rear storage and or egress from the van in an emergency isn’t an issue.

    Anyway, you’ll find more “stuff” as you go along. Look forward to your next post.

  2. It has gotten to the point that we have to get an RV-specific GPS. The car designed GPS is just too dangerous on unknown roads to take an RV on – even a Roadtrek less than 10 feet tall. From what I am reading the Rand McNally is a good choice, but I would like to try it in a store before I buy it – and the closest Camping World is 150 miles away. Any retail stores carry this?

  3. Mike
    Author

    My local Roadtrek dealer in Michigan had it in stock and you might find it in a dealer near you.

  4. Gordon

    Mike, next you will be debating what specific type and brand of towels to use. Hint: JC Penney Linden Street quick dry.

  5. Mike, you are apparently getting the bug. At this point you may be ready to take a visit to the Great Andy Baird’s website. If you are intrigued by his view of the world his Eureka! Live, will keep you entertained for hours and give you a ton of new ideas. Enjoy!

  6. Nice job on your RoadTrek videos!

    I have a similar RV – built on the same Sprinter platform, and really enjoy it.

    One accessory that we find very handy is the Sprinter Wind & Rain deflectors that fit over the driver and passenger window.

    With these, we can leave our windows cracked when we park or store the RV, and get air flow through the coack which keeps it cool inside -
    important for those of us who live in Florida.

    You can find these at
    http://www.eurocampers.com/Sprinter-Wind-and-Rain-Deflectors_c_74.html

    I also installed a MaxxAir Fan cover – which means I can leave the roof vent open when parked and not worry about rain or wind.

    The combination of the window vent covers and the MaxxAir vent means the inside of the RV has constant air flow when parked – keeping it fresh inside.

    Bill

  7. Gary Kim

    Excellent comments Mike. I’ll ditto the window vent shades. I have the Weather Tech units that slip inside the window channel and require no adhesives. they are slim and clean fitting. One thing I did with my coffee maker was install a couple pieces of velcro on either side of the vertical sides and then keep a piece of velcro fabric hooked when on the road. It prevents the coffee pot from flying out if you hit a sudden bump on those back roads (been there, done that) an possibly cracking the handle.

    One question on the Rand McNally map. . . does it have ads like the Garmins? I hate the Red Lobster and Olive Garden ads that pop up all the time, even when I’m nowhere near one.

    Thanks again

  8. Mike
    Author

    NO ads on the Garmin…
    Tell me more about the Velcro coffee pot solution…. happened to me already!. Pictures would be nice. Scared the bejeebers out of me when it fell! :-)

    • Mike
      Author

      mike AT roadtreking DOT com will get them to me… thanks for the link for the deflectors!