so you don’t have to
W hen we embarked on the full-time RV life, we knew nothing.
The day we took ownership of our Vanleigh Vilano at ExploreUSA in Kyle, Texas we were scheduled for a tech walk-through. Unfortunately, there was a conflict, so someone was assigned to us at the last minute.
The rushed explanations flew at us like a hurricane straight out of Galveston. Before we knew it, the walk-through was over, and we were left holding a substandard sewer hose and a roll of toilet paper.
The RV dealership did provide us a DVD to watch circa 1980 with someone strumming a guitar and singing before he shows you how to change propane tanks.
We were 100% on our own.
Which led to YouTube videos about tire pressure, monitoring battery replacements, tank dumping techniques, and how to make your own gaskets (what?) that made our heads swim.
So we took it one day at a time to get where we are today.
We don’t know everything, but we do know what’s working and what we’ve done to make living in an RV easier.
And that’s why we review to help you save time and money so you can enjoy doing the things this life provides.
Or we can send you a copy of the DVD. It’s a real blast from the past!
After much research, trial and error, and overall hair-pulling experiences, these are our top product RV recommendations we couldn’t live without. We are not paid an endorsement fee from the manufacturing companies but do receive a commission from Amazon should you purchase an item through our link. These are the real-deals we know will enhance your RV life as much as they have ours.
MOR/ryde StepAbove RV Steps
The Mor/ryde Stepabove RV Steps is one of the best upgrades you can ever make to your RV. If you no longer want to climb up and down flimsy steps trying your best not to fall; then these steps are for you.
And the best part? You don’t have to be a technical genius as they are a breeze to install. Also, easy delivery from Amazon prevents dealing with RV dealership salespeople!
The only real problem you’ll have is with people always stopping by and asking, “Hey, where did you get those great steps?”
Permanent RV Jack Pads
RV SnapPads comes in a close second to one of the best RV upgrades we have ever made.
On our maiden voyage trip, we noticed how our levelers (the feet of the RV) sunk into the site’s gravel causing a mess and making things pretty much uneven.
After some research, we purchased RV SnapPads that are permanent jack pads made from recycled rubber.
The pads prevent sinking in soft ground (think heavy rains) and create better stability by spreading the load of the RV over a larger surface area. They also avoid rusting on concrete and sinking in hot asphalt.
Waste Master Hose System
It only took once for black wastewater to leak out of the twist-on sewer cap used on standard sub-par RV tank hoses for us to exclaim, “There has to be a better way!”
Fortunately, there’s a better way with the Waster Master Hose System! The revolutionary design is similar to the system fuel tankers use.
Instead of the flimsy bayonet lock (twist and turn) cap, this hose uses a CAM lock system that securely locks into place preventing leakage.
There is a small modification you have to make that involves cutting off the bayonet tabs and then gluing on the new CAM fitting. Here is a YouTube video showing you how to do it.
Also, be sure to purchase an adaptor to go back to using the bayonet cap in case something happens to your new hose, or you need the services of a honey wagon.
Adjustable water regulator
You arrive at the RV campsite after a long driving day and look forward to a nice hot shower before you hit the hay.
You step into the shower, turn the water on, and…
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE WATER?
Maybe it’s a slow trickle that barely wets your backside.
Or it could be worse!
The water shoots out of the shower head with an Old Faithful force enough to knock you off your feet.
Even though you may be tempted to “endure” high water pressure for the sake of a “good” shower, the chances of damaging your RV water lines are dangerously high.
The Valterra Adjustable Water Regulator saves the day by regulating the water pressure coming into your RV so that you don’t bust loose a fitting or fixture.
Also, be sure to buy two as they are notoriously left behind. Having a spare on hand will give you peace of mind.
Portable RV surge protector
Cheech and Chong are still going strong after 40 years Up in Smoke, but your RV might not be so lucky.
Your home on wheels is wired differently than a traditional ‘sticks n’ bricks.’ Every time you plug into an RV site’s electrical pedestal, you place your RV at risk for a power surge that will fry your rig’s inner workings worse than Jeff Spicoli’s brain.
Purchasing a portable RV surge protector is essential to tame flaky power. Plug this baby in to save yourself electrical damage that is sure to happen if you don’t have protection.
RV park “resort” reviews
In the early days, we learned just because an RV Park calls itself a “resort,” doesn’t make it so. Seeing the word “resort” attached to an RV Park’s name is an automatic warning sign.
These are just a few of our memorable RV Park “resort” reviews, good and bad. You can find more reviews in our travel section.
catherine's landing, Hot springs, ar
Located on the banks of Lake Catherine, the RV park’s black-top roads and concrete pads are the first hints you are entering a real resort. Then there’s the large saline swimming pool and beautiful styled buildings that give you the feeling you’re in a special place.
There are also hiking trails, a zip-line, disc golf, and boat rentals. Everything about Catherine’s Landing says resort in the right way.
Nashville Shores Lakeside Resort
There is nothing “resort” about this RV Park that we could see.
A swimming pool? Nope (there is a water park next door requiring an admission ticket. It was not open during our visit).
Spacious RV sites? Nope. The sites are so tight and close together that the people next to you may be your long lost kin.
Beautiful landscaping? Nope. You can see the ugly telephone pole right next to our rig, not to mention the tacky chain-link fence surrounding the lake obscuring the view.
Nope. This RV park is not a resort in our book.
Whistle Stop RV Resort, abilene, tx
What do you think when you hear the words Whistle Stop?
Maybe a scene straight out of the movie Fried Green Tomatoes?
You may think of a cozy little place where a train leisurely passes with the time, and the conductor waves his red cap in your direction.
But then add the word Resort to Whistle Stop, and now a different image may emerge with women in heels and men wearing fedoras carrying vintage suitcases rushing pass people sipping coffee from elegant cups to catch the next train to Wichita.
But you don’t need elegance when you’re traveling through town and looking for a place to hook-up for the night.
And that’s about what you get at the Whistle Stop RV Resort in Abilene, TX.
But you also get this exclusive “resort” welcome sign placed in a beautiful bucket.
Whistle Stop RV Resort also comes with mudholes and deep ruts for your resort-style pleasure especially designed for your site.
And if you need some gym shorts, there’s a pair conveniently left at your site.
So don’t expect any fried green tomatoes at the Whistle Stop RV Resort. But you can undoubtedly expect easy access with full hook-ups, and maybe some muddy gym shorts if you’re lucky.
Winton woods campground, cincinnati, oh
If you believe good things come in small packages, then you will love Winton Woods Campground located 20 minutes north of downtown Cincinnati.
This simplistic, yet elegant RV park, owned by the Hamilton County Park system, is squeaky clean with paved roads and sites. Towering pine trees alongside Winton Woods Lake immerse you in quiet nature.
We enjoyed the paved walkways throughout the 2,555-acre park where each new step invites you to sit and enjoy the scenery.
Winton Woods Campground is not a resort by any means, and it doesn’t claim to be. It’s a perfect little RV Park that we think is worth your time to stop by and stay awhile.
Route 66 RV Resort, Albuquerque, nm
This is one of the few RV Parks we have stayed where the word “resort” in the park’s name is well deserved.
Located on the Pueblo of Laguna reservation, 14 miles west of Albuquerque, NM, Route 66 RV Resort is the real deal. From the spacious concrete-paved sites, the native plant landscaping, the resort-style pool, and walking distance (or free shuttle) to the Vegas-style casino; this RV park has it all.
There are some things you can’t live without, and then there are some things you REALLY can’t live without.
When you live in a small space, every item you own should have an important function and purpose.
But some things become essential for a happy life on the road.
This little appliance is priceless in a small kitchen. You can genuinely cook anything in a matter of minutes.
The Instant Pot can be intimidating at first sight, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll never go back to traditional cooking again.
Here are some free seasonal recipes so you can see for yourself!
mini smart oven
Another magic tool for your small RV kitchen is the Breville Mini Smart Oven.
Similar to the Instant Pot, you can cook virtually anything in this small, but powerful toaster. It has something to do with a type of technology that allows you to bake cookies, roast vegetables, or make toast with a simple turn of a knob.
And because it’s compact, it uses less energy to heat than a traditional RV oven, saving you time and money.
the next exit directory
How many times have you traveled down the Interstate wondering where the next rest stop is for a bathroom or lunch break?
If you’re like us, the answer is many, many times!
But now there’s no reason to worry if you carry the Next Exit Directory that conveniently points you in the right direction. This handy paperback not only informs you what’s located at every exit but more importantly, what facilities and businesses are RV friendly.
The Next Exit is indeed an RVer’s best traveling companion.
Electric Radiator Heater
No matter how south you go in the winter, it can get cold, even freezing at times!
So instead of using propane regularly during these cold spells, the oil-filled Pelonis Electric Radiator Heater will heat your small area in no time.
We use the furnace (or heat pump depending on the temperature) in the morning, and then use the Pelonis heater to warm our living room throughout the day. It’s quiet as it doesn’t use a fan creating a peaceful and cozy environment inside when it’s brutal outside.
It’s also light, portable and easy to store when better weather returns.
And if you have pets, they will especially love it!
Scanner & Digital filing system
If you don’t like living with piles of paper and enjoy a good, clean filing system, then having a Scanner & Digital Filing System is for you.
We have used the Neat scanner for years for home and office needs. It’s quick and easy to use, and even attractive with its sleek, clean design.
Having loose papers sitting around your RV is annoying and not suitable for a pleasant living environment. Having everything secure in one place gives peace of mind so that you can enjoy your time on the road without worry and distraction.
the twice a month
FULL TIME RV LIFE NEWSLETTER
Twice a month we send out a newsletter with 8 things we think are worthy to share about full time travel to help you learn, do, and live an awesome RV life.
As a thank you for joining, you are free to download the 19-page 15 Tips to Take Full Time RV Living to the Next Level e-book.
A $9.50 value!
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