Over time I’ve found a lot of gear, as well as modifications I’ve been able to make, that have made my life full-timing a lot easier. The following is a list of some of the gear and changes I’ve made that have made the biggest difference for me.
Most RV’s require you to put the city water hose straight into the hose fitting, which puts a lot of pressure on it. Adding a 90 degree elbow takes a lot of that pressure off. Screwing on/off hose fittings is also time consuming and annoying, so I’ve put hose quick connectors everywhere that I can. I just leave my elbow screwed in and then I keep a quick connector on the end of it so that I can quickly hook up my water hose.
With the quick connects I can quickly snap my hose on the end of the water filter and into the elbow going into the camper. The splitter gives me an extra hose connection if I ever want to spray something down.
And everything stows away nicely.
Nite Ize Gear Ties Are Your Best Friend
My dad introduced me to Nite Ize gear ties and now I use them for pretty much everything. They are great for tying up hoses and cords, hanging stuff, holding things together… pretty much anything you can think of. Definitely get a variety of sizes if you decide to buy some. I promise you’ll use them.
Stinky Slinky Support
A lot of the time when you set up your sewer hose (AKA stinky slinky) it won’t be a constant downward slope to the drain. This can make it so that the hose doesn’t drain correctly and can sometimes get backed up. A sewer hose support fixes this issue.
I also hammer in a couple of tent stakes to hold the support in place. Many times I’ve had the wind blow it over which makes it pretty useless.
LevelMate PRO and Beech Lane Levelers
One of the biggest hassles for me RVing alone was getting my rig level. It required me to get in and out of my truck a million times to check the levels, make an adjustment, check again, etc. However, I think I’ve found the best setup possible for leveling alone which is a combination of the Beech Lane levelers and the LevelMate PRO. This setup allows me to look at my phone and see the level status of my rig, then make adjustments without getting out.
The LevelMate PRO gets installed inside the rig. I had to put it in one of the closets beside my bed, and as far forward as possible, so that the bluetooth range would reach inside my truck.
With the device installed, you can install an app on your smartphone which will then show you the level of your rig front-to-back and side-to-side. This allows you to watch your phone as you drive and find the most level spot.
If you can’t get it perfectly level side-to-side, that’s where the Beech Lane levelers come in. You put them under the wheels on the side that needs to get raised, then slowly pull forward, keeping an eye on the LevelMate PRO app. Once the level on the app turns green you know you’re good and can chock the wheels. This lets you make much more precise adjustments than using leveling blocks, which usually always raise an inch at a time.
Another cool thing about the LevelMate PRO is that it lets you save your hitch position. So when you raise the jack to unhitch from the truck, you can save that position. Then when it comes time to tear down you can recall your saved position and raise your jack back up and know that you’ll be able to get your ball under the hitch without having to get out and check.
Portable Air Compressor
Getting a flat out in the middle of nowhere is one of the worst case scenarios for most RVers. Making sure you always have your tires inflated to the correct pressure can help prevent this situation. I always check all of my trailer tires, as well as my truck tires, before every single trip, no matter how short it is.
You want to make sure you have a decent tire pressure gauge. I prefer to get the larger ones made for dually’s because I’m less likely to lose them, and they seem to work better. Having a small, portable air compressor is also really convenient because it allows you to air up your tires at the campsite. I think if I had to pull into a gas station with a trailer and try to get to the air compressor every time I needed air, I would be much less likely to do it regularly. So that’s why for me a small compressor is a must-have.
I have the Viair 70P and it works perfectly for my needs. It is small and quiet and airs up my tires quickly. It only comes with a cigarette lighter plug, so I also ended up buying a 110v to 12v converter so that I can plug it right into an outlet either in my rig or at the post of the campsite. Using this and an extension cord I can easily get around to all my tires.
Space is limited in an RV so having plenty of hooks around to hang things on can help prevent clutter. I got some over-the-door hooks to put over my closet door and hang jackets and sweatshirts on.
I also use Command Hooks everywhere. I can’t stress enough how awesome these are.
Use Your Drill For Stabilizer Jacks
This is more of a tip than a modification, as it doesn’t require any changes to your RV. Most RVs come with a hand crank that you have to use to put the stabilizer jacks up and down. This obviously takes forever. A better way is to get a socket adapter for your drill and a 3/4” socket. With this you can put the jack up and down in 2 seconds flat.
PowerGrip 30 Amp Plugs
The plug ends on both my main power cord to my camper, and my extension cord, were showing a lot of wear. I also found it really difficult to pry them apart because they didn’t have any kind of handle. So I decided to cut off all three plugs and replace them with Camco PowerGrip plugs.
For the male end on my main power cord I went with the 30 Amp Mini PowerGrip so that it would fit inside the cable hatch in my RV.
This was a really easy modification and has made it much easier to unplug the cords from each other.
After a month or two on the road, I started to notice that after about a week, when I flushed the toilet I would get the dreaded black tank smell coming back out into my bathroom. It only happened when I flushed and it was only after about a week. I figured the issue had to be a problem with the ventilation on the tank. I did some research and discovered the Camco Cyclone Vent. It spins so that it always points itself to the wind, and then uses the wind to pull the odors out of the tank. I ordered the vent and some Dicor and ripped out the old vent and installed the new one.
So far it seems this new vent has completely solved my problem. Since installing it I haven’t had any black tank odors at all. I think I’m actually going to replace the vents on both gray tanks with the Cyclone vent as well.
Sewer Hose Storage
A lot of RVs have a hollow bumper where you can pull off an endcap and store your sewer hose in the bumper. My rig actually has this, however, I have a clear 90 degree elbow on my hose (which is also a must-have) and with the elbow it doesn’t fit in the bumper. Furthermore, I have another sewer hose extension that actually does fit in the bumper and so they wouldn’t both fit in there anyway. I didn’t like the idea of my sewer hose being loose in my storage area, so I went to the hardware store and picked up a piece of gutter and some endcaps and brackets and mounted it inside my pass-through storage. This works perfectly to give the hose a dedicated spot and keep it away from the other stuff in the storage area.
Under-bed Storage Support
One of the best things I did in my rig was replace the thin, crappy mattress it came with with my own queen size mattress. However, the new mattress I put on was so much heavier than the old one that the hydraulics weren’t able to keep the mattress up when I needed to access the storage under the bed. I’m sure you could buy more heavy duty hydraulics, but I opted for the easy and cheap solution, which was to get a 2x2 piece of wood and attach it to the storage lid with a hinge. Then I have a magnet on the end of the 2x2 and a piece of metal on the lid so that I can fold the leg up and store it underneath the lid without having it get in the way of the storage area.
My dog is a pretty great RV travel companion. He doesn’t require much and I’d say he’s a minimalist. However, he does have some toys, medication, collars, etc. and I needed a place to but them all so that they wouldn’t be in the way. I also knew he needed a spot for his bowls where they wouldn’t get kicked around and spilled. I ended up buying a little container thing that holds both of his bowls.
There was a lot of space inside this piece, but the bottom of it was open. I decided to screw a piece of plywood into the bottom of it, and after doing that I was able to put all of his stuff inside this container and also have the bowls in it. If I need access to anything inside I just pull the bowls out.
Now I can just pick this whole piece up and move it out of the way when when it is time to set up or tear down.
Desk and Monitor
I’m a programmer and work full time out of my rig, so having a real desk, chair, and monitor was mandatory. Finding a rig that had room for a desk was kind of tough, but eventually I found one with a couple recliner chairs I knew I could get rid of. I took those out and replaced them with an Ikea Alex desk, mounted my monitor to it with a swiveling monitor arm, and added my normal office chair. It’s just like working in the office now.
An added bonus of the swiveling monitor is that I can turn it to face the couch and watch movies on it.
There’s a lot of stuff out there marketed to RVers, and a lot of it is gimmicky and unnecessary. The best way to figure out what you need and what you need to change is to just get out there and spend time in your rig. Start simple and add things as new problems come up. Also talking to other people you meet on the road is another great way to learn about new gear and tips and tricks to make your life easier. If you find yourself facing any of the same problems I did, hopefully this post will be helpful.