I have just finished reading a list of the top 25 things that I must have for my motorhome. I have to say it was absolutely exhausting. I mean I don’t have that large of an attention span. 25 things? You must be kidding. I can only deal with, say, 10 items at a time. It took me 3 days to get through the list.
Now, it was a good list, but I’m not sure you can have a universal list. Lists like this really depend on the people travelling in the RV. What are they like? What do they like to do? Where do they go?
Are we talking about preparing for the inevitable, or just trying to make our day-to-day RV experience more enjoyable?
Now take me and Margaret. We like to go everywhere. And we like to cook. When I’m hungry, do I really care about tire pressure monitoring systems? If I have a bad tire I can always call Good Sam.
For me, if I think of necessities, I think of things like my food processor, the slow cooker, the blender and hot air popcorn maker, my Rada kitchen knives, my wok and my no-stick loaf pans (but only because I seasoned them right).
Still, I guess it’s important to have priorities. What would I put on my list, if I made one?
1. Tire compressor
It is important to have air in your tires at all times.
Preparing for catastrophic tire failure is one thing.
My tire experiences, however, tend to revolve around slow leaks.
We were recently camped next to a friendly camper who said “I have a pump if you ever need one.” When I needed one, he handed me a hand pump. Thankfully it was for my Honda Civic tire and not for the motorhome. A 150 or so pump-pump-pumps later I was good to go.
RV tires are another thing. Everyone has a tire story.
When you need to pump up an RV tire to a 100 pounds or more, you need a skookum compressor. I have had a number of otherwise acceptable compressors hooked up to my motorhome tire and they just sit there, make a lot of noise, get exceedingly hot, and just don’t put a single pound more of air into the tire. It’s a sad story.
If you have a big rig with air brakes, quite often the air system is set up to allow you to fill the RV’s tires. You’re good to go. Us, we don’t have air brakes.
One solution is to get a compressor that actually works for RV tires. The folks over at RV Geeks have checked this one out. It’s a bit pricey but it works. And it runs on 12 volts. After a recent experience, I think I’m good to go with one that runs on 120 volts. If there’s no outlet around, I can always start up the generator.
A compressor is still on my wish list so, in the meanwhile, I’m ‘investing’ in Good Sam’s Emergency Roadside Service. A phone call and someone will show up to deal with my squishy tire. Hopefully.
2. Shrimp Zipper
It doesn’t take up any room and is cheap to buy, but when you really need one (like when you just picked up that pound of really fresh shrimp and are rushing home to throw them on the pan with too much butter and garlic, and you are so happy you already put that bottle of white wine to chill) there is no place within 100 miles where you can buy one.
And. fortunately, it doesn’t require too much skill to use, even after a few glasses of wine.
3. Power Checker
It drives me crazy when I pull into an RV site, get plugged into the power outlet, and find out there is no power. (This usually happens after dark. Now I have to look for another campsite. Gr-r-r-r.)
Some campgrounds are notorious for this – we camped at one where they painted x’s and o’s and half-moons on their power boxes to give you a hint of whether there was power in them. They still didn’t tell the whole sad story.
Sometimes a friendly neighbouring camper will wave you off in time.
I keep it in the kitchen drawer and I can check if a site really has power before I even shut down the engine.
4. Voltage Meter
Speaking of power, once I have it, I want to know that the voltage is OK. I have this little meter plugged into one of my kitchen outlets all the time. That way I can keep an eye on it and make sure it’s within a reasonable range.
It’s amazing how the power goes up and down. On a hot afternoon when everyone is running their air conditioners, the voltage sags. Way down. Then I know not to try to run mine. Time to go outside and sit in the shade and catch some breeze.
I have been in a few parks where the voltage was way too high. Safer just to unplug.
Someday I’ll check into voltage regulators and surge suppressors.
I’m never quite sure where I am. It amazes me that such a little device not only knows where I am but where I should be going.
“Turn around when possible. Turn around when possible,” says the cheery comforting voice when I’ve screwed up once again.
We picked our little Garmin because it works in Canada, the US, and Mexico. If you’ve ever tried to find the Costco in Puerto Vallarta through a maze of unsigned streets that go off in every which direction, you’ll appreciate the little thing. Not to mention finding your way back to RV park.
I’m generally OK finding my way on the Interstates, but I like how it tells me how long it’s going to be before I get to my destination.
Still, be a little careful and watch where you’re going. Someday I’ll tell you the story of when my Garmin suddenly got me to do a left turn across a wide boulevard the wrong way into a one-way street in a little Mexican town. But then, those are the adventures of RV travel.
6. Lime squeezer
TV chefs squeeze lemons and limes in their hands to add that citrus pizazz to their dishes. They say, if you do it right, all the seeds stay in your hand and none get into the food or drink.
A citrus squeezer has solved that problem in my life. Especially since I tend to use an inordinate number of limes in my food and drinks.
They are small and you can get all kinds, inexpensively, at thrift stores.
I have too many. I mean, a specialty twist-off beer cap remover? Really?
If I had to pick the bare necessities, I could cut it down to two: a decent corkscrew (I like the butterfly type) and a bottle opener/can punch.
I think I should be able to get into anything with those. (Leave the champagne sword at home.)
8. Good enzymes for your holding tank
Does anybody still put that horrible blue formaldehyde stuff into their holding tank? God, I hope not.
We truly enlightened RV’ers have come to realize that the object is not to completely annihilate the bacterial process that continually renews the earth, but to help it along. Stinky tank problems are relieved by feeding the tank with enzymes and bacteria that break everything down at the microbacterial level and help whisk everything out when you empty the tank. And the process continues even after the stuff has disappeared down the… wherever it goes.
There are all kinds of products out there – powders, pucks, liquids. I like the basic powder – a scoop down the tank and all is well. If you are shopping in a rural area, you can get the stuff sold for septic tanks at a fraction of the price of specialty RV products.
OK. I’ll stop now.
I know I said 7, and here we are at 8 items already. And I’ve barely started.
It see now that it would be no trouble at all to make a list of 25 good things to have in your RV. Or 50. Maybe even more. But I’ll stop here and let you think about these for now.