Jeff and I have been bouncing around the Phoenix area for the last month working multiple RV Shows. We love the mountains and desert here and never lack great trail running or magnificent sunsets. Since the weather is still a bit unpredictable further north, it’s not a bad place to be!
So far in our travels, Arizona and Utah have been our top two favorite states. Both have wide-open space with plenty of BLM to free camp. And both have mountains and rock formations that will knock your socks off.
The beauty is like nothing I’ve seen growing up in the mid-west and there is so much still to see. I’m thankful to have the opportunity to linger here, just to take it all in.
Speaking of favorites, I thought I would write a post on my favorite things that make our RV life easier and more enjoyable on our journeys to some of our favorite places. Living in an RV is an amazing lifestyle, but as always we are challenged on space. So the things we have with us are either multifunctional or compact.
Here are some favorites by category.
I must confess. I don’t know anything about technology. When Jeff says he wants to go to the Apple Store or Best Buy I want to stick a pencil in my eyeball. (I suspect he feels the same when I want to watch another re-run of Property Brothers).
Wifi boosters, an unlimited data plan, tire monitoring and RV specific GPS. They all make staying safe and connected much more reliable. But for my area of influence, there are three things that help in my day-to-day life as the bookkeeper and CFO in the family.
I’ve had this little gem since 2011 and it has worked consistently for 6 years now. I use it to scan receipts for expense reports, legal docs that need to be emailed and just general paperwork that needs to be saved. Its super compact and fits in my office tote and keeps us paperless on the road.
I just picked up this printer last fall out of frustration. Any time we needed to print something we would make a trip to a local Office Max or Staples, and pay a fee to do it. So I bit the bullet and bought this printer. This guy is compact, wireless and will print in black & white and color. I wish I had bought this sooner to make life a bit easier.
When we lived in our sticks & bricks home, I had a whole room dedicated to my office. File cabinets, paper shredder, fax, printer, pencil drawer with various paperclips, post-its and rubber bands. I had everything I needed…in abundance. Now I have our lives condensed down to a 15” X 11” X 6” tote. I keep a few files folders, a tray for pens, postage, paperclips and checks. And my scanner tucks neatly into this box. I stuff the box into an overhead cabinet, stack my little printer on it’s lid and pull it out on accounting day.
Last fall I started a little side hustle doing direct sales for Monat. Thankfully, this line of hair care products (which are amazing by-the-way) does not require me to carry any inventory. But I do keep samples to mail out to potential customers. It doesn’t take up a ton of space, but can be a challenge to keep organized and contained.
I bought this cute metal stand at Home Goods for $29.99. I use the top tray for remotes, pens, fingernail files and such. Then I use the two bottom levels to hold my samples, brochures and mailing supplies. I absolutely love it and it’s adorable too!
Like most RVers, we struggle with what to do with our daily shoes. Specifically our managery of running shoes. After seeing this idea on Pinterest we mounted 2 metal coat hooks from Lowes to the wall just inside our door. With the two racks we can hang 5 pairs of shoes. It worked so well we added another higher up the wall for jackets, hats and running hydration belts.
In an RV, anytime you pull up stakes every item in our home has to be put somewhere to prevent it from moving. Including shower supplies. And with my Monat business, I have a lot of products taking up space in my shower. I have two very small shallow shelves that are only capable of holding one bottle of shampoo. We have to remember to put it on the floor when we move.
Another Pinterest idea has worked perfectly. I wedged a shower rod between my shower wall and the vanity medicine cabinet and hung a metal basket via two shower curtain hooks.
Its super sturdy and holds ALL of our shower products. I don’t even have to take it down when we travel.
This little box sits on our kitchen counter just inside the door. We throw our sunglasses; spare change, Chap Stick and dog poo bags (empty of course) in it. It keeps our countertop clear and we know just where our things are as we head out the door.
Infinity Woven Vinyl Flooring
During our RV renovation in 2015 we pulled out all the carpeting and replaced it with thick vinyl tile flooring. But on our slide we used Infinity Woven Vinyl Flooring. This product got its start in marine as wall and floor covering and has worked its way into the RV community. It comes in one big sheet and is installed like carpeting. I can mop it and spills come right up. Love the product and its style fit our modern décor.
Fabric Curtains & MCD Shades
RV’s do not have much in the way of modern interior detail. So when we bought our new to us Carriage Domani, we remove the old smelly accordion blinds and replaced them with custom fabric curtains (thanks Mom!) and MCD Shades. Our MCD’s are a dual roller type that has a black solar shade as one roller and a cream-colored blackout shade as the other. MCD’s are EXPENSIVE running about $300/window. I would have never spent $3,000 on ten windows.
Fortunately, I found 9 out of 10 window dimensions at an RV surplus store in White Pigeon, MI…for $25 each. I have one window that I still do not have a MCD shade for, so I just keep the curtains closed on that window. I continue to look for a shade on eBay, but haven’t found one yet.
The reason I love these is that you can block the sun with the solar shade while still seeing out your window. And when we are parked in an urban location with lots of RV Parking lot lights, the black out shades block the light COMPLETELY.
Jeff and I are not fond of drinking water straight from our holding tanks on the RV. We had a Reverse Osmosis System at home to filter our water. But RO systems are not very conducive to dispersed camping, because they discharge A LOT of water in the process of filtering.
We used to run to Walmart or another drinking water dispensary every other day to fill our two 3 gallon water bottles.
Last year we bought a Berkey gravity fed water filter tank. It’s stainless steel and looks so much more attractive than blue water bottles. We still fill our blue water jugs, but from any tap or from our holding tank. Just pore the water in the top section of the Berkey and let gravity filter the water into the bottom section. It has its own spigot so everything is compact and ready to use.
Filters last for up to two years and the unit requires a good cleaning a couple times a year. We just have to be sure to time our pore so that we don’t overfill the night before we travel so that water doesn’t slosh around and spill.
Full disclosure! Jeff and I work with Dometic. But this CFX portable refrigerator/freezer is awesome. You can set the temperature anywhere from 50F to -7F and it runs off 12V or 110.
We keep ours in the slide trey in the bay of our 5th-wheel. Most of the time it holds sports drinks, water bottles or extra almond milk to free up more space within our RV refrigerator.
It’s also portable, so we can plug it into the back of our truck and store smoothies to drink after a long hike or use it to transport cold groceries on a hot day.
There are lots of other items that we find very useful to our RV lifestyle, but these are just some of my favorites. Everything in an RV has to have a purpose and a place. If something is not useful or used, then we don’t keep them around.
Do you have a favorite item that you can’t live without? Enquiring minds would like to hear about it in the comments below!
Until next time!