In the last nine years of fulltime RVing, we have tried out a great many RVing related products and gadgets. Back in 2016, I put out a list of my 10 Must-Have RV Gadgets, and it was extremely popular. RVers love gadgets!
So I’m back again with ten more of my must-haves. These are items that I use all the time. Say our whole rig went off a cliff and destroyed. These are things I would go out and buy again for the new RV.
10 More Must-Have RV Gadgets Video
Many trucks and motorhomes come with a factory included TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System), but most travel and fifth-wheel trailers do not. I got by for a few years without one, but it always made me nervous. You hear horror stories about the damage that can be caused by a trailer tire blowout, not to mention the safety hazard.
The wireless TPMS doesn’t replace manual checks of tire pressure and heat but sure gives me a little extra peace of mind. A glance at the display and I can see how the tire pressure and temps are doing. A few years ago, I bought one called EEZTire from a brand called EEZRV and have been pleased. I also recently reviewed the I10 TPMS from TireMinder.
A rearview cam is one of my favorite gadgets. Not so much for backing up the rig, though it’s handy for that. With it, I’m able to see vehicles that our out of sight behind me. That is golden! Additionally, it’s helpful to keep track of darting lane changers on busy multi-lane highways.
Over the last few years, I’ve been using the Haloview brand. Fair disclosure: They give me the hardware for review, and I am an affiliate. But honestly, I haven’t had any significant issues with the Haloview cameras or displays. The ones I’ve tested have worked well. I like the fact that many of the display screens also record the footage. Handy in case of a mishap to prove what happened.
I purchased the Trimetric Battery Monitor back in 2015, and its worked flawlessly ever since. When asked by boondocking newbies about off-grid power, batteries, and solar, etc., I always tell the first thing to get is a quality battery monitor. It’s like a fuel gauge for your battery capacity.
Ones like the Trimetric or the popular Victron utilize a device called a shunt. The shunt lets the monitor keep track of power out and power into the battery bank. Simple voltage gauges like the ones installed in most RVs don’t do that. With the information provided, a person can get a feel for how much power they use or whether their battery bank is being drawn down too far. Lead-acid batteries lose lifespan if they get discharged too deeply, too often. So in many cases, a quality battery monitor system can, over the years, pay for itself.
One of the many upgrades I have purchased for the RV is the SeeLevel II tank monitor. It replaced the almost useless OEM dummy lights. With the SeeLevel gauge, I can get a much more accurate tank level reading. Accuracy is most important for my freshwater tank when camping off hookups. It tells me in 4% increments how much water we have left.
I also have the sensor strips installed on the shower, galley, and black waste holding tanks. I find the shower tank is also accurate, but not so much for the kitchen and black. If I keep them well flushed, they read proper, but if boondocking for long periods, they slowly get worse until they just show 100% all the time. Still, if I get another RV, I’d want the SeeLevel again, at least on the fresh and shower tanks.
Like ours, many RVs came with a cheap manual slider control thermostat for control of heating and cooling. We quickly found it was hard to set for precise temperature and its range between being on and off was about 4 degrees. You end up being too cold them too hot.
I ended up swapping it out for a digital model. First with a Hunter brand, then a Honeywell. The Honeywell can auto-switch between cooling and heating modes, which we need during some parts of the year. The hardest part of the mod is figuring out the RV wiring as there no standard to it. Thankfully many folks have done the mod to different RV brands and shared it online.
For Christmas 2015, my lovely wife Anne gifted me with a Garmin 20 dashcam. It had been on my RV gadget wishlist. I wanted it for video footage in case accidents, but also my YouTube videos. It’s great to be able to show people the view as we drive into campsites or other exciting things we see on the road.
The Garmin lasted pretty well, but last summer, I was offered an Akaso Trace 1 Pro for review and swapped them out, giving the old Garmin to my mom. The Trace 1 Pro has a second rear-facing camera and a parking mode to record whenever our vehicle is impacted while parked. Handy to have if someone is messing with the truck, or it gets hit in a parking lot or RV site.
I’m not sure why I waited so long, putting up with the crappy little OEM bathroom fan. But, finally, last summer, I upgraded to larger Heng’s Vortex fan and then modded it so I could adjust its exact speed. We love it and now a must-have! Any odors or after shower moisture can be exhausted from the bathroom in a flash. Or, I can set it low and quiet to create a little breeze and ventilation on hot days.
With all the extra tires an RVer has to deal with, a 12V portable air compressor for me is a must-have item. For many years I made do with a Slime brand compressor. It did the job but was slow and noisy. A few years ago Mrs. Claus surprised me with a top of the line VIAIR 450P-RV air compressor kit. It came with a 100% duty cycle compressor and 60 feet of hose, plus various attachments.
The first thing I did was add a 12V power socket to the side of the fifth wheel, so I had a convenient plugin for it. The 450P-RV model is pricey but performs well, quiet, fast, and built to last. I use it for the truck and trailer tires, pin box airbag, and occasionally as an air gun to blow out debris from places.
I must have been an exceptionally good boy in 2018 because that same year, I also receive the RV Lock keyless entry door handle. It replaces the OEM keyed type handle. So far its held up well, no complaints. We love, especially my wife, not having to carry a key around when we step out for a walk or hike. And, if we need to give someone access while away, it’s as simple as giving them the code.
Finally, number 10 on this must-have RV gadgets list is my Garmin GPS explicitly made for RVs. I’ve been using it since 2017 and appreciate the extra warnings tailor-made for RVs. Things like high crosswinds, steep grades, and sharp corner warnings. With my inputted RV dimensions, it tries to route me via suitable roads and highways. It’s not foolproof but overall does a decent job.
My Garmin RV-760LMT GPS doesn’t need the internet to work, and my model has free lifetime map downloads. I also really like the large bright 7″ display and vehicle speed readout. It knows the speed zone I’m in and shows red if I’m above that. Another nice feature is the built-in RVing POI’s (Points of Interest) like RV Parks, campgrounds, RV dealers, Walmarts, and repair shops. I’ve even been able to download and load some custom POIs from Allstays and Low Clearances.