Recently one of my YouTube viewers commented that it would be helpful to post a list of RV products that may not be worth buying. That got me thinking, and I went back and had a look at all the items I have reviewed over the years.
Now I’m pretty picky about products I decide to buy or review, so, for the most part, I haven’t had too many bad things to say. But I did find the following nine RV products that, for various reasons, at least for me personally, I can put into the “dud” classification.
Nine RV Products that Were Duds or Me
1) ReVo Leveler
At the time, I actually gave this nifty RV leveling gadget a thumbs up. However, as often is the case with newer technology, it was soon surpassed by better products utilizing smartphone apps and Bluetooth connectivity. They are much easier to set up and use than this manual push-button LED digital leveler. So the ReVo Leveler soon became a paperweight.
About 6 months later, I was using the Levelmate Pro instead. But even it got off to a rocky start consuming too many batteries until I added an on/off switch. The manufacture has since included a power switch in the newer versions.
2) Lensun Flexible Solar Panel
The idea of a semiflexible super-thin solar panel seems pretty cool. But in practice, I feel it falls short. This Lensun 100 watt panel being so dark, tended to get overly hot, which reduced its amperage output. The plastic surface is much more easily scratched/damaged versus standard tempered glass panels. The one I reviewed actually failed after falling over in the desert, and the soft surface was punctured by a rock.
Overall my feeling is not to use flexible solar panels unless you have a curved RV roof, want the panels to be stealthily installed, or have weight issues. Otherwise, I feel the rigid panels give you more bang for the buck with higher power output and longer lifespan.
3) Hydro Power Blaster
For some reason, the Hydro Power Blaster on/off lever didn’t completely shut off the water flow. The unit would always have a slight dribble. I’m not sure if I got a defective one or that’s just the way it’s supposed to be, but it was annoying.
The slack portion of hose would become a little unwieldy, and I found myself having to hang on to it. It would be nice if they included some quick clamps or ties to hold it against the pole. Overall, it turned out to be kind of a gimmicky thing. I ended up giving it away since I never used it much.
4) Akaso Mirror Dash Cam
Interesting idea for dashcam mounting, but I found in my tests using my Ram 3500 pickup truck there was far too much reflection interference when the screen was on. I also found the image too washed out in bright light. Furthermore, when the screen was off, the Akaos DL12 dashcam mirror view was nowhere near as good as a regular rearview mirror. Much darker and less clear. It just wasn’t useful to me.
I also have reviewed a similar mirror dashcam from Haloview. It had a much superior display, and I was planning to use it when towing the trailer, but soon they came out with an even more deluxe RV camera system, so I ended up giving the mirror dash cam system away to a viewer as one of 5 gifts in my 75,000 YouTube subscribers celebration.
I had high hopes this product would fix a couple of small cracks in my ABS plastic waste tanks but was a total fail. I tried patching and repatching several times, but the cracks would always reappear. Another con for this product is its noxious fumes require the use of a respirator mask when applying.
After the multiple failed repair attempts, I switched to a plastic repair product from West Systems called Gflex 655 Epoxy, and so far, it’s holding up great. Much easier to apply and safer fumes wise.
6) Strida Folding Bike
The unique-looking Strida folding bike is well built, lightweight, and folds up super compact. I have to say it was fun to blast around the local waterfront paths with it. However, when I took it south for the winter, it was basically useless. The wheels are so small and thin it couldn’t cope with the desert’s dirt and gravel roads, and climbing any hill was a total chore.
I have ended up sending it back to the company that sent it for review. I can see it has its place as a slick little city commuter bike but not for RVers unless they only camp in flat paved areas like Florida.
7) Flex Air Pin Box
Though the Flex Air pin box is definitely not a dud for many fifth-wheel trailer owners, it turned out to be one for my rather smallish Keystone Cougar. It was sent out for review by the folks at Lippert, but I think there was a mix-up between the service tech and marketing departments. It didn’t take long for us to realize the pin box rather than smoothing out the ride had actually introduced an extremely annoying back and forth chucking motion at highway speeds.
I contacted Lippert right away. They got me on the phone with an expert who told me Flex Air was designed for a larger, heavier trailer, and my smaller rig is better suited for their Air Ride pin box. Thankfully they sent me out an Air Ride to swap, and I’ve loved it ever since. Hindsight is 20-20, so the tip is to research the various pin boxes for the best fit for your particular fifth wheel.
8) BetterWeigh Mobile Scale
In my experience, the Better Weigh didn’t live up to the hype. The BetterWeigh weight readings come close to a real-world scale but not close enough and consistent enough for me. I find there are too many mechanical and user variables involved during calibration and testing to produce consistent results.
Therefore, in my humble opinion, the BetterWeigh Mobile Scale is an interesting gadget but not accurate enough to properly weigh the rig, truck, or payload. It may, however, act as a rough guide, letting you know you need to visit certified scales.
9) Mopeka LP Tank Meter
Finally, we have my latest dud gadget, the Mopeka propane tank wireless level gauge. Within only a month or so of use, I already had one of the sensors fail and start to eat batteries in less than a day. I believe that it was a build-up of frost on the bottom of the LP gas cylinder that did it in. I’ve heard from numerous other RVers also reporting problems with failing sensors, especially in cold, humid climates.
Mopeka has been good about it and honored the warranty by sending out a new sensor free of charge. I think to try and solve the problem. I’m going to apply a silicone conformal coating to protect the circuit board from moisture. I’m hoping that works as the product does do a good job of reporting the percentage of propane remaining in my cylinders which is handy.
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