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My Favorite Geeky Gadgets for the RV

June 18, 2016

This is my personal list of must have geeky gadgets and items to have in the RV:

Cellular Hotspot– A great way to share one data plan and give all your WIFI devices access to the internet via the cellular network.  They also work great when combined with a Cellular Amp to increase the range and speed of the cellular service.  Most cell carriers offer one, but there are also universal unlocked devices that you can swap SIM’s and will cover nearly all the cellular bands without the need to carry a separate hotspot for AT&T and Verizon to ensure coverage, all you need is the one hotspot and the 2 SIM’s.

Wilson Sleek Cellular Amp– Great when camping in more isolated areas.  They work with both a cell phone for calling and data as well as a cellular hotspot for data use.  They will not create Cellular service where it does not exist, but will give you a strong stable signal in those areas where you have to find “just the right spot” to be able to get one bar on the campground.

Multi Function magnetic LED Flashlight–  I love the multi function magnetic flashlight/lantern combinations.  They are great when outside, or as a backup plan.

LED Headlamp– Another necessary item when camping.  Flashlights are great but when working on something, it is difficult to hold a flashlight as well.  I LED headlamp allows the use of both hands.

2 Way Radios–  Sometimes Cellular is not available or reliable in some campgrounds.  Having a pair of 2 WAY FM or FRS radios is a good way to keep in contact.

Microsoft Surface Tablet–  This is my favorite laptop/tablet hybrid.  With the limited space of a trailer, it is nice to have the features of a tablet but also have a full keyboard without needing to carry both an iPad and a Macbook.  With Windows on it as well you can install most applications you would need as well in such a small footprint.

Kobo Glo Ebook reader–  There are lots of choices for ebook readers from the basic to full color ones that you can install applications on.  My preference is in the middle.  I like eInk for easy to read text and the battery life(weeks).  I like the Glo screen for night time reading, it gives off jut enough light to read but not enough to wake up a sleeping partner.

Bluetooth Speaker–  If you are a music lover, this is an absolute must.  Everyone should have a bluetooth speaker and there are so many options to choose from, from cheap $20 ones to multiple hundred dollar ones by well known speaker makers.  They allow you to extend your music listening to beyond the trailer or tow vehicle so you can enjoy your music at the beach, on a picnic etc with a small speaker and your iPhone or Android.

Bluetooth Headphones–  Most speaker purists would tell you that you cannot get good quality sound from bluetooth because there is just not enough bandwidth.  However in a market where price does not dictate quality when it comes to headphones, there are too many brands by Rap stars which are mid range quality but top shelf price confusing buyers.  Yes you can get top quality headphones from Bose or Kiplsch and you can get cheap crappy headphones at the dollar store or shipping with your new iPhone or Android but Bluetooth headphones are cord free which is a big plus and they still end up in the middle of the market for sound quality.  If you would normally spend $40-$100 for headphones, bluetooth still will fall in your sound quality range anyway, which is still well above the quality the headphones that shipped with your phone get anyway.

USB Hard Drive– Every traveller should have one of these, perhaps two if you full time.  The small portable hard drives like the Wester Digital Passport are cheap, small, have huge amounts of space and do not require a separate power supply.  They can be used for backup, for storing large files like videos and photos or to move files between laptops.

LED Light Strip–  This is a great addition to an RV if you can find a way to permanently mount it to the rig.  My pet peeve was having to setup the patio lanterns, string them across the awning, get an extension cord, plug them in, and unplug every night at the end of the night.  Having them hardwired directly to the light switch and permenently mounted adds a lot of low power light to the campsite.

Oil Heater– This is a must for camping in cooler areas, like near the ocean or in shoulder season.  Oil heaters are safer, draw less power, and make no noise as there is no fan.  We will usually have a Micro Furnace and Oil heater on hand, but the micro furnace only gets used when we are in the trailer and awake.  Otherwise we use the Oil heater to keep the rig warm.  They do not generate as much heat as a Micro Furnace, but they will keep the rig from freezing and keep some warmth overnight without worrying about an electrical fire or without needing to use all our propane to run the furnace.

Micro Furnace–  These are a great way to add a lot of heat fast.  They will warm up a trailer quickly and keep in comfortable.  They however make a lot of noise and are not something I would leave unattended.

Oxygenics Shower Head–  This is a great invention that will improve your shower from the crappy stock shower head that comes with most rigs.  They are supposed to also use less water, which is always a plus as well as generate much more flow.  They definitely generate more flow, but I suspect the water usage claims are not quite as good as they say.  Still any improvement in water usage is welcome and getting a decent shower is a huge benefit.

Linksys WIFI Router with external antenna–  This is a more geeky solution as opposed to one single product, but was one of my favourite builds.  It is a very cheap way to add a cellular repeater/ signal booster to an RV.  If done with an old LInksys WRT54G and a 5-8db external antenna, it can signficantly improve your WIFI range.

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