May 16, 2019

Must-Have Camping and RV Gadgets

RVing is all about getting back to the basics - but just because that’s why we love it - doesn’t mean we can’t take advantage of the latest and greatest camping and RV gadgets. So if you’re going to step up your accessory game, here are our top 10 must-have gadgets:
LifeStraw - If you happen to run out of water on a hike, this gadget is a lifesaver. Obviously, it’s not a good idea to drink directly from streams or lakes you might run across - but Lifestraw removes 99.9% of bacteria and parasites, making any water source available to you. And as an added bonus, for every LifeStraw product purchased, a school child in need receives safe drinking water for an entire school year. We’re all about helping out a good cause.

Promising Review: “I am going to keep this one simple. Recently I got stranded in the back woods of the Adirondack Mountains. I had ran out of water earlier on the first day and used this until I was rescued on the morning of day three. THIS WORKS, this helped save my life. If you hike YOU NEED THIS PRODUCT.” --Richard Maxwell

Instant Pot - The Instant Pot is a newer kitchen gadget that is a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, and warmer. You name it, the Instant Pot can do it. This tool is ideal for RVers because although it’s just one appliance, it takes the place of many others - saving you coveted counter and cabinet space in your RV. You won’t regret buying one - trust us.

Promising Review: “My wife kept telling me we should get this. For months I resisted. We had a crock pot, so why bother? We finally got this on sale on black Friday, and I LOVE IT. Quicker than a crock pot and better end results. You can season your protien and cook it with veggies (which take on the flavor as well). After using this, anything you cook in a crock pot seems like a warm, swampy product. Anything you cook in this is moist, flavorful, tender excellence in just a fraction of the time. Do not hesitate to buy this product - you will thank yourself for meals to come.” -Jon

Solar Powered Charger - Using solar energy can save you money and time while out on the road, especially if you’re boondocking. Nowadays there are solar options to power just about anything - but we definitely recommend picking up a solar-powered phone charger. This is a great gadget to have when you’re out hiking, ensuring you have enough power to call for help if needed.

Promising Review: “I recently returned from a 6 day adventure to a commercial Salmon fishing operation on Uganik island , Alaska. Uganik is near Kodiak island and is home to the famous Kodiak Brown Bear. We got too close to one on a beach, but caught lots of fish. I overestimated what I would need and I took both my SPC12K and my new SPC16K. I never even used the 12K. Didn't need it. I kept my cell phone going for photography and my rented Sat. Phone topped off with the 16K. The solar charging rate impressed me. When I left to meet the seaplane I had 3/4 available charge on my 16K. Note: The TSA requires that all "spare batteries" be in your carry on bag. So I say you only need one spare, the SPC16K.” --Robert E. Wilson

High-Tech Watch - If you’re an RVer, we’re betting there’s more than a chance you love the great outdoors. Any outdoor lover needs a high-tech watch and we recommend the Suunto Traverse for all of you hikers out there. This smartwatch does it all from tracking weather to showing hiking routes through GPS software to following your progress with distance and altitude statistics.

Promising Review: “If you're looking for a watch to connect to your phone and notify you when you get a text or email this is not the watch for you.

That being said, this is an outdoorsman watch. It does everything I need it to do. The compass, GPS, altimeter and barometer are very accurate for a wrist-top device. The battery life is excellent and charge time is minimal. As for the movescount app, I have not had any issues. The app can be used to add points of interest, view hikes/runs and also a supplementary way to modify the settings of the watch itself; although You can change it on the watch itself. For those of you that need MGRS, You are able to use MGRS format locating on just the watch alone via a scroll type menu which you can go up or down from your current 10 digit grid. The longer you hold the up or down button, the faster it will adjust. Not the best method of input but for the price, reliability and battery life; you cannot go wrong.

I would definitely recommend this to everyone looking for this type of watch. Like I said in the beginning. If you want to have a phone on your wrist, get an apple watch. If you want to navigate through rugged terrain, go for a run and be able to record your hikes from start to finish and back track while navigating, this is the watch for you!” --Roberto Rozco

Smokeless Portable Fire Pit - You read that right. The Solo Stove is coined as the world’s most unique portable fire pit because it gives off minimal to no smoke or ashes. This fire pit is easy to set up and great to take with you out on the road and to top it off, you won’t leave the campground smelling like smoke.

Promising Review: “We had our first Solo stove fire on Saturday night. It was so much easy to use and kept us toasty on this chilly May evening in the the Northeast. Love my Bonfire!” --Luann Orcutt

Portable Mosquito Repeller - Mosquitos really know how to ruin a good time while camping, but you don’t have to worry about those annoying pests with the Thermacell MR150 Portable Mosquito Repeller. This device is lightweight and conveniently sized and repels mosquitoes away in a 15-ft zone for up to 12 hours. Definitely, a must-have in our book.

Promising Review: “Hate mosquitos? This is the device for you. I just used it on a weeklong camping trip and it kept me bite free when in use. Be aware that it takes a good 5 minutes to become effective, but I watched mosquitoes come near and then fly away when it hit the barrier. The pad smells a little like cinnamon and does work for 4 hours. I would say the butane works for a little longer than advertised, but who could complain about that? I would recommend this product.” --Andrew W. Huppert

Packable Kayak
- Unless you have a toy hauler, you might have to leave your kayak at home just because it takes up so much space. Not anymore! PAKAYAK is a portable nesting kayak that breaks apart into 5 pieces and can be stored in a convenient travel bag. When you want to use the kayak, you simply put the pieces together and you’re ready to hit the water.

Promising Review: “Just took this for a spin at Sand Key, Florida. A very well thought out design. A smooth kayak to paddle with great tracking!” --Dave Surplus

20-in-1 Multi-Tool Key - This key is small but mighty. It can be used as four different types of screwdrivers, a bottle opener, box cutter, wire stripper - the list goes on and on; and the best part is it’s the size of a regular house key. No more lugging around large tools while you’re on the road.

Promising Review: “Got my key and have been using it for a few weeks. Have had no problems using it to cut open boxes, adjust things on the trail, and open bottles. I've used it a lot more than I thought.” --Hector

Pocket Chainsaw - Why buy firewood when you can cut your own? This “chainsaw” is so small it can fit in your pocket, hence the name. You won’t need to gas this chainsaw up as it’s powered by... you. This convenient and portable pocket chainsaw is great for cutting small branches and trees so you can get the s’mores roasting in no time.

Promising Review: “I decided to try one of these out for camping after struggling to gather firewood, that was big enough to burn longer than a few minutes, with folding handsaw. After taking this to the Boundary Waters my buddies and I will be buying another one! It comes with a small carrying pouch that is easy to stuff in a bag and doesn't take up much space. We found that it's easiest to use as a two man team and rather than pulling straight up (on a log laying down) it worked best to pull up at about 45* to avoid getting jammed up. This angle also made it easier for each of us to get a foot on the log to hold it in place while we cut through it. We were able to cut through a log with a 10" diameter with relative ease!” --Michael R.

TRILLIUM Hammock - After a long day of adventure, there’s nothing like laying in a hammock and admiring the scenery. This giant three-person hammock is ideal for camping and the whole family. The Trillium hammock uses an innovative three-point anchor system and is made of your choice of quick-drying mesh or tough and rip-stop nylon.

Promising Review: “This bad boy is a champ. Once i found the right trees, it took me 5 minutes to set up my first try. It can hold about twelve 8 year olds comfortably, and keep them distracted for over an hour.” --Pepper

Which of these RV and camping gadgets do you have on your list? Do you have any camping gadgets you swear by? Let us know in the comments below!

Trader Online Web Developer

Your RV News Fix is Here

There is always new and exciting stuff happening in the RV industry - and so you can spend more time enjoying your RV, and less time scouring the headlines for updates - we’ve dug into the latest and greatest RV news you need to know. So, here we go - your May RV news fix has arrived. Check out the latest headlines below.

Retro Inspired Camper is Coming to the U.S 
The Barefoot Caravan, a popular European camper, is set to come to North America by 2020. The egg-like trailer is roughly 16-feet long and features a compact living space that sleeps two. The retro design includes a small kitchen area, bathroom, and a seating area that transforms into a 6x6 ft. bed - which is a lot to fit into a small space; but despite that, the camper’s interior is reported to feel surprisingly spacious, with windows all the way around letting in wonderful natural light. You may want to see this camper for yourself - but unfortunately, we still have a while to go before the Spring 2020 launch. Read More.

Thor is Partnering With KOA to 'Clean Up America’
Thor recently announced their partnership with Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) to enlist the help of RVers and campers in cleaning up public lands. They are asking campers to take a bag with them when they go off a campground and fill it up with any trash they might come upon. Bob Martin, president and CEO of Thor, stated, “While people are enjoying our country’s parks and national landmarks, we wanted to inspire them to help keep these places beautiful for current and future campers.” We couldn’t agree with that sentiment more and encourage all RVers and campers to keep our plant clean and do your part in picking up trash while you travel. Read More.

Glamping Company Wants to Build a 55-unit Airstream Hotel in Joshua Tree 
AutoCamp, a San Francisco-based business, is toying with the idea of building a hotel-campsite made out of 55 Airstream trailers on the edge of Joshua Tree. AutoCamp has already built similar “hotels” in other areas of California that include outdoor fire pits and heated furniture. There is a lot of opportunity at Joshua Tree considering the national park had a record-setting year in 2018 - more than 3 million people visited the park. The locals are worried that the hotel could take away from the charm and peacefulness of the area - so we are curious to see if this hotel park will be created. Read More.

Dynamo Introduces All-Aluminum Truck Camper Frame 
This truck camper is giving us serious Airstream vibes. The start-up, Dynamo Truck Camper Extreme (TCX), a subsidiary of Silver Streak LLC, just revealed a weld-free, aluminum truck camper frame. The company will be taking orders for their semi-custom campers this month. The frame of the truck camper weighs 440 pounds and the dry weight will be only 1,200 pounds once the camper is complete. Read More.

There you have it! You’re all caught up on the latest and greatest news from the RV world. Stay tuned for our next RV News Fix in June. Let us know what you thought about these stories in the comments below.
Trader Online Web Developer

Tech Tip: Tips for Fuel Savings on RV Trips

Tips for Fuel Savings on RV Trips

No one likes paying more at the pump, especially when it comes to RV travel. Follow FMCA’s simple steps to help find the best fuel savings.

Download an AppLet an app do the work for you. Download a mobile app like Gas Buddy or Trunow to find the best fuel prices in your current ZIP code. Both apps include gasoline and diesel fuel prices.

Be Mindful of Credit Card Purchases
Many credit cards “pay back” a bonus amount, usually 5 percent, on fuel purchases and perhaps certain other purchases. The catch: many fuel outlets also sell fast food or groceries, so if the computer doesn’t recognize the fuel purchase at check-out, you won’t get the 5 percent discount. Keep an eye on your monthly invoice!

In addition, gas station credit cards can be useful if you’re brand-loyal and pay off the card each month. Otherwise, watch those interest rates.

Ask about Cash Discounts
Some stations, especially in rural or less populated area, offer a discount for paying with cash. Even a few cents off per gallon can add up to savings.

Consider Warehouse Clubs
Warehouse clubs are increasingly offering fuel discounts, but if you’re a diesel user and clubs carry only gasoline, a membership (sometimes costing $40 a year or more) may not be worth it to you. The other catch is that the fuel discount also may require shopping in the store for a minimum dollar purchase.

Sign Up for Supermarket Loyalty Cards
Supermarket loyalty accounts can mean savings, and some of the large chains give points that add up to a fuel discount after you reach a certain amount. Some large chains even offer “double” or “triple points” during the summer months, which is considered the typical “road trip” season. It’s usually easy and free to sign up for loyalty cards.

With all special offers, it’s important to always read the fine print. Be a smart consumer and do your homework. With a little planning, you CAN save at the pump.

FMCA RV Club brings you this monthly tip to Enhance Your RV Lifestyle. FMCA delivers RV know-how to its members. Join today for just $50 — a savings of $10 just for RV Trader readers. Learn more at

This information is for educational purposes. FMCA shall not be responsible nor retain liability for RVer’s use of the provided information. Prior to making any RV service decision, you are advised to consult with an RV professional.
Trader Online Web Developer