Travelling in the great outdoors is mostly about connecting with nature, but it’s also about finding comfort and relaxation away from our busy modern lives. And in our modern world, we’ve come to rely on technology to help us with this.
There’s simply no need to ‘rough it’ anymore when you can instead balance the serenity of nature with the convenience that modern RV accessories can provide.
So, to help you get the most out of your caravan touring experience, we've pulled together a list of some seriously cool RV gadgets. We're talking all things new, interesting, and necessary when it comes to a life on the road in your RV.
RV solar panels
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The truth is the vast majority of us need technology, even when we want to get away from it all. From cell phones to cameras, we always carry electronic devices with us as we travel cross country in a caravan, so naturally we need to keep charging them.
But if you're spending any decent amount of time away from powered sites, you're going to need some other way to recharge your van and recharge those devices. Harnessing the natural energy of the sun provides us with all our technological needs and it’s cleaner, simpler, and cheaper in the long run than other fuel based methods.
There are two great options for doing this that can accommodate all budgets and needs.
1. Install a permanent solar panel to your roof
This doesn’t sound simple, but it’s surprisingly so. You can buy a complete solar panel kit or purchase items individually. It's easy to install your new panels relying on manufacturer's customer service and the ever-informative internet.
Or, if that feels too overwhelming, you can simply have an RV shop hook it up for you: no problem.
The initial set up cost may scare off some people but know that over time this choice is economical when compared to generators with the added bonus of being quiet, clean, renewable, and available whenever the sun shines (and even when it doesn’t, thanks to excellent battery storage).
Having a solar panel installed will get you away from powered sites and into the great wide open more often.
2. Hook up portable folding solar panels
This is a great option for someone who doesn’t want to invest too much money or doesn’t use their trailer for long term travel. If you only need it a few trips a year, this folding solar panel stays on the ground and packs away easily is the simple solution to all your charging woes.
No professional installation or studying needed, merely bring it along and hook it up whenever you need it. The only downside is generally a smaller battery bank, but for weekend getaways, this baby does enough.
Collapsible tools & accessories
One of the biggest issues people have with living in a RV is space; there’s much less of it than you'll have at home. That’s why it’s imperative to a successful caravan adventure you must use all the storage solutions available to you.
Now with silicone technology, all kinds of collapsible products are now available, from laundry baskets to colanders, bowls and measuring cups; you can outfit your entire kitchen with convenient collapsible kitchen gadgets.
My personal favourite is the collapsible bucket. You may not know what you need a bucket for exactly, but along your journey, it will surely come in handy multiple ways and a ‘normal’ bucket can be harder to stow.
Compact washing machine
This cool compact washing machine is best for full-timers. With its mini size, you won’t be able to wash large loads, but it will keep you going and allow you to do your washing when it’s most convenient for you. Its size makes it pretty easy to store as well, making it less of a luxury and more practical in the gadget department.
One of the best things about technology is the ability to stay connected to the world, no matter how far in the Outback you are. Call friends and family, keep work emails freely flowing, shop for more new cool RV gadgets on the go.
Never miss a beat or rely on unreliable networks again; find confidence and strong signals with a mobile hotspot.
Door mounted side mirrors
For those towing a trailer, this accessory is paramount. Towing a trailer behind your vehicle creates a huge blind spot that your normal-sized mirrors aren’t built for. The best thing about this side mirror extender is that it can be attached for towing and removed when you're out doing some serious off-roading.
Some gadgets keep you comfortable; this one keeps you safe.
Drip coffee maker
Just because you’re on the road doesn’t mean you have to miss out on delicious coffee every morning. This filter is a lightweight and eco-friendly way to easily and conveniently brew up fresh ground coffee. You can even take it camping with you on your overnight backpacking trips.
Who doesn’t love a good barbie? Well, vegetarians might come to mind. And while I fall into this category, that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate a nice afternoon by the BBQ. Even if just eating a veggie kebab, enjoying the sunshine, a cold beer, and good company is always at the top of my list of ‘great things in this world’.
And since you're travelling in your home away from home, you're going to need a solid grill away from ... grill.
The portable BBQ above features a cast iron grill and heat proof body with temperature gauge, drip pan, and even a carrying bag. This little barbie is ready to hit the road with you. Can life be any more perfect?
Portable folding bike
Once you’ve settled your RV in a comfy spot for a while, you still might need to run to town to top up your groceries or you’ll want to visit a nearby attraction without moving your whole rig. A great, fun option is to bring along a portable folding bike. Not only will it get you there quickly, you’ll have a blast exploring the countryside on two wheels with the sights and sounds and smells all around you.
As the name suggests, it folds down nice and compact so you can leave the bike rack at home.
The Wikicamps Australia app
While not a physical gadget you can tinker with, this useful RV app maps and lists all of Australia’s campgrounds, caravan parks, hostels, dump stations, day stops, and anything else you might need on the road including directions.
It’s a very well organised site with various options to help you search and plan your trip according to your needs, and at a mere $7.99, you'll find a treasure trove of free incredible places to spend the night, which will make it well worth the purchase.
No need for bulky travel guidebooks, this techie tool downloads straight to your smartphone or tablet.
Wearables are all the rage in the tech world in 2016, and it might surprise you to learn that they have a huge range of applications for caravan tourers.
Heart rate monitors and wearable computers like the Garmin Vivosmart pictured above are designed to track your biometric performance throughout the day, providing you with useful data to help improve your fitness and wellbeing. But if you think that’s all too much, they are also great for simply keeping track of the time, and letting you know when it’s time to move.
The Vivosmart, for example, gently vibrates when you’ve sitting still for a while, indicating that it’s time to get out and explore the outdoors again.
Headline image courtesy Jayco Australia