QUOTE(Trentheim @ Mar 31 2008, 07:12 AM)
My wife and I bought our first RV in the middle of the season last year and only were able to go out on a couple of trips-- one of which had us boondocking overnight in sub-freezing conditions (very late in the season).
But with only two real trips under our belt, we didn't really get a good feel for those awsome RV accessories that would make the experience even more enjoyable. So, I want to know, what items (or even handy tricks) do you use that you simply can't do without?
For that matter, what are some of the items that you thought were really cool when you saw them, but once you tried to use them weren't so cool after all?
So all you experienced RVers out there, lend a word or two of wisdom to us newbies. And help us find those nice toys we need while avoiding those we would only be wasting money on.
I bought a portable 12 volt air compressor. If you pull a toad, you can use this during your trip. You plug it in to your toad (car's) cigarette lighter, and you pump air into your tires. I don't pull a car, so I can only use this at the beginning of my trip, and hope for the best. MUST HAVE!
I recently bought a "power station" from Costco. It may solve my problem in the previous paragraph of putting air in my tires when I don't pull a car. WHen fully charged, it can serve as an air compressor, also be used to "jump" a dead battery, and it has outlets to power appliances up to 300 watts. I haven't really used this much, so haven't decided whether or not it's a "must have." Also, if you are boondocking, this appliance can't be used for space heaters, as they have 1500 watts.
If you like rice (or even spaghetti), Wal-Mart has a "microwave rice/pasta cooker." To me, this is "must have." It does a beautiful job with rice, as long as you follow the directions to the letter, to include the "setting" time after done cooking (for the rice). Also does great for Spaghetti!
Space heater is a "must have." If you are on shore power and it's cold, but not sub freezing, you can get by with the space heater in lieu of using your propane. You probably found out, one whole night of using propane in a furnace will ZAP your propane. If I'm plugged into 30 amps or more, I use an oil filled radiator in the bedroom, and a ceramic for the front section. I am also trying out the Presto Heat Dish, only uses 1300 watts. Haven't decided if I like it or not, you have to be careful about the "direct radiant" heat, as it can zap the moisture out of the air and your eyes will burn. I have a pet cat, I'm concerned that if my eyes burned, what about it's eyes?
If your knife valves for your tanks are "exposed" (mine are, they aren't in a basement or anything), get a 75 watt "trouble light" to place under them when it's cold.
Those are my "must haves." Of course, all of the above "must haves" assume you have shore power. I don't have any "must haves" for boondocking in freezing weather. On the other hand, I would like to know how you handled boondocking in freezing weather. I thought I was going to get the opportunity to try it a week ago, but then I ended up getting a 20 amp connection at the place I went to.