One of the side effects of being still in one spot for a while and having a shipping address, is it presents a great opportunity to make small tweaks around the RV that enhance our lives.
We’ve been catching up on shopping on Amazon.com this past month, and thought we’d share some of our recent RV purchases.
After we awoke in the middle of the night to discover our toilet had run all night long and the black tank overflowed into grey water tank and then flooded our bays – we’ve taken to only running off our fresh water tank. Even when hooked up to city water, we fill the water tank, and run off our pump. This limits the potential water damage should some internal plumbing fail while we’re away from the coach.
The downside to this is that we’re both very easily distractible. We can’t count the number of times we’ve gone outside to refill the water tank and then an hour later discover we’ve overfilled and there’s a puddle growing into a lake at our campsite.
We’ve tried setting timers on our iPhones. We too often end up acknowledging the alarm meaning to go outside, get distracted again and then discover the lake under our bus. Doh!
Acknowledging you have a problem is the first step. The next step is finding a solution.
So, we ordered one of these gizmos that will allow us to turn on the water spigot and fill for 30 minutes, and it’ll auto shut off for us. I had one of these when I owned a pool, and used it for handling topping up the water. Hopefully this will help us be better stewards of water usage, especially as we head into drought stricken areas later this fall.
iPad Mini Keyboard
This past spring, when we were hanging out with the Geeks on Tour, Chris whipped out her iPad Mini attached to this fabulous little bluetooth keyboard. I was in instant lust.
One of my only frustrations with the iPad Mini is typing on the darn onscreen keyboard. Sure, in a pinch I can do it, but I always ending up cursing.
This keyboard from Logitech is perfection for me. It magnetically attaches to the iPad, just like the SmartCover does, is super slim & light, holds the iPad upright to have it function like a mini-computer and when closed, acts as a lid for the tablet.
After having traveled with it for a couple of months now.. I give it my thumbs up.
New Sewer Hoses
When we first got our bus, we picked up basic Camco sewer hoses off the shelf to get us started. They lasted a year, and we replaced them with the same setup. And a year later, we had to replace them again. Upon arriving to this stop, we noticed some small holes starting to form.
Tired of hoses that only last a year, we decided it was time for better hoses. We of course found the PolyChute hoses in our search – the Cadillac of sewer hoses. But just couldn’t justify paying $150 to dump our poop.
Then we found the next step up from our current setup – RhinoFLEX hoses also by Camco. Highly rated on Amazon. And after conferring with our neighbors who use these hoses and have been happy with them for 4 years so far.. we placed our order.
Here’s to hoping these last at least until we get around to installing a macerator system, our ultimate goal. Some day.
We’re geeks, it’s so easy to get super focused on what we’re doing and forget to get our butts out there moving a bit. But make it a game by invoking technology that tells us what to do? That’s the ticket!
We’ve both now worn Fitbits every day since January 1, 2013. It’s a fancy electronic pedometer that tracks how many steps we’ve taken, syncs to our iPhones and to the web, where we can ‘compete’ with other friends.
We have several nomadic friends who also wear them, and it’s been a super fun and healthy way to keep in touch! It’s not uncommon to catch us speed walking a campground at 11:45pm to get the last of our steps in for the day (we aim for at least 10,000 a day).
We look forward to the evolutions coming in personal fitness tracking, but for now – our Fitbits are our mistress. (Shhhh.. don’t tell the cat!)
In our continuing preps to do more off-grid camping relying on solar, we’re starting to make adjustments to our setup for more power efficiency. To save power, we turn off our inverter overnight – they tend to have a parasitic draw, and unless you need AC stuff running overnight, there’s just no need to waste that precious stored energy.
We love a little airflow overnight, and a fan generally is perfect. So off to research ideal 12v fans and we found the Endless Breeze by Fan-Tastic Vent. Basically, it’s the same ceiling vent fan installed in many RV roofs, but in a little box. It’s very power efficient, relatively quiet and can move a lot of air.
We suspect this sucker will help keep us cooler longer in many situations, delaying the need to resort to running the air conditioner.
Portable Propane Heater
Long time readers will recall – we don’t have a furnace in our bus. We took out the propane furnace to build our dual desk setup, and then went propane free for our RV systems. Since then, when we need heat – we run our awesome Vornado Vortex Electric Heater.
While we can run the electric heater off our inverter and battery setup for a couple hours, that’s not an ideal situation for lots of off-grid living. And we’re not anywhere near ready to proceed with researching and installing our ideal long term solution – a diesel hydronic setup.
So, we ordered in a Mr. Heater portable propane heater as a temporary solution in case we encounter some chilly nights ahead as we test solar panels. It can run off those little disposable propane canisters (which we prefer to avoid), or a hose assembly can be used to connect a regular propane tank. We do carry a 10 lb tank with us for our gas grill, and have holes already cut to run the hose from inside to a vented bay – so we’ll have that as an option to take the chill off.
We’ve long struggled with where to keep our trash. For a long time, we just kept a grocery bag hanging from the driver’s seat while parked. Not very classy, but when you have torn up seats anyway – it kinda fit. But now that we have spiffy new seats – we just couldn’t continue that bad habit we formed.
We found this RubberMaid waste basket on Amazon. It’s designed specifically to hold grocery bags and it fits perfectly under our sink. Yeah yeah, we should be using re-usable canvas bags – but then we’d just have to buy trash bags anyway. So, we re-use grocery bags and when we’re well supplied, we use canvas bags for our shopping.
We feel all grown up now not having our trash on display in the living area of our RV. Sometimes, it’s the little things that make a big difference!
These are just some of the gadgets we’ve recently added… none of them yet tested for the long haul. We have lots more of our favorite gear listed on our RV Travel Gear Page. Go check it out, we keep it updated as we bring new stuff into the bus and ditch stuff that no longer suits our needs.
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