12 Must-Have RV Essentials and Accessories
The RV is the main thing, right? And of course, we here at Tiffin endorse Tiffin motorhomes as the best thing. But what about the little things? The additions, accessories, and essentials that complement the main thing and turn it into an even better thing?
The gear RVers bring along are the customizations that mold an adventure into the way you want to adventure. What are some of those essentials? Well, we asked you — the Tiffin community — and you had answers. Lots of answers.
Here are 12 must-have essentials and accessories that will pique your interest and may have you soon filling a shopping cart. Maybe you’ll buy for yourself, or maybe you’ll see something to snag for someone else. Black Friday will be here soon, and the holidays are upon us.
1. A Little Fragrance
Tiffin owner Deb Sepulveda recommends Scentsy’s Wall Fan Diffuser. It retails for $25.00. “I like fragrances in my motorhome,” she says. “Hence this fan plug-in that uses pods of scent beads. No wax or oil to worry about.” Sepulveda says she keeps a diffuser in the bathroom, and Scentsy makes a larger version too. “(It) sits on the counter and has a rechargeable battery.” All diffuser models can be found here.
2. Inflatable Kayaks
The inflatable kayak received more than one mention from our Tiffin community and ranked among the most popular outdoor products mentioned. Tiffin owner Patrick Ferraro relies on the 2-person Intex Excursion Pro. This inflatable kayak retails for $619.99 at Target’s online store. The kayak holds up to 397 pounds, and it’s 18 inches high and 37 inches long. The Excursion Pro is sold with oars and an air pump. The Intex Excursion Pro also features fishing rod holders on each side.
3. Smokeless Fire Pits
This was a fave among many. Some didn’t mention a specific make and model, but Jay Carter did. He’s all-in on Breeo’s smokeless fire pits. “It’s nice going in and not smelling like ash,” he says. “Bought it five years ago, and never leave home without.” Breeo, a company located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, manufactures its products locally. They offer a number of firepits, like the Breeo X Series 19 priced at $399.00. It’s 23.5 inches in diameter and weighs 56 pounds.
Pricer packages like the X Series 24 Firemaster can accommodate those looking to use their smokeless fire pit for cooking and warmth. The Firemaster includes items like kettle hook and kettle.
4. Jeep Wrangler
A vehicle isn’t often classified as an accessory but, in the context of RVing, a Jeep isn’t the “main thing.” So why not? After all, Brent and Jenn Pearson answered our call for must-have accessories and the Jeep was their pick. “The Jeep is our favorite toy,” they wrote.
Jeep is offering its 2021 Jeep Wrangler 4-Door Sport starting at $28,295 or you can lease it for $263 a month for 36 months. Also of interest, Jeep now offers a hybrid. This is a first for the brand. The 4xe hybrid gives you a plug-in electric boost with 375 horsepower. It’s available in December 2020. A quick search on CarMax serves as a reminder that Wranglers hold their value well. There wasn’t a listing under $20,000 in a 500-mile radius of our search location. Craigslist may be more promising, if you’re looking for older models.
5. Stoves and Grills
Two portable tools for cooking made our list. One was the Solo Stove. And then, for grills, you didn’t really favor a grill. You favored a griddle made by Blackstone.
But first, the Solo.
Solo Stove Ranger
A compact camp-stove company, Solo Stove, makes the Ranger, a small, travel-worthy model that’s still large enough to enjoy in your backyard. It sets up quick and easy, and it’s fueled by chunk wood or small logs. So it offers all the benefits of a wood-burning fire but without the smoke. You can go to the company’s website to see how the stoves work. The Ranger’s opening is 13 inches in diameter and 12.5 inches high, and the base is 15 inches in diameter. It only weighs 15 pounds. This model retails for $194.99.
Blackstone’s primary brand messaging is that a griddle does everything a grill can do, and then some. And given our community’s affinity for Blackstone, there’s clearly some truth to this. With the griddle, it’s easy to sear, saute, and grill. Eggs are made easy on the griddle; pancakes are too. The 22-inch tabletop griddle appears to be the brand’s most portable model. You can use a 1-pound propane bottle or a 20-pound propane tank with an adaptor hose and regulator. The tabletop griddle retails for $159.99.
6. TrackMat Work Mats
Maureen Milne was resolute when she weighed in on her RV essential. “Our mat,” she says. “We use it every single trip.” In fact, Milne even wrote a blog about the mat. The TrackMat is touted as a knee-saver, and Milne noted how useful they’ve found the mat when washing and waxing the RV. Just fold it in half, and use it for kneeling when cleaning the low-to-the-ground areas of your motorhome. You can also unfold it and lay on it when applying WD-40 to the RV jacks, which Milne says is helpful during cold weather when the jacks become finicky. At the end of Milne’s blog, she also lists other uses for the mat. The TrackMat Work Mat retails for $41.00.
7. Folding Bikes
Tiffin owner Mike Muchard gave a mention to folding bikes. To those unfamiliar with a folding bike it’s, well, a bike that folds up. According to Bicycling magazine, the overall weight of these bikes go down as the cost goes up — the super lightweight bikes use higher-quality parts and lighter frame materials like carbon fiber and titanium.
PakiT by Bike Friday
The magazine also made a few recommendations. The lightest folding bike on their list is the PakiT by Bike Friday. It only weighs 15 pounds. It retails for $1,260, affirming the “weight goes down as cost goes up” theory. It features 16-inch wheels.
Rome by Citizen
The price point comes way down with Bicycling’s choice for traveling: the Rome, a folding bike made by Citizen. It retails for $439 and also features 16-inch wheels. It weighs 20 pounds, making it a great choice for travel. It’s a way better deal for the cost-conscious among us, and it’s only 5 pounds heavier than the pricier PakiT.
Trikaroo Flyer XL
If you’re looking for more than two wheels, there’s an alternative to the traditional bike that you may fall in love with. It’s the Trikaroo, and it’s the first electric micro mobility passenger scooter of its kind. Trikaroo was founded by a U.S. Navy veteran whose family has been in the Pedicab industry since the mid-1950s. The Trikaroo travels up to 15 miles per hour and it’s A.D.A (American Disabilities Act) compliant. Trikaroo is offered in various models. The Trikaroo Flyer XL retails for $2,695. It’s the smallest two-person scooter in the Trikaroo line.
The universally handy headlamp received votes from the Tiffin community. RVing is about unwinding for many, but there are chores and general maintenance that demand some attention. Often, as you’ve likely experienced yourself, we’re out exploring a little later than planned. That leaves you grilling burgers or making more elaborate meals on, say, your Blackstone in the semi-darkness of waning daylight. In these instances, a headlamp can become a real luxury.
For a high-end headlamp that throws out some powerful light, SureFire’s Minimus is a great choice. Yes, it’s $199.00 for a headlamp. So you’ve got to make sure you truly need what the Minimus offers before making that kind of investment on a “flashlight.” But it comes with 13 light settings. Thirteen! And it throws between five to 300 lumens depending on which setting you choose. It’s durable too, thanks to a hard-anodized aerospace aluminum house. (Say that three times fast.)
Coleman 300-Lumens, LED Headlamp
For a more affordable choice, you might consider the tried-and-true outdoor brand Coleman and its 300-lumens, LED headlamp. You can find it at Target for an affordable $19.49.
9. Telescopic Ladder
Tiffin owner Patrick Ferraro considers a telescoping extension ladder essential. He recommends a 16-footer. Home Depot carries a 16-foot Cosco Telescopic Aluminum ladder with a 300 pound load capacity. Max working height is 12.5 feet, and storage height is just under 3 feet. It weighs 28 pounds and retails for $202.09.
10. Solar Panels
If you like boondocking and find yourself staying off-the-grid longer and longer with each road trip, solar panels allow for an awful lot of freedom. Tiffin owner Gary Pearl names solar panels as one of his key RV accessories. They’re a quiet and an energy-efficient alternative to generators. Renogy offers a 400 Watt 12 Volt Solar RV Kit that retails for $774.99. Or, if you’re looking to power less, you can go with a Renogy 200 Watt 12 Volt Solar RV Kit for $464.99. The less-expensive kit is designed to power small electronics like lights, laptops, tablets, and phones. You can also find both models on Amazon.
Patrick Ferraro, the Tiffin owner who mentioned the Intex inflatable kayak, also says he doesn’t leave home without his SnapPads. These rubber pads install on your RV’s jacks and eliminate the need to crawl under your motorhome during leveling. The SnapPads also feature a large surface area so they’ll add stability on soft ground. You can snag a pack of four SnapPad jack pads for a discounted $109.95 at etrailer.com.
12. Folding Rocking Chairs
Many of you guys mentioned your folding rocking chairs as a must-have. The appeal is obvious. After all, we live in the age of folding bikes. So why wouldn’t every RVer have several rocking chairs that fold? We found a rocker fold-up chair at Cabelas for $89.99. It’s a roomy chair with a steel frame covered in water-resistant fabric. The seat and back are padded. It weighs 22 pounds and folds flat for easy storage.
BONUS: The Skull Saver
Here’s our final offering courtesy of Christina Houchard Miller. She’s a Tiffin owner that cares a thing or two about her skull. Her recommendation for a must-have essential: pool noodles. She cuts them to, “fit on the slide edges, aka: skull savers!” This is also our most affordable item. You can pick up a single noodle at Walmart for two bucks. Or splurge and get a 5-pack of noodles in random colors for $14.99. They’re currently on mark down.
NOTE: Product pricing and specs were accurate at the time of publication. Cost and other product details may vary over time.