Outfitting and upgrades

Outfitting: RV Purchases

We want our RV to feel like home. We want it to work right.  We also need things we buy to be versatile, efficient and not take up a lot of space. This page will breakdown all RV related item we have bought for outfitting our 2022 Thor Tiburon 24RW. Links to Amazon and other dealers for quick access if you would like to pick up these items yourself.  

The items here are pretty comprehensive and the page is actually quite long. Make use of the icons below to jump to a section. We cover the range of all RV specific items we use. From phone apps and webcams to electrical monitoring systems and batteries to toilet cleaner and soap dishes.  We will update regularly on our hits and misses. If we get it  wrong, we’ll let you know by explaining  the update.

Electrical

The World’s Only “All-in-One” RV Power Solution, now surge protection. Hughes’ Autoformer Booster with Surge Protection has the same performance and reliability of the Hughes Autoformer Voltage Booster now with advanced surge protection in one package. The surge / spike protection unit is also replaceable. In the event of a massive spike, the surge unit will take the hit ensuring your booster and more importantly, your RV stays safe.  This unit installs into your RV electrical system (with the optional internal mounting installation kit sold separately) or plugs into the park’s power pole.

In addition to surge protection, you get critical voltage regulation.  Just imagine being at a full-capacity RV park on a warm summer evening.  Every camper in the park wants to run their air conditioner at the same time. This is when you start to experience brown-outs and major fluctuations in voltage.  Your system needs to see 124v, and no less than 120v.  In this scenario, you are probably getting 110v or lower because the RV park doesn’t have the proper wiring and capabilities to support the power demands.  Your electrical system in your RV is working hard to compensate for the lack of voltage, and you will ruin expensive items like A/C, refrigerators, pumps and other electrical components.

This autoformer converts a bit of the incoming amperage into voltage so you always have the proper amount coming in, regardless of what the RV park is providing at the moment.

This portable surge protector provides you both surge protection and pedestal testing in one unit. Simply plug the device into the power pedestal to check the quality of your power and then plug in your cordset. You can continue to monitor the quality of power while your RV is connected and surge protected.

Camco does campers right with this cable.  It’s the right gauge (10AWG), the right length (25′) and it has a convenient handle grip on the male end. 5-Stars!

You’ll need this when you pull into a campground and they tell you there is only 50amp electrical sites left. It adapts from 50amp down to 30 amp. Don’t worry though, you won’t hurt your electrical system with this conversion.
Made with 10 gauge cable, this is again a great item from Camco.

The second ‘dogbone’ electrical adapter you should have in your toolkit.  This is needed when you pull into a friends driveway and they don’t have anything more than the regular 110v edison outlet.  Just connect to this and you can get 15 amps running into your RV.  Not much, but it might be enough.

Color coded replacement fuses. This is definitely one of those things you want with you, instead of having to wait to get into a town to buy one.  This setup has the appropriate fuses for both the Sprinter and house side of the RV.

Small and affordable, this charger is a simple addition that does so much. You connect it between the house battery and your chassis (engine) battery.  It will provide a constant charge of electricity to the engine battery, ensuring that it always stays charged.  You can disconnect your main battery during storage but it will still drain, and might not have enough of a charge when you reconnect it in the spring. This allows the battery to maintain a full charge all winter long.

Basic features that make it straightforward to use –  The Bayite energy meter is with an LCD display, which can show the direct current voltage and other settings. The energy meter also works as a 4-in-1 device that works as a voltmeter, ammeter, multimeter and power energy meter. Choosing it, you will be able to maximize the value of your money because you don’t need to buy separate meters for every measurement to get. It also has a nice feature of storing energy data when the device is powered off, making it more convenient to use. More so, it can be reset to zero, adding to its functional performance.

This device also comes with a blue backlight that you can control manually, too. In addition, this unit comes with an overload alarm function. It also boasts its feature of the power and backlight flashing if the power is higher than the capacity is. This unit also has a large screen for displaying current, voltage, energy and active power at the same time, making it more functional than other choices on the market are.

Many users buy three:  One to read the incoming charge from the battery, one to read the incoming charge from the solar panel, and a third  to show the output you system currently draws.  This way you can see if your are using more than you’re making.

When you start your A/C, for just a 1/10th of a second, the amperage draw to kick on the compressor jumps to 41 amps.  After that it settles down to around 11 amps.  When you’re connected to shore power, this isn’t an issue.  When you try to start your A/C when boondocking and are getting power from your battery bank or a generator, this load is too great, so your A/C will actually never start.
This soft starter corrects this problem, by slowly ramping up the power surge.  The compressor gets the power needed, then runs fine without that huge, momentary draw.
Other benefits:  When the compressor kicks in, the noise is considerably reduced. The system runs quieter.  Also, by adding a second starter, you can actually run two A/C units at the same time on one generator.

Not only is storage space at a premium, so is wall space in an RV. I love this power strip because it uses vertical space.  Set this inside your tech storage, and it frees up walls for mounting and it doesn’t hog floor space by laying flat.  We use this to plug in our WIFI router, Blu Ray player, HDMI switch, iPhone and a couple of other items in the cupboard.

Our GL.iNET mini traveling router requires 2.4 volts of power. Usually we keep it in the tech cupboard with the Blu Ray.  If we need to move it to the cab for work on the road, we just plug in to this.  It provides the right amount of power for both the router and the hotspot phone.

49.5watts of charging power is a lot. You can recharge a laptop battery just like you’re plugging into the wall outlet, without having to turn on the inverter. Great to use while working from the cab.

This is own our Wish List for our coach battery replacements.  We’ve done the research. 

  • Amp Hours – When AGM and other lead batteries claim 250 Amp hours , you have to cut the number in 1/2. You will cause damage to the battery if you ever go below 50%. This is not the case with LiFePO batteries.  100 amp hours means 100 amp hours.  You can drain it down to zero and not harm it.  
  • No Maintenance. Install it and forget it.  It doesn’t need to sit horizontal.  You can set it sideways for a smaller footprint and its not an issue.
  • Weight – At 31 lbs, it is 1/3 the weight of lead acid batteries.   
  • Battery Management System – The built in BMS  protects from ground faults acting as a shut-off system if it senses temperature and ground fault issues.
  • Cost of Ownership – When you consider the longevity over lead acid, and the lack of maintenance needed, these batteries will eventually cost less to own than buying multiple lead acid batteries over the same time.

 

Bed | Bath | Kitchen

1.5″ Memory foam with a 2.5″ high-density base layer for support. This mattress folds into thirds, which helps when closing the bed up, and has a washable slip-cover to protect the foam and keep particles from tearing off.

We’ve always slept with a fan for white noise.  I needed something smaller in the RV, and this is the perfect replacement.  The EVO provides 10 white, pink and brown noises each, plus multiple fan noise options. It’s powered with a USB connection, so I can plug it in to any of the ports around the bed.

As full-time RVer’s we have struggled with two bad choices regarding laundry.  1) Spend countless hours and dollars at campground laundry facilities or in town laundromats, or 2) bring in a 40 lb 16″x16″x30″ washing machine into the motorhome. Due to the size of our Thor Tiburon, it’s obvious that there really is no place for this.  We decided to give it a try and are happy with the results. The washing machine now lives inside the shower.  We secure it when traveling.  When its time to shower, we roll it into the living area.  

As for clothes washing, we’re have had a good experience with it.  We connect the inlet hose to the sink using a faucet adapter, and drain directly into the shower.  Each load runs about 40 minutes. The spin cycle does a good job of wringing out the clothes.

With little to no shelf space, you must find innovative solutions for daily life. This shower dispenser is perfect because we use four products all the time: shower gel, conditioner, regular shampoo and a second special purpose shampoo.  it mounts with waterproof silicon glue and two-way tape.  A great solution for us.
Since our bath sink area has no counter space, this doubles as our sink soap dispenser as well.

First, you turn off EVERYTHING else. Then you dry your hair.  This is a perfect hair dryer for your RV. It’s compact, light weight and folds down even smaller for storage. The 1200watts of heat is enough to get your hair dried quickly. 

We are glad to have stumbled on this towel. First off, they are designed to be thin.  Perfect for keeping things to a minimum in an RV. Unlike regular bath towels that absorb moisture, this towel ‘pulls’ the water off your skin then spreads it evenly across the surface of the fabric. This process allows it to dry very quickly.

Manufactured with silver anti-microbial properties and SPF sun protection, it will work very well as a beach towel as well.  It will not get the ‘funky’ odor even used frequently for a few days.  You’ll never go back to regular towels again. 

This cloth organizer fits perfectly inside the closet door.  It’s available in eleven colors and has two over-the door metal hooks.

We work from the road.  Typically we’ll have two laptops running in the RV. One person can take over the dining table with just their stuff.  We need a second table so someone can work from the couch or even the back bedroom area. This table isn’t pretty, but it’s sturdy, it folds flat and it’s only 11 pounds.  It does just what we need it to do.

The inside of an RV in the winter is damp.  Very damp. As full-timers we have to work hard to keep the moisture from creating mold and mildew. This unit works quietly. It’s container can hold 1000 milliliters (about 4 cups or 32 oz).  Its HEPA air filtration cleans the air of allergens.  All that and it weighs about 6 lbs and stands just over 12″ tall.

The Insta-Pot is one of those appliances that come along once in a generation.  It is now a must have if you’re on the road. With its ability to quickly pressure cook, saute or slow cook or make a pot of rice, the Insta-Pot is the most used appliance in our kitchen. The 3-quart version is the perfect size for just two.  There are 6 and 8-quart versions for larger families.

The removable handle swaps between the sauce pan and frying pan. With the handle removed, both pans work inside the convection oven. The non-stick surface makes cleanup easy. Just two pans makes for a complete kitchen cooking solution.

Almost every RV owner has this setup in their cupboard. By moving your spices to these door strips, you free up valuable cupboard space.

I need coffee every morning. A French press is my choice.  Not a Keurig, not a Mr. Coffee…. just something simple.  I like this style because its all metal construction means no broken glass, which means no mornings without coffee.

Small, portable and built to last.  This grinder has 18 different settings for different grinds, with a ceramic grinder.

Efficient use of space. Three bowls: 1.5-cup, 3-cup and 5-cup with interlocking lids.

Small and compact is good in an RV.  This set of silicone measuring cups and spoons are a perfect fit for your cramped kitchen space.

Anything that can get smaller when not used is a plus.  This dish draining rack sets over the basin, then rolls up small when not needed.

These expandable bars keep your bottles, jars and boxes from tipping over in the refrigerator. They serve double duty by being able to be used as clothes rods in a closet and other uses.

Camping + Patio

Everyone needs a mat right outside the door.  Mats keep the dirt and grime down when going between outside and the house.  We really liked this reversible mat for its length and because the design closely matches our RV’s paint scheme.  

Anchor the above mat with these large stake/washers.  Keeps your outside area neat and tidy.

Is it worth spending $260 on a camp chair? It is when you can swing on uneven surfaces (sand, rocky) and recline back for skygazing or next to a campfire. It’s rated at 300 lbs, folds down very small and has a lifetime warranty.

Plenty big for moving our office outdoors on nice days.  When we’re working we each have a separate monitor and laptop. Also great when the camp picnic table is less than usable.  This is sturdy and deep enough. It nicely folds in half so we can stash it in the back storage.

These lights hit every mark I had on my list when researching security lighting.  I wanted something that I could temporarily mount on the RV roof and point in various directions. The lights needed to be portable and battery powered, so I didn’t have to wire five additional lights. I wanted them to be motion-sensor and also wanted the ability to switch to full-on mode, if we needed this while outside.

This light gives me all of this, with the plus that it doesn’t even need batteries, because they’re solar powered. A few 3M Command strips hold them up, and we can easily take them down for travel days.

With a couple of quick straps, we can mount these on a tree limb, or light pole near our RV and have additional motion detecting from a bit of a distance. Have them set away from the RV adds light to the motion sensors that are placed on the roof of the rig. This is very useful when boondocking to just provide us a heads up that there is movement outside, before they get too close to us.

Keep the sun out of your patio on hot days with this UV protected mesh sun shade.  Designed  with “one-way” viewing, you can see through it, but those looking in can’t see you.  It easily attaches to your ovehead awning and anchors to the ground.  It comes in multiple sizes, so double check your awning length when ordering.

First Aid / Emergency

A first aid/emergency/bug-out bag is a priority for us.  Being on the road we can experience any number of situations that may require us to either leave immediately or even have to leave the RV behind. For that reason we keep a kit of survival and first aid items together in one waterproof ‘bug-out’ bag.  Not only does this bag contain first aid kit items, it also contains thing like: Coins for vending machines, a USB drive backup of our computer files, panchos and survival blankets, multi-purpose tool and fire-starters, flashlights and water purification.  

Our goal is to be able to survive with just the contents of this bag for 72 hours if needed.  A number of these items are duplicated with other items we keep on our RV, but we keep a separate item exclusively in the bag so we can just snatch it and run.  No scrounging trying to find that item needed. Below are the items we have chosen.

This is the most important piece of our emergency bag. If it fails, we’re in trouble. This 20 liter capacity, waterproof bag is constructed of 500D PVC.  It has two adjustable shoulder straps. All seams are welded (not taped/sewn) and the top has a roll-top closure.  Included is an IPX8-certified waterproof cellphone case.  There are a variety of sizes up from 5L to 40L.

  • WEATHER ALERT RADIO WITH BLUETOOTH: This rugged & reliable weather alert radio features solar powered charging & Bluetooth technology. Stream your favorite music anywhere while charging your device!
  • EASY CHARGING: The built-in lithium battery is easily rechargeable via solar power or a hand crank power generator. When it’s powered up, use it to recharge your smartphone, tablet or other device.
  • MULTIFUNCTION DIGITAL DEVICE: This radio with digital tuner & display receives AM/FM, SAME & NOAA signals. It also features a bright LED flashlight, red emergency beacon & huge ambient light with dimmer.
  • KEEP CONNECTED: From weather alert radios & backup battery packs to solar-powered sound systems, we’ll keep you connected & in the know at home, in the office, on the road or in the great outdoors.

Sturdy disks with bright flashing lights to set out during a roadside emergency.

The pack contains essentials for treating medical trauma. It includes: QuickClot gauze pads, triangular bandages, adhesive strips, duct tape, sterile nitrile gloves and antiseptic wipes . 

Projects a 10′ stream and contains enough for about 25 bursts.  3-in1 of Pepper and SC spray with a UV dye.  This is a good and needed level security when traveling in an RV.

A comprehensive kit includes numerous bandages, sterile gauze pads, medical tape, triangular pads, an emergency blanket, prep pads, scissors, tweezers, a compressed towel, a whistle, Q-tips, safety pins and a flashlight.  

Thick, lightweight, hooded  panchos with elastic wrist bands. The manufacturer recently doubled the number of front snaps from 3 to 6. The overall length takes this down to your knees.  A good idea to add a second one around your bugout bag.

A plug for my relatives who own Myerchin Knives.  The Generation 2 Pro knife has a 2″ marlin spike and a serrated sheeps-foot blade. It has a lanyard hole, nylon sheath and double lock.   A sturdy, safe knife with my family’s name on it.

A top-line multi-tool is a must have. This Leatherman model has a replaceable screw bit. It comes with two bit kits with 42 additional screw bits.  Something to consider having in your kit in case you need to repair or fix something in a hurry.

This is a well-packed kit with a big selection of tools: wrenches, knives, bottle openers, flint, wire saws, camp spoon & fork, carabiners, compass, whistle glass breaker, nylon cord, flashlight, etc.  I hope to never need to use it, but it will be packed in the bug-out bag, just in case.  

An extremely versatile light.  High-impact resistant and waterproof, its designed to clip on to a helmet or hat providing point-of-view illumination with a pivoting head. White, blue, green and Red (IR) lights provide different color options. It has four brightness levels and is crush proof to 25 lb load.

 

The pack this comes in is only 6″x9″. When opened, you get an 8’x5′ waterproof, mylar tent/emergency shelter that can house two people. The mylar retains body heat.  It includes rope to run tie off the top to form the tent.

To go with the mylar emergency shelter, this is a four pack of 7’x4′ Mylar thermal blankets. When wrapped in one of these, 90% of the heat escaping your body stays under the blanket, keeping you warm.  Additionally, it can be used as a tent floor, rain poncho, backpack cover, water collector, wind shield, and emergency signal.

If you had to leave your laptop or external hard drive behind, would you lose all your data.  We backup our critical files onto two of these weekly and store them in the bugout bag.  One holds 256Gb of data. It is shockproof aluminum and waterproof to 200 meters.

This is a great multiple use tool in an emergency:  binding, bundling, hauling, lashing. Use to create shelters, or anything else you can think of.

We have a couple of these, and put prescription medicines in one, and a couple of thumbdrives in another.  You can use them to secure money, keys matches, batteries, etc.

Duct tape is a good thing to have in an emergency bag. It can be used for binding, security, quick leak repairs, creating a splint and other first aid needs.

Another necessary item in your 72-hour bag is food. These bars are wrapped in waterproof wrapping. Each pack has 9 coconut-cinnamon flavored bars. Each bar has 410 calories.  Enough to keep your energy going when you’re unable to prepare a meal.

This is a personal water straw filter. You insert it into the water source and draw water through the filter with your mouth.  It removes 99.9999% of bacteria and 99.9000% of protozoa. It will filter 1000 gallons of water.  A must need in your emergency bag. This filter acts as a straw for immediate personal consumption of filtered water. For larger amounts (bottle filling), we have a second filter below.

Unlike the personal filter, which acts as a straw for immediate consumption, this system is setup to fill larger containers. Attach it to your water bottle or hydration pack and fill freshly filtered water immediately. The filtation element screens out down to 0.1micron, making it effective in removing 99.99999% of all bacteria and 99.9999% of protozoa.  We keep both systems to ensure we can make cleaned water at anytime.

A high quality piece of equipment.  This compass is waterproof and impact resistant with sturdy construction.  It’s floating dial provides accurate readings. This models contains a conversion chart for angle, gradient and distance.  The arrow is fluorescent, so it will illuminate in the dark.

You get (2) steel strikers and (2) 23″ ferro rods connected on a 2′ paracord lanyard. Great for fire starting in wet situations.

These heavy duty gloves will be needed if you find yourself away from your RV, an in an emergency situation. They  will protect, yet are designed to provide high dexterity.

This high-quality water/hydration backpack carries 50 ounces and has an elongated sipping straw. Having this near your bug out bag ensures you will have stored water on your person when you have to bug-out.

Miscellaneous

This insulation foil will accomplish three things. It will keep the heat out during summer, the warmth in during winter and it will deaden sound from the floor as you’re driving.
It’s a project, but one with great benefits in the end. Applying this requires removing driver door panels, getting underneath the cab flooring, into the firewall, in the cab roof and removing other car upholstery areas.  You cut section to shape and adhere them to the vehicle metal walls and floors, and against the inside of the doors.  Some people recommend warming up the product with a hair dryer or heat gun to loosen it up prior to applying. This product is comparable to Dyna-Mat or Kill-Mat at a fraction of the cost.

Insulated window coverings are a must have item for your Sprinter.  Outside heat in the summer and cold in the winter easily transfer through the glass.  The coverings are custom cut and trimmed to fit the Sprinter windows.  I have found two online dealers with reasonable pricing.

  • Sprinter Parts & Service Store – Located in Tualatin, Oregon, they have a form-fitting, reflective R16 insulation three piece kit for the main windshield and side doors.  The panels adhere to the vehicle with Velcro tabs.  Pricing @ $165 (shipping factored in).  The website states there could be delivery delays due to COVID related shipping issues as of 11/2020.

Reflectix is the insulation product that RVer’s swear by to insulate the house/coach windows.  You cut each piece to size for each window. It’s stiff enough to stay in place.  This helps with both heat/cold insulation as well as security.

3M Crystalline Tint for Driveby Tourists Website
3M Crystalline Tint for Driveby Tourists purchases list

Big front windshields on RV’s and Mercedes vans allow a LOT of heat to enter into the cab. On very hot days, the cab air conditioning system can have trouble keeping up.  We see  fans mounted in Class A’s all the time, to help alleviate the heat.  

One answer to this problem is to apply a thin of almost transparent film on the front windshield.  Since it lessens the incoming visible light by only 10%, adding this film is permitted in many states.  I have linked to the 3M Crystalline Window Film web brochure and a tint company that handles Crystalline product.  You would need to find a qualified installer in your area to handle the install.

I have learned that it can cost upwards of $1000+ for the install, and it is not insurable if there is damage.  A number of RVer’s who use it have complained that if your windshield gets a crack and needs to be replaced, you’re out the cost of the 3M Crystalline film.  Those who use it swear by it.  The film rejects 99.9% of UV light, and reflects 34% of total solar energy.  It is a game changer, and makes driving days in the summer, tolerable.

Upgrade your your security, and get quick ease of access with a keypad/fob entry system. 

A must have for your tool kit. This head lamp has two beams, puts out 125 lumens with a 6 hour run-time and has a built-in lithium-polymer battery that is USB cable rechargeable.  It comes with two straps: an elastic one for your head, and a rubber strap to go around a safety helmet.  Impact resistant to 2 meters, unbreakable polycarbonate sealed lens and impact-resistant polymer construction. As an added bonus, you can swap out the contained battery with three AAA batteries. 

We have one in our tool kit and a second in our bug-out bag.

A great little flashlight in a  two-pack for less than $20. This lamp: zooms from pin-point to wash;  takes (3) AAA 18560 rechargeable batteries; is shock resistant to 10 feet; comes with a storage pouch (with belt loop and lanyard); and is water resistant. It has (5) five settings: High | Medium |Low | Strobe and SOS.  Pretty good stats for an inexpensive light.

This lantern is built with hurricane level standards:  IP67 Waterproof (submersible in 3ft for 30 minutes) and a 15′ drop resistant impact rating.  It’s made with a shock-absorbing rubber bezel.  Brightness is rated at 600 lumens, and it has three brightness levels and boasts up to 260 hours or runtime in its energy saving mode.  Runs on 3 D batteries. Lifetime warranty as well!
We use the Panasonic Eneloop D battery shell that places a rechargeable AA battery inside.  This beats always having to store extra D batteries around the rig.

The snow brush head pivots and when extended the length extends to 50″. When collapsed, it goes down to 36″.  Nice, compact and sturdy.

TOYS

Here’s another great way to make things smaller. We use this gimbal stabilizer with a high quality video smartphone to make all of our videos  No need to lug around a camera, when a phone provides the same quality image.
The Osmo OM4 gimbal, keeps the camera steady by use of an electronic gyroscope.  This simple device makes us look like video professionals.

Electric Bike - Rad Bikes - RadRover 5

The Rad Bikes RadRover5 comes arrives with an industry topping 750 watt motor with a 25 to 45 mile distance range and top speed of 20mph.
Our other bike, the Ecotric is a fat-tire folding bike with a 500 watt motor and is much easier for Jean to use.

This cover has two large grommet holes for cable lock feeds. The extra-large size fits two bicycles.  This cover is made of strong rip-stop material. and is UV coated, and rainproof.

The Holy Grail of bike racks!!  There aren’t many out there that are RV approved.  The bounce at the back end of an RV is just too much for most car/truck racks.  Add to that, the weight of an e-bike coming in at 65 lbs. 

The Swagman Escapee rack checks both boxes.  

Note: Currently unavailable (Dec 2020).

Bike racks on hitches are notorious for rattling and swaying. This simple solution tightens the connection between the rack and the hitch significantly reducing the wobble – providing you with a more stable ride.

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