I love when it’s time to write another RV hacks post. Why? Because every time I write one, I share everything I’ve learned up to that point. All my tips, tricks and things to consider. So, when it’s time to write another one, it means I’ve gathered more nuggets of wisdom to pass along.
As always a few of these come from things I’ve figured out. But mostly they come from other RVers in the form of conversations and posts in public spaces.
First there was Fast, Easy, Low-Cost RV Hacks. Next came More Fast, Easy, Low-Cost RV Hacks. And today? Today, I share still more RV hacks. Kind of makes you wonder what I can possibly name the next post.
My sister calls me “nosey neighbor” all the time. In sticks-and-bricks, I constantly looked outside, “just checking on things” I’d tell her. And whenever people were outside, you would think I was watching the ending of an exciting movie because I couldn’t turn away. I wanted to know what they were doing, what they were talking about. Well, that curiosity hasn’t waned in my RV life. But—in my defense—I wouldn’t have discovered the first of my RV hacks if not for my nosy neighbor-ness.
I frequently sit on my bed with a lap desk to work. My bed is next to a window so I see everything that goes on outside the window. During the day, people cannot see me because of the treatment on the windows. (I know, it makes me sound creepy, stalkerish but I swear it’s just curiosity.)
So, one day recently, I watched a guy in a popup camper collect water in a bucket. What interested me was that he had a water hose hooked up to his trailer which he didn’t unhook in order to fill up his bucket.
After he left for his adventures that day, I went and investigated further. (I almost wrote I snuck outside to go investigate his water setup, but that would sound creepy and stalkerish.) I looked at his hose and how it was connected to the water source. And that’s when I discovered a hose splitter. Actually, I didn’t know what it was or what it was called. I snapped a photo then went to work researching the contraption.
Such a useful and inexpensive gadget. If you need to wash your rig or fill a jug with water or whatever, you go outside turn off the water, turn the directional lever to close the water to your rig and open it to the open spout, then turn the water on again. And—viola—water coming out of the other spout. All without removing the hose from either your rig or the water source.
Why did it take two years of RV living to discover this handy hack?
Hooks and Bungee for Shoes
I wrote an entire post about dealing with shoes in RV life but this was the hack I found most creative because it isn’t obvious the way, say, hanging shoe pockets are. And, this meets the criteria of being fast, easy and low-cost. The best thing about this hack is how easy it is to undo if you change your mind or want to relocate the shoes.
Paper Towel RV Hacks
This may not be necessary for those who have a paper towel holder that sits vertically on the counter or hangs vertically. But for those who hang their paper towels horizontally, you might find that your paper towels unwind from the roll during travel.
I initially didn’t think I had this problem but on a recent travel day, when the paper towels were low, I parked for the night, opened my trailer’s door to find what was left of the paper towels in a puddle on my floor.
The hack is unbelievably simple. Change your brand of paper towels to one that is fluffy. The fibers that make it fluffy adhere to each other just enough that they don’t unroll during travel.
And they day I wrote this, I saw a whole roll of paper towels unwound in an RV sink on Facebook. The post said they forgot to clip the first few sheets together before they traveled. ah-ha, a second way to deal with unraveling paper towels.
Then, as I used a paper clip to demonstrate the second option, a third option occurred to me. You could simply take the paper towels off their holder during travel. Three good, easy options.
Hack for Keeping Flies Out of Your RV
This is going to sound crazy. I know. And, in fact, it’s the only one of these RV hacks that didn’t come from the RV community. You’ll never believe where I got it. The fish hatchery in Branson.
It was so odd to walk up to their Visitors’ Center door to see a bag of water adhered to the door. I had to stop and read the sign.
The bags of water hanging on the doors are an attempt to repel flies. Businesses and private individuals have used this method with some success. We are uncertain how it works, but the theory is that the flies, which have compound eyes, are confused and disoriented by the light refracted through the bags of water. We have experienced a significant decrease in the number of flies in our building since hanging up the bags.
And, if you notice in the photo, they used two suction cups with hooks. creating the added bonus of no damage to the rig. Plus, it’s easy to take down on travel days. It’s so easy and inexpensive that, if you are in an area with a fly problem, it would be worth trying. Couldn’t hurt and might help.
Now, the one disclaimer here has to be that if flies are sneaking into your rig through cracks and crevasses or from underneath, hanging a bag of water at your doors probably won’t help.
Catches for Doors
When I’m stationery, I leave my bathroom door open. I do this for a couple of reasons. First, it’s just easier. Second, air flow. If the location is quite hot, it can feel like a sauna going into a closed-door bathroom. Similarly, in cold locations, the bathroom will be even colder and that’s no fun in the middle of the night when you already had to leave the comfort cocoon of your toasty bed.
But the downside of leaving it (or any door) open is the natural, albeit small, bounce of the rig as people move about inside which, in turn, causes the bathroom door to bounce as well. That tick-tick-tick sound as it settles down drives me crazy. It always makes me think something is broken.
I’ve seen people use bungee cords to keep a door securely open though I never tried that one. However, as a side note, I do use a bungee across the closed door when I travel to make sure it doesn’t swing open and break the mirrored door.
Initially, I used magnets. They were strong magnets which made closing the door a mini battle. Turning them around significantly decreased the pull but was strong enough to keep the door open.
Mostly this worked but when the trailer wasn’t as level as it should be or when the movement in the trailer was a lot, the magnets didn’t always hold and the little bounce of the door would happen again.
On the Oliver forum, a discussion on the bathroom door brought forth a third idea for securing the door. It was so good, it’s now what I use. It’s a little clamp called a baggage door catch. They are designed to be screwed in place but I use a Command strip. So, it actually is gripping the door, keeping it from moving. It’s so simple and yet so effective.
The trick with this hack, though, is to remember you have to manually open the clamp to get it to release the door. About half the time I forget as I was so accustomed to the magnets. Still, I find the clamp a much better option. No more door bouncing.
Injury Prevention Hack
Speaking of the Oliver group, though this time I’m talking about the Facebook group. An owner (thanks, Denise) recently posted about getting scraped from the pointy end of screws sticking out inside cabinets. I’m guessing that RVers everywhere have this issue at various places throughout their rigs.
The solution is a nifty little gadget called screw thread protectors. They are for both screws and bolts. Sometimes I’ve seen them referred to as end caps. Just be sure to order the correct size so you get a proper fit. Simply, push them on the exposed end and the sharp edges disappear. No more ouch from catching your skin on a pointy metal tip.
RV Hacks for Dark Rig
I’m sure you know that Alaska, being so far north, experiences dramatic summer light. In Anchorage, at the Summer Solstice we’d have nearly 20 hours of light and, conversely, at the Winter Solstice, we’d have nearly 20 hours of darkness.
I loved the light. Hated the dark. (Of course, the dark also came with cold, snow, ice and tough driving at times.)
Many Alaskans invested in blackout curtains so they could properly sleep during the long light days of summer. A blackout curtains don’t allow light to pass through. So, when closed, no matter how bright it is outside, the room inside is dark. For many, this makes the difference between a good night’s sleep or not.
I never needed them. In fact, not only did I have no problem sleeping during the summer months, I never even closed the regular shades in my bedroom. So, I got the full force of the bright sun at 10 p.m. as well as 4 a.m. I actually liked it and never had an issue with falling asleep in light.
I tell you this because this next hack has to do with creating a dark rig at night though I haven’t felt the need to try it. In my tiny trailer, I counted and I have well over 10 sources of light at night. It comes from the time readout on the microwave, the illuminated red “off” light of the television, the green light of my fuse box door, the three orange lights on the refrigerator and many others.
For most people, though, the biggest source of light is the big square fan on the ceiling that pulls in air from the outside when turned on, meaning it is installed on the RV’s roof. Bigger rigs might have a couple of these. The light from the outside can be the moon or, more likely, lights in an RV park, street lamps, outside lights from other rigs, etc.
Of course, this assumes you don’t have light sneaking in via your windows, whether you have shades or curtains or a combination of both. If this is an issue for you, you may actually have to invest in some blackout curtains or blackout shades.
I haven’t heard anyone really talk about the little lights but I think a tiny piece of black electrical tape should cover up those lights sufficiently if you find them annoying.
But for the fan, I’ve seen vent cushions that secure snug in the space used with great success. Essentially, they are square pillows. Many have straps to make them easier to get in and out of the overhead space. The bonus when using one in cold weather is it can keep cool air from creeping in. If you kept it in during the day, when it’s hot it could help keep the rig cooler. In dusty places, it can keep dirt from creeping in.
If you rig has a lot of headroom, you may have to keep a collapsible footstool nearby to get the cushion in and out of the fan space.
At the first RV Entrepreneur Summit I attended in 2018, I went to a session on keeping connected on the road. It’s a big issue, especially those of us who rely on a connectivity to work.
Of course, there are the bigger, several hundred dollars devices. But the one that was suggested at that session is less than $30. And it is an awesome gadget. Now, just so we’re on the same page, let me say this is a booster. And that means you must have a connection. The booster, then, enhances the connection. A booster cannot create a connection where one doesn’t exist.
This device is a portable antenna. The description says:
Boost performance indoors or in fringe network areas by plugging this external antenna into your 3G/4G AirCard modem or mobile hotspot. This antenna is designed to increase speeds and extend coverage when in buildings, vehicles or remote sites where network coverage is sparse. Simple installation, no software required.
It is just a flat piece of plastic with suction cups and a thin wire connects the device to your hotspot.
Each time I’m in a new location, I run a speed test (you know about speed testing your connection, right?) with the antenna in each of my three windows. For such a tiny trailer, you would be amazed at the dramatic difference in my speeds depending on the direction the antenna is facing. That’s why I test. I want the highest speed possible at each location. I secure the device, then , to which ever window gives me the fastest speed.
It can make the difference between being on Skype and not. It can make the difference being driven crazy and not while uploading a blog post. I don’t watch movies on my computer (streaming) but I’m sure it can make the difference between being able to do so and not.
I’ve experienced as much as a four-fold increase in speed just by plugging into the antenna and positioning it in my best window. Technology-wise, it’s the best $30 you’ll spend. At least that’s how I feel.
Your RV Hacks
So, there you have it. All the RV hacks I discovered since the last time I wrote about fast and easy RV hacks. Do you have any RV hacks you just love? Please share.
Links to Referenced SSL Blog Posts Above:
- Fast, Easy, Low-Cost RV Hacks
- More Fast, Easy, Low-Cost RV Hacks
- RV Life and the Challenge of Shoes
- 5 Free Things to Do in Branson
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