When we were preparing to hit the road, we knew we needed WAY less stuff. We got rid of almost everything and embraced a minimalist lifestyle, which has been great for RV life. Some of our ideas about what RV life would look like have ended up being different than the reality. So, what things did we truly need and what could we have done without?
The last part in my series on stuff is all about gadgets and tech. Since Nik works remotely full-time, and I part-time, a lot of tech is stuff we depend on for our livelihood. A lot of our gadget-dependence, though, is just us being good Millennials. 😉 We have never been luddites- our house has always been filled with gadgets of varying degrees of usefulness. Now, some gadgets that were rarely used in a sticks and bricks house are super helpful and things we used all the time are just sitting around taking up RV space.
These speakers are great because they are small, portable, and water-resistant. They are great for putting on music or a podcast while washing dishes or hanging out outside. They are plenty loud for our small space. Nik got an awesome deal on them working in a kayak shop, but I think they’re worth full-price.
Okay, this exact model is the one we have, and we are kind of “meh” about it. We have a 12v outlet (aka “cigarette lighter” outlet) in the back of RV near our dinette, where we work and hang out most of the time. So, we need lots of easily accessible power back there! The mini-inverter changes 12v power to AC power (like comes out of your outlets in a sticks and bricks house).
The mini-inverter lets us charge our phones and other USB things without needing the big house inverter on, which is really nice especially overnight. We don’t like that the AC outlets on the mini-inverter take a loud fan to run, which gets annoying fast, and for some reason, certain things (like the computer monitor) don’t work in them. But the USB ports are really nice and convenient!
Our bed is over the cab. Since it’s the highest point in the RV and doesn’t have much air circulation (just two little windows up there), it gets HOT. Before we left I bought a little clip-on fan from Target. It’s nice, but since it’s a normal plug-in fan, we can’t run it without the house inverter on (which we turn off at night when we are boondocking to save on energy). I think we will add this little 12v fan to our repertoire before next summer comes.
Cell Signal Booster
With our hotspot, we can work from anywhere we have cell signal. Sometimes, though, the prettiest places have very little cell phone service. With a cell signal booster, we are able to take a little bit of service and turn it into enough to work from. We currently have the WeBoost 4G-S and are thinking about upgrading to the more powerful WeBoost 4G-X.
These were originally a gift from Nik’s parents for communicating back and forth on ski trips. Now, we use them all the time when we are scouting for boondocking spots. We disconnect the “toad” (towed car) and I drive it ahead. Obviously, I can fit down roads in the car that Nik can’t in the RV! It’s helpful to scout things out, find an RV-safe route, and then use the Walkie Talkies to give him the go ahead and any other helpful information.
Before we left, we scanned all our paper files so we didn’t have to keep up with them (or at least that was the idea. Scanning is very boring, so we have a messy cabinet of unorganized papers, to be honest.) This scanner folds down super small, so we can scan documents on the road without sacrificing space. Plus, the scans are really high quality.
NiteIze Gear Ties
Okay, this is a low-tech gadget, but a gadget nonetheless. Have you ever used a twist tie to wrap something up? Have you ever wished you had a giant, rubber-coated, amazingly durable, infinitely reusable twist tie? That’s what these are. We use them for tying cords out of the way and keeping drawers from falling out on the road. The sizes come in such a wide variety that you could use them for everything from keeping headphones from getting tangled in your bag to hanging heavy tools up on the garage wall.
Taking up Space
Second Computer Monitor
Originally, we planned on having two separate work stations. We do, but the second workstation is not quite as ergonomic, so neither of us uses it often. We mounted an external monitor here, but never use it. Nik is going to take it back to work (where it came from) and the space will be more useful without a big monitor taking up room.
We have a router along that we have yet to install. Just the hotspot has really been all we have needed.
Nik laughs at me about this one, but I brought along my full-size, sits-on-a-desk printer. It’s a nice printer, but it takes up almost a whole cabinet! I thought I’d be printing stuff all the time, and I have used it, but really we could have either gone to a local library or traded it in for a more compact model.
So, as we are coming up on six months on the road (can you believe it?), we have learned a lot about the realities of RV life. I think overall we did a pretty good job packing things that we are happy with. We are getting ready to move into a condo in the mountains for the winter (more on that soon), so I think we will re-adjust our things come spring when we hit the road once again.
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