RV Gadget Favs

Here is a list of mods, gadgets, and upgrades I've made to my View to make it a bit more comfortable, functional, and fun:

  • Fancher's Sprinter Windshield Sunshade (dark charcoal gray).  This shade keeps your cab dashboard and seats from getting sun-baked UV damage and too hot when your RV is parked.  Nice daytime privacy too to still have a nice view of the outside, but not let those outside see you! 

  • Folding Cube Ottoman (Amazon.com).  Not only is it a nice footrest, but it's strong enough to stand on (when opening the Winnie's skylight!).  Very functional too-- I store all my shoes in this!

  • Oxygenics ETL RV Shower Head (with water cut-off switch).  Awesome!  Feels just as powerful as a home shower but uses minimal water. (Amazon.com)

  • I'm absolutely loving this crazy hunk of space-aged featherweight plastic and padding called the BackJoy Relief seat (Amazon.com).  It finally makes sitting on the uncomfortable RV dinette bench seats a pleasure!

  • If you plan to spend months on end sleeping in your RV, get yourself a decent mattress!  Rather than get a heavy custom-made innerspring mattress (that I could not test out first & was non-returnable), I decided to go with an IKEA Morgedal Full-sized Foam Mattress.  Not only was it far cheaper and lighter weight, but I could try it out & return if I didn't like it (before cutting the curve for final fitting into the View, obviously!).  To switch from my View's original split mattress system, I needed a new bed platform made first-- more details about that mod here.

  • Froli TRAVEL Sleep System.  Leave it to those German engineers to design a modular spring system that is lighter weight than traditional steel mattress springs, yet just as strong and comfortable!  These springs honestly make my IKEA mattress feel like it's sitting on box springs at home. The Large V-Berth Kit comes with just enough pieces and small shapes to cover the curve of the corner View bed.  After raves from the boating/sailing community, and the European RVing community, Winnebago is now using this system in their new Travato vans.  The U.S. importer, Nickle Atlantic is a great company to work with too-- they'll pay the cost of any returns & give you a full refund if you're not satisfied.
  • Sony Bluetooth Stereo  (Amazon.com).  What a GREAT improvement to replace the original cab stereo with this one.  Not only did it come with a nifty little remote control, but you can also control it via a smartphone app. Best of all, when the View's "house" speakers are set to play with the front cab speakers, and combined with music/audio coming from a bluetooth smartphone or laptop-- instant, fantastic surround sound that you can control from your device!  Wonderful!!!

  • Progressive Dynamics PD4645 3-stage Converter (Amazon.com).  This replaces the 12-volt sections inside the Parallax Power Center that comes standard with Winnebago Views (the Parallax units only come with a "dumb" 12-volt charger that if left plugged into shore power continuously, will dry out standard lead-acid RV batteries within a few months, or never charge AGM batteries to their fullest potential).  The PD4645 features a "smart" 3-stage charger that solves both problems.

  • Progressive Industries Portable 30-amp EMS (Amazon.com).  When my last surge guard melted due to a "hot neutral" near-catastrophe from my 110 distribution panel, I knew I'd be choosing Progressive Industries this time around due to their lifetime warranty (vs. 1 year for the Camping World versions).  But portable or hard-wired?  There are pros/cons to each, but I decided that portable would be best for me due to Mexico travels (where open ground and high/low continuous power situations are common).  This past winter in Baja, my PI EMS did indeed shut off numerous times when my friends' "surge only" protector kept running and never alerted them of problems.  Due to the digital readout on the PI unit, I could make an informed decision each time if I wanted to "override" the EMS and plug directly into the RV Park's power outlet, or if I wanted to let the EMS restore power automatically when it sensed it was safe again to do so.  I could not have done this with a hard-wired unit. 
  • Camco Decor-Mate Black Stove Topper (Amazon.com)

  • This HP Articulating Monitor Arm (a rebranded Ergotron LX) is heavy-duty and easily clamp-mounts to my dinette table to hold my 27" Dell LED Monitor.  I hated the original TV location in the J-model View (up above the coach door).  Now, I can sit comfortably in the front swivel reclining seats rather than sideways on the dinette benches!
  • The monitor does double-duty as my TV with the addition of an HDHomeRun Connect2 TV Tuner box (and Elgato EyeTV3 software for my Mac).  An Apple Remote works great to control the EyeTV software too!  I've gone back and forth on what Mac to use.  Originally, I used a MacMini (which only consumes 19 watts of electric, so even with that and the 27" monitor, I could run both off my 400 watt inverter when boondocking if needed).  But, I now have gotten rid of the Mini and just use my 15" Macbook Pro laptop instead.

  • When not watching TV, the big 27" monitor is perfect for editing photos and working on my Mac.  
  • To maintain the same gesture functionality as my laptop trackpad, I use an Apple Wireless Magic Trackpad.  And the Logitech Bluetooth Keyboard with backlit keys is absolutely ideal for an RV-- small, but not too small; rechargeable; and you can actually see the keys when working at night! 
  • Even though "All-in-One" printer/scanners are cheap, they're usually way too big and bulky for a small RV as they rely on a full-page (and very slow) flatbed scanner.  Since I rarely print that much, and scan a lot, I spent a bit more to go with smaller, faster, dedicated units that stow in my View much more easily.  I use the small Canon PIXMA iP110 mobile printer and this "ruler-sized" Fujitsu Scansnap ix100 scanner.  While I could probably just use my phone and scan apps to scan nowadays, the Fujitsu is lightning fast and saves directly to PDF with 1 press of a button.
  • LOVE this amazing little Fugoo Style Bluetooth Speaker (Amazon.com).  It's waterproof, dustproof, small, with a fantastic 40-hour battery life, and incredible RV-filling realistic surround sound.  I use it outdoors for patio happy hours to stream music from my iPhone, and indoors when I want to lay in bed and stream TV/movies to my iPad.  This speaker does equally well with music and movies.  Good bass without sounding muddy; good treble without sounding tinny. 

  • To maximize my over-the-air TV signal, I upgraded my Batwing antenna to a Wingard Sensar IV Replacement Head.  I first tried upgrading to a JACK antenna, but it's mounting on the Batwing mast would not allow it sufficient room to clear my air conditioner when the mast was lowered, so I returned it for the Wingard.
  • Wingard Sensar Pro (amazon.com).  Full-time RVers are constantly moving to new locations and needing to re-scan for over-the-air TV signals (often, from many, many miles away).  This Sensar Pro replaces the original Wingard TV amplifier wall plate (that had coax and 12-volt outlets), and allows me to quickly position the antenna in the direction where signals are the strongest.  It's amplifier can also be adjusted to give weak signals even more of a boost when needed.

  • Sodastream home soda maker (Amazon.com). No need to lug or store big, heavy pop bottles or cans.  This is a perfect RV-friendly solution that uses no electricity.  I've been trying to wean myself off of diet soda, so am buying less of the Sodastream syrups these days and now experiment with making my own fruit-flavored sparkling water.   Fun! 
  • My RV doesn't have an under-sink in-line water filter, so I use this Pur 18-cup Dispenser on my kitchen countertop.  It's remarkably effective at removing odors and contaminants from the water coming out of the sink faucet.  Even though I also use a filter outside (to filter all water coming into the RV), some campground water can still have a "metal" or salty taste.  This second-stage Pur filter eliminates all that.  FYI-- the replacement filters can get a bit pricey if purchased in stores, so I buy them in bulk on Amazon.

  • So, I opted for this lower-priced (but still 18/10 stainless) Stansport 7-piece set instead.  Since I use the wok as my skillet, and bottom of the Fagor pressure cooker as my stock pot, I only carry the 3 sauce pots, lid and handle from this set in the View.  Very nice way to maximize space in my single pots/pan drawer beneath the stove!
  • Another new fun & handy kitchen appliance is my hand-powered food processor!  Just pull the cord in the lid (kinda like starting a lawnmower), and within a few seconds, your veggies or nuts are nice chopped!

  • More fun in the kitchen is this little pie iron panini sandwich maker called the Toas-Tite.  It comes with either short or long handles-- I bought the short version to use it indoors on my LP stove.  There are a ton of fun pudgie and pie iron recipes on the web.  I make little veggie pizza pockets, grilled cheese, and even tiny little single-serving apple pies with this thing!  Lots of fun!
  • For pressure cooking rice, beans, or steaming veggies, I originally started out with a terrific stainless, digital electric multi-cooker called the Instant Pot IP-DUO60.  It was fantastic at home, but I soon discovered in the RV, when I was usually just cooking for 1 or 2, it was comically oversized and took up way too much storage space when not being used.  Further, if I was boondocking, I'd never use it because of the electrical needs.  So, I finally gifted it to a friend and bought the above non-electric Fagor 4 quart Futuro pressure cooker.  What a difference!  Not only does it do everything the Instant Pot did, but it's small enough to fit in my pots/pans drawer beneath the stove.  Best of all-- boondocker friendly!  No electric needed!

    UPDATE - Fagor discontinued the above 4 qt model, and meanwhile, Instant Pot has come out with a small 3 qt version that would be better-sized for my View.  If I were to buy something today and still wanting something "boondocker friendly", I'd either go with Fagor's DUO 4 qt model, or this Z&L 4 qt cooker (that has smaller handles & an extra glass lid).  If I weren't boondocking and could use electric easily, I'd certainly choose the new Instant Pot DUO Mini 3 qt. electric multi-cooker

  • Speaking of 1-pot-wonders, I use this TeChef 11" Wok Skillet every single day!  I don't have room for separate frying pans, a wok, a pancake griddle pan, etc so this one pan does it all!  
  • I also have this large silcone-lipped & vented glass lid that fits the wok pan perfectly to cook/steam items. It also fits my pressure cooker pot (which becomes a great stock pot for soups/pasta cooking with the glass lid).  Using multi-functional items like this are critical in a small RV kitchen!

  • My favorite cheap, multi-functional bowl with lid is this Nordic Ware Microwave Popcorn Popper.  We've all heard how unhealthy those microwave popcorn bags can be (with all the oil & chemicals they use).  Air-popped popcorn is much healthier.  I had an air-popper at home but it was just too big (and single-function) to bring in the RV.  This Nordic Ware bowl does just as well and can be used as a large salad or fruit bowl too.  I nest smaller bowls inside it and stow it in the microwave when traveling.

  • These Seville metal expandable shelves are terrific for turning the overhead bins above my dinette into a pantry.  With a few small clear, plastic tubs all of my small spices, cans, and dry goods stay well organized and make great use of the limited space!

  • This Ivation rechargeable LED lantern has been sooo handy!  Even though I have 2 halogen reading lights above the rear of my bed, they're hot, harsh, and use a ton of battery power when boondocking.  This dimmable lantern is so much nicer to reflect light off the ceiling.  Of course, it's also great to take anywhere I need it-- up front when sitting in the cab seats, or outside at a picnic table!
  • While I still use and love the Ivation LED lantern above, I've added a 2nd dimmable LED light to my collection.  This one is even better!  It's a Color-changing, dimmable, rechargeable lantern.  It lets you gradually adjust brightness and/or color of the light from bright white to soft yellow.  The diffuser is thicker than the Ivation and provides more even lighting.  There's also a strap on the bottom to hang it upside down.
  • The Endless Breeze 12v Fantastic Fan is the same heavy-duty powerful fan that's installed in the roof of most RVs.  When boondocking (or just when I'd prefer not running the loud air conditioner) this floor fan combined with my bathroom roof fan really can move the air through the RV quite effectively!  The only challenge, is that being 12-volt only, I had to buy a 12-volt extension cord to be able to move this fan all around the rig. 

  • This thin little bathroom scale is surprisingly heavy duty and fits great in my RV.  I use it daily to monitor my weight loss :-) ...or gain! :-(

  • Ah, the one full-sized kitchen appliance I still use in my RV-- my Blendtec high-speed blender with WildSide jar.  It's great for making almond milk, fruit smoothies, sorbet, hummus, blending soups, and even milling grains into flour! Worth making the storage room for!

  • I resisted shelling out the big bucks for a Dyson vacuum for so long, but once I went full-timing, it's really the only one that offers a rolling beater bar for carpet, a long flexible crevice attachment for the RV's small nooks and craneys, and it also breaks down small enough for easy storage.  I bought a refurbished DC-35 and forego the long upright pole.  Works great!

  • When it gets chilly at night, nothing is nicer than the silent, warm glow of an Olympian Wave3 Catalytic Heater.  It's a must-have for boondocking! Unlike a traditional LP Furnace, the Wave3 sips propane and requires no battery power.  While some View/Navion owners prefer the larger Wave6 for our 24' RVs, since these catalytic heaters have no thermostat, I prefer the smaller, slightly underpowered Wave3.  It's usually more than sufficient when nighttime lows dip into the 30's, but when it gets colder than that, I set my furnace to kick on to thermostatically control the minimum inside temperature.  Most nights, the furnace only needs to run the last hour or two before dawn, so a decent compromise.

  • My Wave3 sits on legs and has a dust cover when not in use.  It attaches to my LP propane system via a 12-foot flexible hose with a quick disconnect fitting.  The hose stows away in the utility bay beneath my clothes closet (where the water pump and hot water heater are located). A T-fitting and on/off valve keep the hose permanently connected to the LP system.

  • To keep my water hose from freezing while parked in New Mexico a few winters ago, I used a 1/2" water hose wrapped in aluminum foil that was then tucked inside pipe foam insulation along with a thermostatically-activated electric heat tape. To prevent water from getting into the seam of the pipe foam, I also ran a length of duct tape across the top half of the assembly.  It worked great all winter-- no frozen water line!

  • I kept my Camco Water Filter inside my water/sewer bay during that winter.  To keep it, and the short hose connecting it to my RV water inlet from freezing, I tucked a 40 watt light bulb (in the yellow utility housing) also into the bay.  The light bulb got turned on/off automatically by a temperature-activated plug that I kept stowed inside a concrete block to protect it from any rain or snow.  Worked great!


  1. Nice blog! Where can you buy a Travasak (reasonably?) now? Maybe that would help with making up the corner bed (only a part of the foot and right side are free from the walls)? And if you mount your TV, can you easily detach it if you want to bring the TV outside, such as if you are having lots of company and they can't fit inside to watch a movie or something?

    1. They're getting extremely hard to find (company went out of business in 2009). Tuesday Morning stores had them briefly about 2 years ago on closeout. Since then, the only place I've seen them is periodically on eBay. One is listed there now for $190.

      Another option would be to make your own. It's basically a flat sheet velcro'd into a double-wide sleeping bag. The real Travasak had one side "winter" weight sleeping bag while the other side was a thinner "Summer" weight. You might look for sleeping bags that zip together to offer the same such as Coleman. Then you basically zip the 2 bags together to make a double-wide, but initially just zip them only at the bottom so you can lay it out long-wise. You'll then want to sew velcro strips along the long sides of each bag. Then buy a flat twin sheet or two, cut them to size as needed (sew them at the bottom if needed too), sew the corresponding velcro strips to the long edges of the sheet, and then velcro the sheet to the long sleeping bags. When everything is together, then bring 1 sleeping bag back on top of the other and zip the sides up to make your bed.

  2. I love my shower head, Dyson vacuum, Soda Stream and many other suggestions. I have been thinking about the Toas-Tite and based on your post will have to get one...that chopper looks good too....Thanks for keeping your gadgets up dated...Safe journey now that you are back on the road.

  3. Wonderful post. I discovered several new treasures to add to our RV. Thanks

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