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How to Keep Your RV Cool in the Summer Heat

RV living can be a lot of fun, and it’s a lot more fun when it’s comfortable. During the summer, when things get hot, maintaining that comfort can sometimes be a challenge. Your RV is essentially a giant tin can left out in the sun when things get hot, and keeping your RV cool in the summer is going to be an issue if you drive your RV through warmer climates.

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Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to keep the heat down in your RV so you can enjoy the summer no matter where you roam. Here are some useful tips for how to keep cool in your RV during those hot summer months.

Follow the Weather

If you’ve got a firm itinerary, you need to follow it, even if the weather is not going to cooperate. If you have some flexibility in your schedule, however, plan for the weather. Map out the places you plan to go and see when the weather is hottest in those locations.

Plan your travels so you schedule your hottest destinations for the cooler months and reserve the height of summer for travel to more generally temperate locations. Sometimes the weather will play tricks on you and hit you with a sudden heat wave. If this happens, you’ll be prepared with the tips below. Much of the time, however, if you plan your trip right, you can avoid the most unpleasant weather extremes.

Parking Your RV

It’s easier to keep your RV cool when it starts out cool. Be smart when parking your RV and take the time to look for the shadiest spot possible when parking. When you do find your parking spot, open the windows on the shady side and cover the outside of the windows on the sunny side to block heat and allow cool air in.

Maximize Air Flow

Moving air keeps you cooler while still air can make you really hot. Just opening all the windows will probably not do the job. Use a ceiling fan to pull hot air out of the RV and allow cooler air to flow in. Remember that hot air rises.

Insulate

People normally think of insulation as something you put on your home, but insulation can have the same effect on your RV. The goal of insulation is to provide a barrier against heat transfer, so putting insulation up in your RV can prevent that hot air from getting in and stops cool air from escaping when you have the air conditioner running, keeping you cooler and saving you on energy costs.

Cool Yourself

If you keep yourself cool, your RV won’t have to work as hard to keep you cool. Make sure the clothes you do wear are light, cooler fabrics. Keep sponges and towels on hand and use them to wet yourself down. Not only will this get the uncomfortable sweat off your body, but as the heat evaporates the water on your skin, it will have a cooling effect.

Sleep Comfortably

It can be difficult to get to sleep in the summer heat. Make sure your sleeping areas are located near open windows so you can get the maximum effect of evening breezes during nighttime hours.

Cook Outside

If you’ve got a fully equipped kitchen in your RV, it’s tempting to use it. But in the summer months, that means raising the interior temperature of your vehicle, which is what you are trying to avoid. Bust out that grill and take advantage of the warm weather by cooking your meals outside the RV whenever you can.

Following the steps above will allow you to keep cool when you’re in a situation where you cannot get power to your AC or to minimize the strain on your AC when it’s available so you can reduce energy costs and save it for when you really need it, like at the height of the midday sun.

For RV Cooling Accessories, Electronics, Parts & More, Visit TVforMyRV.com

TVForMyRV has exterior RV accessories including covers, awnings, vents, fans and everything else you need to keep cool and enjoy the summer in your RV. For a massive selection of the best RV electronics and accessories around, check out TVforMyRV.com or give us a call at 717-438-3665 today.

Cell Phone Booster Hack ― How to Use for TV Watching

One common difficulty when traveling with your RV is getting a reliable and clear TV signal. Depending where you are in the country, enjoying a clear image on your RV TV when you’re stopped for the night can be tricky.

cell phone

If you’re tired of fiddling around with bunny-ear antennas to achieve a half-decent image, we have the solution for you.

The MAX-AMP cell phone booster for RV use is designed to strengthen your mobile phone signal reception inside your RV. But, have you ever considered how the improved phone signal can benefit your TV watching? With cell phone coverage expanding every year across the US, there are few areas that don’t receive mobile coverage. With your cell phone connected to a strong signal, you now have an improved signal making it a great option for TV watching.

The Key to a Strong Mobile Signal

The MAX-AMP RV Wireless Cellular Booster Kit does exactly what the name suggests. It takes your existing wireless signal and boosts it for better reception and fewer disruption. You’ll get the fastest 4G/LTE speeds your carrier provides ― for all of your cellular data needs.

Easy to install and use ― once it’s set up, there are no adjustments to make ― it ensures you’re always pulling in the best mobile signal possible, no matter where you are. No more wandering around with your cell phone in the air, trying to see where the signal is strongest. From the comfort of your RV, you can enjoy a WiFi signal boosted for maximum reception and use your cellular data as you would at home.

Using Your Mobile Signal for Watching TV

Once you have your RV WiFi booster antenna installed, using it to watch TV is easy. You can watch directly on your phone or mobile device through online TV streaming sites. If you prefer watching on a larger TV screen ― so the whole family can enjoy it together ― simply add of one of the devices on the market designed for wireless TV. Check out Google Chromecast or Amazon Firestick devices designed for easy HMDI TV viewing. Pairing your cell phone’s signal, boosted through the MAX-AMP Mobile RV kit, with a Chromecast, Firestick or other TV viewing dongle gives you access to all of your favorite online sources for TV.

girls using cell phone

Use it for Hulu, Netflix, HBO Go or any other mobile internet TV viewing platform. Enjoying RVing means getting away from your daily grind and exploring more of our beautiful country. It can also mean kicking back and unwinding at the end of a busy day. Watching your favorite TV shows while RVIng gives you that luxury. Place your order today for the Maximum Signal RV Wireless Cellular Booster Kit and be ready for an improved TV watching experience on your next RV adventure!

How to Winterize Your RV

In some parts of the country, an RV can be used year-round for fun family adventures. In most cases, however, as the cooler weather arrives, your RV goes into hibernation for the winter months.

tire tracks in snow

To make sure it’s ready to go in the spring when the open road calls, there are some important steps to follow. Spending a bit of time winterizing your RV can save you time and money before you put it on the road again.

Plumbing

If you only do one thing to winterize your RV, take care of the plumbing. Standing water can freeze and crack, causing major problems and huge repair bills. Standing water can also cause bacterial growth and health concerns. Fully drain all water piping and drains. Most RVs come with instructions on how to do this, but the basic steps are always the same:

  • Start by turning off the power to your RV. You don’t want pumps and water heaters turning on without water in the plumbing.
  • Open the drain valves for your water reservoir and plumbing drains. Gravity will drain most of the water from your RV.
  • Remember to open your taps and faucets. Leaving them closed can create a vacuum, keeping some of the water from flowing out.
  • Flush your toilet to empty the tank. Check individual procedures supplied for draining your equipment, such as dishwashers and washing machines.
  • Install a blow out plug to your water inlet. This tool is designed to use compressed air to blow out all of the water in your RV lines.
  • Use a compressed air line. The line should be no more than 3-psi to avoid damage. Install it on your blow out plug to push all remaining water out of your lines.
  • Fill your water lines with antifreeze. There are two ways to do this: with your internal water pump and the use of a pump convertor kit or manually with the use of an antifreeze pump kit.
  • Close all drains and pour RV antifreeze down your drains and in the toilet. Use RV-specific antifreeze, which is pink in color, to ensure adequate protection and avoid damage to your lines.

Antifreeze in your RV over the winter months serves two purposes: it keeps your lines from freezing and also keeps your gaskets and seals from drying out. If you go to the effort of draining all the water, make sure you also add antifreeze to ensure adequate plumbing protection. It only takes a minute and means you’re ready to flush and fill when the warm weather hits without any nasty plumbing surprises.

Engine

If you’ve ever winterized a car or truck, you’re familiar with the steps to take for winterizing your RV engine:

  • Unhook your battery and remove it. If possible, keep it in a warm place and run a trickle charger from time to time to keep it from going dead.
  • Add a fuel stabilizer to your fuel system. Aging fuel can make starting after sitting for the winter months difficult.
  • Verify and top-off all fluid levels. Topping off engine oil, transmission brakes and coolant can keep condensation from forming in your various engine circuits.

Complete a general inspection and verification under the hood. Make note of any warped or cracked hoses or wiring and either replace them before storing your RV away for winter or order the parts and make plans to do it in the spring.

Tires and Brakes

You should inspect your tires and brakes every time you head out in your RV, but doing a more thorough inspection before winterizing is a good idea as well. Pull off your tires and inspect your rotors, pads, drums and shoes, as applicable.

Jack your RV up off the ground and put it on axle stands. Leaving the weight of your RV on your tires in the winter can cause them to crack and puts unnecessary strain on your tires and suspension.
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Don’t leave your emergency brake on over winter if you can avoid it. There is a chance it will stick in place after the winter months. If you can’t jack your RV and put it on stands, you should at least block the tires with chocks and release the emergency brake.

Interior

A possible problem with leaving your RV sit for winter is nesting pests. Removing all loose fabrics and bedding, all traces of food and a thorough cleaning and disinfecting of all surfaces will avoid attracting mice, rats and other furry guests. Cover all vents and openings to make sure they can’t enter. If you can’t inspect your RV from time to time during the winter, rodent traps can capture any unwanted guests. If you can’t frequently check your traps, avoid using them because leaving a trapped rodent for months is unhealthy and can cause odor problems.

Other Points to Consider When Winterizing Your RV

Depending on the specifics of your RV, the features you have installed and where you live, you will need to consider other winterizing steps:

  • In humid environments, include a moisture absorber
  • All roof vents and windows should be shut
  • Door seals can be lubricated to keep them from cracking
  • Gas and propane circuits should be closed and tanks removed
  • Awnings, tents and ladders should be properly stowed

At TVForMyRV, we want you to be ready to hit the road as soon as the nice weather arrives. You can also check out our wide range of online RV electrical parts and accessories to improve or upgrade your RV. Follow these tips for winterizing your RV, and you’re sure to be the first one out in the spring, ready for another season of RV adventures and discovery with your family and friends!

Getting the Most Out of Your Cell Phone on the Road

Hard as it may have been to believe 20 years ago, pretty much everyone today has a cell phone. The type of device may vary from person to person with respect to brand, look, operating system and features, but virtually everyone over the age of 13 has a mobile device close at hand. It’s rare today to see a group of people sitting at a café, bar or restaurant without at least three or four of those little boxes laid out on the table.
cell phone

There’s a good reason for this. Those little boxes are a lot more than a way to call a friend. Every smartphone today is a powerful computer that can do things a roomful of computers couldn’t do just a few decades ago. One of the ways this miraculous technology is most useful is when you’re on the road.

Cell Phones and RVs

The RV lifestyle is a fun one, but it comes with some uncertainty. You’re separated from the nest, and everything you need you bring with you as you navigate the open road. Your cell phone can make being out in the world a little less alienating. In addition to the security knowing that you can call someone for help in case of an emergency, a good smartphone also provides:

1. GPS/Maps

Gone are the days when you had to fold out a map the size of your torso and awkwardly try to tame it in order to plot your route. Today’s cell phones almost invariably have some kind of GPS system. A GPS for your RV can tell you exactly where you are, and a map application can show you the best way to get where you’re going. On some GPS models, such as the Rand McNally 7730LM, you can use a mobile hotspot from your smartphone to connect the GPS unit. This connection can provide the latest weather and gas prices information right at your fingertips!

2. Tourism Info

Want to do a little sightseeing but not sure what the best tourist sites are in the area you’re driving through? A quick Internet search can tell you about all the historic landmarks nearby, as well as offer reviews of local restaurants and attractions from people who have already tried them.

3. Convenient Applications

If you’ve stopped for the night but need to get around, either inside or outside the RV, you can use your cell phone as a flashlight. You can even download a flashlight application for more power and control over your cell phone’s light. If you need to wake up at a certain time, no need for a separate alarm clock. You can just use your phone’s alarm clock to wake you using music or a variety of sounds. Radio not playing the music you like? You can download your favorite hits to your phone.

Cell Phone Booster for Your RV

The cell phone truly is the perfect accompaniment to RV living. But if you can’t get a signal, it can be frustrating. It’s ironic that the times you need your cell phone’s reception the most is often when it’s least available. Unless, that is, you come prepared with a cell phone booster. Cell phone boosters for your RV can help make sure you have your cell phone’s best advantages when you need them, without having to worry about spotty, slow or no coverage at all.

TVforMyRV.com offers one of the top cell phone boosters for RV users, the Maximum Signal 5 Band RV Wireless Cellular Booster Kit Max-AmpMobileRV. This cell phone booster is a real boon to RV users because it:

  • Installs quickly and easily
  • Can cover an entire 53-foot RV
  • Detects signals your cellular device wouldn’t normally get
  • Allows you to get the full level of data speed that your carrier provides

This cell phone booster is also great for families, since it works with all devices and on multiple carriers simultaneously. If you’ve got a different service than someone traveling with you, you’ll all be able to stay connected.

rv mobile amplifier

Being on the road, away from civilization, off the grid, can be a great feeling of freedom. It’s sometimes nice to be unreachable and to know you don’t need to rely on technology to get by.

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But that doesn’t mean you have to give up convenience and safety for you and your family. Bring along your cell phones on your next RV trip, along with a powerful cell phone booster. You can always turn off your cell phones when you want to immerse yourself in the real world, but it’s nice to know they’re close by in case you need assistance, directions or a little help planning the next stage of your journey.

RV Cell Phone Booster Kits Explained

These days, we rely on our cell phones more than ever. For RV owners, this comes with a certain amount of irony. The further off the beaten path you stray, the worse your cell reception gets – and yet, the more important it is to have a working phone than can provide GPS, communication and safety. Even when traveling on main roads, poor reception can be a major frustration.

cellular booster kit

For too long, RV owners have accepted shaky cell signals as one of the realities of life on the road. Previous generation cell phone booster kits rarely lived up to their promise. However, a new generation of technology has recently come on the market. Today’s cell phone boosters are more reliable, easier to use and, most importantly, more effective than ever before. Here’s what you need to know about how they work.

What Causes Bad Reception?

Being on the road in an RV creates a perfect storm of factors that can compromise the strength of your cell signal.

cell phone

Common causes of bad reception for cell signals include:

  • Being constantly on the move means you never know where the nearest cell tower is. The further away you are from a tower, the weaker your cell signal will be.
  • Being on the highway means you are constantly surrounded by things that can cause interference, such as trees, billboards and tall buildings. When physical objects are blocking your signal, there’s less likelihood of getting connected, even when you’re near a cell tower.
  • Being inside a large, insulated vehicle made of metal and glass provides an additional layer of interference. If the signal leaving your vehicle is weakened, it may struggle to reach a tower, even if there are no other objects in its way.

Any or all of these factors can lead to dropped calls, slow internet, missed text messages, poor voice quality and a number of other problems.

How a Cell Phone Booster Kit Works

Cell phone signal boosters work exactly as the name implies – they take the signal coming from your cell phone and amplify it. In the case of boosters for RV use, this is done by connecting a pair of antennas to a base unit. One antenna, placed in the RV, picks up the signal from your phone and sends it to the base unit. From the base unit, the signal is amplified and sent to a second antenna, mounted outside your vehicle. The external antenna then sends the amplified signal to the nearest cell tower.

RV cell phone boosters work because most phones today are limited in the strength of the signal they produce. Because cell towers are so prevalent in urban and suburban areas, manufacturers have been gradually reducing the power of the antennas in their phones. While this is fine in most parts of the country, when you’re on the road it’s a difference you’ll notice right away. Installing a cell phone booster kit in your RV gives your signal the boost it needs to withstand the rigors of the road – an important benefit that will help you stay connected no matter where in the world you are.

Introducing the MAX-AMP MOBILE 5 Band Wireless 4G/LTE Cellular RV Amplifier

Designed specifically for RV use, the MAX-AMP MOBILE RV amplifier is an advanced cell phone signal booster designed to keep you connected while on the road.

rv mobile amplifier

One of the most sophisticated products on the market today, the Max Amp will instantly provide crystal-clear reception, lightning-fast data and more reliable connectivity in any RV. Key features and benefits include:

  • Patent-pending five-band wireless technology that works with all 3G, 4G and voice networks, as well as upcoming 5G technology
  • An industry-leading range with no dead zones, no matter how big your RV is
  • Industry leading sensitivity – The Max Amp has more than 16 times more sensitivity than other boosters and cell phones
  • Takes weak and “dirty” signal and “cleans” it before amplifying it. This results in higher data speeds and fewer voice drop outs.
  • Seamless support for up to eight connections at a time – even if those devices use different carriers
  • Reduced Antenna Separation Software (RASS) that minimizes antenna separation, so there’s no dropoff in strength
  • Fully automatic performance that requires no adjustments or calibration
  • Built-in compliance with all current FCC/IC carrier requirements
  • A one-year warranty covering all manufacturer’s defects
  • USA-made quality you can trust to last for years to come

The cell phone booster kit includes both the Max Amp Mobile RV amplifier, as well as a set of internal and external antennas, and all connections you need to install the unit on your RV. For more information, visit the product website or contact TVForMyRV today!

The Max Amp Mobile RV system works where other phones and systems simply don’t function!  Stay Connected!

Frequently Asked Questions

Thinking of adding a cell phone booster kit to your RV? Here are some of the questions we receive most frequently from our customers.

Will a cell phone booster work with my carrier?

Our cell phone signal booster kit is designed to work out-of-the-box with all U.S. carriers. However, it’s always best to confirm with your carrier that the use of a booster device is allowed under their policies and most carriers have a process to register your booster on their network.

How is the cell phone booster powered?

The Max Amp Mobile Amplifier features a mini-USB adapter that can be connected to either a standard 110V or 12V auxiliary power outlet. The antennas require no external power sources.

Does the cell phone boost work on Wi-Fi signals, too?

Unfortunately, the Max Amp Mobile RV Amplifier only works with cellphone voice and data signals. If you’re using your phone over Wi-Fi at a park or campsite, you won’t experience any improvement in performance using a cell signal booster.

Does an RV cell phone signal booster need to be installed by a professional?

The system is “Plug and Play” no electronics knowledge or programming is required. To make a permanent installation, you will need to route the antenna cables from the roof to the amplifier and from the amplifier to the indoor antenna.

Where is the best place to put the interior antenna?

The Max Amp Mobile RV Amplifier is powerful enough to easily pick up any signal in an RV of 53 feet or longer. For the best performance, place it at a high point, near the middle of the RV, with at least 12 feet of horizontal separation and 2 feet of vertical separation between the antennas. If you mount the antennas oriented in the instructions, the 2 feet of vertical separation is not required, only the 12 feet of horizontal separation.

Contact TVforMyRV.com to Learn More

Not convinced a cell phone signal booster kit is right for your RV? Give TVForMyRV a call today to learn more about the many benefits of this innovative, exclusive product.

7 Upgrades You Must Do to Your RV Before Traveling This Summer

Spring is an exciting time for an RV owner. We all dream of getting back out on the open road with our RVs. Whether you’re returning to the campground you’ve known and loved for years, or zig zagging across multiple states to explore more of our great country, you want your RV to be a comfortable and enjoyable part of your journey. Here at TVForMyRV we have brought together a huge catalog of parts and upgrades for your RV. For this coming RV season, we wanted to share 7 upgrades you must do to your RV before travelling this summer. They’ll make all your RV adventures more exciting and relaxed for you and your family.

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RV TV Mounting Brackets: On a cool evening or rainy afternoon, it’s nice to have a TV to help pass the time. It allows you and your family to enjoy your favorite videos, and check out the local news and weather reports. Not all RVs, especially older ones, are designed to accommodate a flat-screen TV. We carry many different types of mounts, including wall mount, articulated, tilting, swivel, and sliding. Depending on the size and layout of your RV, you will want the flexibility to mount your TV as you like for maximum viewing comfort. Save space and add convenience with an RV TV mount.

Sliding Cargo Trays: The whole point of an RV is to combine the comforts of home with the ease of travelling when and where you like. Most modern RVs offer lots of storage space, but it isn’t always easily accessible. Make your life easier by installing sliding cargo trays in your storage areas. We carry many different sizes that are simple to install, and allow you access all of your cargo without having to pull everything out and repack every time. You’ll be amazed at just how much you can bring with you when you pack it correctly and have the easy access afforded by sliding cargo trays for your RV!

RV Toilet Parts: When you’re travelling in your RV you want the maximum in comfort and convenience, and that means NOT being bothered by a broken or malfunctioning toilet! It’s bad enough when you have toilet problems at home, but it’s the last thing you want to worry about when on vacation. Check out our selection of RV toilet parts and accessories to maintain or upgrade your current toilet facilities. We carry attractive, durable toilets in a range of sizes, including compact models for small bathrooms, along with many maintenance parts and repair kits.

RV Refrigerators and Freezers: One of the greatest pleasures when you’re out enjoying your RV with your family and friends is the ability to prepare delicious meals. Before you leave home you can stock up on fresh meats, fruits, and vegetables, or stop at small-town markets and choose some of the best local produce. Spacious, easy to clean, and durable, we carry portable refrigerators and freezers that will provide you with tasty, fresh food for years, and can be easily moved if you change RVs or simply want to use it around your home or campsite.

HD Satellite Antenna: When you’re away from home and looking to keep on top of your favorite TV programs and movies, trusting a simple antenna is tricky. In many rural areas, it’s hard to get any signal at all. With an HD satellite antenna for your RV, you can be sure to find all the shows you like. Perfect on those rainy days where the kids can’t get outside to play, or when you want to be informed of important news and weather forecasts, a satellite antenna for your RV is a must. Easy to install and set up, our selection of HD satellite antennas will be beaming all your shows to you in no time!

RV Backup Camera: Even the best and safest RV driver knows that backing up is a tricky affair. A spot check before climbing behind the wheel and proper mirror placement can help, but there’s always the danger that someone or something might move into your blind spot. The installation of an RV backup camera can eliminate that danger and ensure that you can maneuver in safety. Our selection wireless RV backup cameras are easy to install and offer a crystal-clear image of what’s going on behind your RV. Once you’ve tried it you’ll wonder how you ever drove without one!

Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS): Safety is key when you’re traveling with your family and friends in your RV. At the very least a low tire pressure can be a hassle, and in extreme cases can even lead to an accident. You’re hauling a lot of weight around on your RV tries, so make sure that you’re aware of each individual tire pressure at all times. You wouldn’t drive without looking at your oil temperature, coolant temperature, or fuel level, so adding a tire pressure monitoring system for an RV gives you one more vital piece of operating information. Accurate and reliable, we carry monitoring systems that can be customized to your RVs tire pressure requirements.

rv in desert

As you can see, taking care of these 7 great RV upgrades before you start your travels this summer will help ensure a safe and comfortable vacation. We offer these and many other cool upgrades for all types and sizes of RVs and motorhomes. Take a look at our online catalog, and learn more about our great prices and free shipping on orders over $75. Many of our customers find that instead of buying a new RV, they can choose many of our great upgrades and custom-build the perfect RV at an affordable price. Let TVForMyRV be your partner for all things RV!

Check out our site for all the great brand names you know and trust, or contact us by email or by phone. We’re more than happy to discuss your RV upgrade needs, and can help you place your order and arrange for shipping. Make this summer your best RV travel summer yet with these 7 great upgrades from TVForMyRV!

How Does Solar Power Work on My RV?

RV solar charging is experiencing a groundswell, but a lack of unified platforms is still allowing many RV owners to use solar charging how they see fit. While applications are limited, more and more RV solar charging kits are becoming available each sunny season.

blue sky

The problem with the lack of a clear market leader or standard practice means that solar charging for your RV requires specialized experience and products. For you to safely install any solar charging expansion kits, it’s important you find a partner who knows RVs well — not just solar — in order to get the right equipment for your RV.

Understanding RV Solar Panels

Solar charging your RV usually accomplishes one of two goals: 1) to slowly charge your house batteries or 2) to provide an eco-friendly and primary source of your RV’s electrical power. Your choice for an RV solar charging kit depends on which of these two you wish to achieve.

Solar Trickle, Slow Charging

As your RV sits, it runs your battery down. Dead batteries can be a hassle, and if they’re left for a long time, they can end up experiencing damage that can also harm your RV. Slow charging of these batteries through a solar trickle charger can be the answer to this concern.

Solar trickle chargers typically operate as a stand-alone solar charging kit that feeds a few watts of power to your batteries whenever deployed. These are the simplest of solar charging expansion kits that often connect through a 12V DC plug. You simply place the panel and secure it in a sunny place, then plug it into your RV for the steady juice.

Some newer RVs will come with specific places and plug-ins for these panels or may even have the option for a solar trickle charger to come pre-installed.

rv on road

Full Power Options

If you’re in need of a complete power overhaul, you’ll want to invest in a set of RV solar charging expansion kits that are permanently installed on your RV. They sit securely in place as you travel and often must be opened up to the sun to achieve their full power status.

RV solar power kits are essentially a large battery charger that keeps everything up and running. These models tend to be more expensive initially, but you’ll save money over the life or your RV. You’ll also be doing your part to protect the environment that you love to visit in your RV.

RV solar panels and kits supply electricity at a specific voltage that you’ll need to match with your battery. Voltage on the panels should be higher than your batteries because it allows them to meet the charge requirements of your battery when the weather is cloudy and grey.

Temperature shifts, shade and other environmental factors can shift your voltage, causing drops. We recommend installing your panels in parallel in order to minimize this and maintain a better power flow regardless of the weather. Solar charge controllers are able to adjust the battery voltage and power flow in order to keep everything running smoothly, preventing any overcharging that could lead to damage.

RV Solar Charging Kits

The great news is that RV solar charging kits are available to meet your specific needs. They’re capable and affordable, especially when you use them to replace other power sources on a consistent basis.

When you’re ready to start cutting your power costs and let nature keep you rolling, visit TVForMyRV’s solar panel kits page for great pricing. And don’t forget to watch our video explanation for installing and maintaining your RV’s solar charging equipment.

 

Buc-ee’s Review

Visiting Texas this winter? You and your RV will be happy to pull into any one of the 23 Buc-ee’s locations for a food and fuel stop. Many of the locations for this convenience store and gas station exemplify the saying “Everything’s Bigger in Texas” and as a whole, the stores can claim the cleanest bathrooms around.

Miles before you get to some locations, there are billboards announcing how long it is to the next one. Trust me, it’s worth the wait for a clean bathroom. The bathrooms are not just stalls, but little tiny rooms with real doors. There is also hand sanitizer inside the “stall” to clean your hands before you walk out to the sink area. I like the idea of cleaning before I wash. I have children and am a little loony around public restrooms, but I’d almost let my last born eat off the floor. Okay so maybe that’s more because of tired parenting (and a complete exaggeration), but the bathrooms really are clean.

You don’t even have to take my word for it. The New Braunfels, TX location was awarded First Place in 2012 by Cintas’ America’s Best Restroom Contest for its restrooms. Check out other Hall of Fame winners. If you’re not in Texas, maybe you’ll find another fun place to stop. 2014′s winner is Longwood Gardens near Philadelphia, PA.

Buc-ee’s doesn’t just have clean bathrooms. They have a variety of Buc-ee’s brand snacks; my favorite being Beaver Nuggets, caramelized puffs of corn. Deliciousness in a bag. There’s popcorn, jerky, candy and fudge, too. They offer various pre-packaged, fresh (is that an oxymoron?) items like salads, sandwiches and fresh fruit cups, but you can also purchase items made to your taste buds’ fantasies with a touch-screen ordering system. A variety of fountain drinks and slushed iced as well as bottles of your favorite drink are available. They are not a restaurant though, and do not offer tables for dining. That shouldn’t be a problem, as you can head back to your RV and just eat there.

In addition, it’s a one-stop shop with Texas collectibles and gifts. There are handmade items and other wares like signs, framed pictures and metal decorations. You might buy them with the intention of giving them away, but decide to keep because you like them so much. While an earlier post recommended choosing one item as a souvenir, that might be difficult here. And if you’re a t-shirt lover, you will certainly find your share at Buc-ee’s. There’s not just t-shirts, but other clothing items like hats, sweatpants and one-piece bodysuits for babies. There are also stuffed beavers, the Buc-ee’s famous mascot.

Around these parts of Texas, people plan their trips and rest stops around Buc-ee’s locations. Some people take it to a whole new level, almost like a cult, and won’t go anywhere else. I haven’t been to all of them, but have visited several of the locations and they have me wanting more. They are a unique stop and will give you a chance to stretch your legs, keep your waste out of the RV and pick up a snack, meal or souvenir.

Buc-ee’s is worth the hype.

Road Trip Bucket List

Bucket lists increased in popularity after the movie by the same name from 2007. By definition, a bucket list is a list of things you hope to accomplish by the time you pass away. The list cements what’s important and gives a goal to work toward. The same idea can be applied to a specific, shorter time like a summer or two-week vacation (as opposed to a lifetime). Writing down your hopes for the upcoming road trip will help to make sure your priorities are realized.

RV parked on scenic view

Compile the List

Grab a piece of scratch paper and brainstorm what you want to do or see. You might want to carry it with you for a few days or keep it handy while you search travel guides and the internet. Make sure you get input from everyone who will be traveling with you. For the initial list, write EVERYTHING down, no matter how far-fetched it seems with time or money constraints. A bucket list is supposed to include specific and sometimes out of the ordinary goals. So, if you often make a plan, maybe something on your bucket list will be two or three completely spur-of-the-moment days. I realize that even in suggesting that, you are planning for unplanned days, but at least you will be trying something a little different.

Organize the List

Armed with a list, you can make some decisions about how to organize your list. Maybe you’ll organize it by a timeline and calendar of your anticipated destinations. If you have more than one traveler, maybe you’ll prioritize it by majority votes. You might be surprised that everyone wants to do something slightly out of the way. But if everyone wants to do it, it might be worth the detour. Maybe you’ll organize it by state or city. Any way you chose to do it, classify your ideas so you can move to the next step.

Adjust the List

In the first step, you write everything down, but clearly you cannot visit 10 museums in 2 days (and do it well). Now is the time to put the list into perspective. If you have several high-dollar items on your list, consult with your budget and decide what you really want to do. Adjusting the list doesn’t mean you try to plan your itinerary or only include things you know will get crossed off: try to be both realistic AND hopeful. Part of the purpose of the bucket list is to bring to fruition things that might not get accomplished if left to chance. If there are multiple contributors, make sure everyone gets at least one of their ideas on the final list.

Post the List

As the saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind.” Don’t let this be the case with your trip bucket list. My children and I have made bucket lists of our wishes for the summer. In our house, we have the room to print them in an expanded, poster version that are two sheets by two sheets of computer paper. I have the older children write their own lists and I write for the little ones. We include pictures, either drawn or from clipart. Over the course of the summer, we have fun completing the list because it’s right there in front of us. You probably don’t have room for 4 sheets of paper to hang on the walls of your RV, but a simple 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper on the fridge will do the job. Make it colorful. Add pictures. Or simply leave it plain. Any way you do it, make sure you display the list.

Do the List

Now that the list is there, get ready to start making your dreams come true. Go see the sights. Taste the foods. Visit the museums. Be thrilled on the roller coasters. Hike the trails. Check. Check. Check. Experience your trip the way you imagined it.

Remember the List

At the end of the summer, we use our list to make a journal of the past three months, though the descriptions might be better if we didn’t wait until the end of the summer to write about the experiences. Use a journal, make a scrapbook or write a postcard of the memories as you go along. If visiting all the states is on your list, purchase this State Stickers Map to give you another visual reminder of your goal. If there are things on the list that haven’t been accomplished, use them for
another trip.

If you’re not a planner, a bucket list can help you achieve some dreams. If you’re already an obsessive coordinator, a bucket list can bring some spontaneity to your trip. Traveling alone? You get to make the whole list for yourself. Traveling with others? Include suggestions from everyone. Disappointment comes from unmet expectations, so defining the desires leads to less disappointment.

A Road Trip Bucket List is a fun way to make sure your trip reaches its full potential.

Food Prep Ideas for Cooking in Your RV

When packing your RV, you know you must be mindful of space and that includes the kitchen and pantry items you decide to take. There are items like salt and pepper that will get used often enough to take the whole bottle, but what about those favorite recipes that call for a little of this and a little of that? With a bit of careful preparation, you can make the most of your time and space while on the road.

Collect the Recipes

Keep a collection of your favorite recipes at your fingertips. If you prefer the digital, find an app that will keep your recipes together. While I love my computer and other digital devices, I still like my recipes (and maps, for that matter) in paper form. If an actual card is your preference, then put the ones you want to use in a baggie to protect them from food and to keep them together. When you’re making a certain recipe, put that card on top, reseal the bag and voila, an instant recipe card cover that can be wiped clean of any food traces. Consider taking a copy of cards that hold sentimental value like ones with Grandma’s handwriting on them.

A Little Prep Goes a Long Way

Chances are you’re not going to need an entire bottle of cumin or cinnamon. Use the smaller, zippered snack bags to pre measure spices for your recipes. Label them with these four things: 1) the date, 2) the recipe, 3) the amount of the recipe (1 full recipe, 1/2 batch, etc) and 4) what is actually in the bag. You can also do this for treats like cookies and cake. These will probably go in a quart or gallon sized bag and the recipe could be written or taped onto the bag. Make it even easier by highlighting or listing separately the remaining ingredients needed to make the recipe like eggs and oil. Think of it as your own boxed cake mix, but with your favorite recipe (and in a bag).

Make a Few Meals Before You Travel

It’s likely your freezer won’t hold enough for your entire trip, but you could make a casserole or two ahead of time for an easy meal later. Frozen, these casseroles are also great ice packs for a day or so of travel in a cooler. Often they are a one-stop-shop meal and can include veggies, starch and/or protein.

Package in Smaller Packages

We’ve all seen the disclaimer: “Sold by volume. Contents may have settled in shipment.” You don’t need the extra air taking up space in your pantry. Invest in some good reusable, tightly-sealed containers and keep items in them. For something like cereal, you could place several bags in one container, keeping the items in the bag but ditching the box. Make sure you label the bag and then just seal with a clothespin. You will need to be careful of mixing items that overpower each other. For instance, storing mints and chocolate together will give your chocolate a minty flavor.

rv shelf bars

These boxes will stack nicely in the pantry and keep things from getting jostled around on the road. Group and label the boxes in a way that makes sense for your family and it will be easier to set out a meal as well. Breakfast? Grab the cereal box. Snack? Grab the box with crackers and chips. You might also want the refrigerator and shelf bars that keep things in place. There are several options available. Camco single bars, the Fasteners Unlimited refrigerator and shelf bar, and Camco double bars are all great choices.

Get rid of the extra air in prepackaged foods in the refrigerator and freezer as well. If you have items that you will freeze from a thawed state (marinated chicken breasts portioned for your travelers), put in a zippered, freezer bag and freeze laying down. These become like flat, frozen pancake-bricks and are easy to stack or stand on end like books once they are frozen.

Check out the Fridge Airator and the Fridge Odor Absorber to keep your items fresh. For more space on your counter when prepping your meals, consider using stove covers .

Stick to a Menu & Keep a List

Make a list of your meals, knowing that you will still have to have some flexibility. If you think you will eat out, incorporate those times too. Include breakfast, lunch and dinner, as opposed to just the main meal, so you don’t get caught without bread for sandwiches because you used it for toast that morning.

If children are in tow, having a list helps the picky eaters.  Post the list and then they can see that while they don’t like today’s lunch, tomorrow is coming and it is their favorite! It also helps to defer to (or blame, if that’s how you see it) the list: “Well the menu says we’re having this, so that’s what dinner is tonight.”

Keep your menu and shopping list organized by drawing a line down a piece of paper and list the foods you brought on one side and the foods you’ll need to buy to complete the meals on another side. If you really want to get organized, group your shopping side together by headings in a way that it will likely be grouped in the store. For example, dry goods, deli, meats, produce, dairy, snacks and paper products. When shopping in new grocery stores, it will be helpful if you don’t have to run around the store looking for items.

Think Outside the Box

I once had a friend who told me she didn’t make lasagna because her family couldn’t eat an entire 9×13 pan. It never occurred to her to split the recipe by making two 8×8 pans, baking one and freezing another for a second meal later. If it’s just two of you on the road, you’re not going to eat a whole recipe either. But for something like lasagna, you can divide a full 9×13 recipe into 3 or 4 loaf pans. Make these ahead of time and take one or two with you and leave the others for an easy meal when you’re back home unpacking and cleaning the RV. Made in a disposable tin pan, they also provide easy cleanup.

Leftover Soup

Did you know that leftover veggies and meat make a great soup when combined with some broth? Keep a container in the fridge or freezer (depending on your space and how soon you will consume it) and dump the leftovers there. When you’ve gathered enough, add some chicken or beef broth and heat. Then pair with a loaf of crusty bread. YUMMY!

Think Ahead, Enjoy Later

Making delicious meals on the road doesn’t have to be a chore. You probably have taken the time to think through your route and itinerary, so why not do the same for your menu? A little planning will make it easy and enjoyable to provide nourishment for your road trip.

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