Must-Have Gear, Games and Gadgets for RVers
By: Lynn Burkhead
To make your RVing journeys more fun and memorable for the whole family, don't forget to pack along a few of these items
There are few things more fun than a memorable RVing adventure to the mountains, the beach, or to a place full of history.
But while your post-trip memories will center around the sounds of waves crashing in on the beaches of Cape Cod, the dusting of summertime snow on top of Pike’s Peak, or the beauty of California redwoods, there will be some travel time and downtime along the way.
To help make your trips more enjoyable, plan on taking along a few of these must-have games, gadget and gear items to assist in making memories on your RV journeys.
1. Snack Basket: Tiffany Lakosky, a well-known outdoor recreationist from Iowa, travels the country with her husband, Lee, and their two young children. What’s her must-have gear for an RV trip? Snacks and plenty of them! “Since our children are young right now, we obviously have plenty of gear to keep them occupied, but we also have plenty of snacks because they love to nibble as we’re journeying down the road.” Go to your local grocer or box-store, buy a basket to keep in the RV, and fill it up with packages of nuts, chips, candy, Gummy Bears, pretzels, beef jerky, and plenty more. As you move from point A to point B, you’ll cut down on stops and questions like “Are we there yet?!?”
2. Games: The potential here is endless, limited only by your family’s favorites along with how much space in your RV you’re willing to devote to game storage. On the larger side of storage, maybe a bean-bag toss or a horseshoe set will bring fun to your family. On the smaller end of the storage spectrum, a simple deck of regular playing cards is perfect for a game of Bridge, Blackjack, pretzel poker, or even Solitaire. So too is a deck of UNO cards, which can lead to long stretches of family fun. Then there are board games, including the classics like Monopoly, Scrabble, Clue, and Chutes and Ladders. The timeless Yahtzee game is another winner. And finally, don’t forget a couple of classics, a checkerboard and a chess set for hours of game-playing fun.
3. Smartphone Camera Accessories: To turn your smartphone camera into a powerhouse photo-taking machine, don’t forget to bring along some accessories, things like an add-on telephoto lens and a Bluetooth-enabled shutter control. To help take sharp photos without any blur, don’t forget to bring along a tripod or gimble with a stand designed for smartphones. Add in a spare external battery and an extra charging cable, and you’ll be able to shoot photos like a pro.
4. Fishing Gear: With millions of anglers in the U.S., fishing is a pastime anyone can enjoy. What’s more, it’s an especially fun way to enhance an RV trip since there are quite literally blue spots all over the map! If you’d like to put an afternoon of fishing fun on your next trip itinerary, pack along a few rod-and-reel setups. If fly fishing interests you, there are plenty of fly rod-and-reel combos on the market. Visit the local bait or fly shop in the area you’re visiting and explain what fish that you’re hoping to catch and they’ll help put the right baits in your box.
5. Binoculars: As you travel around mountains, oceans, lakes, forests, and the edges of farm fields, don’t be surprised to see a plethora of wildlife species ranging from white-tailed deer to Rocky Mountain elk to pronghorn antelope to wild turkeys to ducks and geese to even bald eagles and ospreys. To see those wild critters up close, pack along a pair of binoculars. While 8x42 binoculars are good all-around optics, 10x42 or 12x50 models will magnify images a bit more. Remember, when it comes to binoculars, you typically get what you pay for, so don’t be afraid to splurge a bit.
6. Telescope: When you’re away from the light pollution of big cities, the nighttime skies are breathtaking as the heavens reveal glorious sights of the moon, planets in our solar system, and stars in our Milky Way Galaxy. To see those amazing astronomical sights, pack along a travel telescope. Add in some campfire treats to your star gazing and it’ll help make for a night that you and your loved ones will never forget.
7. Walkie Talkies: For communicating with loved ones while traveling in separate RVs, for keeping up with each other’s whereabouts on the hiking trail, or for simply inquiring about what’s for lunch, why not pack along a set of walkie talkies? Same as with binoculars; spend a little more for a better experience.
8. Mountain Bikes: For an on-the-road cardio workout, for exploring rugged biking trails in forested and mountainous terrain, for seeing a remote stretch of beach or lakefront, or for just having a little bit of pedal-powered fun with the kids on a warm afternoon, packing a mountain bike is a great RVing idea. All thanks to a chain, a couple of tires, and a set of handlebars, bicycling gear that transports us all back in time to our own childhood years.
9. Bluetooth Speaker(s): Want to enjoy music while you’re sitting around the campfire enjoying dinner? Then don’t forget to pack along a Bluetooth speaker, from simple to expensive, something that can help create a relaxed mood and a few smiles. Just be sure to abide by campground rules and always be thinking about those around you who might want a little peace and quiet instead of your favorite tune.
10. Baseballs, Basketballs and Footballs: It sounds simple, but one of the best ways to pass the time when you and your loved ones aren’t seeing landmarks and scenic wonders is to do something fun like shoot a few hoops, toss a baseball around, or play catch at the campground. Baseballs and gloves, basketballs, and footballs don’t take up much room and can lead your family to meet RV park neighbors. One word though; be mindful of the others around you while playing catch in tight quarters.
11. Hammock: For pure relaxation, there are few things better than a nap spent swaying gently in a hammock hung between a couple of trees. Add in the fact a good hammock requires little in the way of storage space and this is a must-have piece of gear for many.
12. Raingear and Insulated Outerwear: We all love to experience the "Chamber of Commerce" weather, the warm rays of summertime sunlight and a gentle breeze. But on most journeys, there’s often some sort of unexpected and/or inclement weather ranging from an unseasonable cold snap to a blistering heat wave to a heavy downpour of rain. While most summertime travelers are equipped with the necessary shorts and flip-flops, sometimes we forget the insulation and rain gear that can keep us warm and dry. “Those are the two things that most people don’t plan for,” says outdoor adventurer Gregg Ritz. “They don’t plan for chilly winds and rainy weather. I’m a big believer in layering with a protective, windproof outer shell and down, something like a packable vest or jacket. Spending a little extra on that kind of gear is worth it, because if my kids are cold and miserable, I’m not having any fun either as their dad.”
13. Simple Stuff: Don’t forget things that are easy to leave at home, but help contribute to the fun and enjoyment that you’ll have when you’re on the road. What kind of simple gear and gadgets? How about a grill and/or pellet smoker, a Dutch oven, folding chairs, movies to watch on a rainy day, a bottle of insect repellent, citronella candles, packable first-aid kit, flashlights, and a lantern for your journey. Remember to pack these items and you’ll be glad you did when they are needed.
When it comes to items for your RV adventure, there is no shortage of gear, games, and gadgets that can help make the journey more enjoyable and the memories something you’ll think about for years.
All it takes is a little thought – and effort – and your RV adventure is on the way from good to great with only a little bit of necessary storage space required.