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We’ve been traveling full time in our RV for the past 3 months… and I wanted to talk about essential electronics for full time RV living!
Whether you’re working remotely, or just using electronics to keep up with the modern lives we live – adjusting to a rolling home instead of a stationary one comes with challenges. For us, two big challenges are having space to store things in our 1985 Toyota Coachmen Mini Motorhome and having the means to keep our various electronics charged.
I made up this list because finding the right electronics to make life easy on the road is definitely a trial and error process! It took us quite some time to figure out the best ways to work around the power restrictions and obstacles that come with full time RV living and van life. Basically – I wanted to save you some of the growing pains that we went through… so, you’re welcome!
Essential Electronics for Full Time RV Living: Nulaxy Bluetooth FM Transmitter
During the last 3 months, we’ve traveled over 10,000 miles. It’s been a really great road trip – and what made it even better was being able to pass the time with great music and podcasts. (Mostly the Grateful Dead and Joe Rogan Experience)
Since we’re not rich and couldn’t afford anything with 4 wheels, a bed, AND bluetooth… we had to find a cheap alternative to the CD/Radio unit our Toyota had installed.
Our solution is a plug in Nulaxy Bluetooth FM transmitter. It’s a small device that plugs into your cigarette lighter and connects with your phone through bluetooth. Once connected, you can play music or make calls from your phone and it will play through your car speakers. It automatically connects when you start the car and also has a USB charging port and aux input. I’ve bought several from this brand over the years and they’ve all worked great. I would highly recommend this if you have an older vehicle! (Nulaxy also has a newer version of this device, with 2 USB ports and a built in car battery voltage reader – this will be our next upgrade!)
Essential Electronics for Full Time RV Living: 12V Macbook Charger
Another essential electronic for full time RV living that I can’t live without is my 12V Macbook charger. Since we’re often dry camping without hookups – we rely on our cabin battery for all of our power needs. Almost everything we have can be charged by 12v power – except our laptops. Our cabin battery provides DC (12V) power, and a laptop charger requires AC (120V) power. One option would be a pure sine wave inverter (not cheap, but a good investment if you have other appliances to power) to invert the power from DC to AC.
Instead, I bought a 12V Macbook charger to plug directly into the cigarette lighters in my RV. This saved me some money and now I can easily charge my laptop whenever I want (It’s especially convenient when we’re driving because our alternator keeps the battery charged while it charges my laptop.)
*If you’re interested in ordering one of these – be sure that it’s the right charger for your specific laptop. I have a 13-Inch Macbook Air (Mid-2015) – so this the correct 12v charger for that specific laptop. This manufacturer makes chargers for others as well.
Essential Electronics for Full Time RV Living: Portable Battery Pack
One more thing that we use everyday are portable battery packs! We have anywhere from 4-7 of them in rotation at any given time. (sometimes, they get lost in the vortex) My favorites are a little bit more expensive with a bigger battery capacity so we don’t need to recharge them as much. We currently have a pair of 20,000mAh battery packs and they work great to charge our phones, tablet, camera, ect. multiple times without recharging.
The battery packs that I have are a few years old now, so the exact model is no longer available. I’ve heard great things about the RavPower 26800 mAh battery pack, though. It has more USB ports and holds quite a bit more juice than what we’re working with now. This is another upgrade waiting to happen!
Essential Electronics for Full Time RV Living: A Good Camera to Capture all of the Beauty
If you’re going to be RV living full time… or even part time – you’re going to see some beautiful things. My mirrorless camera is possibly my favorite and most entertaining possession that came on this trip. To be able to capture all of the beauty, in high-definition has been really fun!
The camera that I chose for our trip is the Sony A6000 mirrorless camera. I spent months researching and being indecisive before I made my purchase. The main selling point for me was the compact size when compared to DSLR models with similar capabilities and price range. Since I bought it, however, I have realized that it is the perfect camera for all levels of non-pro photographer. It has great auto functions that make it easy to take incredible photos, even if you have no experience. (Like me!) I personally purchased the Sony A6000 bundle with the single lens so I would have all of the necessary accessories – but if I could do it again – I’d purchase the 2-lens kit with the telephoto lens so I could take high quality photos further away. (Think wildlife shots in Yellowstone – you don’t wanna get too close!)
*I also have a really cute scarf camera strap (pictured at the beginning of the article) – which may not be essential, but it’s cute and keeps my neck from getting irritated – so here’s the link for that too, just in case!
Essential Electronics for Full Time RV Living: Surge Protector
The last and most important essential electronic for full time RV living electronic is one to protect all of your other stuff! It’s a surge protector! Even though we spend most of our time off-grid… we still spend the occasional night in a traditional campground (mostly when we need to charge our batteries, shower and dump).
If you’re plugging your RV into shore power at a campground – it’s imperative that you use a surge protector. If there’s a power surge (which is not uncommon in old campgrounds) it will protect your RV and all of the things that you may have plugged in. This was one of the last things I (begrudgingly) ordered before we left. After reading other people’s horror stories about power surges ruining their RV electrical systems – it’s good to have peace of mind knowing we don’t have to worry!
A Word of Advice for New Full Time RVers
In a world with infinite possibilities, it’s important to think about which options are going to be right for you! Whether it be regarding electronics or the other gear you choose to equip your rig with – what’s right for someone else, may not be right for you! These are 5 electronics that we use every single day while full time RVing (except for the surge protector – which is only used when we have an electric hookup). Each of the items on this list have made our life on the road productive and fun, and I’ll gladly try to answer any questions you may have in the comments!
Additionally, while these are our 5 most commonly used electronics for RV living *currently*…. but there are many other sweet gadgets on our wish list! These include a wireless booster, a pure sine wave inverter, a drone, and more! Hopefully we’ll obtain those electronics too so I can tell you all about them.
Until then… what are your favorite essential electronics for RV living? Is there anything I missed that you can’t live without? Drop a comment below, and be sure to subscribe to receive blog post updates right in your mailbox!