Full-Time RVers: Favorite Products – HOKENA LED Road Flares

Full-Time-RV-Safety_HOKENA-Flares

Full-Time-RV-Safety_HOKENA-Flares

When you travel full-time, safety is a top priority on the road. We’ve always traveled with some road flares, but we can never seem to find them when we need them. Now that we have HOKENA LED road flares though, they’re stored in a nice little container so they’re always together in our truck in the event of an emergency.

With their magnetic backing, they’ll secure onto our truck just about anywhere and they’ll also magnetize to certain parts of our RV. We opted to keep these in our truck rather than the RV because we always have the truck with the RV but we don’t always have the RV with the truck. If something happens to us while we’re out driving around exploring, we’ll always have them with us. If something happens while we’re pulling the fifth wheel, we’ll have them with us, too. They’re great for hiking as well. Since they’re light weight and battery operated flares, we’ll definitely be adding them to our hiking packs moving forward – you can never be too cautious, especially when hiking in a large National or State Park.

Full-Time-RV-Safety-HOKENA-Road-Flares

We’ve partnered with HOKENA and we want to give you the chance to own their LED Road Flares/Emergency Lights. Head over to our Instagram where we’re doing a giveaway. HOKENA wants to send one of our lucky readers a road flare kit. Our giveaway will be open Wednesday, September 26 at noon (Eastern) and it will close on Friday, September 28 at noon (Eastern). For those not lucky enough to win, you can the discount code freeway10 HOKENA via Amazon for a 10% discount off your purchase – just use that code during your Amazon checkout for your 10% off! DISCOUNT CODE VALID UNTIL OCTOBER 7

7 Things All RVers Should Have on Board

Road & Home RV Supplies Full-Time RV Blog Family

We’ve been on the road full-time for a little over a year now, so I think it is about time for a must-have list! Whether you’re new to the RV lifestyle or you’ve been living or traveling in your RV for years, there’s just certain items you should always have on board with you. Here’s my list of 7 things every RVer should have on board.

Road & Home RV Supplies Full-Time RV Blog Family

  1. Command Hooks – Let’s be real. Command Hooks were secretly invented for RVs. Ok, maybe they weren’t actually invented for RVs, but there truly is no better way to hang and organize items without drilling holes or damaging walls. With the various types of hooks available now, you can use Command Hooks to organize just about anything in your RV. We use them for everything from key hooks to cord organizers to décor hangers.
  2. Diffuser – While this one might not be a necessity, a diffuser is a great substitute for candles. I love burning candles and the aroma they disperse across a room, but since it really isn’t safe to burn candles in an RV, I’m almost always diffusing scented oils for a clean, fresh environment.
  3. Level – I hate when our RV doors slowly creep closed or the shower doesn’t quite drain all the way because we aren’t precisely level. While we might not always get it just right, we keep a small level right inside the door of the RV, so when we park at a new location, it is always easily accessible.
  4. Tape Measure – While a tape measure is good to have on hand for a variety of uses, you can use it to determine if you have enough space to let your RV slides out. The worst thing is when you get parked and leveled, but you go to put your slides out only to find out you’re an inch too close to something like a tree or the electric box. Open your tape measure to your slides and use a permanent marker to mark your distances. If you have multiple slide depths, be sure to mark the various depths on your tape measure.
  5. Surge Protector – I think it goes without saying that surge protectors are immensely valuable, but I often see people hooked up to electric without them. Don’t use the mentality of “There are no storms here” or “The power never goes out here” when deciding whether or not to use a surge protector. A power outage is always out of your hands, and it only takes one time for an electrical surge to cause damage. Did you know many of the RV surge protectors come with a replacement warranty? Some companies will replace your surge protector for free if it gets fried from a surge.
  6. Tire Pressure Gauge – Never leave for a trip without checking your tire pressure. We travel with an air compressor in our front storage so we can always fill our tires on the go. While you may not have room (or the weight capacity) for an air compressor, a tire pressure gauge weighs next to nothing. Keep one in a handy location and check your tire pressure before traveling in your RV. This will help keep you and your family a little safer on the road. Plus, tire pressure is a huge contributor to gas mileage.
  7. Extra Hookup Supplies – No matter how you travel in your RV, whether it be casual travels or full-time living, you should always have extra supplies for hooking up at campsites. We see so many people purchasing longer water hoses, additional sewer hoses, and even new electrical cords from campground stores. While it is nice that a lot of campgrounds have these items for purchase, they are frequently overpriced and often not exactly what you need. Most people buying in a campground store are purchasing out of necessity rather than by choice. By traveling with an extra set of hookups, you’ll always be prepared, no matter what situation may arise. Road & Home has put together a nifty Ready for the Road Checklist and we travel with extras of almost all the items on their list. You just never know what kind of campground setup or hazard you may run across while traveling!

Road & Home RV Supplies Full-Time RV Blog Family

*We’d like to extend a huge thanks to Road & Home for sponsoring this blog post and sending us a backpack of supplies including their Ready for the Road Checklist which you can find HERE. Road & Home products can be found online via their website and at many Lowe’s stores across the country.*

Favorite Things: The Minimalists Podcast

The-Minimalists-RV-Life-Travel-Blog-Favorite-Things-Freeway-Gypsy

RV-Life-Travel-Blog-Favorite-Things-Freeway-Gypsy

Let’s talk favorite things.
Let’s actually talk favorite Podcasts.

Everyone knows I love a good Podcast or a good book or a good Netflix binge or really anything that I can relate to or anything that makes me happy – I like.

But, today we’re talking about Favorite Things (which will hopefully become more a of regular series on the blog). And when it comes to favorite things, The Minimalists Podcast is one of my ultimate favorites. I was first introduced to Joshua and Ryan thanks to stumbling across their documentary on Netflix one day back when we were still living in a house with a ton of stuff we didn’t need and I was feeling overwhelmed by all the STUFF. Stuff we didn’t need. Stuff that was just filling corners. Stuff that was just there because the space was there. At the time of watching the documentary, we were an RV family on the weekends, I was working my office job, and I had purchased a house at 25 years old (which at the time felt like an accomplishment). Then it all started weighing me down. We started talking about full-time RVing, but we weren’t sure what we would do with all our stuff. I watched The Minimalists documentary on Netflix and started getting rid of everything I just didn’t need. I started purging. I sold over 15 trash bags of clothes, close to 50 pairs of shoes, and so much other stuff that was just unnecessary. Now when I think about how much I got rid of, it makes my head hurt to even imagine having that much stuff and that’s really just the clothes. I now have a closet with about 40 hangers and even that still seems like too much.

The Minimalists Podcast continuously brings all of the stuff into perspective. Joshua and Ryan have soothing voices and rational thinking behind why all the stuff is just stuff and methods for sorting through and getting rid of everything. I know you’re probably thinking, “Why do I need a Podcast to help me get rid of stuff?” and I get it. It sounds so easy to get rid of all the things you don’t need, but when it comes down to it, it’s easier said and thought about than done. Each time I listen to their Podcast, I come away thinking of something I can get rid of to simplify my life.

The best part is, they started this Podcast years ago so I’m still catching up. I hate starting a Podcast and having to wait for new episodes. With The Minimalists, I started from the beginning and just continued along. They have hundreds of episodes so I’m no where near being caught up. Anytime I need a little boost as to why we’re living so simply or I’m thinking about not having something that I want, I take a listen and most of the time realize I don’t need what I want. If I’m still thinking about the item I’m wanting in a few days, I start to evaluate if I need it or if a purchase would be just a quick, fleeting gratification.

This Podcast is great for anyone who feels overwhelmed by all their stuff, anyone trying to simplify their life, or anyone thinking about the RV lifestyle. While they didn’t create it for RVers, it really exemplifies what RV living is all about.

Take a listen and enjoy for yourself.

The Minimalist Podcast

Full-Time RVers: Sleeping Essentials When Living in an RV

Manta Sleep Mask Review for Full Time RV

Sleep (in my opinion) is without a doubt the most important thing to staying healthy. And if I’m being honest, I sleep a lot. I always have and I think it is one of the many reasons I rarely get sick – I probably just jinxed myself with that one (“Jinx back, double pinky around the side, double pinky, jinx back.” – fellow Gilmore Girls fans, you get this right?). I get grouchy when I only have 7 hours of sleep and I’m at my absolute prime when I get 8-9 hours. Any longer than that, and I just stay lazy all day.

With my love for sleep, there’s a few key essentials that I must have for sleeping on the road. When you’re in a home, your environment is always the same. Sure, occasionally you get an unexpected noise, but the sun comes up at the same angles through your windows each morning, your neighbor slams their car door to leave for work at (well almost) the same time every morning, and your home air conditioning unit well regulates the sleeping temperature to exactly the same each and every night. In an RV, none of this is true. Every new RV park you stay in brings new sunrises, new sounds, new temperatures, new environments. Everything is always changing, but with the right tools that shouldn’t be enough to disrupt even the lightest sleeper like myself.

My essentials to excellent sleeping conditions in an RV:

  • Sleep Mask
  • Sound Machine
  • Sleep Tracker
  • Heated Blanket

1) I use a sleep mask every single night. I used to use one occasionally if I wanted to sleep in a little later than sunrise or if I woke up right before it was time for the sun to rise and I knew I wouldn’t have time to fall back asleep before it came up. Now though, I use one every night. There’s always vehicles pulling in and out of RV parks and headlights shine right in your windows. If you’re a light sleeper like me, this always wakes you up. While not all RVs are like this, ours has frosted glass panels in the doors which in theory LOOK aesthetically pleasing; however, they are not conducive for sleeping before people in the living room are done watching TV. Every flash of a television show or commercial is a flash in your room. It didn’t take long to realize I would need to put the sleep mask on every night as I went to bed in order to get a decent night of sleep.

I’ve tried so many different types of masks and I know how easy it is to buy the classic flat piece of satin sleep mask you see in the movies and in all the stores, but they really aren’t effective. They don’t contour to your face and they stay pretty flat which still lets in a lot of light. While it is better than nothing, I highly recommend an upgraded sleep mask.

My favorite: Manta Sleep Mask
I found this absolute gem of a sleep mask on Kickstarter last year and waited months for it to come out of production. It was well worth the wait and I would wait all over again for this mask. It features modular, memory foam eye contours that you velcro into place at the fit that works for you and your eyes because HELLO not everyone’s eyes are the same distance apart. This was such a genius design that after my first one came and I loved it so much, I ordered two more out of fear that one day I may need a new one and I might not be able to find it. Luckily, I had that because I misplaced my sleep mask one day and had a spare to use until I found the original. Did I mention it is completely adjustable so there’s NO stretch on the strap around your head. It’s velcro so you’ll just adjust it as necessary and sleep away.

While you’re on Manta’s website, you should just go ahead and order these blackout stickers, too. For the occasions when I don’t immediately put my sleep mask on, every-single-little-light bothers me to no end. These little stickers are made to pop right on over all the TV power lights, charging cord lights, and anything else that may be bothering you. If you’re not ready to commit to sleeping with a mask full-time, these are a great first step.

2) My need for a sound machine sleeping is fueled from my parents. I was a light sleeper as a baby so they used a basic white noise machine to drown out the noise during naps and bedtime. It’s something that stuck and now I honestly can’t sleep without it. I’ve tried traveling without one and ended up never falling asleep. I’ve also tried using an app instead of traveling with one and barely slept at all. Now, it doesn’t matter how light I pack when I travel, my sound machine is going with me. White noise is my favorite, but it also isn’t for everyone. If you aren’t used to white noise, it might not be perfect for you at first, but it will definitely help you sleep better once you’re used to it. Using a white noise machine while sleeping blocks out the noises from people walking their dogs outside, cars driving by, a TV on in the other room, people talking, dogs barking (mostly), and any other noise you can think of that isn’t too loud. *Disclaimer – a white noise machine doesn’t block EVERY noise – just most of them – obviously a car crash or a loud dog barking might not be muffled by the sound machine.*

Just like with my sleep mask, I have a favorite sound machine as well. The Lectrofan High Fidelity White Noise Machine doesn’t just give you one white noise and make you stick with it, they give you 20 unique (non-looping) fan and white noise sounds. The white noise that sounds beautiful to your ears may not jive well with mine and that’s why I love this one. My parents sleep with one of these bad boys too, but they sleep with a much different sound than I do. They hate my sound and I hate theirs, but that’s what makes this particular white noise machine so great. It has lots of volume options as well so you can sleep with less or more volume depending on your situation. If you need to hear a baby crying over the noise, then you can sleep with it on a lighter volume, but if you want to drown out your neighbor’s party, you can crank the volume all the way up.

Honestly, you need this in your life. Everyone just needs this.

 

3) I was suspicious about using a sleep tracker at first. I’m a light sleeper and I toss and turn a lot, but I don’t consider myself awake when I’m in those moments, but I guess I actually am. I’ve been wearing a Fitbit for years, but never really wore it at night for the sleep tracking. I recently started leaving it on at night though and it is incredibly accurate. I always wake up, look at the tracking status bars, and say, “yep, I sure was awake at that point” or “yep, I definitely tossed and turned that much.” So this one is a dual-purpose. I wouldn’t buy a Fitbit solely for the sleep tracking, but if you have a Fitbit, you might as well be tracking your sleep, too. I’m currently using the Fitbit Alta which has a lot of great features, but with the lifestyle we live, I really need a waterproof device so I’m switching to the Fitbit Flex 2.

4) Last, but certainly not least, I sleep with a heated blanket even when it’s hot outside. It makes everything feel warm and cozy so I often find myself cranking up the AC to cool the place off then turning on my heated blanket to cuddle up with. Call me crazy, but I swear it helps me sleep. I’m currently using the this Sunbeam Heated Blanket which has lots of nifty features like 10 different heat settings, an auto-off feature so I can’t forget to turn it off, and a preheat function that lets me warm it up prior to using. I just love this cozy blanket and it comes in all sorts of sizes to fit whichever bed size you may have.

Do you have any tips, tricks, or must-haves for sleeping on the road? Drop me a note in the comments section and let me know your favorite must-haves!