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.*

Nature Lovers Will Be Wild About These Gift Ideas

Jackson Hole Wyoming Snake River Whitewater Paddleboarding

I’d like to welcome a guest writer to the blog today! Welcome Neil Stawski!

Searching for the perfect gift for someone special can take eons. If they’re one of those people who are always on the go, enjoy traveling, lovecamping, hiking and spending time in nature, it might be easier to pick something out for them than you think. Here are several ways you can gift outdoor enthusiasts.

  1. Footwear: Wearing the proper shoes can make all the difference in terms of comfort and agility, and gone are the days where all you need is just one pair of sneakers. Depending on the activity and outdoor conditions they’re used to, consider a new pair of water shoes, snow boots, trail runners or hiking boots.
  2. Airline Gift Card: Give them the gift of travel so they can explore the wonders of the world whenever and wherever they’d like.
  3. Camping Essentials: If they’re the type who is camping almost every weekend, think about giving them the tent of all tents. You can find spacious tents that include doors, room dividers and even an awning. If they already have a shelter they love, pick up a comfy sleeping bag, air mattress, headlamp, or pocket knife so they can camp in style.
  4. Compass: You can purchase waterproof directional devices that glow in the dark and include a magnifying lens to assist them in their journey.
  5. Backpack: Look for something lightweight, water resistant, and with a water reservoir so outdoor enthusiasts can easily carry all the necessities with them no matter where they wander.
  6. Boat Gear: If they’re on the water a lot, pick out some fun-shaped and vibrantly colored floats for them to soak up the sun on. There are even floatable coolers complete with cup holders.
  7. Gardening Supplies: From a bird feeder and a book on plants, to seeds, beautifully painted potting containers, and low maintenance succulents, there’s plenty you can get the gardener in your life. If they’re looking to draw more attention to their yard, Buzzfeed recommends a butterfly paddler that is “designed to hold on to natural minerals after water evaporates that then attract all sorts of butterflies.” Smithsonian Magazine also purposes a mason bee house and describes mason bees as, “non-aggressive garden lovers” that “rarely sting and are hugely helpful pollinators.”
  8. Park Membership: Give them the opportunity to visit their nearest State Park on the regular, or go big with a membership that grants access to all of the National Parks.
  9. Water Purifier: Whether it is in the form of a bottle or straw, they’ll be able to drink straight from the stream without worrying about contamination.
  10. Hammock: There’s nothing better than hanging comfortably from a few trees on a sunny day. Get a portable one so they can kick back and relax anywhere.
  11. Sun Protection: A cute hat and chic pair of sunglasses can go along way from keeping the sun out of their face.
  12. Binoculars: Give them the ability to enjoy the view while bird watching and pursuing other wildlife up close.
  13. Artwork: A calendar of scenic nature shots or framed maps of state parks and hiking trails will keep them feeling inspired even when they’re indoors.
  14. Cooking Supplies: Sometimes food just tastes better outside. With that in mind, consider getting them a portable grill, skewers, a cast iron skillet, or a fire pit.
  15. Wildlife Camera: With a motion-detected camera, they’ll be able to see all the animals that grace their property. This device will start snapping photos or videos when triggered that are fun to share with the whole family.

Just make sure whatever you pick out is made with as much earth-friendly materials as possible. For the nature lover, the greener the gift, the better; however, if it will allow them to pursue their passions, chances are they’re going to love it no matter what.

Neil Stawski believes an informed, engaged public is the only way to save the planet. He created ClimateWise.co to educate the public and encourage people to take action. ClimateWise helps visitors stay up to date on the latest climate change developments–from news stories to information about the latest research to what climate change deniers are doing to mislead the public.

Full-Time RVers – Campground / RV Park Review: Elk Country RV Resort & Campground – Trinidad, California

Elk Country RV Resort Campsite Campground Review Full Time RV

To be completely honest, I didn’t get many photos of Elk Country RV Resort. I didn’t mean to not take photos of this beautiful location, but we picked up our brand new puppy the weekend we spent here so we were a little distracted, to say the least!

Elk Country RV Resort and Campground is in a little town called Trinidad, California. The area is gorgeous as it is right in the middle of the Redwood National Forest. We were able to visit an area called The Trees of Mystery which takes you up to the top of some of the Redwood trees via a sky tram / gondola type vehicle. It was so beautiful and we’re so glad we got to see this area. While we weren’t here very long, we were also here plenty of time to see the gorgeous Redwoods. These trees are indescribable, but as large as people tell you they are, you can’t fully comprehend the breadth of their size without standing next to some of the largest ones and just staring at them.

Here’s a few photos of the elk in our campground. They weren’t kidding when they said elk roam the area and frequent the campground!

This first picture is taken from INSIDE the RV. The elk were right there!

Custer State Park: Here a Donkey, There a Donkey

Custer State Park is a treasure of a place full of wild animals, lakes, and beautiful scenery. Massive bison, majestic pronghorn deer, friendly donkeys, and oh my goodness, the chirpy little prairie dogs. The Custer State Park Visitor Center is one of the best I’ve seen. The entire place is interactive and when you’re done, you head to an auditorium to watch a movie about the park. Bonus points for Custer State Park: The movie is narrated by Kevin Costner.

This also includes a road called the Pigtail Bridge – it completely wraps around itself.

And of course, this road wouldn’t be complete without lots of tiny tunnels.

Custer starts out with a road they call the Wildlife Loop and there are so many animals around this area. We’ve done this loop at all times of day from sunrise to sunset and midday as well. Right in the middle of this loop is the area where the donkeys have claimed as their home. These donkeys are so friendly and are very comfortable with humans. So comfortable in fact, that one tried to stick his nose in mom’s pocket looking for more food while another put his nose all the way down the brown paper bag trying to find crumbs. Another sneezed all over mom and she had donkey snot all over her. 🙂

We also encountered a herd of bison in the road. They are huge! Another car came around the corner and scared them so they started running towards our truck. It was crazy!

The lakes are crazy beautiful. We have awesome inflatable Bote Paddleboards thanks to Hagan Coastal Outfitters back in Jacksonville. They’ve been way underused in the year we’ve had them since the water in Florida is pretty gross and full of snakes and gators. The water here is quite chilly, but there aren’t any gators so we can board all day without worrying about going in the water. Plus, there are so many beautiful locations to park your board and take a hike. We’ve boarded Legion Lake and Sylvan Lake and loved them both. Legion Lake was so peaceful and serene. There were a few people around hiking, fishing, and kayaking, but the people were pretty sparse. Sylvan Lake was a lot more crowded, but it is a lot larger as well. They have huge rental areas, an eatery, and tons of rocks you can hike up and jump off.

Sylvan Lake was THE BEST EVER. It was gorgeous and unlike anything I’ve ever seen. And again for the National Treasure fans – part of the second movie was filmed on the rocks at Sylvan Lake. They pretended this lake was directly behind Mount Rushmore (close but not quite). This includes this great scene:

Custer State Park is also home to the Needles Highway, a long, scenic drive with needle like spires and tunnels with a clearance width of only 8 ft. 4in. In case you were wondering, a Ford F-350 Truck is 7 ft. 8 in. with the mirrors pulled in – giving you a whopping 3 inches of clearance on each side of the truck.

I also went horseback riding in Custer State Park at Blue Bell Lodge. It had been at least 10 years since I last rode a horse (maybe more) and it seemed like a perfect place to go. *Side note: Last time I rode a horse, a snake scared my horse and I almost got bucked off, so it isn’t something I have great feelings about.* So, I booked a ride and set out on the trail with about 20 other people and 2 guides. Guess what? Horseback riding is still not my thing. I want to like it. I just can’t. Not only did they give me a horse who had just come back from another trail ride (he was exhausted – the ride requires some mountainous terrain), but they didn’t even give him a chance to eat before the next ride so he was starving. He wouldn’t quit stopping to eat. The guides kept getting mad at him. Then they decided to tell me that he was hungry and tired. The poor horse was HANGRY and he kept biting the next horse’s butt. It wasn’t so great. I wasn’t super happy with the experience and I wouldn’t recommend the place I went either. They seem to work the horses too much, not feed them as much as they should, and they’re seriously racking in the money at $50 for an hour ride with about 20 people on it happening multiple times an hour. It wasn’t the best experience so I would recommend finding a different trail ride if you’re ever in the area.

Random fact about Custer State Park: The State Game Lodge is a place with historic hotel rooms and cabins for rent. The Lodge was home to President Coolidge during the summer and acted as the Summer White House for a period of time during his presidency. We ate dinner there and it was so delicious and fresh (but I didn’t get any pictures). My parents tried Rabbit Rattlesnake Sausage – I just couldn’t try it. :p

The town of Custer is a cute little place with original buildings that have been refurbished and converted into restaurants, stores, and more. My favorite was a coffee shop called The Bank. It used to be a bank and even has the giant safe in it still. I loved how they stuck with the theme of the bank and you even make a deposit (pay for coffee) and get a withdrawal (receive your coffee). Such a fantastic little place!

You Know I’m Bad, I’m Bad: Badlands National Park Review


Welcome to the Badlands, a land full of incredible mountainous terrain, hiking trails, and views with an infinite sky. This is some of the most beautiful landscape I’ve ever seen. The rocky lands have various colors running through them in line formations. The tall spires of rocks look like sand castles, the kind where you take wet sand and make dripping formations. Badlands National Park is a must do in South Dakota.

This was our first close encounter with bison and it was an adventurous one. Once we came across the large herd, we were able to watch them eat, waller in the dirt, and even fight each other right in front of our truck.

Watch the whole video! About halfway through it, 2 of the bison start fighting each other!

The highlight of Badlands though – the prairie dogs. These cute little creatures chirp and squeal to communicate with each other. They’re little scaredy cats though. They’re fast and they run from everything! Listen to the one little guy in the video below!

There were plenty of other animals to see as well.

On our way to Badlands, we made sure to stop at a crazy little place called Wall Drug in Wall, South Dakota. This store originally opened in 1931 and business was bad so they started giving out free water to those passing through. They knew Mount Rushmore would be finished soon and had hopes of of that bringing in more traffic to their little store. Well between Mount Rushmore, the free water, and the 5 cent coffee, they succeeded and became an iconic South Dakota road trip destination. The entire place is divided into little miniature shops (almost like a small mall) and that includes their famous cafe and donut shop.

And a little bonus: The T-Rex Feeding that occurs every few minutes at Wall Drug. HA!