Let me start by saying, we are motorhome campers all the way. I love and appreciate all my tent camping friends, even if you don’t think motorhome camping is ‘real’ camping 😉 . It took us a few years and a few campers to realize that we LOVE motorhomes; just get in and go! Many of the gadgets we use are ‘fun’ or ‘luxury’ items, but I love that we finally found a way to camp happily!
So… we finally took our first camping trip of the season! We had a few issues (like hydraulic slide popping out) that we had to take care of before we could get out camping again. Last year I blogged about some of the initial updates and mods we made to the motorhome to make it a little more ‘us’ and a little less ‘1999’. Check that blog post out HERE, which also has links to some cool things we bought. You can see the ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos of our motorhome.
Last summer I drove the motorhome back to WI and had a lot of camping time to really figure out what items we love and what ended up being worthless. It’s all trial and error (and sometimes wasted money!), and what works for one won’t work for another!
Here are some of the gadgets we had for our last trip:
1). Red Coleman Chair: I hate this chair! It’s too high for me and really uncomfortable. I won’t even mention how much money we’ve spent searching for the perfect chairs!
2). Beach Chair: I love the beach style chairs (hubby hates them though!). I really want to get a nicer one like THIS ONE. I love being low to the ground so I can stretch my legs out.
3.) Lounge chair from Costco. We debated buying these because they’re HEAVY and HUGE. They fold flat and don’t fit in any of our compartments. Then you sit down in one and HAVE TO BUY IT! So now we toss it on our bed (or next to our bed) while we’re traveling. Not ideal, but comfort is pretty important 😉 I’d love to hear ideas for where to store them if you also have this style chair!
4.) A kid’s camelbak. One of our favorite items. We do a lot of geocaching and hiking so these come in handy.
5.) Camco Leisure Mat. We use this all the time! It’s easy to wipe off and we keep a broom handy to keep it clean. It helps keep the sand and dirt out of the camper and also gives us a gravel free place to set up chairs.
6.) Camco Rake. This is one of those things that we grabbed because we camped in a few places with tons of leaves. It’s handy for those times, and a kid toy for the rest of the times. We also have the Camco broom, which I think is a must have! We use that all the time.
7.) Lodge Cast Iron Pans. It’s not camping if you don’t cook your meal in cast iron, right?! I can’t say I LOVE cast iron, even though I want to. They’re heavy, rough, hard to clean, and don’t really have a perfect home in the camper. I think they’ll grow on me though. I do love that it’s a 2 in 1 (2 pans, 1 doubles as the lid)
8.) Coleman Instant Canopy and weights. Okay, this is another one of those things that I really wanted to have after camping on a sunny weekend with no shade. Our awning does okay, but it’s nice to have something over the picnic table too. I haven’t actually set it up and used it though, but it had decent ratings for windier areas. The last canopy we had only lasted 1 windy weekend, so I’m hoping this lasts longer!
9.) Small Shovel. I realized we needed one of these after my treck from WY to WI last summer. Great for worm hunting, buring the fire, or entertaining the kids.
10.) An Axe! Another must have after trying to gather firewood without one. I LOVE this axe! I ended up going with the 28″ because I wanted something with enough power, yet not *too* big. It’s perfect and is 100x easier than a hatchet! I also love that it has a sturdy blade cover/carrying handle!
11.) Grill Brush. We use the fire a lot so you need something to clean the grates. I was sick of buying junk ones that melt or bust apart. So far, this one is doing okay.
12.) Grill Set & Oven Mit. If you can’t tell from the picture, the grill set has yet to be used! But, it has a nice case that keeps all the pieces together which was the main reason I bought it. The oven mit is a must have (actually, we need 2).
13.) Sea Eagle Kayak. We love kayaking but don’t love the idea of hauling big kayaks with the motorhome. We have THREE of these now! We bought the first 2 a couple of years ago and added the 3rd after our 8 year old kept begging to have his own. The deluxe seats are a must! The included foot pump is worthless so upgrade.
14.) Hand Pump. Replace the one that comes with the kayak! This pumps on the up and down and my kids can do all the inflating themselves.
15.) Wood Carrier. The carry bags that the sea eagles come with are pretty nice, and pretty big! Usually you can never fit the item back in the bag it comes with, but the sea eagle bags are actually TOO big. I wanted an easier way to carry and store the kayaks so I found a place that sells log carriers and they were the perfect size! I use a clip to keep the handles together. Bonus, you can collect wood with them when they aren’t being used by the kayaks!
16.) Duracell PowerPack. I bought this a couple years ago to use at vendor fairs when I needed a power source. GREAT investment! We keep it next to the bed in the motorhome and it charges our phones at night. During the day we use it for various things where we need power– like blowing up the kayaks with the electric pump! It has AC/DC/USB, a light, and can jumpstart a car if you need to.
17.) Electric pump. This speeds up the filling process, although I find that I still have to top off the kayaks with the hand pump. It’s battery powered but not the strongest so I use it with DC power.
5.) Camco Leisure Mat. Because it’s almost impossible to fold that mat up and fit it back in the bag, we use the bag to hold other stuff!
18.) Camping Saw. I tried to use it, way too much work! I’m more of an axe girl. I keep it in the bag ‘just in case’…
19.) Rubber Mallet. This was from my jewelry making days, but it’s perfect for pounding in stakes without bending busting them!
20.) Gerber Hatchet. The axe isn’t always practical, so I sometimes need a hatchet. I actually like this little thing! It has a saw in the handle which I’ve used quite a bit, and a really nice carrying case!
21.) Kids Travel Organizer. I love this thing! If it doesn’t fit in the organizer, they don’t need to bring it. (as far as traveling entertainment goes).
22.) Highland 4 Bike Carrier. Sadly, we reached the point of having to upgrade our bike carrier to fit 4 bikes. Wow, those are pricey! I found this one, and it had pretty decent reviews. I’ll do a full review on it for amazon, but the quick review is that it’s a good carrier for the price! It does take some trial and error to get the flow of putting the bikes on, but it’s sturdy once done. There was a lot of cussing and pinched fingers (in the spokes) my first attempt. I like that it holds the bikes by the tires so there’s less stress on one point of the frame, and that it can be used without the extention for bikes 3&4. Quick tip– Don’t push the 2nd piece in all the way when putting the last 2 bikes on. Keep it pulled out a bit so you can get bike #3 up, then push it in and lock it.
Every camping trip we’re able to go through and take out things that we don’t need, don’t use, or just don’t have room for and add to the list of updates or must haves. After this trip I realized I need a good pair of hiking shoes (fivefingers and catcus don’t mix), we need a fan in our bedroom, leveling blocks, and unbreakable win glasses!
Leave a comment and tell me what some of your ‘must have’ camping items are, or most worthless items!