Let’s be honest. As much as we love escaping to nature in our RVs, we also want to bring along our RV gadgets. In fact, we are constantly asked for recommendations for WiFi and cell boosters, GPS units, and Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems. So we invited Chris Dougherty, Technical Editor for Motorhome and Trailer Life magazines onto the show to share his top picks in all these categories.
Chris Dougherty has some serious chops when it comes to testing these RV gadgets. He’s tapped into the latest technology aimed at RVers, and his magazines take reviews very seriously. In fact, we’ve personally seen Chris’s travel trailer, which has been pulled apart and put back together again in the name of product testing.
You can listen to the whole RV Family Travel Atlas episode in your favorite podcast app to hear more details about all of the RV gadgets mentioned in this article. Plus, make sure you subscribe to Trailer Life and Motorhome magazines. We personally read them cover to cover each month and learn from the best experts in the industry!
RV Gadgets: WiFi and Cell Signal Boosters
RV newbies always want to know how to stay connected at the campground, and those of us with RVing experience often just offer a shoulder to cry on.
The struggle is real.
Many of us love traveling, but also want to keep in touch with the folks back at home. Others truly view their RV as a home away from home and want ALL the creature comforts, including reliable connectivity. And then there are those of us who work while RVing. One of the best aspects of technology is being able to meet deadlines while camping in a beautiful location far from the office cubical.
So is there an RV gadget that will give us connectivity?
Chris is excited about the Converge from Wifi Ranger, coming in summer 2019. It demonstrates a trend towards offering multiple connectivity features in one piece of hardware. The Converge is a Wifi booster, LTE connection point, AM/FM antennae, HDTV antennae, and GPS. We’ll look forward to seeing how this performs for RVers out in the wild and at the campground!
Until then, Chris does personally use the WiFi Ranger and has for years. You can click here to see a PDF from Wifi Ranger that compares their different products.
RV Gadgets: RV GPS
So many of us rely on our automobile GPS or our smartphone GPS to get us from point A to point B. Unfortunately, those GPS apps are not able to take into account the RV we may be towing behind our rig. It’s extremely important to consider height, weight, and propane restrictions when traveling by RV. That’s where RV GPS units come into play.
Motorhome magazine did a comprehensive test of RV GPS units in the fall of 2018. You can read the complete review of 2 Garmin models and 3 Rand McNally models here. You can also here Chris talk about the pros and cons of these models on the podcast. There wasn’t a definitive ‘winner’ out of the bunch. Basically, it depends on the feature set that will best suit your needs. The article has a great chart that compares voice commands, bluetooth capability, Wifi, and more.
Here are the models that the article covers:
RV Gadgets: Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems
Tire safety can make or break your RVing experience. We firmly believe that routine tire maintenance, proper inflation, and correct weight distribution will eliminate most of the emergency tire issues that happen on the road. However, no matter how diligent you are, you can’t control everything including nails and other random road debris. Investing in a Tire Pressure Monitoring System can keep a tire blowout from becoming a major roadside disaster.
Chris highly recommends TireMinder products, and we talk about the newest model, TireMinder Smart TPMS. This system integrates with your personal smartphone. Users will place sensors on the tire valve stems, a repeater device on the front of the RV, and another device in the tow vehicle. An alarm will sound on your smartphone if any tire issues are detected.
The transmitters can be used on motorhomes, travel trailers, or 5th wheels. They are compatible with iOS and Android devices.
A big thanks to Chris Dougherty for sharing some of his favorite performing RV gadgets with the RVFTA community! If you have a great recommendation for Wifi boosters, RV GPS, or tire pressure monitoring systems, let us know about them in the comments below. Or head over to RVFTA: The Group and share your favorite RV gadgets around our digital campfire.
We’ll see you at the campground,
Stephanie + Jeremy