|Lurch in the Kaibab Forest, early June|
The popularity of the 13 (14) Camper Hacks post blew me away. While I have your attention, here are nine more from me and seven, a little more technical in nature, from my husband Marco. We’d love to hear your questions and comments!
My disclaimer; I have no relationship with the makers of any of these products, though maybe I should!1. Regular readers will know that I’d much rather boondock than be in a campground, but sometimes campgrounds just make more sense. They can be noisy, though. I love this little Bluetooth speaker, the . I can block out others’ noise without the music being loud enough to contribute to the problem. The old “stick-your-phone-in-a-coffee-cup-trick” works as well, though you’ll lose some sound fidelity.
2. I’ve found a really cool “end table” which folds up small, is easy to assemble, and has extra storage in a net below. Another great find from Cairn! It’s called the
3. Keeping track of stuff is an ongoing challenge in a small space. I’ve appreciated self-stick hooks to dry kitchen towels and to keep track of my hat and glasses overnight.
4. Silly, I know, but I found the “fish bowl” (get it?) at goodwill when first outfitting the camper in 2013. In it go things like car and camper keys, watch and jewelry, hair ties, and fitbit. I love having a place for all the small things that want to get lost.
5. Rubber boots. I know; I live in the desert, but these come in handy more than you’d think. I’ve used them in Death Valley (mud, wet salt flats) as well as northern Arizona creeks and lakes. These stunning boots were $4 at a rummage sale; you can be styling on a budget too.
6. This LED light string, made by is powered by any standard USB power pack and includes magnet which allow you to stick it to the side of your car or camper. I also like to use them on the inside for a gentler light than my built-in overhead LEDs or in the translucent storage bag like a lantern. ,
7. This one is more practical than sexy. My Dometic refrigerator has only one fault; it creates a temperature gradient. It turns out that this small battery-powered fan solves that problem; no more frozen strawberries!
8. There’s a lot to remember when making and breaking camp. One of my challenges is to put the things I’ll need for a day’s exploration (maps, sunscreen, park pass) in the cab of the truck each morning. I’ve designated a small duffel to transport these things back and forth and have simplified life greatly.
9. Finally, on the 4 Wheel Camper Facebook page, I “met” Cool, yes?, who created this Lurch graphic from my photo and made tees for my husband and me.
And, the geeky stuff from Marco:
10. Thicker wire from Truck to camper; The 10-gauge wire installed from the factory is barely enough for a trickle charge. Use 0 or 1 gauge with an inline fuse to really take advantage of charging the camper from the truck alternator. Install an Anderson connector near the port side aft turnbuckle door if you plan on removing the camper to make it easier.
11. GPS Puck and navigation; We have a GPS puck that is not dependent on cell service. There is an app that communicates with the puck and allows you to download maps to use offline and to draw a track at home and drop breadcrumbs as you go. Easy to use on Apple or Android.
12. Compact Battery backup; This device from Antigravity can charge multiple devices as well as jump start your truck. Check the models to verify it can handle your engine type.
13. Bolt down the camper; If you are going to leave your camper on the truck, it's best to bolt it down. The turnbuckles are always an issue (and sometimes a really big issue), and this eliminates the problem. This is easily done by the factory or any dealer. Looking back, we would have been happier with a flatbed camper, worth thinking about if you’re shopping and plan to keep the camper permanently on the truck.
14. Camper batteries; I'm no expert but I learned a few things. Deep cycle batteries are made of many thinner plates, that's so they can dump a lot of energy quickly like when they are starting a boat. Solar storage batteries have fewer thicker plates that release energy slower. It is not uncommon for us to wake after a night of fridge/heater cycles to have the same voltage we had when we went to sleep. We use 2 Sunxtender batteries.
15. USB Ports; In our front dinette Hawk, there are 2 lighter plugs on the control panel. Sometimes when charging phones, ipads, and camera batteries we found that we needed more. We put an additional twin USB on the side of the refrigerator. This one also has a pretty accurate voltage indicator.
16. Easier Refrigerator removal; We take the fridge in and out quite a bit, either for cleaning or changing insulation and ventilation. We’ve re-fitted the fridge with these heavy-duty connectors. We use them in our civil engineering company to connect batteries. Rated at 60 amps they make a positive connection and stay connected.
I hope that's helpful. Feel free to add your favorites in the comments.