Whenever you’re undertaking a new adventure in life—such as taking an 8,000-pound vehicle on the road with your kids and visiting well over half the states in the country—you have to just accept the fact that mistakes will be made.
In the video below, we give you some hard-earned, must-know information: how to save HUNDREDS of dollars by NOT buying certain items and accessories for your RV lifestyle. We wasted the money so you don’t have to!
We’re going to take you through the information we shared in the video, as some of our YouTube viewers have expressed that it would be nice to have a written version to quickly reference while doing their own shopping.
Overall, we’ve done pretty well, but we’ve definitely made a few purchases that could have been either avoided outright or ultimately ended up being replaced by a better option. It was frustrating because some of the items we’ve done away with or replaced actually came highly recommended online, but we’ve decided to just chalk it all up as the cost of learning.
In any event, the goal here is to help your family avoid making the same costly mistakes!
Get a Water Pressure Regulator – But Make SURE It’s ADJUSTABLE!
NOT THAT: Any water pressure regulator that doesn’t allow you to adjust water pressure manually to your preference.
A water pressure regulator is a must. Sometimes called a pressure-reducing valve (PRV), these units are designed to regulate the water pressure coming out of any spigot you’re likely to use, such as the ones at campgrounds. While a regulator can’t do much about low water pressure, its real purpose is to limit water pressure that’s too high—it might have been better to call it a water pressure reducer.
This function is so critical because if the water pressure you’re getting from a campground spigot is too high, it can seriously damage your RV. Throughout our travels, we’ve definitely encountered water sources with way, way too much pressure. Therefore, wanting to avoid costly water damage or leaks, we picked up a water pressure regulator in the most commonly recommended style.
The problem was that our first version wasn’t adjustable at all—in other words, there was only a single “setting,” and if the water pressure wasn’t good enough, too bad. It reduced the water pressure too much, and there was nothing we could do about it.
The solution was to buy an adjustable water pressure regulator instead. Now no matter where we are we almost always get great water pressure. The unit we went with was this Renator M11-0660R water pressure regulator.
(Also of note: the Renator regulator we have is made out of brass and is lead-free. The manufacturer even invites customers to request their lead testing certification.)
Zero Gravity Camping Chairs Are Just Too Bulky. Save Your Money and Stick With Old-School Folding Chairs
BUY THIS: Good old folding-style camping chairs. We prefer these Coleman camping chairs.
NOT THAT: Zero gravity camping chairs—they’re expensive, impractical, and way too bulky.
We had heard so much about how great zero-gravity camping chairs are. We got a set, and let me tell you… YOU might feel weightless while sitting in them—admittedly, they are pretty comfy—but when you’re lugging those things around, all you’ll be able to think about is gravity. They. Are. Heavy.
One of the first things you learn when you start RVing is that weight and space are at a premium. You don’t want to waste time, space, and fuel efficiency for monstrously large chairs. The zero-gravity chairs we had
Stick with a time-tested, road-proven tradition: good old folding Coleman camping chairs. They’re plenty comfortable and don’t require their own livestock trailer to haul around (that’s an exaggeration, but not really).
Skip The Coleman Road Trip Grill and Get a Blackstone Griddle Instead
BUY THIS: Awesome Blackstone flat top Griddle. We bought the two-burner version and it’s a little bulky, so we’re recommending the single-burner version. See below for details.
NOT THAT: A Coleman road trip grill, unless you want to haul around a bunch of unnecessary kitchen accessories and/or exclusively eat steaks.
So, as we established above, we love Coleman camping chairs—but unfortunately, our Coleman road trip grill left a little to be desired. It was great if you wanted to eat meat and… that’s it. If you wanted, say, pancakes, sausages, bacon, or—heaven forbid—vegetables, you had to supply your own pan (and likely a fairly large one at that). This means more clutter, more weight, and more cleanup.
Instead, we decided to get an absolutely amazing Blackstone flat-top griddle. It really is a joy to use, and the meals we’ve made with it have been great. Eggs, bacon, hamburgers, shrimp, and the aforementioned vegetables. It’s delightful, and no additional accessories like pots and pans are necessary.
The ONLY regret we have is that we got the larger two-burner version of the Blackstone. It’s a bit cumbersome. Overall we’re very pleased with our purchase, but if we had to do it over again, we’d get the smaller single burner version.
Get a Zero-G Flexible Hose Instead of a “Standard” Fresh Water Hose
NOT THAT: The standard style of fresh/drinking water hose that tends to be recommended (I show an example at about 7:12 in the video).
Here’s a short and sweet one for you: it’s really handy to have a drinking water hose along with you in your RV. What isn’t handy is having to wrap it up, carry it around, and find room in your already-brimming storage compartments for it. We had a Camco brand PVC hose; the manufacturer in this case is irrelevant because the hose is fine for what it is, it’s just less than ideal for RVing.
We ended up replacing our original hose with an absolutely phenomenal Zero-G flexible hose. Two, actually. These hoses are truly flexible! When water isn’t passing through them, they look almost deflated, and they’re incredibly easy to coil up and store. They’re plenty durable, too.
Collapsible Outdoor Trash Can Isn’t Necessary
BUY THIS: Don’t—you don’t need one.
NOT THAT: A surprisingly pricey camping trash can that’s designed for… well, camping. We prefer to go glamping in our RV, and trash cans are abundant in all campgrounds.
Don’t let anyone convince you that it’s necessary to buy one of those collapsible camping trash cans. We got one—they’re surprisingly expensive for what they are—and never used it once in four years. I can see how it might be useful if you’re actually camping, as in the hiking and tents sort of camping, but we’re glamping in an RV.
If you’re traveling in an RV, odds are you’re going to be stopping at campgrounds pretty often, and guess what? They have plenty of trash cans and dumpsters around. We pretty much never had a need for our “camping” trash can. If you really need your own trash can nearby while you’re outside, just take the interior trash can that’s almost certainly already in your rig and put it outside. Problem solved, money saved.
Another Way to Save on Your Adventure: Use Our FREE Trip Planning Template
Grab our FREE trip planning template here. During the early days of our RVing lifestyle, we quickly learned that it sounds fun to just go wherever the wind takes you, but it’s much better (and cost-effective) to plan things out ahead of time at least a little.
That does it for now—look out for us in our next video, and if you can’t wait that long come and chat with us and other RVers on our Free Discord community. Safe travels!