MotorHome’s Guide to Outfitting Your Coach

By Kristopher Bunker
August 21, 2015
Filed under Feature Stories, Gear, Top Stories

 

If it ain’t here, you probably don’t need it

 

Motorhomes truly are a ticket to freedom. They allow us to travel around the country — and beyond — while still enjoying the comforts of our own food, personal belongings and, perhaps most importantly, our own bed. But in order to gain that comfort, there are a wide variety of products available designed specifically for the RV market. Problem is, when faced with fully stocking a coach for life on the road, it’s a difficult proposition to know where to begin. Until now.

We’ve compiled a guide to the accessories and appliances that will either deck out your motorhome with upgrades or replace worn or old items. The guide is broken down into specific categories to make it easy to navigate. It’s a great reference tool for future projects.

 

Automotive

_Auto-Lifeline-GPL-6CT_R_HRBatteries

Whether starting the motorhome engine or powering the appliances and accessories to make life on the road comfortable, batteries play a critical role. Popular choices include maintenance-free, 6- and 12-volt deep-cycle, open cell and absorbed glass mat (AGM) configurations. It’s easy to find the battery that works best for your needs.

Exide Technologies | www.exide.com
Fullriver Battery USA | www.fullriverbattery.com
Interstate | www.interstatebatteries.com
Lifeline Batteries | www.lifelinebatteries.com
Optima Batteries | www.optimabatteries.com
Trojan Battery Co. | www.trojanbattery.com

Engine Oils

Auto-shell-2Oil is the lifeblood of the motorhome — as anybody who has ever burned up an engine by ignoring the oil light on the instrument panel can attest. The vehicle (or engine’s) manufacturer will list the proper oil type and weight in the owner’s manual; heed that advice to ensure the engine is protected.

Amsoil | www.amsoil.com
Castrol | www.castrol.com
Mobil 1 | www.mobiloil.com
Pennzoil | www.pennzoil.com
Quaker State | www.quakerstate.com
Royal Purple | www.royalpurpleconsumer.com
Shell Rotella | www.shell.com/rotella.html
Valvoline | www.valvoline.com

 

Auto-Amsoil-Diesel-Cetane-BoostFuel Additives

These relatively inexpensive add-ins are designed to help stabilize fuel, boost octane, clean the engine and may even help squeeze a few more miles out of the gas tank. Some also help to keep fuel fresh for up to 12 months, eliminating the need to drain the motorhome’s fuel tank for storage.

Amsoil | www.amsoil.com
Bardahl | www.bardahl.com/en/products/fuel-additives
Gold Eagle (Sta-Bil) | www.goldeagle.com/brands/sta-bil
Lucas Oil Products | www.lucasoil.com
Star brite | www.starbrite.com/category/fuel-additives

 

Auto-Safe-T-PlusSteering Stabilizers

Touring the country in the comfort of your motorhome is truly a fulfilling experience, but it can be exhausting if you have to fight with the vehicle to keep it in your lane during high winds or on uneven pavement. Stabilizers work like a horizontal shock absorber to keep the motorhome in the center of the lane.

Blue Ox TruCenter | www.blueox.com
Safe-T-Plus | www.safe-t-plus.com

 

Auto-TireMinderTire-Pressure-Monitoring Systems (TPMS)

A blowout on the road can be a harrowing experience, causing thousands of dollars in damage and compromising the safety of the driver and passengers. TPMS devices allow the driver to keep an eye on tire pressure from the coach cab using a display and audible alerts.

Doran Manufacturing | www.doranmfg.com/tirepressuremonitorproducts.htm
nVision (Hopkins) | www.nvisionsafety.com/tire_safety/tpms_kit.html
Pressure Pro | www.advantagepressurepro.com/home.asp
RViBrake | www.rvibrake.com
Tire Minder (Minder Research) | www.minderresearch.com/tireminder
TireTraker | www.tiretraker.com
Truck System Technologies | www.tsttruck.com
Valor | www.valortpms.com

 

Auto-michelin-tireTires

Literally where the rubber meets the road, tires are an extremely important component for driving in comfort and safety. Tires should not be neglected; keep a close eye on your tires at every stop, and replace them at a minimum of every 7 years (if they haven’t worn out by then).

Goodyear | www.goodyear.com
Michelin | www.michelinman.com

 

Care and Maintenance

Cleaners/Polishes/Protectants/Waxes

care-Protect-AllYou’ve made a substantial investment in your motorhome, so why not keep it looking like new for as long as possible? There are quite a few cleaners, waxes and polishes on the market, many designed specifically for RVs. Always remember to test a new product on a small, inconspicuous area to make sure it won’t harm the finish.

Dometic | www.dometic.com
Gel Gloss RV | www.gel-glossrv.com
Gold Eagle (303) | www.goldeagle.com/brands/303-products
Meguiar’s | www.meguiars.com
Poli Glow | www.poliglow-int.com
Protect All | www.protectall.com
Roadmaster Inc. (Voom) | www.roadmasterinc.com
Thetford | www.thetford.com

Holding-tank Treatments

care-EcoSmart_FamilyDo you smell that? Well, you wouldn’t, if you selected from any of the number of holding-tank treatments. Whether drop-in or liquid, these chemical treatments are designed to put an end to embarrassing odors, and also lubricate seals and help break down solids and paper to aid in a smooth dumping process.

3X Chemistry | www.3xchemistry.com
Camco | www.camco.net
Century Chemical Corp. (Travel Jon) | www.centurychemical.com
Dometic | www.dometic.com
Thetford | www.thetford.com
Valterra Odorlos | www.valterra.com
Walex | www.walex.com
Worldwide Monochem | www.worldwidemonochem.com

 

Dinghy Systems

Dinghy Auxiliary Braking Systems

dinghy-blue-ox-Patriot-Braking-SystemIf you’re flat-towing a dinghy, you need an auxiliary braking system. These vital components come in a variety of configurations, from permanently mounted equipment in the dinghy vehicle to removable devices with varying degrees of ease-of-install. Whichever you choose, an auxiliary braking system is a must-have.

Blue Ox Patriot | www.blueox.com
Brakebuddy (Hopkins) | www.brakebuddy.com
Roadmaster | www.roadmasterinc.com
RViBrake | www.rvibrake.com
SMI Manufacturing | www.smibrake.com
VIP Enterprises | www.viprv.com/towbrake/towbrake.cfm

 

dinghy--roadmaster-BrakeMaster-air-cylinderDinghy Towing Components


In order to tow a dinghy vehicle you need some specialized equipment. Baseplates and tow bars connect the vehicle to the motorhome, so it certainly pays to take your time to decide which model works best for your needs. This is NOT the place to pinch pennies, though the various add-ons are all reasonably priced. If a dinghy vehicle is not towable on all four wheels, a tow dolly gets the job done.

Blue Ox | www.blueox.com
Demco | www.demco-products.com
Roadmaster | www.roadmasterinc.com

 

Electronics

Backup Monitors/Camera Systems

electronics---iBall-Hitch-CamBacking in to a campsite can be a difficult undertaking without someone to help. With a backup camera, these everyday tasks are much easier, saving time and possibly money (by avoiding damage) as well.

ASA Electronics | www.asaelectronics.com
Furrion | www.furrion.com
Hopkins Towing Smart Hitch | www.hopkinstowingsolutions.com
iBall | www.iballhitchcam.com
Rear View Safety | www.rearviewsafety.com
Swift Hitch | www.swifthitch.com

 

electronics---furion-EntertainmentEntertainment Systems

RVing can be about getting away from it all, but sometimes family movie night at the RV park can be just as rewarding as a daylong hike in the woods. If that’s the case, check out RV-designed products from these manufacturers.

ASA Electronics (Jensen | www.jensenrvdirect.com) | www.asaelectronics.com
Furrion | www.furrion.com

 

Gadgets to Go!


electronics---Surge-Guard-34560Protect your motorhome from potentially damaging spikes in electrical current with a surge protector from Progressive Industries | www.progressiveindustries.net, or Technology Research (Surge Guard), http://trci.net/products/surge-guard-rv.

Experiencing low voltage in a campground? Check out the Hughes Autoformer | www.hughesautoformers.com.

Increase your signal reception in the most remote locations with a Wi-Fi/cellphone booster.
PDQ Connect | www.pdqconnect.com
SmoothTalker | www.smoothtalker.com
weboost, formerly Wilson Electronics,
www.weboost.com/us
Wilson Amplifiers | www.wilsonamplifiers.com

 

GPS Systems

electronics---Rand-McNallyFar more efficient than the traditional folding map in the glove box, these invaluable tools offer traffic conditions, nearby restaurants, fuel stations, local attractions and, oh yeah, directions to your destination. Plus, if you make a wrong turn, they offer the capability to change routes on the fly. Some even offer a dashboard-camera option. Adding a profile of the motorhome will allow safe routing for large, and tall, vehicles.

Garmin | www.garmin.com
Magellan | www.magellangps.com
Rand McNally | www.randmcnally.com/category/rv-gps

 

electronics---king-jack

RV TV Antennas/Satellite Hardware


Whether watching the big game or catching up with the local news, these products are much more efficient — and reliable — than hooking up to the campground’s cable (if it’s even available).

King | www.kingconnect.com
Shakespeare | www.shakespeare-ce.com
Winegard | www.winegard.com

 

Exterior Accessories

dAwnings/Awning Fabric

RVing is about the great outdoors, but sometimes the sun can beat down so fiercely we’re tempted to stay inside. Keep cool and beat the heat with an RV awning, which allows you to take the party outside.

Carefree of Colorado | www.carefreeofcolorado.com
Dometic | www.dometic.com
Girard Systems | www.girardrv.com
Lippert Solera | www.lci1.com
Sunbrella | www.sunbrella.com
Sun-Wave Enterprises | www.rvawningsmart.com

 

Covers

exterior---ElementsAs much as we’d like to stay in our RVs year-round, there will likely come a time when you need to put your noble steed in storage. Protect it from the elements with a motorhome cover. These companies offer varying degrees of weatherproofing in universal or custom sizes.

ADCO | www.adcoprod.com
Calmark Cover Co. | www.calmarkcovers.com
Camco | www.camco.net
Classic Accessories | www.classicaccessories.com
Covercraft | www.covercraft.com
CoverQuest | www.coverquest.com
Eevelle | www.eevelle.com
Elements (Camping World) | www.campingworld.com
EmpireCovers | www.empirecovers.com

Generators

exterior---Powerhouse-2100PRiYour comfort level shouldn’t have to suffer when camping off the grid. These AC generators will help you keep things powered up for your vacation (be mindful of neighbors before operation).

Champion | www.championpowerequipment.com
Cummins Onan | www.cumminsonanstore.com
Honda | www.powerequipment.honda.com/generators
Powerhouse | www.powerhouse-products.com
Yamaha | www.yamahamotorsports.com/powerproducts/pages/generator

 

exterior---HWH-16K-lb-jackJacks/Levelers

Once you’ve arrived at the RV park, keeping your motorhome level is necessary not only for safety and comfort, but also to ensure your vehicle’s components (such as the slideouts and refrigerators) operate properly. A variety of products, from hydraulic jacks to leveling systems, are available to help eliminate uneven situations and bouncing rigs.

Bigfoot Leveling Systems | www.bigfootleveler.com
HWH Corp. | www.hwhcorp.com
Lippert | www.lci1.com
Power Gear | www.powergearus.com

 

Sewer Hoses

exterior---Lippert-Flow-DownWe may not like to talk about it, but the sewer systems are absolutely vital to maintain a self-contained lifestyle. To help evacuate the waste from your coach’s holding tanks, these sewer hoses are rugged, lightweight and easy to store; most importantly, they help get the job done in the most sanitary way possible.

Blueline Prest-o-Fit | www.prestofit.com
Camco | www.camco.net
Lippert Components | www.lci1.com
Thetford | www.thetford.com
Valterra | www.valterra.com

 

Solar Panels/Systems

exterior---AM-SolarIt’s a sad evening when you try to turn on your motorhome’s interior lights, only to discover the house batteries have run dry when camping without hookups. An easy and relatively affordable way to combat this is to harvest the power of the sun using solar panels. Matching the right panels to efficient charge controllers keeps the batteries properly conditioned and the fun going.

AM Solar | www.amsolar.com
Nature Power | www.naturepowerproducts.com

 

livability---DOMETIC--Fridge

Livability

Kitchen Appliances

Cooking on the campfire is great, but it can be difficult to create gourmet meals on a corroded grill using lukewarm food plucked from the ice chest. Motorhomes allow not only for improved sleeping and entertainment options, but also provide fully equipped kitchens, complete with all the appliances found in a home.

Airxcel (Suburban) | www.rvcomfort.com/suburban
Atwood Mobile | www.atwoodmobile.com
Dometic | www.dometic.com
Furrion | www.furrion.com
Norcold | www.norcold.com

 

LED Lighting

livability---Jirah-LED-2Ideal for conserving power — and saving money in the long run — LED lights provide power-efficient light sources when compared to traditional incandescent bulbs, and are much smaller and less intrusive to the discerning eye. In addition to interior lighting, many companies also offer LEDs for awning lights, taillights and other illuminating applications.

Arcon Electrical | www.arconelectrical.com
Coast Distribution | www.coastdistribution.com
Command Electronics | www.commandelectronics.com
Diamond | www.dg-usa.com
Jirah LED | www.jirahled.com
M4 Products | www.m4products.com
Starlights | www.starlightsinc.com

 

Refrigerator Fans

livability---smartRV-fridgeRV fridges are often subject to high ambient temperatures and confined mounting locations, which can adversely affect cooling performance. These companies offer auxiliary fans/products designed to improve air circulation and to minimize food spoiling.

Camco | www.camco.net
Smart RV Products | www.smartrvproducts.com
Valterra FridgeCool | www.valterra.com

 

Shades

livability---magneshadeSoaking up the sun is an important part of the RVing experience. However, when we retreat inside, we’d prefer cooling off as opposed to continuing to bask. Shades are the first line of defense against the sun, whether windshield-mounted with custom patterns, or inside the windows as day-night roller shades.

Magne Shade | www.magneshade.com
MCD Innovations | www.mcdinnovations.com
United Shade, a Dicor Company | www.unitedshade.com

 

livability---thetford-AquaMagic_ResidenceToilets

Every rolling castle needs a throne, and toilets from these manufacturers are designed to mimic the comforts of residential amenities. They are available in durable plastic or porcelain, foot-flush or hand-flush, depending on your needs.

Dometic | www.dometic.com
Thetford | www.thetford.com

 

Vents and Fans

livability---Fan-TasticKeeping the interior of your motorhome cool during the midday sun can be a difficult proposition. Sure, you can crank the air conditioner, but it’s not always the best option, given the intense power draw and noise for surrounding campsites. A ceiling vent/fan helps improve air circulation to help conserve power. Rain sensors automatically close the lid, so there’s no worry about soaking the carpet during an unexpected rainstorm.

Fan-Tastic Vent | www.fantasticvent.com
MaxxAir, Airxcel | www.maxxair.com

 

livability---everpureWater Filters/Purifiers

Water is the source of life, and nothing beats a cold glass of the clear stuff — or a refreshing shower — when you’re overheated after a long day in the sun. Water quality varies by region and sources, and depending on the mineral content and treatment processes, it can wreak havoc on galley/bathroom surfaces and faucet hardware — and taste bad as well. These companies offer products to improve the taste — and minimize the unsightly spots — of unfiltered water.

Culligan | www.culligan.com
Everpure, SHURflo | www.shurflo.com
Flow Pur | www.flowpur.com
Hydro Life | www.hydrolife.com
Multipure | www.multipure.com
Water King | www.waterkingusa.com

 

 


 

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