Make the most of the travel season with these outdoor
From the cozy, cabin-like environs of older motorhomes to the sleek design aesthetic of contemporary coaches, an RV interior is a great place to spend quality time with those you love. But let’s face it, the whole purpose of RVing is to get outside and soak in all the possibilities our new destination has to offer. For most of us, that starts with the patio — the perfect place to kick back, relax and entertain friends, family and new acquaintances.
RV patios have come a long way since the early days of RVing, with many offering audio systems, TVs and kitchens. But if you don’t own one of these, or you’d simply like to personalize your outdoor space and lifestyle, there are plenty of ways to do it. Here are just a few ideas for a perfect patio, but we’ll provide contact information for each company so you can see what else is offered. And of course, stores like Camping World RV & Outdoors (www.campingworld.com) and Gander RV & Outdoors (www.ganderoutdoors.com) have dozens of other options as well.
MADE IN THE SHADE
Without an awning, it’s fair to say you don’t really have a patio — you’re just sitting outside. If your awning has seen better days, or you’d simply like to upgrade, the Altitude Patio Awning from Carefree of Colorado is a great place to start. It’s got all the cool stuff you wish your old awning had, plus a few things you probably didn’t even know you wanted. Featuring one-touch power operation, the Altitude incorporates scissor arms to mitigate head-bonking, LED strip lighting, and a built-in motion sensor that will automatically retract the awning if the wind picks up and you’re away from camp. Set up is easier than ever, as the Altitude allows you to set pitch even when retracted, while the Memory Pitch feature eliminates the need to readjust pitch each time you open the awning. The Altitude’s Bluetooth control, meanwhile, allows you to adjust both the awning and LED lighting through the Carefree Connects app on a smartphone, so there’s no need to leave the comfort of your folding chair.
If you’re satisfied with your current awning but would like to brighten things up a bit, Carefree of Colorado also offers its Universal Color LED Light Kit. Designed for easy installation on Carefree or competitive awnings, the kit comes complete with 16 feet of 3M adhesive-backed color strip lighting that can be trimmed to fit custom lengths. A water resistant wireless remote control and waterproof receiver can activate one of the 15 color options (plus white) as well as flash, fade and strobe features. The kit can be plugged into 120-volt AC power, or hardwired into the RV’s 12-volt DC power system. MSRP: Altitude Patio Awning roller $402–$1,342, Altitude arms $839; Carefree Connects Bluetooth control system $119–$149; Universal Color LED Light Kit $178.
Carefree of Colorado | 303-469-3324, www.carefreeofcolorado.com
Sure, every motorhome has a refrigerator, but if you can’t plunge your hand into a cold box and pluck out your favorite beverage, you are not in patio mode, my friend. Fortunately, there are many new options that take ice chests (or coolers, if you prefer) to the next level of performance and practicality.
Plug ’n Play
For those who want the cool to last as long as the party (even if that’s several days), Dometic recently launched a new line of its popular powered coolers called the CFX3. Featuring Dometic’s Variable Motor Speed Optimization (VMSO3) compressor with optimized software for better cooling and reduced power consumption, the CFX3 can consistently maintain refrigerated or freezing temperature down to minus 7 degrees Fahrenheit without the need for ice, according to the company. So-called Active Gasket Technology provides a superior seal to retain cool air and reduce power consumption, while a three-stage dynamic battery protection system prevents the vehicle battery from going dead.
A waterproof interface featuring a high-resolution color display and soft-touch buttons enable seamless control and monitoring of performance via Bluetooth, while the new Dometic CFX3 app provides visual graphing of temperature and power consumption to allow monitoring of performance over time. In addition, the CFX3 now has a more powerful USB charger output to charge important devices like mobile phones and tablets faster. Finally, the Dometic CFX3 55IM cooler boasts an independently refrigerated rapid-freeze plate chamber inside the unit with silicone ice trays that can make ice for cold drinks, while running the main compartment as a refrigerator. MSRP (starting): $899.
Dometic | www.dometic.com
When it comes to off-the-grid camping, practicality is the name of the game, and the new eRove electric cooler from Furrion is feature-rich. The eRove can run on 120-volt AC or 12-volt DC power, but can also run for up to seven days using the company’s ePod battery (longer when connected to a Furrion solar panel) and will retain ice for up to 10 days with no power source at all, according to the company. Sporting a 45-quart fridge/freezer compartment that is said to chill down as far as minus 8 degrees Fahrenheit, the eRove also features a serving tray that rests on its retractable handles and a wireless charging station with USB 2.0/3.0 connections and a wireless charging dock. Options include cup holders, fishing rod/umbrella holder and a wheel kit to make toting easy. MSRP: Not available at press time.
Furrion | https://furrion.com
If you’re looking for the ultimate traditional cooler, look no further than the new Tundra Haul by YETI. It incorporates the legendary toughness and insulation of the original Tundra cooler and puts it on wheels, so it’s a whole lot easier to take with you wherever you go. Like its predecessors, the Tundra Haul features rugged rotomolded construction combined with pressure-injected PermaFrost insulation, freezer-quality Coldlock gasket and T-Rex lid latches to keep food and drinks cold for hours even in triple digit temperatures, according to the company. The all-aluminum Strongarm handle and Neverflat one-piece polyurethane wheels ensure that this cooler will take all the abuse you can dish out for years to come. Measuring 28½ by 19 by 20 inches, the Tundra Haul can accommodate up to 40 cans (using a 2:1 ice-to-can ratio) or 49 pounds of ice (ice only). MSRP: $399.99.
YETI Coolers | 512-394-0222, www.yeti.com
Tru to Form
Truma is known for its excellent hot water and heating systems, but it’s only been recently that the company began offering coolers. The appropriately named Truma Cooler comes in a range of choices, including the Weekender Series (36 or 44 liters, single zone) Traveler Series (60, 73 or 105 liters, single zone) and Adventurer Series (69 or 96 liters, dual zone). The Class A++ energy efficient coolers are suitable for solar operation and offer features like an integrated bottle opener at either end, a removable basket insert to adjust contents, interior LED light, space-saving flush-mounted handles and an easy-to-clean drain. An intuitive digital display, USB port, two 12-volt DC connections, a single 120-volt AC connection, three-stage vehicle battery protection and Bluetooth app control round out the cooler’s smart features. Built for the long haul, they also feature robust reinforced corners and stainless steel hinges. MSRP: $1,049–$1,599.
Truma | 855-558-7862, http://truma.net
FIRE WHEN READY
A campsite without a fire pit is like a s’more without a marshmallow. The trouble is, firewood is heavy, consumes a lot of space in the motorhome and isn’t always available. Add to all this the fact that many areas have burn bans to protect air quality, and a cozy campfire isn’t always a possibility. Or is it? Suburban, a division of Airxcel, recently introduced its Voyager Portable Fire Pit, which burns readily available LP-gas. A large 15-inch-diameter burner provides up to 54,000 Btu of smoke-free heat and sets up in just seconds, according to the company. Lightweight and easy to carry, the Voyager features folding legs and a locking lid for ease of transport and storage. The kit includes the fire pit, locking lid, pumice stones, an 8-foot connector hose with regulator and an anti-tipping ring for a 5-gallon propane cylinder. MSRP: $154.20.
HAVE A SEAT
Folding chairs are a staple of RV patios, but their light weight often translates to rickety construction and mediocre comfort. Enter the Hondo Base Camp Chair by YETI. Billed as the most durable and comfortable piece of outdoor furniture on the market, the Hondo is built for lasting comfort. The Doublebarrel frame is reinforced with two layers of aluminum alloy, matched with solid cast-iron joints for a structure that can support up to 500 pounds, according to the company. Easybreathe mesh fabric is 100% breathable, and the unique materials and weave eliminate pressure points so you can sit comfortably, longer. UV rated to protect against sun damage, the Hondo comes with a sturdy cup holder and a Hauler handle incorporated into the frame. This folder tips the scales at 16 pounds so it’s no lightweight, and it certainly is not cheap, but if you’re tired of buying new chairs every few seasons, the Hondo is for you. MSRP: $299.99.
YETI | 512-394-0222, www.yeti.com
SHOOT TO GRILL
You can’t have a patio without a barbecue. Well, you can, but don’t expect to draw crowds without the tantalizing aroma of grilled food.
Q is the Answer
Weber Q Series barbecues are lightweight, and models like the Q 1000, Q 1200, Q 2000 and Q 2200 are designed for easy tabletop grilling. And although comparatively small, the Q Series grills feature Weber quality components like enameled cast-iron cooking grates, cast-aluminum body, a stainless-steel burner tube, infinite control burner valve, push-button ignition and a removable catch pan. Handy accessories include a griddle for the Q 1000 and a portable cart for the Q 1000/2000. No propane? Go for the Q 1400 or Q 2400 electric models. MSRP: $179–$269 (gas); $269–$319 (electric).
Weber-Stephen Products | 800-446-1071, www.weber.com
German native Otto Wilde’s first American steakhouse experience was in New York City. He was so impressed, he sought to purchase the same type of grill used to cook his perfectly seared steak so he could do it at home. Alas, one didn’t exist, so Wilde, an engineer by trade, designed and built his own. Unlike a traditional grill that heats by convection and maxes out at around 500–600 degrees Fahrenheit, the Otto Grill employs dual radiant OverFire burners that reach up to 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit in just three minutes, according to the company, searing the meat quickly and locking in those all-important juicy flavors. Heating from above also eliminates flare-ups, which cause varying temperatures, charred food and uneven cooking. Made in Germany, the Otto Grill uses top-quality components like a 304 stainless-steel body and cast-iron grate. A recipient of the 2018 German Design Award, the Otto Grill also features thoughtful details like independently adjustable burners, Smooth Move adjustable grate system and the Clever Lever, which makes adjusting grate height smooth and safe. It’s easy to clean, too, thanks to a grill top that can be removed with the flip of two latches. Best of all for RVers, it’s small, portable and operates on propane. We want one. MSRP: $999.
Otto Wilde Grillers | 551-230-7060, www.ottogrills.com