Now that we're officially down to less than 2 months before we order our 36LA, it's time to separate the "nice to haves" from the "need to haves". On my previous post, I posted in a comment to another reader a list of things we'd have to pack in our Mini Cooper convertible to take with us to our Pre-Delivery Inspection (PDI) and 3 day shakeout cruise to a campground near our dealership in order to test out systems and live for a few days in the RV.
Today is a list of things we specifically NEED to have ordered or purchased to either bring with us or delivered to the dealership that are RV-related, and our rationale for these particular products. So in no particular order, here is - The Need To Have List!
Super Slider Adjustable tube for stinky slinky storage - Sure, I could stuff our sewer hose in a heavy duty plastic bag for the short term, but I'm getting this tube to install once we get back from our first trip, so why not just bring it from the beginning and store it in the double basement bay next to the wet bay? This product keeps the messy stuff away from the wet bay, which needs to stay clean as a whistle.
Pro-fill battery watering system - Probably could get away with waiting on this one, but since we'll have some free time on our hands the first few days exercising the systems in the 36LA, I might as well take the time to install this at the campground. This makes it easy to keep your house batteries full without having to pop tops and pour water by using a single fill point for all four batteries. Since house batteries are so important in an RV, this is something that needs to be taken care of each and every month.
American Car Dolly - can't take the Mini anywhere without towing it behind the motor home, and based on our research, this is the best car dolly for price, performance and weight. Comes in at 455 lbs, which is right in between it's two major competitors, and gets delivered and setup right to your site. Can't ask for anything better than that! Removable ramps which store under the front of your car, protecting it from rocks being kicked up while going down the road, and has a swivel pan which makes tracking behind the 36LA much easier.
Hughes Autoformer and Surge Protector - There is a built in surge protector already in the Tiffin 36LA, but it only protects the coach from power surges, not low power situations which can frankly harm electronics in the coach more than surges will. There are two third-party surge protectors that are widely used in the industry - Surge-Guard and Progressive - both of which protect in low power situations, but we want something a bit different, even if it is more expensive. The Hughes Autoformer takes those low power situations and actually increases the voltage to the RV, allowing us to run on 30 amp circuits as if we were on a 50 amp circuit, so actual low power situations don't need to be protected, because power is being boosted by the Autoformer. It also allows us to camp in 30 amp spots and still run all our electronics, which will come in handy when 50 amp spots are not available. The latest version has a removable surge protector in addition to the voltage booster.
Awning Lock - might not be the first thing I install, but it will be close. Awnings can and do pull away from the RV depending on mechanical failure and high wind situations. A $100 investment to keep a $2000 awning safe strikes me as being money well spent.
Camco Rhino Extreme Flex Sewer Kit - this is one of the best sewer hoses on the market. Tough, with clear swivel elbows and three different size attachments to handle most every campground. Add in the "Rattlesnake" graduated support structure to keep things flowing and off the ground, and you have a real winner when it comes to waste.
Pressure-Pro Tire pressure monitoring system - I like this system because it's made in the USA. Anyone who full-time RV's without a TPMS is going to find themselves in trouble eventually when it comes to pressure and temperature, and it's crazy not to invest a few hundred $$ for this kind of peace of mind when going down the road.
Genturi Exhaust system - nothing says irritation when camping in close quarters like sending your generator noise and exhaust into your neighbors camp site. This product sends a lot of the noise and all of the exhaust up and over your rig, making for good neighbors and peace and quiet.
Snap Pads 8” (4) - These are literally what they say they are. Pads which snap onto the feet of your hydraulic levelers. They provide better stability, disperse weight, reduce the extension length of your levelers, and keep you from getting under your coach to put pads down when you get to your site or take them away before leaving. One less thing to worry about when setting up and breaking down camp.
Used Apple Mac Book Pro - How else am I going to edit videos?
Refrigerator lock - Don't want even the meager contents of our refrigerator to spill out on our first trip, so this $10 addition is a no-brainer.
Safe-T-Plus - This is installed on the front end of a Class A RV to help with ease of steering, especially during high wind conditions, but more importantly, this helps to keep the RV tracking straighter in case of a front tire blowout. A $650 addition which could keep the RV out of a ditch, or prevent a rollover situation.
Drop tow ball - Gotta attach the American Car Dolly to the 36LA in order to tow the Mini, and in order to have some stability and safety, the standard hitch height needs to be lowered between 4" and 6" from the back of the motorhome.
Little Giant 17' ladder - Might need to get up on the roof or work on the side of the 36LA in the first couple of days. Better have the best ladder in the business to help me.
So there it is - The List. If any of you RV-ers reading this see any glaring omissions or think there are better products we could, or should, use - sing out! It's not as if we've done thing kind of thing before . . .
We're Dave and Barbara Richard, and we're living the ultimate retirement experience - traveling the U.S. and Canada in style in a Tiffin Open Road 36LA Class A motor home, playing golf and stopping at every weird and wacky roadside attraction we can find.