Friday, January 20, 2017

Sleep Better In Your RV

I am sure a bad nights sleep in our RV has happened to all of us at one time or another. While some of us may have just moved to a new site location, others of us have had to stay where we were and suffered or NOT.  Let's look at some things we might do to get a good nights sleep in our RV even if outside forces are working on us to keep us awake.

First we will start at the top and work our way down in the comfort area.
1. Do you have comfortable pillows?
Gel-Fiber Filled
Here are some of the features of this type of pillow.
  • Set of 2 standard-size hypoallergenic down-alternative pillows
  • Polyester gel fiber fill with great loft recovery and no-shift construction
  • Provides comfortable support for back, side, and stomach sleepers
  • 370-thread-count, 100-percent mercerized cotton shell with jacquard pattern
  • Machine wash and dry for easy care; backed by 1-year limited warranty

Many people have found that if you have to fight every night with your pillow to get comfortable that you may never have a restful sleep.

2. You need comfortable sheets that fit the bed and don't drift around as you sleep.  Most RV beds are not the same size as their sticks and bricks cousins. So when you buy a Queen size sheet set for your RV the bottom sheet will not fit.  What is a person to do?  Well check out the Bed Bands these clips.

The clips hold the bottom fitted sheet in place and keep the bottom sheet from moving around while you sleep. 

Ok we have solved the pillow problem and the sheet problem whats next?

3. The mattress of course.  I am not suggesting that you go out and replace the mattress, but you might want to add a Mattress Topper.

The topper sits on the RV mattress and gives you that memory foam feel.  "It's like floating on a cloud", and is very comfortable.  You can cut the foam to fit your RV bed by using a very sharp knife or an electric carving knife.

Now that you are warm and comfortable but still not sleeping we can begin to look around for what else is keeping you awake.  If you have a exit door in your bedroom you will need to block out light that maybe getting in from your neighbors yard lights or fire pit.  You will need a Reflective Door Window Cover shown below. This cover is removable and eliminates the light and reduces the heat getting into the bedroom.

But you still can not get to sleep.  Maybe a Sleep Mask  would help. It sure will be dark in there.

Still having trouble getting to sleep?  What else is there, NOISE lots and lots of it in some parks. So lets take a look at what you could do to reduce the noise so you can sleep.  I suppose you could move to a different site or even a different campground, but that may not be possible.
Ear Plugs are a possibility, but here is where I get concerned about safety.  Many of the safety alarms in an RV[Smoke;Gas] depend on you hearing them to be effective.  If your ears are plugged and you can not hear the alarm that is not a good thing.  Here are some typical ear plugs .

You could turn on the RV furnace fan to create some background noise. 
This friendly background noise is call White Noise and is supposed to cover up the outside noise that is keeping you awake.  While this is a method that I have used in the past, the furnace fan solution could cause an early furnace fan failure or maybe shorten the fan's motor overall life causing it to die an earlier death than one would normal expect.  This method of generating white noise is not really a good one even if it works.  You could buy a cheap fan and have it running in the bedroom to generate some white noise.  While a better idea, you now have moving air which may not be what you want blowing across you while you are sleeping.   
The best method of white noise generation for your RV is a Sleep Machine.  You can go with the following deluxe model of Sleep Machine
  • Incredibly small device only 2.5 inches tall
  • Nomad can be operated with two AA batteries or the supplied AC adapter
  • In Nomad External Mode you can listen to your mp3 player, movie soundtracks, etc
  • Six (6) relaxing soundStories to promote deeper sleep, relaxation and renewal: Waterfall, ocean, meadow, rainfall, brook and noises (white, brown, pink and fan)
  • ASTI Adaptive Sound technology listens and responds to each users environment for disrupting sound

Or you can go a bit cheaper on a Sound Machine
  • Natural sounds help you relax while you read, work, study or sleep
  • Six sounds: ocean, summer night, rain, thunder, white noise and brook
  • 15, 30 and 60 minute auto-off timer
  • Compact and lightweight for travel
  • Battery or adapter operated (adapter included, 4?AA? batteries not included)

The idea is the same either way.  To substitute a friendly sound that will cover up the bad sounds preventing you from getting the sleep you need to enjoy your camping time.
I am sure there are other things you could do to help yourself get to sleep, a nice glass of warm milk maybe a good idea, if you like milk.  Maybe a nice glass of wine just before going to bed would help or reading a dull book or RV column might help. When ever it takes get a good nights sleep you will thank me in the morning.

Until next time.

And finally, please remember that this blog is an Amazon affiliate. When you order something through any of the Amazon links, it doesn’t add anything to your cost, but I do earn a small commission on everything you buy. Just click on an Amazon link, then shop as usual.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

How To Stay Warm Inside The RV When It Is Cold Outside

There is a group of us RVers that like to camp all year long and we live where that is possible.  Some of us Cold Weather RVers have little choice and must be in our RV all year long.  So how can you stay warm inside the RV when the world around you is just too cold?

Let's be clear on one point. If you have a rig that can take the cold it can only take it if the main furnace is set to keep the inside of the rig above freezing.  Most all weather rigs must have the furnace running to keep water pipes that run inside the rig from freezing.  That includes the black tank and grey water tanks as well. So you will need to keep the rig furnace going but you do not need it running at 72 degrees.

Let's talk about keeping you warm and comfortable.  I suppose we could all dress like Eskimos, but that seems a bit much for just reading a book inside our rig or maybe eating dinner.
You could wrap yourself in an electric throw blanket and be comfortable, like this one.

If you added these to your feet you would be warm as toast.

These Footies or Snoozies and the electric throw you should be able to sit around and enjoy TV or read a good book.
But what about sleeping in bed?  That is a good question, so let's take a look at that.
You could put one of these Mattress Heating Pads on your bed and plug into electric and sleep warm as toast all night.  These heated pads come in all the popular sizes King, Queen, and Twin.  I have shown the queen size below;

Mattress Heating Pads
Because heat rises this mattress type heating pad is much better than a heating blanket and will use less power to keep you toasty warm during the cold night.  That might be good for the sleeping time but what about being up and moving around the rig?

Ah, but you need to heat the Rig so you need more power, I mean heat.  Then you want a Ceramic Space Heater  This type of heater generates a lot of heat for very little electricity used.  The one pictured below is what I use.  I use two of the Ceramic Heaters. One blowing toward the bedroom and one in the living room blowing toward the kitchen.  These heaters will cook you out of the Rig, they can generate so much heat.  I winter camp in North Texas and it can get below freezing, as we all found out in the winter of 2013/2014.  But even though my water hose froze outside, inside we were as warm as toast.  Shown below is the  Space Heater I have;

Ceramic Space Heater
I have listed some of the features of this unit below;
  • Ceramic heater technology uses up to 33% less energy than the typical space heater to save you money
  • LCD digital controls
  • Digital thermostat
  • 2 heat settings - 1500 watt max
  • Safety Features: Overheat Protection, Manual user reset, Cool touch plastic housing, Auto shut-off

    If you have a four-legged friend (Furkid) traveling with you, please take note: this unit comes with Auto Shut-Off.  If the Ceramic Heater is tipped over the heater shuts off automatically.  This is a very important feature if you are traveling with four-footed friends.  There are some clumsy two-legged friends out there as well.

    There are other options to keep warm in the RV you could also use one or more of these oil filled heaters.

    The simple controls allow users to customize their heat with an adjustable thermostat and three temperature settings, and the ComforTemp setting maintains an optimal room temperature while conserving energy. The heater never requires refilling, and the anti-freeze technology automatically turns the unit on when the temperature drops below 42 degrees.
    Oil heaters are quite and run about 10.5 cents an hour to operate which can be a money saver compared to other types of heaters. 

     I know from experience that these hints and tips will work. They keep the family warm during our cold weather camping, which we enjoy most of the time. 

    Until next time.

    And finally, please remember that this blog is an Amazon affiliate. When you order something through any of the Amazon links, it doesn’t add anything to your cost, but I do earn a small commission on everything you buy. 
    Just click on an Amazon link, then shop as usual.

    Saturday, October 15, 2016

    Living In Your RV In The Winter Tips

    We have talked about staying warm in your RV during the cold winter months. First by moving South to warmer weather but, for many that is not an option. If you have to say in the cold for whatever reason what should you do to help your RV not to freeze. Let's look at the different areas of the RV and what can be done to keep that area from freezing.

    First the outside perimeter.  Ok, let's get it on the table, do not use bales of hay to surround the rig.

    Why, they're are cheap and easy to stack?
    Because of  FIRE, rodents, and bugs. If for some unknown reason the hay should catch fire there would be little chance of survival.  And don't forget that many outdoor creatures would love to come inside your RV and spend the cold winter months.

    What can be used?  You can use skirting for your specific RV. Which is shown below;
    While this is expensive it is a good solution to the problem of cold air getting under your RV.  There is another solution for the DIYer and that is 

    Foil-Faced Foam Sheathing board is rigid polyisocyanurate foam sheathing that provides exceptional heat, moisture, and air control.
    • 4'x8' sheet (9' and 10' available via special order)
    • 3/4" thick
    • R-4.4
    • One side has a reflective foil face typically installed toward the warm air surface to reflect energy back toward the dwelling and the other side has a white non-reflective foil face typically installed toward the exterior.
    • Can be used in residential construction as insulated sheathing in above grade exterior walls, above and below grade interior walls crawl spaces attic, sand cathedral ceilings as well as Type I-V commercial applications
    • Highest R-value per inch of any rigid board insulation.
    • Does not melt when exposed to flame versus other types of rigid foam board (ASTM E84)
    • Reflective aluminum foil face blocks radiant heat and prevents penetration of air and intrusion of moisture

    Dimensions: 3/4" x 4ft x 8ft Cost as little as $9.25 per sheet

    This type of foil backed foam board can be cut to fit and close-in around the RV to protect the underbelly of the RV from freezing. This type of insulation is available at Home Depot, Lowes, Menards, etc.
    You would secure the foam to the RV and to itself by using aluminum heating duct tape.
    The area under the RV that you create by enclosing the area needs to be heated with a low heat generator such as this mini heater.

    This heater uses about 200 watts of AC power and I would use two of them for a 40ft trailer.  The heater should be placed off the ground several inches in case of water flow.

    Second is the water and control compartment.
    Yours may look different,  but the issue is that it needs heat.  This area should be kept warm by a Mini Heater or 60 watt light bulb.  The concern is the water hookup to the trailer and the ability to release the black and grey water tanks valves.
    For the fresh water lines, you will need to use the shortest hose you can to go between your rig and the fresh water source. 
    • Provides constant source of water in freezing temperatures
    • Thermostatically controlled
    • Turns on when temperatures are below 45 degrees
    • Turns off when temperatures are above 50 degrees
    • Made from drink-safe PVC
    • Keeps water from freezing down to minus 42-Degrees Fahrenheit
    • Tougher thermostat
    Do not let the hose lay on the ground.  You can do this by wrapping the water hose in pipe insulation. You can get some from Home Depot, Lowes Menards etc.
    Use some of the Aluminum Tape to seal the pipe insulation and do not forget to wrap the water source with pipe insulation to help keep it flowing.  Some people even build a box out of the foil foam board to cover the water source to further insulate.
    Next the sewer and sewer hose. "DO NOT LEAVE THE DRAIN VALVES OPEN" Open as needed to dump the gray or black tank.  Use the shortest sewer pipe you can and you need to support it off the ground.  Wrap the sewer hose with heat tape first.
    Next wrap the sewer hose and heat tape in a blanket made from a Hot Water Heater Insulation blanket
    You want to wrap it tight and then tape it very well to hold it together.  Leave an overlap at both ends to go over the sewer connection and the sewer pipe that comes out of the ground and be sure the heater tape is wrapped around the end of the pipe that is attached to the RV as well as the water heater insulation blanket.
    To keep the sewer hose off the ground and well supported you can use rain gutter pipe or you can use,
    Some RVers even put a gallon of RV antifreeze down the black tank after dumping the tank to help ensure that nothing gets frozen between dumps.
    I have not tried this myself, but there is no reason it would not be a good idea.  It is an added expense that would need to be considered.

    I believe that covers the outside of the rig now let's move inside and see what can be done to keep out the cold and keep in the warm.
    You need to check all doors that you go in and out of the rig with.  If you can see daylight around the edge of the door with the door closed. You will have cold air coming into the rig.  You need to put door weather seal around the door to seal the door better.
    What about the windows you say.  You are right if your rig windows are single pane, as most of them are, you will need to winterize them as well.  The easiest way is to us the small bubble pack wrapping material that you can find almost anywhere.

      • Cut the bubble wrap to the size of the window pane with scissors.
      • Spray a film of water on the window using a spray bottle.
      • Spray a film of water on the bubble side of the bubble wrap using a spray bottle.
      • Apply the bubble wrap while the window is still wet and press it into place.
      • The bubble side goes toward the glass.
      • To remove the bubble wrap, just pull it off starting from a corner.
    Next let's look at the vents in the rig. All of the vents through the roof allow warm air to rise into a cold space and chill the air.  We need to block the upward movement of the air but still be able to use the vent when needed.  A vent pillow is just the thing.  You can make them if you are handy or buy some cheap pillows you can stuff into the vent opening or you can get these.

    Fits standard 14" RV vents

    Reflective surface blocks the sun's damaging rays
    Full 2.75" of foam to help stop heat transfer
    Durable and easy to store
    Keep your RV cooler in the Summer and warmer in the Winter

    Now that we have sealed the rig against the cold air we have now trapped water vapor from cooking, propane heating, showers, and human breathing inside the rig.  You will begin to see water or moisture on the walls of the rig and anything that is colder than the inside air.  This is not good and can cause mold.  To get rid of the moisture and reduce the humidity we need a dehumidifier.  Several ideas come to mind.

    Quiet Small-Size Dehumidifier with No Moving Parts

    Removable 16-oz. Water Tank & Washable Air Filter

    Features 'Tank Full' Indicator Light

    Auto-Shuts When Water Reservoir is Full

    Measures Just 5.75" x 5.32" x 8.78" in

    You might need two of these in a large 40ft rig.  They do work and keep the air drier but not completely dry.

    Next is the Goldenrod Heaters.  You also will need several of these in larger rigs but they are smaller and you do not need to dump them, like the one above.

    This unit comes in different sizes up to 36 inches in length.  It consumes about 1 watt per inch and is mounted along the wall at the floor level.  You will need several in a large rig as they can dehumidify approximately 200 cube feet of air. So if you have a bunkhouse then that room would have its own unit. The main living area would have one and the master bedroom would have one.

    Something I have used is DampRid in closets and drawers where moisture is not wanted and maybe harmful to the contents of the surrounding area.

    That should do it.  You have done your best to get the rig ready for winter and now the daily grind begins.  In a separate blog post, we cover how to keep you and the kids warm when it is cold outside.

    Until next time.

    And finally, please remember that this blog is an Amazon affiliate. When you order something through any of the Amazon links, it doesn’t add anything to your cost, but I do earn a small commission on everything you buy. Just click on an Amazon link, then shop as usual.

    Friday, September 16, 2016

    Basic Tools For The RVer

    What tools do you need to have when RVing?  If you ask 10 RVers you will get 10 answers.  That's because we all seem to run into problems with our RV that is a bit different from the next RVer and the tools to fix the problem that arose is slightly different. But there are some basic tools of the trade, so let's talk about those.

    You will find that you will need something to put whatever tools you decide to carry into something that is strong but light.  Tools have weight and it does not take too many until you have added measurable weight to your rig. So here is a toolbox that works.Simple Tool Box

    Simple Tool Box

    Now that we have a toolbox, lets see what needs to be in it.

    A screwdriver Multi Screwdriver
    Multi Screwdriver
    I chose one like above because it cut down on weight and space in my tool box.  If you rather, you could buy two flat blades (one large, one small) and two Phillips screwdrivers a #2 and #1 or an  additional size of your choice.
    You will need a special set of screwdrivers for use with those pesky square headed screws that are used on the inside and the outside of the rig. These special square screwdrivers are shown below.
    square screw drivers
     A set of basic pliers is next.  You will need several types.  Here is an example Basic Pliers
    Basic Pliers
    You will also need several advanced pliers, such as the ones shown below.

    Slip Joint Pliers

    Vice-Grip Pliers
    Vice-Grip Pliers
    You will need and use all the above pliers.  It is just a matter of time.  Next we move on to crescent wrenches.
    #8 Crescent Wrench (8" Crescent Wrench )
    8" Crescent Wrench
    #10 inch Crescent Wrench (10 inch Crescent Wrench)
    10 inch Crescent Wrench

    Now for the special stuff.  This is stuff you need but may not use monthly.  I use this stuff as needed.  The first is the torque wrench.  This is used to check the lug nuts on the tires of the rig to make sure they are tighten to factory specifications. I use this before each trip to check the lug nuts on the tires.  I have found that some of the wheel lug nuts do change. 

    3/8 inch Extension Bar Kit
    3/8 inch Extension Bar Kit

    The extension bar kit is used to get the torque wrench outside of the tire rim for a safer tightening of the lug nuts that hold the tires.  You will also need a drive socket that fits your tires lug nuts and is made for a  3/8" drive.

    If you have a Suburban water heater you will also need a breaker bar shown below, to remove the anode to check the anode as well as to replace the anode if needed.
    3/8" Breaker Bar Wrench

    Suburban Water Heater Anode
    You will also need a socket that fits the anode, along with the white plumber's tape

    Plumbers Tape

     to prevent water leaking around the threads.  I have always carried a spare Anode Rod just in case, you just never know when you will need one.  Be sure to change the rod yearly.

    Hex Key Set

    Of course a hammer is also a tool that should be carried


    To see into those dark areas around the RV you will need a small but powerful flashlight.

    Cree 7W Mini LED Flashlight

    One tool that I have that I really like is not really a tool but my multimeter.  I can check to see if there is voltage what kind and how much.  I can check for open and shorted wires as well as other things.  I highly recommend one for your toolkit. 

    Another tester that is handy and some people think it should be a mandatory basic tool is the AC voltage monitor.  This shows what the park voltage is at any given time, (low voltage can damage your RV electrical system and electronics) and shows if the power pedestal is wired correctly if plugged into the pedestal before plugging in the RV.  Note: "You may have to get a Short jumper [Dog Bone] from 30 or 50 amps to standard AC wall socket to test the pedestal."  Meter is shown below.

    AC Power Monitor
    The following is the tool I would not be without.  The multi-tool.  I carry this tool on my belt and I even bought the expansion kit for it.  You just never know when you need a screwdriver or pliers to tighten or loosen something.


    I know someone will say, this is not all you need and will give me a list of stuff as long as my arm.  Things like gorilla tape, super glue, black electrical tape, clear and white silicone caulk.  I agree they are important and should be carried, but as I said earlier. This is the basic list and like American Express "I never go RVing with-out them"

    Until next time.

    And finally, please remember that this blog is an Amazon affiliate. When you order something through any of the Amazon links, it doesn’t add anything to your cost, but I do earn a small commission on everything you buy. Just click on an Amazon link, then shop as usual.