RVs are a second home, and you should expect the same home technology you use daily to be available for your RV. When it comes to RV technology, entertainment, convenience, and utility, consider the tech devices you use at home: internet, security, HVAC, automated appliances, pet surveillance, and more. It makes sense that RV tech options would also increase as RVs become more comfortable and convenient.
Here’s a list of some essential RV tech hacks to make your life easier on the road or at the campsite.
Best RV tech hacks for life on the road
GPS systems for RVs serve multiple purposes beyond simply providing directions. The right RV GPS will identify the route you want while keeping you safe, especially when driving a bulky rig like a travel trailer or motorhome.
RV navigation differs from car navigation. You need a system that identifies overpass clearances to ensure your route allows RVs. GPS systems for RVs should also offer other critical RV-specific traits. For example, many GPS systems will provide more advanced warning of traffic or turns because slowing down with a fifth wheel in tow or in a Class A motorhome takes far more time.
Look for a GPS to identify notable road features that might be more cumbersome to RVs, like steep gradients, tight turns, or narrow roads. Some GPS units even include campgrounds on the digital map and other RV-related tech features. In general, RV GPS displays are larger to increase visibility while driving, making them a more practical option than a GPS on your phone or smaller versions designed for cars.
A good internet connection is more of a requirement than an occasional convenience. From working remotely to accessing streaming entertainment to connecting with their friends and family back home, RVers want to stay connected while traveling.
For those with minimal internet needs–checking email, online shopping, light social media use—you may get by with campground Wi-Fi or a mobile hotspot device or setting up your phone as a hotspot.
But as soon as you begin streaming music and video, you cross into new territory and require a more significant investment in gear and data. This is especially true if you plan to live in your RV full-time or work from an RV. Below are a few go-to options when it comes to getting Wi-Fi set up in a significant way:
You won’t get high-speed internet from a satellite service, but you should be able to connect in areas where cellular signal is low or nonexistent. The downside is that sometimes this can require physical hardware like a dish.
When you go with an unlimited plan, cellular Wi-Fi becomes a realistic and feasible option for boondocking, full-time RVers, road-schooling, or remote workers. You’ll need to invest in hardware: a hotspot device and a cellphone booster.
If you choose to rely on a campground or public Wi-Fi, you might have trouble getting a good signal consistently. A Wi-Fi booster is an affordable option that improves your internet accessibility.
Tire pressure monitoring systems
Tires are arguably the most essential component of your RV. Without tires in good condition, you run safety risks and increase the chances of a breakdown while on a trip. And the further from help you are, the more expensive those repairs become.
With RVs– both towables and motorhomes– the health of your tires is affected by weight, pressure change, temperature, wear-and-tear, and road conditions. Control what you can, which includes monitoring tire pressure. If you receive a warning of tire pressure that’s too high or low, you can fix the pressure before causing a flat. Accomplish that with a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS).
There are two types of TPMS: indirect and direct. A direct TPMS uses battery-powered hardware on the tire’s valve stem to record and transmit information about your tire pressure to the driver. That way, any fluctuation gets noticed before a flat. An indirect TPMS determines tire pressure by measuring the difference in tire diameter with the help of the anti-lock braking system (ABS).
A TPMS improves gas mileage, extends the life of your tires, and makes for safer travel.
If you have equipped your home with any kind of personal security system, you already know the peace of mind you get knowing your surroundings are monitored at all times. The same can be true with your RV. Recent security systems use similar security camera system setups to provide your eyes on your rig when you are inside or away. Look for options that can be charged with a solar battery, connect with your Wi-Fi, or monitored through 4G cell service.
But your security goes beyond your physical well-being. It’s also important to consider your cybersecurity. For those accessing the internet for work, finances, or education, you want to ensure security for your mobile devices. Cyber security experts recommend a VPN to keep your internet connection secure from cyber threats.
You can control and monitor most RV systems using smartphone apps. Consider the following to make your life easier with your phone.
Keep your RV at the perfect temperature– not too hot, not too cold– with the help of a smart digital thermostat. Control the internal RV temperature wherever you are by connecting your phone to the thermostat via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
Lighting, pull-outs, awnings
Control all interior and exterior RV lighting, pull-outs, and awnings with the help of your phone. Similar to a smart thermostat, some systems will allow you to control almost all RV features with your phone. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technology make monitoring and managing your RVs systems and appliances convenient.
RV maintenance apps
Stay on top of your RV’s preventative maintenance tasks with the help of phone apps. Ensure you stay current on your warranties, recommended fluid changes, and more with products like Maintain My RV and RV Checklist. You can also use fuel monitoring apps like Fuelly to track fuel expenses, mileage, and service reminders. Learn more about RV travel apps.