Top 5 RV Upgrades And Gadgets - 2020
0:27 Bed / Mattress Upgrades
2:02 Cell Phone Signal Booster
4:39 Solar Panels
6:54 Battery Upgrades
10:00 Solar Generators
Top 5 RV Upgrades and Installs
Hi everybody. Today we're going over some of my top five RV upgrades and installs. These are things that have been doing very, very well and have been completely worth my time and effort in the RV and have served us incredibly well on the road.
Bed / Mattress Upgrades
Number one has got to be the beds. If you're not sleeping well, then RVing is no fun and if you're going full timing, I would say it's a must to upgrade your RV mattresses unless they came with really nice beds to begin with. Which, in my experience as an RV salesman, when I worked at the dealership for their YouTube channel, I did walkthroughs on every single unit and mostl of the beds are just awful. They're pretty thin and over time they're just going to make you sore and they're not going to be any fun.
We upgraded to Tochta mattresses. Now they sent us a front and a back mattress to try out, custom made for our space. I was very grateful that they did and we've absolutely loved them. I did a complete review video on that here. But we've loved these so much that when we finally bought this cabin, I bought a Tochta King size Devini mattress for our bedroom with my own money. I bought it because they really are fantastic beds and my back hasn't hurt since I've had these mattresses. So whatever it is, it's doing something great for me.
These work great for me. I don't overheat and they're fantastic on my back and they make them for all custom sizes in your RV. It’s a completely awesome upgrade. And I think that's on the top of my list because if you're not sleeping well, you're not having a lot of fun while you're camping.
Cell Phone Signal Booster
Number two on this list is the WeBoost Connect RV 65. It has an extendable pole that I actually permanently mounted on the back of my RV, so I don't have to necessarily put it away every day. You just attach it to clips on the side of your RV when you get there and you take the pole off. Mine's permanently attached, but out of the wind when fully retracted.
And then I just put that guy up. And the great thing about having an extension pole is it goes up like 25-30 feet, which is crazy. That gets you over all the obstacles like cars, other RVers, buildings, some trees, or whatever. And it really does make a huge difference in getting some cell phone signal when you're out boondocking in the middle of nowhere. There have been at least seven or eight times where no one in camp using sprint or Verizon could get any kind of phone calls or text messages and let alone data. Maybe every once in a while, while they're walking around, they might get a text. So I mean there was a trace amount of signal there, but nobody could call or actually send a text and get a text, not have a conversation.
It was very spotty and we put up the poll and played around with it, pointing it around until we found a decent signal. And then anybody that sat inside my RV was suddenly able to text, even make a phone call. And if you waited a couple minutes you could actually load up Google maps and drop a pin to somebody. So we did have data where there was nothing before. When you are in areas where you have decent signal, this will boost it significantly. If you're out in the middle of nowhere, sometimes these can get you signal where you had no signal before. If there's anything to boost, it'll make it workable for you. That has come in really handy for us, especially when we use my jet packs and stuff like that for our data and internet because if they don't have a cell signal, they're not working either.
This enabled us to use the jet packs and stuff where normally there just wasn't enough signal to do so. I've tried other omnidirectional cell phone boosters that are just kind of mounted on the roof. They work, but not nearly as well as this guy does. So this is absolutely my favorite and here’s the link if you want to check that out. That's my absolute favorite out of the four that I've tried.
The next top upgrad is solar panels. Solar panels on your RV are my absolute favorite thing. I just love it. When I first started, we had no solar panels and a Walmart deep cycle battery. The battery would die every night and we had to run the generator so long to charge it back up. It was so noisy and it took forever.
We had bad chargers in the original converter box in the RV and it just took forever. Now, suddenly, the sun would come up and I'd hear the little fan over my bed that had already stopped in the middle of the night just start going and going and picking up speed and charging up as the solar panels charged our batteries.
If you're in a sunny area, you can't beat it. Even if you’re in a not-so-sunny area, any energy that you get into your batteries without running your generator and a bunch of other stuff is fantastic. And if you put them up on tilts, they really can work wonders for you. The two types that I have on my RV are 180 watt GoPower solar panels that I've put on years ago and are doing just fine.
It was the Overlander kit, I believe at 180 Watts and a little charge controller, a PWM charge controller and a length of wire so you could hook everything up and it worked really well for us. Here’s a link for those. And then the other 200 Watts that I have are two 100 watt flexible energy solar panels. I went ahead and mounted them permanently on top of the RV because I'm testing those out and I'm an affiliate for them. So it's been beat up by 60 mile per hour winds, sun, rain, hail, snow, all that good stuff. They've had ice on them and been exposed to extreme heats and wind and all kinds of stuff.
I’ll be doing a review for those very soon to show you how they're holding up to that kind of abuse and spoiler alert: so far so good. They're working great.
The next very important upgrade is batteries. The batteries that I have are two 100 amp power Greenlife, lithium iron phosphate batteries and they're so fantastic. They're GL 100 batteries, which means they're 100 amp hours. They only weigh 25 pounds a piece compared to 80 pounds for a lead acid battery.
You can use almost all of the energy except like 10 percent. So you get to use like 90 amps of that 100 amp hours and then you can charge them up super fast and discharge them super fast and do that over and over and over. And they just take it. I've been actually abusing mine for the last three years since I've had them. They're outside right now and it's below freezing outside. They're in the RV. I'm not discharging them and charging them, but I am keeping them at a solid, you know, 13.2 volts with my charger. I didn't even bring them inside. I'm really just kinda torturing these things so I can let you guys know if and when they have failings or if they stop working or they slow down over time. I'm really trying to beat them up as much as I can to share that information with you.
So far, these are an absolutely wonderful upgrade to the RV. They constantly save the day. We don't run out of power running the furnace in the middle of the night. If we do need to charge them up because we drained them, we can pump so much power into those things. You can charge them at like 80 amps and they'll just suck that power up. You can get so much power in there in just an hour or two of running a generator that it's really just so much better than slowly charging lead acid or AGM batteries at 40 amps over a much greater period of time. So those are working out absolutely incredible for us. I found these on Amazon today for $799; I don't know if this is a sale or if the price finally came down, but they used to be 1200 bucks.
Here’s a link. At that price range, they’re absolutely, 100 percent worth it for anyone because they last so long. I think it's like 2000 cycles and then after that it's at 80 percent capacity. So it's still working at 80 percent after 2000 cycles, which is crazy. What is it? I should have done the math before recording this, but that’s roughly… 5.4 years.
And then after that they're at 80 percent. That's crazy. I've burned through a lot of cheap lead acid batteries in my RV and it adds up.
Number five on our list of my top five favorite installs has got to be the Energy Apex and Kodiak solar generators. These put out 1500 Watts. They also have 90 amp power batteries inside. If you want to see a full review, I'll put a link here. These are really great, but what I did is I permanently installed these in the closet of my RV, with those 30 amp plugs that wire into my system. So when I flick a switch, I can actually power the RV and charge my batteries with 90 amp hours of power.
Then when that one's drained, I can switch it. And I have another 90 amp hours from the Kodiak or the apex depending on which one I use first. And this has really been great because they're completely silent. And so when we pull into an area kind of late and there are other campers around who are already asleep, and for whatever reason our batteries aren't charged, and we need to run the furnace at night or something — Boom! I flip a switch and we just have that 90 amp hours pouring right in and we don't have to run our noisy generator and we also have heat for the night. And so I've absolutely been loving this upgrade to the RV because it just adds a lot of extra power. And also what I love about it is you just unplug the cord and you can bring these in.
I brought these into the cabin when we had power outages. We're camping all the time and they've been going incredibly strong. The Kodiak, I've had for I think over two years now and the Apex is getting onto about a year and so far they're all performing great and I abuse the hell out of them and I use them dead to full many, many cycles all the time and push them really hard to show you their capability in these videos. I can run a double door refrigerator in my cabin during a power outage or I throw it right back in the RV and we have plenty of power. I can pull it out and take it out to the picnic table while we're camping and everybody has power for lights and phones or what have you. So those are working really well with the install that I put in, so that they're just kind of a part of the RV now.
So, I really liked that upgrade and I do have a video that shows you how I did that installation if you're interested as well. And I think that about covers it.
Those are my top five gadgets and installs in the RV that we use and talk about the most. I'm probably going to be doing several of these videos because I have so many other cool upgrades and gadgets to share with you guys. If you liked the video, please like, share, and subscribe. Click the little bell button so you get notifications when I do new videos. That stuff really helps me out and if you really liked it, I also have a Patreon page so you can support the page that way as well. So until the next video, my name is Jim with FullMoonAdventureClub. And until the next video, thank you so much for reading and happy camping.