My favorite RV-Friendly appliances and products
I often get asked, “What are your favorite appliances you use in your RV?” or “What items should I buy for our trailer if we plan to go full-time?” . . .
For a long time I didn’t do a post on this because I didn’t feel much like an expert on the topic. But after traveling full-time for eight months in our Airstream trailer I feel like I have figured a few things out – so I’m sharing my favorite RV-friendly appliances and products.
When you have limited living space you want to make certain that the things you buy or store in your RV are providing some benefit. You might want to consider these things when selecting appliances and products for our RV ::
Cost savings – Does it save us money? It wasn’t long after hitting the road that we discovered that we almost always have some type of electrical hook-up, so choosing appliances that use electricity (instead of propane gas) saved us money.
Storage – How much space is required to store the appliance and does the benefit warrant the space needs?
Convenience – Does it save us time and effort?
Quality of life – Does it provide a benefit that improves our quality of life on the road? Sometimes we might sacrifice cost savings, storage needs and convenience because something improves our quality of life and it’s important to us.
Instant Pot – I had so many kitchen appliances in our house that this was a tough department for me to downsize. The Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker, 6Qt/1000W rocks my RV world. It wears many chef hats – it’s a rice cooker, a slow cooker, a pressure cooker and so much more. I’ve cooked a spiral ham in under 2 hours, 8 pounds of pulled pork in 75 minutes, frozen chicken in under 30 minutes and so much more. . .if you only have room for one RV appliance – I recommend this one! This is our biggest appliance in terms of storage needs but it fits in the wardrobe/closet in our kitchen just fine. I will often cook outside with this – running an extension cord directly from our RV site hook-ups to the picnic table or we also have a folding tray table that works great for this.
Electric Skillet – This is one appliance I wish we would have started our journey with, but only recently purchased. The Rival CKRVSK11 11-Inch Square Electric Skillet, Black is a small electric skillet that allows us to cook using electricity without using propane. It also comes in handy when we need more cooking space – as our 3-burner stove top is small when it comes to multiple pots/pans. This skillet is great for stir fries, eggs (non-stick), pancakes and more.
Dehumidifier – We just got this small dehumidifier, Eva-dry Edv-1100 Electric Petite Dehumidifier, White, a couple months ago. I wish we would have purchased sooner. It’s small but packs a serious punch when it comes to pulling the moisture out of the trailer. Moisture is NOT your friend when it comes to RV life and especially in the winter months when you’re sleeping with windows closed – moisture and condensation on the windows is expected. Since getting this dehumidifier we’ve seen a big improvement in overnight window condensation and our towels dry faster in our bathroom! We use this daily so it usually lives in the bathroom or the kitchen – but is stored in the closet when we travel.
Space heater – I dragged my feet on this one for a long time, but we finally picked up a small space heater, like this one, Lasko 754200 Ceramic Heater with Adjustable Thermostat – in January. When you have only 180 square feet a small heater like this warms your space up in no time. This helps offset the need to run the propane furnace and takes advantage of electrical hook-ups which are often included in the cost of your RV hook-ups. HOWEVER, I’m very particular about how we use our space heater – we NEVER use it at night while we are sleeping (we use the furnace, if needed) and we ALWAYS have it on our cleared kitchen counter. So it’s never near combustable items and never used when we are out or sleeping. Space heaters can be dangerous (read: fire hazard) if not used according to the instructions – so be aware and intentional about how you use it. We store this in the closet when not in use and this summer it will likely be stored in the back of the truck.
Electric water kettle – For the first six months on the road we used a tea kettle and our propane stove to make hot water (for our much needed morning COFFEE). But in January we got this Proctor Silex K2070YA Electric Kettle, 1-Liter and I like it for a couple reasons – we can avoid using our propane and take advantage of our electrical hook-ups and it’s faster than the stove (anything that helps me get coffee faster in the morning is my friend). I also think it releases less moisture in the air because the water comes to a boil so quickly.
Ceramic coffee filter – For the first few months on the road we used a french press set-up for our coffee – but we didn’t like it because it was a pain to clean – especially when we were trying to conserve water. The coffee grounds seemed to get everywhere and frankly our coffee was always a little sludgy at the bottom of the cup. We picked up a ceramic coffee filter like this one at World Market back in December and our coffee world has improved dramatically. We generally only have 1 cup each a day and can use the same coffee/filter using a pour over method with our electric kettle. I like the easy clean-up with the disposable coffee filters.
Laundry drying rack – With very little towel hanging space and only a small fan for ventilation in the bathroom (see our Airstream bathroom tour here), we use this awesome collapsible laundry drying rack for days when we have towels and swimsuits that need a drying. When not in use it folds flat and is stores in the back of the truck. It’s sturdy and doesn’t blow over easily with wind.
Other things we recommend having in your RV ::
Turkish bath towels – I raved about these Turkish bath towels during our bathroom tour – they are fantastic, thin, big towels that dry fast. We’ve had these since we hit the road and they are still going strong – worth the price in my opinion.
simplehuman Wall Mount Pumps, Triple 15 fl. oz. Shampoo & Soap Dispenser, Stainless Steel – Also mentioned in our bathroom tour – we love having this in the shower (and we also have one for hand soap). Great for saving on counter space and reducing the amount of set-up/take-down between spots!
American Red Cross FRX3 Hand Crank NOAA AM/FM Weather Alert Radio with Smartphone Charger– Mentioned in our post about Severe Weather RV Safety Tips, it’s wise to have a NOAA radio so that you can track weather alerts and be prepared during severe weather.
Watch your electrical usage – One last note about the electrical appliances, although we use these appliances in our Airstream, we don’t have them all plugged in at once. 🙂 Some of these items – especially the space heater, electric kettle and Instant Pot – can draw a lot of electricity and depending on your trailer or hook-ups could easily trip a breaker. On the big energy hogs, we will have ONE of these item plugged in at a time. And as I mentioned about the Instant Pot – I’ll plug that directly into our hook-up instead of through the trailer, I’m cautious that way. You should know your trailer’s capacity, your hook-up levels and plan accordingly about which appliances will work best for your set-up.
Most of these items we were slow to acquire after spending six months on the road analyzing our needs – but we are so glad we have them now. Many of these were recommended by fellow RV friends as tried and true ways to make life easier and more affordable on the road.
These items deal mostly with life INSIDE our trailer. I plan to do a detailed posts on our favorite products that we use OUTSIDE – like chocks, levelers, chairs, grill, etc. . .
If you live or vacation in an RV, what are your favorite RV-friendly appliances or products?
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Just purchased a small electric skillet(got it in an auction box), really want one of the cookers ,have an instant water pot, new in box(found at Goodwill). Really NEED a dehumidifier as we camp primarily in Florida. Thanks for all your good tips!
Hi Debbi – Yes, pick up a dehumidifier – we really noticed a big difference while in Florida and I wish we would have gotten it sooner.
We use the nuwave hot plate all the time of instead of gas
Follow y’all on Instagram and love the posts! Live in Austin area. I have a flying cloud 20′ and I love the cuisinart 1000 oven central countertop oven. There’s just me usually traveling with sisters on the fly but this can bake cook a small roast make eggs etc. I also have a small 2 at crock pot that’s good for 1 or 2 people. Thinking of a bigger one. Do you ever have yours cooking a meal while traveling? Securing in the sink? I saw a post about that recently. So it’s ready when you arrive? Safe travels!
Hi Molly! Thank you for following our journey. We LOVED Austin! Great tip on the countertop oven, sounds like it works perfect for what you need! We have never used ours while traveling. I could see how you could possibly secure in the sink – but I’m way to cautious for that. The trailer shakes around quite a bit while driving (some say it’s the equivalent of an earthquake every time you tow) and I worry the whole time that I’d have food splattering everywhere. The Instant Pot is wonderful because when we get to places by noon or 1 p.m., which we usually do, it can cook most roasts and meals with plenty of time before dinner.
I think I might be the only person left in the universe without an Instant Pot ;). Sounds like I might need to finally cave!
Gretchen – It’s such a personal choice but I’m glad we have one! I hope, if you get one, that you like it too!
We traveled in Poland last summer and they had electric water kettles for making in-room instant coffee.
They do heat up fast. The instant coffee was Nescafe Classic and it was very good.
Caro – Traveling to Poland sounds amazing. Yes, the electric water kettles heat up fast and it’s so convenient! My husband likes instant coffee, me not so much. I’ll look for the Nescafe Classic for him!
We have a double burner griddle that I use regularly in our RV. http://www.amazon.com/Nordic-Ware-Burner-Griddle-4-Inch/dp/B00080QJYI/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&qid=1456715921&sr=8-10&keywords=double+burner+griddle
Thanks for the tip Rachel! I’ve been wanting one of these . . .
You said “You should know your trailer’s capacity, your hook-up levels and plan accordingly about which appliances will work best for your set-up.”. I feel this may be a silly question but how do you go about finding out this information? Thanks! I think this is something I should definitely check out before we use our new RV!
If I’m being honest, the electrical system is one area that completely confuses me! That’s probably why I error on using less and I’m careful not to overdo it. I would talk to your dealer (who sold you the RV), read your manual about the electrical system AND do some research online. Articles like this (http://rvservices.koa.com/rvinformation/rvmaintenance/basic-rv-electricity.asp) can get you on the right path to understanding your electrical system. The biggest thing to know is whether you have a 30 Amp or 50 Amp system. I think a lot of larger, newer RVs have 50 Amp systems (that’s what we have). Hope this helps!
Hi there, in all my research your blog is very helpful. My husband and I are working toward making the switch to fulltimeRV living soon. I have a few questions and please forgive Mr if you have already answered them and feel free to shoot me the links. When all four of you need to shower in the RV, do you have enough water? If so please share the amount of water your tsnk holds. If not, what are your tips? I know you have a family of four, but did you have any issues with paring down your clothes? I am a girlie girl and I am finding this has been hard to even start. Also, I blow dry, flat iron or use a curling iron, any issues on using those appliances?? Thank you in advance!!!
Hey Nikki – How exciting that you’re transitioning to fulltime RV living soon. I’m not sure how much our hot water tank holds but it holds enough for a LOOOONG hot shower for one person, or we can usually shower 2-3 of us with the tank. We often will give the kids showers in the evening whereas we shower in the morning. We’ve never had much of an issue when it comes to having enough hot water. You certainly wouldn’t want to do a big load of dishes in hot water and then expect a few 10 minute showers afterwards. In terms of flat iron and curling irons – you should be able to use one (or both?) if you’re hooked up to shore power. I’m not sure it would be a good choice if you’re boondocking and only using battery power. The best thing to do is try it out! And see what what happens. Hope this helps!
Lara Benfield says
Read your post the day before we went camping for a long weekend and we went out that night and got both the electric skillet and kettle. OMG! Why did we never think of these things prior. We used the skillet for every meal, and the kettle did an amazing and much quicker job of heating water for doing the dishes.
Kylee from Kylee Cooks says
We’re about to buy our first RV to use on weekends and trips with our 2 sons (4yrs and 2yrs old). The electric skillet is a CRAZY good idea, as well as the instant pot.
Although we’re buying our first RV, we have borrowed them, and been tent campers, so this is a brilliant blog for me!
Will likely be posting a bunch of camp-friendly recipes on my blog one day. Will be reading all your archives to show me stuff I haven’t learned yet. Thanks for posting this 🙂
Denise Obenlander says
We typically hook up to the water source at the camp sites and drink bottled water, (we don’t use the reservoir. Being new to camping/RV’ing, I’m scared to consume the water from the RV (what if the pipes are moldy!) Are you using bottled water in your Electric Kettle, or water from your RV faucet?
Thanks for the tips, I can’t wait to put them to use!
Just FYI, in case you didn’t get an answer to that question…I use water from our faucet in the electric kettle unless we’re boondocking and using the generator, then I use bottled water.
I have one of the pressure cookers and love it. When we’re camping there are to many fun things to do and the pressure cooker is great for fast cooking and you don’t have to watch over it. Push a butten and walk away. I also have an electric skillet and griddle. I just bought the Copper Chef square deep and shallow skillets. I am loving these. I am throwing all my other skillets away. I can also cook with them in the oven. Check them out. We are going full time real soon and will be getting a large fifth wheel. I can’t wait to get on the road.
Well, we purchased our fifth wheel but haven’t sold the house yet. I love our fifth wheel trailer. It is like a small apartment. We can’t wait to go in it full time.
Love your blog. Just wanted to share. If you liked the rich coffee from the French press but just hated the mess (like me) you have to check out the aeropress.(tons of YouTube videos) So quick, easy and delicious! Clean up is a breeze and it’s small. My favorite way to make coffee no matter where I am.
I was also going to suggest the aeropress. It makes delicious rich coffee. Fast and super easy clean up. We have a little dog, so I have lots of “poop bags”. I’ll use them to pop the coffee pucks into so the trash isn’t stinky. 😁
thank you for such helpful information everyone. I am picking up my motorhome in 4 weeks. I have rented motorhomes in the past and always enjoyed cooking. It seems less of a chore when you are parked by a lake or the ocean! Because of your advice I have purchased a instant pot and ceramic coffee filter. I agree with the turkish/cotton towels. They can be used for more than a towel. Tablecloth, pillow, shawl, picnic cloth, shade for sleeping babies etc I have also purchased the Smartspace Stackable pots which include 3 square pots and a skillet. Maximizing storage is important to me, along with gourmet food.!
Thank you again. RVing in New Zealand.
Just Roll With It says
My hubby and I use a toaster oven and love the multi-tasking. It is great for toast, cooking sausage links, baking muffins, roasting veggies….name it. We don’t have to use our propane which the oven would demand. We are blessed with a good bit of counter space and we found the perfect nook on a side table with a no-slip mat underneath when we are heading down the road.
The electric water kettle sounds like my next purchase for sure. Love the electric pot idea too. Any thing to save on a little propane.
Love your suggestions. We have and use several of the items you mentioned. We’re fulltimers since 1993 and have recently made the very difficult decision to hang up the keys. One thing you didn’t mention is a toaster oven. Ours lives on the dinette table, which some folks would find inconvenient. With only the two of us it isn’t in the way, and it’s used on a daily basis. Toast or croissants or cinnamon rolls, etc., in the morning with coffee from our 2-cup Mr. Coffee. I also bake in it, as it’s big enough for a Bundt pan or a single cake layer or a casserole dish. It has a convection feature that we use a lot, cutting way down on baking time. I can put it on the picnic table for baking in the summer months if it’s going to interfere with the AC. We have replaced our six-gallon water heater with a residential 12-gallon tank. Wow! What a difference. We recently replaced our Dometic fridge with a residential one, which is much lighter and gives us 3 cubic feet more, and fits perfectly in the same space as the old one with NO modifications. A couple of years ago we took out a big chair and used that space for an apartment-size upright freezer. I don’t know if all these things will make the motorhome less or more desirable to potential buyers, but we made the changes to suit our needs and the chips can fall where they may! Keep the interesting posts coming, and be safe on the road. 🚍☺
Jennifer Perry says
I am intrigued with the idea of the Instapot but I am scared of pressure cookers in general so I am still on the fence about getting one. My go to’s: The Krueig – I have the small version and use it for coffee, tea and a version of the electric kettle when I need a little hot water. My 4qt crock pot, a small rice cooker, Webbie Q portable propane grill (for when we are under burn bans) and the workhorse our dutch ovens. I just recently put an electric roaster in the basement as a spare oven also for when we are under burn bans. It is fairly light weight and does not take up much room. My husband does 90% of the cooking outside with the DO’s but we have found that back up plans are needed when camping.