9 Essential Phone Apps to Add to your RV Tool Kit

9 Essential Phone Apps to Add to your RV Tool Kit

We are sharing a fresh list of 9 essential phone apps to help make your RV life a bit easier this month. Some of these you might have heard of before, but we hope there is at least 1 or 2 on the list that are new to you. Here is our list of the top 8 tools worth checking out:

RVing Phone Apps for both Apple and Android:

  • Gas Buddy– it’s free and helps you find the cheapest gas in your area on the go! Gas prices are for USA and Canada only…and for every gas price reported you’ll earn points toward prize giveaway entries…They give away a $100 gas cards to keep reviewers motivated to share info.
  • Trucker path – No matter what type of RV you have, we all know it’s easier to pull through a gas station that is made for longer, bigger vehicles.  Trucker Path will help you find the closest truck-friendly gas station, let you know if overnight parking is available nearby, inform you of low clearance issues, while also giving you access to navigation, real time overnight parking estimates, and reviews from their 600K drivers updating info.  This app is also claims to show which Walmart locations are overnight stay verified. (for iphone users try Truck Stops and Travel Plazas)
  • RV parks & Campgrounds by ParkAdvisor (both) – this app shows a map and users click on their state and keep enlarging to see map pins that show RV Parks. While it does not claim to be an all-inclusive list, after a few clicks we discovered many of RV parks that appeared to be reviewed by seasoned travelers.  Comments were clearly written to inform new travelers of key issues that RVers would want to know about like “many dogs roaming the park”, or “not a ‘resort’ by our definition, wooden steps had been built for several, decks had been added for several, and the bath house was in bad need of repairs”, or “Great campground with beautiful park. Spacious, paved, shaded camping spaces each with a picnic table and fire pit…
  • Oh Ranger! Park Finder is an excellent resource for RVers too -Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder contains an exclusive database with information on thousands of different types of public lands, which can be searched to find activities like RVing, Hiking, Boating, Camping, etc.
    The app scours databases that include info on several different types of public lands including:
    National Parks
    • State Parks
    • National Forests
    • Wildlife Refuges
    • Bureau of Land Management (BLM) sites
  • KOA App– allows users to filter, reserve, and mark campgrounds as a favorite in the app… and driving directions and KOA campground info is supposed to be available off-line which can be super helpful!
  • WeatherBug (for Android and Apple) -When driving and traveling, accurate and current weather info is important for both safety and sight-seeing plans. WeatherBug, the best free weather app, powered by the world’s largest network of professional weather stations, providing the fastest weather alerts, real-time weather conditions, accurate hourly forecasts & 10-day forecasts, 18 weather maps including Doppler radar, satellite, lightning alerts, precipitation, local temperature, local pressure, local radar, wind chill, heat index, humid, wind, pollen, UV and much more!

RVing Phone Apps that are Apple Only:

  • All Stays Camp and RV (iphone only) is on almost ever app review list we found on-line. For those with iphones, a few clicks gives users info on areas to camp and RV.
  • LifePics is an app that is free and lets you order all of your iphone photos throug the LifePics Photofinisher network.  This is network hsa over 18,000 stores located all over the world where you can print your photos and pic them up at places like CVS, Office depot, Ritz/Wolf Camera, etc.

RVing Website we had to include that’s not an App:

  • RVDumps.com – this is not an app- but we tested it on our mobile phones and the website appears to be mobile responsive. Plus, we could not find another app that provides dumping station info nationwide.  Using a mobile phone as a hot spot, or using free wi-fi at a restaurant, RVers can hop on RVDumps.com and find a geographic map of the US and then navigate visually by selecting a state, and selecting different push-pin location markers for dump stations.  What’s fabulous is the little pop up for each push-pin will show if the dump station is supposed to be free or if a fee is required. It also appears as if the free dump stations might color coded differently from the paid dump stations. When testing the light blue ones seemed to be free and the dark blue icons appeared to be paid.

There are plenty of other travel apps and sight seeing apps to choose from, but with these top picks installed on your phone you’ll be well on your way to a successful trip this spring!

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Top 3 Reasons Why Renting an RV is a Smart Choice.

Top 3 Reasons Why Renting an RV is a Smart Choice.

The main reason why renting an RV is a smart choice-

How do you figure out if renting an RV is a smart choice? If you plan to use your RV the typical number of days per year (27) and you purchase your RV on credit, you will pay a premium of $200 more per day for the privilege of ownership versus renting! To make ownership finacially worthwhile you need to use your RV about 40 days per year if you buy the RV outright, or about 50 days per year if you buy the RV on credit. On the other hand, for those who live full-time in their RV, the costs per day can be well under $100. (from “Rent vs. Buy” by Dave Neale.)

More reasons why renting an RV is a smart choice;-

There are other solid reasons to rent an RV before you buy one for yourself of your family:  (1) experience the difference in driving different types of motorhomes – handling a small Class C can feel a bit different from driving a longer Class A.  Trying each size out for a weekend (or a week) can save you the experience of purchasing new and then up/down sizing.  Are you as comfortable parking the Class C as the Class A? And yes, we know there are Class Cs that are of similar length to the Class As…so try ut the different lengths and see what feels comfortable for you and your driving partner. (2) Try out a couple of different floor plans. Why? well the bunk over cab may sound great…but what if your kid doesn’t like sleeping up high? What if navigating to the restroom at night from the bunk was more effort than they thought it would be?  Can everyone use the shower with ease?  These are experiences only gained by staying in an RV overnight. (3) Do you have a truck or SUV? If so, you may discover after driving a rental motorhome that you would rather park a travel trailer and drive your regular vehicle around to sight see and then return to your sleeping place in the evening.  My sister and her husband bought a Class A (used), gutted and refurbished it, and then decided they would rather tow a 5th wheel they could park and drive their truck for sightseeing…

Learn more about renting at BankstonRVrentals.com

-by Tanya H. Miller

Marketing Director

Bankston Motorhomes, Inc.

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Thor Chateau 28Z Motorhome Review

Thor Chateau 28Z Motorhome Review

Our family took out the Thor Chateau 28Z recently.  This was our first trip in a Chateau, and it was noticeably smaller than the Forest River 3011DS (29ft 11 inches versus 32 ft 3 inches in the 3011DS).  However, even with about a yard difference in length, we had ample room for our family of four.  The Chateau is designed to sleep 7, but that may depend on the size of your travelers.

Reviewing the sleeping lay out, let’s start with the dinette that converts to a sleeping space.  Our 9 yr old son had no problem sleeping in the space, but it might be tight if your kids are a bit older or larger.  However, the bunk over cab area is quite spacious and does not disappoint.  Plus, the sofa across from the dinette converts to a queen.  Therefore, if your family has a few teen-age kids, there is ample room for at least 2 in the bunk over the cab, 2 on the queen sleeper, and one on the dinette (2 if they are small!).  Including two more adults sleeping in the bedroom this Class C will easily sleep 7.

A couple of other positives worth noting: there are plenty of seat belts for travelers to choose between when riding in the cabin of the RV.  The dinette had two seatbelts and the sofa had three, so passengers have good seating choices when riding along. We also liked that the ladder for the bunk over cab could stay down while my son slept in the dinette area. This made it easy for the bunk sleeper to get down and visit the restroom at night, or get a drink from the kitchen, etc.  There were plenty of plugs for our electronics in the Chateau as well.

This was also our first time going to an area that had no campsites available.  Due to the lack of camp parking & the influx of travelers, we chose to stay in a Walmart parking lot overnight.  The Chateau had plenty of privacy blinds and finding a place to park was not an issue at all.  My husband had called ahead to ask (just to be safe!) and the manager on duty suggested that we part around the side, so we did.  The only surprise we had was in the morning when I walked out – there was a Class A parked in the next aisle over.

To summarize, we found the Chateau very comfy.  The few ‘cons’ that we noticed were the turning radius (my husband commented on this while navigating the 2 lane county roads we took to avoid I-65), the lack of stabilizers to help it rock a bit less while parked, and the smaller restroom (as compared to the Forest River 3011DS with the shower on one side and the lavatory on the other).

The Thor Chateau has a few key ‘pros’ that make it an excellent choice for those that want a Class C under 30 feet long.  First, it has a very efficient floor plan that allows for good movement throughout the RV.  Second, it sleeps 7 very easily.  Third, it has an abundance of windows – so for those that like to see outside from their bed, there are windows by every sleeping area (3 in the bedroom!) that make for excellent views from almost every space.

For a smaller Class C with plenty of sleeping areas, the Thor Chateau is worth checking out.

P.S.  This content was originally shared in our “From the Road” newsletter, so if you enjoyed this post- please sign up to get our newsletters in the future!

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Forester Forest River 3011DS RV Review

Forester Forest River 3011DS RV Review

 

     We are novice RVers so the Forester 3011DS is the first motorhome we’ve ever taken out on the road. For starters, we have a boy (9yrs) and a girl (11yrs) so the multiple sleeping options were great for enabling everyone to have their own space.Specifically, the cab over bunk option with the privacy curtains and cup holder made it seem like my daughter had her own little room. She quickly figured out she could control her own light and air vent, so she was very happy. Given that my son was a bit jealous, she invited him up to hang out with her in “her space” while my husband whipped up a quick dinner.  (I also made a quick trip up there and would like to note there was plenty of room for the two of us. My daughter is 4′ 10″ and about 120 pounds as well. With the max weight of 220Kg, two kids could easily sleep in the bunk over cab.) With the safety netting it also provides some good extra storage for bedding, blankets and pillows while on the road.

 

      We are not “foodies” while we are on the road, so most of our cooking was more basic in nature. My husband and I both cooked eggs and sausage for breakfast and some hot dogs for snacks. The propane 3 burner stove made breakfast a breeze in the morning (we ate lunch and dinner with friends.) That said, the fridge had plenty of room for us for the weekend. Truthfully- there was more than enough room for a 3 day weekend and we had a full gallon of milk in the fridge the whole time. We did have to make an effort to tidy after every meal, because the long counter along the kitchen side seemed to encourage leaving things out. That said, it was good to have the counter room to set out plates and cups with food on them for the kids to take to the dinette.The sofa converts to a queen-sized sleeper and was quite large once opened up. To keep things simple, I brought a fitted queen size sheet from home and slipped that right over all the sofa cushions so it felt more like a bed to my son. With a blanket and a pillow he was all set, and picking up in the morning was quite easy. The only downside to the sleeper sofa being large is that once it was down, it was harder to get to the bunk over the cab to wish my daughter good night. It also cut off access to the seats in the cab, but since we put up the privacy curtains first that was also no big deal.While talking about the interior living space it is worth noting that there are plenty of TVs (3 to be exact) and that all the inside and outside speakers can be controlled from one central panel. There is also a main control screen by the dinette and in the bedroom so lights, AC, propane, etc., can all be controlled by the touch of a button.One of our biggest surprises was the queen bedroom! My husband and I share a king-sized bed at home, so we were unsure about what kind of sleep we would get in a queen. (Especially since an RV queen is a bit smaller than a standard queen.) The mattress that comes in the 3011DS is outstanding! While it was a bit smaller, it made up for the size in comfort. Again, we brought sheets and a blanket from home, and once the bed was made up it was quite cozy. Also, the slide-out gives the back room the feeling of being a bit more spacious, but the small walk space in front of the wardrobe is really not suitable for a larger person. I am 5’2″ and 120lbs and I found it a bit tight. I could stand, and open doors and stuff, but often found myself sitting on the bed while getting items in and out of the wardrobe. The wardrobe itself is lined with cedar, which was a nice surprise. Cedar is a natural bug repellent and has a nice light scent too!

      Everyone talks about the small showers and bathrooms in RVs, so I would like to share a couple of things we noticed about this model that made it very functional. The multi-purpose bathroom door made it much easier for individuals to maintain their privacy while showering. Since we were at the lake, all of us needed showers in the evening, and we were all able to cycle through that process by closing the bath & bedroom section of the motorhome off, while the rest of the family hung out in the living area eating and visiting before bed time. The shower also has privacy glass- so you can see a body in there, but not the actual person. The privacy glass came in handy when one person was in the shower the next morning and another needed to use the toilet. Once again- the double duty door afforded the person that needed to relieve themselves their privacy without taking privacy away from the person showering.Since we were only out for a few days, and were at an RV resort, we were hooked up to city water and power. That said, my husband did empty the black water and grey water with no issues. When we were doing our walk through at the dealership, our tech commented on how “nice” the black tank hose was. These new hoses use clamps to secure, rather than a twist-type seal, which made the hook up and take off super-easy.Also, we drove to the RV park on Friday night, on Memorial Day weekend. My husband said the 3011DS handled “okay” but since he drives a sports car, he noticed a good bit of slack in the wheel. It was not as responsive as he was used to. However, after the drive back during the day and said it was much easier and he felt much better on the 2nd drive.In closing, the 3011DS is a sweet Class C that will easily sleep the 7 as specified. For us, we felt that having 7 in the unit would be a bit full, but for our family of 4 it was perfect. For our first trip out, we were really pleased with all the storage and how easy it was for people to have some personal space at the end of the day. We can definitely recommend this unit for a family of 4-5.
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