Are you looking for a practical gift for an RV (or trailer/camper) enthusiast in your life? Or, are you a camping enthusiast who just needs to have the best gadgets & accessories for your next adventure?
Either way, look no further—we’ve got you covered! Here’s a roundup of the 9 must-have RV gifts & gadgets in 2022.
- RV GPS device
- Unlimited music
- Outdoor portable speaker
- RV-friendly coffee maker
- Portable refrigerator, freezer, or cooler
- Portable air conditioner
- Portable outdoor grill
- Portable generator
- Solar charger
RV GPS device
An RV GPS is essential for any serious RVer. But you might be wondering, “doesn't Google Maps or Apple Maps already do the job?”.
Well, an RV GPS has some unique but crucial features—for example, it’ll help drivers avoid low bridges, narrow roads, and other obstacles, and generally plan their route properly. A good RV GPS will have:
- Specialized routing for RVs, that will automatically plan routes based on the size & weight of your RV.
- A database of RV parks & campgrounds.
- The ability to filter for the services that you need (such as hookups, public transportation, etc.).
- (Ideally) Live traffic & weather information, so you are prepared for whatever is coming up ahead.
The best part is that most of the new RV GPS devices come with free map updates for life, so they’ll always be up-to-date.
Our top recommendations:
Of these, our #1 pick is the Garmin RV 795. It’s the most feature-packed option, especially if you want to use it for other activities like hiking & biking. It will give you warnings ahead of adverse road conditions; it will show live traffic and weather information (when paired with the Garmin Drive app). It has Bluetooth connectivity so you can sync it with your smartphone to make calls, and see incoming messages & notifications without taking your hand off the wheel. There is even a version that comes with a built-in dash cam (RVcam 795), for about $100 more, if you'd like to record your journeys or use it as a security camera.
All of these will keep your RV person happy & safe on the road, wherever their journeys take them.
A subscription or credit for a popular music streaming service is another great gift idea for that music-loving RV owner in your life.
There’s no better way for the driver and their passengers to enjoy their journey than with music. It’s also the perfect way to strike that summer or relaxing vibe at the campground itself, especially if paired with an outdoor portable speaker (hint: see our next recommendation)!
While there are a few different music streaming services, Spotify is a great bet, because it has a huge catalog of songs (80M+), runs on almost every device, and has the largest library of podcasts. Spotify Premium is the 100% unlimited & ad-free tier, which starts at $10/month. (Buy a gift card for Spotify now.)
But, if you know that the RV owner is a die-hard Apple user, then gifting an Apple Music subscription might be the way to go. Apple also has a huge catalog of songs (100M+), as well as podcasts. There are a couple of plans:
- Basic plan ($5/month). However, it only lets you stream from Apple devices.
- Full plan ($11/month). Allows streaming across multiple devices (including non-Apple devices), plus offline listening (by downloading songs), and sound quality upgrades. (Buy an Apple gift card.)
YouTube Music is another great option, especially for anyone already familiar with YouTube. The YouTube Music Premium membership starts at $10/month, which includes unlimited ad-free, background, and offline playback of music. If your person is likely to watch a lot of YouTube videos too, then consider the YouTube Premium membership, which is just an extra $2/month (i.e. $12/month) but extends all of the same benefits to YouTube videos as well. (Buy a Visa gift card to put toward YouTube Music.)
Bonus! These streaming services all offer a free trial (1 month+), so your RV person can try them out in advance—or use the trial as bonus time before spending the credit.
Outdoor portable speaker
We really can’t think of a better gift than an outdoor portable speaker—especially since it can be used year-round, for RV camping, tent camping, and pretty much any other indoor or outdoor event.
It can completely change the experience of being outdoors. Bring the good vibes with you, wherever you go. Just be sure to get a model that's weather-resistant and has a long battery life.
- Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3
- JBL Flip 6
- JBL Charge 5
- Bose SoundLink Micro
- Ultimate Ears Boom 3
- Anker SoundCore 3
We recommend these because they:
- Boast great customer reviews on Amazon (averaging over 4 stars).
- Have IPX ratings, meaning they’re water-resistant (to varying degrees)—and some are also dust-resistant.
- Have long-lasting batteries (8+ hours on a charge).
To help you decide, we’ll say that our absolute favorite outdoor portable speaker in 2022 is the Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 3 because it’s ultra-portable, well-priced, has an impressive 14-hour battery life (some claiming up to 22 hours!), and is completely waterproof and dustproof (IP67 rating)—so you can even take it poolside or to the beach without worry. It also delivers a surprisingly good, punchy sound for its size, making it a great option for both music and podcasts.
Our runner-up is the JBL Flip 6. Like the Wonderboom 3, it also delivers decent sound quality (with EQ) and is rated as waterproof and dustproof (IP67). A couple of pluses vs the Wonderboom: it's even more portable (about the size of a large can of soup), and has a built-in USB-C port so that you can charge your phone with it. Its biggest drawback is its battery life - rated at only 12 hours, but with many customers & reviewers reporting only 6 to 10 hours per charge.
If you're looking for something a bit smaller & even more portable, we'll give a shout-out to the Bose SoundLink Micro. It's also IP67-rated, and packs a good sound (especially for its size!)—but it's so portable that you can clip it to a bicycle handle or backpack, for even more fun on the go.
RV-friendly coffee maker
Is there anything better than a freshly-brewed cup of coffee in the morning? We think not. A small-but-mighty coffee maker is the perfect addition to any RV kitchen and can make a world of difference in starting the day off right—for everyone on the trip.
Coffee makers are available in all shapes, sizes, and price points. But, for an RV, we recommend going for something compact, lightweight, durable, and easy to use.
Our top picks:
Our absolute favorite RV coffee maker is the Keurig K-Mini, which is just over 5 inches wide and 11 inches tall, so it won’t take up much counter space. It’s also super easy to use—just add water and coffee grounds, press the brew button, and you’ll have a fresh cup of coffee in minutes. It comes with a removable drip tray, so you can easily clean it, and it’s compatible with Keurig’s K-Cups, which cost about 60 cents per cup and come in tons of different flavors. One fill-up of the water will be enough for
Another great coffee maker for RVers is the Hamilton Beach 'The Scoop' single-serve coffee maker. It’s slightly larger than the K-Mini, measuring 11.2 inches wide and 8.1 inches tall. It makes coffee as easily as the K-Mini and is compatible with K-Cups and other coffee pods. It comes with a dishwasher-safe brewing chamber that you can remove and clean, as well as a remove & clean drip tray.
If you have non-coffee drinkers—or non-caffeine users—along, these are still great choices because you can brew a variety of other hot beverages, including tea, hot chocolate, and decaffeinated coffee. You can find these K-Cups or pods at just about any grocery store, Amazon, or Starbucks.
Bonus! These models all have a function that allows you to brew hot water on its own, so you have the option to use tea bags, or make instant mac & cheese, ramen noodles, or soup—without having to heat water on the stove.
You may also want to consider gifting a portable espresso maker, which is perfect for that coffee-loving RV owner who can’t start their day without a strong cup of joe. We recommend the Wacaco Nanopresso, which is compact (just over 6 inches long and 3 inches wide), lightweight (less than a pound), and easy to use. Plus, it also comes with a carrying case for easy transport, as well as a tea filter and cleaning brush.
Portable refrigerator, freezer, or cooler
A portable fridge will save an RV owner a whole lot of hassle and can come in handy for all sorts of reasons, whether you’re camping, road-tripping, picnicking, tailgating, or entertaining at home.
For example, you could use it to store food and beverages for a picnic, or as a makeshift wine fridge to keep beverages cold for an outdoor party. It’s also great for storing food and drinks on long road trips, or while camping (especially if you don’t have a campground with hookups). Just imagine: no more stops for ice, no more melted ice cream, and no more spoiled milk.
There are tons of different models out there, ranging in size, price, and features.
Our top recommendations:
- Whynter FM-45G portable fridge/freezer (45 quarts)
- Aosom Outsunny portable cooler/fridge/freezer (29 quarts)
- Coleman PowerChill portable cooler (40 quarts)
- They all have great customer reviews on Amazon (averaging over 4 stars).
- They’re all highly rated for their portability, durability, and effectiveness.
- They all support both 120V AC (indoor wall outlet), and 12V DC (RV, car, or boat outlet).
- They’re all large enough to store a decent amount of food and drinks, but not so large that they’re cumbersome to move.
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, the Coleman PowerChill is a great choice. However, it’s not compressor-cooled like the Whynter and Aosom units, so it may not be as effective in extremely hot weather, and it can’t be used as a freezer. However, if items can be pre-chilled ahead of time, you shouldn’t have any problems. Overall, it’s a great option for those on a budget.
It’s important to note that when you’re charging them from your RV (or car or boat), you’ll want to make sure the engine is running, so the battery doesn’t run out of power!
Bonus! when camping season is over, of course, these portable fridges/freezers can just as easily be used at home—such as in a basement, garage, home office, or dorm room. They’re perfect for storing extra food, beverages (yes, including beer & wine), or even medication.
Portable air conditioner
If you know someone who loves to camp in the summer, a portable air conditioner is a great gift idea. It will keep them cool and comfortable, even on the hottest days.
Just like portable fridges, there are tons of different models on the market, ranging in price, size, and features.
Our top picks:
- Whynter ARC-14S portable air conditioner (14,000 BTUs)
- Honeywell MN4CFSWW0 portable air conditioner (14,000 BTUs)
- Black+Decker BPACT12HWT portable air conditioner & heater (12,000 BTUs)
Our top pick is the Whynter ARC-14S, because it’s one of the most powerful units on the market, is energy-efficient, comes with a remote control, and can also be used as a dehumidifier and fan (3-in-1). Notably, it supports a dual hose, which is better suited for larger areas (~500 sq ft) and has better cooling efficiency. It’s very well-reviewed on Amazon, with an average rating of 4.3.
The Honeywell MN4CFSWW0 is also a great choice—it's just as or more powerful (good for up to 700 sq ft), is also a 3-in-1, and has a remote control. However, it's a bit more expensive than the Whynter, only supports a single hose (exhaust), and is a bit louder.
The Black+Decker BPACT12HWT is another great choice. For cooling, it's very similar to the Whynter and the Honeywell units, though it’s a bit less powerful at 12,000 BTUs (good up to 250 sq ft). However, this one also doubles as a space heater(!)—making it a true 4-in-1 (good up to 325 sq ft)—which is fantastic for anyone who wants to stretch their camping season well into fall (and maybe winter).
Note that all of these units need to vent to the outdoors, so you’ll need to make sure you have a window or door that can be opened or an RV vent that can be used. (If you can, wrap the exhaust hose with insulated duct wrap for better cooling efficiency.)
Bonus! Of course, these units can also be used in a home office, bedroom, garage, dorm room, or any other small space to keep cool during the summer.
Portable outdoor grill
Grilling is one of the best ways to cook while camping—it’s easy, fast, and you don’t have to use any pots or pans. And, since it’s all done outdoors, there’s very little cleanup.
Our favorites (propane):
Our #1 recommendation is the Coleman RoadTrip 285 because it’s very well-reviewed on Amazon, is very easy to set up and take down, has 3 independently adjustable burners, is very powerful (up to 20,000 BTUs), and can easily be folded—with wheels on the stand (included)—for convenient transport. It is the most powerful of our top picks and includes a lid thermometer.
The Weber Q1200 is also a great choice. It still has a built-in lid thermometer, and it's even a bit cheaper & lighter (30 lbs) than the Coleman unit (47 lbs). On the flip side, it's quite a bit less powerful (8500 BTUs), only has a single burner, and doesn't come with a stand (or cover).
The Cuisinart CGG-180T is also a good option, being very similar to the Coleman and Weber units. On one hand, it's even cheaper and more portable—weighing only 17 lbs; on the other hand, it's the least powerful (5500 BTUs), doesn't have a built-in thermometer, and doesn't have a full stand (only small legs for placing on a tabletop).
All three of these units run on propane gas, so you’ll need to buy a small propane tank (or two) to use with them. (Buy a set of 1 lb LP cylinder tanks.)
Bonus! These units can also be used at home throughout the year, on your patio, deck, or in your backyard.
If you’d rather not deal with propane, there are some fantastic electric grills on the market that are designed for camping & outdoor use. Besides only needing to be plugged in, they have the added benefit of not creating any smoke—so you won’t have to deal with smoky clothes or mosquito-attracting smells. Plus, they’re certainly the healthier & cleaner way to grill.
Our top picks (electric):
- George Foreman GGR50B indoor/outdoor electric grill
- Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 griddle
- Zojirushi EB-CC15 indoor electric grill
Our top pick is the George Foreman GGR50B, because it’s extremely well-reviewed on Amazon (4.6, with 16,000+ ratings), very easy to use, super affordable, has a non-stick coating, and is fully designed for both outdoor and indoor use. It even includes a full stand that you can remove when you want to take it inside.
Bonus! These units can be used indoors, in your RV, or at home, throughout the year.
No RV is complete without a portable generator. Whether it's needed for emergency power, or to run some appliances while dry camping, a generator is a must-have.
Here are our top picks:
When choosing a generator, there are a few questions to consider:
- What’s your budget?
- How much power do you need?
- How heavy is it?
- How loud is it?
- How easy is it to start?
- Is it easy to transport?
Our overall #1 pick is the Powermate PM2000i. It's very well-reviewed on Amazon, very quiet, and incredibly lightweight & portable (47 lbs). It's an "inverter generator"; compared to traditional generators, inverter generators produce "cleaner" current—important for modern devices (phones, laptops, TVs), appliances, and tools—and do it much more efficiently & quietly, by basically only "working as hard" as needed for active load demand. At 2000W, it will produce enough power to support lights, small devices or appliances, an RV air conditioner (13,500 BTUs), and a small RV fridge/cooler.
The Champion 201052 is a perfect choice if you want a lot more power—3800 W—e.g., to run a larger RV air conditioner (15,000 BTUs), an RV fridge/freezer, and a couple more small appliances or electronic devices at the same time. Since it's a traditional generator (rather than an inverter generator), it uses much more fuel, runs louder, and is much heavier (123 lbs). One nice capability is that it can be powered by either propane or gasoline.
The Briggs & Stratton P2400 is another great choice. Like the PowerMate, it's an inverter generator. While it's a bit more expensive, the Briggs & Stratton has a built-in auto-shutdown (for safety) if it detects harmful levels of carbon monoxide (CO). It also has a parallel port, which allows for two units to be chained together for even more power.
For all of these units, you’ll need to buy gasoline to run them. Even though the inverter generators are quieter, they all make noise, so if you’re sensitive, you may want to consider portable solar chargers (see our next product category). Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions for starting & using them.
Bonus! These units can also be used at home in case of a power outage, or a detached building/unit such as a barn or shed.
If your RV enthusiast camps off-grid, or wants to reduce their reliance on generators—or even electricity hookups on-site—a portable solar charger is the perfect answer. Solar chargers can charge the RV’s batteries, or power small electronics, such as phones, tablets, and laptops. They’re relatively easy to set up, and they'll even help save money.
In the last few years, portable solar chargers have gotten much more popular, efficient, and cost-effective. Newer models work well even in cloudy weather and don’t require direct sunlight to work.
Without further ado...here are our top picks:
- ECO-WORTHY solar kit with controller (240W, 12V, 30A)
- Renogy solar kit with controller (100W, 12V, 30A)
The first two units are quite different from the third and fourth. The smaller solar chargers—the Goal Zero and BigBlue—are primarily for charging small electronics (or a power pack) via direct USB plug-in, and are super easy to use right away. The ECO-WORTHY and Renogy are larger options designed for charging the RV's batteries (and ultimately appliances) and are a moderate jump up in terms of cost, as well as set-up work.
Portable solar charger
If you're looking for a simple solution that's also versatile, portable, and cost-effective—and you only need to keep tech devices charged (laptops, phones, etc.), rather than appliances —go for the smaller solar chargers. We love the Goal Zero the most because it's durable, foldable for transport, and even has a built-in kickstand.
We strongly recommend using a portable power pack alongside the solar charger. That way, you can charge the power pack during the day (by solar), and then use it to charge your devices at night. It'll output a more consistent current as well, which will keep phones & other electronics happy. As a tip: the power pack can be charged via USB from any other source (e.g. wall outlet), which means it can be charged up fully before even embarking on the adventure.
Consider one of these:
- Goal Zero Venture 75 portable power bank (19,200 mAh). It works perfectly with the Goal Zero Nomad 10, which can charge it in 11 to 22 hours. It's super durable (IP67 rating)—waterproof and dustproof—and has a built-in flashlight and super-fast (60W) USB-C input/output port. Plus, it stores enough energy to charge a smartphone 5 times!
- Anker 523 power bank (10,000 mAh). It's a more budget-friendly, but reliable & lightweight power bank. It has two ports—a 20W USB-C port for fast Android or iPhone charging—as well as a 12W USB port.
Installable solar kit
If you're leaning toward a solution that can charge RV batteries—and, in turn, larger appliances & electronics—go for a full solar kit. It'll be more expensive but can serve as a fair alternative to a power generator. On a sunny day, you'll get up to 10-15 amps of charging current. These units come with a solar charge controller, which is important to protect RV batteries (and other devices) from being overcharged/overloaded.
The larger solar kits need to be mounted. There are several options:
- Using included mounting brackets, which are fine for temporary use.
- Using an RV solar panel mounting kit for a more sturdy & permanent installation. These are typically made out of aluminum and will bolt/screw to your RV’s roof. Consider the Renogy Solar Panel Mounting Z Brackets, or the BougeRV Solar Panel Mounting Z Brackets.
- Using a portable solar panel stand/mount, such as one from Eco-Worthy or Renogy. These are great because they’re very lightweight, portable, and easy to set up & take down. Just make sure it's sturdy enough to support the solar panels even in windy conditions.
In all cases, you’ll also want to make sure the solar panels are positioned so that they get the most sunlight possible throughout the day.
Don’t worry—if you or the RV owner isn't comfortable installing solar panels, you can find solar installation services in most areas.
Bonus! Solar chargers can also be used at home, outside, or anywhere off-grid (yes, even a tent or yurt), to help offset electricity usage throughout the year.
Voilà! We hope that this guide helped you find the best gifts, gadgets, and accessories for RV & travel trailer enthusiasts. As always, please drop questions, feedback, and more tips in the comments—or DM me. Thanks!
Happy shopping & adventuring.
- Josta Tech