2018 Ultimate Gift Guide for RV’ers

2018 Ultimate Gift Guide for RV’ers

We are a few months into full-time living in our 5th Wheel & absolutely loving it. But as we grow closer to the holidays, we’re contemplating how to move forward with gift-giving. What do we get for each other? What do you get for friends or family who live in an RV or tiny house? Hopefully, we can give you some insight & ideas for your 5th Wheel Wanderers. We’ve compiled a fun gift guide for all price ranges.

Disclaimer: Click on any image for a link to Amazon (minus Displate & Beddy’s)! We do make a commission off purchases but stand 100% behind the products we recommend. If you’re going to buy it anyway, we’d love it if you went through us!

Yeti Seafoam Mug

1. Yeti Mugs

I’ll admit, I’m a hardcore Starbucks-mug aficionado. However, when it comes to keeping my coffee hot (or cold) Yeti mugs are my go-to. Plus, they come in my favorite color (mint) & less girly ones for the men in your life. They offer many sizes/options & are a great affordable gift.

2. Organization

Am I the only one who finds being organized therapeutic? Can I see some hands?! Getting our rig organized and under control is still a work in progress. We wouldn’t mind a few of these things to help straighten out our chaotic closets. There’s also a couple gifts here that we’ve put into use (Can I get an amen for shoe racks?!).

3. Board Games

We are a little old-fashioned & love to play board games. A current favorite of ours is Machi Koro—grab this one if you love strategy games. Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Apples to Apples, & even a 3 pack of playing cards are sure to keep you busy. Plus, if you ever find yourself boondocking with no power, you have these to fall back on.

letter-board

4. Letter Board

If you or your friends don’t already have one of these, you must not be a full-timer. Kidding, kidding. But really, these are a fun & Instagram friendly way of expressing yourself and they’re all the rage. You can change the sayings as often as you want & it’s a way to keep your space constantly changing and fresh.

5. 5th Wheel Wanderers Swag

Yes, yes, this IS a shameless plug. However, our gear is pretty awesome. We have anything from tank-tops and sweatshirts to camping mugs. You & yours can sport our #5thWheelWanderers hashtag or our cool logo. Either way, any 5ers in your life will love to rep the movement. Check out our Spreadshirt shop here.

World Map Decor

6. World Map Decor

We have this wood-decor navy blue map that we adore. It fit our space perfectly. We figured someone else may love it as much as we do” 

Perch Magnetic Wall Storage Containers

7. Perch Magnetic Wall Storage

I know it’s more practical storage and organization pieces. I can’t help it. These are chic and stylish as well as practical. It’s the best of both worlds and a win-win for your modern Glampers.

Keurig mini coffee Maker in mint green

8. Keurig Mini

So, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Keurig (long-story) but I can’t get over how cute and compact these mini’s are! And yet again they have that color that I’m so partial too… oh and black. Pair one of these with some K-cups & you have a killer Christmas present that is small-space friendly.

Chemex Coffee pour-over

9. Chemex

For the more hipster of your coffee-loving RV’ers, consider the Chemex and/or a fancy kettle. You’ll be sure to see them wiggle excitedly as dreams of acidless time-consuming artisan coffee dances through their heads. But I’ll be honest, you can make a mighty fine cuppa Joe with one of these.

10. Displate Metal Print

I have to move away from coffee for a minute here and give a shout-out to Displate. They offer some of the coolest metal prints. If you’re convinced you know your friends’ style well, a splurge on one of these is a must. Or just pass them a gift card for the site. They’ll love it. Plus, for every displace purchased, they plant ten trees. I didn’t copy over any of the photos, but someday I hope to be displaying one of these pieces on a wall for y’all to enjoy.

Beddy's Bedding

11. Beddy’s Bedding

I’ve seen these featured on a few of my favorite Instagrammers pages. It’s this awesome bedding that you can easily zip-up in the morning when you make the bed. While we don’t have a set yet, it’s on my wish-list! Some of the styles even have a mink-like fabric lining the inside. Swoon-worthy.

12. RV Membership Clubs

Membership Club’s can save a lot of money for full-timers, Weekend Warriors & everyone in between. There are a lot of options—KOA, Passport America, Harvest Hosts, Good Sam, & Thousand Trails—just to name a few. Check them out and gift a membership, or invest in one yourself. So far we’ve purchased Passport America and we’ve already more than paid for that membership!

Last but not least…

I know this may seem like a cop-out, but gift cards are a safe and appreciated gift option. You may not know what is wanted or needed & we are thankful for anything. Plus, we truly enjoy the freedom to purchase exactly what we want for our little homes on wheels.

Do my fellow RV’ers agree? Is there anything you’d put on your Christmas wish-list? Comment below and let us know!

Our Adventurous 7 Days in Denver

Kissing Camels at Garden of the Gods

7 Days in Denver

We left middle-of-nowhere beautiful Nebraska early in the morning to make it to Denver by early afternoon. Other than some miserable tolls that we may or may not still have to pay, the drive was pretty uneventful. I think there was some road construction, but it could’ve been worse.

Cherry Creek State Park

When we first started researching places to stay near Denver (months earlier), we realized quickly we hadn’t given ourselves enough time. Every RV Park in the area that fit our criteria was booked out or far overpriced. We realized our stay in Colorado would be short-lived. I had previously overlooked Cherry Creek because there is very little info on the state website. But being one of our only options, we booked it for a week online & prayed it would work.

We pulled into the park & went through the manned gate & were directed where to go. A short drive later we pulled up near their campground building & checked in. I stayed in the truck with Bauer. I was beyond excited when Dustin emerged with an armful of firewood. He hopped back in and we pulled the 5th wheel around the loop to our space for the week.

Y’all, I have never seen such a spacious “spot”. The closest RV was probably over 100 feet away. We had a paved pull-through spot with some shady trees. We had our own picnic table & a small fire pit. It came equipped with sewer, water, & 50AMP electrical. The layout was a big circular loop around a central grassy area, with RV’s on opposite sides of the road with at least 100 feet of space between each. We could not believe how beautiful & serene it was—we were so lucky.

The campground was full of paved walking trails, a lake with a beach where you could swim or boat, and even a large off-leash dog park. We walked Bauer along some of the trails & even had a day where we encountered a doe & a fawn frolicking in the grass. Bauer was enraptured (and pretty frustrated that we wouldn’t let him go play, too). It will forever be one of our favorite places to stay.

The Delectable Egg

The Delectable Egg storefront

Cherry Creek is also within 10 to 15 minutes of pretty much anything you would need—Walmart, Target, Starbucks, & a multitude of restaurants (side note: in all of our travel plans, I always look to see how close the RV park is to a Starbucks, Target, an ER, & a vet for Bauer). One of those is our favorite breakfast place in the US of A, The Delectable Egg.

If you’re in Denver make sure you stop in. With 5 locations in the area, you’ll be sure to find one close. We always get a skillet (The Early Riser and The Idaho are awesome) & sometimes fresh fruit & biscuits and gravy. Oh and the Peanut Butter Crunch French Toast is to die for. It’s all so so good! You will not regret it. When (not if…) you go you better send us some photos. You can thank us later for the recommendation.

Red Rock Ampitheatre

Cherry Creek was within 45 minutes of Red Rock, which we had heard was somewhere we needed to try and get to. Unfortunately, every day we were there a concert or event was scheduled. We figured if we left right when I got off work (3pm) that we could get there in time to explore a little before the crowds started rushing in.

Boy were we wrong. 

We learned two things making this little trip:

1. Plan ahead.

2. Don’t go to Red Rock on an event day unless you can go early in the morning.

When we arrived and drove into the park, we couldn’t find parking. We went to back into a spot, only to get waved off because it was “being saved for somebody”. There was an easy trail that we wanted to go on since we have zero experience. After trying to figure out the maze of a map, we drove up to what we thought was a correct parking lot.

It would’ve been the perfect parking lot. If it wasn’t already taken over by event parking. And they were no longer letting people into the amphitheater. We attempted a trail off that lot with Bauer. But we knew within a minute that it was too difficult for us to even remotely try with a dog. Nope.

We made one last ditch effort & drove around the park & up the opposite side to get to the exact lot we wanted right next to the short & easy trail. Except it was also already blocked off for event parking. We could’ve parked on the side of the road and trekked through rows of cars to get to the trail on the other side. But we were already miserable and overwhelmed and badly wanted to leave.

Garden of the Gods

Wolf 5th Wheel Parked at Garden of the Gods

We didn’t actually go to Garden of the Gods until we left Denver, because Colorado Springs was on our route to Albuquerque. It was a short hour-long drive. We tried to do a little more research ahead of this one & called the office to verify where to park. They said we could easily park by the Visitors Center with our 5th Wheel. They also said we could go up to the main parking lot with it. Being that we had no way to get from the Visitors Center to the Garden, we just drove up to the main lot.

We squeaked into the parking lot and managed to snag some bus parking on the side. We also got a pretty sweet shot of our Wolfie up there in the rocks. It was a beautiful brisk morning as we walked into the Garden with Bauer. It’s really dog-friendly there, and it seemed like every other person came with their pet. We loved that we didn’t have to leave him behind. Dustin managed Bauer while I snapped as many photos as I could. We enjoyed this experience far more then Red Rock.

 

Until we went to leave.

Getting into the main parking lot is pretty easy. But there is only one way out. A steep, downhill, twisting and turning, terrifying downward spiral. I’d use more frightening adjectives buy Y’all get the drift. We were a nervous wreck. But I did manage to hang out the window and get my favorite shot of the entire trip (below), so it was worth it. But we don’t recommend making that drive while towing your 5th wheel.

The First 2 Days in Our 5th Wheel

5th Wheel Parked at Rest Stop

The First 2 Days in Our 5th Wheel

When I first started writing this post it was going to be “Our first 8 weeks” which evolved into “Our first 30 days”. As you can see, it got whittled down to our first two days in our 5th wheel. There’s just too much to say to cram it all into one!

Driving Through Minnesota & Iowa

The day our journey began it was rainy & we had spent the majority of the day cramming any remaining items wherever they’d fit. By the last hour, we were just leaving whatever we could to be donated. If we didn’t need it, it was staying put. We packed everything in the interior tightly into place, locked it up, & hitched up. It took us a while to test our brake lights & back up the RV (for the first time, mind you) so we could pull out of the driveway.

The first Weigh-In

For the next 3 hours, we drove in the rain in the middle of rush hour traffic. Our Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) kept going off & we were an anxious mess. We made a stop midway at a roadside truckstop to weigh our truck & trailer. Dustin had already taken & weighed our truck earlier in the day, so we could subtract the truck weight from our total.

We pulled our truck & 5th wheel onto the scale & hit the button to speak to someone to record the weight. They ask for your trucker number but we just stated it was a personal vehicle. Once completed, we pulled through & off to the side so Dustin could run in & pay the fee to find out our weight. Turns out, we were WAY TOO HEAVY. Our 5th wheel had a lot of weight in it. It was enough for the trailer to handle, but we were certainly going to be stressing the tires. When we tried to get back on the road, we got ourselves stuck in a giant puzzle of semis and it took over 45 minutes to get ourselves back out.

We drove another hour or so to my sister’s in southern MN & were so tired that we missed their driveway—we had to drive another 5 minutes to just turn around and make our way back. 3 hours into our first trip, we decided that we would be replacing our tires the next morning. Our 5th wheel came in heavy & our TPMS was constantly going off saying our tire pressure was too high. We just couldn’t risk a blow-out when we had so far to travel.

Replacing the Tires

5th Wheel with new tires

After a great night spent with family, we woke up early the next morning and called local tire places until we found one that carried the Endurance tires everyone recommends. After an amazing French Toast breakfast courtesy of my sister, we dropped off our Wolfie to get the tires replaced. Brand new tires. But the upgrade was worth the money for some peace of mind.

We ran some errands & took Bauer for a walk around a small lake. Within a couple hours, we were back on the road. Our timeline was a little messed up, so we chose a destination that we would arrive at before it got dark. It was an RV Park in the middle-of-nowhere off the freeway in Nebraska.

Oh, and all we did was literally just drive through Iowa to get to Nebraska, but we went through it so I couldn’t really leave it out now could I?

Nebraska

Driving through Nebraska was the smoothest part of our journey. The roads were flat & straight with zero road construction. 5th wheel heaven.

Our 1st RV Park: Double Nickel Campground

5th Wheel Parked at Double Nickel Campground

Double Nickel was the 1st RV Park we ever stayed at. In fact, we had intended to do a practice run in MN before we officially became “full-timers”. Alas, time ran out & we realized for our first run we’d be all in. It was nerve-wracking and exhilarating. Truly a grand adventure.

We had a beautiful spacious pull-through spot under a large shady tree with a view of the neighboring golf course.  Our spot even had its own double swing that we could’ve sat in for hours. There was a small fenced in dog-park for Bauer within minutes of our spot. We would gladly have stayed there longer if we didn’t already have a reservation in Colorado.

It was also the first time we’d completely set up our rig. We unhitched from the truck, set our wheel chocks in place, and leveled. Dustin and I went our separate ways—he hooked up the water, electrical, and sewer—while I put out our slides & made the inside habitable. I make it sound easy, but we put a lot of research into how to do all of this correctly.

We took our first showers in the 5th wheel. I was super nervous because we hadn’t really tested showering with the new water heater we had installed. We didn’t know what the water pressure was going to be like & if it was going to stay consistently hot. But it worked perfectly. I breathed a sigh of relief. Oh, FYI, we will write a review on this particular water heater but that’s another post for another day.

We ate a quick dinner just utilizing the microwave, and we headed to bed to catch some Z’s before our early morning wake-up call. There’s nothing like going to sleep in your RV for the first time & realizing that it’s now your home. It felt so bizarre yet so right. Our dream was finally becoming a reality.

Do our 1st two days sound like yours? Does anyone have any fun or crazy stories from their first trip?

Hidden Space: Building a Drawer for our 5th Wheel

Kitchen View Showing New Drawer

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Hidden Space: Building a Drawer for our 5th Wheel

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1535842548313{margin-bottom: 0px !important;}”]We’ve found a lot of hidden, unused space in our 5th wheel and thought we’d make good use of it. We’ve slowly been adding more storage in the nooks where it’s available. Today I’m gonna share our process for building out a drawer to fit under our oven. Below is the before photo of our kitchen![/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”9453″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1536762994110{margin-bottom: 0px !important;}”]

Tools Needed to Assemble

1. Drill

2. Finishing Nail Gun

3. Small Screws

4. Wood glue

5. Paint or stain of Choice

6. Drawer Slides[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1536763020758{margin-bottom: 0px !important;}”]

Materials Needed

1. The front is a 3/4 inch piece of wood, cut to 21 inches wide & 11.5 inches tall.

2. The drawer itself is made with 1/2 inch pieces of plywood (or your wood of choice). The sides are 17.5 inches, and the back piece is 19 inches. The front piece is 18 inches. The bottom is composed of 1/4 inch plywood.

Below is what the pieces look like before assembling. Note the groove system we used to put the pieces together.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”9460″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1536764390977{margin-bottom: 0px !important;}”]We added a small amount of wood glue & fit the pieces of plywood together like a puzzle. Use finishing nails to secure it in place after the wood glue dries. We used small screws to attach the drawer front to the front of the drawer.

We painted it a navy blue to match the rest of our kitchen & bought matching hardware that you can find nearly anywhere. Follow the instructions for attaching your drawer slides to the drawer as well as fitting it into place (we used a piece of scrap wood above the floor on some 2 x 2 pieces of wood to attach the slides onto).

And there you have it! Below are a few photos of the finished drawer. We still plan on doing some touch-up painting & cleaning up near the floor (I’ll be honest, we had to move in before I could completely finish everything I wanted).  But we are loving our finished product & extra storage.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][mk_gallery images=”9475,9473,9481″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1536764149138{margin-bottom: 0px !important;}”]Has anyone else done mods to their kitchen and have fallen in love? Want more makeover ideas for your RV? Read our article all about how to make your outdated table modern. More to come on the other upgrades we’ve made soon![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Modern Makeover: Refinishing Our Dining Room Table

Refinished Modern Table
Refinished Modern Table

Items Needed:

  • Drill (or screwdriver)
  • Electric Sander (Or paper…)
  • Silver Spray-Paint
  • Paint of Choice
  • New Table Legs

Hey Y’all! While this post is a little more specific to Arctic Wolf owners, you can take what we applied in our design and utilize it for any tabletop. While there was nothing wrong with the table and chairs that came with our 5th wheel, it didn’t really fit our style. We wanted something more modern and sleek. We loved the fact that the top was hinged and there is actually storage inside the top base, so we didn’t want to just replace it with something else. Read on to see how we did our modern table makeover! 

Our first step was to remove the table base, which we simply unscrewed (Dustin actually used the base as a sort of side table because we sold his…oops). We then sanded off the finish on the table down to the beautiful wood grain (pictured below). It took about 45 minutes for me to sand the entire piece using a circular sander.

We spray painted the hinges on the table top silver & reassembled the pieces once everything dried. We purchased the legs from Menards for $12 a piece, but you can also purchase them at your local Home Depot, Lowe’s or here on Amazon. We used some heavier-duty screws to attach them to the table. At this point, we decided to paint our table to match the interior of the 5th wheel. The top has a coat of white on it, just enough to cover—we still wanted the wood grain to show through. The side of the table is a deep navy blue. The beautiful & Modern finished product is below! Hinges painted silver!

There you have it, a really easy way to make a traditional table modern! I’ll repeat the steps for you here:

  1. Remove the base and sand the table top.
  2. Paint table and hinges desired color.
  3. Reassemble table top to top base.
  4. Attach legs to the table.
Straight on view of table
Finished tablgese showing painted hin

5th Wheel Wanderers: Where it all Began

5th Wheel Wanderers: Where it all Began

Y’all. So. Much. Is. Changing!

Almost a year ago I sat down to write out what I thought would be our story…little did I know that our carefully crafted plan would be turned upside down…

We had this grand-but-small plan to build a tiny house on wheels. The idea crept into our heads one day as we came across Tiny House Hunters on HGTV. It piqued our interest, and soon we were binge-watching every episode. We dove into all things tiny—Tiny House Nation, Tiny House Big Living, Tiny House Builders– anything we could. I joked one day that we should build our own house, and we both laughed it away. We couldn’t imagine giving up a nice roomy apartment for the cramped quarters of a tiny house. Plus, how would it even be feasible with a dog?

But the more we watched, the more we knew we could make it happen. We researched building tiny houses, what vehicle we would need to tow it, what type of trailer to purchase, where to buy build plans, and what materials we would need. I began drawing up design ideas of our perfect little house. We prayed about it. And you know what? Things started falling into place. We decided to start moving forward.

***At the time we made this decision, we lived in Florida in an area we enjoyed with great friends. However, the cost of living was high & we realized quickly that we weren’t making any sort of dent in our student loan debt. We came to the decision that something needed to change***

We had calculated (approximately) that by living in a tiny home for 3-5 years, we will pay off $100,000 in debt, our $30,000 truck, AND have some money in savings. We could not ignore the reality of being able to pay off our debt that quickly. Also, doing this will allow us to travel. We couldn’t imagine anything we’d love more.

Here’s what we did nearly one year ago

1. We bought a truck. A Silver Ram 2500 with a Cummings diesel engine that could easily tow a 15,000-pound tiny house. This was our biggest obstacle. We needed a specific payment per month and we decided that if the dealership couldn’t meet us at that range that we would move on. But we got exactly what we wanted with the exact truck we needed. We both turned in our leased vehicles, and are driving our Ram full-time.

2. We decided there was no way we could live in our current apartment and have enough money to build a tiny house. There was also the issue of where we would build it living in an apartment complex. So we made a tough decision. A really tough decision.

We moved in with my parents.

My parents live on what could be called a small hobby farm with a few acres of land. When we first started seriously contemplating this idea the first thing we did was call up my parents. We were like “Hey…how do you feel about us moving into your basement for while?” I expected a little resistance. I mean, what parent wants their grown kid to move back home, right? Instead, my parents had to hide their excitement. Huh. One more thing checked off our list ✓ The downside? We had to leave our sunny Florida for a cold MN Winter.

3. We sold nearly all of our furniture. Even made enough money to pay back the promotion we got when we leased our apartment.

4. We worked with a builder and designed Tiny House plans.

5. We packed our remaining belongings in a 10ft. long trailer and crammed any extras in the truck, with Bauer in the backseat, & we began the long drive to MN.

Flash Forward to Where it all Changed

The season of waiting was difficult on me. We were waiting on someone to take over the lease in our apartment. Until then, we couldn’t save much. Dustin was still traveling for work, as per usual, and I was back in my parent’s basement again. It was hard to keep sight of the goal when things felt so backwards. Things weren’t going as smoothly as I hoped. For a while, people asked us “why not just buy an RV? Why go through the trouble of building a tiny house?”. For the longest time I resisted the idea—a tiny house was customizable, could be homey, and everything I wanted it to be. But I knew I was being stubborn, so we began doing research to see if an RV would be a better option for us.

I did hours upon hours of research online, looking at every brand and type of RV possible—from 5th wheels and travel trailers to Class A/B/C. I was discouraged. Everything I saw was so dated. Interiors of RV’s aren’t made for people with a modern aesthetic. We would have to do SO MUCH work to make it feel like a home to me. However, even with the work we’d be putting in, the cost would be comparable and possibly even more affordable than building a tiny home.

So I took a deep breath.

And we starting going to dealerships & really giving this a shot.

Then something big happened.

A nearby RV dealership had a tiny home on wheels available for sale. Until then, I had only seen one other tiny home. So we drove ourselves out there, venturing into the cold snowy tundra that is MN (I promise, I am not being dramatic) & we toured the tiny home. Y’all… it was tiny. As the two of us tried to maneuver around, the walls came crashing in on my dreams. I suddenly knew there was no way this would work. On our way out we checked the weight of the house—it was far greater than what we could tow with our truck. I felt so defeated. I was NOT happy. If we wanted to continue our dream of travel and paying off debt, I would have to swallow the disappointment and seriously look at RV’s.

Once we decided on looking at 5th wheels, I began to feel a peace about it. Sure, it wasn’t everything I had envisioned BUT 5th wheels are lighter than tiny homes, we had the options of slide-outs for more space, and I could still make it my own. We decided to look at new models because with the amount Dustin travels, I didn’t want to be stuck with having to fix an old RV that could break down or malfunction.

Here we are today

 

Today, we picked up our brand new Cherokee Arctic Wolf 295QSL8 5th wheel. Hot off the press. We have so many dreams and plans for this thing, but for now, this moment is enough. I can finally share with the world our grand plans & hopes for the future, and WE couldn’t be more excited. Here are our plans thus far:

August: Denver, CO

September: Albuquerque, NM

September: Phoenix, AZ