youtubeWith the interest in RV camping at an all-time high, the competition for campsites with a shore power hookup is fierce. What’s an RVer to do when all the electric campsites are reserved and only “standard” non-utility sites are available at your favorite campground?

You could spend hundreds or more, likely thousands of dollars, equipping your RV with a generator or a solar/inverter set up OR you could equip your RV with the following 9 items that can be used in place of their 120-volt dependant shore power cousins.

  1. Charge your cell phones and other electronics with a 12-volt USB adapter (aka car charger). These can be connected to a 12-volt outlet in the dash of the tow vehicle or motorhome or a 12-volt outlet in the living space of the RV.

  2. Use a stovetop toaster on your gas stove instead of an electric toaster. Many RVers prefer the “Camp-A-Toaster”. Another option is toasting items under the oven broiler.

  3. Use a stovetop coffee maker for your morning caffeine fix in place of the electric version. Since many reading this are located in the Seattle area and insist on a morning espresso, I would suggest purchasing an Aero Press Coffee Espresso Maker which is the choice of many dry camping RVers.

  4. Consider using solar yard lights around your campsite when you don’t have 120 volt shore power available to run your patio lights.

  5. Consider carrying a 12-volt box fan or self-contained battery operated one to circulate air in your RV on stuffy days.

  6. Use a Whirley Pop Popcorn Maker to make popcorn instead of your microwave oven. Don’t have the space in your RV to store a Whirley Pop? Go old school and bring some Jiffy Pop Popcorn with you and pop it on your stovetop. Yes, they still make it! Added tip: The microwave makes a great bread box or cookie jar when you find yourself camping without a 120-Volt electrical source.

  7. A 12-volt DC curling iron that operates off the battery(s) in your RV can be used in place of the 120-volt AC equivalent you use at home.

  8. You might consider carrying a small inverter until you consider yourself a seasoned dry camper. An inverter can be used to power/recharge small low wattage 120- items like your satellite TV receiver, 120-volt chargers for items like a shaver or SLR camera battery, cordless drill, tablet, etc.

  9. If you travel with other essential items that you typically operate on shore power, such as a C-pap machine, research whether there is a “car adapter” available allowing you to operate the device via the 12 volt battery(s) in your RV. Many times there is.

Desert DinnerMany of these items aren’t new—many were how our grandparents “survived” back in the days before there was electricity available at campsites, microwaves, espresso machines, cell phones, etc. By equipping your RV with these items you will find yourself ready to accept a non-electric site when all the electric sites are booked at your campground of choice. And, you will be helping to enable yourself for "Hitting the Road with No Reservations".

Questions? Comments? Please add your thoughts below.

Dave Helgeson
Author: Dave HelgesonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Dave Helgeson is the MHRV Show Director. He and his wife love to travel across the west in their RV. Dave writes about all things RVing but loves to share destinations and boondocking advice.


+1 #1 C Nalley 2021-06-01 06:09
To keep the inside cooler cook outside with propane burners and grills or over a campfire. Cooking heats the inside of RVs considerably. Popcorn can be popped in a sauce pan with a little oil and a lot of shaking, just like mom did. 20 years ago no one had outside lights or felt the need for them while camping, we used flashlights quite successfully.

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