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Gizmos and Gadgets Abound
All sorts of things are needed on the road, so Malcolm Street shares a few items he never leaves home without
Words and Images by: MALCOLM STREET

Above: KEA River M721 in Blairgowrie

All RV travellers have a list of things we like to have with us when we travel. I’m not so much talking about the generic items like power leads, cooking utensils, sheets and towels, but items that are a bit more personal and suited to our own travel requirements.

I’m in that category but with a slight difference. Sometimes with RV related articles I have to get on a plane first and so keeping the weight factor down is a priority. Here’s a few slimmed down items  I often take along when I travel. Just in case you are like me and your journey involves a plane, make sure all the sharp and pointy items are not in your cabin luggage!


Nothing to do with happy hour drinks, a spirit level is very handy for checking a motorhome or caravan is level. A small carpenter’s level would be good when bench tops or floors aren’t quite smooth, but this pocket sized one is good for checking levels on both directions and doesn’t take up any space at all.


A problem I have come across in many a motorhome, caravan or hotel room for that matter, is there are either not enough power points or they are in odd places. Because I have a few camera and flash batteries, along with an iPad and phone devices that need charging, I tend to carry around a multi outlet power board, preferably one that includes a surge protector — country caravan parks are often at the end of long power lines. Some power boards even come with USB hubs as well.


In any RV, payload and space are often at a premium, so the development of collapsible buckets, washing bowls, cups and even kettles made from thermoplastic rubber has been very useful. I have a smaller collapsible washing up bowl that I stash in the bottom of my travel bag when on a motorhome trip. In case that might sound a bit odd, some of my trips are to New Zealand where most caravan parks have a decent sort of camp kitchen which I use quite often for both cooking and washing up. The bowl is handy for carrying cooking, eating and washing up items.


I always like to have a few basic tools when I travel, which is a bit of a trick when the weight factor is considered. As such I’m a bit of a fan of something like Leatherman or Gerber tools, which in basic form are pliers, knife and screwdrivers all rolled into one — quite compact, yet very flexible in use. There is something for every budget with a number of models with any number of gizmos. Just a footnote, these devices often have their origin in the USA and whilst there are cheaper copies available from SE Asia, often the more expensive originals end up being best value for money.


This might sound a bit excessive, but not only do I have camera gear with very small screws I also wear glasses and the screws from those occasionally need tightening up. On one slightly embarrassing time I was in a taxi in Auckland and the taxi went over a bump. A lens from my glasses dropped out as did the retaining screw. Fortunately, I was able to catch both. My problem was that I could not see well enough to fix the problem. However, my taxi driver had excellent vision and after getting my jewellers screwdriver kit out of my luggage, did the repair by the roadside. As a postscript on this matter, I always carry a set of older specs with me — at least that gives me a fighting chance for repairs! An alternative to the typical jewellers screwdrivers is something like a Canadian-made Picquic multi screwdriver which does have an easy to hold handle.


I’m one of those people who does not like to be left in the dark at any time. LED torches are really good and reliable these days. I have two, one a small pen torch and the other a head lamp — really excellent when doing something that requires two hands.


Otherwise known as a no-contact voltage detector. This might seem to be a funny gadget to carry around but I’m electrically trained and have seen more than a few dodgy looking caravan park power boxes. This voltage detector doesn’t have the accuracy of a digital multimeter nor does it operate on low DC voltages, but it does quickly indicate a possible dangerous electrical condition and is especially reassuring when conditions are wet. Mine’s a Fluke model and just like the Leatherman tools there are plenty of iffy copies around so do some research. Mine actually came from Europe where the voltages, unlike Japan and North America, are similar to ours.

I’m sure all readers have their own gizmos and gadgets but these are just a few of mine!

Tags: Camping Campervan Caravan Motorhome Camper Trailer RV Travel Essential Items KEA Spirit Level Torch Tools Power Powerpack
Category: Features
Written: Wed 01 Jan 2020
Printed: January, 2020
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