(this is an excerpt from my book: The Spartan RV)
There is an old Zen saying – “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” What that means is that even though you may have really arrived at the pinnacle of mental states and internal peace, life still goes on. You still need to perform some basics.
The same applies for the Spartan RVer. You may have reduced your lifestyle, but you still need to have some things. Not all things are bad. The whole idea is to have what you need and very little else. It is NOT to have nothing.
There are some items that I would consider so important that I would say they are essential. Some of these things would be on my “essential” list.
* Scanner/Printer combination – I have been using Epsons for several years and have found them more reliable, easier to use, and longer lasting than Canon’s and HP’s. This is critically important because it is a portal in and out of your digital life. You have to be able to scan things. I like a scanner much better than digital photographs from your cell phone. They are much smaller, better auto cropped, and don’t get mixed in with your personal photographs. You get to avoid sorting pictures on your computer. I also think you need a printer. I’m always printing something – without a printer the inconvenience factor would be really, really high.
* Computer Laptop – I think a computer is essential. It stores your digital life. It is a communications portal. You can share your digital life with it. You can order things with it. You can do things with your computer that you can’t do with a smartphone or a tablet. Plus isn’t it nice to have a keyboard? I cannot, under any circumstance other than editing video, see the need for a desktop computer. A laptop should do it.
* Cell phones – I think this is critical. I for one would not live without a smart phone since it can get rid of so many other things like GPS, Cameras, Camcorders, Voice Recorders, and more and more and more. These things really are amazing.
* Backups – There is no real way to stress how important backups are. You CANNOT successfully back up your equipment to disk drives inside your RV. If your RV burns down you are toast because your originals AND your backups will be destroyed. We backup things to a 3rd party, OFF SITE company called JustCloud. I give them my strongest possible recommendation – click here to learn more about JustCloud – It works on pretty much everything: Mac, PC, Linux, Android, IOS, and heaven knows what else. I use it every day. I feel quite confident that my stuff is very, very safe.
* RVing items that are awfully handy to have when you need them:
- Stinky Slinky
- Stinky Slinky adapters of all kinds.
- 30 Amp Cable / 50 Amp Cable
- 30 to 50 and 50 to 30 Amp adapters
- Drinking water hose.
- Extra water hose.
- Kitchen water pitcher that filters your water
- Emergency whole RV water filter
* Modest Toolbox – I recommend a tool box with a reasonable set of tools. It is important to clearly draw the line between RVer and RV repair specialist. The RVer has enough tools to do the basics and knows how to use a phone. The RV repair specialist has an entire truck full of tools. A reasonable set of tools might be:
- Pliers & Vise Grips
- Crescent Wrench – focus on adjustable tools rather than complete sets – this reduces weight and space.
- Screwdriver Set, modest though – focus on manual drivers to save weight
- Tire wrench – just make sure you have one somewhere
- Jack – just confirm you have one
- Electric Air Pump – Make sure it can go pretty high in PSI.
- Tire Pressure Gauge -You’ll need this.
- Teflon Joint Tape – Lots of water hoses on an RV. This comes in really handy.
- Small Voltmeter – Excellent for measuring battery voltages and checking RV Parks electrical outlets BEFORE you connect.
- If you think I’ve missed something, send me a note.