RVing is nothing new. Folks have been hitting the road for decades now, and if we flex the facts sufficiently, we may dare say that the Pioneers started it all. Afterall, wagons and RVs have a lot in common, right? Right. But if we’re honest, RVs are much more reliable, far more comfortable, and one can take you and your stuff to Oregon and back in a fraction of the time it would take an ox-pulled wagon to get to Fort Kearny. Add in the fact that RVs have clean water supplies onboard and relatively sanitary personal facilities, RVs will also get you there and back without all the cholera and death and stuff.
As if that doesn’t make you feel more civilized and a bit less brave and adventurous, perhaps we can step back just a few generations to when RVs were bedecked in gold and avocado, had faux-wood-paneled walls, and Betty Crocker curtains. Their radios, if they had any, were AM only, cell-phones were non-existent, and GPS was still strictly military technology.
What on earth did people do back then? Did they still navigate by the stars? “Head into the sunset, dear. We’re bound to hit Disney Land sooner or later.”
I have no idea.
It’s true, we are not the stuff of legends. We’re mere mortals with super-human, pocket-sized technology that would legit blow the coon-skin cap off Davy Crockett!
Smartphones may not make us rough and tumble, but what they lack in grit and endurance they more than make up for in making each and every one of us increasingly dependent on them. I mean, why suffer needlessly when our forefathers (and mothers) did it for us? Everyday we have smarter, faster, better apps that help us modern-day nomads hit the road and go all over the place without so much as folding a map or having to use a gas station restroom.
MUST-HAVE RV APPS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT!
So, now that we’re on the topic, what are some of the best and brightest stars among RVing apps? Keep reading, and you’ll soon find out!
ULTIMATE RV CHECKLIST
Whether you’re planning a trip or packing up for the next leg of your journey, getting it together can be a demanding task. You want things to go smoothly, and you don’t want to leave anything out. (Awnings for example.) Ultimate RV Checklist is a brilliant app created to help you put your ducks in a row before you begin breaking it down or packing it in. It even has list optimization so that you can add your personal touches as needed.
If you’re no stranger to RVs, you’re no stranger to gas prices. You also know that when you’re topping up over the course of a trip, even pennies start to add up. The thing is, what is convenient isn’t always going to give you the best bang for your buck. Finding gas prices lower than freeway prices, sometimes significantly lower, is made simple with the Gasbuddy app. This app uses the power of people to collect information on gas prices all over the map, and because it’s easy to refine your searches, you can find preferred brands (for those who collect points), fuel type, and area served. Further, because it’s community driven, you can help others find cheaper fuel and cash in on community incentives.
Keeping up on RV maintenance is a lot like a juggling act. It must be done well or it could end in disaster. I suppose one of the less appealing aspects of RV maintenance is that there is no thunderous applause for a job well-done. On the same note, there are plenty of complaints, and perhaps even some creative differences, that inevitably arise when the job’s done badly.
With the Autoist app, you can avoid major and minor catastrophes in both your RV, and potentially your personal life, by keeping your maintenance records, schedules checklists, and receipts all in one easily accessible place. Autoist allows you to scan and store documents and receipts, set reminders for standard maintenance, prepare for and complete routine or mandatory inspections, and guage your fuel usage all within the app. And while there is a subscription option for multiple vehicles, the lite version gives you full access for only one.
The United States may be an insoluble union, but the states so united are each unique and set apart through individual state sovereignty. What this means for the average RVer is that what was ok in OK isn’t necessarily a thing IN Indiana. (It was a stretch. Not all the jokes can be good. You have to expect that once in a while.) Fortunately, there’s an app for that, and that app is called State Lines.
There are a lot of things RVers ought to know when crossing state lines. Laws pertaining specifically to RVs, sales and fuel taxes, speed limits, seatbelt laws, etc., can all change from state to state. State Lines is designed to help you navigate these changes so that you don’t end up unintentionally violating a law you weren’t aware of.
SANIDUMPS RV DUMP STATION LOCATOR
Do I really need to explain this one? Okay. So, you do your personal business, and it goes into the nefarious black water tank. Well, do you really want to carry that stuff around with you? No. Not only is it nasty it’s also heavy, and extra weight is going to eat more gas. You paid enough for that food the first time. Don’t keep it hanging around so long that you’re paying for it again. Pump that crap out! And if you don’t know where to do this, the Sanidumps RV Dump Station Locator app can help you. It can also help you find places to fill your not-at-all nefarious fresh water tank.
TRUCKER PATH: TRUCK GPS & MAPS
So, you’ve been on the road awhile, and your RV is starting to look much the same color as the road you’re driving down (here’s looking at you, Georgia!), where are you going to wash that beast? Unless you’re at a pretty fancy RV resort, there probably won’t be access to a washing station on your campgrounds, and sitting around a filthy, dusty RV isn’t exactly relaxing. That’s where the Trucker Path app comes in really handy. So, it’s not technically for RVers, but if you’re looking for a truck stop with a truck wash, you’re going to find it on this app. You can also locate large vehicle parking, scales, showers, you name it.
You probably don’t want to get involved in the community aspects of this app unless you’re a CDL driver, but for large vehicles, this is a truly great app.
ALLSTAYS CAMP & RV – TENT & RV CAMPING
If you’ve been RVing for any length of time, you’re probably familiar with Allstays Camp & RV. This app has been around for quite awhile, and has been a favorite with many long-time campers. Book campsites in the app, find cellular coverage, Wi-Fi, discounts, amenities, and so much more. There really is too much to list, and with community reviews, you can get a good, beforehand feel of your destinations.
FREE ZONE WI-FI (Android)
This app’s title says it all. You need free Wi-Fi, it helps you find it. With Free Zone Wi-Fi, you can do a quick map search to find and access millions of free hotspots across the US. What’s more, you can get automated notifications whenever a hot spot’s available. Simple, useful. That is all.
If you’ve ever been to Wyoming, you understand just what a privilege your cell phone signal is. Coverage? Is designed to keep you connected by providing current mobile coverage maps for many US wireless providers. These maps are onboard, so you won’t need access to Wi-Fi or Data to find the nearest signal, and they can be nested so that you can view multiple carriers simultaneously.
TV TOWERS USA
I suppose there are people out there who, when faced with a lack of internet, rainy weather, or simple exhaustion (or all three, even), would rather play Monopoly or do a puzzle or something, but many of us would rather watch TV, and under such circumstances, pretty much any programming will do. (You’d be surprised by how easily entertained you might be when thrust back in time to those days before the internet happened.) TV Tower USA is an offline map of around 2,000 TV stations and 1,000 repeaters that will give you the goods on how far you are from the nearest station, and which way to point your antenna to best pick up the signal.
Now, it’s true that this app is called TV Tower, USA, but that’s probably because adding AM/FM Transmitter to the title seemed a little bit much. It’s important to add, however, that this app indeed does locate AM/FM as well, and that’s a nice feature to have when all else fails.
RV LIFE – GPS & CAMPGROUNDS
If you’ve been RVing for any length of time, you know that not all GPS is created with RVing in mind. Trips can become tricky or even dangerous when using non-RV-specific GPS. RV Life was developed for use with RVs, obviously, and by answering a few questions about your RV’s dimensions, you can create a personalized route that has been tried and tested by a large community of RVers before you. Furthermore, your destinations and route maps can be downloaded to your device so that you don’t need Wi-Fi or data to get where you’re going.
Not to go on about it, but RV Life – RV GPS & Campgrounds doesn’t have such a long name because it married into a wealthy family. With this app you can research campgrounds, find dining and local attractions, and even get real-time weather reports while connected to the web. And since it’s community driven, you can stick your proverbial oar in whenever you have something useful to share, and who doesn’t love doing that!
STOCARD – REWARDS CARD WALLET
If you’re faithful about collecting your rewards, especially those fuel rewards, this app is going to save you some serious time and space! No more key ring clutter, no more searching purses, pockets, or wallets. Just store your barcodes and go. When you head to the store, find the correct barcode and have it scanned. The end. That simple. It seems like a little thing, but if you’re fed up to the point of giving up, you could seriously miss out. So, before you fling them all in the trash, try STOCARD. You’ll probably love it.
If you’re a hardcore boondocker like I’m not but wish I was, you’re going to love Freeroam! I make this assumption because I thoroughly enjoy it, but I’m not nearly as adventurous in real life as I am in my feverishly vivid imagination. You, however, are, so you’ll appreciate Freeroam even more!
So, you, being the strong, hardy, survivalist type (I mean that affectionately and not at all sarcastically), want to go off into the wilds, and the wilds, contrary to popular belief, want people to go off and enjoy them! (Personification!) Here’s the hitch: how do you know where to go? Freeroam, of course!
Freeroam is an app designed to help boondockers like you find places to hunker down and suffer the elements for free. It has a number of features that even non-boondockers can appreciate, including travel journal creation, cellular coverage maps, grocery locators, overnight parking locators, dumping station locators, and the list goes on.
Freeroam is community driven, so if you are not a hermit as well as a hardcore boondocker, you can share your favorite places, add photos, and meet other hardy survivalist folks with whom you can gleefully swap wilderness stories! I promise, you’ll love it.
Born and raised in Detroit, now a resident of Kansas City, Azaliah is an experienced author who specializes in creative nonfiction: articles, satirical pieces, short stories, novels, and blogs. She’s got a wicked sense of humor and loves to travel!