A Campground Database, Useful Apps, SUV Curtains, and More

Here are a bunch of SUV RVing-related things that readers and viewers shared with me this week. Thanks guys!

Got something else that you think the SUV RVing community might find useful? Shoot me an email and let me know about it.

A Campground Database

One video watcher and book reader (hi Linda!) passed along a website for finding campgrounds. It’s called Hipcamp. It’s along the same lines as Campendium and FreeCampsites.net but doesn’t appear quite as good as either of those for finding free places to camp. I browsed some of the areas that I’m familiar with and found that it only has established paid campgrounds. Sometimes that’s exactly what you want, so this is a good website to know about and to add to your arsenal. Check it out and tell me what you think.

Some Useful Apps

A new email subscriber to the blog (hi Gennaro!) recommended a few apps that he’s found useful on his road trip adventures (all are free except Goodreader, which is $4.99):

  • MAPS.ME – Offline maps for many places in Europe and the US. (iOS & Android)
  • GoodReader – A document reader. Gennaro uses this to read PDFs and magazines. (iOS only)
  • SkyView Free – A stargazing app. (iOS & Android)
  • Kindle – For reading ebooks (including mine!). (iOS & Android)
  • iFirstAid Lite – First aid illustrated and explained. (iOS only; Something similar for Android is First Aid Emergency & Home.)

A Clever Curtain Solution

Video watcher and fellow YouTuber Florida Girl Adventures has an FJ Cruiser and came up with a clever way of hanging up curtains in her SUV. She attached the hook side of a Velcro strip to blackout curtains and found that the Velcro stuck to the headliner on the inside of her vehicle. See the setup in action in this video (the curtain part starts at about 2 minutes and 17 seconds in).

Multi-Use Toilets

And finally, another reader/viewer (hi Richard!) sent me a link to an interesting product on Amazon. It’s the Cleanwaste Go Anywhere Portable Toilet, and Richard pointed out that it could be used as a small table when not being used as a toilet. In a space as small as an SUV, it’s always good when items are multi-use. The Reliance Products Fold-To-Go Portable Toilet is in the same vein.

(Note: This blog post contains Amazon affiliate links.)

The Poor Man’s Winch

One of my SUV RVing fears is getting my vehicle hopelessly stuck in sand, mud, or snow when I’m out in the middle of nowhere. I’ve toyed with the idea of getting a winch for my SUV but haven’t pulled the trigger because frankly, there are other things I’d rather spend that money on. But I recently found a YouTube video titled Poor Man’s Winch – Using ratchet straps for winch duties (it’s also embedded below if you’re reading this on the blog). The guy in the video talks about using ratchet straps as winches and demonstrates several possible uses that include getting a vehicle unstuck, removing a downed tree limb, and moving a large boulder.

He recommends the Quickloader brand of ratcheting strap. The selection on Amazon is OK but a bit confusing (browse them here), but it looks like HomeDepot.com has all of Quickloader’s straps for sale. The yellow one used in the video will hold 10,000 pounds, has a 27-foot strap, and costs $50. The red ones range in price from $20 to $30, depending on the one you get. One of these seems like a great thing to always have in your car for emergency purposes, both for yourself and for any other people you may encounter as you travel.

Here’s the video:

What do you think? Is this a good winch substitute for those of us on a budget?

This Map Shows Where It Is and Isn’t Snowy Right Now

I live in northern Utah, where it’s currently very cold and very snowy. I’m leaving next week for a monthlong road trip through southern Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and California, and I wanted to know how far south I’ll have to drive until I’m out of the snow. I did some searching and found this great website that features an interactive map of snow cover around the United States and southern Canada. Looks like I’ll be snow-free once I hit St. George in the southwestern corner of Utah.

To get a more complete picture of the snow situation, here are two more websites that have snow cover maps:

These are great websites for SUV RVers, vandwellers, and anyone else looking to escape the snow this winter.

I Made a Portable Camp Toilet. Here’s a Video of It.

When I couldn’t find a portable camp toilet for my SUV RVing adventures that was compact enough for my liking, I made my own. The video below shows how it works. (Click here if you can’t see the video.)

(And if you’re wondering if all I’ll ever do from here on out is post videos and never blog, rest assured that I’ll be back to blogging here soon enough.)

DIY Curtains for Your SUV, Van, Car, etc.

I did a lot of research on making curtains for my SUV before actually doing it, and nothing really appealed to me. A lot of the solutions involved drilling buttons or screws into the interior of the vehicle, and that was not something I was interested in. Other solutions had to do with using adhesive Velcro, but I didn’t want any gooey residue left behind. What I ended up doing and then refining over the subsequent months of traveling was a hybrid approach that involves a few different curtains, poster board cutouts, and more, as shown in the video below.

(Click here if you can’t see the video above.)

DIY Steering Wheel Desk for Holding Up a Laptop

I work online, and while that means that I can work from anywhere, it also means that I work when I’m on the road. After realizing that there were times when I preferred to stay in my SUV rather than make the trek to a coffee shop or library, I set about making it easier and more comfortable to work from my laptop when in my SUV. The result? The steering wheel desk that I show in the video below:

(Click here if you can’t see the video above.)