Downsizing from our big 42′ fifth wheel to a small Class C motorhome, we found our outdoor camping gear was too way big for our tiny exterior storage compartments. So, we had to get rid of all of camping accessories and literally start over. We found new camping gear that’s more conducive to our smaller fun-size RV lifestyle.
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Outdoor Camping Gear for Small RVs and Campers
We admit, we had some pretty rad RV camping gear already for our fifth wheel that made our camping experiences enjoyable.
But once we downsized into a motorhome half the size of our fifth wheel, we had a big problem. All of our outdoor camping gear was way too big, too heavy and too awkward for our motorhome’s exterior storage compartments. We had to literally scale down in size.
That meant we had to go back to the drawing board in finding new gear but in smaller sizes to fit in our tiny storage compartments.
So, if you’re thinking of buying or downsizing to a smaller RV, downsizing RVs or just want to buy smaller gear to save space and weight, we’ve created this great resource that takes the guess work out.
We will show you the outdoor camping gear we had and what RV gear we have now. But even if you’re not downsizing, you still can check out the cool gear we originally had that may fit perfectly in your big rig RV.
Propane Fire Pit
Our original full size propane fire pit for our fifth wheels was 19″ with separate carrying case that was awesome! We enjoyed many a night of warm fire outside our fifth wheel and it was the perfect size for a larger motorhome, fifth wheel or travel trailer.
However, it was just way too big for our storage compartments in our small motorhome. And, look at the comparison between sizes in the photo below!
So, not sacrificing our amazing campfires under the ceiling of stars, we bought a much more compact fun-size propane fire pit that is easy to store and even carry to our neighbors’ campsite. We downsized propane tanks to a cute little one.
Portable Propane Space Heater
There were plenty of days and nights when it was just cool enough to turn the furnace on but we didn’t want to waste our main propane supply. So, we bought a propane heater that’s used in ice fishing shacks, hunting camps, garages and even homes.
They are perfectly safe if used correctly with proper ventilation and abiding by the manufacturers’ instruction. (Please read disclaimer at the end of this article)
So, for our large fifth wheel, we used a large portable propane heater with dual burner outputs. It’s perfect because of its’ automatic low oxygen shutoff system, accidental tip-over safety shutoff, heats up to 400 square foot. It connects directly to two one-pound green propane cylinders or to a 20 pound steel propane tank cylinder with optional hose.
But our former portable propane heater was way too big for using in our small motorhome, so we opted to sell it and get the smaller portable propane heater with single burner output.
And, we and our nomad cats, Krissie and Kandi, love it too! It’s the perfect size for our 25′ motorhome! It’s also small making it easy to disconnect and separate the little green propane canisters and store in the bench seat in our dinette.
If you’re in the market for buying a portable heater for your RV or camper, we urge you to read this:
Portable Propane Tank
We used our portable propane tank for both, our large propane fire pit AND our large portable propane heater. Our first propane tank was a standard 20 pound steel propane tank cylinder which we took to any propane filling station to refill.
But now, we only use our smaller one gallon propane cylinder strictly for our fun-size propane fire pit. Isn’t it cute? It’s no bigger than a soccer ball and a lot lighter even with propane in it!
Now, for our larger 20 pound steel propane tank cylinder we also bought a longer 12′ hose assembly and regulator so we could insert the hose through the slide (when the slide was open), connecting it to the portable propane tank with the regulator end and the heater with the other end.
The reason was two-fold. First, we didn’t want to add more of those small green propane canisters to the landfills. Second, we didn’t have to worry about constantly changing out the canisters as it used more propane to heat the larger area of our former fifth wheel.
However, now using smaller propane heater, we are back to using those little green propane canisters. *SIGH* We’re not happy about that part of our downsizing but it is what it is.
Like every RVer out there, our camp chairs are a staple. They complete our outdoor living area. When we lived in our fifth wheel, we fell in love with our amazing folding camp chair with lumbar support. It was the only chair that really allowed me to sit in them for long periods of time due to my back issues.
We had to sell them to another RVer because they simply did not fit into our exterior storage compartments. Well, actually they did but it meant we had to sacrifice not having the fire pit. We weren’t willing to do that. So, out the door they went.
But now? I’m back to suffering until we can find a folding camp chair more suitable for me and my stupid back problems. Until then, we got two of these cool compact collapsible camping and backpacking chairs.
You can see why we opted for them. They fold up the size about the size of a football! This makes it so easy to pack up to take to our friends’ campsites or to events. But also, check out how small they pack up!
HOWEVER, being really honest here…
With my aging back issues, though we found those chairs not very comfortable for long sitting sessions. It wasn’t until recently when we were introduced to a similar but more comfortable high-back camp chair that had a higher seating position that was easier on the knees when getting up and sitting down.
Not saying exercise isn’t a good thing but we like to save our squats for our workout time and not getting up and down fetching our five o’clock somewhere’s.
The good thing is our high-back chairs are still compact and extremely portable for taking to our neighbor’s campfire or concerts in the park. Oh, and for what it’s worth, we did keep the smaller chairs for when we have company…or our two kitty cats!
RV Outdoor Campsite Mat
One of the first things we bought for all three of our RV’s was a good RV outdoor campsite mat. Now, what’s funny is we’ve come full circle with our purchase choices.
For our first RV, our fifth wheel toyhauler, we bought a large 7′ x 20′ breathable outdoor mat. It was made of a material that didn’t kill the grass underneath. It was easy to clean and was easy to stow. But it was huge! And, by being huge, it was also heavy.
For our second fifth wheel, we opted for a more decorative plastic-constructed 9′ x 12′ folding outdoor mat. However, though stylish, storing it became an issue in our motorhome.
But guess what? We absolutely love first mat we ever bought, so we bought a smaller outdoor mat made of the same materials as our very first RV outdoor carpet mat. It is nicely hemmed with grommets to drive our set of 6 patio rug stakes to keep our outdoor mat from blowing into someone else’s campsite.
The bonus is this RV outdoor mat is great because it rolls up to the size of a 2-liter bottle of soda. It fits perfectly in the step compartment inside our motorhome for easy accessibility.
As you see, downsizing from our fifth wheel to our much smaller motorhome requires us to also downsize our outdoor camping gear. We simply don’t have the storage compartments we were used to. But that didn’t negate our enjoyment for the outdoors. Now we just call it fun-sizing!
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We highly recommend reading the safety guidelines of all products we list or recommend.
The use of unauthorized accessories/attachments with any of the heaters listed in this blog are expressly prohibited, may cause serious injury and will void warranties. Always keep children and pets away from all portable heaters and/or heat sources. Never leave heater(s) unattended or operate while sleeping. You must adhere to applicable state codes. Be sure you purchase the correct one in accordance to your state’s requirements.