How We Downsized Our RV Outdoor Camping Gear

RV Downsize Outdoor Gear

Downsizing from our former fifth wheel to our small motorhome, we found our outdoor camping gear was too big for our storage compartments.  So, we’ll show you how found RV camping supplies that are more conducive to our smaller fun-size RV lifestyle.

 

We admit, we had some pretty rad outdoor RV outdoor and camping gear that provided a comfortable outdoor camping experience. But once we moved into our tiny motorhome, we found our outdoor gear was way too big for our motorhome’s exterior storage compartments. And because they were bigger, they were also heavier which as most RVers already know, not only is space a premium but so is weight.

So, we sold it all and started over. And that meant, back to the drawing board in finding those same things but in smaller sizes.

So, for those thinking of downsizing RVs or you just want to downsize your camping gear to save space and weight, we’ve created this list to take the guess work out. We will show you what we had and what 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 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 and connects directly to two one-pound green propane cylinders or to a 20 pound steel propane tank cylinder w/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…

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PORTABLE PROPANE TANK CYLINDER

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.

Now, with our much smaller fun-size propane fire pit we opted for a smaller 5# steel propane tank cylinder which we also refill at any propane filling stations. But now, we only use our smaller 5# tank 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.

CAMP CHAIRS

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.

Always On Liberty - Strongback Chair

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 folding 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 our 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.

RV OUTDOOR CARPET MAT

One of the first things we bought for all three of our RV’s was a good RV outdoor carpet 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 breathable 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. This RV outdoor mat is great because it rolls up to the size of a 2-liter bottle of soda. We store it 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!

Check out these other two blogs that may interest you:

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Our Product Suggestion and Product Review Disclaimer:  We will not be held liable for any misuse, injury, loss of life, damage or loss of any property from the use of any products listed in this blog. It is the responsibility of the consumer/user to read and understand the manufacturers instructions before operating.

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.

2 Replies to “How We Downsized Our RV Outdoor Camping Gear”

  1. Thanks for the tips. Any changes to your outdoor cooking arrangements? I have thought about getting one of the small propane heaters, but don’t want to bother with 1 lb cylinders, they’re just too expensive (that’s not to say they are over priced). I wouldn’t worry about landfills, there is no way propane bottles will take up more space, or be more problematic than disposable diapers.

    1. Hi Alan, thank you for taking the time to read our article. We opted for a 5 pound tank as listed in the article. Its far cheaper to fill and lasts much longer than the 1 pound cylinders. You can find them on amazon (link in article). Be safe on the road! -Lisa

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