Perfect Patio

photo by Trevor Tallman

Picture your happy place under the RV awning with friends, family and fellow travelers and the ultimate campsite setup. Paradise found!

For many RVers, summer vacations are highlights of the year, time to slow the pace, get back to nature, and reconnect with family and friends. When the sun comes up, anything goes, but twilight almost invariably draws everyone back together for dinner and drinks outdoors. With vacation season in full swing, we’ve assembled 32 of our favorite al fresco furnishings for living large and making merry under the awning on those sultry midsummer nights. From portable cookers and cozy camp chairs to mood-setting essentials, these are the things that transform an RV vacation into a celebration.

Taming the Flame

Barbecue grills are icons of summer, and the portable Weber Q 1200 ($219) takes the show on the road in fun colors that add sizzle to your campsite. Ours is bright blue, but lime green, purple and fuchsia are flashier options. The go-anywhere grill runs on LP-gas, pumps out 8,500 Btu an hour, and boasts a cast-aluminum body and fiberglass-reinforced frame. Push-button ignition and a lid thermometer make the chef’s job easier, and a surprisingly large grate sears everything from burgers to kabobs. A pair of fold-out side tables holds sauces, serving dishes and other BBQ basics.

Induction cooking is revered by RVers for fast heating and precise simmering. The portable Fagor 2X Induction Cooktop with Skillet ($99.95) can move those benefits from the kitchen to the patio. Plug it in, and the 120-volt AC cooker heats only the base of the provided 91⁄2-inch skillet or other induction-ready pan and shuts off when no cookware is detected, leaving the surface cool to the touch. A digital display shows the temperature and eight power levels.

The GCI Outdoor Slim Fold Cook Station ($85) answers the question of where to put your portable grill or induction cooktop and all the fixins’. Topped by a heat-resistant-aluminum table, the one-piece cook station has a steel frame with locking support hinges that click into position right out of the box. Four side tables fold out for condiments, serving platters and liquid refreshments (hence, the molded-plastic cup holders). The bottom rack stows a cooler or other sizable commodities, and corner hooks keep tongs and trash bags at the ready.

Flipping burgers is a breeze with the right utensils. Camping World’s Four-Piece BBQ Tool Set ($21.99) keeps things simple with a quartet of the most-popular grilling implements tucked inside a space-saving roll-up case. The 17-inch-long stainless-steel spatula, tongs, fork and basting brush are fitted with loop ends for hanging and wooden handles that keep their cool under fire.

Sipping and Supping

Picnic-table staples since the 1970s, Corelle dishes are popular with RVers for good reason. The lightweight laminated-glass plates, bowls and serving pieces hold up to the rigors of road travel and are microwave and preheated-oven safe. The only original style still in production, Corelle Winter Frost White Livingware adds a touch of class to outdoor meals. Camping World carries a wide range of this affordable classic, from dinner plates and salad bowls to a 24-piece set ($6.99 to $54.99). Additional pieces can be found at discount chains, department stores and online, not to mention estate sales.

Inviting the neighbors to outdoor potlucks is part of the fun of RVing, but insects aren’t on the guest list. To shield the main course and side dishes from crawling and flying pests, Camping World stocks a three-pack of Round Food Covers ($14.49). After dessert, the pop-up mesh covers collapse for compact storage and stay flat with elastic straps.

Tervis made a name for itself in 1946 with a technology that keeps hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold. Today, the company supplies its insulated drinkware in everything from lidded tumblers and toddlers’ sippy cups to water bottles and wine goblets. We toasted our good fortune with the 9-ounce Tervis Wine Glass ($19.99), available in Clear and Blue Infusion. Camping World offers these virtually indestructible vessels in dozens of designs that include Happy Camper and Home Is Where You Park It.

Few things are more satisfying at the end of a blazing-hot summer day than a frosty brew. The double-insulated, powder-coated Hydro Flask Growler ($64.95) keeps 64 ounces of beer or other libations cold and carbonated for hours. Even the colors are cool. Pour a tall one into the True Pint ($24.95), Hydro Flask’s similarly insulated 16-ounce guzzler, or the 10-ounce Rocks Glass ($29.95), with a spill-proof lid, and you’re set for happy hour.

Savvy RV owners have onboard water-filtration systems, but what about safe drinking water when you’re really on the go? Icon Technology Systems offers a portable solution to potable water: an easy-to-carry bottle with a filtration system of its own. The Lifesaver 4000UF ($149.95) has a more powerful filter than you’ll probably ever need, capable of removing viruses, bacteria and cysts from even murky or muddy sources. Purification is simply a matter of dipping the bottle in a creek, river or lake, or pouring the questionable H20 directly into the bottle, and then pumping the water through the filter.

BigMouth’s red, white and blue inflatables range from a super-size American-flag swimming-pool float to a three-pack of Patriotic Stars Beverage Boats ($11.99). Available from AlwaysFits.com, the blow-up “boats” keep drinks afloat in the pool and make festive decorations on the picnic table for the Fourth of July and Labor Day.
Let the patriot games begin!

Easy Living

Camping World’s 9-by-12-foot Reversible Patio Mat ($79.99) transforms any campsite into a Perfect Patio. Available in a variety of colors and patterns (ours is deep gray with decorative swirls), the expansive polypropylene mat resists fading, mold and mildew, and “breathes” to protect grass and vegetation. Reinforced edges rule out unraveling, and corner loops allow easy stake-down. Because it’s reversible, the mat can be flipped over for a fresh start.

Because some like it hot, the Mr. Heater Big Buddy Portable Heater ($151.99) takes the edge off cool evenings, warming up to 400 square feet, outdoors or in. The lightweight appliance has a blower fan and three temperature settings, and connects to the RV’s LP-gas supply or disposable 1-pound cylinders. Bonus features include quick-connect assembly, push-button ignition, and safety shutoffs for low-oxygen conditions
and accidental tip-overs.

Available at Camping World, the Portable Outdoor Fire Pit ($94.99) not only radiates warmth, it creates a gathering place for after-dark socializing and stories told around
the campfire. The fire pit features iron construction and comes with a chrome grill grate, a metal-mesh cover and a carrying case for mess-free transport. With legs that fold for compact storage, it stows easily and goes almost anywhere.

Products that do double duty make the most of RV storage space, including this pair of battery-operated lanterns. Both a light source and a bug deterrent, the Thermacell Scout Mosquito Repeller Camp Lantern ($39.99) drives off biting insects with a butane cartridge and repellent mat. To keep bigger intruders at bay, the sensor-equipped Bright Path LED CampGuard Perimeter Security Lantern ($69.99) doubles as a nighttime security system, sounding an alarm and shining a beacon when it senses movement within a 35-foot perimeter.
Kicking Back

Folding camp chairs are RV essentials, and few soothe tired muscles better than a zero-gravity recliner. These laid-back lounges cradle the body and elevate the feet to reduce pressure on the back. Camping World stocks a generously sized portable version, the Stone Peaks Zero Gravity Recliner ($155.99), that supports up to 300 pounds. Once you find your comfort zone, a locking mechanism secures the position. A pillow supports the head, neck, back, knees or ankles, and there’s even a detachable drink holder.

With the Summit Rocker ($71.99), you can rock out under the stars without disturbing the RVers next door. Built on a tubular-steel frame, the folding rocking chair is amply padded and has a wide seat, a high back and molded-plastic armrests. Like the Stone Peaks Recliner, it supports up to 300 pounds and is available at Camping World.

Bolstering our seating selection, collapsible-furniture mogul Mac Sports offers its Folding Club Chair ($69.99), a plumped-up armchair that stows in a zippered case. Made of heavy-duty polyester for outdoor or indoor use, the overstuffed seat rests on a powder-coated steel frame with large footpads that won’t sink into the campsite.

In the sweltering dog days of summer, your canine companions could use some creature comforts, too. Camping World’s Plush Pet Bed ($24.99) gives tuckered-out pooches a place to plop down and catch a few z’s outdoors on the patio or inside the RV. The 27-by-36-inch cushion comes with a thick supply of batting, a soft polyester surface and a nonskid bottom. When the cover gets grubby, it zips off for machine washing and tumble drying.

Stroll through any RV park, and next to at least one camp chair you’re likely to spot the Adirondack-style Quik-Fold Side Table ($17.99). This campsite classic from Adams Manufacturing is just right for setting down drinks, snacks and cell phones or a laptop computer. Made of low-maintenance polypropylene, the 3.2-pound table folds flat for storage. Get a pair of them.

Here’s a trick to make weathered picnic tables and splintered benches more appealing. Wrap them with Camping World’s Deluxe Picnic Table and Seat Covers ($41.99). Draw cords cinch the cheery blue-and-white-checked covers on tables and benches up to 6 feet long. Flannel padding adds a layer of softness to hard seats, and the vinyl surface means even drippy watermelon and sticky s’mores wipe off easily.

Getting in the Mood

The King Premium RV Outdoor Speaker and Light ($249) doubles as an energy-efficient exterior light and high-quality speaker that streams music from smartphones, tablets and computers. Available in white or black, the all-in-one LED fixture and Bluetooth speaker mounts permanently on the side of the RV, replacing the original porch light. An app controls the music equalizer, light dimmer and rainbow of LED colors, including bug-banishing orange.

For those who prefer compact discs and over-the-air radio, there’s the Magnavox CD Boom Box with AM/FM ($39.99). Powered by 120-volt AC or six C batteries, this top-loading portable CD player has stereo speakers and a digital display for fine-tuning radio stations and navigating audio settings. Although the new boom box isn’t Bluetooth enabled, it’s not totally old school. With a cable plugged into the auxiliary jack, it plays music from most mobile devices.

Bronze Globe Lights ($89.99) from Polymer Products do more than illuminate the patio. They set the tone for the evening. These classic etched light diffusers connect to a 30-foot coiled cord that stretches the length of the awning and plugs in to a straight 20-foot extension. The shatter-resistant lights are approved for outdoor and indoor use with up to 60-watt bulbs. Camping World sells a six-string set along with a handy eight-pack of Awning Hooks ($12.49) with nylon tabs that slide into the roller tube’s utility groove for easy hanging.

The playful LED Palm Tree ($124.99) from Ming’s Mark transforms your RV site into a tropical oasis. Brightly lit LEDs spiral up the tree’s nearly 7-foot trunk to four brilliant-green palm fronds. Approved for outdoor and indoor use, the lofty 120-volt AC display plugs in with a 5-foot power cord.

Putting the fun in functional, Vintage RV Tablecloth Weights ($11.29) keep outdoor table coverings from flying away in the wind. The canned-ham trailers and old-time pickup trucks clip to tablecloth corners to hold them in place. A matching pair of ceramic Vintage RV Salt and Pepper Shakers ($11.29) and the decorative metal RV Spinner Stake ($13.99) add to the nostalgic ambience. Wrapping up the vintage-trailer theme, the Home Is Where You Park It Basket ($13.49) not only transports necessities to the picnic table in a collapsible aluminum-frame carrier, its retro-RV graphic proudly proclaims your wanderlust. All are available at Camping World.

 

Resources

Adams USA | www.adamsusa.com
AlwaysFits.com | www.alwaysfits.com
Bright Path LED | www.brightpathled.com
Camping World | www.campingworld.com
Fagor | www.fagoramerica.com
GCI Outdoor | www.gcioutdoor.com
Hydro Flask | www.hydroflask.com
Icon Technology Systems | www.iconlifesaver.com
King | www.kingconnect.com
Mac Sports | www.macsports.com
Magnavox | www.magnavox.com
Ming’s Mark | www.mingsmark.com
Mr. Heater | www.mrheater.com
Polymer Products | www.polymerglobes.com
Tervis Tumbler Company | www.tervis.com
Thermacell | www.thermacell.com
Weber | www.weber.com
WorldKitchen | www.corelle.com

Manufacturer-suggested prices are listed, but these items are often available at discounted rates at Camping World and other retail outlets.


 

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