Chris & Shawn’s Favorite Camping Gear

Chris & Shawn Hawyood

We have been traveling full-time in a 28′ Airstream for 4.5 years now. Departing originally from Atlanta, then a second time after jumping off the road to renovate a house in Asheville NC. Shawn has been an entrepreneur and working remotely since 2001 and Chris pull the company plug back in 2015. The original plan to move into a camper was hatched and executed in a very brief 6 weeks, since then we have found our favorite things that make the day to day life a bit easier.

best portable solar panels with cows

200 Watt Renogy Solar Suitcase

We love our ground deploy solar. We currently have 2 of these units (w/o the built in charge controller) wired to a Victron Smart Solar 100/30. Having 400 watts on the ground that you can aim at the sun is great. It does require a bit more work, you have to be aware of the wind conditions, and change the angle throughout the day (or you can simply lay them flat down). Its nice to be able to park the rig in a more shaded area if needed, or have plenty of power on the overcast days (we also have 4 100 watt Renogy Eclipse panels on the roof into a separate Victron controller. Another advantage is once we know the sun angle for the morning, we tilt them first thing (normally when the dogs go out) and we are typically fully recharged by 10 am, just as the roof panels are really starting to wake up. Just a little extra energy independence.

best mat for airstream outside

Prest-O-Fit Aero-Weave Breathable Outdoor Mat 7.5 x 20

We cannot recommend this piece enough. Its the perfect size to really make use of a large awning, looks nice, and has been incredibly durable. One of its best features is that you can lay it directly over grass or any type of foliage for that matter, and it will still be alive and well after weeks of sitting there. At some places we have even had to pull the mat up to either let the landscapers cut the growing grass, or to re-cover the grass that had begun to grow through the mat. It’s nice to be able to have a great spot out in the forest and know you are not killing everything outside your front door. A little hit of its durability, we have used this mat for over 6 years now, and it is just beginning to show some damage (some of the fibers are breaking at the fold lines (folded up the same way probably 200 times)). And this includes it sitting in one spot for 2 years while we AirBnB’ed our Airstream. It sat on gravel in the sun, rain, snow, and ice with metal leg chairs and table.

cordless rv vacuum

Makita 18v vacuum

We originally got this little vacuum because it matched up with the lithium batteries that we already had for our drill combo kit. But after owning it for a few awhile it turns out this thing is a little power house. It does excellent with wirey dog hair on our linoleum floors, and the various rugs that we have had, and because it’s a “shop” style vac, it is equally at home sucking up chunks of mud, metal shavings, screws, and whatever else ends up in the floorboards. You do have to remove the battery to charge it, which is less convenient that the Dyson everyone seems to love. And if you have carpeted floors, the Dyson will do a better job due to its brushes. But for the price of that Dyson you can get an awesome drill combo kit 2 batteries and a vacuum.

camp chair love seat

Kelty Low Loveseat Chair & Single Low Chair

This chair combo is great. You can cuddle up next to your lover or the dogs on this two seater, and have a great matching solo chair. Neither one of us are super tall, so the low chair is what we prefer. Its a bit more of a lounge feel, and allows you to stretch your feet out a little better than the typical camping chair. The love seat folds up very compact, just slightly larger than the single. They both come with protective/multi use bags. The roll style bags are great to use as a little sitting mat, a throw out dog bed, and something to lay on when you have to crawl under the car or trailer. They also have side insulated cup holders (mesh bottom allows the sweat/spills to drain), and a flip out piece of insulation depending on what size your cup is. Is can even safely hold a coffee mug with a handle!

BPA-Free water jug

Reliance rhino 5.5 gal water container

The go to water jug. The sides lock together well when they are set side by side, so they rarely tip over. Some folks complain about them leaking around the caps, but if you take a few minutes while you are sitting around a nice camp fire and with a paring or pocket knife and clean up the plastic molding remanence on the threads, that pretty much eliminates all the leaking. They are easy to carry, and have a nice ergonomic grip at the bottom for tipping/filling.

frying pan

Stone Earth Frying Pan by Ozeri

Great frying pan that is both paleo friendly and gluten free! For real though, its non stick and free of the chemicals that make you grow extra fingers and toes. Light weight and durable.

trampoline rv exercise

Folding Mini Trampoline

This one may not be for everyone, but it should be. It’s hard to have a frown when you are jumping on a trampoline. Being a small trampoline it has its limitation, no double bouncing, no triple backflips, and if you are over a 180lbs, you will bottom out if you try and bounce too hard. Its great to get the blood flowing and to get a little strength and flexibility training in.

Magnetic Glass Spice Jars

These little things have really strong magnets and come with nifty labels. They are easy to clean and wont rust like our old ones did. They don’t have have a built in holes for shaking, but we still love them.

airstream organized office

PAG Hanging Wall File Holder, SANNO Vacumn Hook Suction Cups, and Pencil Holder

This thing holds folders, books, computers, playing cards, journals and helps keep our table clear of clutter.
It is held in place by these nifty sticky suction cup hooks (sticks to Airstream walls like glue). And on the free end of one of these double hooks is a pencil, pen, marker, and nail file holder. You will need to talk the File Holder off the hooks for travel, no reason to risk it, and its super easy to hang back up.

door basket

Honey-Can-Do OFC-03303 Table-top Hanging File Organizer, 5.5 x 12.5 x 9.8

Using two little S hooks, this hangs from our screen door and is kind of the catch all for this you might need as you walk to the patio. Bug spray, binoculars, poop bags, dog treats, and hat/gloves in the cold season. Same as with the file holder, its best to take this off the door when traveling, but we have on a few occasions left it with no real problem.


Follow Chris & Shawn
Blog: Liberate My Life
Instagram: @thetravelinghaywoods & @2 liberatemylife
Campendium: The Traveling Haywoods


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