J. Dawg Journeys

Tech Stuff

Updated:  April 2017

We all have some electronic stuff, technology, gadgets, and apps we use in our travels.  I figured I’d share mine here.

The things I use are pretty basic and not the latest technology.  I’m pretty frugal and I’m a minimalist.  I only take what I need and I like things small.  So here’s a current list of some of my RV technology stuff that I use when I travel.  Its always changing.  I show some links to items so you can explore them, if you want.

I purchased all of these products and was not compensated in any form for using them or listing them here.  I participate in the Amazon Associates Affiliate Marketing Program.  If you use these links to buy a product from Amazon then I earn a commission.  I make no warranties or claims as to how well this stuff works, just that it works for me.

Photography Gear
Panorama G Dashcam

Panorama G Dashcam

I currently travel with four cameras and each has a different purpose.  I use a dash cam to easily record video while driving.  The camera is a Panorama G (GPS) DashCam Video Recorder.  Its a small camera that attaches to the windshield with a suction mount.  It records HD 1080p video to an SD card.  A 32GB card can hold 4.5 hrs of video.  Its very easy to use and great for capturing those situations while driving when you wish you had a camera.  Here’s an article that I wrote about using it – How to Use a Dashcam.

Sony a6000

Sony a6000

My main camera is a Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Camera.  It has interchangeable lenses and I use a Sony Alpha SEL1855 E-mount 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 OSS Lens (Silver) and a Sony E-Mount 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3 Telephoto Len.  This camera has the same size image sensor that is in most DSLR’s but the camera is much smaller than a DSLR because it doesn’t have the mirrors.  It also takes great pictures and video.  I use a FotoTech IR Wireless Shutter Release Remote Control with this camera when its on the tripod or monopod.

The Sony a6000 can support filters. I use a circular polarizing filter on sunny days to reduce glare.  I also started using a neutral density gradient filter when conditions are bright to help avoid washout or under exposure of certain parts of a shot.

My back up camera is a point and shoot Canon PowerShot G15 digital camera.  It is super compact (fits on my belt) and takes great photo’s.  I bought it because is has a super fast lens (F/1.8) for close ups, low light, and wide angle.  It also has a good sized sensor (1/1.7 CMOS) for a small camera.  I also wanted a camera that was small and I could have with me at all times. I have a wired Remote Shutter Release for this camera.

The last camera I use is a Canon Vixia HF R300 video camera for creating certain videos.  This is an older entry level hand held video camera, but it takes excellent HD video.

I carry a Dolica Proline Aluminum Tripod, a Dolica WT-1003 monopod, and I added a VertiGo Selfie Stick that can handle a smartphone or small camera.  Some of my camera’s have small sensors and basic lenses so I try to use the monopod and a remote shutter whenever possible to get a sharp photo.

Lastly on photography stuff, I use Photoshop Elements for fixing and enhancing my photos.  I also use Cyberlink PowerDirector for video editing.

It doesn’t take a big fancy thousand dollar DSLR with a thousand dollar lens to take good photos.  The key to taking good photos is understanding photo composition, finding the right light, and using lines.  I’ve read a some photography books that helped with learning this.  Also, the little things like the filters, remote shutter release, monopod, and software have made the biggest impact on my photography.  On all the camera’s, I shoot the largest pixel image I can and also shoot all video in HD.  I use fast Class 10 SD memory cards in all the cameras.

Computers & Mobile

For travel, I carry an HP Probook 4540 laptop computer.  I use this for uploading pictures and blogging.   I also carry an android ASUS ZenPad S 8 Tablet to backup my phone and to use for music listening, internet radio, and podcasts.  The tablet is wifi only so I use a Verizon Jetpack Mifi 7730L hotspot to get internet access for the laptop and tablet.

The best $30 I’ve spent is for the Alfa AWUS036H Wireless WiFi Adapter.  This little gem boosts a local wifi signal.  It doesn’t make local wifi faster but it boosts a wireless routers signal (like at a campground) so you don’t have to go sit near the router to pick up a weak signal.  It works on my laptop.

Wilson Sleek Antenna

Wilson 4G Sleek antenna and ground plane

I use a weBoost Drive 4G-M cell booster when I’m in the boonies and need to improve a weak cell signal.  I upgraded the antenna to the 12.5 in versus the short 4 in stubby one that comes standard.  I also built a ground plane out of a sheet of galvanized sheet metal that I can velcro onto my fiberglass roof. The taller antenna and ground plane really made a difference.  I don’t use this a lot but it has come in handy in remote areas when I needed it for a call or a better mobile data signal.

Gadgets

Just a couple of things here.  I use an Anker External Battery Power Bank for charging my phone or tablet when there’s no AC power.  The power bank has 13,000 mAh of juice.  Good for about 2 1/2 charges for my phone.  It’s great while boondocking.

I just got one of the small USB Car Chargers so I can charge phones, tables, and the battery power pack.  It’s super handy to just keep in the RV.  I keep a few 6 ft Anker micro USB power cables in the RV for charging my Android devices.

If I need to make phone calls while driving the RV, I use a Plantroncis M55 Wireless bluetooth headset   It’s not the latest technology, but it’s small and the voice quality is fine.

I like to use a personal wireless bluetooth speaker with my phone, tablet, and the stereo in my RV.  Its great when sitting outside listening to internet radio, Sirius XM, Spotify, or podcasts.  Very easy to pair with a bluetooth capable device and much better than ear phones.  I use the Jabra Solemate.  It has a great sound.

I also have a pair of Bluetooth Headphones.  The Gaosa Sport Wireless Earphones work with my phone and tablet.  They’re great for listening to music and podcasts and can be used for calls.

Travel Apps

All these are on my LG G4 Android smartphone.

  • Waze – the best traffic app for finding about traffic slow downs and tie ups
  • GasBuddy – to find the lowest gas price based on your GPS location
  • Bubble level –  a portable level to use when leveling the RV
  • Skype – for long distance and video calls with family
  • MyRadar – displays a high def satelite weather map.  Can add layers to show forecast, wind and temperatures.
  • Compass – turns your screen into magnetic compass (good for finding which way the sun will be setting / rising)
  • Allstays C-RV Lite – free app showing camping spots
  • iTriage – all in one medical app to diagnose an ailment, find doctors, pharmacies, hospitals, medication info and for first aid procedures.
  • myPilot – Pilot/ Flying J mobile app for travel planning and finding tuck stops in your area.  Shows the facilities at each Pilot and Flying J truck stop.
  • Recipes – mobile cook book app
  • Evernote – I have recipes stored on it as well as to do lists, shopping lists, and check lists.
  • Touchnote – a cool app for creating and sending a post card from a picture taken on your smartphone.  The app is free and the cards cost $1.99 to print and send
  • Google Drive – In addition to storing photos, I store some key travel documents like travel itineraries, insurance documents, copies of key documents I’d need if I lost my wallet.
  • Flashlight – turns your rear camera sensor on bright to use as an emergency flashlight.  Comes in great when you loose power and can’t find a flashlight.
  • Where Am I? – the app shows the location and GPS coordinates of where you are. Very important if you have to make a 911 call.
  • RV Parky – the app allows searching for campgrounds and RV parks.
  • Ookla Speed Test – lets me test the speed of a wifi or mobile data connection.
  • OpenSignal – lets me find open wifi signals and the direction of where the wifi or cell signal is coming from.  Helps in setting up a booster or cell antenna.

Here are links to a couple of posts I wrote about the smartphone apps:  Ten Great Smartphone Apps for RVers and More Great Smartphone Apps.

Web Sites

OvernightRVParking.com – web based site.  Cost $25/yr. but shows you where you can park overnight based on recent user feedback. Shows, Wal-Mart’s, Cracker Barrels, Cabelas, Casinos, Truck stops, etc.  It was accurate and up-to-date on my recent western road trip.  It pays for itself with one stay.

www.rvparkreviews.com/ – web based site.  Great for checking feedback on campgrounds.  Not a guarantee for a good campground, but helps you avoid a bad one.

www.rvparking.com – web based site.  This site doesn’t have as many reviews as the one about but the interface is easier to use.

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