One of the hard parts about living in an RV is that the quality of the water you get is subject to whatever campground you’re staying in that weekend.
And if you’ve done any extensive RV travel, you know that the water you can get at campgrounds doesn’t always taste super great.
But the water taste is more about convenience and personal preference when you consider the potential health consequences of drinking unfiltered water.
Contracting giardia or cryptosporidium can cause you to become severely dehydrated, which may ultimately lead to other issues down the line.
That doesn’t even mention the severe discomfort that comes along with contracting harmful bacteria or protozoa from drinking unfiltered water.
So the best way to avoid discomfort and negative health effects from unfiltered water is to equip your RV with the best RV water filter.
Fortunately, we’ve put together a list of six excellent water filter options after canvassing the market and seeing which products outpaced the competition.
After you check out these six RV water filters, be sure to read through our comprehensive Buying Guide to learn how to choose the best RV water filter for your specific RV and lifestyle.
The 6 Best RV Water Filter Reviews in 2023
I’ll be honest, it wasn’t easy to narrow down our choices to just six RV water filters. But here we are and we need to get into the specifics of each of these models.
Pay close attention to the things we liked and didn’t like about each filter so that you can use those highlights (and low-lights) when you learn how to compare different filters in our buying guide.
Here are 6 of the best RV water filters for safe and great-tasting water wherever you go.
1. Best Overall RV Water Filter: Camco 40043 Water Filter with Flexible Hose Protector
Our selection for the best overall RV water filter is the Camco 40043 TastePure filter because it’s super easy to install and it’s available at a very affordable price.
This is an inline water filter that contains a granulated activated carbon filter element.
This element removes sediments and improves the taste of your water by reducing the amount of chlorine in it.
If you have any other situations that require an inline filter, this design also has the versatility to be detached and connected to any standard garden hose for use with boats, trailers, for gardening, or any other application you desire.
The sediment filter inside this unit has a 20-micron rating and it also includes KDF granules that reduce the growth of fungus, bacteria, and mold inside the filter when it’s not being used regularly.
This filter can also remove aluminum, cadmium, hydrogen sulfide, iron, lead, mercury, and other heavy metals.
Camco does recommend replacing this filter every three months, but that’s another area where it’s affordable cost comes into play.
Things We Like
Things We Don’t Like
2. Best Sediment Filter: ESSENTIAL Premium RV Water Filter with Cyst Removal
If you’re searching for a heavy-duty sediment filter that gets permanently installed inside your RV, the Essential RV Water Filter System from the RV Water Filter Store is an excellent choice because it comes with the requisite 12-inch mounting bracket to help you secure it inside your RV.
This filter also boasts heavy-duty NPT fittings that are much more durable than your standard hose fittings.
While this may make installation a bit more complicated, these fittings are much more durable over time and less likely to leak if they bend slightly under the weight of either your water hose or the filter unit itself.
I personally love the fact that this filter system comes with a spare 1-micron filter so that you have it in hand when replacement is needed.
And because this filter is recommended to be replaced every six months, you’ll get at least one full year out of this filter with all the components that arrive at your door when you order it.
In addition to sediments, this filter also removes giardia cysts, and chemicals from your water before it enters your RV.
So it not only gives you cleaner drinking water, but it also protects the pipes in your water system from the buildup of chemicals or sediments over time.
This filtration system also has a very good flow rate of 3-4 gallons per minute (GPM) at 60 PSI (pounds per square inch).
This means it won’t compromise the effectiveness of your dishwashing or make it hard to wash soap out of your hair when showering.
Things We Like
Things We Don’t Like
3. Best Budget Filter: Hydro Life 52700 with Flexible Hose Protector
If you want to keep your purchase of a new RV water filter under budget, we suggest checking out the Camco Hydro Life 52700 Inline Water Filter.
This is easily the most affordable filter on our list and, like our Best Overall choice, it’s also easy to use and very adaptable.
It features a catalytic carbon filter that’s perfect for reducing the amount of chlorine and chloramines in your water in order to improve its taste and odor.
But the filter also removes sediments and heavy metals.
The KDF granules inside the filter unit also help to prevent the growth of bacteria inside the unit and on the filter element itself.
This improves the life of the entire unit and also keeps the carbon filter element working at peak efficiency over its lifetime.
This filter is rated for up to 8,000 gallons at a maximum flow rate of 2.5 gallons per minute.
And it also comes with a flexible hose protector that reduces the amount of strain placed on the city water faucet or your RV’s water connection spigot.
Things We Like
Things We Don’t Like
4. Best with Durability: Clearsource Premium Pristine RV Water Filter System
One of the most durable RV water filters that we encountered during our search is the Clearsource Premium RV Water Filter System.
This filter gets permanently installed underneath your RV and it’s constructed with durable elements to make it last for years.
This filter boasts stainless steel fittings and a powder-coated chassis that is much less likely to rust over time than other filters.
It also includes oversized canisters that helps to boost its overall water flow. These canisters are rated to filter up to 2,000 gallons of water before being replaced.
This system actually includes two stages of filtration. First, your water passes through a 5-micron filter that measures 2.5” x 10”.
This removes larger sediments. Then, it passes through another 0.5-micron filter that also measures 2.5” x 10”.
The filter at the second stage is a coconut shell carbon block that removes chlorine, cysts, giardia, volatile organic compounds, and other contaminants.
In doing so, it also vastly improves the taste and odor of your water.
The Clearsource Filter System also excels when it comes to maintaining the flow rate of water through your system.
It’s rated to provide a flow rate up to 6.5 gallons per minute and the canister filters are easy to unscrew and replace once the entire system is permanently mounted in your rig.
Things We Like
Things We Don’t Like
5. Best Under-Sink Filter: Waterdrop TSU 0.01μm Under Sink RV Water Filter
If you only need a water filter that you can install under one or two sinks inside your RV, the Waterdrop TSU 0.01-Micron Filter System is a great selection.
It’s rated to last for up to two years and includes one of the finest filter elements of any model on our list.
The 0.01-micron filter element filters out 99.99% of all sediments, bacteria, protozoa, and other contaminants before your water comes out of the tap.
Once installed under your sink, the filter element can easily be pulled and replaced without having to take the entire unit out of place.
The Waterdrop also features Smart technology that indicates water quality and working mode.
This allows you to more closely monitor when a filter replacement is needed and how well this filter system is performing.
It can also give you some insight to the water quality at different campgrounds throughout your RV travels.
Additionally, the integrated waterway inside the filter unit makes it easy to install.
You won’t need to cut off your existing water supply in order to put this filter system in place and the integrated waterway also helps to prevent leakage once it’s in place.
Things We Like
Things We Don’t Like
6. Best Activated Carbon Filter: Culligan RV-800 RV Water Filter with Hose
If you’re set on the benefits of an activated carbon filter, the Culligan RV-800 is another great inline water filter that can remove larger sediments and also greatly improve the taste and odor of the water coming into your RV.
It’s easy to install because it can hook up to a standard garden hose fitting and it boasts a filter life up to 2,000 gallons.
It should be noted, however, that its exact lifespan will depend on frequency of use and the quality (or lack thereof) of the water you ask it to filter.
In addition to its activated carbon filter, the unit also includes bacteriostatic filter media that works to limit bacterial growth.
This functions to keep your water clean and keep the carbon filter element working at peak effectiveness.
The Culligan filter also comes with a flexible connector hose that takes the weight off the standard fittings.
These fittings are one of the most common areas where leaks occur with these filters.
So a hose protector is critical to the long-term function of any inline filter.
Things We Like
Things We Don’t Like
7. Best Three-Canister: Frizzlife Under Sink with Brushed Nickel Faucet SP99
If you frequently travel to locations where you know the water contains a lot of contaminants, you might consider the benefits of a three-canister water filter.
And there are few out there these days that perform better than the Frizzlife Under Sink Water Filter System.
Because it’s made to be installed underneath your RV’s kitchen or bathroom sink, this filter won’t take up unnecessary counter space or space in your RV refrigerator.
You also won’t have to install and remove it on your RV’s external drinking water hose every time you’re getting set up in a new RV park or campground.
So while it will require a bit more initial installation time, you’ll then simply need to replace the internal filters every few months and it will continue working to your benefit.
By designing this filtration system with replaceable filter cartridges, you’ll be able to save up to 70% over conventional water filters over time because you’ll only need to replace the cartridges instead of replacing the entire filtration system.
If you’re also looking to upgrade the faucet in the kitchen or bathroom sink in your RV, this filtration system comes with its own brushed nickel faucet.
This allows you to ensure that you’re always drinking clean, safe drinking water while also upgrading the aesthetic finish of your RV’s interior design.
The Frizzlife filter relies on three-stage filtration. The first stage uses a five to 10 micron filter to remove sediments, rust, dirt, sand, and other large particles.
The second stage uses a three to five micron carbon block filter to remove chlorine, chloramine, smaller sediments, and other unpleasant tastes and odors.
The third stage utilizes a 0.5 micron carbon block filter to remove any excess chlorine, fluoride, cysts, heavy metals, organic chemicals, and cloudiness from your water.
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8. Best RV Reverse Osmosis: Waterdrop G2 RO Tankless Osmosis Water Filter
‘RO’ stands for reverse osmosis, and this filtration method is particularly effective for long-term use without having to replace the filter every few months.
So if you’re interested in an RO water filter, be sure to check out the Waterdrop G2 RO Water Filtration System.
This filter boasts a flow rate of 0.28 gallons per minute and it features a tankless design that helps you save space and is also one of the reasons why this filter has a great flow rate.
It also utilizes composite filters that have an excellent shelf life and are designed to be replaced every six months or so, on average.
That filter replacement rate stays true even at high usage rates, as this filtration system is designed for family RVing with higher levels of water usage.
The filter’s components include an activated carbon block and a polypropylene (PP) membrane.
The membrane and carbon block effectively filter out sediments, rust, excess chlorine, fluoride, and a total of more than 1,000 contaminants in total.
This includes heavy metals, colloids, large particles, and other organic materials that shouldn’t be in your water.
While it’s designed to be installed under the sink in your RV, the tankless design of this filtration system makes it about 70% smaller than most traditional under-the-sink water filters.
And because it’s designed to tuck out of the way underneath your sink, Waterdrop manufactured this filtration system with integrated electrical and water circuits.
This design reduces leakage and also minimizes the possibility of electrical shortages if water leaks from other areas of your RV.
The Waterdrop G2 can be installed in about 30 minutes by following the detailed instructions that come with the filtration system.
And once the main body of the filtration system is installed, the filters themselves simply twist and pull out when you need to replace them.
So you can do this in under three seconds and get back to filtering clean, tasty drinking water.
Things We Like
Things We Don’t Like
Types of RV Water Filtration Systems
Most RV water filters fall into one of four major categories. So it makes sense to start by defining each type and talking about some of the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Sediment filters work something like a typical pasta strainer, except the holes for water to pass through are much smaller.
True to their name, these filters are great at removing large sediments from your water as it passes through the strainer.
Because of their design, the sediments often wind up staying in your filter and accumulating over time.
Because of this, you may notice that the flow rate of your water diminishes over time.
So sediment filters need to be cleaned and flushed more frequently if you want to keep them operating efficiently and maximize their lifespan.
Many of the best RV filters actually include multiple filtration methods. But having a sediment filter is usually the absolute baseline of protection you should consider installing in your RV for cleaner drinking water.
Activated carbon filters are largely considered to be the best choice for improving the taste and odor of your RV water.
This isn’t something that you can expect from a sediment filter and these models also reduce the undesirable chlorine taste that comes with some water.
The filter component will typically be made of one of three substances: granulated activated carbon, a solid block of carbon, or a modified carbon block.
Filters with a granulated activated carbon element are the most common and affordable, even if they aren’t quite as effective as the other types.
They work by passing your water through small grains of activated carbon that are very similar to the charcoal some of use for camp cooking.
Filters that use a solid block of carbon are more effective because water is less likely to form channels inside the filter.
This ensures that all of your water actually comes into contact with the carbon filter.
These elements are made by pulverizing activated carbon and then using high pressure to form it into a solid block.
This added manufacturing process is one of the reasons why these filters are more expensive than some other types.
The third type of carbon filter uses a modified carbon block that functions in much the same way as a solid carbon block filter.
However, innovations in these filters allow for an improved flow rate and better durability. As you might expect, this can also come with a higher price tag.
In addition to improving the taste and odor of your water, many of these filters are also effective at removing contaminants, including dangerous heavy metals like mercury, asbestos, lead, and other volatile organic compounds.
Ceramic filters use a ceramic element with small holes in it. These filters screen out bacteria, protozoa, giardia cysts, and sediments to provide clean drinking water for your RV.
They do a good job removing these types of substances but aren’t as effective when it comes to removing chemical contaminants.
However, some ceramic filters include a carbon component that improves their ability to filter chemicals and, therefore, improve the taste and odor of your drinking water.
So if you find a particular ceramic filter that you’re interested in, make sure to check that it has some sort of carbon filter component.
Reverse Osmosis Filters
Reverse osmosis filters are the most technologically advanced type of filter and they’re capable of producing nearly 100% pure water.
They rely on a semi-permeable membrane that can block all particles that are larger than the size of a single water molecule.
This also makes them very effective at removing arsenic, fluoride, perchlorate, hexavalent chromium, and nitrates from your water.
The one thing they can’t remove is chlorine. So if you do opt for a reverse osmosis filter, make sure it also includes some form of carbon element for the removal of chlorine.
Which RV Water Filter is Right For You?
When it comes to water filtration system, you might be wondering what what type of filter will best suit your needs. Choosing the right filter for your RV will depend largely on your water purification needs and the way you RV. Here’s what to keep in mind when choosing a water purifier for your RV.
What Do You Need To Filter?
Understanding the most common types of contaminants that you need to filter will help you choose the right type of filter.
If you have your RV parked in just one or two locations regularly, you can always perform a water test to see what exactly is in your water.
That will help you get a better idea of what you’ll need to filter and then you’ll be able to choose the proper filter type appropriately.
But if you’re an on-the-go RVer that’s always in different locations, performing a water test every time you pull into a new campground isn’t realistic.
Most RV parks are connected to city water that will typically contain chlorine.
That said, you can usually trust city water to be treated to remove waterborne-disease carrying bacteria, which means that a carbon filter will usually be enough to improve the taste and odor of city water.
Some parks, however, may offer their own water through a well on the property.
Well water often contains high levels of sediments, heavy metals, and potentially harmful bacteria and microorganisms. This will necessitate a filter that can remove these types of contaminants.
Furthermore, certain areas have ‘harder’ water than others and that is true regardless of the source of the water.
‘Hard’ water typically contains high levels of calcium and magnesium, which can sometimes build up in your RV’s water pipes and cause damage over time.
The bottom line is that a more comprehensive filter is best for RVers. A filter that can remove sediments, chlorine, bacteria, and a vast array of chemical and metal contaminants is essential for RVers that like to travel a lot.
This will give you the peace of mind to know that your filter will do its best to protect you no matter what the quality of the water is wherever you’re hooking up next.
How Much Water You Need to Filter
Your next decision will be how much water you want to filter. If you simply want to filter the water that comes out of your kitchen sink for drinking and cooking purposes, you can get away with an under-the-sink version.
But if you want to filter all of the water coming into your RV, you’ll either need an inline filter or a canister-style system.
While you might not feel like you particularly need filtered water for showering or flushing your toilet, keep in mind that installing a whole-RV filtration system will also protect your pipes from the buildup of calcium, magnesium, and sediments that can lead to plumbing damage.
How Often You’ll Use the Filter
The frequency with which you’re going to use your RV water filter should also be taken into account.
Full-time RVers will require a more durable, longer-lasting filter than folks that only use their RV a few times during the summer months. Plus, filtering from a larger variety of surfaces will necessitate a larger investment into a more comprehensive filter.
Those of you that almost always tie into a city water connection on your RV travels can probably get away with a simpler water filter setup.
But if you intend to take your RV off-grid for weeks or months at a time, you’ll need a filter that can remove the types of bacteria and microorganisms that are common to rural water sources.
Also, look at how long a specific filter will work before it requires replacement.
If you aren’t always in a place where you can easily run to the closest Wal-Mart to get a replacement filter, you’ll always need to plan your RV travels around when you might need to replace a filter, especially if you’re living remotely!
A filter’s micron rating tells you more about the size of the particles that it will allow to pass through.
So a filter with a 0.1-micron rating will filter more particles than a filter with a 2-micron rating.
You might also see a symbol that looks like this “ ᤫm” in front of some filter’s micron rating.
This stands for submicron and is common only to the filters that filter the smallest particles possible out of your drinking water.
Ease of Installation and Use
Unless you have a lot of experience with plumbing installations, we highly recommend choosing a filter that doesn’t have a complicated installation process.
If you have to tinker with your RV’s existing water system in order to install your new filter, you risk compromising the watertight integrity of the system.
If you don’t notice that your RV’s water system has a small leak after you install your new water filter, the long-term effects can be devastating.
Even the smallest of leaks can lead to dry rot, mold, and/or mildew if left unchecked.
For this reason, we recommend an inline water filter if you’re not comfortable with the installation process that comes along with canister-style systems.
While these filters will require you to screw them into place every time you connect to a new water source, they don’t require any tinkering with the piping in your RV’s water system.
But if you are comfortable with plumbing and confident in your skills to install a canister-style system, these filters are the easiest to use over time.
After you go through the more complicated installation process, your process of connecting to a new water source will largely be the same as it was before installing a new RV water filter.
Price (And Cost Over Time)
When it comes to your bottom line, it’s important to look past the initial cost of a new water filter.
You should also factor in maintenance costs and the price of replacing your entire filtration system.
For example, a filter that costs $25 but requires replacement every three months will end up costing you a minimum of $100 per year.
So if you can find another model for less than $100 that only needs to be replaced every 12 months, this is clearly the more economical option.
Additionally, filters that require a more complex installation also tend to come with higher lifetime maintenance costs.
So make sure you consider this when comparing water filters to decide which one really will be the best value for you.
So, Which Is Best For You?
Our choice for the best overall RV water filter is the Camco 40043 TastePure because it’s easy to install, super versatile, and really affordable.
It’s an inline filter that simply screws right into the standard garden hose that you use to connect your RV to city water.
And it removes a wide variety of chemicals and heavy metals while also improving the taste and odor of your water.
But if you’re on a tight budget and you’re looking for a filter that’s affordable and still performs well, we recommend the Hydro Life 52700 Inline Water Filter.
Even though it has a super-friendly price tag, this filter will last up to 8,000 gallons and can remove sediments, bacteria, and chemical contaminants for your water.
It’s also super easy to install and can be used for other applications aside from simply for RV water filtration, including urban gardening, hydroponic gardens, and more.
How does an RV water filter work?
An RV water filter is designed to be installed in your RV’s existing water system.
In the best designs, the water that’s running from either your city water connection or onboard water tank passes through the filter before it runs through your water pipes and out whichever faucet you’ve just opened.
These filters remove larger sediments from your water, but the best ones also remove microscopic protozoa and bacteria that can cause illnesses.
There are two basic filtration methods that these filters use to clean your water.
Some use physical filtration and others use chemical filtration. The best models actually include both of these filtration methods.
Physical filtration is most effective at removing large particulates from your water.
This type of filtration includes a sieve-like apparatus that catches dirt and debris as your water passes through it.
Some filters have a sort of fine textile membrane while others use a material akin to thin gauze to filter large particulates.
Chemical filtration treats your water with a certain chemical that’s known to kill bacteria, protozoa, and other contaminants known to cause illnesses.
Iodine, chlorine, and algicide are just three of many common chemicals used in water filtration.
This type of filtration is known to be better when it comes to removing potentially dangerous microscopic organisms from your water.
As we mentioned briefly above, the best RV water filter will combine these two filtration methods to remove large sediments and also neutralize smaller bacteria and protozoa.
How long do RV water filters last?
The exact answer to this question will depend on the filter you choose and how you use it.
But the good news is that most filter manufacturers openly advertise how long they’ll last if used regularly.
In some cases, you will be able to extend this lifespan if you don’t use your filter every day.
Some filters will last for as little as three months while others can last up to one year.
Even if you choose a filter that boasts a long lifespan, it’s generally recommended to replace your filter every three to six months when using it regularly.
In addition, long periods of non-use can sometimes have negative effects on your water filter.
Filters with some sort of charcoal or ceramic element inside them, for example, can dry out and crack if they aren’t used on a regular basis.
And a filter with a cracked element should never be trusted to do the job you bought it to do.
How do I install (or change) an RV water filter?
The exact method of installing or changing an RV water filter will, again, depend on the specific model you’ve purchased.
So the simplest answer to this question is to carefully consult your user’s manual and follow the installation instructions to the letter when installing or changing an RV water filter.
That being said, the simplest installation comes along with inline water filters.
These filters simply need to be screwed into your water hose between the city water output and the water input on your RV.
If you purchase a canister-style water filter, however, it will require a more permanent installation under your RV.
This style of filter also needs to be connected to your RV’s water pipes, so it may require a little more careful plumbing work at the outset.
Whether your need to install or change an inline or canister filter, the first important step is to make sure the water is turned off to your rig and you do a little work to drain the pipes.
This will help you minimize getting any water in your RV’s underneath compartments once you begin loosening any hose fittings.
From there, make sure your filter is aligned properly so that water flows through them in the proper direction.
Most filters will be labeled clearly to help you identify ‘input’ versus ‘output’, but you should always consult your user manual if you have any confusion.
Once you’re sure that you have everything aligned properly, it’s time to connect all hoses and pipe fittings and tighten them down.
But make sure you use plumber’s tape to wrap all fittings in order to guarantee a watertight seal.
After you’ve connected everything and tested it to make sure you don’t have any leaks, you can mount the filter using the included hardware.
This helps to take any weight off the filter and its connections to ensure that everything stays leak-free over the life of your filter.
Can I use a water filter for hot water?
The short answer to this is no. Most of these filters aren’t meant to handle hot water and using them with hot water can actually reverse the filtration process and cause contaminants to be released back into the water.
If you do have questions about whether or not you can run hot water through a specific model of water filter, the best course of action is to check with the manufacturer before doing so.
But if you do pass hot water through your filter accidentally, you can always fix it by immediately running cold water through it for at least two minutes straight.
How to clean an RV water filter?
Keeping your RV water filter clean is the best way to maximize its lifespan. In other words, cleaning your water filter more frequently will reduce the frequency with which you need to replace your filter entirely.
The first step to cleaning an RV water filter is to backflush it. This means running clean water through the filter in the opposite direction of how it normally flows.
Depending on the filter, you may need to manually reverse the filter’s flow or connect an external hose to backflush it and remove any debris that has accumulated inside.
For smaller filters, it’s recommended to use a syringe for the backflush process because it’s the best way to generate enough water pressure to really remove larger chunks of debris that may be caked inside the filter. But for larger filters, a standard garden hose should do the trick.
If your filter has been dry for some time, you should allow water to flow through the filter in the normal direction for several minutes before backflushing it.
This will add moisture to the components and help to start loosening the hold that any bacteria or debris has inside.
If you have a ceramic filter, you may also need to take it apart and physically brush the filter clean.
When doing this, always use a brush with very soft bristles so that you avoid damaging the ceramic filter.
The best way to make sure you’re using the correct type of brush is to consult your owner’s manual.
Some filter owners also like to use chlorinated tap water to clean their filter. This does a better job of neutralizing any microscopic bacteria or protozoa that has accumulated inside the filter while you’re also flushing it at the same time.
If you try this method, make sure to use at least one gallon of chlorinated tap water to flush the filter.
And then run another gallon of regular clean water through the filter before using it for drinking or dishwashing purposes.
This helps you ensure that there’s no longer an excess of chlorinated water inside your filter.
If, for some reason, you can’t get your hands on chlorinated tap water, you can also use a mixture of tap water and bleach.
If you go this route, make sure you add no more than eight drops of unscented and clear liquid bleach to one gallon of clean tap water.
Then stir the mixture thoroughly and allow it to sit for at least thirty minutes.
After that, you can backflush your filter using this bleach water solution. Again, you’ll need to make sure you run at least another gallon of clean tap water (without bleach) through your filter before you reconnect it and run your drinking water through again.
From personal experience, foul-tasting water can be tough to swallow (yes, pun fully intended!).
This is especially true if you live in a place where the tap water naturally tastes great and is super clean.
The good news is that you don’t have to settle for low-quality water when you live or travel in an RV.
The best RV water filter will make it easier for you to enjoy the taste of the water that you get from any city water connection that you decide to hook up to.
But, more importantly, it will also keep you safe from any water-based bacteria or illnesses that could be in your water if it hasn’t been filtered adequately before it reaches your rig.
If you simply want to cover your bases and make sure that you’re always getting clean water wherever you go, making an investment in an RV water filter makes so much sense.
And it’s also an investment in your health and the health of everyone that travels in your RV with you!