Don’t let this article’s title fool you: we aren’t joking. Our countertop ice maker is one of our RV must-haves, a serious “luxury” when we are enjoying time in our home away from home. But why is an ice maker such a necessity? Read on and we’ll share our thoughts.
The Time We Laughed at Ice Makers
If you have been around this blog for any bit of time, you might have already come across this story. I’ll make it short: several years ago we were at an RV expo and looking to buy a travel trailer. We noticed that several dealers had different “show specials” running. Most were giving away some sort of freebie with every RV purchase. We spent an exhaustive amount of time haggling prices with one dealer in particular. They weren’t offering a decent amount for our trade, their prices on new units were high, and every new offer was getting less appealing.
The Ice Maker Show Special
This dealer in particular was running a show special for countertop ice makers. They were giving a free ice maker to every person who purchased a new RV. The salesman who we were dealing with kept reminding us that the show was ending soon. If we didn’t commit to a purchase by the end of the show, we would miss out on the SHOW SPECIAL (free ice maker). We thought this was all pretty funny. We had no idea why we might need (or want) an ice maker and weren’t really interested in the offer.
We did end up buying a travel trailer that day. It was not with the dealer offering the free ice maker.
5,500 miles to Yellowstone and Ice Would Have Been Nice
Fast forward a couple years… we had logged quite a few weekend trips with our camper and were very happy with our purchase. It was at that point that we started to plan our biggest adventure yet: road trip from Pennsylvania to Yellowstone National Park. That was quite the epic trip and we ended up covering about 5,500 miles in just over 2 weeks.
This was also the trip when I realized that it would be nice to have some on demand ICE for those afternoon drinks during the hot summer travel. It was such a pain to try to fill the clunky ice cube trays in the small camper freezer. Most campground stores sell ice by the (large) bag. These bags can take up a LOT of room in your small RV freezer.
We came home from Yellowstone and bought… a countertop ice maker.
Ice Makers are Easy to Use
Countertop ice makers have been around for years. These small, consumer versions of a big industrial restaurant ice maker are perfect for spaces that don’t have a freezer. (They also work great if you have a refrigerator with built-in automatic ice maker that you LOVE… and it decides to break. Repairs can be very costly depending on what is wrong, so this might be a cheaper alternative.)
A few quick points about countertop ice makers:
- There are many brands to choose from.
- They are super easy to use. Most countertop ice makers are ready to use right out of the box. You simply plug it in, add water, and wait for ice to be made.
- The average ice maker does not take up too much room. Most of these units are fairly compact. The size reminds me of a standard bread maker machine.
- Prices will vary by brand and unit size/functions, but an average price for a countertop ice maker is around $125.
- Some companies offer service plans on their ice makers. As with any small appliance you might purchase, you may want to consider adding the service plan (if offered) to the purchase. Many of these service plans extend the original factory warranty period. This means that you have more time for the unit to exhibit any issues to still qualify for a repair and/or replacement. An extended warranty might be an especially good idea if you plan to keep your ice maker in your camper. All of that bouncing as the camper drives down the road can put more wear and tear on any appliances stored inside.
- We always bring plenty of bottled water with us on camping trips. Even if a campground has “safe” potable water, I still tend to use bottled water for drinking and cooking. The same goes for the ice maker. We always use bottled water to fill the ice maker.
Our Favorite Things About Our RV Ice Maker
Here are our top reasons for having an ice maker in our camper:
- On-Demand Ice: Okay, this one is probably a no-brainer. Afternoon iced coffee? Favorite mixed drink? Frigid glass of water? All-the-time and anytime when you have ice at-the-ready whenever you want it.
- Effortless: No messy ice trays to fill up or juggle around the freezer. A countertop ice maker keeps the water and ice in one convenient spot.
- Easy to stockpile ice: It is easy to use your ice maker to stockpile a good amount of ice. Simply use a gallon-sized Ziploc bag and empty each batch of ice into the bag. Store the bag in your freezer. This is how we keep ice on hand even on days when we are driving and can’t set up the ice maker.
- Portable: You can really use this ice maker pretty much anywhere you can plug it in to an electrical outlet. If you don’t have enough counter space in your camper to sit this unit, you can set it up outside on the picnic table.
- Cost Effective: No need to purchase big bags of ice from the (typically overpriced) campground store!
More Handy Uses for Ice
Of course, there are so many more uses for ice than chilling your drinks! Here are some to consider:
- Ice packs for bumps or burns
- Cool off your pet’s water during hot summer months with a few ice cubes
- Fill a bowl with ice and place a perishable dish of food like pasta salad on top of the ice to keep it chilled (and safe to eat) for a longer period of time.
- Make snow cone ice treats!
Alright, let us hear it – do YOU have an ice maker in your camper? Drop us a comment and let us know!
Then hop over here and check out 11 other things you totally need in your camper (well, not really, but you’re sure going to love them!).