(Camp Addict does NOT accept payment from any company to review or endorse their products.)
(FULL DISCLOSURE: Yes, this is a product review. On May 13th we accepted an offer for a MarCELL test unit as it was the perfect product for Kelly's pups. We received the tester unit shortly thereafter, and Kelly has been using and LOVING it ever since. Hey, it's total peace of mind for a huge animal lover, yo.)
Spending time with loved ones on vacation in your RV is the American Dream.
If you are reading this, 'loved ones' probably includes your pets.
Isn’t going on a hike with your best four-legged friend(s) the best?
Many of us love bringing our little buddies with us when RVing.
Even when we bring them along, sometimes we have to leave them behind in the RV while we go out.
Why? Because there are many parks, hikes, and other places that don’t allow dogs. (Or any animals, for you oddball ferret, snake, or cat-walkers out there, etc, LOL.)
For that and for other various reasons, you may need to occasionally leave them in the RV while you explore.
Sure, you could leave them back at home and get a sitter or board them.
But this is likely more costly than bringing them and using what we are educating you about in this article.
If you’re reading this, likely you are the type who wants to bring their pet with them on the fun journey in the RV.
(We totally get it.)
However, leaving your pets in the RV while you are away can sometimes be a deadly game. What danger are we talking about?
"I'm So Sorry I Accidentally Killed You"
DON'T BE THIS PERSON!
Death by overheating is totally avoidable.
An RV is not too much different than a car. It can heat up in the sun. Fast. Even with windows open.
The smaller the RV, the faster it is likely to heat up.
You may feel like it’s OK and safe to leave them if you are plugged in at a campground and have the air conditioner on. If this is you, think again.
Think Your AC Is The Solution? Think Again!
7/23/19- Even as I was writing this article, a friend of mine left her dog in her Class C RV with the rig's air conditioner on in a campground in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The forecast was in the mid 90's. She went out for the day, confident that the AC would keep her dog cool.
IT DID NOT.
She came back to find her pup very hot and panting in a temperature likely above 100 degrees. (The thermostat only showed to 90, and the needle was off the scale to the right.)
Her AC was ON AND WORKING. Still, it clearly wasn't keeping up.
She was devastated, knowing she inadvertently could have killed her beloved pet. The dog was panting but luckily, turned out OK.
I know this person pretty well and I know she loves the hell out of her dog and would NEVER do anything to hurt her.
This kind of thing can happen to anyone if the proper precautions are not taken, such as in this case.
She was lucky. Had her AC died, she wouldn't have known, and her dog surely would have died a miserable death.
Power outlets (especially in campgrounds) are notorious for having electrical issues. A brownout, an outage, or a spike could cause your AC to shut off and not turn back on.
This, depending on the temperature, shade, and more, could cause the temps to rise quickly inside of your RV.
Your RV's air conditioner may suddenly not be able to keep up with the heat (Like the story above), or the compressor could fail while you are away.
In case you missed elementary school, very high temperatures are 100% deadly to animals and people, yo.
Any time you leave your pet in the RV, especially in the summer, you should be HYPER-AWARE that your pets could quickly die in the heat of your RV.
The problem is if you’re away, how do you know what the dang temperature is inside the RV while you're out?
You could get a camera and a temperature gauge for inside the RV and monitor it remotely. But what if you have just a little ADD (like me, though I have a LOT) and you forget to check?
Dead pets could ensue.
Pet Warning: Vent Fans With Rain Sensors
Some vent fans have a rain sensor built into them. Be warned that once these shut off and close at the first drop of rain, they don't open back up!
If you were counting on this helping to circulate fresh air, once it takes a drop of rain, it's done. It will close and your RV could QUICKLY heat up, endangering your pets.
Installing a Maxxair MaxxFan Deluxe can put a stop to this.
The MaxxFan Deluxe has a BUILT-IN rain guard. There's no sensor, and if it rains, the rain guard keeps rain from coming in. It will stay open and keep circulating fresh air!
The most reliable way we found to have total peace of mind regarding your RV temperature is to use a cellular-based temperature monitoring device.
Camp Addict found one (technically, it was introduced to us) and we are LOVING it. Its name is MarCELL.
Introducing The MarCELL
The MarCELL is a temperature monitoring device. Additionally, it monitors the power supply it is connected to for outages.
If you have it plugged into your 120-volt system (shore power), you will know if your RV has lost power.
Stats can be checked online when you sign into their website.
I rarely check online though (below).
Still, it's there if you want to check actual connection, temperature, and humidity.
Your MarCELL automatically notifies you (Via email, text, or phone call- your choice) of any one of four conditions:
- Power failure (The MarCELL has a battery backup, so in the event of power failure, it will still warn you of a temperature event over your set temp for a certain number of hours. )
- Temperature above your set high temp
- Temperature below your set low temp
- Humidity out of range
It keeps track of all this using its own cellular connection. (You do NOT need WiFi for it to work)
Obviously, you must be in the range of cellular service for it to work.
When you sign up, you have two provider options: AT&T or Verizon.
With the MarCELL, you don’t have to actively check the temperature. It will notify you automatically and immediately when any parameters are out of range.
(I recommend setting your temperature LOWER than a critical temperature. This allows you time to get back home to take measures before it's deadly hot.)
Initially, I set mine a bit low just to test and see if it would warn me of a common expected temperature. (Which it did almost immediately. Because I was accidentally sitting on it, LOL!)
I think I had the test temperature set at 82 degrees. I was notified of this 'high temp' every time, which was often.
Now I have it set at a 'real' 90 degrees.
If the power goes out or if the temperature or humidity goes out of range, you will automatically be notified.
We LOVE that there’s nothing for you to monitor. The MarCELL does all the work for you.
Is It Safer/Cheaper To Leave My Pet Back At Home?
Obviously, you could leave your furry (or scaly?) friends at home if you take off for a week or two in your RV.
But then you will need a sitter or a kennel. And you won't have your best friend(s) with you!
Usually with cats, you can leave them home alone for a few days. That's one way you could go. (But sucks if you wanted to bring them along.)
PS- I used to work in a kennel. Needless to say, there is NO way I will ever leave any of my fur-babies in one now if I can help it.
Anyway, who wants to PAY to put their pet through the stress of being caged with constant loud/fearful barking going on around them?
It’s confusing and stressful for your fur babies, to say the least.
Boarding or a sitter- both are going to cost you a pretty penny.
According to Home Guide, kenneling a pet averages $40 per night and about $140 for a week. Ugh.
If you are worried about bringing them with you because of the heat, worry no more. Get a MarCELL.
Cost Comparison: MarCELL VS Boarding
The MarCELL device retails for $199.
Because it comes with its own cellular plan, it has a monthly cellular fee. (No need for WiFi in your RV or to be in the range of a WiFi network, but you do need to have a signal from the cellular provider you chose.)
You can choose your plan. You can pay all year (12 months) or even just part of the year.
Plans range from $8.25 per month to $14.95 per month.
Oh, you don’t want to spend that kind of money on temperature monitoring? Before you write it off, let’s compare the MarCELL cost to boarding.
If you go on just two weeks of RV travel per year, and you have two dogs, boarding will add up (and will cost more than a MarCELL.) Let’s do the math:
Two dogs + two weeks= $140 per dog per week. That’s $280 per dog times two weeks. (You might get a bit of a discount for a second dog, so we will just say $140, which might be a little on the high end/worst case scenario.)
Without a discount, that’s $560 for boarding. WITH a discount, you’re paying $420.
Let’s say you only RV during the summer months. You choose the seasonal MarCELL plan, which is 4-8 months at $11.95/month.
You pick a 5-month plan because you like to RV in the early spring and again in the fall. 5 months at $11.95 equals $59.75. (Right? I hate math.)
Your upfront device cost is $199.
(OR only $179 with your Camp Addict discount code! Find that code later in this post.)
Total for MarCELL = $256.95.
(Of course the next year you won’t have the $199 cost. You only pay the subscription fee, so it's WAY less.)
Totals- Kennel: $560, MarCELL: $256.95
So, why not simply bring them and spend half of what you'd spend for a kennel?
Your fur babies wouldn't have to go through the stress of being in a loud horrible boarding facility. You would also have the peace of mind knowing your pets won’t get too hot at home in your RV.
It’s a no-brainer.
This peace of mind is TOTALLY worth it.
Bonus- it’s half as expensive as boarding your 2 pets!
Double Bonus- if you are running your fridge on 120-volts, and the power goes out, you'll know it...
therefore, you won't lose an entire fridge worth of groceries if you get home soon enough to fix it!
Let’s not forget, the MarCELL can also be used in your home (or anywhere else you choose) while you are not traveling.
Additionally, you can get a “puck” accessory for the device that detects water.
If you have a basement with pipes that could leak, or you have a vacation house that needs some monitoring, the pucks will alert you if water is present.
It's A No-Brainer
Did I already say “no-brainer”? I did, and yeah, I did that on purpose.
It’s just that I love using the term. So many things just ARE no-brainers. If you want to RV and you have pets, this is one of them, in my opinion.
I will definitely continue to have and use my MarCELL even after Sensored Life is no longer paying for the monthly fee.
Peace of mind is peace of mind. What’s it worth to you to keep a face like Cricket's (below) safe from overheating?
Me? I’d pay twice the monthly fee for the peace of mind to know my babies are OK at home.
I mean, could you really live with yourself if you accidentally killed them (a torturous, miserable death, I might add) by overheating?
I don’t want to know if I could or not. It’s not a reality I want to test.
I’ll be adding a camera soon so I can also watch what they are doing during the day.
With a camera, I'll also have recorded footage if anyone ever breaks in (which I seriously doubt will ever happen).
Looking into the WYZE camera for this. I mean, I'm pretty sure my pups are usually doing what Tex is doing below, but still...
Dry campers/boondockers- you may be wondering if you can use the MarCELL using only 12v power. The answer is YES!
If you know me (Kelly), you know I only boondock. Therefore, to use the MarCELL, it had to run off of 12-volt power.
Indeed, the device can and will run on 12-volts.
All you need is THIS 12V USB POWER CORD and you’re good to go!
Get Your DISCOUNTED Lifesaving MarCELL Unit
Oh, you're in? Great decision making!
Now you're guaranteed that your pet will never die in your RV of overheating.
$20 Off Discount Code
Camp Addict fans can get a discount on the purchase of the MarCELL unit. Simply enter this code into the 'Discount Code' section during checkout:
You will receive $20 off your device, and we will get a small commission because you used our code!
Using our code GREATLY helps to support us so we can continue providing you with valuable RVing information like this.
Discount Code: camp20
If you want to go RVing with pets and there is ANY chance that your RV could heat up and kill your fur-babies, why would you even chance it?
Get a MarCELL to monitor the temperature inside your RV.
Having one will give you peace of mind in knowing your pets aren’t overheating when you need to leave them alone inside your RV.
The MarCELL is for use anywhere there is power available.
Use it in homes, vacation homes, RVs, boats, barns, wherever.
With the puck accessory, It also can detect water, so flooding can become a thing of the past.
As far as RV application goes, your animals will silently thank you for the painful death that they will never endure now from overheating!
Author: Kelly Beasley
Kelly Beasley is co-founder of Camp Addict and loves sharing her enthusiasm for the RVing lifestyle. As a full-time RVer since May 2015, Kelly's playful writing style helps make learning about the sometimes dull subject of RV products a bit more interesting.