With Christmas less than a week away, I thought I’d make a few last minute gift suggestions for the RVers on your shopping list, or even as a treat for yourself. I use, or have used, all of the products myself. Many of these items were listed in a blog I wrote several years ago, but we still find them useful every day.
1. Rand McNally RV GPS – We’ve used several different Garmin GPS units in our travels, and recently switched to a Rand McNally unit designed specifically for RV travel. Special features include Points of Interest (POIs) that include campgrounds, RV repair services, and RV friendly WalMarts; the ability to customize settings for your size and length RV; and alerts to things like low bridges, tunnels, and places with restrictions on traveling with propane.
2. LED Flashlights – These little powerhouses are small and incredibly bright, and you can never have too many of them. I keep one in my desk, another on the nightstand, one in the van, and a couple in various bays of our motorhome.
3. Silverleaf VMSpc – I’ve used the VMSpc software to monitor every function of my RV’s diesel engine for several years now. It is more accurate than the factory gauges on my motorhome, and provides a wealth of information. It has also saved at least four RVers I know from getting ripped off when some shop wanted to charge them huge bucks for repairs, and they were able to pull up the fault codes and know what actually needed done. The software is free, but you do need to purchase a cable from Silverleaf to interface between your RV’s data port and a laptop or netbook computer.
4. Hose Buddy – We’ve all had it happen to us, we’ve stuck our sewer hose into the dump station, pulled the black water handle, and had the sudden rush through the hose pop it out and make a mess. Enter the Hose Buddy, a nifty plastic device that fits over your sewer hose’s 90 degree fitting to hold it securely in place. In the past, I had to look for a rock or something to hold my sewer hose in place, but when the folks who make the Hose Buddy sent me a demo, I knew it was a winner the minute I took it out of the box. Made of high grade plastic, the Hose Buddy is so simple it’s ingenious. I filled the reservoir with water (though sand or pebbles would work fine too), put it over the end of my sewer hose, and it works great, even on those irritating campground sewer fittings that extend several inches above the ground! I’ve used it for over three years now and it has held up very well.
5. Tire Traker Tire Monitoring System – My Tire Traker keeps track of not only my motorhome and SUV’s tire pressures when on the road, but also tire temperature, with a small, easy to use battery powered monitor that I can take with me in the Explorer when the Winnebago is parked. An added benefit is that I don’t have to crawl around in the mud and wet grass getting dirty as I check my RV’s tire pressures before a trip.
6. Dyson Handheld Vacuum – Dyson contacted us three years ago asking if we would be willing to give their rechargeable handheld vacuum a test. Miss Terry loves this powerful little vacuum, which is powered by a digital motor spinning up to104,000 RPM (that’s five times faster than a Formula 1 race car engine). For little cleanup jobs around our motorhome, she no longer uses our built-in vacuum, because the Dyson immediately became her tool of choice looking for best handheld vacuum. It’s lightweight, sturdy, powerful, and versatile. When she’s finished, it’s easy to empty, all she has to do is open the clear cup on the bottom of the vacuum. In fact, she liked it so much she bought a second one with an extended length floor attachment.
7. Mountain Directory Guides – Every RV should have a copy of both the Eastern and Western editions of these books on board. They provide locations and descriptions of over 550 mountain passes and steep grades nationwide, with mile by mile descriptions of what to expect climbing or descending, runaway truck ramps, and other information that prevents surprises that can get you into trouble.
8. E-book Reader – We love our Amazon Kindles, they are lightweight, easy to read, and can hold literally thousands of books. Choices include the standard Kindle, Kindle Fire, Nook, and several other brands. Whichever model you choose, any RVing bookworm will love it.
9. Electrical Management System – We installed a Progressive Industries Electrical Management System (EMS) in our MCI bus conversion, and over the years it saved our rig several times from high and low voltage conditions. So another EMS was one of the first things we had installed when we bought our Winnebago Ultimate Advantage. It’s worth its weight in gold!
10. Rand McNally Motor Carriers’ Road Atlas – While it is made for truckers, this is a handy atlas for RVers too. Along with detailed, full-color maps of the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, the atlas includes valuable information for anyone driving a big rig, including restricted route information, low clearances, 40,000+ updated city-to-city mileages, a telephone area code map, and more.
11. Restaurant Gift Cards – Most fulltime or snowbird RVers are very conscious of adding any weight to their load, so a lot of times typical gifts are a hassle. We don’t need doodads and geegaws, but we all love to eat. A gift card from any chain restaurant (Texas Roadhouse, Applebees, TGI Fridays, etc) is always welcomed.
12. Gypsy Journal RV Travel Newspaper – Hey, it’s great reading for all your RVing friends, and I need to make a buck now and then too, so I can do my Christmas shopping!
(Note: No businesses paid to be included in this list of gift suggestions, though Dyson and Hose Buddy did provide us with demo units several years ago.)
Thought For The Day – In communication, it’s important to be more or less specific.