10 Brilliant Gifts You’ll Want to Keep for Yourself
The Holidays are upon us and we’re being inundated with pumpkin, spice and all things naughty and nice.
It’s a time of year I sometimes feel very disconnected with the world outside my own bubble. Excessive commercials to buy this and that, lines starting on Wednesday for black Friday and website shut downs on cyber Monday!?! It’s pandemonium out there!
So, before we add to the shopping insanity I wanted to share a little insight into our sharing & gifting mantra:
Our un-sedentary lifestyle is one of constant evolution in search of simplicity (plus we don’t have a lot of space). The less stuff we have weighing us down and taking up space, the more room we have to focus on experiences. For us, life is all about experiences. If we can save time, space or money, that means more experiences.
So, we’re always on the lookout for items that can enhance our travels, camping experience and overall adventurous lifestyle, however there’s one major caveat: they must work really well! We research, read a ton reviews and don’t mind spending a little extra money for that perfect item to fill the gap.
If we share something on our website it’s because it serves a meaningful purpose in our life. If we give a gift, we want it to serve a meaningful purpose in that person’s life. Before we ever purchase, give or suggest anything we always make sure it fits this mantra.
The past several years I’ve been lugging around a giant dSLR and this year I decided to search out a smaller camera that could produce the same quality video and photography. The a6000 is extremely compact & lightweight, with the advanced accessories and interchangeable lenses I think this little camera is perfect for any traveler. The NFC allows me to tap my phone to the camera and transfer images to share on social media, so no more sharing low res phone photos. I filmed most of our Alaska Bound adventures with this camera…and yes, my neck and back are thankful for its smaller size.
- Sony a6000 with 18-55mm lens – $628
As a nature addict I am a little embarrassed to admit this but…until this year, we’ve never owned a pair of hiking boots! I have always had trail running shoes and used them for every outdoor activity I do. It took planning four months in Alaska to finally convince myself to invest in proper hiking boots and all I can think is “How, oh how did I ever survive without them?!?”
I wanted something that was insanely durable, breathable, waterproof and not too granola looking (which is oddly difficult to find). I ended up with not one but two pair of boots that share all of those qualities. I love both pairs and between the two pairs I wear them almost daily. My Timberland’s are my daily go-to’s because they’re light weight, stylish and crazy comfortable. I can roam about town and hit a trail all in a day. When I know we’re going hard core or not sure what the conditions are going to be, I reach for my Keens because they make my feet feel bullet proof. Oh, and go for the high tops! I tried to convince Jason it would be best, he didn’t listen and now he wished he would’ve. The low tops are fine but high tops offer that extra support for long days and treacherous trails.
- Mens Northface Boots – $159.00
- Womens Timberland Boots – $110.00
- Mens Keen Boots – $109.95
- Womens Keen Boots – $102.87
For years I’ve complained about the dash stereos in most RVs, they’re pretty much worthless! When we’re camping without hook-ups our home theater stereo pulls too much power to run for a long time, plus that outlet isn’t live on the inverter and there’s no speakers outside.
This year we searched for a solution and we found the UE Megaboom, it’s not cheap but it seriously rocks. It’s waterproof so we can use it outside, it’s loud enough to hear over our roaring front engine RV, it connects to our phone via Bluetooth or NFC and the lithium battery lasts 20 hours. The bass is rich and the highs are clear filling the RV with plenty of sound to rock out, they call it “360 degree sound”. It’s also worth noting two speakers can be paired together for even more sound (or one inside and one outside) and now that we’ve decided this one is awesome we’ll probably invest in another.
- UE Megaboom – $300
- UE Boom – $100 (same great sound but a more affordable option for those that don’t need it to be waterproof)
Travel and constant adventure can take a toll on our bodies and it’s amazing how easy and beneficial stretching and rolling can be. We have always carried a yoga mat but new to us this year is a foam roller and it’s been a lifesaver! It helps tremendously with a wide variety of aches and pains. I use it for everything from easing sore legs from a high incline hike to helping with sciatica pain. A fair warning: Our cat loves to eat foam so if your cat is similarly crazy you better keep the foam roller locked away, and never turn your back when you’re not actively using it. 🙂
I was unhappy with the performance of our Bialetti Moka Elettrika (it was fine but the espresso came out a little “flat”) and since we purchase more expensive small batch roasted coffee I felt like we were throwing away money with each brew. I almost purchased an Aeropress and then I stumbled upon the ROK espresso maker.
It looks awesome, its made of heavy duty stainless steel, it uses ground coffee (not pods) and it makes a luscious crema when the espresso is pulled nice and slow. I love the entire process of making coffee each morning and this hands on experience is an extremely rewarding way to begin my day. They’ve just launched a manual coffee grinder so that just might be my personal Christmas request. If you’re not an espresso drinker and prefer a pour over or immersion, check out the travel friendly Zevro.
- ROK espresso maker – $163
Nothing says I love you or welcome home like a well-crafted cocktail! With such limited space in the RV I like having just a few high impact tools. I love my dapper penguin cocktail shaker (he always impresses guests too) and my 10 in one bartender tool (its like a Swiss Army Knife for booze). Plus, I use airtight glass jars to create my own infusions and brandied cherries.
Before we hit the road nearly six years ago I purchased the Neat Mobile Scanner and I didn’t like it because the scans were slow and too hands on. I’ve gone back and forth on what to do with all my receipts attempting to store them, capture them using a cell phone camera + app and I simply got fed up with the hassle of it all. Now I have a giant stack of receipts taking up an entire cabinet inside the RV, what a waste of space!
This year I bit the bullet and purchased the NeatDesk Desktop Scanner and I love it. I can throw a handful of receipts and it scans them all and adds them to a designated folder on my computer. It literally saves me hours at the end of each month, it’s better for the IRS since thermal receipts tend to ‘disappear’ over time, I don’t have to keep files & boxes of receipts in the RV and I can transfer the scans to my Quickbooks account which works great for managing our small business.
- Neat Scanner – $330
Solar and RV’s go together like peanut butter and jelly. If you prefer to be out in nature and more than 5 feet from your neighbor, chances are you will be dry camping and in need of an alternative energy source. If you know and plan to dry camp a lot, maybe you are ready for a full roof install like ours. But if you’re still on the fence and not sure how much dry camping you will do, a portable solar kit is a great, no install needed investment and way easier to gift wrap. If you’re really non-committal you can purchase two portable panels and connect them together, which may be enough juice if you’re a lite power consumer.
- 960 Watt All Electric Solar Kit -$3700
- 120 Watt Portable Solar Kit – $543
- 80 Watt Portable Kit – $387 (plus there is an extra 15% coupon button right now)
We were recently given this book by a fellow traveler and it’s a wonderful tool to have in our Wild Camping kit. Searching for public land online can be extremely frustrating but I’ve found this guide to be helpful in showing us new areas to point our motorhome towards. It’s not a how to guide or a where to camp for free listing database, I consider it an insight to public lands that are worth visiting. Sadly it’s not been updated in several years but the good news is it’s wicked cheap on Amazon.
Since we’re in a Gas RV now we don’t have a built-in air pump in our motorhome. The Viair came highly recommended by multiple friends and travelers (even RVers with Diesel Motorhomes) so I purchased it before we left for Alaska…better safe than sorry, right?!? Turns out I ended up using it several times myself and I loaned it to a couple of fellow RVers who needed to air up. This thing works like a champ, but make sure you learn from my mistakes and read the directions before you use it!
- Viar Air Compressor – $239
Since we own all the items above you’re probably wondering what’s on our personal list? We always have consumables on our list: Craft Beer, Wine, Chocolate, Cheese…you know the finer things in life! Since we signed up for Amazon Prime around the holidays last year we’ll be giving ourselves another year, it’s been worth every penny with the free music, movies and 2nd day shipping.
So there you have it, our personal, very random smattering of RV traveler gift giving ideas. Did you see any you want to gift yourself this year? Have something different on your RV friendly wish list that could be a good idea for someone else? Tell us about it in the comments below!
See Previous Years Gift Guides
Our Top Travel Finds – 2014 Holiday Gift Guide
RV Holiday Gift Giving Guide 2013
Nomad Friendly Gift Giving Guide 2012
Nikki’s RV Friendly Gift Giving Guide 2011
Jason’s RV Friendly Gift Giving Guide 2011
Disclaimer – These are all items we own and use, nobody paid us to create this post or to be included. However, the links are to our travel store (products from amazon) and if you shop through us or click through from our links we get a small percentage at no extra cost to you. It’s like a twofer, you buy a gift and we get a small one too as a thanks for recommending it!