Here — in no particular order (or rhyme or reason) — is a somewhat decent holiday gift guide for RVers, starting with three new products from the Fastway company:
Fastway Flip automatic jack foot
The new Fastway Flip automatic jack foot adds 6 inches to your jack instantly, and flips up and down automatically as you retract or extend the jack. The Flip jack foot eliminates the hassles of storing and stacking wood blocks, or finding a place to store a removable extension. The Flip jack foot puts itself away each time you use it. No springs, cables, or pins are required. The Flip jack foot installs easily using pilot holes in the foot as a guide; then a single bolt (supplied) mounts the Flip to the bottom of the jack. The Fastway Flip jack foot fits most tongue jacks round or square, with models to fit 2-inch and 2 1/4-inch jacks. Maximum tongue weight rating is 1,400 lbs. and designed for use on horse, RV, cargo, boat, and utility trailers. For more information call (877) 523-9103 or visit www.FastwayTrailer.com.
Fastway ONEstep tandem axle wheel chock
The Fastway ONEstep is the fastest and easiest tandem axle wheel chock. The ONEstep wheel chock eliminates common chocking hassles like ratcheting, pinched fingers, bending or kneeling down, splintery wood chunks, and stuck wedges pinched by trailer movement. The ONEstep chock sets quickly in place by simply stepping down on the scissor arms, and removes easily by pulling up on the cable handle, even when wedges have been pinched under a tire. The ONEstep chock is adjustable from 16 inches to 24 inches to fit most tandem axle trailers. It works great with horse, RV, boat, cargo, utility, and farm trailers. An XL model that reaches up to 30 inches is also available for trailers with “wide track” type axle systems. The ONEstep is made from solid steel wedges and arms, with zinc plate and powder coat finishes helping it look great for years. For more information, call (877) 523-9103 or visit www.FastwayTrailer.com.
Fastway Zip breakaway cable
The Fastway Zip is the new, fast and easy way to protect your breakaway cable. With the Fastway Zip there are no frayed ends or cables dragging on the ground. The unique coiled cable of the Zip easily stretches to your tow vehicle and clips right on with the included carabiner. There is no looping over and around the trailer tongue to keep the cable out of the way. It is faster and easier to use than the standard breakaway cable. The Zip quickly replaces your current breakaway system with its coated high-strength coiled cable, split ring, and easy to use carabiner. The Fastway Zip breakaway cable is available in 4-foot and 6-foot cable lengths, and is offered as a universal replacement cable only, or a complete set with a cable and switch. For more information, call 877-523-9103 or visit www.FastwayTrailer.com.
For those who want a microwave when camping, but not anything larger than necessary, the iWavecube measures just one-cubic-foot — plus it has all the electronic controls and safety features you would expect, and it plugs in anyplace that has a standard outlet. It’s quiet, super-energy-efficient, and measures just 10 inches by 10.5 inches by 12 inches — weighing only 12 lbs. It features a built-in carry handle and view-through door. The product is available in red, black, and silver. Perfect for a dorm room, camping trip or just at the office. For seeing the different ways campers are using their iWavecube check out this link.
The Perfect CampfireGrill
I have the Perfect CampfireGrill original grill and I have given them as presents. I love mine and recommend them to anyone who cooks over a campfire. The Perfect CampfireGrill original grill ($60), launched in 2005, continues to be popular for its large 20-by-25 inch grilling surface that can easily hold 24 strip steaks, 70 hot dogs or 30 large burgers. The Rebel ($40) fits easily into bicycle and motorcycle saddlebags. It can be used over the campfire or as a charcoal grill where campfires are not permitted. At 10-by-12 inches, The Perfect CampfireGrill Rebel is the smallest of The Perfect CampfireGrill products. The Explorer ($30) with its folding legs can be set up at any campsite on the beach, in rocky terrain or at a conventional campsite. The grill provides 12-by-18 inches of grilling surface. When its legs are folded, its 1 1/2 inch thickness makes it easy to transport in most backpacks and gear bags. The Pioneer ($40) provides a circular 18-inch diameter grilling surface that is perfect for weekend getaways and family outings. It is easily packed into smaller vehicles. For more information, go to www.campfiregrill.com.
REI Camp Mini Kitchen
Stow your cooking and dining essentials in the REI Camp Mini Kitchen ($69.93 on sale) so you’re always ready to hit the road! Staying organized in camp helps keep the fun factor high. Features include: Aluminum roll-top table holds most 2-burner camp stoves or other gear up to 60 lbs.; Ripstop polyester storage compartment provides dedicated spaces for a 2-burner stove, fuel bottles, plates, utensils, spices, wet sponges and more; Frame has integrated carry handles. Note: the photo at right shows items not included. For more information, visit: www.rei.com/product/798433
RV Handbook, 4th Edition
Completely Updated – the New RV Handbook, 4th Edition ($29.95) is a 299-page How-To Guide with handy checklists, helpful photos and easy-to-follow charts all designed to keep you on the road and enjoying your RV. This 4th edition of The RV Handbook from Trailer Life Books is known as the “RVer’s bible” for the RV road warrior; it’s a “no-fluff” comprehensive guide for both novice and seasoned RVers. Packed with checklists; photos; schematics and charts, as well as plenty of sound, user-friendly technical advice. Features hundreds of proven RV tips, tricks and techniques to save you time, money and maybe even your sanity! You simply won’t find this level of detail covered in any other RV book. If you are looking for a complete resource that answers all your RV-related questions, the latest edition of The RV Handbook from Trailer Life Books is exactly what you are looking for. Click here for more information.
Although this product is marketed toward kids who can use them after gym class at school, I think these would be a great addition to anyone’s RV. QwikShower Wipes – from a company that calls itself My Kids Stink, LLC — are large, moist, single-use disposable cloths with a subtle scent and economical price point. QwikShower Wipes are appealing for many reasons:
• Convenient. Each wipe is individually wrapped for portability and to ensure it never dries out.
• Effective. With a large 10-inch by 12-inch dimension and a resilient cloth-like material, QwikShower Wipes are big and study enough to clean the entire body, also leaving a slight fresh scent behind.
• Green. Environmentally friendly, QwikShower Wipes are non-aerosol and emit zero fluorocarbon emissions unlike popular body sprays. This also ensures the scent won’t invade the personal space of others or overwhelm the small space of a camper.
• Economical. Starting at just 49 cents each coupled with the company’s free shipping policy, QwikShower Wipes are very affordable.
• Versatile. QwikShower Wipes are great for use after sports practices and games, a day at the beach, or an impromptu restaurant outing with the family. Also a stellar solution for adults, the wipes are perfectly suited for boaters, campers and fitness enthusiasts. They are also a must for emergency preparedness kits in the event of water outages.
For more information about QwikShower Wipes visit www.QwikShower.com.
State Parks gift cards
Quite frankly, a state parks gift card or gift certificate is just about the perfect gift to give an RVer. A State Parks gift card is an appealing choice for anyone who likes to play outdoors or unwind in comfort. Gift cards can be redeemed for camping, getaway rentals, cottage rentals or overnight stays in state park campgrounds, and some are good for use at state park lodges. Many states allow them to be used used at State Parks’ public courses, boat rentals at some state park marinas, or for food and merchandise purchases.
“Drives of a Lifetime” from National Geographic
Fall vacations conjure up images of cozy fireplaces, mugs of warm apple cider and drives through gorgeous foliage, rich with the changing colors of the season. National Geographic provides details of hundreds of scenic fall drives and more in “DRIVES OF A LIFETIME: Where to Go, Why to Go, When to Go” ($40 hardcover). Following on the success of National Geographic Traveler magazine’s popular Drives of a Lifetime series, this sumptuously illustrated gift book will appeal to all who have a yen for the open road and for every magnificent sight along the way. Click here for the Amazon.com page for this book.
Duraflame Gold Firelog
Sick of the high cost of firewood? Sick of buying firewood at some campgrounds that’s little more than bark? How about trying the Duraflame Gold firelog for your next campfire. Packaged in chic gold and black, the Gold firelog is ideal for a great weekend fire, and burns longer with brighter with larger flames. The Duraflame Gold firelog is the first 7-pound firelog that burns for over four hours without tending, and is made from 100 percent renewable resources and burns 80 percent cleaner than wood. Available in a four-log pack for a suggested retail price of $24.99 or sold as a single log for $5-6/log. For more information visit www.duraflame.com.
“Winnebago Man” documentary on DVD
The outrageously funny, critically-acclaimed documentary “Winnebago Man” ($29.95) is available on DVD by Kino International. Following its much-publicized U.S. theatrical release in over 100 markets, as well as Jack Rebney’s national television debut as a guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the DVD is one of the most talked-about documentaries of the year. Click here for the Amazon.com page for this DVD.
Bananagrams ($14.95) is a fast and fun anagram game that drives players bananas! Requiring no pencil, paper or board, Bananagrams comes in a small portable banana shaped pouch and is perfect fun for kids from 7 – 97 years-old, at home or on the go. Bananagrams is available online as a free Facebook Application and on the iPad, iPhone and iTouch as well as in a series of books. Bananagrams recently launched in Spanish, French, Norwegian and German as well as in a larger version – DOUBLE Bananagrams, the big banana for the larger bunch (for 16+ players).
Cascade Sleeping Bag from Peak Camping
I’m not one for mummy-style sleeping bags, but for those who are then jump in and snuggle up for a long rest with this best-selling High Peak USA Cascade Sleeping Bag. With a temperature rating of +20, -5, and -15 degrees F (ladies bag is available in +20 and -5), you can be assured a restful sleep outdoors even during the most frigid nights. The Thermolite Quallo insulation is a special fiber technology that promotes warmth and easy packing and maintains resilience and high loft. The Cascade also features an insulated chest collar to keep cold air from sneaking in. The shell is made of 310T/210T nylon. Dimensions: 31 inches by 79 inches by 21 inches (footbox).
“Along Interstate-75″ book
Since 1992, Dave Hunter (and his wife and travel partner, Kathy) have acquired hundreds of friends and travel industry contacts along the I-75 corridor, who share their “local knowledge” of roadside secrets, local restaurants and ways to save money. “Along Interstate-75″ is published by Mile Oak Publishing, Inc. and is available in bookstores, at AAA in OH, by phone at 800-431-1579, online and at www.i75online.com. Useful travel information to help anyone driving this popular interstate from Detroit to the Florida border and back.
So there you have it. Granted, it’s not the most comprehensive list in the world, but these are things I’ve come across that I thought might catch your eye as well.
From the personal blog: I continue to post information on great getaways to many popular Midwest destinations, including Traverse City’s Winter Wow!fest, as well as great tips on how to protect yourself from the cold. Another pretty cool post was the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds recent announcement of the 32 campgrounds and RV parks that received an ‘A’ grade.
Gr8LakesCamper celebrates the world of RV Camping in the Midwest. Gather around the campfire and share tips, ideas and stories on RVing, camping and travel destinations. Follow Gr8LakesCamper on Twitter, Facebook and the personal blog.
Lug_Nut’s view of a growing technology. Earlier I wrote about the adaption of using an Apple iPad in an RV for its application of a glass dash. If you missed it here’s a link In addition to using this for instrumentation and of course navigation, there are other great features that RVer’s might find of interest.
There are times when we are exposed to harsh or adverse weather conditions from heavy rain, snow threats or even tornado activity. In many cases our only window to the weather is what we can see while speeding along the highway. Well, there is a way that we can really know what’s ahead, 5 miles, 50 or hundreds. We are talking about weather radar. A clear and easy way to view precipitation throughout the country, all in real time less, 10 minutes. This is a great iPad app (Application) that lends itself well to the RV traveller, and it is just one of what may be many. The one-time cost of this application is $1.99. This application requires WiFi to retrieve.
Travelling with large class A coaches or RV tow combinations can present some challenges for stopping along the way. Travelling on the interstate highways can provide the manoeuvring required a each rest stop. These rest stops however, can be found at random distances making it difficult to determine how far you must travel to the next. The iPad offers the answer with an app containing every rest stop in the U.S. Using its built in GPS system, this program can instantly tell you the next rest stop with both the mile marker and the distance. This operates as a stand-alone requiring no WiFi or 3G cellular connection. This application can be had for $0.99.
Similar to the rest stop application, there is an app that locates truck stops. This will provide instant distances and mile markers to service stations including Flying J, Loves, Husky and more. Again this one-time $0.99 app operates as a stand-alone method with no need for WiFi or cellular service.
So, you like to boondock at a Wal-Mart on occasion. But, sometime as the day fades to night, it can be difficult to locate one. iPad has the solution for that too. An app specifically designed for RVer’s will instantly tell you where the next one near the highway is. It also tell you if no overnight parking is in effect. Again $0.99 is all this will cost you to download the data base. This too needs no WiFi or other outside aid. The GPS give all the information it requires.
Now, how about an app that will tell you where camping and RV parks are in relation to your current location? That’s exactly what $3.95 will buy. It also operates without the need of cellular or WiFi and displays sites in the U.S,, Canada and Australia. You can ask it to show all camp types or just one, like RV parks only.
One of the remarkable things about the iPad is the speed from turning it on to getting the needed information. Unlike a laptop that requires time to boot up, the iPad is instant. Literally in seconds you have your information.
Anyway, these are but a few other great applications that may help you if you have or get an Apple iPad.
A Look At The Cutting Edge - Lug_Nut - Peter Mercer
A look at the cutting edge, from Lug_Nut. Many RV owners consider the addition of adding a GPS navigation system to their existing coach. Most choose the portable type mounted on a holder attached to the top of the dash or windshield. These offer the advantage of portability which allows them to be used also in the towed vehicle. However, one of the biggest drawbacks is the somewhat small screen.
Then there are people that like the look and feel of the in-dash type. Screen sizes on these are normally about 7” diagonally and many offer touch screen control. The in-dash units contain a combination of features. They are the AM/FM radio, Sat radio, CD player, back up camera capability and of course satellite GPS navigator all in one. The cost of these before installation can be $600 to $1500 or more.
Okay, that has been the choices that we have had in the past. But, things are changing. No longer are we going to be confined to using the same looking and functioning GPS navigation equipment that has been unchanged for years.
Well, for those that want to bring their motor home or tow vehicle into the next generation of the electronic future, consider this. An Apple iPad can deliver more information on one big screen as well as offering the ability to be interactive. The huge 9.7” touch controlled screen can deliver a high definition GPS navigation including voice guidance. It can replace the need for your radio and provide iTunes and more. It’s your hands free telephone and will also look after your e-mail needs. It can store and display lists of rest stops or any other locations at the touch of an icon. It can be removed and used on your boat with a full blown marine chart display. Local weather radar in real time is also a great application that can be displayed. All of your navigation software can be updated as needed. You can use it as a virtual dash, displaying your speed, trip mileages, altitude, acceleration and much more. There are hundreds of thousands of software applications, many for free or very little. There are even applications that allow you to position it on your dash and provide HUD (Heads Up Display), though apparently they have some challenges in bright sunshine.
There are several models of iPad that are available. You should go for the gusto, buy the most expensive, about $850 or so. It comes complete with 3G wireless connectivity, built in GPS and WiFi.
Now, how can you mount it to have that factory built look? This can be easy with the newly developed mounts that are about to hit the market. These mounting fixtures fasten right to a double DIN radio location and come complete with the wiring plug-in hidden behind. The rectangular screen can be positioned vertically or horizontally and the iPad knows and automatically reads right. These mounts will probably range from $250 to $350.
This sure beats any in-dash navigation unit currently being sold. In fact, people considering buying a new rig should take a look. Why pay the $2000 option price for a basically non-upgradable in-dash GPS unit. After all, it will only come with a half dozen functions, why not go for thousands?
For those interested in looking at some of the Apps (Application software) that are available here is a Link.
Well, if nothing else, it is food for thought.
With A High Definition Window To The World - Lug_Nut - Peter Mercer