2017 RVer Christmas Gift Guide -> Awesome RV Gear For Every Occasion
We finally made it to December, my favorite month of the year!! It’s Christmas time and for the next 3 weeks I’m going to bask in the beautiful glory of it.
Not only am I going to decorate the RV with all my favorite festive decorations (yipeee!), but I am going to play non-stop Christmas music (yes, I’m one of those people), make traditional Danish Christmas food (yum!) and enjoy solid family time with those I love the most. What could be better?
The other thing I look forward to every year around this time is writing my yearly RV Gift Giving Guide. It’s something I’ve done every year since we started on the road and although it can be a struggle to come up with stuff for small, mobile spaces such as ours it’s always fun to think about interesting gifts for my fellow RVers. Christmas is only 3 weeks away (yikes!) so maybe this will give some of you some last-minute inspiration? Or ideas for what to buy in the future? Either way it’s always fun to do!
We’ve had 8 years of experience on the road now, so this year I decided to make the focus of the guide a little different. In particular I wanted to cover what I consider to be the most essential RV items that we personally own and use in 6 different catagories: practical, safety, travel, happy hour, cooking and adventuring. In other words, awesome RV gear for every occasion! Not everything I’ve chosen here is romantic or pretty, but every item is something we treasure for how it enriches our RV life on a daily basis. So, here goes!!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. You are welcome to use them (or not) entirely as you wish.
1/ Practical RV Gear
Neither of these are particularly romantic Christmas gifts, they are two of the most used-items we own and they’ve BOTH lasted over 8 years of solid fulltime RVing, so I can thoroughly and unabashedly recommend them!
Lynx Leveling Blocks – Before I went on the road I never, ever would have imagined how useful (or durable) these little Tri-Lynx Levelers were. We’ve had these plastic blocks literally since we started on the road and use them constantly both in unlevel campgrounds and while boondocking. They help to keep “all tires on the ground” no matter where we are, and despite rolling our 33,000 lb motorhome on and off them for over 8 years we’ve only ever had 1 crack!! We now carry 5 packs of these because honestly, they rock!
Rhino-Flex Sewer Hose – It takes a special person to enjoy getting a sewer hose as a gift, but it might also be one of the most practical RV items you ever buy so what RVer wouldn’t love it? The Rhino-Flex Sewer Hose has been our hose of choice for 8 years and has lasted throughout. I can’t recommend it enough.
2/ Safety RV Gear
There are two “must have” safety items which I think every RVer should own. Both of these have been critical to us over the years and I’d never travel without them.
TPMS System – We bought our Tire Safeguard TPMS system several years ago after I did a thorough review of just about every system in Quartzsite, and we’re still happy with our choice. It monitors both our RV and tow and has “saved” us a few times since we had it (particularly with leaks in our tow). If I were choosing again today I’d consider the EEZRV 10 Sensor System simply because I’ve known many folks who’ve gotten it and really love it. Both are excellent systems.
Surge Protector – Protecting your RV against surges or bad electrical outlets is a critical piece of safety gear IMO. It’s some $$ to buy and install, but I think it’s a small investment to pay for protecting your (very expensive and very precious) home. Last year we installed what I consider the best overall surge protector on the market, the Progressive Industries EMS-HW50C. Definitely a piece of gear I thoroughly recommend and endorse.
3/ Travel RV Gear
A big part of RV life is planning your travel route. We’re the planning types so we always have a general idea of where we’re going to go each year including which months we want to spend where. And once we’re on the road we go even deeper and plan ahead on both specific routes and stops. Many of these things can be handled by a good Mobile App (e.g. AllStays is great), but nothing can replace a good paper map as well as a good RV-friendly GPS unit (and yes, you should always carry BOTH).
GPS Unit – We use Google Maps for a lot of our basic route planning, but it doesn’t account for low clearances or tunnels, so for our RV routing we have become fans of the CoPilot App. It works on your phone or pad and will route you around low clearances and any tunnels that prohibit propane (a particular problem in the NE). For those who prefer a physical GPS, in my opinion the best unit on the market is currently the Garmin RV 770. It’s comprehensive, programmable and offers lifetime map upgrades.
Paper Maps – We carry two types of paper maps which we really like. The first is a general map (for general planning) which is the Rand McNally Deluxe Motor Carriers Map. It’s not detailed enough for individual route-planning IMO, but it’s great as general map & guide for where you might want to go. For detailed State by State maps we absolutely love and endorse the Benchmark Road & Recreation series of maps. We have almost all of them and use them extensively out West, especially for finding public land and potential boondocking spots. Our Arizona Map is positively dog-eared at this point.
4/ Happy Hour RV Gear
For us Happy Hour is an essential part of our daily RV life, so this stuff is aaaalmost as critical as all the other items we carry. Of course we’ve got outdoor table, chairs and mats to “glamp-up” our sitting area, but we also carry three pieces of extra special equipment which we bring out whenever we want to impress our guests:
Martini Glasses – There’s something about serving a cocktail in a Martini Glass that makes it extra special IMO. We carry many real glasses (mostly cheapo versions from Walmart), but because Martini Glasses are an awkward shape we prefer to them in stainless steel (for durability purposes). Plus it just looks classier. We actually got this set of RSVP Endurance Martini Glasses as a Christmas present last year and love them so much I had to include them as an option for my readers this year.
Super Large Ice Cubes – Many RV fridges come with ice cube makers, but we’ve never really liked ours, so when a friend of ours served us a cocktail with fancy extra large ice cubes we were instantly impressed. We immediately ordered our very own silicone Tovolo King Ice Cube Tray and have used it daily ever since. I know large ice cubes don’t really make a difference to how a drink tastes, but I swear that they make it better! Plus I really like the fact that these larger cubes melt slower than small ones (especially useful for bourbons and such).
Cocktail Shaker – Every full-service RV Happy Hour bar should have a decent cocktail shaker. I don’t really have a particular preference here, but we like the all-metal kind (nothing to break) and we do use the measuring jigger and spoon to mix. You can buy a good shaker just about anywhere, but this inexpensive 24 oz Cocktail Shaker Bar Set is a nice example.
5/ Cooking RV Gear
We are real foodies and cook at home almost everyday. We actually carry a VERY extensive set of kitchen gear (we brought just about everything we had in our stix & brix house), but there’s a few pieces which we love and use more than most.
Stove-Top Espresso Maker – We literally can’t live without our morning coffee and ever since we’ve owned the RV (in fact even BEFORE we moved into the RV) we’ve had the same Italian-style espresso maker. It’s a Cuisinox Roma 6-cup Stainless Steel Stovetop Espresso Maker and it’s just awesome. We learned to make espresso this way while living in Europe 18 years ago and still make our coffee the same way today. What’s great about a stovetop maker is that you can use it on a grill or a regular gas stovetop (great for boondocking), plus it’s compact and never breaks. Oh and yeah, the coffee is excellent. Not quite machine-style espresso, but darn close.
Weber Grill – We went through several grills when we started on the road, but the Weber Q1000 is the one to rule them all. We love how compact and easy-to-use it is (including that it’s easy to clean), plus we appreciate its serious cooking power. Since we got this grill (almost 4 years ago now?) we’ve never looked for another type.
I’ve got plenty of other good cooking gear listed in THIS post if you want more.
6/ Adventuring RV Gear
A big part of our RV lives are spent outside either hiking with the dog or (for me) taking pictures. So I’ve got a few fav pieces of gear that I really love and use all the time.
Compact Camera – I don’t go anywhere without my camera and for that purpose compact cameras can’t be beat. You just slip them in your pocket and off you go. They’re light, super easy to use and if chose the right one you’ll still get almost all the manual features of a much more expensive full-service DSLR for just a fraction of the size. For my purposes I think there are currently two compacts on the market to “rule them all”, the Canon G7X Mark II and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 V. They are both super portable cameras with excellent sensors and all the manual functions you could ever want. Two slightly cheaper (but also excellent) options are the Canon SX620 (25x zoom) or the Canon SX730 (40x zoom). I personally use the Canon G7X and it takes 90% of the photos that I publish on my blog. I’ve been using and abusing it for over 2 years and still love it today.
Headlamp – I’ve been using headlamps ever since my backpacking days and there’s literally not a day that they don’t come in handy on the road. We use them for walking around the campground at night, doing repair jobs in the RV (allows both hands free) and for night-photography (red light mode). We carry two ‘coz we both like them so much we each wanted our own. There are many excellent brands but I personally like the Explortek Nite-Blazer LED Headlamp. Lots of good white light and a good quality red mode too.
Hydration Backpack – We never hike anywhere without a day-pack that carries both sufficient water (for us and the dog), as well as a basic emergency kit and some food. We’ve both been Camelbak users for over 20 years and find their backpacks to be both comfortable and durable. For day-hiking the Camelbak Cloud Walker 18 Hydration Pack fits the ticket just right. We never go anywhere without ours.
That’s it for this year. Just a few short and sweet items. Hopefully you enjoyed them. If you are looking for more inspiration here’s a few of my previous lists: