Articles, Blog

Ep. 128: Our Top 10 RV Camping Gifts


Hey folks, welcome back to Grand Adventure! I’m your host Marc Guido, and in this
episode we’re going to share our top ten RV camping gift ideas, so stay tuned! Now if you’re new around here, we
encourage you to become one of our Grand Adventurers! There’s a little red
subscribe button down there in the corner, make sure that you hit that and
ring that notification bell so you can join us each and every Wednesday. Now
before we get underway with our top 10 gift ideas for RV campers, we want to do
a little bit of channel housekeeping. 2019 was an incredibly exciting year
for us. We started out the year with 2,700
subscribers. At the time that we’re filming this we’re over 32,000! We can’t
thank you guys enough. It’s been a wonderful ride, and you folks have been
the biggest part of it. So we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
2019 was a different year for us, we started working from the road for the
first time. In 2018 you may recall we took a year off of work — a year off of
life, really — and spent most of the year traveling in the RV, and also spent the
winter skiing here in Utah. Now there are some advantages and disadvantages to
working from the road, as we discovered in 2019. Now for one thing, we don’t get
to get out as much and film for you guys when we have to be working from the RV
Monday to Friday during business hours. So that leaves the weekends not only for
the big touring in an area, but it also requires us to make our big travel days
on the weekends. So that’s a huge factor, especially because we did this in the
fall when the days were getting shorter. We didn’t have a lot of time after 5
o’clock to be able to get out there and film. Now next year we’re going to do the
same thing. We’re going to do it all over again so stick with us!
The thing about next year, because we’ll be doing this in the summer, we’ll have a lot
more daylight after 5 o’clock and we’ll be able to explore an awful lot more. But
for now the RV is parked here at our home in Salt Lake City for the duration
of the ski season. During the next few months we’re going to be
bringing you some different kinds of videos to be able to bring you a weekly
content. We’ll mix a little bit of skiing in there, but we promise to keep
that to a minimum. What we’ve discovered is when we stray too far from our RV
camping theme, folks really don’t seem to appreciate those videos as much. So while
we may bring you a little bit of mountain beauty, yeah, we won’t be
flooding you with ski content. Instead we’ll be looking at various pieces of RV
camping gear, we’ll be doing some RV camping how-to’s, also maybe do a
little bit more of a vlogging style like what we’re doing with you right now.
We’ve got a whole list of episode ideas but we’d like to reach out to you our
viewers — what do you want us to see us cover during the next few months? Please
down there in the comment section. Let us know what you would like to see, and if
we can find a way to make it happen we certainly will. But that’s not to say
that we won’t have any travel episodes for you before spring. We still have a
couple of episodes up our sleeve and they’re pretty exciting travel episodes.
And you never know, we may have a warm, dry spell during the course of the
winter that’ll prompt us to get the RV out there on the road for a week or two. But
you guys came here for gift ideas, so without any further ado let’s get into
our top 10 RV camping gift ideas for 2019.
Now we’ve got stuff to show you that ranges in price from less than $10
to over $300, so there’s something at every price point for every
budget, and for every person on your RV camping gift list. Now everything we’ll
talk about today we are going to link to down in the video description below
this video, and in the interest of full disclosure, any of those links to go to
Amazon are affiliate links. What happens is Grand Adventure earns a small
commission on anything you buy through those links. It doesn’t cost you any more
to shop through those links, we just receive a small commission to help to
bring you more in better videos each week.
Now there’s nothing we enjoy more than a good cozy campfire at camp, but sometimes
you can’t have a wood campfire. As much as we prefer them, sometimes you’re under
a burn ban, or sometimes it’s just too inconvenient to spend the time building
a campfire in the evening, especially if you’re leaving in the morning because
you don’t want to leave something warm still glowing there at the campsite. This
year we’ve picked ourselves up a propane fire pit, and I’ve got to say we’ve been
using it a lot more than we expected to. We’ll share with you the one here that
we use, we’ll link to it again down below in the description. Now this is
designed to run off a 20-pound canister. However, we adapted the hose and we’ll
put a link to the hose down below as well, we adapted this so we can use it
off the low pressure fitting for our onboard propane. Now it does go through
quite a bit of propane, so you do need to be careful especially if you’re using the
on-board, but this has been a wonderful solution for us in 2019 to be able to
sit around a nice cozy campfire even in places where we’re not allowed to have a
campfire. These run plus or minus 100 bucks. Ours is on the larger side so
it’s a little over $100, and the hose is going to add a small expense if you do
want to connect it to your onboard propane. These are absolutely wonderful
convenient, simple devices to have with you on your camping outings. You know,
especially if you’re going through all that propane, it’s increasingly important
to keep an eye on just how full your onboard propane tanks are. For that purpose
we use the Mopeka LP Tank Check. Now we’ve done a previous episode on the Mopeka system and we’ll put a link right here on the screen here for you to go
check it out in detail, but we’ll just do a quick cursory glance at it now. This is
a system that uses Bluetooth. It puts an ultrasonic sensor on the bottom of each
tank that sends the signal via bluetooth to either a wall mount display or a
phone app that lets you see exactly how much propane is in each of those tanks.
The system works exceedingly well, and we know just at a glance precisely how much
propane we have left. This makes a wonderful gift idea. It’s available in
both one tank and two tank models, with or without the wall display. And again, if
you go without the wall display you simply use an app on your phone. Now
before we leave the topic of propane, the next thing we’d like to share is one of
our favorite camping items ever, and that is our Portable Buddy heater from Mr.
Heater. This is an indoor safe catalytic heater. It has a number of safety
controls. It checks the oxygen level in the room, and if the oxygen level
decreases it shuts down. If it gets tipped over, knocked over, it will also
shut itself down. But this is a wonderful supplement to the propane furnace in our
RV. Anybody who owns an RV knows when you’re using the furnace, you’re burning
through tons of propane. Not only that, but when you’re boondocking the fan the
12-volt operated fan in your furnace burns through battery almost as fast as
the furnace itself burns through propane. We use this to supplement our propane
furnace and it does a wonderful job. Mrs. Grand Adventure will bring this into the
bathroom to warm up the bathroom, because our furnace is not
ducted the way that our air conditioning is. Our bathroom gets a
little bit chilly, and this helps to take the chill out before she heads in to
take a shower. It’s a catalytic heater like I said, so
what it does, this ceramic panel inside here is what lights off the propane
and gives the heat. These are under a hundred bucks and they are absolutely
a fabulous companion to have with you anytime you’re heading anywhere where
it’s a little bit chilly. Now if that special person on your
holiday gift list is a coffee snob the way that we are, we can’t think of a
better gift than the Aeropress. Now an Aeropress, we’ve done a separate episode
on it. We’ll put a link right up here on the screen, but it’s a way to brew a
fresh cup of coffee without using any electricity whatsoever, if you heat the
water in a kettle on the stove. So that makes it the
boondocking camping accessory for the coffee fan. When you’re done, even better —
instead of that sludge, that slurry of wet coffee grounds that you have in the
bottom of a French press, cleanup is a piece of cake. The coffee grounds come
out like a semi-dry puck. One quick wipe with a piece of paper towel and
everything’s all clean and ready to go. And it makes a much better cup of coffee
than a French press, because unlike simply using immersion
and heat to brew your cup of coffee, it also uses pressure the way that a fine
espresso machine does. So you get perhaps the best cup of coffee that we’ve ever
tasted! We’ll put a link right down below to the Aeropress kit that we use, which
comes with filters, comes with this handy storage bag. We even use a manual burr
coffee grinder to grind up our beans that also likewise doesn’t use any
electricity while boondocking. Another great gift idea for the camper, hiker,
outdoors person on your gift list is a pair of FRS radios. Now these are not the
walkie-talkies that we had as kids. You don’t have all that static, you’re not
picking up people on other channels because of all the sub codes. These FRS
radios have a range of up to 22 miles, so they are perfect for when you’re backing
the camper into the campsite and you’ve got your companion out there
spotting you backing up, and it’s so easy to communicate between yourself and your
spotter using these FRS radios. But they’re also perfect for if you head out
on the trail hiking. Maybe one of you goes hiking, the other one stays back at
camp. With a line of sight range of up to 22 miles you can stay in touch with each
other for personal safety while that person’s out hiking, or the person back
at camp needs something. These are inexpensive. They come in various
configurations — some have rechargeable batteries, some just use
AA batteries. We’re going to put a link to some of our
favorites that actually have weather radio channels built right into them. Our
favorites of all … We’ve used a bunch of different brands
over the years, and our favorites by far are those made by the company Motorola.
Its quality, the name is dependable and you know you’ve got a decent radio, and
one that you can rely on. We’ll put a link to the pair that we’re using right
down below in the video description. Now if you’ve got an RV camper on your gift
list, maybe somebody who does an awful lot of off-roading in a 4×4, or even for
somebody’s personal safety to keep in the trunk of their car, a quality air
compressor is a great idea. We all know the importance of keeping our trailer
tires and our RV tires fully inflated for maximum carrying capacity and the
risk of a blowout (something we know all too well!) if the pressure dips below what
it should be. On top of that, if you’re an off-roader you often air down your tires
to about 50 percent of their recommended pressure to soften out those bumps and
rocks and ruts and everything else in the road. And then when you get back to
asphalt you need a way to get the tires back up. And even if you are just going
to the grocery store and you find yourself with low tire pressure, you can
use a portable air compressor to air your tires back up. Now there are
some critical factors to look at when choosing a compressor, and those big box
store compressors are really the junk that you think they might be. What you
want to look for is really good duty cycle. Duty cycle refers to how long you
can run the compressor without having to turn it off to cool down. The cubic feet
per minute shows how quickly it will air the tires back up. Your maximum psi is
exactly what it sounds like, it’s how high an air pressure you can insert
into a tire. And a lot of these you can also use for air mattresses, balls, and by
having a 12-volt compressor you just run it off the vehicle. You already have a
ready power source in your vehicle, the engine the battery in the vehicle. Why
would you want a 110 or 120 volt AC compressor which not only takes up more
space, but you have to have a power source to be able to use that
compressor. Now the best of all worlds that we found with all these parameters,
all these little check all these little boxes checked is the Viair 88p. Now this
is a steal at under $75 on Amazon right now. It meets every single one of those
qualifications. It has some of the best duty cycle on the market, it has plenty
of pressure to air up almost any tire, and the cubic feet per minute is the envy of
even other Viair models that are far more expensive.
we love our Viair 88p. We’ve been using it for over 10 years now. We did a
separate episode on this as well. We’ll put a link right up here in the
description if you’d like to go back and check it out for more information. Now we
went looking for a perfect little stocking stuffer for that RV
enthusiast in your life, and we found these adorable little retro camper themed
ceramic salt and pepper shakers for under 10 bucks. These are available on
Amazon right now. These things are absolutely adorable! Who wouldn’t like to
receive these in their holiday stocking? At number eight in our gift list is a
unique item sure to please any outdoor enthusiast: an annual Interagency Pass.
Now folks often refer to this as a National Parks Pass but it’s so much
more. It’ll also pay for National Monuments or National Recreation Areas
that charge an admission fee. It’ll even pay US National Forest Recreation
Fees. It costs $80 per year for most of us, or it’s $20 per year or
$80 for a lifetime for pass holders ages 62 and over. It’s
even free for the disabled or US military. Number nine on our list is
admittedly one of the pricier items on the list, but if you have an outdoors
enthusiast who loves videography or photography, we just picked this item up
and it is the bomb. It is a DJI Osmo Pocket. Now let me explain. Until not that long
ago, if you wanted to have a stabilized gimbal-mounted camera you were carrying
around a massive rig just like the one that we’re showing you here. Not only did
that take an enormous amount of space and time to set up and configure, but
there was also incredibly pricey. You could be into that for thousands of
dollars, literally! Now for the past couple of years we’ve been using a DJI
Osmo+. It was a huge leap in the ability to film with a gimbal-
mounted camera that was compact and not as heavy, not as bulky, and not as
expensive either. This was around, oh, $650 at the time, and we still
love this camera but it does have limitations. One is the size, the bulk and
the weight. It’s not the most convenient thing to throw in your backpack when you
go for that hike. Beyond that, you had to configure it, the
only viewfinder was your phone, and the problem with that is the way the phone
connects with the camera is via an ad-hoc Wi-Fi network. Now in order to
connect the two you’re looking at about 60 to 90 seconds just to set up the shot.
So instead of this now comes along the Osmo Pocket. This is a 4k 60 frame-per-
second camera. It’ll shoot slow-mo in 1080p at 120 frames per second so
you can get that smooth, buttery slow motion video, all in this tiny package
with a three-motor stabilized gimbal. This helps to smooth out any jitters or
shakes when you’re walking down the trail, or if you’re just panning around
in your hand, or if you’re driving down the road, you get exceptionally smooth,
stable video. It also shoots 12 megapixel photographs.
Unlike the DJI Osmo+ that we’ve been using,
this also has its own LCD display. Okay, yes, it’s a tiny 1-inch display, but you
don’t need to use it with your phone. You can, you have a lot more control and you
have a lot more visibility by using your phone as a viewfinder, which you can
connect either directly to the camera or wirelessly with an optional adapter, but
you don’t NEED to use it with your phone. Now I will give you a word of caution:
these run around $350 each and I’ll be honest with you,
we spent more than double … we’ve more than doubled the price of the camera
with the accessories that we bought to go with it. But this is a wonderful
little item that we’ve just put into our bag of tricks.
Now folks often ask us what we use for cameras and photography and videography
gear, and we may well do an upcoming episode this winter to share with you
exactly what we use to produce Grand Adventure, and that may include a
detailed review of this Osmo Pocket once we’ve had a chance to use it far more
extensively. But for now, this is one of our favorite little gadgets, and if you’ve
got a technology geek who’s an outdoors person and a camera buff on your
shopping list, this makes an exceptional gift. Now coming in last, at number 10 on
our RV camper shopping list, we’re going to make a shameless plug for our Grand
Adventure merchandise on Teespring. If you have a person on your shopping list
who’s a Grand Adventure fan, they’ll surely love one of these coffee mugs or
t-shirts, or tote bags or other things upon which we’ve printed these
incredibly witty and quirky little irreverent, little bit irreverent designs,
all in the theme of RV camping. So we hope that this has given you some
great ideas for shopping for that loved one who’s an RV camper. If you like this
video please give us a big thumbs up down below! Also down below, if you’ve got
any ideas for Christmas shopping or holiday shopping that you’d like to
share with other Grand Adventurers, put your ideas down there in the comment
section so that others may take advantage of your inspiration. We put out
new outdoor travel adventure videos each and every Wednesday, so if you’re not
yet a Grand Adventurer, like I told you in the beginning right down, there that
little red button, smash it now and ring that notification bell! We would be
honored if you shared Grand Adventure with your friends, family, and on social
media. In the meantime, until next week please remember … life is nothing but a
Grand Adventure. We’ll see you then.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

12 thoughts on “Ep. 128: Our Top 10 RV Camping Gifts

  1. I made a video this week on my viair, also made one on putting a 110 pancake compressor in the rig. I had noticed after installing my generator there was a space behind it that was blocked on one side and too deep to reach anything on the other side… perfect for a compressor to nest in… and well since I can have power anytime it seemed to be a good idea!

  2. I love hearing about others RV must haves! Great Christmas gift ideas… the Bluetooth propane gadget would be great to have.

  3. Congrats on the growth. I am working towards being able to work at least part of the year on the road, so would love more discussion of your work challenges and solutions.

  4. A very Merry Christmas to you both and enjoy your time at โ€œhomeโ€. Perhaps you will consider some time exploring the high Sierras I enjoyed backpacking there in my youth…it would be nice to โ€œrevisit โ€œ some 60 years later! Thanks for your sharing as always…

  5. I would be interested in a follow up episode on the Visible cell service, i.e. how well it has been working for you(signal quality, speed, etc). Maybe some followups on other stuff.

  6. Hi Marc, thanks for the list. I've been on the fence about a portable propane fire for a while now, despite how bad we are at building real campfires. This might be the push I need – if I bite, will be sure to shop through your link. As to other gift ideas, one big purchase we made this year, and have gotten a LOT of use out of, is the Clam Pop Up screen house. We got the one without a solid roof, because we'd read they can get warm in there. It allows us to sit outside without coating ourselves with bug spray – especially nice when boondocking and we don't want to have to shower ever night to get that junk off. We also bring our kitty in there with us and she just chills out. P.S. Are we ever going to meet your wife? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. Thanks, Marc! I know I'd like a video on trip planning. How you do it, how you gather the history, what planning goes into a trip and so forth.

  8. Really liked the portable heater idea, we have some of those cold spots in the RV as well! I say put up some skiing videos, they sound like a Grand Adventure to me! Will get myself some of your Merch ๐Ÿ™‚

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *