The SolarPuff is a compact, inflatable lantern that packs flat for travel and uses six bright white LEDs to light up an area of up to 100 square feet.
The United Nations chose the SolarPuff for use in disaster relief because it is solar powered, made with recyclable materials and is light in weight for easy shipping. Alice Min Soo Chun, a professor at Parsons School of Design in New York City, created the prototype for the solar inflatable light in 2009, and it was used to bring light to survivors of the Haiti earthquake in 2010.
It is being marketed by Solight Design and is available for $30 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and online at solight-design.com. The lantern provides eight hours of light with five hours of charging.
For versatility, it’s hard to beat the Bubi Bottle. It can hold hot or cold beverages, can be used as a hot or cold compress, and folds up to a compact size.
The bottles can even be heated over a campfire, bringing water to a boil in about 15 minutes. The bottles are made of medical-grade silicone, not plastic, so they are BPA-free and puncture-resistant.
Since they are waterproof, the bottles can function as multi-use containers for whatever you might want to store and keep safe from the elements on a camping trip. The bottles are also are safe for use in a microwave oven, freezer or dishwasher. The 22-ounce bottle carries a retail price of $24.99. For information, visit bubibottle.com.
The SitSmart is a cushion device designed to alleviate the aches and pains that can occur after long hours of sitting, whether at an office or traveling in a car or RV.
The company says the SitSmart acts as a “shock absorber for the spine” by optimizing sitting posture. It works by tilting the hips upright and positioning the spine over the seat. The goal is to prevent lower back pain. The company reports that a recent study showed 87 percent of SitSmart users experienced a decline in pain, and 92 percent reported improved comfort.
BackJoy, based in Boulder, Colorado, also makes footwear, pillows and clothing designed to improve posture and increase comfort. The SitSmart is available at national retailers and carries an MSRP of $39.99. For information online, visit backjoy.com.
Weego Jump Starter
A jump starter for a vehicle might not seem like a gift item, but Weego, which makes portable battery solutions, says product registrations show that about a third of its units are bought as gifts. So for this holiday season, Weego is bundling its heavy-duty JS12 jump starter battery with a free smartphone charger.
The Weego jump starter is a pocket-sized device capable of starting 12V batteries in cars, trucks, motorcycles, snowmobiles, ATVs and more, as well as charging phones, tablets, speakers and laptops. The heavy-duty model can charge a gas engine up to 6.4L in size and a diesel engine up to 3.2L. (There is also a professional model that works on gas engines up to 9.6L and diesels up to 4.8L.) The unit comes with jumper cables, a USB charging cord, wall and car chargers, eight popular-brand laptop connectors, and a carrying case.
“Weego offers a revolutionary new technology that solves a very old problem but with a lot more convenience and ease,” said Gerry Toscani, Weego CEO. “You can jump start the vehicle’s battery yourself, store Weego in you glove box, plus use it every day for charging your electronics.”
The device uses lithium-polymer batteries and offers up to 1,000 charging cycles. The JS12 model is priced at $129.99. The smartphone charger that is included free with the JS12 in the holiday package is normally $19.99. For information, visit myweego.com.
Dyson Cool Fan
The new desk fan from Dyson is now 75 percent quieter than previous models while maintaining a powerful airflow. Because of the absence of blades, the Dyson Cool is safer to operate and easier to clean than most conventional fans.
Air is drawn into the fan by a brushless motor. Airflow is then accelerated through an aperture, passing over an air foil-shaped ramp, which draws in and channels its direction. This projects a high-velocity airflow.
The fan is equipped with a remote control and a sleep timer. It has 10 airflow settings, and you can use the timer to set the time (up to nine hours) and go to sleep amid cool air.
The 10-inch desk fan is available for $299.99. Dyson also makes larger versions, the tower model at $399.99 and the pedestal model at $449.99. For information, visit Dyson.com.
Books are always a welcome gift, and there is no shortage of books about RVing. Most are nonfiction entries—some are concerned with the operation and maintenance of RVs, others cover lifestyle issues, and many are memoirs and travel journals. Fiction with an RV theme is a much less-crowded field, but go to amazon.com and you will find dozens of titles.
Fiction writer Ellen Behrens has been a full-time RVer since 2009 and she has written two books with an RV theme: Pea Body, featuring a retired couple who travel full-time and solve mysteries, and Road Tales: Short Stories About Full-Time RVing.
Road Tales was first published in 2010, but Behrens revised it for a second edition this year and added a new short story featuring Walt and Betty Rollin, the amateur sleuths who are the main characters in Pea Body. The seven short stories in the collection cover annoyances that range from barking dogs in campgrounds to slideouts that won’t shut, but also convey why the RV lifestyle is increasingly popular. The book is a quick read that puts interesting characters in situations that will resonate with any RVer. The book is available in both print and electronic versions. Ordering information can be found at bobandellen.wordpress.com.
Silipint Drink Ware
Drinking cups and glasses made of silicone are the specialty of Silipint in Bend, Oregon. The company makes them in sizes from 1.5 ounces to 16 ounces, insulated to hold both hot and cold beverages.
The products are non-toxic and are safe in dishwashers, microwaves and freezers. They are unbreakable so they outlast glassware and plastic cups, and because they are made of food-grade silicone and are nonporous, they have no odor or taste.
Silipint products are screen-printed with a silicone-based ink that bonds so that artwork won’t chip, scratch or wear off over time. The products can be ordered with various artistic designs, or you can customize the drink ware to include the logo or artwork of a team or organization. The company also makes and markets silicone dog bowls. The 12-ounce drinking glass is available for $9.95. For information, visit silipint.com.
Gibi Dog Tracking Device
If you are looking for a gift for a friend who is a dog lover, the Gibi GPS tracking device could be something that would give that friend peace of mind. The Gibi uses modern technology to track a wayward dog so that the owner can find the pooch and bring it home.
The Gibi is a waterproof, battery-powered device that attaches to the dog’s collar or harness. The user adds the Gibi app to a smartphone, tablet or computer and then sets up a virtual fence, or safe zone, where the dog is allowed to roam. When the dog leaves the designated area, the owner is notified by text message or email and can find the exact location through Gibi and Google Maps.
The device that is attached to the dog collar comes standard in white with black accessories but can be customized with designer decals in a range of colors and styles. The Gibi kit retails for $99, but requires a service contract that is $99 per year. It can be purchased at Walmart or Amazon.com. For information, visit getgibi.com.
It is billed as the world’s toughest coffee maker, developed specifically for tradesmen and outdoorsmen to withstand rough treatment at job sites and campgrounds. The Coffeeboxx is compatible with K-cups and similar capsules for 8-, 10- and 12-ounce cups.
The unit has a UV and impact-resistant polymer shell. It comes with a three-foot retractable cord and includes stainless steel tie-downs.
The Coffeeboxx was created by Oxx, a new company in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to use at work sites or take for tailgating, hunting and fishing trips, outdoor parties and RVing. It is priced at $249.99 and is available through retailers such as Brookstone, Camping World, Home Depot and Sam’s Club and at oxx.com.
Dok Charger Radio
The new Dok charging station will not only charge your electronic devices, but also serve as an alarm clock, FM radio and music speaker for a retail price of $39.99.
The Dok CR09 is a dual charging station that employs SCD (Smart Current Detection) technology to recognize the correct power needed without overcharging. The universal charger works with both Android and Apple smartphones, tablets, smart watches, portable speakers, GoPros, USB devices and more. It has a universal cradle to hold devices with or without their cases and can charge two at once.
You can listen to radio through the FM radio setting or listen to music from your own device by plugging in a cable. Dok Solutions, based in Largo, Florida, has been manufacturing electronic products for more than 25 years. The Dok CR09 is available at doksolution.com and other online sites and stores.
Impecca Toaster Oven
Impecca, which makes electronic devices and home appliances, has created a toaster oven and broiler designed for small spaces but with a large enough capacity to handle two slices of pizza or four slices of bread.
The Courant by Impecca Toastower doesn’t take up much counter space at less than 10 inches wide, but achieves a 12-liter capacity with a vertical design that is 13 inches high. The 900-watt unit has bake, broil and toast functions so you can cook a frozen dinner, broil meat or bake a cake.
Features include a stainless steel design, galvanized interior, tempered glass door and cool-touch handle. The unit has two rack positions to accommodate a variety of food and comes with a chromed toaster rack, baking pan and tray handle. The retail price is $39.99. The toaster oven is sold through Home Depot, Kitchen Collection and other retailers. For information about Impecca, visit impecca.com.
A four-foot flexible hose allows you to access hard-to-reach areas of a vehicle with the new Flex Vac from Black and Decker. A clip-on brush and a long crevice tool are part of the cleaning equipment package.
The Flex Vac operates on 12 volts and can be plugged into the vehicle’s ignition. It has a mesh bowl and filter that can be removed to clean. The retail price is just under $50.
Black and Decker also makes three other car vacuum—the Pivot Vac, Hand Vac and Compact Vac—to serve a variety of needs All are between $30 and $50. For information, visit blackanddecker.com.
Motorola Two-Way Radios
Cellphones may have replaced two-way radios for some uses, but when you are out of cellphone range, radios prove their value. A new model, the R460 Weatherproof Talkabout, launched by Motorola in July offers reliable two-way communication at a distance of up to 35 miles.
The radios are designed for outdoor enthusiasts who want to stay connected while camping, biking, hiking or pursuing other adventures. Waterproof protection keeps the devices working in wet weather or while canoeing. An LED flashlight and emergency alert button are built in for safety and convenience. NOAA weather channels are available, and you can program the radio to receive weather alerts. The radios can operate like a speakerphone for hands-free communication.
The MSRP for a pair of Talkabout T460 radios is $89.99. For information, visit motorolasolutions.com.
Rand McNally RV Tablet 80
The new RV Tablet 80 from Rand McNally attaches to the RV’s dashboard for use in GPS navigation, and also functions as an Android tablet to send email, watch movies or play games. A magnetic mount powers the tablet when connected to the dashboard and allows for easy removal.
The device comes preloaded with a suite of travel apps from Rand McNally, and it has Wi-Fi connectivity. An eight-inch screen provides convenient viewing of maps and navigation. A forward-facing dash cam monitors the road ahead, and there is a video port for backup and rear-view cameras.
The RV Tablet 80 offers live weather, traffic and fuel price information, as well as details about Good Sam parks and campgrounds and other points of interest and destinations. It includes an eBook edition of Rand McNally’s Road Atlas. The device has a suggested retail price of $499.99 and is available at Camping World stores and other outlets, including store.randmcnally.com.