Have we mentioned that we use a lot of technology to enable our travels, and that we love gizmos?
We try a lot of stuff. Some of it gets repurposed pretty quickly, but some things have stuck around.
Here’s some of the stuff that has made the cut to continue traveling with us:
Our Mobile Printer of Choice
We don’t print much, but sometimes we just need to. We picked up the Canon PIXMA iP100 Mobile Photo Printer several years ago (before they were WiFi enabled), and are always amazed with the quality of print for such a small printer measuring 12.7 x 2.4 x 7.2 inches and weighing just under 4.5 pounds.
And the ink cartridges are actually quite reasonable – we generally pick up a package of two black and 1 color for just over $30… and that lasts us a year or more.
The printer sits underneath our desk, and we just pull it out when we have a quick photo or document to print using a USB cable (the current model is WiFi enabled.) For any serious printing needs, we either send our photos off to a print lab like Walgreens to pick up, or use an office store like FedEx Office or Office Depot.
It’s traveled over 30,000 miles with us since probably 2010, has held up very well. It’s earned a rightful place in our travel tech arsenal.
iPad Mini Keyboard
This past spring, when we were hanging out with the Geeks on Tour, Chris whipped out her iPad Mini attached to this fabulous little bluetooth keyboard. I was in instant lust.
One of my only frustrations with the iPad Mini is typing on the darn onscreen keyboard. Sure, in a pinch I can do it, but I always ending up cursing.
This keyboard from Logitech is perfection for me. It magnetically attaches to the iPad, just like the SmartCover does, is super slim & light, holds the iPad upright to have it function like a mini-computer and when closed, acts as a lid for the tablet.
After having traveled with it for a couple of months now.. I give it my thumbs up.
Not Your Grandpa’s Camping Lantern
One day I had a vision – I wanted a lighting source for picnic tables. But I didn’t want something with harsh light, more of a glow. And I wanted something stylish, battery operated and efficient. Because what we do – we don’t consider camping. We’re living.
So I did a quick search on Amazon for LED Camping Lanterns, and this baby showed up at the top of the list. It’s dimmable, it’s usable either sitting on a table or hanging from a tree. It’s rechargeable by a USB cable. And it doesn’t look like traditional camping gear.
We’ve found so many uses for this – sticking in a RV bay we’re working in as a work light, dining under the stars, taking a walk around the campground at night and using for ambient light while socializing outdoors.
And recently at a rally we attended, we got to use it as an emergency signal to help direct the first responders to our neighbor’s RV after calling 911. The fireman actually came up to me afterwards to see just what created such a bright light that helped him navigate to our site through 600 RVs closely parked to each other.
Yup, this lantern has earned its keep. We’ve had it since the beginning of the year and love it. Only thing we’d change is a better handle on the bottom – it’s a flimsy plastic hanger that can easily break.
We’re geeks, it’s so easy to get super focused on what we’re doing and forget to get our butts out there moving a bit. But make it a game by invoking technology that tells us what to do? That’s the ticket!
We’ve both now worn Fitbits every day since January 1, 2013. It’s a fancy electronic pedometer that tracks how many steps we’ve taken, syncs to our iPhones and to the web, where we can ‘compete’ with other friends.
We have several nomadic friends who also wear them, and it’s been a super fun and healthy way to keep in touch! It’s not uncommon to catch us speed walking a campground at 11:45pm to get the last of our steps in for the day (we aim for at least 10,000 a day).
We look forward to the evolutions coming in personal fitness tracking, but for now – our Fitbits are our mistress. (Shhhh.. don’t tell the cat!)
Before I joined Chris on the road, I had an awesome Ocean Kayak that I used regularly. I’ve craved having a kayak along for our RVing adventures for years, but we never had room for one. And we don’t find places to kayak often enough to merit lugging one around on top of our Mini Cooper.
An inflatable kayak has been the perfect solution for us. 18 months ago while in Cedar Key, we had Amazon deliver a Sea Eagle 370 right to our campsite after reviews from fellow RVers. And we couldn’t be happier.
It’s super easy to set up and roll back into its bag, comfortably seats the two of us and fits nicely in our bay. So when we find a place to kayak we can take advantage of the opportunity.
Is it as good as my old hard sided kayak? No. Not by a long shot. But it gets us out on the water with a minimum of fuss and is a great balance between functionality and space.
Thus far we have punctured it once, on the evil oyster beds in Cedar Key. We followed the directions to install a patch, and it’s held up wonderfully for well over a year now.
It’s been nearly 3 years since our friends Ben & Karen gifted us a Cork Pops, and we simply love it. We’ve bought dozens of these to gift to friends in our travels. It’s the most efficient and fun way to open a bottle of wine.
Simply use the integrated foil cutter, stab the cork with the needle and press the button. A bit of compressed gas explodes the cork and it pops right out.
It’s well known that we’re fans of boxed wine, but this gizmo motivates us to keep glass bottles on board too – which ups our variety and quality of vino. It’s also a great compliment to the local wine we pick up in our travels at vineyards we stay at as part of our Harvest Hosts membership.
Tip: Do NOT use this on a bottle of wine marketed as using ‘eco glass’. Ahem.. sorry again Nina & Paul. Thank goodness their carpets are red wine colored anyway. 🙂
These are just some of the gadgets we find useful for a mobile lifestyle. We have lots more listed on our Travel Gear Page. Go check it out, we keep it updated as we bring new stuff into the bus.