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Tried & True RVing Travel Gear We Love

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

Our Canon printer pulled out to print. It usually stows underneath the desk.

Our Canon printer pulled out to print. It usually stows underneath the desk.

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

My awesome iPad Mini keyboard.

My awesome 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.

IMG_2811So 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.

Fitbit One

We are so totally rocking the steps lately!

We are so totally rocking the steps lately!

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!)

Inflatable Kayak

The kayak rolled up.

The kayak rolled up.

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.

The bag is large enough to hold the kayak and both the seats.

The bag is large enough to hold the kayak and both the seats.

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.

Cork Pops

This bottle opened in under 30 seconds!

This bottle opened in under 30 seconds!

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.

 

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30 Comments - Still Plenty of Room for Yours!

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      • Thanks for the response. Spoken like someone truly comfortable on the water! I’m not a swimmer so will do my research. I’m happy to have the lead on the inflatable kayak.

  1. When we started fulltiming, we also looked for a smaller printer, but still needed some of the all in one capabilities (except fax). We have found that the Epson xp-800 has a smaller size than any of the other ones we looked at, and this little printer has worked extremely well. It has wifi and ethernet, so we keep it in a closet. We need to print more since we have kids and home-school, and this little all in one fits that bill (at least for us).

  2. I started following your adventures. We travel appr 6 months a year in a View…getting ready to head west for a couple of months. Tried the Sea Eagles last year in FL and didn’t like it. If you know someone who wants a very gently used one….let me know. Always interested in new gadgets and ideas. Home is in NE IN. Looking forward to your internet info

    • Yup, for those who prefer a real kayak, the Sea Eagle probably won’t fit the bill. For us, it’s a good compromise for our travels. Good luck selling it, they seem to sell quite easily on Craigslist as you’re passing through kayaking areas.

  3. Thanks for all your tips and suggestions. My parents did this with us every summer for about 6 years. My dad was an original house flipper. He bought trashed houses in the fall and sold them in the spring, then off we’d go again. I’ve been to almost all the National Park, museums, caves, hand dug wells, and corn palaces. Now I have convinced my husband that it is time for us to move on and I can’t seem to purge fast enough. We bought a 1972 DiGeorgio 16′ to remodel. Hubs wants to be on the road by spring…yikes! I have 2 questions that are concerning me, that maybe you can help.
    1) The water fresh water holding tank. Hubs wants it gone for the storage space. I say no, that it will restrict our locations should we boondock. He says we would not want to carry the weight of water anyway and a jug or 2 would be fine for a few days. Your opinion would be helpful.
    2) We have 5 dogs ranging in weight from 45-55 lbs. All are healthy, chipped, and neuterd/spayed and quite well behaved. Border collie/Lab mixes. All rescues and the loves of our life. We have a fenced acre now that they run and play on all the time. We live in an area that we have been evacuated for weeks at a time for hurricanes and wildfires and they adapted well. We found dog parks for them to let loose their energy. Do you think this can be done.
    You guys are my new best friends!
    Thanks!

    • Hi Susan.. thanks for stopping by.

      To answer your questions:

      1) Not having fresh water on board would indeed be very limiting. If you’re planning to go from commercial RV park to RV park and never dry camp.. I suppose it could work. For us, we enjoy variety. Right now we’re at a national park campground… no water or power at the sites. It’s wonderful to be here and enjoy all the luxuries of home anyway. We did our first year without much plumbing.. just a 5G jug to a sink faucet. It was ok, but definitely not sustainable long term for us.

      2) There are dog parks across the country and believe there is an app for finding them. But all RV parks we’ve been in require leashes.

      • We have also seen limits on number of dogs allowed. If the dogs are well behaved, I have not seen it enforced, but I have seen limits in commercial parks as to how many dogs you can have. Just FYI.

  4. I really enjoy watching your YouTube entries. I dream of hitting the road but don’t know if a 61 yr old single woman could do it by herself. Thanks for letting me live vicariously right now.

    • There’s nothing about your age, relationship status or gender that necessarily says you can or can’t do it. It all comes down to you. Check out some of the amazing solo women out there for inspiration. RV Sue is a great starting place.

      • Cherie you are right! I just turned 61 and I’m having the time of my life!! Although I am married, sometimes my husband doesn’t want to go where I do… so I take off in the motor home for a mini trip with my dog! We have a wonderful time! I started Kayaking so I need to get out there and check out the lakes here in the Northwest before the snow starts to fly!! You GO GIRL!

  5. FYI the Geeks on Tour link seems to be broken. As someone who plans to solo fulltime in 2015 I’m a new follower and loving reading and learning from your posts

  6. Hi Chris and Cherie,

    I just found your website and I love it. My wife and I live on a trawler and I find it interesting the similarities in our two lifestyles.

    The lantern suggestion is fantastic and something that we have needed for our flybridge.

    Take care and I am looking forward to the release of your book,

    Conrad

    • Hey guys.. and welcome! We have some dear friends who moved from a bus conversion to a trawler a little over a year ago. Are you familiar with OurOddyssey.blogspot.com? If not, highly recommend connecting with them too!

      • Thanks for the link to Odyssey’s blog. It looks like they have cruised a lot of areas we look forward to seeing.

        Their blog should be a fun read.

        Take care,

        Conrad

  7. I was wondering if the inflatable kayak needs to be registered? It seems like that would be a pain in the neck being full-time and moving between so many states. Having to register in each state just seems like a drag! How would you even attach a registration sticker to a blue up boat? I see a fair number of full-timers using them and have not read anything about registration so perhaps no one really checks or something.

      • As an owner of 2 canoes I can tell you that it depends on your “home “state. I live in Ohio and here any watercraft with or without a motor must be registered to be legal . I am sure it is not the same for every state.

  8. This is a great post, thanks for sharing it.
    I’ve considered some of the inflatable boats but haven’t yet made the leap. Nice to see how you’re enjoying the kayak.
    I have an older version of the little Canon printer. I think I biught it in early 2007 and it still works as if new. They’re great little printers.
    Do you ever have need to scan while on the road? If so, what do you use? Are the iPhone and iPad scanner apps good enough to get by?

    • Those little Canon printers are awesome, aren’t they? I really didn’t expect it to last this long for us… and happy to hear a 2007 model is still rocking it too!

      We thought we should have a scanning solution onboard, so we have a Doxie One. Honestly, we’ve had it almost 2 years now, and haven’t scanned a single document with it – so we can’t give it a thumbs up or down. When we need to scan something, taking a photo of it with our iPhone has always gotten the job done just fine. So far.

      • Thanks for the reply, Cherie. I don’t scan but rarely any more either. I’ve been using the camera or a scanning app in my iPhone almost exclusively for about 3 years now. I’m not sure it’s perfect, but it has served my needs and is one less piece of equipment to buy and maintain.
        Thanks again for a great post.

  9. Perfect timing! I’ve been procrastinating about researching a printer for the road.
    Thanks for making it sooooooo easy, once again!

    You guys are da bomb!

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