Things are likely to improve dramatically in 2021, but health experts agree the year may at least start pretty much the same as 2020 ended, with masks, a need to safely distance and restrictions on some activities.
Some of the best gifts come from your travels, but this year probably reduced your opportunities to browse shops and local craft offerings. You may need to do a little more shopping now, probably online. So, our gift suggestions arrive in time for you to shop before Thanksgiving, the season’s first and for some families the only all-inclusive holiday gathering. We’ve included plenty of things that will enhance your indoor as well as outdoor times while RVing.
Our gift ideas include a range of prices:
Crossing Creeks Vacation
As always, vacation time at Crossing Creeks RV Resort and Spa in Blairsville, in the North Georgia Mountains, is available and affordable. You can get time at an RV campsite or a stay in one of our cozy, well-appointed cabins for a friend or family member. Some restrictions apply. Cost: $60/day and up; $360/week and up.
Personalized Custom Floor Mat
Give a personalized floor mat, and the recipient will say not only “thank you,” but also you’re “welcome”—or any of several camper-related phrases. There’s a place to add names or text that works for the RVer you’re gifting. Flagology mats include a rubber base that keeps water off your RV floor. There’s a choice of sizes and colors. And isn’t it nice that, in this electronic age, this gift needs no batteries or recharging? Cost: $39 and up.
If you like to record your active RV lifestyle, an action camera will deliver sharp stills and detailed video that’s largely free of shakes. Palm-size action cameras use accessories to clip onto a helmet, handlebars, a canoe or whatever thrills you. They are waterproof down to about 30 feet. Action cameras can serve as dash cams and are widely used for recording vlogs. The GoPro Hero9 and DJI Osmo Action can record more than 2 hours on a single battery charge, and extra batteries are available. Price: $250-400.
Kindle Paperwhite Tablet
For the voracious reader, a Kindle Paperwhite from Amazon comes in several iterations, including versions that let you borrow classic books free or read without ads. Electronic books can also be borrowed from public libraries where the owner I member. Of special appeal to RVers are versions with free cellular access so you can hold down your data usage. Runtime is measured in weeks, not hours, and one tablet can store scores of books without adding weight to your RV payload. The screen is bright enough to read outdoors—under the awning or in bright sunlight. Cost: $129-$249.
Paper Atlas, Directories
Why a low-tech paper road atlas? When there’s no power and no cell signal, a paper atlas still works. To “power on,” just open it. The Rand McNally Motor Carriers’ Road Atlas is for truckers, but it’s a good travel companion for RVers because it marks routes with weight and low-clearance restrictions. A spiral-bound deluxe version lies flat when opened.
The Walmart Locator pinpoints on maps and gives directions to Walmarts and Supercenters, details fuel service, and lists overnight RV parking availability, with phone numbers so you can call and check. RV Camping in State Parks contains descriptions of and details for more than 1,700 state parks in the continental U.S. that allow camping. Cost: $15-$42.
Portable Power Station
They look like small generators, and some are even called “solar generators,” but they store energy, not generate it. Portable power stations really are enclosed lithium batteries with handles and ports, and usually with built-in inverters. They can power 12-volt rechargeable devices, such as smartphones and computers, and because of the inverter, 120-volt devices, such as lights and fans. Charge them with your solar power system or by plugging them into the 12v power outlet in your vehicle as you drive. The higher the watt-hour rating, the higher the price. Jackery, for instance, makes a line of power stations ranging from 160 to 1,000 Wh. Cost: $140-$999.
If you know an RVer who likes to camp in state or national parks, or even just visit them frequently, a park pass will admit them free of daily entrance fees. A year-long America the Beautiful Pass to national parks and other federal recreation lands, such as Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers acreage, costs $80, or $20 for a senior. Each pass covers your vehicle, even an RV, and three additional people in the vehicle. (The interagency passes are free to active military and dependents.) Parks usually charge a fee for full-service campsites, but not for boondocking. Fees for certain activities, such as four-wheeling or boating, may be additional.
Most state park systems sell day passes only, but an annual pass to the immensely popular New Mexico state parks is $225 for out-of-state residents. There’s no fee for bookdocking campsites.
Roadside Assistance Policy
Here’s a nice gift for RV newbies who might be experiencing sticker shock over all the extras that add up for campers. A roadside assistance policy will help the policyholder get back on the road after a mechanical breakdown or a flat tire. Depending on the policy, it covers a motorhome, towable, tow vehicle and possibly other vehicles in the family. Policies may provide actual roadside service, or they may provide towing to a service center. Read the fine print. Look for sales to cut costs. Cost: $50-$250.
Here’s hoping these gift ideas help you and yours enjoy the holidays.