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Gotta Have It, Fall 2021 Edition

Bill & Denise Semion
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Editor’s Note: Bill and Denise Semion are members of LTV’s sponsored content team, The Leisure Explorers. Do you own a Leisure Travel Van and enjoy writing? Learn more about joining the team.

New Want To Haves, Need To Haves, For LTVers

Throughout the year, I’ve stowed away info on products that look good, are good, and could be good on your next trip. With the holidays coming, t’s time to release them on you readers to see if you agree. Some may be cool, some not, but all may deserve your once-over.

Here goes the fall 2021 edition.

Socks It To Ya

I’ve found compression socks to be invaluable on my legs when driving for several hours on those long “gotta get there” hours in the saddle legs in our 2015.5 Unity Murphy Bed, Lucky Us. Support socks have become much more comfortable and now come in various strengths of “tightness” to help rid or control those swollen ankles you may have after a day behind the wheel.

Lately, I’ve been trying out different sets of cotton-poly blend calf-length socks made by Dr. Motion and have found them to be more comfortable than the ones that I’ve had to struggle to get on, because they’re so tight. Admittedly, that’s the point. But there’s a point at which compromise is better than fighting and these seem to be a good match. These also come in calf sleeves only, in men’s and women’s styles, and even for ankle support only. Dr. Motion also sells nearly knee-high compression socks.

Where to buy: Kohl’s and drmotionsocks.com.

It’s A Cooler. It’s A Warmer.

Photo Source. It’s both a cooler and warmer, without refrigerant or coils. Cool!

‘How cool is this’ as LTV’s Dean likes to say. This is one of the coolest and warmest little thingamajigs I’ve tried. It’s the Uber (no, not connected with the rideshare) mini-fridge and food warmer. The best thing is that it works without refrigerant. The paperwork shows that this is thanks to “advanced semiconductors.”

It runs on both a 12v outlet and 120v and is perfect for keeping up to six cans (bottles won’t fit) of water cool. Within easy reach, or lunch items comfortably warm in warming mode while you go down the road. I’ve tried it on both cool and warm modes and it works remarkably well and quickly. Their website offers 10 percent off the first order. This will be standard issue in our Unity MB this spring.

Where to buy: uberappliance.com and on Amazon.

Coloring Up Your E-Bike

Photo Source. Aventon’s new cycling tracker.

If you’re one of the many who own Aventon models, there’s a new app that connects your smartphone to your bike’s data screen. Or, upgrade to its new color model. It’s all connected to its new Adventure series of fat tire bikes you may want to try out if you’re shopping. They feature an approximate 45-mile range. Fat tire bikes do weigh more, so keep that in mind. That data screen keeps track of your battery’s percentage of charge, speed, and more with that usual 28mph top end.  The Adventure series bike checks in at around $2,000 prior to options.

To the manufacturers: why do so many of you focus on fat tire bikes only? They’re heavy for traditional bike racks. They’re bulky. I’ve ridden pedal versions in snow and they’re stable, but I really don’t think I need one for summertime paved trail rides.

Where to buy: aventon.com.

See The Light

Photo Source. Bug-strike uses light to keep biting insects away.

Those who’ve read this column before know I like the innovative, smart products from Brite-Strike, which offers everything from rechargeable lighted dog collars and lights for your kayak and paddleboard, to UV virus-destroying air purifiers.

Photo Source. A 200-lumens (that’s bright) penlight from Brite-Strike.

Here are two more. Bug-Strike is said to use a combination of infrared, UV and blue light to fend off mosquitoes and even black flies when clipped to your hat. Makers say it keeps bugs about a foot away. I’ve yet to try. I need this product when fishing on a river but I don’t know how the blinking combo would affect the fish. It’s supposed to last up to 200 hours, and unfortunately is not rechargeable.

Brite-Strike also makes a 200 lumens penlight that operates on three AAA batteries and has three modes.

Where to buybrite-strike.com Penlight is about $60. Bug-Strike is $30.

Reminder: Retract Awning

While we make it a point to do an exterior “walk around” and a “pre-flight check” each time we move our LTV, we’ve heard stories of some who haven’t, with disastrous results. RVminder bands help you remember. They fit on the steering wheel and that will definitely remind that you’re not ready even if you think you are.

Where to buyAmazon for $17.

Toes-y Cozy

Photo Source. The Pedi-Blanket

Here’s something that even our cat, Sadie, has adopted and likes to curl up in its soft, warmness. And it’s something that will make anyone curl up their toes on a cool evening around the fire, or in your LTV. Because it’s got a built-in pocket for’em.The Pedi-Blanket is at nearly six-feet (three sizes, 21 colors available) it’s long enough to cover you in high-pile microfleece.

Where to buy: pedipocketblanket.com and stores nationwide for about $60.

Another blanket that looks interesting and re-uses about 54 plastic bottles each is made by Nakie. They’re expensive, at $159 a pop, but each time one is purchased, the company promises to plant four trees.

Photo Source. Nakie “puffy” blanket.

The bottles make the down-like filling. Don’t know if they’re still doing this, but the offer was to buy a Nakie Puffy Blanket and Nakie will donate a Puffy Blanket to someone struggling with homelessness.

Where to buy: nakie.us.

Whoo’s That? A Doodle, That’s Whooo

Camping with the kid or grandkids? Here’s a great goodnight book to assuage nerves about those campground things that go bump or screech in the night. “Who’s That I Hear” by DJ Hill and illustrated by Julie Adriansen helps calm those night fears. It’s been grandpa-grandma tested and granddaughter approved.

Where to buy: Booksellers like Barnes and Noble, and also on Amazon for around $16.

Crafts to keep the grandkids occupied.

More stuff to soothe campground “there’s nothing to do—itis” come from Doodle Hog, offering fun artsy projects for everyone from age three to teen. One item is a chalk stencil kit with six different colors and three big stencils. Just check with the park you’re in to see if they appreciate the kid-provided art on their roads before applying.

Were to buy: Find other, less intrusive, crafts, including a tie-dye party kit, paint kits and coloring books at doodlehog.com. More kid fun variety is available from random line.

For my money, the best natural mosquito/no-see-um—yup, that’s a thing—repellent is the roll-on or spray Para’kito, made from five floral oils. While you’re around the campfire or campsite with them, you may also want to try another natural way to keep the mosquitoes off the kids and yourself. Murphy’s naturals incense sticks also are made with five oils, rosemary, peppermint, lemongrass, cedarwood and the old standby, citronella. One stick lasts around two hours, and of course wind may affect its effectiveness.

Where to buy: us.parakito.com, and murphysnaturals.com.

Also tested on northern Michigan biters and found effective is the Ranger Ready brand. Its pump sprays gets its protection from picaridin, a synthetic developed in the 1980s as a DEET alternative and chemically resembles a from plants used to produce black pepper. It can be used on both skin and clothing, comes in three scents, and is safe for kids aged one and older. It promises protection up to eight hours from fleas, gnats and eight hours against mosquitoes and ticks. RR also sells a permethrin-based repellent for use only on clothing.

Where to buy: rangerready.com.

Go Lightly

I like Mpowerd’s solar-powered Luci lights products from the first time I saw one on a fellow camper’s backpack in Canada. Our blow-up light is still going strong after about six years, but recently we added to it with the Luci Core, a diffused task light with a flexible “arm” wrap that curls around anything. Like the Luci, it has three settings. It’s now wrapped around a hook right next to our door, and like the original, it too is solar-powered.

Another offering similar to the original Luci is made by Solight. It’s self-inflating, works even when punctured and lasts up to 12 hours before recharging. Solight’s models offer diffused softer lighting

Where to buy: solight-design.com, starting at about $20. Find the Core and other Luci products here.

Sun-Safe With Rubber Ducky

Rubber Ducky sunscreen is an SPF 50, reef-safe (oxybenzone-free) sunscreen shown to provide protection up to eight hours in the water, that’s also safe for kids, and also won’t make that stinging sweat in your eyes that other products give you as an extra unwanted attraction.

Where to buy: Amazon and sunblocks.com.

E-kits

Yup, stuff does happen. Including on the road, when you’re in unfamiliar areas and potentially in the boonies. You’ve got to be prepared. Any first-aid kit is better than none, and one solution to be fully ready is the kit from mymedic.com. There are several sizes available including one you can attach to a bike.

Where to buy: find it at mymedic.com and Amazon starting at $50.

Going right along with the above, and the last item until next time, you may want to pack that first-aid kit with a couple of these from DrySee. These waterproof bandages allow for safe shower use if any wound must be kept dry. The bandage’s perimeter will change color when it becomes wet, and the wound pad also changes color when it is time to replace it.

Where to buy: drysee.com.

I’ll be back with more must-haves, maybe-haves and the like in another installment soon.

Bill & Denise Semion

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