A Roundup of Cool or Otherwise Useful Items for Your LTV
It’s that time again to have a look at what Denise and I have found, whether it be interesting looking, useful to us, or potentially interesting and useful to you, in our semi-annual gotta have it list. If you’re curious as to why we say semi-annual, you can check out all of the other lists we have created. We’ve got quite a few items this time so I will break this up into two editions. Some we’ve tried, and some we haven’t.
Going ‘Grandpa-Grandma-ping’ with Cabbunk
Let’s start with the one that solved the problem of sleeping more than two people inside our 2015.5 Unity MB, Lucky Us. We bought our solution online from another LTV owner who solved the same issue. But what exactly was our issue? Getting our California grandkids, Kai and Noe, safely inside our unit at night while traveling with them in a trailing car with appropriate seats during the day. The inventor calls it “gramp-ing.” I’ll amend that to “grandpa-grandma-ping.”
The system is called a Cabbunk, invented and patented in England by Richard Olphin. Unitys need a “large” size, and Wonders are probably the same. Here’s how it works: turn the driver and passenger seats backward, slip the Cubbunk over the driver and passenger seat headrests, and anchor with ingenious cantilevered straps and two rods that make the bunks stand up on their own. There is no need for any interior modification. They come in single or double bunks and can hold a couple of hundred pounds.
It took a bit of figuring out where to put the rods and straps, but once we got it, it worked every time, and Kai and Noe loved it. We loved it because there is no need for anyone to sleep outside, especially if you’re in grizzly country. It’s about $400, calculated in British pounds, or $600 from here in the states. Here’s a link to the overseas site. We highly recommend Cabbunk.
Batteries, Chargers, and More
We use small battery packs, which we charge when on the road or when plugged in, but for boondockers, powering some items can be limiting. Shell and licensee partner Sky Intelligent presents the all-in-one solution to technology addicts whose time outdoors is often restricted to the duration of their battery life. It’s big at nearly 15 pounds but can charge devices repeatedly. It was around $400.
Here’s another portable charger that charges s-l-o-w-l-y with solar, but that panel helps keep up with using either our older MyCharge charger or our new Blavor, aka the Big Orange. We can plug our phones in to either of these and be good to go all day. Increased stored power capacity changes on these about every six months, so watch for them to have more in the future. Our Blavor was around $60 on Amazon.
A combo charger and LED string light that we use to keep critters from under our hood are now sold by M-powerd. The 18-foot cord features 20 lights with four power settings plus a couple of charging outlets, and it’s all solar-powered or charged with a USB cord. We used ours in the Arizona desert last spring, along with Fresh Cab natural repellant packets. Better safe than sorry. The light is about $38 at REI but is sold elsewhere, sometimes for more. Fresh Cab is available at many outlets like ACE and Tractor Supply.
Here’s another triple-use item that also can be a charger. It’s a “hybrid” flashlight from XfinityX1. It comes with both a rechargeable battery and a sleeve for regular batteries, rechargeable or otherwise. This compact flashlight can also be used to recharge other items. It comes in four levels of brightness. Prices start at $59 with everything included.
Don’t get me wrong; I like my Apple Watch because it’s more than a watch. It will tell me the weather, show my workout status, and will even auto-alert authorities if I fall or am in a crash. But some don’t want that, so here’s one alternative among myriad wrist timepieces out there. It’s the GLA Watch. It’s endorsed by the Hawaiian Lifeguard Association (yup, that is a thing), and this stainless steel China-sourced beauty is said to be water “resistant” down to 600-plus feet. I’d never think of giving up my current “watch,” but this one may be for you for $250 at Amazon and $175 at Walmart.
Floater Glasses, Eyewear Straps
We’re often in a boat, and besides the worry of dumping my phone overboard (keep it in your pants pocket, Bill), there’s also my prescription sunglasses. I take care of that issue with my Chums eyeglass retainers for about $8, but some may not like wearing those. Enter floating sunglasses from Blender’s eyewear. The Float 20 Collection is anti-salt coated to protect against corrosion, polarized, and yup, they float.
Camping in Florida in February sometimes means that the night air chills down even when around a campfire. One solution that packs compactly is the Puffer Hug, a combo shawl/mini-blanket that you can shoulder-wrap, use as a scarf or a lap, or roll to make a makeshift pillow, and it features pockets. It’s about $40 at Amazon.
Old Trapper Jerky
Okay, you’ve got the fire going and a Puffer hug shawl drawn across your shoulders. Next up is a tasty and healthier snack than munching on the usual. Pass the family-size bag of Oregon-based Old Trapper beef jerky, please. This jerky is surprisingly tender, unlike others that hint of a rawhide chew. Flavors include traditional, teriyaki, peppered, and spicy, available at outlets like Walmart and CVS stores.
Twisty Sheets No More
You’ve surely experienced this at a laundromat on the road. You think your bed sheets are dry at the end of the cycle when they’re so twisted in a knot around other clothes that nothing is actually dry. Enter Wad-Free, also available at Amazon for about $20. Put each sheet corner in the slots of this tiny square, and they’ll never tangle. We’ve tried it, and it works.
Keep Odor Out Of Clothes, ‘Swiffly’
Spray Swiff on those sheets you just cleaned with your Wad-Free, and also on those clothes you may reuse when on the road. It keeps everything odor-free and lasts for up to five washes. Swiff is made from gall nuts combined and a small amount of silver, which also has been used to keep outdoor gear fresh for long periods. Your traveling partner will love it.
Keep Biting Bugs Out Too
When I’m outside for long periods in summer, you’ll nearly always see me with a lightweight Simms Bug Stopper hoodie over my shirt. The repellant survives multiple washings, and you can recharge with permethrin spray. Apparel maker Forloh has done it one better, combining the same Insect Shield that’s in my fishing hoodie with odor-prevention built-in.
This wool jacket by Voormi is unlike any other wool garment you may have worn. It’s made with a “surface-hardened” thermal wool, a thin layer of wool reinforced with nylon, and features a water-repellent coating. It all makes for an extremely lightweight all-season jacket with a hoodie built in. It is expensive at around $270, but if it takes the place of a couple of other items in your RV, is easily packable, and looks great, it may be for you.
Personalize A Pillow
Here’s a great idea to create some pillows for your RV or home with images of your favorite photos, from your pet to a campsite. Send a photo to CanvasPeople, choose a pillow, and you’re done for as little as $15.
Can’t Bear to be Without Bear Spray
A few years ago, while at our campsite near Banff/Lake Louise, I looked out the side window to watch two grizzly cubs next to our LTV run into the woods where we were sure mom, the protector, was watching. We didn’t go out. Later, rangers taped off the footbridge across a tributary of the Bow River. Meaning, don’t EVEN think about going there. That’s why we now always carry bear spray in grizzly country. We currently have the Frontiersman spray by Sabre in our rig. Family-owned Sabre also makes noise-making devices like air horns and other personal protection sprays that could come in handy for boondockers. The cost is about $40 on Amazon.
‘Moon’ The Campsite
No, not that. We’ve discovered a great item for owners who don’t want to extend their awning or want another choice to expand their outdoor living space, and yes, for those who are awning-averse, they can be used on your LTV using add-on adhesive anchors that could even be attached to the awning front. We tried my son’s on our LTV, and it works. This item is made by Moon Fabrications, which also makes a lightweight “wall” that attaches to the shade for more sun protection.
Is it an E-bike or a ‘Motor Bike’?
I always try to mention at least one e-bike in these lists since there is so much interest, and you knew this was coming. Enter the 72-volt Scrambler from California’s Vintage Electric Bikes. This bike can travel up to 40 mph (64kph) and is controlled by a thumb throttle accessing five speeds. Its other models putt along at the normal 20-26 mph with a 49-75-mile range. This 88-pound two-wheeler may strain your bike carrier, especially with two. You’ll pay upwards of $5,500 each. Me? I’m still waiting for a much lighter version, and so far, like the Wing. We still prefer pedal power, however, but that may change.
Seasoned motorbike riders have an experiential edge here. If you’re new to e-bikes, remember to start slowly in a large open lot, especially learning to stop without thinking. Take it from one couple who recently purchased e-bikes. When she fell, she shattered an elbow. E-bikes often take as much skill as motorcycles, are far faster than pedal bikes, and certain power classes must be ridden on roads, meaning in traffic. Rules vary by locale, so pay attention and choose wisely.
‘Grandtoddler’s’ Play Pants
Okay, you’re on grandkid watch, including the multiple falls toddlers take. Your goal is to return said kids to their parents relatively unscathed. Enter Sandra Aris play pants, perfect for beginning walkers because they have extra padding in the bottom and knees, so each landing is a little softer, and each adventure crawl is a little kinder.
Colors are inventive, come in sizes from six months to 3T, are handmade and washable, and are also “hand-me-downable” because they’re inspired by rugged materials used in motorcycle and ski gear. They make great gifts as well.
But that’s enough for now. We’ll be back with that pre-holiday second part soon.
Please note: The recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of Leisure Travel Vans.