Top 10: Gifts for camper van owners
As winter nights get darker and colder, summer trips out in your camper or caravan might be a distant memory. But for those that love a jolly in their motorhome, we've rounded up the top 10 gifts for Christmas to build some excitement for the warmer weather in 2020.
Campingaz Camp Bistro 2 stove
If you want a simple to use stove for camping, the Bistro 2 is ideal - it takes a few seconds to set-up, lights first time and heats quickly, plus it's very stable which is ideal if you're using larger saucepans. The gas canisters don't last particularly long, we reckon on about 10 kettles of water or four decent meals on one canister, but they're cheap enough to buy (four will set you back around £7).
A quick look on Amazon reveals there are plenty of very similar one burner stoves around - and at a cheaper price than the Campingaz version. But delve into the reviews and you'll find these aren't built to the same quality. We think it's worth spending a few extra quid to get a brand you recognise, especially when you're dealing with something that runs on gas. It won our Camping Product of the Year award, too.
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LEGO Creator VW Campervan
This LEGO camper van is a replica of the classic Volkswagen Camper Toy Van from 1962. On the outside, the detailing includes 'V' shape three-way colour split at the front, rounded roof and window frames, opening 'splittie' safari windshield, opening doors, iconic pop-up roof with textile curtain surround, roof rack and rear side air intake vents.
Inside, there's an authentic VW air-cooled flat four-cylinder 'boxer' engine, front cabin bench seat, gear stick, angled dashboard and iconic spherical speedometer, folding rear bench seat and folding dinette table. It’s not a cheap option, but it’s a well-proportioned item (measuring 30cm in length) that would look great in an office or on a coffee table.
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Rewire Security Spytrack Nano tracker
Having a motorhome/camper van stolen is a crushing experience that we wouldn't wish on anyone. The Spytrack Nano tracker by Rewire Security is a small tracker device for keeping tabs on any particular thing of your choice. The app integrates Google Maps and the topography can utilise satellite imagery if you choose. Using the desktop site you can set up ‘geofence zones’ that allow you to place markers on the map so that if the tracker goes outside of them you’ll be alerted. Aside from that, you can set up alerts if the tracker moves or travels beyond a certain speed.
If you want to track a vehicle (like you camper), you’ll need to buy the optional magnetic case to make it fully waterproof and stick it in the wheel arch. The case costs about £25. Or for a fiver less you could buy an official car hardwire kit. That’ll also prevent the battery from running out. On that basis, it’s very cost-effective.
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The Camper Van Cookbook: Life on 4 wheels, Cooking on 2 rings
Cooking in even the most luxuriously-appointed campervan can be a bit of a stressful experience because space is at a premium, while hobs and ovens tend to be on the smaller side too. Thankfully The Camper Van Cookbook is the ideal companion to liven up mealtimes and make travelling a gourmet experience.
The book contains 80 recipes designed to be completed either on a two-ringed stove as you’d find in most campers or on the barbeque, but it also delves into the other delights of the campervan experience including foraging for food and is an enjoyable read too.
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Ring RTC1000 tyre inflator
The Ring RTC1000 is a quick, quiet and powerful air compressor, capable of inflating a flat tyre on a 13-inch wheel to 35Psi in just two minutes from the 12v socket in your car. It comes with spare dust caps and a set of latex gloves, plus a spare fuse. It’s more stable and quieter than many of its rivals and the new, chunky start button means it can easily be started with your foot and adjusting the pressure level is easy, thanks to a plastic circular dial.
This is definitely a top-of-the-range item, but if you’re the sort of person who regularly uses an air compressor then the RTC1000 is well worth a look. Although, if you're looking for something cheaper, the RTC200 is another of Ring's inflators in the new range - but it sits at less of a premium price.
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Garmin Camper 770LMT-D sat nav
If you’ve got a bigger vehicle, like a motorhome, then taking a longer trip can sometimes be a stressful experience. Fortunately, help is on hand in the form of Garmin’s motorhome-focused 770LMT – which lets you input the size and weight of your vehicle, then delivers custom routing that should avoid unsuitable routes.
It also has a 6.95-inch screen, European maps with lifetime updates, a campsite directory, speed limit and camera warnings, traffic updates and Bluetooth connectivity.
Haynes Manual: Caravan 4th Edition
This fourth edition of the Haynes Caravan Manual is the ideal guide for those maintaining older caravans, as well as including details about newer models. There's new information on caravan weights, the use of public weighbridges, and related legal issues, along with electronic and computerised wiring systems in cars.
There are major updates to the chapters on chassis, running gear, body construction, gas and all electrical details too. This essential manual describes all the vital maintenance tasks and repair work that keeps a caravan in tip-top condition.
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Suaoki power station
The Suaoki Portable power station features one AC outlet (max 100W, peak power 150W), four DC ports (15A / max 180W), one Quick-Charging 3.0 USB-A port (max 18W) and three USB-A ports with a max 10.5W power output. In short, this means you can charge a laptop in 2-3 hours, a mobile phone up to 10 times and things like coolers, cameras and small appliances while on a camping trip.
The reasonably lightweight unit is 1.3kg and there are two handles to make carrying it around easier, too. It can be recharged by connecting it to a solar panel, plugging it into mains power or plugging it into your car's 12V socket (car charger included). There's also a helpful torch on the side of the unit, which can be put in flashing mode, too.
Michelin Fit2Go Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
An aftermarket TPMS is a useful investment for those with older vehicles that don't offer in-built tyre pressure monitoring systems - as well for those who want to keep an eye on towed trailers, horseboxes or the like. Much like a dash camera, it's much better to have the device and not need it than wish you'd had it after a tyre blows out and leaves you stranded.
This offering from Michelin is simple to fit and use with no batteries to change in the sensors or display unit and no cables to route around your vehicle. Tyre pressure readings are accurate and there's a loud beep when the wheels get rolling to let you know the TPMS is up and running. However, we worry about the security of the sensors considering it would only take a couple of minutes to make off with all four.
Everdure CUBE by Heston Blumenthal
The Everdure CUBE is a portable charcoal BBQ made up of a porcelain enamel firebox with a food-grade storage tray and a bamboo preparation board integrated into the design to make a lid. The CUBE is ideal for taking out and about to picnics, campsites or even the beach - with a deceptively big enough cooking space to barbecue enough food to feed the whole family.
It isn't the cheapest charcoal BBQ around, but it does a great job at doing what it says on the tin. Plus, for our image-conscious readers, it's definitely a looker with a big name on the side. It also won our BBQ of the Year category.