Let me preface by saying, this was one of the hardest things
I have ever had to do. We were a military family that moved every 2 - 3 years, and this was much harder.
Let me preface by saying, this was one of the hardest things
I have ever had to do. We were a military family that moved every 2 - 3 years, and this was much harder.
Updated: Dec 9, 2020
Whether you are a full-time camper, weekend warrior, or friends with one, there are many great Christmas gift ideas. These could also be purchased any time of the year for birthdays and anniversaries. Shane and I have come up with our top 20 gift ideas of all price ranges. I added Amazon links to each item, just click on the name. Some of the links are to actual items that we have purchased and love. If we don't have that exact item, we have one very similar. These are items we have, use, and love.
Disclaimer: We are not affiliated or sponsored by any of the sites/products, and will not receive any kickbacks/money if you purchase from these links.
PATTY'S TOP 10 GIFT IDEAS
For travelers that want to keep track of all the states they visit. Every time you visit a new state you scratch off that state to show beautiful colors or pictures. There are so many varieties to chose from, you can even get one that has all the National Parks and landmarks you visit. Price under $20 USD.
2. Garden Flag
There are so many garden flags that you could purchase as a gift. The one pictured is a personalized flag. You can get their name, where they are from, or just a cute camper quote. There are also flags for every holiday with campers on the flag as well. You can just purchase a flag or the flag with the holder. If you are crafty, you can make the flag holder for them out of PVC pipe. Price under $20 USD,
This is great to have for any camper in the winter, or summer if you live with Shane. He loves it cold at all times, especially when he is sleeping. He bought me an electric blanket because I am always freezing. This is great for full-time RVers or anyone that camps in the winter. They can use it while they sleep to save on propane, or at night snuggled up on the sofa. Price under $60 USD.
These towels are a must for every camper, part-time or full-time. Turkish towels are made from 100% cotton and imported from Turkey. They dry super fast, and you can go at least a week without washing them and they never have that "musty" smell. The towels are small and compact, not taking up a lot of space, which is crucial in a camper. There a many sizes, from washcloth size to a large beach towel. You can use them after a shower, the pool, or even take them to the beach. We love ours and have had them for years, we originally purchased ours when we lived in Turkey.
Price $10 - $25 USD.
Let's face it, anytime you go camping you always need ice
I don't know how much money we spent over the years on bags of ice. You always need ice when you are camping, especially in the hot summer months. Just nothing better than a beer that has been chilled in an ice chest or a fresh-made margarita. You can find ice makers everywhere now, from Amazon to Walmart. Sometimes you can find them for less than $100. Most are priced around $100 - $150 and they have large pieces of ice. We had one for many years when we lived overseas because it is hard to find bags of ice in Europe. Ours died a few years ago so we decided to splurge on this ice maker that makes "Sonic" like ice. It is a little more expensive, but we think it is well worth the price. Price $100 - $550 USD.
Ok, this is something as a full-timer or even when we were part-time campers we use every single day.
When you are camping and people are walking in and out all day every day, the floors get dirty fast. Campgrounds have a lot of dirt, grass, leaves, mud, etc. These cordless vacuums are lifesavers, especially if you are OCD like me (Patty). You can just whip it out with the long attachment or the small one to clean up small messes. I use the small one every single day to clean little spots around the camper. If you don't want to spend a lot of money, you can just get a small cordless handheld vacuum. Price $30 - $160 USD.
Any collapsible items are always great to have in a camper. There is not a lot of storage or cabinets in RVs. So anytime you can take up less space in your kitchen is a win. You can find all kinds of collapsible dishes on Amazon or Walmart reasonably priced. You can purchase bowls, cups, strainer, measuring cups, laundry baskets, dish drainer, and many more. Any of these items are always greatly appreciated for any camper. Price $8 - $25 USD.
When we first started camping 20 years ago all you could find were basic bag chairs for camping. There are hundreds of varieties that you can purchase now. I really like this one that I have linked because it folds down very small, which we all know is great for campers. This one is affordable and can even fit in a backpack. Anything that does not take up a lot of space is a great gift. You can find fold-up chairs, couches, rocking chairs, lounge chairs, chairs with coolers, chairs with tables, etc. Price $25 - $99 USD.
What did people do before Instant Pots? I mean I use mine every day, usually more than once a day. I use it to make rice, soups, stews, and french fries. I have the air fryer top to the Instant Pot, and make homemade french fries every day! Shane loves using it, he loves to find a recipe that can all be thrown in the pot, turned on, and walk away. There are also Air Fryers that are a great item to have as well. Just don't forget they need to be small, to fit in the small kitchens. Another great camping appliance is this cute locking crock-pot, we actually bought these for our parents last year and they love them.
Price $59 - $100 USD.
10. Camping Memberships/Passes
So many camping memberships and discount clubs, I can't list them all. I will name a few that we have or are going to buy in the future. The first one that most people know about is Thousand Trails. We will be purchasing a membership with them before we hit the road. Thousand Trails is a membership club, where you pay a yearly fee and can stay at all of their campgrounds for free, or very low cost. This is the most popular for full-time RVers. I could write an entire blog about them. Look them up if you don't know, they are a great gift. Passport America is a great discount club, we actually purchased the lifetime membership with them this year, they had a huge sale over the summer. This membership offers 50% off a night at participating parks. The yearly membership is a great gift, for only $44 a year. The next membership I will mention is Harvest Hosts. This is very popular among full-timers as well. This membership gets you free camping at wineries, breweries, farms, museums, etc. It is dry camping for the most part, but some have hook-ups for you. This is great exposure for the businesses, and it is customary for the camper to participate or purchase something at the site. And lastly, any State or National Park annual pass is a wonderful gift. Not only do you receive discounts on camping, but you get free admission into the parks. Price $44 - $500 USD.
SHANE'S TOP 10 GIFT IDEAS
Toolkits are a must for any camper. Things in campers break on a regular basis, that is just the reality of camper living. This tool kit that Shane picked out is great for any issues you might have in the camper or your tow vehicle. DeWalt tools are well made and of great quality. Shane was a mechanic in the Air Force for 24 years, so he knows a great tool-kit. There are others cheaper and more expensive, any tool-kit is great for a camper/RVer. Price $25-$100 USD.
2. Water bottle
Water bottles are pretty self-explanatory. Everyone could use a water bottle. But, a lot of campers/RVers are outside often hiking, biking, kayaking, etc. So they will always need some time of water bottle. The insulated ones like the Hydroflask or Yeti are great. But, there are also water bottles that can filter your water, which is great for hikers. Price $15 - $25 USD.
Shane said this is one of his favorite items I have purchased for him. Ours is different than this photo, here is the link to the one I bought Shane. It folds down very small and fits perfectly in the storage under our camper. We have used this ladder inside the camper and also outside to hang lights, wash the camper, and so much more. A great tool to have in any camper or home. Price $120-$150 USD.
4. Yeti Cooler
Just about every company has their version of the Yeti bag. But, to us we are just Yeti people, it is totally worth the cost. This small bag is perfect for campers and anyone outdoorsy. We use it when we go out kayaking and paddleboarding, fits perfectly in the kayak and on top of the paddle board. It is large enough to fit several drinks and a picnic lunch for a long day on the water. Price $199 - $250 USD.
This is a rug that anyone can use, even if you are not a camper. These "plastic" outdoor rugs are great for any outdoor space. The dirt falls through the small holes, and it is easy to clean off with a broom or water hose. You can purchase a lot of different styles and colors on Amazon, or you can find them in the camping section at every Walmart. Price $49-$100 USD.
6. RV Snap Pads
If you know anything about campers, you know they can be shaky and unstable at times. These RV Snap Pads will help with stability. They are recycled rubber "shoes" for your landing jacks. They snap on easily and stay on permanently, saving you time when you set up camp. You will not longer need to put down wooden or plastic blocks on the ground. RV Snap Pads make the pads to fit almost all 5th wheels, travel trailers, RVs, and now AirStreams. Just go on their website and fill out the quiz, and this will determine which pads work for your rig. Price $175-$299 USD.
I know everyone has heard the saying "I am sorry for the things I said when backing up the trailer." It is very stressful to back in a 42ft 5th wheel into a tiny camping spot. Some couples use their cell phones to talk to each other when helping back the camper. But, we found sometimes campgrounds, especially state/National Parks, do not have great cell service. This is why we purchased walkie-talkies to help talk to each other when backing up. This is also great for campers with kids as well as, great way to keep in contact when your older kids are out on bikes, playing, or out for a walk. Price $20 - $60 USD.
When camping, especially in the summer when it's hot, it is much easier to cook your meals outside. This little Blackstone griddle is great for cooking any type of meal. You can cook pancakes, bacon, and egg for breakfast, fajitas, quesadillas, or grill cheese for lunch, steak, chicken, and veggies for dinner. In the summer this is our most used appliance, especially with the hot Texas summers. You can get this griddle in several sizes, covers, and stands on Amazon and Walmart. Price $89 USD.
Everyone loves to sit around a campfire while out camping, whether you are in a camper or a tent, campfires are a must. There are downfalls to having a "real" fire, the smoke is all in your face and makes you smell. If you have a propane fire pit, there is no smoke or smell. It is very easy to start and set up, just connect it to a propane bottle and turn it on. There is no smoke smell that gets on your clothes and in your hair, like the campfire. The propane fire pit can also be used if there is a burn ban in your area. Price $120 - $199 USD.
The last gift idea on Shane's list is an outdoor portable hammock. Although Shane has never even used our hammock, he sees me use it almost every single day. During the Summer, Spring, and Fall, you can find me snuggled up in my hammock with a great book or magazine. We have two hammocks at our campsite at all times for Shane and me. Although Shane doesn't use his, we have plenty of kids that stop by and they love to lay and play in our hammocks. The ones that come with carrying bags are great to take on a hike, when you need to rest all you need is two trees to hang it, and you have a perfect place to rest. A great gift idea not only for campers but for all kids. Price $20 - $30 USD.
Updated: Dec 3, 2020
Once we decided we were putting the house up for sale, the first thing we had to do was find a realtor. In our twenty-seven years together we have only bought and sold one house. Being a military family, living mostly overseas we always lived in base housing. If you don't know, military base housing is "free" housing located on the base. I say "free" but if you decide to stay in housing your check goes down each month. Basically, they pay a certain amount if you live off base and don't pay you that amount if you live on base, (some bases now charge you). We have only hired a realtor once to sell a house, and it didn't go that great, we ended up having to rent that house for many years. Thanks to my sister and her family for buying it from us many years later. Technically, we really are newbies at the house selling process.
Where to start? I had no idea, so I did what most people do, I GTS (googled that shit)! I searched high and low for the best realtors, how to find realtors, what is a realtor. Let me tell you, there is an abundance of information about "how to find a realtor." Google sent me to a lot of blogs and sites on top things to look for when searching for a realtor. All of which I ignored, I did not use a list when looking for my realtor. I got very lucky and stumbled upon mine in a neighborhood Facebook group. Facebook groups are a great way to find people for just about anything. I mean with the technology today, you can order food, wine, and a man, all delivered the same day!
This is how I found our realtor, it might not work for you, but it worked for us. I am on our neighborhood Facebook group. One of which is called "Bad Moms", that's another story. One day as I am scrolling through Facebook I see a post on my neighborhood Facebook page where someone shared a vegan recipe! Well, I have been vegan for 3 years and I have no vegan friends. So immediately I was intrigued, wow someone in my neighborhood is vegan. Could it be? I mean I do live in Texas, vegans are few and far between. I might have found a friend that shares my way of eating and thinking! I was so excited and, of course, had to leave a comment, "That recipe looks great. Also, hello fellow vegan in my neighborhood." I know corny, right? But, she was super nice and replied. "Thanks, nice to meet a fellow vegan." We exchanged a few more comments and it was done. Then like all people (stalkers) on social media, I took a look at her profile. I see she is a realtor!! I reached out, asked a ton of questions, and we set up a time to meet. I know, I know, I chose a realtor on her eating habits. But, being vegan is a lot more than your eating habits (I won't go into that). If you are in the San Antonio area and looking for a realtor look them up, they have done an incredible job! nataliesellshouses.kw.com
Side Note: There are better ways to find a realtor, we were lucky, but you really should do your research. There are great resources out there to find the perfect one.
2. Ask around on your neighborhood Facebook groups or your friends that have hired someone recently and had a great experience.
3. Find out how long they have been a realtor, what is their fee, and what is their marketing plan. Ask a lot of questions and interview them, you are hiring them after all.
4 Lastly, go with someone you trust. If you don't like their personality, or you just don't vibe, that is not going to be a smooth process for either side.
We met, her and her husband (they are a team), did a walk-thru of the house, showed us their plans, signed some papers, and it was that easy. They had a great marketing plan and were very friendly so we hired them on the spot. I had planned on it taking about a year to downsize and get the house ready. They asked what kind of timeline we had, I was about to say a year, maybe 9 months, Shane speaks up and says 6 months from now. To which I said, "What, are you sure?" He assured me that was plenty of time. So we set a date for April 1st, 2020. April 1st is the month we take our camper to our local campground at the lake for our summer spot. www.lmrvresort.com Basically, we had six months to go through our entire 3500 sq. foot home, get rid of our items we have accumulated over 25 years in six months. Don't tell Shane I said so, but he was correct. We were able to downsize, paint, repair, replace, and sold almost everything we owned. I mean we busted our butt's and worked non-stop, but we did it! We did it, we were so ready!! Then, COVID.... if for some crazy reason someone is read this 20 years from now and you don't know, just Google (or whatever the search engine might be), 2020!!
Then our whole lives changed, and everything came to a complete STOP!!
The whole world closed down because of COVID -19 virus. Restaurants, schools, and businesses all closed down. Our youngest came home from college and our oldest even moved in with us to live through the pandemic. We decided to wait until it was over to put the house on the market. Little did we know, it was going to last a very long time. We thought we would never sell the house. Hundreds of thousands of people lost their jobs, there was no way people were still going to purchase houses. Boy, were we wrong. September 1st, almost six months later our youngest went back to school and we put the house on the market. We moved full-time into the camper, to make it easy for showings. Within seven days we were under contract, and we closed 30 days later.
Housing in San Antonio was selling like crazy. People were selling their homes before they barely hit the market. Housing interest rates were at an all-time low. If we had put the house on the market at the original timeframe, we would not have made nearly as much as we did in the end. Somehow, it all worked out. We sold our house during a pandemic!!
**We almost didn't sell the house. A story we haven't told many people, because we felt horrible, and frankly we are embarrassed. In the back of our house, we had a wooden deck, which is about 15 feet off the ground. We walked on this deck almost every day, with no issues. The buyer was from California, she flew in to take some photos of the house after we were under contract. She was walking on the deck while taking photos and fell through a step, and fell down the stairs! Our realtor called to let us know what happened, and that the lady was in the ER. We felt horrible, and she would never buy it now! Luckily, she was fine, just bruised and sore. She still bought the house after all of that.
Written by: Patty Gill