Our Techy Kit

I thought it might be a good idea to do a post on the techy kit that we're using on our eight month trip.  What it is and why it's been useful.  There are questions on this stuff that get asked on forums and motorhome Facebook pages all the time so this may be useful to someone.

I do like my gadgets but I like ones that work without me having to read an instruction manual each time we use them.  So simple and reliable beat lots of features and complicated.  So I'll start of with a bit of kit that can make or ruin a day if it works well or goes tits up - the GPS.

Garmin Nuvi 2797LM

I've had lots of satnavs, I've had Tom Toms, ones built into cars, apps on iPhones and iPads, cheap things off ebay, a strange German thing called a Becker and yet over  time Garmin's have always worked the best (for me)  I had waterproof ones that I used on motorbikes and small ones that you could barely see the screen and they all got me to where I wanted.

For this trip I splashed out and bought this one.  It came with lifetime map updates which helps when countries keep building new EU funded roads every year.  But it was it's size that I liked the best, the screen is 7" and the text is big enough for my tired old eyes to see easily.  I like that I can customize what I see on the screen as I drive, I set it to show direction of travel, time to destination, KM to destination and  Altitude.  It also shows my speed and what the speed limit is, handy when the police in the country like to pull you over and make a few quid out of a poor tourist.  The mapping is clear and the lady who tells us where to turn tells us at the right times, not when you're on top of the junction or even passed it which a Nissan satnav I had did regularly.

It's easy to upload your own collections of POI's.  I have a lot of these and use them all. Archies Campings, a list of virtually every campsite in Europe.   Search 4 Sites locations, aires with services, without services, wild camps and small campsites. ACSI campsites for Europe. Lidl supermarkets for the whole of Europe (we like Lidl)

I also like the mount it came with.  The power cable goes to the mount and not the satnav.  This means every time you stop and take the unit off the mount to hide it from nasty people you don't have to mess with cables and plugs.  Plus it comes off easily with the press of one button.  I've had some that needed wrenching from the bracket each time, usually pulling the bracket off the window.

Next up, Wifi and internet access.  I blog every week and keep in touch with family in the UK and Australia using the internet so it's important to me.

iBoost Pro D8 

This gets used more or less daily.  I stick it on the roof when we get to where we're going and it sucks in all the wifi signals in the area, increasing the range that a laptop would be able to reach by up to 10x.  We picked up a free wifi signal 2 km across a bay in Greece from a taverna on the other side from us.  We regularly pick up a sites wifi from the far side of the site when everyone else has to sit outside reception with their iPads and laptops to get it.

Once you've selected the wifi signal you want to use, it tells you which one is strongest and which ones don't require a password, the base unit then creates a small wireless network that we connect our phones, iPad and laptops to, just like at home.  It's saved us a lot on 3G roaming charges, probably enough to pay for itself.

What do I do when I'm bored of the internets?  I read.

Kindle Paperwhite E-Reader

I average a book every three or four days.  Liz rattles one off in one or two days.  Multiply that by 200 days away and we'd of needed a trailer to carry the paperbacks we'd of got through.  Two of these, one each, and a piece of free software on the laptop called Calibre and we're free from buying off Amazon and have 2500 books to choose from.  I'm not going to tell you how I got 2500 books but if you're a bit savvy it's not hard to find them out there for free.

The screen is backlit so I can read in bed and not have to have the light on disturbing Madams beauty sleep.  It works well in bright sun too which is good for Liz on the beach.

Old Confucius said “Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.” and I'm not going to argue with him.  I like a tune and I like to listen to it on kit that makes it sound good, not a lot to ask is it?

iPod 16gb Nano

I've had more MP3 players than I've had GPS units and that's a lot.  In the end the Apple ones have been by far the best.  Easy to use and reliable.  I've a very old iPod Classic that comes out if I want a specific album.  It has 12686 tracks on it and 906 albums.

But for day to day use the Nano, with a load of playlists I made on it, does the job well.  The battery lasts ages as it doesn't have a hard drive to spin, the menu is easy to use, even with my sausage fingers and it's tough.  It's been banged and dropped and covered in gritty sand but it keeps going.  It also has Bluetooth which is great to connect it to whatever you listen with.

And to listen to my lovely tunes?

Bose Soundlink Mini Bluetooth Speaker

A mate pulled one of these out and played some music on it while we were camping once.  Within five minutes of hearing it I'd ordered one off Amazon using my phone.  It sounds like it should be as big as an 80's ghetto blaster but it's only 6" long.  It feels heavy and solid.  It's easy to use with six buttons that each do one thing, no double tapping and mode selecting here.  It has Bluetooth or can connect by a normal phono type cable.  The battery last for hours and I just love it.  The twenty other portable speakers I have are all redundant now.  We also use it to plug in the laptop to watch films at night, it turns the tinny sound that the laptop speakers make into near on home cinema sound.  Buy one, you won't regret it.

 I hope all this tech nonsense helps.  Theres a few other things I may add later but the suns out and I want my lunch.  Cheers Kev.


  1. Hi, do you have a BT Internet a/c in the UK to maximise the usefulness of the wifi finder device ?

  2. Yes, we got to use Fon hotspots in France Italy and Greece. Not founs any in Eastern Europe or Austria and Germany though.


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