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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

2023 Holiday Gift Guide – Gifts Under $2,500

Photo by Tom Merton via iStock

Let’s be honest…

Overlanding and off-roading gear can be pretty pricey. But you have to pay to play, right? Whether you’re looking for gear for yourself or a loved one this holiday season, you need to be prepared to fork over some cash to get the necessary items to make those outdoor adventures go off without a hitch.

Fortunately, there is a huge selection of outdoor gear at or below the $2,500 price point. The question is, what items do you most want or need? Check out this list of some of the best overlanding gifts for 2023 for inspiration!

Overlanding Gifts for $2,500: Inergy FLEX 1500 Power Station & FLEX Battery

Inergy FLEX 1500 Power Station

Back in May, I picked up the Inergy FLEX 1500 power station, a couple of FLEX batteries, Inergy Ascent solar panels, and a few other items, and to say that I’ve been impressed with this gear is an understatement.

The FLEX 1500 power station measures just 14″ x 8″ x 8.9″ and is 29 pounds, so it’s not a huge, bulky item that you need several people to help you move around (the big handle on top assists in moving it around). And while some compact, portable power stations don’t offer an immense amount of power, this power station is different…

The power station comes with one 1,000-watt FLEX battery, and if you add another, you get 2,000 watts of power (for under $2,500!). The FLEX 1500 has a 1,500-watt pure sine wave inverter that’s capable of 3,000 watts of surge power, which is more than enough for most overlanding adventures.

inergy flex 1500 power station with batteries

All that power can be delivered in a variety of ways:

  • Six 110-120VAC floating outlets
  • Two 60W USB-C ports with PD and QC 3.0
  • Two USB-A ports with QC 2.0
  • Two 5.5mm x 2.5mm DC outputs for Basecamp LEDs & future accessories
  • Two 15A cigarette lighter ports with 13.8V regulated DC output (20A at 13.8VDC total combined DC output)

The power station has a console LCD that gives you details about the system’s performance and vitals. You’ll find separate AC and DC power buttons and a plethora of cooling vents, too.

inergy flex battery

The FLEX batteries have their own LCD displays that show their current levels. Better still, the FLEX batteries are plug-and-play, so you just align the connectors on the batteries, lock them into place, and you’re good to go for clean, quiet power.

I have three FLEX batteries at the moment, which might seem like a lot, but having too much power is better than not having enough! Besides, this system is capable of expanding to 96 batteries for a whole lot of power!

inergy flex 1500 power station with zerobreeze

I primarily use my FLEX 1500 power station to run my Starlink internet and power small appliances like my coffee maker and the Zero Breeze Mark 2 portable air conditioner (shown above). I also use it to charge my laptop, phone, and other devices. But with so much available power, this is a great gift idea to give someone who needs power for a small trailer to run things like a fridge, water pump, lighting, and so forth.

With many different options for charging the system – shore power, DC power, and solar – and you can use all of these sources simultaneously to speed up charging time.

In other words, Inergy has thought of it all with this system. It’s robustly built, easy to use, expandable, and offers many different types of power for your needs. What’s not to like?!

FLEX Tactical 1500 Power Station in the snow

PLUS…Inergy has a FLEX 1500 Tactical Power Station that’s also well below the $2,500 threshold. The Tactical version takes all the features of the traditional FLEX 1500 and wraps it in a powder-coated steel housing with stainless-steel hardware, a ruggedized connection system, and an IP-52 rating for use in the nastiest environments.

Given the popularity of the FLEX 1500, you might find that it’s backordered. But the Tactical version is a great option if you want to give the gift of clean, reliable power in an even more robust package!

Learn more about the Inergy FLEX 1500 Power Station & FLEX Battery as well as the FLEX 1500 Tactical Power Station

Overlanding Gifts for $2,500: Parkit360 Force 5K Battery Powered Trailer Dolly

Tell me if this sounds familiar…

You or a loved one has a boat, a utility trailer, or a small camping trailer that’s a bear to park. So, instead of being able to back it into its spot with the tow vehicle, you have to struggle to push, pull, or drag it into place.

It’s no fun, right?!

I recently moved, and my new place is VERY tight for me to get my trailer into my garage. My solution was to get the Parkit360 Force 5K dolly, and it’s been a complete game-changer.

With a 5,000-pound GVWR and a 900-pound tongue weight capacity, this dolly will get the job done for small trailers and toys like jet skis, 4-wheeler trailers, and snowmobile trailers. Heck, you can use it for bumper pull trailers, tag-a-longs, spring-loaded hitches, and more, too!

The unit weighs about 70 pounds (without the handle, ball mount, or battery), so it’s small enough that it doesn’t take up much space in your garage and light enough that one or two people can lift it into the back of a car, truck, or SUV.

Using it couldn’t be simpler – just engage the motor, connect it to battery power, secure the ball mount, and you’re ready to move your trailer from Point A to Point B. Best of all, the dolly comes ready to go right out of the box – the U1 battery is preinstalled, the 6.5-inch wide tires are mounted to the unit, and the 7-pin trailer brake plug is installed as well.

To move your rig, put the Parkit360 in freewheel mode to move it into position, connect it to your trailer’s hitch, put the dolly in drive, and use the forward and reverse toggle switch to steer. Easy peasy!

And I know what you’re thinking…Can this small battery-powered dolly really move my trailer?? You bet!

The dolly is powered by a 1.7-horsepower Bosch electric motor paired with a U1 unsealed battery. That means it’s both powerful and quiet for maneuvering trailers on firm, level surfaces. However, you can use the dolly to move your trailer on inclines up to six percent if need be.

I chose this product because my garage has a lip that severely impeded my ability to push the trailer inside under my own power. But with Parkit360, I no longer have to worry about that (or hurting myself)!

Parkit360 is a Canadian company that has years and years of experience in this industry. With thousands and thousands of satisfied customers, you can purchase this dolly with the peace of mind that so many other people have found the ideal solution to their trailering needs.

I haven’t had my Parkit360 dolly for long, but I can tell you this – if I didn’t have this thing and someone asked me what I wanted for Christmas, this would be it!

Learn more about the Parkit360 5K Battery Powered Trailer Dolly

Overlanding Gifts for $2,500: Zero Breeze Mark 2 Plus Extra Portable Air Conditioner

zero breeze mark 2 portable air conditioner

This summer was hot, especially on my trips to Arizona for outdoor adventures. And while I know plenty of folks who can bear the summer heat, I just can’t get on board with trying to sleep in a rooftop tent that’s 80 or 90 degrees in the middle of the night.

So, a while back, I got the Zero Breeze Mark 2 Plus Extra – a portable air conditioning system with two batteries for extended on-the-go power.

The unit is about 20 x 13 x 8 inches and tips the scales at about 30 pounds. Though it isn’t something my young son can manhandle around, it isn’t terribly big or bulky for an adult to move from Point A to Point B.

zerobreeze mark 2 in rv

The 2,300 BTUs of output is a significant improvement over the Mark 1’s 1,100 BTUs. In terms of operation, the Mark 2 quickly cools down a small space like my rooftop tent – roughly ten minutes to bring the temperature down by about 30 degrees, provided the conditions are optimal.

It should be noted that this unit is not intended to cool large spaces but rather the area immediately around you. According to Zero Breeze, it’s ideal for areas of around 115 square feet or smaller, or roughly 1,000 cubic feet of air.

ZeroBreeze Mark2 in trailer

While running, the Zero Breeze Mark 2 is very quiet at about 52 dB, or roughly the equivalent of a standard refrigerator running. The white noise it produces doesn’t disturb my sleep and, in fact, helps mask sounds outside the tent that might keep me awake.

The unit will run for about four hours on maximum power using a single battery. I’ve found that if I turn it on a few minutes before I go to bed, I can drift off to sleep in comfort, and if I wake up in the night, it’s typically cooled down outside enough that I don’t have to swap batteries and kick the Zero Breeze on again.

surf grass mats mulligan maxima with boony stomper and zerobreeze

As you’d expect, setting this rig up is really simple. Just attach the battery to the air conditioner, run the ductwork into your trailer or tent, fire it up, and you’re ready to enjoy cold air!

When it comes time to charge the battery, you can do so in about six hours; that way, the battery is ready to go again for the next night. However, this kit has two batteries, so there’s less pressure to charge the battery quickly.

If you or someone you love enjoys summer camping, a portable air conditioner like this is a fantastic gift idea that keeps on giving year after year!

Learn more about the Zero Breeze Mark 2 Plus Extra Portable Air Conditioner

Overlanding Gifts for $2,500: Planar Heaters 4kw Portable Diesel Heater

Diesel Heater next to an SUV in the snow

With the holiday season comes cold-weather camping opportunities, which I’m ready for after a long, hot summer!

If you or your loved one also enjoys a good fall or winter camping trip with the potential for cold temperatures, the Planar Heaters 4kw Portable Diesel Heater is just what the doctor ordered…

I’ve had this heater for a couple of years, and I’ve found it to be incredibly reliable, surprisingly quiet, and ultra-efficient.

planar diesel heater review

Now, when I’m camping with my Turtleback Expedition Trailer, I use the Planar 2kw diesel air heater installed in the trailer’s nose to heat my rooftop tent. However, the 4kw portable heater comes along when I’m camping with one of my ground tents or when I have friends or family along. This unit is more than powerful enough to keep one tent nice and toasty, and if you split the duct, you can heat two tents simultaneously!

The best part of the heat provided by this heater is that it’s instant and dry. That means you don’t have to worry about introducing humidity and condensation into the tent. Nice!

diesel heater case

Additionally, the heater is completely self-contained in a bright yellow crushproof and weather-resistant case that is extremely durable. Setup is easy, too – just connect the heater to a 12-volt power supply, fill it up with kerosene or diesel, and feed the duct into your tent. Then, use the included wired remote to make temperature adjustments as needed, and you’ll be toasty warm all night.

This heater is fuel efficient and will run for about eight hours on less than a gallon of fuel. Just turn it on, set the desired temperature, and crawl into bed, knowing that you’ll get a full night of heat without having to get up and go out in the cold to refuel the heater.

wired remote for portable heater

At 33 pounds, the 4kw portable diesel heater is pretty hefty, but with the integrated handle, it’s easy to move the heater from the bed of the truck to a location near your sleeping quarters. And since the heater sits outside your tent, there’s far less chance of carbon monoxide poisoning – a definite bonus!

Being cold is a miserable experience and one that worsens when you’re cold in your tent. That won’t be an issue with the Planar 4kw portable diesel heater!

Learn more about the Planar Heaters 4kw Portable Diesel Heater

Overland Gifts for $2,500: Ultimatron 280ah Lithium-Ion Battery

ultimatron 280ah 1

A reliable power system is a must-have item for your loved one’s overlanding rig. Central to that is a high-quality battery that offers long-lasting performance. For that, I recommend the Ultimatron 280ah lithium-ion battery.

Now, while I have not used the 280-ah battery from Ultimatron, I have used two of their 100-ah batteries in my Turtleback Expedition Trailer for about a year now, and boy, have they been impressive!

Like my 100-ah batteries, this 280-ah version uses the safest battery technology to ensure a long service life without the risk of fire or explosion. What’s more, this battery is backed by a five-year manufacturer’s warranty to give you and your loved one peace of mind.

ultimatron 280ah 2

Of course, a distinct advantage of lithium-ion batteries like this is that they offer extremely high stability, even under heavy loads. Likewise, these batteries aren’t plagued by memory effects like AGM batteries, so there is no need to fully charge and discharge the battery. Nice!

Running a lithium battery all the way down to nothing isn’t going to help a lithium-ion battery’s longevity, but if you’re in a situation in which you need to use all the battery’s power, you can do so without those pesky memory effects I mentioned above.

ultimatron 280ah 3

Something I really enjoy about my Ultimatron batteries is the built-in heater. I love a good cold-weather camping trip, and the last thing I want to do is worry about damaging my batteries. Fortunately, Ultimatron has integrated a heater into its batteries to ensure tip-top performance, even when the temperature dips.

In fact, this battery has a discharge temperature range of approximately -4ºF to 140ºF and can be efficiently charged at temperatures from about -4ºF to 113ºF. They can also be stored in cold temperatures – around 23ºF to 95ºF.

Another feature that’s worth mentioning is the built-in battery management system. Using Bluetooth, this battery will communicate with your loved one’s phone to provide updates on its performance, including its current and voltage, percentage of battery life remaining, and more.

ultimatron 280ah 4

Ultimatron batteries offer long-term usage, too. For example, if you were to run this battery down to 20 percent each time, you’d get about 3,000 cycles. If you run it down to about 50 percent each time, it offers about 5,000 life cycles. So, this isn’t just a flash-in-the-pan gift – instead, you’re giving something that your loved one can use thousands of times over the years!

Other noteworthy features include the ability to use these batteries in serial or parallel, IP65 protection, and 12.8 volts of nominal voltage. And at 14” x 13” x 7.5” and roughly 68 pounds, this battery can easily fit into small spaces in your loved one’s campervan, trailer, boat, or RV.

In other words, this battery isn’t just a well-built machine from a respected company with a long track record of success. Instead, it’s a reliable, feature-rich battery that will be a central component of your loved one’s overlanding adventures for many years to come. What’s not to like about that?!

Learn more about the Ultimatron 280ah lithium-ion battery

Overlanding Gifts for $2,500: Lion Energy Safari Portable Power Station

lion energy safari

The Lion Energy Safari Portable Power Station is a fantastic holiday gift for outdoor enthusiasts and camping fans. Given its sheer possibilities for off-grid power, this power station, designed for professional-grade performance, boasts an impressive 3,000W / 1612Wh capacity, making it capable of powering various essentials, from kitchen appliances and communication devices to power tools and more.

What sets the Lion Energy Safari apart is its versatility. Equipped with multiple outputs, including AC, USB-A, USB-C, and 12V ports, it accommodates a wide range of devices, ensuring you stay connected and powered up wherever your adventures take you. Whether you’re charging your smartphone, running a portable fan, or even operating power tools, this portable power station has you covered.

One of its standout features is the ability to harness the power of the sun for a faster charge time, making it an eco-friendly and renewable energy solution. With the convenience of solar recharging, you can keep the power station topped up with optional solar panels while basking in the great outdoors. This not only adds a sustainable dimension to your camping experience but also ensures a reliable power source even in remote locations.

lion energy safari runtimes

Furthermore, the Lion Energy Safari Portable Power Station is remarkably low-maintenance. Its capacity to retain a charge for up to a year means you can store it away confidently, knowing it will be ready to power up your next adventure whenever you need it. This feature adds an extra layer of convenience for users who may not be frequent campers but want a reliable power source when they do venture into the wilderness.

If you’re seeking a holiday gift that combines power, versatility, and sustainability, the Lion Energy Safari Portable Power Station emerges as a perfect choice. As I’ve discovered in my initial testing the last couple of weeks, it’s a thoughtful present that empowers you or your loved ones to stay connected, powered, and environmentally conscious during wilderness adventures!

Learn more about the Lion Energy Safari Portable Power Station

Overlanding Gifts for $2,500: DV8 Jeep Gladiator JT Front and Rear Fender Flares and Inner Fenders

dv8 front installed

If you’re shopping for holiday gifts for someone who’s passionate about off-roading, you’re in for a treat. Off-roading enthusiasts often seek ways to customize their vehicles for both enhanced performance and a unique, rugged look. One great gift option to consider is upgrading their Jeep Gladiator with DV8 fender flares and inner fenders.

The Jeep Gladiator is a fantastic off-road vehicle with loads of interior amenities and impressive trail capabilities right out of the box. However, for those looking to take their Gladiator to the next level, aftermarket accessories like DV8 fender flares and inner fenders offer an excellent way to do so.

dv8 fender close up

The original Rubicon fenders serve their purpose well, providing a classic Jeep look and durability for typical off-road adventures. Still, they have limitations, especially when it comes to supporting weight for accessing roof racks. This limitation led to my decision to upgrade to DV8 fender flares and inner fenders on my 2020 Gladiator.

The upgrade serves two primary purposes: improve durability and striking aesthetics. The DV8 Spec Series Fender Flares, constructed from robust steel, offer enhanced durability, ensuring they can withstand the rigors of off-roading and the added stress of roof access. Beyond functionality, these fender flares bring an aggressive, rugged look to the Jeep Gladiator, with a micro-texture black finish and integrated lighting system.

front no fender dv8 installation

The DV8 Off Road Front Inner Fenders, made from lightweight aluminum, not only improve engine cooling with better airflow but also provide easy access to shocks for maintenance, adding practicality to the upgrade.

Installing these fenders is a fairly straightforward process, too. Sure, you need time, an attention to detail, and some patience, but if your loved one has experience working on vehicles, the install should be a breeze.

dv8 inner fenders

This upgrade will not only enhance the Gladiator’s appearance but also its functionality and durability. The vehicle will boast increased protection, better clearance for off-roading, and improved engine cooling. The DIY installation adds a sense of accomplishment and deeper vehicle knowledge, too – something your loved one is sure to appreciate if you give them this gift!

The DV8 Spec Series Fender Flares and DV8 Off Road Front Inner Fenders are excellent gifts for off-roading enthusiasts. They provide both a rugged look and improved performance for the Jeep Gladiator. This transformation not only sets the vehicle apart visually but also boosts confidence on the trails. So, if you’re looking to make a Jeep owner’s holiday special, consider these fender upgrades – because life’s too short to drive a boring vehicle!

Learn more about the DV8 Jeep Gladiator JT Front and Rear Fender Flares and Inner Fenders

Overlanding Gifts for $2,500: EcoFlow Wave 2 With Add-On Battery

ecoflow wave 2 review

EcoFlow’s entry into the portable cooling game took a massive step forward this year with their Wave 2 unit. This is the second generation of portable cooling from EcoFlow and is designed for use in tents, RVs, car camping, and so forth.

The Wave 2 is better than its predecessor in a host of ways. It’s smaller, lighter, at 20.4 × 11.7 × 13.2 inches and about 32 pounds, and it’s more powerful, too. It pumps out 5100 BTUs of cool air, and as an added bonus, the Wave 2 also acts as a heater with 6100 BTUs of output.

Having the dual use as an air conditioner and a heater is a significant bonus for overlanding, given that space is always at a premium. With the Wave 2, you can get the best of both worlds in one compact unit and save precious cargo space for your other gear.

ecoflow wave 2 with battery detached

The Wave 2 offers up to eight hours of runtime on a single charge of its battery, allowing you to get a full night’s rest in total comfort. The unit has a sleep mode, which reduces its noise level to just 44dB, allowing you to drift off to sleep – and stay that way easily!

Operation is easy with WiFi and Bluetooth capability that lets you control the Wave 2 from your phone. You can also monitor its performance from your phone, negating the need to crawl out of your sleeping bag to see what the unit is doing or how it’s performing.

The Wave 2 comes with many different power options, too. You can use AC or DC power, solar power, or plug it into a power station, and you’re good to go!

ecoflow wave 2 review 2023

So, the big question is, how well does the Wave 2 work? According to EcoFlow, the Wave 2 can heat a 64-square-foot room by 18 degrees in just five minutes. Most tents aren’t that big, so you can get a nice, warm place to sleep in the blink of an eye.

In my testing, the Wave 2 was highly effective in cooling down my Overlandish Base Camp V2 tent once the sun dipped below the horizon. It should be noted that the Wave 2 can’t cool your tent from 100 degrees to 65 and keep it that way, nor can it keep the tent heated when the temperature outside is brutally cold.

That said, this is a great option for those chilly spring and fall mountain camping trips when you need to take the chill out of the air and those summer trips when it’s just a little too toasty in your tent to sleep comfortably.

ecoflow wave 2 ducts

So, to recap, the EcoFlow Wave 2 is extremely easy to use, quiet, and portable. You can power it using a variety of sources, and you can set it up as a stand-alone unit or use it with one or two ducts.

On top of that, you get EcoFlow build quality, durability, and customer service. It’s the complete package for you or a loved one this holiday season!

Learn more about the EcoFlow Wave 2 With Add-On Battery

Overlanding Gifts for $2,500: Eezi-Awn Bat 270 Awning From BTR Outfitters

eezi awn bat 270 awning 1

If you or a loved one do a lot of car camping or off-roading, having an awning to keep the sun and elements at bay is a Godsend. Better still, a 270-degree awning that covers one side and the back of your vehicle gives you even more protected space than a traditional awning (over 80 square feet, in fact!).

The Eezi-Awn Bat 270 awning is an ideal option for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it can be deployed by one person in less than a minute. I often go overlanding and camping on my own, so having gear that I can use solo is a huge benefit.

eezi awn bat 270 awning 3

This awning is made of 260-gram waterproof ripstop canvas panels that include a UV-resistant PVC cover for added durability. The all-aluminum frame is lightweight and strong and includes integrated height-adjustable legs that make it a freestanding structure.

The mounting hardware that comes with the awning allows for mounting to the driver’s or passenger’s side of your vehicle to accommodate your specific needs.

eezi awn bat 270 awning 2

When closed, the awning is 95″ long by 4″ wide x 5.25″ high, which gives it a small form factor that poses less of a threat of being damaged when navigating narrow trails. When deployed, the four triangular panels measure 95″ x 82″ x 82″ each.

The freedom that comes with adventuring in your SUV is one of the primary benefits of ditching a truck or towing a trailer. You have space for food, water, and gear storage, and with a rooftop tent, you have a place to sleep, too.

But what you don’t get is a shaded outdoor space where you can cook, eat, and lounge around. The Eezi-Awn Bat 270 awning gives you that space, so you have a complete overlanding rig!

Learn more about the Eezi-Awn Bat 270 Awning from BTR Outfitters

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