2013 Holiday Gift Guide: Easier Car Ownership

by Rich Ellis
Some people love being in a car, some hate it, and the rest fall somewhere into dispassionate disinterest. No matter which camp the people in your life fall into, chances are they spend a lot of time – too much, perhaps – in their cars. Luckily, there are ways to make life considerably easier (and hopefully more fun!) for those who refer to their vehicles as their second homes. 
 
This holiday season, we’ve collected a list of gifts that will add a little comfort and functionality to the vehicles that serve as commuters, taxis, tailgaters, and errand runners. 

 

Swift Hitch SH01 Portable Wireless Camera System

Anyone who has ever tried to line up and connect their tow vehicle and trailer on the first try knows one thing for sure – if you’re trying to do it alone, it’s not happening without getting in and out of the vehicle at least two or three times. The Swift Hitch solves the problem by providing drivers with an in-vehicle image of the hitch and ball, enabling fast, solo hook ups on the first try. It’s a perfect gift for the friend who always seems to be packing up to leave for somewhere.  - $199
 
 

RAM Mount Drink Cup Holder with Suction Base

We love to drink in our vehicles. Coffee, water, sodas, you name it. But is it just us, or are there are never enough drink holders? And if you have enough, it seems they don’t always fit your cup or are already filled with something else! Solve this rather annoying problem for your loved one with the RAM mount-anywhere, fit-any-cup drink holder. You may be surprised at the $36 price tag, but check out those glowing reviews.  - $36
 
 

Sport Bumper

Sport Bumper
Leaning sports gear up against a car is often the only way to keep your hands free while starting or finishing your day. If you’ve done it, you know how easy it is for skis or fishing poles to slide along the paint and fall to the ground. The result? Dinged gear and scratched paint. The Sport Bumper attaches to a vehicle via magnets and secure gear while you get ready. So simple a solution that we can’t believe we didn’t think of it.  - $17.99

 

Tablet car mount

A tablet doesn’t do you much good when it’s sitting on the floor, sliding around the dashboard, or falling out the door when you open it. Arkon has car mounts suited for all types of tablets, in the location that suits a driver’s lifestyle and reach. Best near those center cup holders? Should it be attached to the windshield? Maybe a friend needs one so the kids can watch movies in the back. Take your pick of an adjustable holder that fits any tablet from seven to 12 inches. It will make storing and using a tablet easy as pie.  - $29.95 - 44.95
 
 

Hitch Hammock

Tailgating before the big game? Power napping while the fish aren’t biting? Heading to a drive-in movie? (They still have those, right?) No matter the reason, give someone the gift of always having somewhere to kick back and hang out with this hammock system that connects to the hitch receiver. Just make sure they keep the car in park! - $209.99
 
 

Heated Ice Scraper

Heated ice scraper
If your loved one lives in a snowy climate, you can bet their vehicle’s going to accumulate ice and snow on the windshield. Waiting for the defroster takes time. So does scraping the windshield takes time. It can be a frustrating experience. Make your friend’s life easier with a lightweight, heated ice scraper. The easy-to-use device plugs into the vehicle’s 12-volt outlet to help cut through ice and get them on the road quickly. - $39.99


 

Cell Go Phone Holder

Cell Go solves the problem that many drivers complain about – their cell phone, iPod, or GPS unit holder doesn’t mount where they really want it. Through an innovative use of a flexible extender and hardware that firmly grips the unit, Cell Go mounts to your vehicle window and then extends to virtually any position you need. Even better, it holds any type of phone, so the Samsung Galaxy 4 and iPhone 5 owners can coexist peacefully. Kickstarter supporters knew a good thing when they saw it. - $45
 

 

F.R.E.D.

It stands for the Flashing Roadside Emergency Disk, but the side of the road is just one of the many places F.R.E.D.can be useful. Essentially, it’s compact, plastic disc that’s the LED version of a flare. Use it in a vehicle emergency or so your friends can find you at a festival or campsite. Visible up to a mile away, it runs for up to 38 hours on AA batteries and has a magnetized back. Plus, word on the street is it’s waterproof, shatterproof, and crushproof. Have at it.  - $14.99
 
 

GoPro Hero 3+

GoPro Hero 3+
Ok, this one goes a little beyond functionality. But, boy is it fun. GoPro Hero 3+ cameras are wearable, mountable, waterproof, small, wi-fi enabled and deliver professional-quality video and photos. Driving down the road or jumping out of a plane, there’s only one way to capture and share your adventures, and it’s not through your less-than-perfect memory. GoPro is perfect for those non-skiing parents who want to see what the kids get up to when on the slopes or just showing off amazing road trips to friends!
$299-399
 
 

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