The Holiday Season is almost here. In America, we’re getting ready for Thanksgiving, a holiday that’s supposed to be about being thankful for what we have as we enjoy great food with friends and family. This year, though, could be tougher on a lot of families, as a global pandemic has forced most citizens into lockdowns and self-quarantines. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t get gifts for our loved ones, gifts that can help us get back outside and explore the world once the pandemic is over. Gifts of optimism. So we hope that once the pandemic is over, we can hop aboard our BMWs and take a road trip with the family into the mountains – no better place to relax, decompress and be active.
Disclaimer: The only sponsored items on this list are the WeatherTech products and the ShowerPass Refuge Jacket. Yet, the review of those products are based on our personal view and experience.
Winter Tires – Michelin Pilot Alpin 5
If you head high up into the mountains and the cold season is still here, your beloved BMW might need a proper set of tires. So if you want to spend a bit more money and splurge on something a bit bigger, and more important, that gadgets and toys, a set of Michelin Alpin 5 winter tires will certainly do the trick. A set of winter tires will not only benefit you or your loved ones this winter but several other winters to come.
We’ve discussed ad nauseam not just the benefits but the need for winter tires in colder months. As good as all-season tire technology has gotten, they still can’t compare to the road-holding ability of proper winter rubber when the temperatures dip below freezing and snow starts to fall.
Michelin’s Alpin 5 is an outstanding winter performance tire and is part of the now-famous Michelin Pilot family of performance tires. If you own a premium German vehicle of any kind, you’re going to want to make sure that it maintains its excellent performance through colder months and the Alpin 5 is a great way to do that, while also insuring your safety.
WeatherTech Cargo Liner and FloorLiner
With the family and pet aboard your BMW, the car might need some tender, love and care. When it comes to durable floor mats, WeatherTech is one of the biggest names in North America. WeatherTech mats are laser-measured to perfectly fit each individual car and are as durable as you’re going to get. The Cargo Liner is great for anyone with an SUV or wagon that needs some added durability to their trunk floor. The WeatherTech Cargo Liner is not only completely waterproof and durable, it’s also easy to clean and features a tall outer lip, to keep all water and muck inside the liner and not in your trunk.
Of course, one shouldn’t forget about the fantastic WeatherTech FloorLiners as well. Regardless of your car choice, a premium set of floor liners have always been our go-to item. When you are walking to your car, you get snow and slush on your feet and definitely do not want that on your carpeted floor mats.
For anyone looking to take their SUV or wagon on some adventures when lockdowns are finally over, this is a great gift. It’s also great for anyone that owns a dog, so muddy paws don’t ruin the carpeted trunk liner. You can also see how we used the CargoLiner in our own BMW i3.
Peak Design Everyday Backpack Zip
Peak Design has been a favorite of ours for years and since we’ve been using their product almost every day, we have no choice but to recommend them. If you haven’t heard of the company, then we recommend reading upon them. They make some of the coolest and most innovative bags we’ve ever used.
We started our journey with their products with their EveryDay Backpack, first in a 20 liter configuration and later in the 30 liter. We enjoy the flexibility in size since at some events we don’t need our full gear, so a smaller bag will suffice. But for the time when we need to pack many lenses, cameras and gimbals, the 30 liter EveryDay Backpack is extremely spacious and useful. If you want even more space, you can get the Everyday Backpack Zip which can be used as an overnight bag. It’s spacious, cool looking and waterproof.
Silver Cross Jet Compact Stroller
Your car is now all prepared for the cold and harsh weather and roads, so your attention turns towards your family. Can we all fit comfortably in our BMW during a long journey? What do we need to do to maximize the interior space? We’ve always been fans of minimalism and packing as light as possible. But you might still need a stroller for your infants or todllers, one that packs small, yet it’s still study, stylish and safe.
Our quest for such a stroller – one that we personally use today – brought us to Silver Cross and their Jet Travel. Retailing at $349 – $399 with an additional $100 savings during Black Friday, the Jet Travel weighs only 13 lbs (5.9 kg) and measures 12x6x22inches (30x18x55cm). The weight limit is 55 lbs (25 kg). As with most travel strollers, the Silver Cross Jet Travel folds with a one-hand operation and turns into a small carry-on. You can easily fit this one into a BMW i3, let alone into a larger SUV like the X5. Hey, we’ve even fitted in a BMW 1M.
Going into the wilderness with some gravel or dirt roads? Don’t sweat it out. The wheels are equipped to handle that and there is a rain cover to keep your children dry and safe. But the best part? It’s also car seat compatible with some adapters so that certainly saves us some space.
3T Exploro Race Max Gravel Bike
Adults need some entertaining also, and most importantly, staying active after a long journey behind the wheel. The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed our lives. Things we took for granted are gone, or at least on hold for a while, and we started to appreciate other experiences. In our case, that meant getting out of the office more often, and instead of reaching for our car, we’ve decided to ride out on two wheels.
So living in a major city, I was keen on finding a bicycle that can be my Swiss Army Knife. Cue in the gravel bike segment that has been growing exponentially in the last few years. And bicycles were in extremely high demand this year with lots of bike makers being either sold out or with delayed shipments.
After some careful research, we landed on the Italian manufacturer 3T Bike. The name was certainly familiar to us from the BMW / 3T collaboration, so that felt like a natural choice. Their offerings is quite large and complex, from road bikes to the aforementioned gravel two-wheelers. But there is one particular model that stood out for us: the 3T Exploro Race Max Gravel Bike. It certainly sits towards the high-end of the segment, but it’s a beauty of a bike with impressive tech that will make riding more fun.
It’s also one of those things that are an investment in yourself and your health, while allowing you to have some fun on gravel, dirt and plain roads. Get a bike rack for your BMW and the adventure is just a few miles away.
“The Exploro RaceMax looks like a road bike, it rides like a road bike and it rips through gravel,” 3T Bike CEO Rene Wiertz told us. “The Exploro RaceMax can be equipped from 700c wheels with tires up to 40mm to 650B wheels with knobby MTB tires on te other extreme and anything in between. This wide variety of wheel / tire options the Exploro RaceMax can handle makes the RaceMax the perfect all road bike, which you can set up according to your personal riding style and territory. And all this is in super fast aerodynamic design to ensure maximum fun of your ride.”
GoPro 9 Black
Now that you got the a fast action gravel bike, you certainly need a camera to capture that exciting activity. Cue in the GoPro 9 Black, the best action camera today and one that we use in our daily job as well. From filming car reviews to interviews and podcasts, the GoPro 9 is always by your side to make sure we don’t miss a precious frame. The GoPro 9 has new sensor that delivers 5K video and 20 megapixel photos, next-generation HyperSmooth 3.0 video stabilization with in-camera horizon leveling, a new front-facing display, a larger rear display, 30% more battery life. To take full advantage of its capabilities, we also use a variety of mods. One of them is the Media Mod which allows us to connect an external wireless microphone to the camera.
Needless to say, the GoPro 9 should be in the bag of any car enthusiast.
Now we’re getting into clothing and gear. Car – check! Bicycle – check! Family – check! Cottage in the mountains – check! But we still need some clothes for the ultimate protection and versatility. Our research brought us to Portland-based Showers Pass. The decades old company takes pride in their extensive offering of outdoor apparel and gear. Whether you’re biking, running, hiking, climbing or even driving your car, there is a product that takes care of your needs.
Or in the case of the Refuge Jacket, it can be a jack of all trades. The versatility of this jacket is impressive. We’ve already made use of it during some cold and rainy weather in Chicago, either on the bike, behind the wheel or on a grocery run. It features 3-layer of performance fabric along with fully taped seams which makes sure that water or snow bounces off you. The hardshell is easily a three-season jacket and with proper layering it can take care of a wide range of temperatures.
It also features 3M reflective materials which come in handy when riding a bike during nighttime or low visibility conditions. The removable hood and the drop-down tail are just the icing on the cake if you’re on a bike during rainy and muddy conditions. It only weighs 19 oz so you can easily fold it and throw it into your backpack, if needed. Their Elite fabric is also extremely breathable. I tend to get hot quickly, especially when biking, but the Refuge Jacket kept me dry on the inside as well. At times, I had to resort to the multiple vents to release the heat, which speaks to its versatility.
But hey, it’s not all about biking, skiing or running, I do find myself driving cars quite a bit. In the end, that’s the job description. But there is one special case where the Refuge Jacket will shine even inside the car – while driving a BMW i3. If you’re an electric vehicle aficionado, then you’d know how important the range is. I do everything in my power to maximize those kilowatt-hours per 100 miles, and that includes riding in cold weather with no heat.
Electric cars are notorious for dropping the range when the AC or heat is on, so in the last few years, my wardrobe behind the wheel included a jacket, gloves, a hat and some bots. Might sound extreme, but that’s what you do when you wanna save those electric miles. So I found the ShowerPass Refuge Jacket to be quite useful in cold weather, keeping me warm inside the i3, without overheating.
Kith for BMW Collared Shirt
BMW and Kith recently collaborated on the brand-new G82 BMW M4, as Kith owner Ronnie Fieg is a massive BMW fan and owns a Kith-inspired E30 BMW M3. As a part of this collaboration, the two brands have developed some clothing together and this Collared Shirt is one of them.
It comes in either white or black and has quarter-zip neck and a left chest pocket with a BMW/Kith Roundel. There’s also a bungee cord adjuster at the hem and a BMW/Kith emblem at the back of the neck. If one of your friends or family members is a fan of both brands, this is a great buy.
LG OLED TV For Those Awesome Car Shows
Nothing beats watching a car show on a 4K TV. And when it comes to high-end TVs, LG sits at the top of the pack. Their OLED TV series has received numerous awards and accolades over the years, and the 2020 CX models make no exception. So whether you’re into watching your favorite Youtuber or catching up with the Jeremy Clarkson’s shenanigans on The Grand Tour, an LG OLED TV will deliver the best quality possible. Thanks to its 120Hz refresh rate, fast actions and cinematic views is where this OLED shines. Of course, it will also bring some color to your man-cave. And might even please your significant other.
The 4K OLED TVs for 2020 include the CX and BX models in 77-, 65- and 55-inches, with support for the latest HDMI specifications, including eARC.
But we left the best feature for last: NVIDIA G-SYNC® Compatible. Thanks to this gaming technology, you can now practice your driving skills from the comfort of your home and with the most realistic image possible. The graphics are rendered perfectly, creating a sense of immersion, and if your pair this OLED TV with a high-end home theater system, this pandemic might be a bit more bearable from the comfort of your bedroom or office. You can learn more about the LG CX OLED here.
Bonus Gift – WeatherTech CupFone
No shopping list would be complete without a bargain. So we reached out to WeatherTech to find out more about their CupFone. Anyone that’s owned German cars knows that most of their cupholders are not always extremely useful. Admittedly, they’re getting much better but if you own any German car that’s more than a decade old, chances are you have a less functional cupholder. We speak from experience. So instead of complaining about how useless the cupholder is, get this WeatherTech CupFone, which fits inside the cupholder and turns it into a phone mount.
There are a variety of different CupFones available; some that are rather simple and some that have both telescoping and tilting mounts. So depending on the layout of your car, you can get a CupFone that perfectly suits your needs. Naturally, this is even more useful for those with older cars, as the phone is more likely to double as a navigation system.
This is without a doubt an inexpensive, yet great gift for your loved ones and friends.