When camping, the best entertainment is straight from nature. It's time to put away the electronics, relax, enjoy the company of those with you, or the solitude of being by yourself. Enjoy hiking, sightseeing, fishing, swimming, animal watching, bird watching, rock studies... whatever you happen to be doing on your little camping trip.
After dinner, the evenings are awesome spent sitting around a fire, telling stories, jokes, singing songs... enjoying a drink of your favorite beverage and roasting marshmallows.
But let's get realistic. When you are camping long(er) term than the weekend, or a few days, some other entertainment might be nice. And when you are in the middle of nowhere or you have small children to entertain night after night... entertainment might be nice.
And when there are "NO FIRES" allowed - there goes all thoughts of enjoying yourselves around a fire.
The hiking trip my daughter and I are doing involves a little of "most of the above".
It's two weeks. In the middle of no where.
No electricity. No water.
During our last two week road trip I had brought my laptop with me and I happened to have 1 DVD with, tucked into the side pocket of my laptop bag from some forgotten trip. It was season 9 of FRIENDS (Friends: The Complete Ninth and Tenth Seasons)and although when we planned our 2 week trek across the state of South Dakota, we didn't plan on watching movies or TV episodes at all; we found it was awesome to have on those nights when it was dark and cold, we had about an hour before either of us would be tired enough to sleep and there were no fires, electricity or water.
With all that background (sorry for the ramble - it's just the Coffee Talking again...) you'll understand that this year I decided I would just invest a cheap portable DVD player.
Commence about 2 weeks of research and my brain almost cracking with the effort.
I scoured three main sources really; Best Buy, Amazon and Walmart.
I read hundreds of reviews.
And just when I thought I'd make up my mind, I'd find another fact, detail or review that was a deal-changer for me.
I also found that portable DVD players are not made by many companies any longer; they only make 1 or 2 models, are discontinuing them, or only make one high end (higher than my budget) model; and most are made by just 2 "I've heard of them" companies while the rest are coming from random made up names from China - and the actual players are the exact same model sold under different names, in different colors or they change up the button style a bit.
- Our needs are different than someone elses but I needed a screen big enough for 2 people to watch.
- A car charger just in case.
- A wall charger because I plan to have our solar panel and a portable power source (remember we will have no electricity throughout a good portion of this trip).
- Cheap. Or at least common-sense affordable.
I didn't care about remote controls, a head-rest car display case, double headphone jacks or anything like that. But all those things would be 'fine' to have as we'll obviously be using these for other reasons than this road trip.
I overwhelmingly found the portable DVD players either work great for a couple years or don't work at all right out of the box or within days or a couple weeks. Usually a 5 star or 1 star - little inbetween. It seems to be a crapshoot whether you get a good one that will last for 2 years or one that is sent back the next day.
You know the Navy Seals saying "Two is one, and one is none"? Yeah, that.
So in the end, after research and price checking and over-thinking things way too much, I'm sure, here are the TWO I went with. (Because remember, two is one, and one is none; and the reviews have shown pretty much ALL brands of portable DVD players to be hit-or-miss on whether they work or how long they work.
UEME 10.1" Portable DVD Player CD Player with Car Headrest Holder, Swivel Screen Remote Control Rechargeable Battery Car Charger Wall Charger, Personal DVD Player PD-1010
UEME 10.1" Portable DVD Player CD Player with Car Headrest Mount Holder, Swivel Screen Remote Control Rechargeable Battery AC Adapter Car Charger, Personal DVD Player PD-1020
I'm not going to get into all the nitty gritty specifics on these - but I linked to them so readers could research them themselves if they wish. From what I can tell they are the same item, from the same company, but have different buttons on the top. They do come with all the do-dads like the remote and the headrest mount, swivel screen, etc. but those are just icing on the cake for us.
As a sidenote - I was also looking for 2 small portable DVD players for another (totally different) use and again I went with the 2 is 1 and 1 is none belief and got one from Amazon in the same order (below) and another, different one from Walmart. Just in case my readers would like to know which small, individual 7" screen DVD player I opted for.
Magnavox 7-Inch TFT Screen Portable DVD/CD Player