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It’s the holiday season again and it is time to start buying gifts for those you love. Picking out personalized gifts for people you love can be difficult enough but in a world of minimalism and finding experience-based gifts, it can be difficult to know what to buy. If you are like my family they now have to try to buy for someone that lives in a van. Frankly, we don’t want for much and mostly that is because we don’t have room for much more. We love all of your thoughtful gifts but we simply have nowhere to put them. So if you have someone special in your life that is full-time on the road then these will be great gifts for vanlifers!
1) National Parks Pass
There is nothing more van life or than heading to the National Parks. This is why purchasing a National Parks Pass for your road travel friend is a great gift idea. The National Parks Pass allows you entry to National Parks and 2000 Federal Recreation Sites. Not to mention it often will give you a discount on camping! Shawn and I bought one this year and it easily paid for itself several times over!
2) AAA Card
When you have a campervan, having a roadside emergency is even more alarming. Not only is your home stuck on the side of the road but when you need towed or have an emergency it usually costs extra because of your size. This is why we have AAA for RV’s, which covers four tows up to 100 miles or one tow up to 200 miles of towing (which is super important because you never know how far from a bigger city your vanlife friend may be.
3) Jackery Battery Bank
When you are constantly on the road you know the struggles of keeping your electronics charged. Often I will only have enough solar to charge my battery once without worrying about depleting it. This is especially true in the winter when the sun is out for way fewer hours than the summer. This means that once I out of battery on my computer then I can longer work. This is why a Jackery is so handy.
The Jackery is a separate system and has its own battery bank. You can save it for your computer or cell phones when your battery bank is depleted or if you have an RV then when you don’t have access to shore power. Your vanlife friends will think they have won the lottery if you buy them this gift, I can promise you that.
4) Portable Chargers
Portable chargers are frankly good for any kind of traveler. They allow you to store battery power inside of a very portable and small device that you can then charge your cell phone with at any point. It’s great for long flights for travelers and Vanlifers it’s great for those times when you don’t have enough electricity to charge your cell phone or when you’ve gone on a long hike and used up all of your power on pictures. Don’t let your friends go without a cell phone flashlight when it comes time to hike down in the dark.
5) Solar Lights
Solar lights are by far one of the best gifts we were ever given. They are great because there have been so many times when we couldn’t use our lights or maybe wanted a more romantic setting and the lights were absolutely perfect. They charge from the sun so you don’t have to worry about one more thing draining your batteries. Since they have loops they have the capability to hang so you can get creative and put them anywhere you need light!
6) Bluetooth portable speaker
Vans and campervans are notorious for having terrible music systems. They simply weren’t built for an entertainment center. In our sprinter, we can’t hook up our phones to our speaker system in any fashion which means no podcasts, apple music, or Spotify. We are left to listening to the three channels that come through when we are traveling through the mountains. This is why a high-quality portable speaker is so important. You can connect via Bluetooth or USB and are able to listen to your favorite podcast or Spotify playlist. The JBL Flip is known for its high quality and moderately priced speaker.
If you really want to spoil them, consider gifting them an Apple car play radio system! Now that is one of the best gifts for a vanlifer that I can think of!
7) Campervan Heater
Does your Vanlife friend or family member travel year-round? Then chances are there are times in the year when they get oh so cold! There is nothing better than being able to turn on your heater inside your van and stay warm like most home-dwelling humans. This is where the Mr. Buddy Heater can come in handy. The Mr. Buddy Heater runs off of propane and is a great little space heater when you are in a pinch.
The step-up is the Espar heater which fits underneath the front seat and connects to the diesel line in the van. Since it naturally vents out through the bottom of the van you are able to run it longer than the Mr. Buddy which needs to be ventilated and is not as safe of an option! Although this might be a gift you need to get approved I guarantee it will be the most used gift they have ever received!
8) Gift Card
Most people I know think gift cards are impersonal and hate buying them as a holiday present and look I get it. It takes about zero effort to purchase a gift card. In this digital 2-day shipping world, what gift isn’t easy anymore? For a vanlifer, gift cards are absolute gold and we will not think less of you for giving us a gift that will save us when we run out of gas money or grocery money. You can’t go wrong with most gift cards but these are the ones I recommend the most!
- Kroger Gift Card- Kroger’s are all across America and your friend will not have a hard time finding a grocery store to spend their new money at!
- Amazon Gift Card– Even on the road Amazon is still a popular store to purchase from and you can buy almost anything on Amazon!
- Home Improvement Store – When you live in your mode of transportation chances are you are constantly doing home improvement. This is why a gift card to Lowe’s or Home Depot is always a welcome surprise. When you have an emergency it is so nice to be able to walk in knowing you have the extra cash!
Books are a timeless gift that I frankly approve of for anyone on your list. Vanlifers are not to be excluded from this idea and will likely approve of such a gift. However, since there is limited space and every book that they own is special and hand-picked I would recommend buying an amazon kindle gift card so that they can purchase the book they want and keep it in the cloud. Kindle can now be read on Android and Apple devices so no extra Kindle device needed! You can also pick out your gift purchase and send it as a gift if you have a book in mind!
10) 16 oz Yeti Tumbler
A part of living in such a small space is having a limited amount of things. This includes cups and is why most people on the road have one cup that they use ALL the time. I personally have a mug and a water cup. My water cup is the Yeti with a reusable straw. It is my absolute favorite cup as it keeps water cold for the entire day and the BEST thing is the Yeti’s fit in the Sprinter van cup holders! You might not realize what a big deal this is but for any van lifer who owns a sprinter then you know that the front cupholders on the dash are basically useless for most every cup except disposable coffee cups and THESE yetis!
Blankets are a very popular gift to give for vanlifers. I think for Christmas last year we got three blankets. Of course, we are always grateful for blankets but they do take up a lot of precious space and if they are not super quality or go with the decorations it can be hard to keep them. The Rumpl is a great gift for van life and one blanket I can guarantee your friend will not be trying to stash away. It is easily compressible and is warm just like a sleeping bag. It’s a great compromise in durability, practicality, and design.
Bonus: The Original Rumpl Puffy Blanket is made with 100% post-consumer plastics which means you can feel good about the purchase.
12) Weboost Wifi Extender
One of the most frustrating parts about living on the road is the lack of stability. When you own your own business or need to be connected to wifi or cell service you often have to sacrifice a beautiful location for practicality. This is where the Weboost comes in, The Weboost takes your cell service or wifi service and extends it.
It is able to grab the nearby service from cell phone towers and amplify your device. Although it is not the end all be all, I have used it in a friend’s rig and when I had no service and was unable to work the WEBoost made it possible for me to get work done.
13) Road Atlas
Who takes a road trip without a road atlas? Surprisingly way too many people. Make sure your Road traveling friend does not go with an updated road atlas this year. A road Atlas will not fail you no matter how little battery or how little cell service you may have, and so it is one of the best gifts for van life!
So there you have it, a list of the best gifts for vanlifers in your life! Do you think buying for vanlifers is difficult or do you love a challenge?
For more ideas and inspiration check out my Vanlife Shop!