» » Gifts for campervan people: The ultimate Vanlife gift guide

Gifts for campervan people: The ultimate Vanlife gift guide

How to plan and buy the perfect gifts for campervan owners

There are many aspects of Vanlife that make gifts for campervan owners challenging. With the holidays approaching, you may be at a loss for what on earth to buy them.

This article will demystify gift giving for the campervan people in your life.

Follow these tips to find the perfect gifts while helping them maximize their Vanlife adventures.

Our Top Pick gifts for campervan travelers

Gifts over $200

Gifts between $100 & $200

Gifts under $100

Quiet Portable Inverter Generator

One year of Amazon Prime 

gift card vansage Gifts for campervan people

Ainope 10000 mAh Portable Charger


ROK Presso Manual Espresso Maker

Presto Slow Cooker

Fire Sentry Smoke Alarm

Costway 54 Quart Fridge Freezer

Coleman Dual Fuel Lantern with Hard Carry Case

Victorinox Fibrox Pro 8″ Chef’s Knife

 

Minimalism: Not optional in a campervan

Whether you’re buying for friends who own campervans, or your travel partner, knowing their specific needs is very important when planning gifts for them. 

Perhaps most important is to understand that “stuff” tends to be at the bottom of their list of needs and wants.

This is due to the fact that, compared to houses and apartments, even the biggest vans are quite small.

In fact, the biggest of RVs are small compared to most apartments, so gifts for RV campers also need to be carefully thought out. 

While it’s fun to buy frivolous and “just for fun” gifts for most people, van dwellers don’t have room for non-essentials.

Not saying you shouldn’t give fun gifts to Vanlifers, just be certain it’s a needed gift that will actually be useful to them. 

vansage.com gifts for campervan people
Image courtesy of Andreas Selter

Shipping can be a challenge

If you buy gifts for campervan people online, make sure to consider where your van traveling friends will be when the item arrives. 

This is the best reason to order right away if you want them to have it at a holiday gathering. If you

know where they’ll be in the future, you may be able to have it shipped to an address near them.

But keep in mind that one of the best reasons for Vanlife is flexibility and adventure. If the item is expensive, this may be the time to spoil the secret and let them know they need to rendezvous with the package.

“You can just exchange it”

For those living a stationary life, returns and exchanges are no big deal. Your Vanlife friends and family may be on the road for months before getting back to the area where you bought a gift that doesn’t work out.

So gifts that don’t fit or aren’t a good choice in a campervan can go to waste, ending up at the thrift store or even the trash. 

Uncover their perfect gift without spoiling the secret: 3 tricks

Half the fun of gift giving is the surprise and it’s no fun when the secret is ruined. It’s even better when you’ve managed to find just the right gift. 

If you’re not involved in the world of campervans and RV’s, it can be a challenge to uncover the true needs of those who are.

In the spirit of keeping secret those gifts that you works so hard to get just right, we’ve got three tricks for uncovering the needs of your campervan friends and family without ruining the fun of the surprise. 

Vansage secret gift Gifts for campervan people
Image courtesy of Jelleke Vanooteghem

1. The curiosity method

Talk to your campervan people to assess their biggest challenges, needs and wants. 

Here’s are some questions that can be asked of any Vanlifer without revealing your gift buying intent. 

The trick is to ask these questions out of genuine curiosity. Most Vanlifers love to talk about their life on the road and their van and the right questions will reveal their true needs. 

  • What are the biggest challenges of Vanlife?
  • What do you most miss about having a house or apartment?
  • What do you wish you had more of, or higher quality versions of?
  • What do you run out of/buy the most?

2. The van tour method

Another approach is to ask for a tour of their van and take note of worn out or broken gear, what seems to be missing or a real need…

For example you might notice that their coffee maker is in rough shape and ready for an upgrade. Or that they’re using a cheap folding toilet.

These are both great opportunities for excellent gift giving. 

But be careful not to make assumptions, use your stealthy questioning to determine if what you notice is a real need before you go buy something. 

3. The Santa list method

A great way to uncover the best gifts for campervan friends and family is to ask them to make a list of at least ten things they’d truly love to have for their van. 

Growing up in a big family, “Have you made your list?” was the anthem at holiday time and the only way for my parents to manage all the needs and desires of kids and relatives. 

Just be sure to follow through and get them something from their list (no fun when Santa promises to show up, but doesn’t).

Not as much of a surprise but still creates an air of excitement, mystery and fun. The list approach is one way to be certain that you get something your van people can actually use. 

gifts for campervan people Gift box vansage
Image courtesy of Rawpixel

How much to spend?

Of course we all tend to spend differently for different people in our lives. 

The variety of available campervan gear is vast, so once you have a handle on their needs, you can find great items in virtually every price range. 

Read on to see many ideas of gifts in virtually ever price range. 

Life changing campervan gear

The gift of a well lit campsite. Coleman Premium Dual Fuel Lantern with Hard Carry Case

While choosing gifts for campervan dwellers can be a unique challenge, the right gift can have a very substantial impact on their life.

So taking the time to get it right will be very rewarding for you and the recipient. 

For example, imagine what it would be like to not have a refrigerator. Some campervan people don’t, whether they haven’t gotten around to getting one, or can’t afford it. 

These Vanlifers tend to spend a lot on ice, and might end up eating a lot of fast food.

Read on for more on how the right gifts for campervan dwellers completely revolutionize their lives. 

The gift of off-grid power

Perhaps the number one issue that your van friends face is off grid access to electricity.

Even some of the most well equipped campervans can be improved with better power gear. 

These are perhaps the most advanced gifts for campervan people and it’s important to have technical details before making power gear gift purchases to avoid return or poor-fit issues. 

Below are some off grid power items that will be highly valuable for nearly all campervan owners. 

Power TechOn 1000 Watt Inverter

Quiet Portable Inverter Generator

gifts for campervan travelers vansage Westinghouse Igen  

Goal Zero 100 Watt Suitcase Solar Panel

Goal Zero 400 Lithium Power Station

gifts for campervan dwellers VanSage Goal Zero

The gift of refrigeration for fresh, safe food

Give the gift of safe food. Engel 40 Qt. Portable Fridge/Freezer

Back to our fridgeless Vanlifer: Imagine living without a fridge. Not fun.

A quality, portable 12 volt fridge freezer can completely alter the livability and comfort of a campervan. 

Many of the available products are technical marvels that have both freezer and fridge sections and will keep food at safe temperatures while using very little energy. 

We recommend avoiding thermoelectric cooler/warmers. Stick with a compressor fridge with many positive reviews. 

Our top picks for portable 12 volt Campervan Fridge Freezers can be found in this article

The gift of expanded campervan space

As you can imagine, a van can start to feel claustrophobic. One class of campervan gear that offers some relief in this department are awnings and tents. 

A well designed campervan awning can provide a wonderful area outside the van to relax, stretch out and enjoy the fresh air. We wrote at length about this wonderful gear, here

Campervan awning tents, otherwise known as drive away tents, actually add rooms to the van for more sleeping, dining or other indoor activity. 

It’s essentially a tent that attaches to the van and there are some great options available. Please take a minute to read up on them in our article on Campervan awning tents

Campervan Awning Tent Vansage Oldpro
OLPRO Cubo Breeze Inflatable Campervan Tent. Click here to check the price.

Membership gifts for campervan travelers

REI Co-oplogo image rei vansageGifts for campervan dwellers

REI is considered by outdoor enthusiasts everywhere to be the leader in quality gear for hiking, climbing, skiing, biking and much more. 

An REI Co-op membership will provide your Vanlife folks access to special pricing, yearly rebates on purchases, early access to sales and more. 

Click here to learn more about REI membership and products. 

Fitness clubs

Aside from the obvious workout benefits, fitness club memberships allow for regular showers and a break from campground facilities.

Whether your van friends are full time or just frequent travelers, a fitness club membership can be a great gift. Just make sure they travel where the clubs are located.

24 Hour Fitness is the largest in the US and has clubs in most major cities. May Vanlifers use and swear by them.

Learn more about 24 hour fitness memberships, here.

Amazon Prime

Another great membership for campervan friends and family is Amazon Prime. Whether your Vanlife enthusiasts already has a primer account or not, you can gift them more time. 

The list of benefits is always expanding and includes such necessities as free 2 day shipping on many items, as well as movie and TV streaming. 

And Amazon offers two options for giving the gift of Prime: Three months or one year. 

More info on gifting Amazon Prime can be found here

gifts for campervan travelers Gift Card Vansage

 

Campervan gear stocking stuffers

Road Atlas

No web access? No problem. The Nat Geo Adventure Atlas

Portable phone charger

Brilliant stocking stuffer from Ainope

Campervan safety gear

See the list, below

Campsite Cooking Equipment

Lots of great options in this post

National and State Park Access

Passes for all States. National Park Passes

Folding shovel

Leveling a site digging out of sand or snow…  

Gift cards for campervan travelers

We like gift cards, but keep in mind that a shockingly high percentage of them never get used.

This gets back to our messages that Vanlifers might need help with shipping locations, only want gifts they truly need. 

Still a gift car can be a perfect open ended gift. Just make sure it’s for a store or site that works for them. Some examples…

Campervan safety gear gift ideas

We all tend to take care of others before ourselves. Campervan folks are no different and often need to be reminded of vital safety issues.

There’s no better way to remind them than by getting them gifts that address safety and security issues unique to Vanlife.

CO alarm

Carbon Monoxide is a very real health threat for campervan travelers. 

Fire extinguisher

Every van needs at least one.

12V Battery booster

A brilliant tool that can get them out of a jam and back on the road. 

Smoke and fire alarm

A must for the van, as in your house. 

First Aid Kit

Often overlooked, great to have when needed.

LED Emergency road flares

Alert oncoming traffic when broken down

 

Thanks for reading!

Please comment below with your questions and gift ideas for Vanlife people.

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