55 Best Gifts for Van Life [Fun & Practical!]

720 shares Finding that perfect gift for a van lifer can be a challenge. People who live in vans full time typically eschew stuff and…

Van Lifer standing on the back of a campervan

Finding that perfect gift for a van lifer can be a challenge. People who live in vans full time typically eschew stuff and don’t have much room for extras. But there are some gifts for van life that are both fun and practical, sure to delight anyone who lives and travels in a campervan.

I’ve lived in a campervan for 3 years now, and either currently use these items myself or they are on my wish list for the future.

I hope you enjoy this van life gift guide!

Kitchen Gifts Ideas for a Van Lifer

Cooking is a big part of van life, given that we spend most of our time boondocking or in campgrounds. Here are a few really useful items I love, or that are on my list for the future.

Certain to please any van lifer you know!

Woman cooking outside a campervan
  1. Presto 6-Quart Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker

    If you haven't used a pressure cooker before, you are missing out. This is one of our top van life essentials for cooking fast and easy meals while living in a van.

    We've made everything from chili, to chicken soup, to chili mac, to mashed potates in this handy device. We also cook steel cut oats in the mornings!

    It cooks food very quickly, which means we use less propane! We love our stovetop pressure cooker so much we have one in our van and one on our sailboat.

    Buy on Amazon.com
  2. Omnia Stove Top Oven

    The Omnia Oven is a stovetop marvel that many van lifers swear by. This is a great gift for a van lifer who likes to bake.

    A camper can prepare pizzas, brownies, breads and casseroles right on top of a campervan stove – or even on a portable grill!

    To make sure foods baked in the Omnia Oven have the same texture as a traditional oven, the roof vents steam. We don't have one of these yet but I'd love to try it out!

    Buy on CampingWorld.com Buy on Amazon.com
  3. Collapsible Colander

    I use collapsible colanders all the time - both in my campervan and on my sailboat - and they had to make our gift guide for van life. Anything collapsible is good for someone who lives on the road as it doesn't take up much space.

    These silicone colanders come with hooks to hang up on a wall.

    Buy on Amazon.com
  4. Bee's Wrap Honeycomb Food Wraps

    Beeswax storage wraps have been on our list for awhile, as they get rid of the need to wrap food in plastic.

    Wrap cheese, bread or other leftovers in this beeswax wrap, or use it to cover a bowl of food. These beeswax wraps come in three different sizes and are completely compostable at the end of their life, making them great gifts for van life.

    Buy on REI.com Buy on Amazon.com
  5. A Good Knife

    Many van lifers won't spend the money to buy themselves a good knife, which is what makes one of the best van life gifts.

    I received my Wusthof Santoku knife for Christmas about 12 years ago and still use it every day. These knives are durable and very sharp, so it's a good idea to also buy that van lifer a sheath.

    Buy on Amazon.com
  6. GOSUN Fusion Solar Oven

    The GoSun Fusion Solar Oven is a unique gift for a van lifer. I've used the Fusion quite a bit in both my van and on my boat and am happy with the results.

    The GoSun solar oven can make all types of things; I've made apple crisp, pizza and lasagna to name a few. The only problem with the oven so far is the leg construction is a bit shoddy.

    Buy on GoSun.com
  7. Pakt Nesting Coffee Kit

    We're loving our Pakt portable electric coffee kit for van life. The Pakt Coffee Kit nests together in one small package, and includes an electric kettle, holder for your coffee, coffee cup, and stainless steel filter. You'll need 110-volt power inside your van, though, the electric kettle takes 500 watts. We love this item as we can use it both inside our van, or we can bring it into a hotel or our family's house to have our own coffee anywhere.

    Buy on Pakt.com
  8. Radius Outfitters Kitchen Organizer

    We just love this small kitchen organizer from campervan supply company Radius Outfitters. It holds all of our plates, silverware and cooking tools and is easy to hang from the van. We have ours hanging from the back of the driver's seat, and it's really easy to access all our kitchen items.

    Shop on RadiusOutfitters.com

Practical Gift Ideas for Van Life

Here are some of my favorite practical presents for this van life gift guide. Here are things anyone living in a campervan will use and love.

  1. Portable Bidet

    We usually take a full shower every other day, and when days we don't shower, we use a portable bidet. This is a GAME CHANGER and makes you feel so much cleaner than just using baby wipes.

    We actually have two of these - one in the campervan and one on the sailboat.

    The van lifer you know will appreciate this, trust me.

    Buy on REI.com Buy on Amazon.com
  2. Turkish Towels

    Turkish towels are absolutely amazing for van life - way better than microfiber. We use these exclusively because they are quick-drying, soft, lightweight and really portable. The cotton feels really good on the skin compared to microfiber and they actually wick water better.

    These towels can also be used as a sarong, or a towel to picnic on. Items with multiple uses are a great space-saving gift idea.

    Buy on Amazon.com
  3. Alaska Bear Natural Silk Sleep Mask

    We know it can be hard to sleep in a camper van, especially during those summer months when sun cracks the sky really early. We own two of these silk eye masks, and absolutely love them. The silk feels great on the skin, and the headband keeps the mask secure.

    They come in a variety of colors and patterns - which makes it easy for two people who are living in a van!

    Buy on Amazon.com
  4. Packing Cubes

    Fitting things into the small space of a campervan can be tricky, which is why compression packing cubes are an absolute must when it comes to van life. We like using a variety of sizes to better fit stuff in drawers and cabinets.

    Packing cubes are also good for towels, shoes, gear and other loose items. 

    Buy on Amazon.com
  5. Sea to Summit Wilderness Wipes

    Biodegradable wipes are definitely a must-have for those living the van life. These Wilderness Wipes from REI are amazing for helping a camper feel clean and refreshed. Plus, these baby wipes are 100% compostable!

    Wilderness Wipes are pH balanced for human skin, and are even compostable after use. The wipes contain aloe vera and Vitamin E. The perfect "shower" for those days when finding water isn't convenient.


    Buy on REI.com Buy on Amazon.com
  6. MOON LENCE Camping Chairs

    This camp chair by Moonlence folds down to just about one foot long and six inches wide, a great option for someone with little space. It's really comfortable and yet another way we expand our campervan's living room.

    This compact camping chair can hold up to 242 pounds and only weighs two pounds.

    We've used this for sitting around a campfire and on the beach. I won't go anywhere with this van life necessity.

    Buy on Amazon.com
  7. Rinse Kit Portable Shower Kit

    The Rinse Kit is an interesting product on the market that makes showering and washing way easier with van life.

    The Rinse Kit comes in three sizes - 1.5 gallon, 2 gallon and 3 gallon. It's self-pressurized and battery-powered.

    Two of the Rinse Kits have the option of heated water using a heating rod, which plugs into a cigarette lighter. The insulated tank keeps hot water hotter for longer.

    We don't have one of these yet but I have my eye on it! This portable, pressurized hot shower is one of our favorite gifts for van life.

    Buy on RinseKit.com
  8. Outdoor Thermometer

    I can't tell you how many times I've wanted an outdoor thermometer for vanlife. When we are boondocking somewhere remote, I can't count on the weather on my phone, which is forecasting for a far-off city.

    A simple digital hanging thermometer like this one from LaCrosse is an excellent van life gift as it doesn't take up much space.

    Buy on Amazon.com
  9. National Parks Pass

    What’s a better gift idea than a brand new National Parks Pass! It’s giving them the gift of breathtaking scenery right out their kitchen window! One of the absolute gems of van and RV living in the United States is the number of protected national parks, monuments, and heritage sites to enjoy. But for one flat fee, the America The Beautiful National Park Pass will cover entrance fees to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites for a full calendar year.

    The pass is valid for one year from the month of purchase and is also honored at sites managed by the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation, and Army Corps of Engineers. This is one of the best gifts to ensure lots of visits to national parks in the year ahead.

    Buy on REI.com
  10. Nocs Provisions Compact Binoculars

    I'm totally in love with these lightweight, waterproof binoculars. They are small, rugged and easy to throw into a backpack for a day hike. The color and clarity are also outstanding - plus the image is way more stable than our other binoculars of a similar size. If you're looking for compact binoculars, these are the ones we use and recommend.

    Buy on NocsProvisions.com
  11. The Bug Wall

    The Bug Wall has been a total game-changer for our Sprinter van. Before, we were opening and closing the side door constantly to keep bugs out while we cooked outdoors. Now, we just leave The Bug Wall up all the time, which also creates wonderful airflow inside the van. The Bug Wall also offers a little bit of privacy if you're in a crowded area with the side door open.

    Buy on TheBugWall.com
  12. Scrubba Laundry Bag

    We just love this "Scrubba" laundry bag. A super easy way to wash a few articles of clothing when in our campervan or on our sailboat.

    The Scrubba features a flexible inner washboard to give your clothes a wash as good as any machine can do. You just fill the bag with water, add your clothes, and roll the bag against a hard surface. The bag can also double as a dry bag or storage bag!

    Shop on Scrubba.com

Clothing Gifts for Van Life

Van lifers tend to be pretty choosy about their clothing, as we don’t have much space for storage. Here are a few key items that should be in any camper’s wardrobe.

Woman standing next to campervan in the Badlands National Park
Me and my van at The Badlands

Van Life Gift Ideas for Safety

Many van lifers love to go boondocking, or at least off-grid. Having the proper safety equipment on hand is essential for anyone living in the great outdoors.

Man fixing a campervan flat tire
Fixing a flat tire
  1. Magnetic Spare Car Key Holder

    I'd be embarrasssed to admit how many times I've locked my keys inside my Chevy Astro van! This has resulted in way too many phone calls to AAA Roadside Assistance. Hence, a magnetic stash case for an extra pair of keys became a major campervan essential for me, which I've used tons of times already.

    All a van life has to do is place the magnetic key holder somewhere on the undercarriage of their vehicle so they're never locked out again!

    Buy on Amazon.com
  2. Road Emergency Kit

    If the van lifer you know does a lot of off-roading or travel to remote areas, a roadside emergency is one of the best gift ideas for van life we can think of.

    This kit includes essentials like jumper cables, a flashlight, a first aid kit, duct tape and an emergency poncho.

    Buy on Amazon.com
  3. Portable Car Jumper Kit

    Having a dead battery is an honest mistake, but if it happens in the middle of nowhere a van lifer can be hosed. A portable car jumper kit takes away the stress of traveling to places with no phone signal. This is a great addition to our van life gift guide for campers who love going out in the boonies.

    Buy on Amazon.com
  4. Air Compressor

    Traveling on backcountry roads can take a toll on your vehicle. It also requires that you inflate or deflate your tires depending on the conditions you are presented with. Airing down can be especially useful when you are traveling on especially soft and sandy roads.

    But when you get back to harder dirt, gravel, or paved road, driving with low tire air pressure is extremely inefficient. So you will need a heavy-duty air compressor that hooks up to the cigarette lighter or directly to the battery in your truck for easier refills.

    Buy on Amazon.com
  5. Tire Puncture Repair Kit

    Tire puncture plugs have saved us on more than one occasion when we've gotten a flat tire in our Chevy Astro van. One time we were on a remote road in the Mojave Desert and popped TWO TIRES at once. Tom had to use 4-5 tire plugs and our air compressor to get us back to our campsite, then on the road to a tire repair shop.

    Tire plugs are definitely a van life essential!

    Buy on Amazon.com

Electronics Gift Ideas Every Van Lifer will Love

A few key electronics won’t take up too much space in a campervan. Here are some of our favorites we wanted to make sure we added to this gift guide.

  1. Kindle Paperwhite

    I take my Kindle Paperwhite everywhere I go, from my van to my sailboat. This newest version of the Kindle is waterproof, making it great for living a life outdoors. I typically download books using my library, so all the books I read and store on my Kindle are free!

    Buy on Amazon.com
  2. Apple iPad

    My iPad is an absolute van life essential I can't live without. Since storage space is at a premium in a campervan, I've found teh iPad to be an all-purpose tool the size of one magazine.

    I use my iPad to download Netflix shows and documentaries we can watch in remote places when we have no internet. I also use my iPad to store all my cookbooks as I have no room in a van for any type of book.

    The iPad also comes in handy finding free campsites using sites like iOverlander, Free Roam and The Dyrt Pro Membership (click here for a FREE 90-Day Trial!)

    Plus, I download magazines from my library and read them on my iPad! This is really a multi-use device.

    Buy on Amazon.com
  3. GoPro HERO9 Black Camera

    A GoPro video camera is great for action photos and videos, and I've owned mine for years. These are rugged, compact, lightweight devices are waterproof and sealed against the elements without inhibiting the picture quality.

    With a Wi-Fi capability, you can use your phone to control the camera's settings and view live footage. This is particularly useful in scenarios where you want to record yourself while enjoying boondocking, hiking or biking.

    These cameras can be dropped and immersed in water to capture all sorts of van life adventures.

    Buy on REI.com
  4. Garmin inReach Mini

    When going off-roading or to remote boondocking locations, a satellite communicator is a must-have. The Garmin inReach Mini satellite communicator allows an overlander to send texts and emergency SOS calls. The tracker allows friends and family to watch a route in real time as well.

    We've heard one too many tragedies from people who haven't had a Garmin InReach, including a couple who recently punctured two tires in Death Valley. The two tried to walk to safety, but one perished. A tragedy that could have been avoided with a Garmin or other type of satellite communicator.

    Buy on REI.com
  5. A Mini Video Projector

    A small video projector is a fun way for a camper to watch movies and TV shows on the big screen. All they have to do is point the projector at a blank wall, sheet or screen and watch a movie either inside or outside their campervan.

    This tiny projector connects to a phone or table to play TV shows or movies - a big plus if a show is downloaded, meaning a van lifer can watch anywhere. We don't have this yet, but our relatives love it in their A-frame camper!

    Buy on Amazon.com
  6. weBoost Drive

    A cellular signal booster is especially important for van lifers who need an internet connection on the road. We have a cell booster from WeBoost which has totally changed our lives while traveling in the campervan.

    I've tested this booster in remote locations where I usually don't get any signal, and immediately register several bars!

    This booster also comes in handy if you're trying to find campsites and don't want to lose signal.

    Buy on Amazon.com
  7. DJI Mavic Air 2 Drone

    We've really enjoyed having a drone with us in both our campervan and on our sailboat, and think it makes a really fun gift.

    The Mavic Air 2 isn't the most expensive drone out there but takes amazing photos and videos.

    The drone doesn't take up much space inside a van, runs on recharchable batteries and lasts 34 minutes on a single charge. A fun and indulgent idea for our gift guide!

    Buy on Amazon.com
  8. Bose Sport Wireless Earphones

    Bose Sport Headphones make great van life gifts. Both Tom and I own a pair, and use them for talking on the phone and listening to music. I never knew how much I loved Bluetooth headphones until I got a pair.

    What I like about the Bose Sport is that you only need to wear one earbud. The right one acts as a control, allowing you to answer the phone, start and stop music tracks and podcasts and adjust the volume with a swipe.

    Or, you can wear both earbuds to really enjoy music, as they come with decent bass quality, which I haven't found yet with other earbuds.

    Buy on Amazon.com
  9. Electric Toothbrush

    This Oral B electric toothbrush is what we've been using for years, so had to include it on this van life gift guide.

    A good electric toothbrush will keep cavities at bay and mouths clean while on the road. Plus, they are easy to charge with an inverter, and don't take up much space.

    Buy on Amazon.com

Subscriptions a Van Lifer will Love

If you don’t want to give a physical present to that full time traveler in your life, a subscription is a great gift idea for anyone living in a van. We use all of these ourselves!

  1. Netflix Gift Card

    We use Netflix all the time, and it's something every van lifer can use. It's super easy to download shows on an iPad, and we watch movies and TV shows when we're boondocking in the middle of nowhere.

    Netflix digital subscriptions are affordable - ours is only $9 per month!

    Buy on Netflix.com
  2. Spotify Gift Card

    With Spotify premium, a van lifer can listen to music offline and create playlists on the fly. It's a great subscription for an adrenaline-seeking adventurer or music junkie. Campers can also subscribe to podcasts using Spotify.

    Spotify premium is a good option for a van lifer, as it offers offline access to music and playlists without advertisements. Spotify premium costs $9.99 per month.

    Buy on Amazon.com
  3. Amazon Prime Gift Card

    Amazon is the go-to spot for everything under the sun, including books, movies and TV shows. Amazon Prime members can download popular titles offline to watch on the road, which is what we do!

    Amazon is also really easy to use while living on the road, as you can ship items to Amazon boxes. We've done this in different places in the U.S.

    A van lifer will definitely appreciate an Amazon Prime subscription for $99 a year, which gives free 2-day shipping and access to movies and TV shows.

    Buy on Amazon.com
  4. Daily Burn — A Better Fit

    Working out on the road is tough. But with daily burn, campers can download workouts to their tablet or phone and do them wherever they are!

    Daily Burn offers 5-60-minute workout videos from strength training, to dance, to cardio, to yoga to kickboxing.

    I've used my Daily Burn subscription often while living out of my campervan.

    Daily Burn is $20 per month.

    Buy on DailyBurn.com

Camping Apps and Guides Gift Ideas

Since someone living in a van is camping full-time, they probably want information on both boondocking and campgrounds. Here are the top apps and guides we’ve found that make a great gift for van life.

Man walking back to van in the desert
  1. The Dyrt Pro Membership

    Although the Dyrt camping app does have a free version, it’s limited to WiFi and cell access. Considering how often campers go off the grid, an app that requires connectivity doesn’t do much good most of the time.

    So, getting The Dyrt Pro Membership can save someone from a lot of potential headaches. The app shows all nearby camping sites in the country and tips and suggestions from other app users who have been on-site.

    Sign up for a free 30-day trial first. One of the best gift ideas!

    Free 30-Day Trial
  2. Ultimate Boondocking Guide & Planner

    This is my product! I developed the Ultimate Boondocking Guide and Planner ebook as a way to help people who've never boondocked before. This ebook (PDF) includes tutorials on how to find free campsites using Motor Vehicle Use Maps and iOverlander, plus gear lists, shopping lists and plenty of fillable sheets for your planning.

    The Ultimate Boondocking Guide & Planner is a great gift for folks who love camping off-the-grid.

    Buy Now
  3. GoCamp Campervan Rental Gift Card

    GoCamp is just like Airbnb but for camper vans. From old-school Westy’s to newer Mercedes-Benz Sprinters, Ford Transits, Dodge Ram ProMasters, Storyteller Overland MODE 4x4 adventure vans, specialty conversion vans, and many more makes, models, and styles, you have lots of great choices for your next road trip. You just have to pick one, and there isn't a bad choice in the bunch! 

    Book a trip for yourself or gift a trip to a loved one with a GoCamp Gift Card!

    Shop on GoCamp.com

Gifts Cards for Van Lifers

Gift cards are another one of our favorite gifts for van life. Gift cards take up zero space and they are something van lifers use.

Here are our gift card recommendations:

Consumable Gift Ideas for Van Life

Consumables like alcohol, coffee and food are great ideas for someone who lives in a campervan.

Here are a few of our consumable ideas:

  • Beer or wine
  • Spirits – our favorites are rum and whiskey
  • Good chocolate
  • Hard cheese, or a cheese sampler
  • Coffee – either ground or coffee “tea bags”
  • Freeze-dried food (great for emergencies)

We Hope This Helped!

We know just how hard it is to find the perfect gift for someone who lives in a tiny space like a campervan! However, there are key things a van lifer needs, even if they don’t know it yet.

We hope this guide helps you delight and impress that van lifer you know!

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5 Comments

  1. Christina says:

    I 👏🏻 Love👏🏻 This👏🏻 List 👏🏻! Definitely recommend the goal zero (we have that)! Also love the solar oven, that sounds amazing. I would try that.

    1. Kristin Hanes says:

      Yay! Yeah I think ALL these items are things I want, haha!

  2. Pingback: Black Friday Deals for RVing, Van Life and Sailboats - The Wayward Home
  3. Fiona Ludbrook says:

    Some great ideas here. I especially like the packing cubes and the solar battery. However, nothing beats my compact folding bamboo table from Zempire. Packs down to nothing,, offers two heights and takes up so little space when folded down. https://www.snowys.com.au/kitpac-std-camp-table

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  5. Great ideas! There’s also Gritmaps (gritmaps.com), a zine (36-page, hand-drawn magazine) about vanlife and free campsites — for someone who already has all the odds and ends for living in a van, a zine can make a great holiday gift, too! And it’s only $5 🙂

  6. Robert Hogward says:

    I received an electric air pump as a gift for my birthday. It’s great and necessary for my rv life. I’ve lost count of the numerous times these nifty contraptions have gotten me out of a tight knot and extra expense while on the road, especially when air mattresses and tires need blowing up.

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