Last updated: September 08, 2023
Are you looking for the best van life gifts? This gift guide is sure to ignite wanderlust with gifts that will delight all the van lifers you know.
These days, more and more people are trading in high-rent apartments and hitting the road in moving tiny homes.
And it’s not hard to see why. Van life offers many benefits: low cost of living, freedom, and access to the great outdoors.
Perhaps there is someone in your life who’s living and traveling the country in a converted campervan and you’re looking to get them a nice gift.
So how do you find van life presents for someone always on the road who’s short on space?
And what do you get for the person who has the world at their fingertips?
This gift guide is chock full of ideas to inspire the best gifts for van life, from funny campervan gifts to practical van life accessories and essential gear.
By the end of this post, you’ll have a lot of great gift ideas for your friends and loved ones who are living their best van life.
These van life products are space-saving and eco-friendly, so you’ll be sure to find the ultimate present for your free-spirited loved one.
Note: this post contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so I can keep providing free travel advice and tips.
Best Budget Van Life Gifts Under $50
If you’re looking for budget van life Christmas gifts, an excellent place to start is coffee.
There’s nothing like breathing in crisp morning air while hugging a warm mug of coffee in your hands, and freshly ground beans make the most flavorful coffee.
It may take some elbow grease, but this compact, hand-cranked coffee grinder prepares beans to go into a pour-over or a French press – all without a power source.
It has a sleek, brushed steel finish and three settings, so coffee-drinkers can control how fine or coarse their beans are.
MIRA Stainless French Press
What could go better with a coffee grinder than a French press?
French presses are the quickest and greenest way to prepare coffee (no electricity, no coffee filters, no waste).
This model is double insulated and comes in a classic steel finish or an adorable retro pearl blue.
They say that glass produces the cleanest-tasting coffee, but after breaking about five French presses, I’ve personally converted to steel.
Since this model is stainless steel all the way through, it won’t shatter when it’s inevitably dropped – perfect for your adventurous coffee drinker.
Black Diamond Spot Headlamp
This durable little headlamp is waterproof, battery-powered, and bright, so your loved one can snuggle up in their van at night and read in bed without having a lamp on.
It comes in eight different bright colors, so there’s something to suit everyone’s taste.
Plus, the six-setting battery meter means that a dead battery will never catch users off guard.
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Rolla Roaster Marshmallow and Hot Dog Roasting Forks
Van life is about enjoying the great outdoors every day.
And, I don’t know about you, but my idea of enjoying the great outdoors involves roasting marshmallows over a campfire.
These roasting forks are extendable, so your favorite full-time traveler won’t burn their fingers.
The wooden handles are a lovely shade of cobalt blue and are easy to rotate. With these, there will be no more collecting sticks from the woods.
Although most campervans are outfitted with kitchens, a van lifer staying overnight in a campground will often end up cooking over a fire.
This tripod is a simple way to set up a fully functional stove in a snap.
Since it’s made from lightweight steel, it can sometimes be a little tricky to balance.
However, it’s also quick to set up and easily adjustable, so campers can move the grill closer and farther from the flames, depending on their needs.
Lodge Cast Iron Skillet
A cast iron skillet is an essential tool in every chef’s arsenal, especially when it comes to outdoor cooking; it does great in high-heat settings such as an open fire.
The only drawback is that these large skillets are super heavy to lug around, so they’re not exactly ideal for a minimalist living on the road.
But this skillet is a reasonable ten and a quarter inches, the perfect size for tucking away in an already cramped campervan.
It’s also pre-seasoned, so it’s ready to use right out of the box.
Revel Gear Trail Hound Camping Light
This 30-foot copper wire string of fairy lights adds a warm ambiance to a campsite or the inside of a van.
It has eight different brightness settings and, although it uses electricity, it has a low power draw, so it’s very energy-efficient.
These string lights plug right into a USB port, so your favorite van lifer can blog about their life on the road in the twinkling glow of their light.
Best Essential Gifts for Van Life
Rumpl Puffy Blanket
The Rumpl Puffy Blanket offers the best of both worlds.
It has the warmth and packability of a sleeping bag with the aesthetics and feel of a quilt, making it a well-suited gift for someone always on the road.
The Rumpl blankets come with a bag, so they’re easy to pack up and carry.
They also come in a wide range of chic colors and designs, but I’m partial to this ombre blue-to-orange fade to match the sunrise visible outside the van windows.
Plus, this blanket is made from all recycled materials for the environmentally conscious among us.
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Solar Powered Light
When your home is a van, you’ll want to find ways to make every campsite feel as homey as possible.
This two-pack of solar-powered lights is waterproof and comes with dimmable remotes.
These solar lights can charge all day and then illuminate your loved one’s campsite after the sun goes down – as brightly as if they were in a living room.
Yeti Rambler Tumbler
Try going versatile when you’re looking for practical gift ideas for van life.
A yeti tumbler makes for the ultimate van life mug. It’s ultra-insulated, so it will keep morning coffee hot and evening cocktails ice-cold, safe under a spill-proof lid.
And the fewer cups that a van lifer needs to store in their limited cupboard space, the better.
There’s also a wide array of colors to choose from. Seafoam green is my personal go-to!
Acorn Mule Ragg Slippers
Living full-time in a van means spending a lot of time outdoors, sometimes in chilly temperatures.
Vans can be extremely well insulated, but at a campsite, a van lifer might need to step outside frequently.
A pair of cozy acorn mule slippers will keep toes toasty.
They’re made from high-quality materials like suede and fleece and have a sturdy sole, so they do well transitioning frequently from indoor to outdoor.
They’re also a cinch to slip on and off.
Portable Washing Machine
Campervans don’t usually come with a laundry room.
This portable, non-electric washing machine makes a practical but cute van life gift and takes the hassle out of washing clothes by hand.
It still requires some muscle, and your loved one will still need a clothesline, but the convenient hand crank creates a spin cycle, and the design makes it trouble-free to drain the water.
Additionally, it’s small and comes in two retro color options – powder blue and mint green – so it’ll fit right into your loved one’s well-curated camper van.
Mid-weight Base Layer Tights
Why stop at cozy warm feet? Complete your van life Christmas gift with a pair of lightweight base layer tights.
Even when you go south for the winter, nights and early mornings in a national park can sometimes be cold, and having an extra layer of warmth can eliminate that “roughing it” feeling.
This base layer is lightweight, so it won’t feel bulky under clothing, making it a great campervan gift for him or her.
Gas Gift Card
Part of the allure of van life is the money one can save by downsizing to a van. However, gas is a necessary and significant expense in the budget of any van lifer.
A Shell gift card will keep your loved one on the road, moving from campground to campground while keeping their wallet full.
This gift may sound simple, but it’ll be deeply appreciated by every budget-conscious van lifer.
Travel Space Saver Bags
Staying organized is super important when you’re living in a van.
Although van lifers tend to thin out their belongings before hitting the road, they’ll still want to have their consolidated wardrobe available to them without taking up too much drawer real estate.
These storage bags compress clothing and bulky towels, reducing the space they take up by 80%. The best part is that they don’t require a vacuum because they come with a small hand pump.
Once rolled, these bags can be slipped under a bed or to the back of a drawer – making room for more stuff – but accessible when needed.
Pro tip: speed things up by closing the bag with the sealing clip and squeezing the remaining air out through the exhaust port.
Best Van Life Gear and Gadget Gift Ideas
REI Padded Lawn Chair
The world is your living room when you’re living full-time in a van.
This padded lawn chair from REI folds up like any camping chair, but with its comfortable, water-repellent, padded seat and wooden armrests, it features the design qualities of home furniture.
As a bonus, these chairs are also made from environmentally friendly materials.
When folded, they become backpacks with straps with a pocket to store a few essentials. So, it’s the perfect gift for the van life enthusiast on the go.
Lafuma Reclining Chair
Take your van life Christmas gift to the next level with this reclining chair, which has the option for a zero-gravity position.
Zero-gravity chairs take the weight off your back and legs, distribute your body weight, and make you feel like you’re floating.
This recliner features a retro poolside design, and it comes in four vintage-inspired colors, including my favorite – you guessed it – seafoam green!
Looking for more comfy chairs? Read our guide to the best reclining camping chairs.
The Eno Supernest
For an even more luxurious van life gift idea, check out the Eno Supernest.
It may be a bit pricey, but it’s not your average hammock. This is a deluxe, padded, floating bed with built-in pillows and a design that hugs the contours of the body.
Van lifers are always looking for compact storage options. The Eno Supernest has a deep pocket on the side for books, drinks, and more.
And not only does Eno donate 1% of sales towards saving the planet, but they also plant two trees for every hammock sold.
Sea to Summit X-Pot Kettle Collapsible Camping Cook Pot
Like I’ve said, storage space is at a premium when you’re living in a van. This practical, silicone pot collapses flat so it is easy to store, but ready when you need it.
Its aluminum base withstands heat, while the convenient spout makes for easy pouring. It’s available in lime-green, sand, or navy.
A person living on the road full time will sometimes want to stretch out and lounge once they’ve reached the perfect campsite.
This fun, cone-shaped dome tent provides an excellent spot for an afternoon nap, a reading nook, or an alternate place to sleep on warm summer nights.
The front flap folds out into a sun porch, and the mesh construction provides ample airflow while keeping the bugs out. It’s breezy, portable, and easy to set up.
NiceC Folding Table with Cooler Built-in
This foldable tray table has it all: four cup holders, a snack holder, and even a built-in cooler compartment to keep drinks on ice packs.
It’s a perfect gift for the van lifer who enjoys kicking back at night around a campfire and doesn’t want to run back and forth from the van fridge.
It’s also lightweight and folds back up into a slim bag so it can stow away in the van in the morning.
Kelty Low Loveseat
Perhaps you’re looking for campervan gifts for mom or dad or your favorite couple. For the romantics in your life, there’s the Kelty Low Loveseat.
It’s padded and comes with built-in cupholders in both armrests, but it’s big enough for two to snuggle into.
This could be a great gift idea for a van life couple living their adventure on the road in a campervan built for two.
ALPHA CAMP 3-Piece Folding Camping Table with Bench Set
Every van is outfitted with some seating space but usually doesn’t have enough room for a dining room table.
That is unless that table folds up into a carry-able case that’s easy to store under a bed!
The Alpha Camp table and bench set has an attractive walnut veneer top that’s easy to set up and put away.
It won’t fit more than two adults, so it won’t work for large gatherings, but it could be the perfect gift for your loved one whose whole life is a road trip.
Read our guide to the best gifts for campers.
GSI Outdoors Gourmet Kitchen Set
If you’re looking for van life kits, look no further than this GSI Outdoors Gourmet Kitchen Set.
When you’re frequently packing everything you own into a van, you want that stuff to take up as little space as possible and be simple to put away.
And this kitchen set covers all your basic cooking needs.
The super lightweight cutting board, the folding spoon, and folding spatula mean more clean counter space inside the van and more time to enjoy the national parks.
An Amazon Kindle is the ultimate gift idea for every van lifer. The on-the-road lifestyle is perfect for an avid reader – with many open afternoons to spend reading in a hammock.
But fitting everything into a van means that space is limited and dragging around a full library isn’t usually an option for van lifers.
An Amazon Kindle is a portable library that takes up almost no space. Plus, the illuminated screen makes it a breeze to read under the stars.
There are thousands of books available on Kindle and a world of reading at your giftee’s fingertips.
JBL FLIP 6 Portable Bluetooth Speaker
The JBL Flip 5 is one of the highest-rated portable Bluetooth speakers available, making it a great gift idea for all the music-loving van lifers.
Although vehicles have stereo systems, this speaker keeps the tunes pumping from the van to the national park.
The long-lasting battery provides up to 12 hours of playtime and is waterproof in case of accidents.
It also comes in a bunch of cool colors, giving every adventure a soundtrack in style.
Fulext Sleep Headphones Bluetooth Headband
When it’s time to wind down for the night and crawl back into the van, the Bluetooth speaker goes away, and the Bluetooth headphones come out.
These sleep headphones are wireless and embedded inside a soft headband that doubles as an eye mask.
They keep the cricket sounds out – from the noisy campground to the dead silent wilderness – making them a great van life gift idea.
GoPro Hero Camera
Van life and social media go hand in hand. The GoPro Hero Camera helps document the adventures of a full-time van lifer with high-quality photographs, no filter needed.
The GoPro camera is specifically designed for extreme sports or outdoor excursions such as hiking and backpacking.
This model comes in a chic black finish. It’s high-resolution and takes super crisp photos even when the subject is in motion.
And its petite size means it’ll have no problem fitting into a van that has limited space, making it a great campervan gift.
FlashFish Solar Generator
Living on the road full-time requires a lot of power-saving. A solar generator is vital to ensuring your phone is always charged, and the lights are always on. And, a bonus: it’s eco-friendly.
I own this model from FlashFish, and it’s surprisingly small and portable.
It can hook up to solar panels or charge from a wall socket or even a 12v car charger. One night of full use only decreases the power by one bar.
With the sun charging it during the day, this thing never runs out of juice. This crucial part of van life would make an excellent gift for your friend or loved one who lives in a van.
FlashFish Portable Solar Panels
A solar generator can’t run without solar panels and, when it comes to solar, it’s the more, the merrier.
So whether your loved one is just converting to solar power or they already have a setup, these high-quality panels will be much appreciated on Christmas morning.
They’re compatible with the FlashFish generator, and they also fold up and fit into a portable bag, which is perfect for a nomadic, off-the-grid lifestyle.
Zoleo Satellite Communicator
Cell service can get patchy in forests and national parks, and staying in touch with family or work is essential for van lifers on a permanent road trip.
A satellite communicator can be a vital piece of gear and a great gift idea, as it extends cell service coverage to more areas.
When reception runs out, this device can send messages via satellite. It also has an average battery life of 200 hours, keeping van lifers in contact with loved ones in even the most remote locations.
Garmin Instinct Watch
This watch does a lot more than simply tell time.
With built-in GPS, this is another piece of gear that helps keep van lifers on the grid and safe while pursuing the dream of living free on the road.
It also has a heart rate monitor and Bluetooth capabilities and connects to your phone.
Some of the fancier models have even more features, such as a sleep monitor. Plus, it’s water-resistant.
Looking for more options? Read our guide to the best Garmin watches for women.
Best Unique Gifts for Van Life
KAZAK Patio Outdoor Rug
A van life gift doesn’t have to be entirely practical.
A campervan owner sometimes focuses on style as well as comfort.
And this stain-resistant outdoor rug is small enough to fit inside a van but could be pulled out to make a campsite extra inviting.
There are ten different colors and designs, including yellow/grey and light blue/pink.
All of these color options are also reversible to keep the decor fresh in a confined space.
Flowtron BK-40D Electronic Insect Killer
One big drawback to living in a van is the time spent being exposed to mosquitos. Aside from being annoying, mosquitos also carry diseases.
The Flowtron Electronic Insect Killer could make a great Christmas gift for a person spending most of their time in the wilderness.
Shaped like an old-fashioned lantern, it zaps bugs while emitting a soft blue light, keeping your outdoorsy friends and family safe and itch-free.
It also eliminates the need for harsh chemicals and DEET-based repellents, so it’s better for the environment and the body.
Swiss Army Classic Knife
“Classic” is right – it’s there in the title! Not only is a Swiss Army knife useful, but it’s also a fun throwback to your scout days.
From filing your nails to chopping vegetables, a swiss army knife can essentially do it all. It can even whittle a stick into a spoon!
If you’re looking for cute van life gifts for your outdoorsy loved one, this could make a fun stocking stuffer.
Read our guide to the best gifts for outdoorsy women.
OMOMIO Macrame Wall Hanging Shelf
A macrame wall hanging looks fantastic and fits right into the modern, minimalist decor featured in many vans. But van lifers also have to be deliberate about everything in their camper.
A wall hanging that doubles as a shelf adds tasteful decoration while optimizing wall space.
Though it’s important to note that it’s larger than it looks in the photos, it’s still a win-win among van life gift ideas for its cute look and dual function.
Gskyer Astronomical Refracting Telescope
This Christmas, give the gift of stargazing with this incredible Gskyer telescope. Your van life friend will thank you.
This telescope has a 3x Barlow lens, which means that even the craters on the moon will be visible through it.
It comes with a tripod and a phone adaptor, so stargazers will be able to see the night sky on their phone screens. Plus, it folds up into a compact bag, so it’s easy to store and easy to carry.
ASAKUKI Essential Oil Diffuser
When you live in a compact space, things can sometimes get a bit… stuffy.
After a long drive, a campervan might require some “freshening up.” That’s why an essential oil diffuser makes an excellent gift idea for van life.
Essential oils smell great and may even have therapeutic benefits.
This diffuser has seven different LED mood light colors and a faux wood base, which fits into the van aesthetic while also revitalizing the aroma.
Hugger Mugger Gallery Collection Ultra Mat
Van life is about living your best life. Your van life friends probably already know that wellness is a priority; after all, that’s why they chose the low-stress van lifestyle.
This Hugger Mugger yoga mat makes a wonderful van life Christmas gift for your favorite traveling yogi.
The cool design features the phases of the moon. It’s also latex-free and well-cushioned, so it should provide a good base for outdoor yoga.
Car Visor Mirror
Just because a person lives in a van doesn’t mean they don’t like to get polished up. This handy visor mirror would be perfect for doing makeup on a long car ride.
Its trifold design means that the user can see all angles of their face and then close it up when they’re done.
This handy little item could keep the van life influencer in your life looking fresh for their next post.
Dahey Mini Macrame Plant Rear View Mirror Charm
An eye for design doesn’t stop at the front seat. These hanging macrame mirror charms feature a faux succulent in a pot – perhaps to go with some of their matching real succulents in the back!
There are multiple styles available, some with terra cotta pots, but these particular ones are generously sized and have thousands of five-star reviews.
So if you’re looking for funny campervan gifts, this fun hanging mirror charm ensures that your road trip-obsessed friends have a coordinated and well-decorated home on the road.
ACELION Waterproof Playing Cards
Whenever I go camping, I bring a few games to play with my friends around the campfire.
These playing cards help pass a quiet evening in a national park and they look good while doing it.
They come in a few different snazzy color options, including black embossed with gold, and sparkly rose-gold.
They’re also waterproof – because you never know when you’ll be caught playing poker in the rain.
ROKR 3D Zodiac Wall Clock
Puzzles are a great activity for passing the time without electronics or TV, so they fit well into the van lifestyle.
If you’re looking for gift ideas for a seasoned van lifer, you may want to get more advanced.
This 3D puzzle comes with 168 laser-cut wooden pieces and it assembles into a real working zodiac clock.
So, it’s not only a fun activity to do in a campervan, but it also turns into a beautiful piece of decor.
Flameless LED Candles
Nothing sets a cozy mood quite like candles. But in a confined space, an open flame can be dangerous, and melting wax can be messy.
These flameless candles may not have the aromatherapy benefits of real candles, but they bring all the mood lighting without the danger.
They’re battery-operated and can last up to 150 hours.
They also automatically cycle off after five hours and then on again 19 hours later, thus ensuring that a warm ambiance is a no-brainer.
Lastly, the LED bulbs provide realistic, warm, flickering candlelight.
Best Books About Van Life to Give as a Gift
How to Live the Dream: Things Every Van Lifer Needs to Know
Author Kristine Hudson is a certified van lifer and has written four books on the subject.
This book is an introduction to van life and would make a nice gift for a loved one who is just starting their campervan journey.
“How to Live the Dream” shows your giftee how to survive and thrive while living on the open road.
One thing to note is that the book includes pretty basic info, so it might not be the best gift for someone who is already experienced with living in a van.
Van Life: Your Home on the Road
This beautiful photography book provides 256 pages of van life inspiration. Foster Huntington is a photographer, a van lifer, and the actual creator of the #vanlife hashtag.
This book features some stories and anecdotes, but it’s less of a how-to book and more of an aspirational collection of images.
It’s certainly packed with a lot of design inspiration and is enough to stir up some serious wanderlust.
“Van Life: Your Home on the Road” would make a wonderful van life present for anyone interested in – or already living – the van lifestyle.
Where Should We Camp Next?
A great campground makes all the difference in the quality of life for a person living in a van.
The Puglisis’ comprehensive book lists and categorizes all the best campgrounds across the 50 states, from national parks to private campgrounds, to other outdoor experiences.
This book would be a great tool for a van lifer looking to plan out an itinerary packed with beautiful locations.
Although the authors’ experiences are with RV’s rather than campervans, the information they provide in this book can also apply to van lifers.
This would make a great van life Christmas gift for seasoned travelers and beginners alike.
How to Live in a Van and Travel
This book is another comprehensive guide to van living and includes a lot of useful information on how to build a life inside a van.
It covers the logistics of choosing and setting up a van, as well as tips on how to earn money remotely.
Author Mike Hudson is a seasoned van lifer from England who has lived across Europe. Some of the information may not pertain as well to US-based van lifers and some of the safety advice should be taken with a grain of salt for women (since this is written from a male perspective).
However, this well-written guide still provides a great reference for van lifers and would be an excellent campervan gift for anyone looking to pad their knowledge arsenal.
As the title suggests, Ben and Georgia Raffi have put together a guide to converting a campervan into a home, DIY-style.
This new and updated edition includes everything from designing the layout to gas tanks and water systems.
“Van Build” is catered toward DIYers who don’t have previous building experience. It claims that users can convert their vans into renovated living spaces in just three weeks.
This is a helpful book, not only for van life newbies but also for committed van lifers interested in upgrading and renovating their portable tiny homes.
The Camper Van Bible
This is an in-depth source of information for committed van lifers, providing tips on everything about day-to-day life on the road: from eating to sleeping and everything in between.
Author Martin Dorey is a van lifer and the author of numerous books on the subject. He’s even the host of his own van life TV show, One Man and his Campervan, which aired on BBC 2.
Beautiful photos and thoughtful design round out this “bible.” It even includes some delicious recipes to cook and enjoy from the comfort of a van.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Elina Ansary is a writer, visual artist, and avid traveler. She grew up in San Francisco, CA, and spent her childhood camping up and down Northern California. These days, she visits artist residencies around the world and has lived in Amsterdam, Australia, and now Brooklyn, NY.
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