Looking for the best gift for van life? Whether you’re looking for a gift for a nomad in your life or for yourself, we’ve created a list of some of our favorite things that help make van life great.
I spent nearly a year doing van life full-time and many other shorter excursions. I’ve seen the good, bad, and inspiring that this lifestyle offers. Everything on this list is either something I personally own or something I’ve had on my wish list because I’ve experienced the need for it.
Let’s get to it!
We’ve broken down the gifts into the following categories:
- Comfort and Homeliness
- Cooking and Hydration
- Entertainment and Information
- Safety, Utilities, and Experience Enhancers
Comfort and Homeliness
Diving into van life means seeking a balance between adventure and comfort. This category ensures that while on the road, the spirit of homeliness accompanies you. From feeling snug on cold nights to reminiscing the feeling of a standard home setting, these products add warmth and relaxation to the van experience. Whether it’s creating a cozy nook inside the van or enjoying nature outside, this curated list ensures that comfort remains paramount.
Every van lifer knows the importance of adaptability, and the Rumpl Blanket is a testament to that. Tailored for varying temperatures and conditions, this blanket ensures you’re cocooned in comfort, regardless of what the weather throws at you. It’s not just a blanket; it’s a promise of a warm, cozy embrace after a long day on the road.
2. Quality Sweatpants
No matter where the road takes you, the feeling of slipping into a great pair of sweatpants is unparalleled. Brands like Lululemon and Vuori offer designs that are the epitome of comfort and style. They encapsulate the feeling of home, making even a mobile setting feel cozy and familiar.
The essence of van life is adventure, but everyone craves a change of scenery or a full-fledged shower now and then. An Airbnb voucher offers van lifers a refreshing break—a chance to stretch out, take a long bath, and recharge before the next leg of their journey.
Night-time trips outside the van are made cozy with the Baffin Unisex Cush Booties. Whether you’re stepping out to check something or making a quick bathroom run, these booties ensure your feet remain snug. It is a perfect blend of convenience and warmth for the nocturnal wanderer.
A touch of greenery can transform the ambiance of your van. Adding a plant uplifts the mood and infuses fresh energy into the environment. It’s a little piece of Earth that travels with you, making every destination feel like home. I noticed a marked improvement in how my van felt after getting Fred – my van plant friend.
Luxuriate in the essence of laid-back living with a hammock. Whether anchored between two trees or using innovative setups like a van anchor point or self-contained rack, a hammock epitomizes relaxation. As you swing gently, immersed in nature, it’s an invitation to pause and relish the moment.
The Sunset Chair is a testament to the fact that compact can also mean comfortable. Designed to pack down to a minimal size without compromising on relaxation, it’s the ideal companion for those serene evenings when all you want to do is sit back and soak in the sunset.
Life in a van can be unpredictable, making the Quick Dry Towel a van lifer’s best friend. From cleaning spills to drying off after a spontaneous dip in a natural body of water, its compact design ensures it’s always within arm’s reach. Plus, with easy storage, like in the cabin space above the cockpit, it ensures functionality without clutter.
Cooking and Hydration
Elevate the van life experience with indispensable kitchen tools that cater to both nourishment and comfort. Whether sipping on a freshly blended smoothie or cozying up with a hot cup of coffee, these selections ensure that your mobile dwelling feels just like home. After all, maintaining a connection to daily rituals and delicious meals keeps the spirit lifted and energy high during endless road trips.
Journeying doesn’t mean compromising on nutrition. With this blender, daily health habits transition effortlessly into the van lifestyle. Blend together fruits, oat milk, and a mix of nutritious seeds and sunflower butter to craft wholesome smoothies even while on the move. It’s more than just a kitchen tool – it’s a route to well-being on wheels.
10. MSR Teapot
In the delicate balance of power usage in van life, a traditional teapot emerges as a savior. Electric teapots put a strain on a van’s electrical system. Suitable for heating on a propane stove, a traditional teapot caters to your coffee, tea, or even those chilly nights when a hot water bottle becomes a warm companion. It’s a nod to simplicity, proving that modern isn’t always better.
11. Great Coffee
Starting the day right hinges on that perfect cup of coffee. Whether it’s the ease of the V60 collapsible pour-over or the rich taste from an aeropress, choice is at your fingertips. And with a trusty burr grinder, every cup feels artisanal, bringing a touch of home to your van mornings.
12. YETI Rambler
This isn’t just another mug. The YETI Rambler promises to keep beverages at the desired temperature for longer, ensuring that your morning coffee or evening tea remains perfect. Fitting seamlessly into standard cup holders, it’s designed with the traveler in mind.
13. Omnia Dutch Oven
Who said you can’t enjoy freshly baked treats on the road? With this Dutch oven, your propane stovetop transforms into a makeshift oven. From cookies to casseroles, it broadens your culinary horizons, making every meal an event.
Streamline the dishwashing process in confined spaces with this ingenious tub. Providing a dedicated rinsing spot separates clean from soapy water, ensuring spotless utensils. It’s a small change that enhances functionality significantly, proving its worth with each use.
15. Nalgene Bottle
Versatility meets durability in the Nalgene Bottle. Perfect for storing fresh water for your journey or even as an impromptu hot water bottle on colder nights, it’s a simple item that proves invaluable on the road.
Entertainment and Information
Van life signifies freedom, exploration, and making the most of compact spaces. Our “Entertainment and Information” category ensures that van lifers never lack mental stimulation, entertainment, or critical resources despite limited space. From going digital with books to having the world’s waterways as a playground, here are gifts that ensure vibrant experiences without compromising on space.
With limited space in a van, an eReader like the Kindle is essential. The Kindle offers thousands of books in the palm of your hand, ensuring literary escapades without clutter. The e-ink display also provides a strain-free reading experience akin to a traditional book.
17. Inspirational Books
Dive deep into the world of travel philosophy with iconic reads such as Vagabonding and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. They don’t just tell stories; they ignite the wanderlust spirit, providing profound insights that resonate with every adventurer. An Amazon gift card pairs great with the Kindle.
Elevate movie nights with this compact projector. Whether it’s an epic action movie on the van’s side or a rom-com during a drizzle, it turns ordinary evenings into cinematic experiences, bonding memories with fellow travelers. Some of my best experiences in the van have been setting up the projector at a campground and meeting the people passing by who wanted to join in. Check out our roundup guide of the best van life projectors.
Music has the power to set the ambiance. This speaker, with its crisp sound quality, is your companion for silent nights in the desert or lively beach parties. Compact yet powerful, it promises a sonic treat wherever you go.
20. GoPro HERO9
Documenting van life has never been this immersive. With the GoPro HERO9, capture breathtaking landscapes, thrilling activities, or simple daily moments in high definition. Relive memories or share them; this is storytelling made easy.
Who said van life confines you to land? This inflatable SUP is compact for storage yet provides hours of water fun, converting lakes and rivers into your personal playground.
22. Onewheel Pint
Swap four wheels for one and explore the surroundings in style! Onewheel offers a unique, compact mode of transport, perfect for campgrounds or town visits, blending fun with utility. I opted to go with the Onewheel Pint over a mountain bike as it saved a ton of space in the garage of my van and gave me a thrilling way to explore new areas.
Long drives are enriched with stories. Audible offers a vast collection of audiobooks, turning mundane drives into thrilling adventures or insightful lessons. Let narratives accompany you, making every mile memorable.
Technology is great, but traditional maps have their charm and utility. These atlases ensure you’re never truly lost, serving as a reliable backup when digital signals fade, and adding a touch of old-school adventure.
Safety, Utilities, and Experience Enhancers
Van life embodies the spirit of adventure, but it also calls for preparedness and enhancing every experience on the go. From ensuring safety to amplifying convenience and opening doors to new adventures, this category offers gifts that promise to elevate the van life experience. Each of these gifts has been chosen keeping in mind the specific challenges and joys of life on the road.
25. Mr. Buddy Heater
Ensuring a warm sanctuary against the chill outside, the Mr. Buddy Heater is a compact, safe, and efficient heating solution. Its user-friendly design provides warmth, even in the remotest of locations, making every winter trip comfortable. Read more on our guide to van life heating.
In confined spaces, proper air circulation is paramount. The Caframo fan is not just about battling the heat; it also ensures fresh airflow, maintaining a breathable and pleasant environment within the van. Read more on our guide to 12V van life fans.
27. Propane Monitor
No more guesswork or unpleasant surprises! A propane monitor is a practical tool that ensures you’re always aware of your propane levels. It’s about safety, convenience, and the uninterrupted comfort of a warm van and hot meals. Avoid the uncomfortable situation of waking up in the middle of a cold night when your propane heater goes out or in the morning when you can’t make a cup of coffee.
Connectivity is non-negotiable today. The Cell Booster is a boon for digital nomads, ensuring that weak signals are a thing of the past. Stream, work, or call from anywhere, amplifying two bars into a strong four. Read more on our detailed WeBoost review or our guide to van life internet options.
Independence defines van life, and with the Portable Shower, even hygiene becomes self-reliant.
It’s more than a backup; it’s the liberty to freshen up whenever, wherever, especially during off-grid adventures. Read more on our guide to van life showers.
This compact tool is a lifesaver, literally.
Offering an immediate solution to purify water, the LifeStraw is about health, safety, and peace of mind knowing that clean drinking water is always within reach.
Every van lifer, especially beginners, will cherish this. Not just a power backup, but a bridge to a comfortable life on the road, this station charges devices, powers appliances, and ensures the journey continues uninterrupted. A wonderful gift for the new van lifer who hasn’t decided on a more robust van electrical system yet.
Adventure doesn’t stop at the van’s door. The Slackline promises endless outdoor fun, challenges, and a unique way to connect with nature, one balance at a time. Two trees needed, nothing more.
A ticket to explore America’s treasures, this pass offers unlimited access to awe-inspiring national parks. A gift of endless adventures and natural wonders!
Experience local flavors and unique stops! This subscription transforms travels with access to wineries and distilleries, offering scenic parking spots, especially in areas with limited public camping grounds. An essential for travelers who frequent the east coast of the US as there are far fewer public land camping options.
A traveler’s digital guide, The Dyrt Pro aids in finding ideal parking spots. With offline maps, even the most remote locations become accessible, ensuring safety and convenience.
Before diving into van life, why not dip your toes first? Outdoorsy allows you to rent another nomad’s van when they’re not using it. Gifting an Outdoorsy rental is like gifting a slice of the lifestyle, a teaser of adventures awaiting.
A practical, often overlooked essential.
Whether it’s for late-night reads, impromptu hikes, or locating things in the van, a headlamp illuminates moments, making sure darkness is never a hindrance.
Each gift, from safety tools to unique experience enhancers, reflects a profound understanding of the van life essence.
This list should provide you with some great ideas for gifts for the traveler in your life or for your own personal wish list. If you’re new to this lifestyle and want to learn more, read our ultimate beginner’s guide to van life. Happy travels!