By Chelsea Gonzales
Holiday shopping season is here! Excitement is filling the air as everyone we know is seeking out that perfect gift for each and every person on their list.
Unfortunately, for those of us who live full-time in the tiny space an RV provides, the gift-giving season can be a stressful time. While gifts are appreciated, and we realize it is always the thought that counts, finding places to stow all of the newly acquired items after the holidays can be a difficult—sometimes even impossible—task when you are living in a few-hundred square feet.
This often leads to an after-Christmas purge, and many times, items that aren’t useful or don’t fit well into the RV lifestyle end up being donated.
If you are shopping for a full-time RVer this holiday season, be sure to keep this in mind and shop accordingly. There are many great gifts out there that are useful, fun, and compact—all you have to do is find them.
That’s where we step in. Below we have put together a list of the very best gifts a full-time RVer could receive. Of course, not every gift is perfect for every person, but this list is definitely a perfect starting point when shopping for the wanderers and tiny-house dwellers in your life.
If you are living full-time in an RV, take a glance at this list to get some ideas to add to your own wishlist. You might just find yourself feeling excited about the prospect of gifts after all!
— Compact and Useful —
Some of the smallest things are also the most useful. In this section of our guide, we have gathered a collection of tiny yet amazingly useful items we are sure the RV traveler in your life can use.
Roll of Quarters — Okay, so this one probably seems ridiculous, but when you need to do laundry in the middle of the night and there’s no change machine anywhere around, quarters are like treasure. Trust me on this one: Leave a roll of quarters in the stocking of your favorite RV traveler. ($10)
Grocery Gift Card — Everyone needs to eat, and sometimes it’s nice to have someone else foot the bill. This would be a nice, compact gift that would definitely get used.
Fuel Card — Another small gift that is sure to be used, a gift card for a truck stop is the perfect present for any RVer. After all, RVs and tow vehicles guzzle gas like you wouldn’t believe, and having a bit of that fuel paid for by somebody else is enough to put a smile on any wandering gypsy’s face.
MallowMe Telescoping Marshmallow Roasting Sticks (https://www.amazon.com/MalloMe-Marshmallow-Roasting-Extending-Telescoping/dp/B00YLAMXQY) — Building a good campfire and roasting some marshmallows is hard to resist when you are spending a good portion of your time in campgrounds. Unfortunately, traditional marshmallow roasting sticks are long and difficult to store. However, these fancy, telescoping roasting sticks fold down and come with a nifty storage bag, making them easy to put away in any ordinary drawer. ($50)
Leatherman Wave Multitool (https://www.amazon.com/Leatherman-830039-Multitool-Leather-Combination/dp/B0002H49BC) — When you are living in an RV, you never know what you’re going to need to fix next. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to have some quality tools on hand. The Leatherman Wave Multitool is the perfect solution for nearly all of your tool needs, and it fits nicely in your pocket, eliminating the need for a bulky toolbox. How nifty is that? ($90)
Otterbox (http://www.otterbox.com/) — RVers are adventurers, and sometimes adventurers get wet, play rough, and come home muddy. Luckily, Otterbox is around to make some amazingly tough cases for smartphones and tablets. An Otterbox would be the perfect gift for the adventurer in your life. (Prices vary by model)
SOG Dark Energy Flashlight (https://www.amazon.com/SOG-Dark-Energy-Flashlight-01/dp/B0073H2TVQ) — Camping in the wilderness often means very dark nights. For this reason, it is always a good idea for RVers to keep a good flashlight on hand. Not sure which flashlight you should buy? The SOG Dark Energy Flashlight is just the tool for the job. It offers a long-lasting rechargeable battery, bright LED light, and a variety of other features that make it perfect for the RV vagabond. ($55)
Solio Bolt Battery Pack and Solar Charger (https://www.amazon.com/Solio-Bolt-Solar-Charger/dp/B00SM770A6) — Sometimes camping out means going without electricity for a day or two. However, living without outlets doesn’t have to mean living without your favorite mobile device. The Solio Bolt Battery Pack and Solar Charger both help keep your devices well charged using only energy from the sun. ($70)
— Books and eBooks —
Reading is the perfect activity for long road trips as well as days spent laying by the beach or lake. Use the list below to find the perfect book for your favorite wandering soul.
The Frugal Shunpiker’s Guide eBooks (http://www.frugal-rv-travel.com/Frugal-Shunpikers-Guides.html) — These incredible eBooks were written by an RVing couple. They are the perfect guide to finding free camping in various locations throughout the USA, and because the information included was learned through experience, they are amazingly accurate and thorough. ($17 per guide)
Camping America’s Guide to Free and Low Cost Campgrounds (https://www.amazon.com/Guide-Free-Campgrounds-United-Wrights/dp/0937877557/) — Another great resource for finding free and inexpensive camping, this book is a favorite of many RV families, and is quite helpful to any traveler on a budget. ($22)
The Complete Book of Boondock RVing (https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Book-Boondock-RVing-Camping/dp/0071490655) — The perfect companion to the books mentioned above, The Complete Book of Boondock RVing covers all the ins and outs of boondocking. It is the ideal book of the boondocker who is still learning the ropes. ($18)
The Next Exit (http://www.campingworld.com/shopping/item/the-next-exit/87729) — If you’ve ever been on a road trip, you have more than likely experienced the scare of running on fumes with no idea when the next gas station will be. The Next Exit solves this problem by giving roadtrippers complete, accurate, and up-to-date information on each and every interstate exit in the United States. Whoever owns this book can quickly and easily look up where the next gas station is, or how far down the road a McDonald’s is. This is the perfect addition to any traveler’s library. ($18)
- The book is out of stock as of this writing but the Camping World site will still let you place your order and they’ll ship you the book as soon as it’s available again.
- The 2017 edition of The Next Exit can be pre-ordered here (and ships in January 2017): thenextexit.com/product/book
Trailer Life’s RV Repair and Maintenance Manual (https://www.amazon.com/RV-Repair-Maintenance-Manual/dp/0934798702) — Paying a dealership for a repair each and every time something goes wrong in an RV is outrageously expensive. For this reason, full-timers simply must learn to take care of certain repairs on their own. With the RV Repair and Maintenance Manual, anyone can learn how to do most repairs on their own rig, so they’ll never need to seek out a repairman again. ($20)
— Experiences and Memberships —
Sometimes the very best things in life aren’t things at all, but experiences. If you have a friend or family member who lives in an RV, chances are they value experiences over things. What this means is that one of the memberships and “experience gifts” listed below is likely the very best thing you could possibly gift them.
Passport America Membership (http://www.passportamerica.com/) — The original “half-off” camping club, Passport America offers members 50% off at numerous campgrounds across the country. This incredible discount means the $40 investment in a membership pays for itself after only a use or two. ($40)
Good Sam Membership (http://www.goodsamclub.com/) — The Good Sam Club is a great club for any RVer to belong to. Club members receive discounts at various campgrounds as well as camping supply stores. They also have access to a discounted mail-forwarding service, insurance, and a variety of other RV-related services. ($27)
“America the Beautiful” Pass (https://www.nps.gov/planyourvisit/passes.htm) — If the traveler in your life loves nature—and considering they have taken up the RV life, we can assume they do—the “America the Beautiful” pass is the perfect gift for them. This pass allows members free access to all of the gorgeous national parks in America for a full year. ($80)
Museum Membership — Many museums across the country belong to one or more organizations which offer reciprocal benefits between locations. By purchasing one of these passes for your traveling loved one, you offer them the opportunity to see museums and zoos across America at a deep discount (or even free). Not sure what to look for when purchasing a museum pass? The following organizations offer reciprocal benefits from one location to the next, so be sure the museum in question belongs to one or more of these groups before buying. (Prices vary based on home museum location.)
- Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) — Offers free admission to a large number of science museums.
- Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) — Offers free and/or half priced admission at participating zoos and aquariums.
- Time Travelers — Offers free and reduced admission at history centers and museums across the US.
- North American Reciprocal Museum Association (NARM) — Offers free admission to museums—mostly art museums—across the country.
- American Horticultural Society (AHS) — Offers free access to gardens across America.
- Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) — Offer half-price admission at numerous children’s museums in the USA.
Merlin Pass (http://merlinannualpass.com/) — If you have a LEGO-loving gypsy in your life, you will definitely want to consider buying a Merlin Pass for them. This pass include access to all Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museums, Sea Life Aquariums, LegoLand Parks, LegoLand Discovery Centers, and more for a full twelve months. ($279)
Six Flags Gold Pass (https://www.sixflags.com/national/season-passes) — Thrill seekers will be more than excited to find a Six Flags Gold Pass under the tree this year. This incredible pass offers cardholders unlimited visits to all Six Flags Parks in the USA. (Prices vary based on home park location.)
Cedar Point Platinum Pass (https://www.cedarpoint.com/plan-a-visit/platinum-passholder-benefits) — Another great option for thrill seekers, the Cedar Point Platinum Pass grants cardholders access to all of the Cedar Fair parks in the country. These include Kings Island, Knott’s Berry Farm, and of course, Cedar Point. ($195)
Busch Gardens Florida Platinum Annual Pass (https://seaworldparks.com/en/buschgardens-tampa/book-online/tickets/annual-pass-landing-page/platinum/) — The final amusement park option on our list is the Busch Gardens Florida Platinum Annual Pass. This pass is good for unlimited access at all of the Busch Gardens Parks in the US. This includes SeaWorld, Aquatica, Busch Gardens, and others. ($336)
“Experience” voucher — Even if you don’t have the funds to invest in a membership, you can still offer the gypsy in your life the gift of an experience by purchasing vouchers, gift cards, or tickets to a fun spot or an event you know they will enjoy. These might include indoor skydiving, an indoor trampoline park, sporting events, a touring show, or anything else you think the recipient might enjoy.
Restaurant gift card — One of the great things about having an RV is the ability to stop wherever you are and cook a meal. However, even RVers have days when they would rather not cook, and restaurant gift cards are an incredibly appreciated gift when those days roll around.
— Cute and Fun —
Neolite Double Camping Hammock (https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00PT10RSA/) — Who doesn’t love spending the afternoon in a hammock? The Neolite Hammock lets gypsy wanderers do just that, no matter where they may be. The hammock folds up nicely when not in use, and it is quick and easy to set up for comfy relaxing anytime, anywhere. ($70)
RV Fun Tablecloth (http://www.campingworld.com/shopping/item/rv-fun-tablecloth/69217) — A tablecloth is a must for campground picnic tables, and if a tablecloth must be used, it may as well be an adorable one. We think this RV Fun Tablecloth would be a cute addition to any picnic table. ($9)
Vintage RV Tablecloth Weights (http://www.campingworld.com/shopping/item/vintage-rv-tablecloth-weights-set-of-4/86907) — Of course, if a camper is going to have a tablecloth, they’ll need some tablecloth weights to hold it in place. These Vintage RV Tablecloth Weights are the perfect, adorable, matching solution. ($10)
“Camper” Folk Art Mug (https://www.naturallife.com/folk-art-mug-camper.html) — Most people drink coffee in the mornings, RV dwellers included. Why not give an RV dweller a mug to match their adorable home on wheels? They are sure to adore this cute camper mug; we know we do! ($17)
Rambling RVs Messenger Bag (http://www.cafepress.com/+rambling_rvs_messenger_bag,1417531521) — Bags are the perfect multi-purpose item to have around, and this adorable RV-themed bag is perfect for RV lovers of all ages. It can be used a a shower bag, laptop bag, or lunch bag, and because it is small and lightweight, it takes up almost no room in a tiny home. ($88)
Rainbow Flame Sticks (https://www.amazon.com/Rutland-715C-Rainbow-Flame-Stick/dp/B002JPLTRM) — As we mentioned before, spending time in campgrounds tends to lead to frequent campfires. These Rainbow Flame Sticks are the perfect way to make those campfires more interesting. Just toss one into the fire pit for a collection of rainbow flames and a lovely show that is definitely worth watching. ($17)
Hopefully this list helped you find the perfect gift for the RV dweller(s) in your life. Even if the ideal gift for your loved one is not in this guide, we are certain the list served as excellent inspiration to find the one item that is perfect for your wandering friend.
By keeping it compact and useful, you are giving your friends and family the gift of a stress-free post-holiday season, as well as an item that is certain to be used time and time again.
Chelsea Gonzales, a blogger at Let’s RV, enjoys full time RV living and traveling — and trying new coffee shops wherever she goes — with her husband and 4-year-old son. Her other hobbies include riding bikes, singing, dancing, acting, and reading. Her personal blog can be found at gonzalesonthego.wordpress.com.