The Most Useful Gifts For Vanlifers Under $100

As the holidays quickly approach, so does the undeniable push to buy a gift for someone in your life.

Now, we are all for opting out of the gift tradition and instead, coming up with your own less consumer-based idea. However, sometimes. buying gifts for those in your life is a wonderful sentiment to send them on their way with something they not only need but, will also bring through their life. 

That’s why we have put together a list of the most useful gifts for vanlifers. All the ideas below are under $100 and are all things that we too, personally use in our van. If you’re looking for more ideas, we also have another gift list.

All these gifts have been tried and tested by us. In most cases, they are items that we use every single day in the van. Many of our vanlife friends also love these items and we always recommend them to others when asked what our vanlife must-have items are.  Our aim with these products is for them to all be high quality and able to stand the test of time of life on the road. 

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Gifts For Vanlifers – Under $100

1. Instant Camera

instant camera useful gift for vanlifers

First off, we’ve got an instant camera. This is truly the perfect gift for a vanlifer. It doesn’t require constant power, is compact enough to tuck into a corner and captures memories in such a unique, tangible way. We love having our instant camera with us when meeting new friends. It’s easy to take a photo with someone new and send them off with a physical copy of the memory together. Plus, hanging them on your wall makes for some nice van decor. 

2. Portable Compressor

portable compressor useful gift for vanlifers

This is a practical gift that we guarantee will come in handy for whomever you buy it for. We love our portable compressor and it has saved our butts quite a few times on the side of the road. The beauty of this style of compressor is how small it is, and its ability to run off of the vehicle’s battery itself. If the person that you’re buying for is into biking too, this doubles to also work on their bike as well! 

3. Cast Iron Pan

cast iron dutch oven useful gift for vanlifers

We are firm believers that every vanlifer needs a cast iron pan. Sure, they’re heavy compared to other options. But, they are basically indestructible, can be used to cook over a campfire, and are SO easy to clean. Anything that is multipurpose, can be thrown around and requires minimal clean-up is a winner in any vanlifers book. 

Personally, we love having this particular model of cast iron dutch oven as it also can be used as 2 pans and then a pot with a lid when needed as well. 

4. National Parks Pass

Getting a national park pass for the person in your life is a definite way to put a smile on their face. Chances are, the vanlifer you’re shopping for was already planning on buying themselves one for the upcoming year. Plus, most vanlifers enjoy travelling around to the many national parks so you’re basically purchasing them a year’s worth of endless adventures!! If you’re not in the states, Canada has their Discovery Pass that is also pretty great.

5. Stanley’s Camping Line

stanley camping useful gift for vanlifers

Having proper gear, that can withstand life on the road is a must for all vanlifers. This also applies to kitchenware such as mugs, coffee accessories and dishes. The brand Stanley creates some pretty awesome and heavy-duty gear for this. They are almost always sold out on their site. And many of our friends are obsessed with the quality, compared to some similar (and more expensive!) brands. So, that tells you something for sure! We also have another gift list article with similar kitchenware ideas. 

6. Road Atlas

One of the most useful gifts for vanlifers is without a doubt, a road atlas. They are fairly inexpensive and come in handy during those times when the cell signal sucks. You can always get them one that covers all of North America. And then, a second one that focuses on the places/states that you know they spend their time.

For instance, we have the National Geographic Western Canada Adventure Edition atlas and it’s quite helpful for route planning ahead of time. 

7. Harvest Hosts Membership

If you’re not a fan of buying your loved ones physical items, you might enjoy this one. Or, alternatively, if you’re worried about where they will safely sleep at night, this is a great choice for you! Harvest hosts is a platform that gets breweries and wineries to sign up to allow vanlifers, and the RV community to park overnight at their locations. If the van dweller in your life is a beer or wine enthusiast, not only are you gifting them a year’s membership to safe camping spots but also, the experience of tasting new brews as they travel!

8. Headlamp

petzl headlamp useful gift for vanlifers

Having a high-quality headlamp is one of our most useful gifts for vanlifers. Emphasis on the words high-quality. There are a lot of crappy options out there that will last a few months before ending up in the landfill. If you need some clues as to why a headlamp is so priceless, think about camping in a remote place. And, trying to light a fire for the night and needing some handsfree light…I’m sure you catch our drift. Not only that but it’s also great when working on a van’s electrical system or trying to find things in small spaces. 

9. Hammock

portable hammock useful gift for vanlifers

For many, the whole point of living in a van is to ultimately have more free time to experience life. And, what better way to experience life than to be chilling out in a hammock? They fold up super tiny and are also quite light. And, you can find great colours and patterns that the person you’re buying for would enjoy. 

10. Kindle

kindle useful gift for vanlifers

Since living in a van quite often means having limited space, a kindle is a perfect solution for the reader in your life. You could always pitch in with another family member and have them purchase an amazon gift card for e-books or just buy a few you know they would like. I know that I’d enjoy having 100’s of books at my fingertips without taking up all my space (hint, hint!)

11. Hotel OR Airbnb Gift Card

Ive saved the best for last, a hotel or Airbnb Gift Card. This gift is arguably one of the most useful gifts for vanlifers on the entire list. Just because the person you’re buying for lives in a van, doesn’t mean they need to stay in it 365 days of the year. Contrary to popular belief, vanlifers need vacations sometimes too. Sometimes it’s nice to just stay in a house or hotel for a night while the van is in the shop. Or to decompress and reorganize your life. 

Gifts For Vanlifers: Parting Words

All the ideas above are things that we personally, have tried and tested. And, not only that but they are all ideas that we see other vanlifers putting on their holiday wishlist year after year. And, while we have made it pretty clear that gifts for vanlifers don’t always have to be in the form of physical things, it is nice to receive something you wouldn’t have otherwise purchased for yourself.

If you do end up purchasing something off the list for a vanlifer, we bet they are going to LOVE it! 

If you’re more of a visual learner, we also have a Youtube Video sharing our most useful gifts for vanlifers under $100


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