When it comes to buying van life gifts for loved ones, Van Clan have got you covered. We spend hours trawling the internet looking for van life essentials for the perfect off grid adventure, and if money were no option, we’d probably buy them all! Luckily for our bank balances, the Van Clan offices don’t have an array of magical storage trunks to hand like this towable-tiny Harry Potter House, so we’ve had to cut our never-ending list down to just 15 of the latest and greatest products on the alternative living market.
Thinking about giving Full Time Van Life a go? Are you tired of working the same 9-5 lifestyle and want to start up as a digital nomad who works on the road? Head over to our Van Lifers & Weekend Warriors Facebook Group and join our fast-growing community of vandwellers from all across the world. Speak to others who are travelling in a van, get vanlife tips on how to build a camper, and pick up easy campervan recipes that you can cook when you head out on your travels!
Whether you are living the van life full time or dream of owning a Volkswagen Bus Camper one day, this van life gifts article will have something for you, or more importantly, something that you can put aside for a loved one or friend the next time a major celebration comes a-knocking. So, without further ado, let’s kick off with our first product!
1. Mavic Mini
Capturing photos and making videos of special memories is priceless, and now you can document your travels like a pro with the new DJI Mavic Mini drone. With 2.7K recording and a 3-axis-motorized gimbal, this is one heck of a drone that packs a serious punch for an incredible price. With a flight tutorial for beginners and a whole host of customisable features on the DJI Fly app, you can be out in the wilderness taking epic shots before you can say ‘watch out for that tree!’
The best bit about the DJI Mavic Mini is that it weighs under 250g, meaning that you don’t have to register it or pay an annual fee to fly. It’s about the same size as a mobile phone and comes with a dedicated controller that can keep signal up to 2KM away. If you know someone that likes to try their hand at photography or videography, then the Mavic Mini is a perfect present choice.
2. How To Live In A Van Book
If you’re a bit of a ‘daydream believer’ and spend your time thinking about how you can get out of the office and into the wild, then the next item on our van life gifts list will be right up your street. Mike Hudson, a.k.a Van Dog Traveller, has been working and living in his van full time over the past 5 years, leaving the 9-5 in search of something much, much better.
This book is jam-packed full of tips, tricks, and advice on how to kick start your van life adventures and will help you to turn your dreams of tiny homes into a reality. From taking the first leap right through to finding wild park up spots, How To Live In A Van And Travel is the perfect campervan compendium.
3. Scrubba Stealth Pack
I don’t know what we would do without our Scrubba Wash Bag. It certainly gets a beating when we’re out travelling around the world, and now we can wash both ourselves and our clothes anywhere and anytime with the Scrubba Stealth Pack. This thing is a backpack, a washing machine, a vacuum pack for storing clothes, AND a shower all in one. That’s 4 products for the price of 1 – what’s not to love!
The Scrubba Stealth pack is big enough to fit most laptops and tablets inside with plenty of room for clothes to spare. Fill it with your dirty laundry and walk to the nearest water point without anyone knowing that you’re carrying last weeks smalls around with you. And when you get there, you can use the built-in air nozzle to have a shower and cool off after you’ve finished. Clean clothes, clean body, clean mind – that’s why the Scrubba Stealth Pack is Number 3 on our list of the best van life gifts.
4. Northcore Hook Up
We didn’t know how much we needed this product until we got one. The Magnetic Hook Up from Northcore is a premium, strong magnet built for holding up your wetsuits after a surf/swim. But we noticed it comes in handy in a lot more situations. For example, drying off other clothes, storing hammocks or even using it on the inside for holding things.
It’s an incredibly strong magnet that uses a metal thread, so you’ll always trust holding it with lots of weight, in fact it can hold up to 20KG of weight. It’s also versatile as the magnet kit comes with an interchangeable hook and eyelet with a small carabiner to extend the range of uses. It’s also rust resistant so this is a gift that will last for years and years to come. Worth a buy for a stocking filler as it’s only $16.99/£12.99!
5. Omnia Oven
If you like whipping up tasty treats with top cooking accessories on the road, then you need to take a look at the incredible Omnia Oven. Billed by millions as one of the best campervan cookers of all time, the Omnia is the perfect solution for baking fresh bread and buns and cooking cakes, stews, and more on the road. It’s a one-stop-shop for scrummy goodness!
The Omnia Oven is a small, compact bit of kit that cooks food to perfection via a simple-yet-brilliant convection heating system. Whether you like olive bread or Texan spare-ribs, the Omnia can handle anything that you would put in a normal oven and sits comfortably on the top of any gas hob or rocket burner. Eat well on the road for less and click below to grab one for yourself.
6. The Urban Woodsman
Van Clan readers are some of the top eco campers on the planet, and they’re also pretty crafty too. Carving bowls and spoons to use in your travelling tiny house isn’t just a good use of your time and a nice skill to pick up, but using wooden dining implements instead of disposable ones is much better for the planet, and you might be able to sell a few to help fund your travels too!
The Urban Woodsman is full of amazing carving ideas with instructions that you can follow to create the same incredible pieces. The items vary in their degrees of difficulty, giving you something to strive towards as your skills in wood carving increase. Try it out for size and see what you think; you might even make a career out of it!
7. Lighted Beanie Hat
We’ve all had that scenario where we’ve been trying to do something in the dark and have struggled to hold onto a torch in the process. Your hands are full of tools but you need a light to illuminate under the bonnet, or you’re out on a run and the headtorch keeps slipping down over your eyes. This handy lighted beanie hat is one of the more practical products on our van life gifts list, and it’s also one of the handiest (or hands-free-ist) when you’re out and about on those cold, winter nights.
The beanies are all unisex and reversible, and you can charge the LED light via USB from your computer or a 12V wall socket. Light your way and save the planet by not wasting tonnes of disposable batteries. Click below to grab a bargain and keep warm in the process!
8. Personalised Mug
It doesn’t matter whether you’re currently living on the road or ticking off days on your calendar until you can afford to start your trip, you can keep the spirit of adventure alive with these personalised mugs. If you’re living in a van, then these enamel mugs will survive any knocks or bumps inside your drawer, or they can take pride of place on your kitchen windowsill or on your desk at work as you dream of packing up your belongings and driving into the sunset.
The HydroFlask is like no other flask that you’ve used before. I’ve gone through a lot of metal flasks while living on the road; no matter how many times you wash them, they start to pick up a weird taste after a couple of months use. The HydroFlask uses a durable 18/8 Pro-Grade Stainless Steel construction, meaning that it won’t transfer or retain any kind of flavour. It keeps cold drinks ice cold for 24 hours and warm beverages hot for 12 – no more warm lemonade or cold soup while out on the road!
The outside coating on every HydroFlask is sweat-free, durable, and easy to grip, making it perfect for kicking back with a cold drink on the beach or taking a sip while conquering those downhill runs. Stay hydrated on the trail and pick up a HyrdoFlask today!
10. Northcore Seat Covers
I know what you’re thinking… “Seat covers?”. Yes. These things are life savers and if you travel with a pet, they’re even better! Constantly on our travels around the world we’re finding ourselves dirty or wet on a constant basis, and our van seats take the brunt of that, we are constantly cleaning them trying to remove dirty or wet smells.
These universal fit seat covers will give you the ability to not only keep your seats in great condition but allow you to not worry about being dirty on occasion. Simply take them off, clean them, and use their Hook Up (Number 4) to dry them out. They’re also great for allowing your dog to sit on them without destroying the seats, even if they are dirty and wet too! Available in three designs (Black, Camo and Hibiscus) they’re a great price, plus they will prolong the value of your van should you ever want to sell it.
11. Kindle E-Reader
No matter how adventurous you are, you’re always going to want to have a chill-down day every now and again. Living in a van doesn’t lend itself to hoarding tonnes of books or magazines, but having a virtual library takes up no space at all (physical space at least!). The all-new Kindle E-Reader has a front-lit screen to make reading at night-time possible without turning on all the lights, and the charge on these things lasts weeks instead of days or hours like your smartphone or tablet.
You can get pretty much any book as an E-Book these days, and lots of older titles are free to read too. Amazon Prime customers have access to the Kindle Lending Library, giving you access to thousands of titles that you can borrow at the touch of a button, just like a proper library (can you remember those?)
12. Van Life Cushion
I don’t care how tough you might think you are, everyone loves a good cushion. These VW inspired cushions can be customised to have yours or a loved ones or friends name as the number plate. It’s a nice stocking filler or motivational present for someone who is dreaming of owning a VW van one day, and it would also look great if you’re already driving one around town or down those windy Italian roads in search of adventure. You can buy the cushions with or without the inner padding, and you get a discount if you buy two together!
13. Van Clan Hoodie
The next item of clothing on our van life gifts list is a must-have item for ANYONE who loves, lives, and breathes the van life. Of course, we would say that, because this is the official Van Clan hoody! With a large back design that promotes wanderlust and life on the open road twinned with a double-lined hood and that ‘comfy’ feeling when you slip it on, this hoody is perfect for practically any occasion (except weddings).
The front pouch pocket on our hoodies is big enough to stick your Mavic Mini or VSSL inside when not in use, and you can walk around safe in the knowledge that both your sex appeal and your van knowledge will have increased by 356% just by putting one on. Honestly; you NEED one of these in your life.
14. Bluefin Paddleboard
Driving to amazing locations is just one part of the van life adventure; living at a different pace of life means that you have more time to get out and enjoy the world, and there’s no better way to do it than with the next item on our van life gifts list. Bluefin Paddleboards are super smooth in the water and come with more accessories than you can shake a stick at (or a paddle in this case). They inflate up to 10.8, 12, or 15 feet depending on your chosen model, and fold down small enough to fit inside your van.
Bluefin Paddleboards come in a hockey-bag style case that is the correct size for hold luggage on a plane, so your water adventure can continue even if you’re driving stops. Use the adjustable paddle for stand-up travel or the included kayak seat and attachments for seated adventures over choppy water. I couldn’t live without one of these now that we’ve used it on our travels around the world, and I highly recommend them to newbies and advanced paddlers alike!
15. LifeStraw Filter Bottle
The HydroFlask is perfect for if you’re leaving your van and heading out into the woods on a long walk, but the LifeStraw Filter Bottle is equally as important if you’re planning on spending a few days in the wilderness without access to a coffee pot or fresh drinking water.
The carbon capsule inside the bottle reduces Chlorine, and the hollow fibres remove a minimum of 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria, 99.9% of waterborne Protozoan parasites, and filter to 0.2 microns. This bottle can get rid of e. Coli, Giardia and Cryptosporidium oocysts – it turns dirty, undrinkable water, into safe drinking water that you can use to keep hydrated and to cook with on the go. Don’t go into the unknown unprepared!
16. Casio Pro Trek Smart WSD-F30
If you’re looking for an adventure watch that makes the Apple Watch look like a kids toy, then the next item on our list of the best van life gifts should put a smile on your face. With a dual-layer OLED touchscreen and sensor information including current altitude, barometric pressure, and compass information showing for up to 30 days when in timepiece mode, the Casio Pro Trek Smart WSD-F30 watch is the perfect companion for any outdoor enthusiast.
Google maps, walking apps, Uber if you get lost; all of these apps and thousands more can be downloaded to your watch for use on a day-to-day basis. The Casio Pro Trek is water-resistant up to 50m, built with military-grade toughness, and comes in a bright orange colour to make it easier to spot if you take it off on the campground. It also comes in blue and black for those people who aren’t as prone to losing things as I am.
17. How To Build A Camper E-Book
Last but not least is a book that is very close to my heart (because I put a lot of time into writing it!). Once you have bought your Kindle, had a go on your paddleboard, and checked the altitude while out walking the dog, you can sit down and take a look at how I converted my Vauxhall Movano panel van into a travelling tiny home.
I’ve been living the van life for two years straight now and have never looked back. This guide covers everything from buying a van and fixing leaks through to installing a wood burner in your rolling home. It comes with pictures of yours truly looking angry that he’s done stuff wrong, and pictures of Rose (my girlfriend, fellow Van Clan writer, and a woodwork wizard) doing lots of things right. It has links to all of the products that we bought and tonnes of tips, tricks, and ‘hindsight hints’ that will help you to turn a hunk of metal into a cosy home.
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