Buying gifts for somebody that lives full time in an RV or likes to go tent camping, can be a challenge. The mistake a lot of people make is that they buy a gift that is heavy, bulky, and large, the opposite of what a camper needs. We travel all over the world with weight and space restrictions, so if we’re going to bring a gift somebody gave us it has to be something portable and useful. There is a big chance that it will be left behind and end up in storage if there is no real use for it. And that isn’t to be rude; it’s just how it goes.
I have picked out 25 gifts that I believe fit the camping lifestyle. There are some for RVers, and some for people that go camping in tents.
If you would ask 100 people what they must bring with them camping, a lighter will most likely be one of the top answers. But nowadays you don’t have to stand around with matches that get blown out by the wind to the point where you go crazy; now we have electric arc lighters that are much easier to use. This model from RONXS is rechargeable and has a flexible neck so you can bend it however you need. There’s no spark or smell to worry about, and the battery indicator will let you know when it’s time to plug in the USB cable.
Another popular item that people bring with them camping is of course their mobile phones. Unfortunately the battery technology hasn’t come as far as other technologies so most phones can only last a day or two on battery. Therefore we need a portable solar charger that you can plug a USB cable into to charge your phone. This model from BigBlue is a 5V 28W foldable solar charger with a screen that will tell you the amperage you’re getting from the sun. I use a portable solar charger like this to charge my phone up when I am boondocking. A few hours in the sun and the battery will go from 0% to 100%.
For the same reason a portable solar charger can be useful, an external portable battery can be as well. With a big battery like in this model from Anker, you can charge most phones at least 6-10 times before it runs out of power. Leave this out with the portable solar charger and you will always have power for your phone, even at night when the sun has gone down.
This tarp is a lightweight and compact accessory that I always bring with me on hikes and put under my tent before I set it up. It fits into a small bag you can hold in one hand and is waterproof. A problem I run into sometimes with accessories that go into small bags is that it’s hard to put it back into the bag after each use, but I never have that problem with this tarp as its material is so easy to fold.
You can never go wrong with a t-shirt, especially if it’s a funny one. Nomadic Souls Gear & Apparel sell a bunch of different designs but this design is my favorite. If you have ever parked a trailer with somebody, you will understand.
A water filter is recommended when filling up a freshwater tank. It cleans the water by removing bacteria, carbon, and reduces chlorine and odor taste. Your friend might already have one, but they’re supposed to be changed every season so giving an item like this can be appreciated.
Having an extra water hose is something that most people don’t think about. But I have been in scenarios where my hose has broken and I have had to be without water in my tank for a few days. Your friend will thank you in advance and I bet they will give you a call and let you know how you saved them from a disastrous trip when their regular hose broke.
The United States is a beautiful country with so many parks and spots that are easy to miss when driving down the road. This book from National Geographic will lead your friend to experiences they could’ve missed out on.
You might have seen these on trailers and wondered what they are. It’s a map of the United States and when you have traveled to a state you’re supposed to put that state-sticker on the map to let people know where you have been. Also, each state also has its state flag on it. A fun way to keep track and a conversation starter on the road.
Showering in an RV is one of those things that has never been great with RV life. Low pressure and limited water will make it hard to enjoy it. There are ways to make it more pleasant though, like using a different shower head than the one that came with the RV. This one from Oxygenics will give you 1.75 gallons per minute with much better pressure. It has five spray settings and will make a great gift for anybody with an RV.
Traveling with pets is great, especially when you have a water bowl that you can use everywhere that doesn’t spill. The WaterBoy from Heininger is a great bowl for traveling with pets since it can be used while on the road. I have written a post about the best water bowls and food bowls that you can find here if you’re interested.
The standard baggage door latches on RV’s break and is just a pain in the butt to use. Newer RV’s come with magnetic latches but older ones don’t have that luxury. But you can buy magnetic latches and install them yourself on older trailers. It’s a small gift that might make one wonder what they’re for, but when installed, they will be one of those small upgrades that are so worth it.
Having great wheel chocks is important not just to make the trailer more steady, but for the safety of the RV, the people in it, and others around it. These rubber wheel chocks will hold a trailer in place and save it from the damages that could occur if a trailer started rolling. Weatherproof, a great handle and non-slip rubber bottom that will maximize the grip are some of the features. Does your friend already have wheel chocks? Yes, but they might have the cheap plastic kind. I have written a post about the best wheel chocks that you can find here!
Putting a mat down outside a trailer will instantly make it feel more like home. It adds something special to the camp. I have one of these from Ming’s Mark and I like it because it still looks the same after a year of camping, and it’s extremely easy to clean and pack away thanks to its material. It goes into an included bag when you’re packing down, and comes in different sizes and colors.
One of the best purchases I have made is this wireless Bluetooth speaker from Bose. I can play music anywhere, for hours, and it has an incredible sound quality. It’s water resistant, and can also be used with a standard 3.5mm aux cable. You charge it with USB, and it’s a gift that will be used. I have bought these as gifts for family members, and I have seen all of them being used during camping season and at home. Check out my post on the best Bluetooth speakers for traveling.
This is a luxury item for me that I haven’t bought yet, but I have heard great things about. It replaces the door handle on the RV with a nicer one that you can unlock with a pin code or the included remote keys. If you have a friend that is fulltime RV living, this will be a much-appreciated gift.
Safety first! Some people forget about first aid kits and travel without them. Or they have one that is ten years old, so the items have expired. This essential bag comes with 115 pieces that can be life-saving. An item everybody should have with them, no matter where they are.
I bought my wife and I a pack of headlamps a few years ago and my wife wondered why we would ever need them. But let me tell you, I have seen a headlamp on my wives head more than I have seen any light in her hands. Being able to walk around in the dark with both your hands free is extremely useful, and I recommend everybody getting a headlamp. Even though we have lights in and outside the RV, it’s easier just to put on a headlamp and step outside and get light wherever you’re looking. A simple gift, but a convenient one.
Limited space means limited kitchen accessories. This 13 piece mixing set makes it much easier to store a bunch of items in one place. With mixing bowls, a colander, a strainer, four measuring cups and five measuring spoons, you can cook up a lot of dishes in the RV. When done, it all stacks up on top of each other which makes it easy to store.
Although I swear by headlamps, a lantern is always useful when sitting outside or going to the bathroom at night. This solar powered lantern can also be charged via USB and can be folded up and down for storing. It has three light modes, low, high and SOS blinking. Hang it inside a tent or set it on a table, it has a lot of uses and is a cool little gift that doesn’t take much space.
Cooking in an RV can be a hassle due to limited kitchen accessories and space. With an Instant Pot, you can cook a meal for a whole family though in just one container. I love my Instant Pot and I recommend anyone that likes to cook to get one. This LUX Mini is great for up to three people that want a slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice cooker, steamer, and warmer all in one. I have written a post about the best electric pressure cookers depending on how many people it has to feed, you can find that post here!
Campers love collapsible tools. We all travel with space limitations and everything we pack must have a use and not take too much space. A bucket is always useful when camping, and this collapsible one from Camco will hold 3 gallons during use and then fold down to less than 2 inches high.
Here is another lantern that I recommend. It doesn’t charge with solar, but it uses LED lights to make the 2 D cell batteries last up to 37 hours. My favorite part about it though is the included fan. You can easily hang this in a tent and get both light and a fan in one. Having a portable fan while camping is lovely.
This simple weather station from ThermoPro will tell temperature, humidity, and trends, both indoors and outdoors. The wireless sensor can be put anywhere as long as it’s within 200ft. It’s always nice to know the temperatures when camping and this little package will make a great gift. I have also written a post about the best weather stations for RV living where this one is included, you can find that post here!
A Chromebook is a notebook that runs Chrome OS. Most of them are also 2-in-1 which means that they can be both a notebook and a tablet. Great battery life, portability, and apps from the Google Play Store make it a great tool for somebody working remotely, a kid’s first notebook, or a college student. This model from Asus has a touchscreen and a USB C port which means that you can charge it out in nature from the sun with the solar panel and battery pack I recommended at the beginning of the post. I have written a post about the best Chromebooks for different uses that you can find here!
If you have any gift ideas you would like to share, please do so in the comments!