I know, this subject has come up a lot in discussion with family and friends; even amongst fellow RVers around the campfire or happy hour. Well, come on now, it's not that hard.
While we don't need weed whackers, lawn mowers, cold winter parkas, mittens or boots, pieces of furniture, etc., we still endeavor to see fancy decorated presents under the tree or open packages with our names on it.
Our son got it right our first Christmas underway two years ago; he bought a ton of gift cards for national chain restaurants.He appreciated that on travel days or times we just didn't feel like cooking, or while we are sightseeing or hiking, a quick meal out is a nice finisher.
So, when we opened up those little envelopes, shiny holographic gift cards fell out, we were blissful! He knew we loved Cracker Barrel, Applebees, Starbucks, Carrabbas, Olive Garden, Buffalo Wild Wings, and other chain restaurants nationwide. I think he even tucked in one for Shell gas station (because they have diesel).
We were happy campers! We wonder what he and his wife will get us this year as they know our nomadic minimalist lifestyle may limit them in their shopping quest. However, not ever being ungrateful, and please don't take this the wrong way, but sometimes gift cards can become generic.
We admit, we all like to open presents with cool paper with bows and tags or even a little trinket dangling off the bow on top. Now realize, this may be 'our' perspective but it does give an understanding of what we (collectively speaking) RVers like or need for our travels. So, we compiled categorized lists that push the envelope your way to your practical gift buying.
For The RV Or Camper
Shark or Dyson Vacuum – Yes, even RV's and Campers need to be vacuumed. Get one that picks up pet hair, sand, gravel, etc. They will thank you for it…and love you for it.
Handcrafted Personalized Banner, Flag or Sign – These are cool! We see them all over the parks and make great conversation starters since we see their names (Hi Barb & Mike, you have two kitties too?!) If they named their RV, this would be perfect too! ***
Unique Outdoor Lights – party lights rock! You could get a string of lights, rope lights, solar spot lights, etc. We all like to decorate our coaches and rigs; inside and out. You can go 'class' or 'sass'.
Portable Countertop Ice Maker – if we don't already have a residential refrigerator, these are awesome for those of us who love ice in our cocktails or beverages.
Instant Pot or Crock Pot – because RVers love one-pot meals. They are easier to clean up after and can be left cooking while we are out hiking, shopping and sightseeing. Dinner can be ready when we get back.
Collapsible Kitchen Bowls, Colander, and Measuring Cups – they store beautifully and won't break while in transit.
SD Memory Cards (mini and macro) – many of us have cameras. Those of us who have Android phones, love the macro SD cards to hold many photos we take on the road. We love to show off our photos at table conversations and nothing is better than whipping out our phones that have a card inserted loaded with photos out the ying yang.
Portable USB battery banks – you don't know how many times we've been out somewhere and the battery life on our phones just juiced out.We've had that happen in the middle of Death Valley and the Badlands. Then we couldn't take any more photos…because our phone(s) died.Now we have them everywhere; in our truck, our backpacks, our RV, Lisa's purse, etc. You can never have enough of them!
Electronic Picture Frame – Since we are minimalists, we can't have a thousand picture frames in our RV's however, we love to show off our families and friends. Make sure you include an SD card…with a few of your own photos loaded on it! Good quality is a plus! (Hey Santa, we'd love one of these!!) ***
Dash Cam – we don't mean to scare you but you can't begin to understand how many times distracted or inconsiderate drivers do some awful driving moves right in front of us. We pray we won't ever get into an accident (because pulling an 18,000 pound RV it isn't going to be pretty!) but if or when we do, we need proof for court and our insurance. We bought one at Walmart for about $50.Call it a 'reassurance for insurance' gift.
Outdoor Gear And Camping Equipment
Hiking Gear – some of us hike or trek.Ideas are a good easy compass, small handheld GPS, trekking poles, backpack(s), multi-use tool, waterproof topography maps, Nalgene or stainless water bottles, flashlight(s), small first aid kit, water filter kit, good granola bars, etc. We already have these but we know these are essential for every hike. Oooooooh, a handheld GPS would be nice too! (Hint Hint!)
Binoculars – HA! You can't believe the many uses these offer. Not only for spotting cool looking birds out our back window but also, in the passenger side of our truck. While transiting, the passenger can look through them to see traffic up ahead, exit signs, fuel stations, wildlife, etc.(Oh Santa, please?)
LED Lantern and/or Flashlights – we love to walk everywhere and sometimes it's really dark outside! Get one…two…or five…all different sizes too!Seriously, we can never have too many.We have about five; one in the truck, two in the RV, underneath storage compartment, and backpack.
Propane Fire Pit – we bought our Outland on Amazon.These are amazing because most RV parks and resorts no longer allow wood burning fires. As well, firewood is expensive and not easy to acquire. Add in a couple of those small green propane canisters you can find in the camping section of stores.
Portable Grill – we LOVE our Webber Q 200! It heats via propane. Pair it with a green propane canister (or 5!) you can find in the camping section of stores. Ours cost about $200. Every RVer needs a grill!
Small Hand-Carry Soft Cooler – fill this sucker up with a couple of can and bottle koozies, bottle/can opener, wine bottle opener, ice packs, vinyl tablecloth, wet wipes, etc. A '12-pack' size is great for a day trip out. Also, a nice thing to have when we go grocery shopping to put our raw meats in to keep them from spoiling on the way home on hot days. We have one and its worth a million dollars to us!
Books of Post Card and First Class Stamps – no, really! Some of us still like to 'write home'. Add in a nice pen and pencil set and some all-occasion box of greeting cards too! We still send birthday, get well, sympathy, and congrats cards.
Small Computer Printer – those small portable ones…that fit in a small case.We still need to print things like insurance cards, shipping labels, documents to sign, etc. Pair it with an extra print cartridge and small ream of paper. Don't forget to buy a printer cable too. Again, we're minimalists and big honkin' printers just aren't going to work as we don't have the space to store or set it up.
Motor Carriers Trucker's Atlas – these are a must, even if we have a GPS. We check these for bridge clearance info. Generally speaking, the bigger we are (RV's that is…), we are more apt to travel roads and highways that truckers use.
Plane Ticket(s) – most times, we are going to be far from family.Help us to come visit you. It also gives us 'a vacation from our vacation'(again, humor us!). Pack them inside a small carry-on bag with some destination maps to make it fun!
Hotel/Spa Gift Cards – Don't laugh! What some ladies wouldn't give to get a comfy high class hotel room for a night because…they have bathtubs and spas! Sometimes, we enjoy a getaway and pampering even though we RV travel. If you know where your RV family member or friend is going to be, check out that area and find a reputable one. Then TELL them to GO. Pair it with a nice restaurant and they will love you forever…and more!
Memberships And Passes
RV and Travel Club Memberships – always check with your RVing family member or friend to see which ones they have. Even if you don't buy one, perhaps put cash in an envelope and say 'this is for your Escapees renewal'. It's a thoughtful and practical gesture. Check out CoachNet, Escapees, Harvest Hosts, Good Sam, Passport America, AAA, etc.
Restaurant Gift Cards – like we mentioned, national chain restaurants are awesome, but please not McDonald's or Burger King. Try for something healthier because we admit, we get caught up in eating local foods and most times, they are not exactly the healthiest.
Gas Gift Cards – we ALWAYS need fuel! But please, make certain the fuel stations you pick have diesel in most places. That's what most full-time RVers use for diesel trucks and motorhomes.
Home Depot/Lowes/BedBath & Beyond Gift Cards – we always are fixing something. We may need a certain tool or supplies. They also sell holiday decorations, grills and grill parts, outdoor furniture, patio rugs, plants, cabinet knobs, cleaning supplies, etc. SO much better than Walmart (humor us!) We also like to change out our towels and bedding. Great for cooking tools too!
The list doesn't end here though.We are sure that there are probably a hundred…or a thousand…or million other things that RVers would love to get as a gift. Things to keep in mind when shopping for your RVing friend or family member.
- 1. RV's and Campers are small. We have limited storage space so keep that in mind when shopping.
- 2. ASK what they would like. You might get them something they already have or tried and it didn't work for them or their RV lifestyle.
- 3. Always include the receipt. Ask the retailer if your gift can be returned at a different location as we travel around.
- 4. Ask if gift cards have expiration dates. Perhaps your RVer won't be at that RV resort, or city until a year from now.
- 5. If you get anything personalized, make certain you get the names and hometowns/state correct spelling (for signs, banners, flags…).
So, if you're reading this, whether you're an RVer or a family/friend of an RV'er, we hope this helps. Sometimes asking what they/we would like gets you the standard "I don't care" or "whatever you'd like" but really, it's about what the RVer in your life would like. Holiday gift giving should be FUN…for both of you!
Happy Holiday Shopping!
Written by: Always On Liberty Lisa Brown