11 Almost Essential Items for the Vanlife (Just in Time for Christmas!)

Van dwellers are a nomadic tribe of people with little value in monetary wealth and we don’t need Christmas gifts from loved ones. Right? Wrong. Everyone loves gifts! However, I would be careful when selecting the right gift for your van living loved ones. The vanlife is limited on space and most personal belongings need to be deemed essential to earn their spot within a vans hallowed walls. So what do you do for a van dweller during the Holidays? Glad you asked!

Enjoying Christmas is the van

Step one is to ask why people like getting gifts so much. Is it receiving free things? Or is it because it shows that somebody was thinking about you? If you’re an adult, it’s probably the latter. Keeping that in mind, getting a van dweller a heartfelt gift that doesn’t take up a lot of room is always a great option. For Valentine’s Day last year, Lauren gave me a handmade, heart-shaped card with beautiful words written on the back. I loved it. I still love it.

They May Not be Essential, But They Are Amazing!

Not into the mushy, heartfelt gifts? Would you rather give your loved one something more practical?? To help you choose a gift, this list of non-essential items that I have fallen in love with over my 2 years of van living might help:

Rice cooker – a low wattage rice cooker is a GAME CHANGER. I don’t know how I cooked before I owned one of these. I specifically linked a low wattage (310W) cooker.

Mr. Buddy – a heater in a van is not essential (geographically dependent). But it’s nice. And when it comes to van heaters, the Mr. Buddy reigns supreme. He comes in a plethora of different sizes and I linked what I feel is the best.

Amazon Prime – This can be a tricky one. Amazon Prime comes with a ton of features and can make a great gift for a van dweller. However, not all van dwellers have an address they can depend on or use regularly. Me however? I love Amazon Prime.

Shun kitchen knives – No matter what you live in, you can benefit from a nice set of knives. But why Shun? They are super light and you can safely hang them on a magnet.

Bungee Net – I installed a bungee net above the driver seat, and though it doesn’t look like much, I praise it almost daily. I use it to store my window shades.


Kindle – I don’t think I’ve met anyone who lives in a van and doesn’t read at least a little. I also haven’t met anyone in a van that wants to lug a giant collection of books around with them. I think the Kindle speaks for itself in this matter.

Moohah window shades – Nobody wants to shell out $600 for a set of nice cockpit window shades. But all vanlifers want a nice set of window shades. If you were to get some, Moohah makes the best of the best.


Teapot – Super awesome for the vanlife? Or just everyday life? I don’t know. What I do know though is that I love my teapot. It gets used more than any single kitchen item in my van.

National Parks pass – What’s the point of all the freedom and adventure if you have to pay to enter some of the most beautiful lands in our country!? Not only does every adventurer want a National Parks pass, but it doesn’t take up any room either!


Brush guard – This is another one of those things that can be hard to justify buying, but it’s really good to have. Ever hit a deer and lose your entire house? Yeah, doesn’t sound like a great time. Luckily this bad boy can save you from such a disaster.

Audible membership – Being on the road a lot means burning a lot of extra time. Listening to a good audiobook is one of my favorite ways to pass the time (sorry, Lauren). But for some odd reason, audiobooks cost an arm and a leg.

I know some of my fellow van people can relate to a lot of these. However, everyone is different! This is not an all-inclusive list of things wanted for the vanlife. These are just some suggestions, ideas, and perhaps a little inspiration to help you on your holiday hunt for thoughtful gifts to give your vandwelling friends and family.

Pass it on to Your House Dwelling Friends and Family

Do you live in a van? Are you hoping for some thoughtful presents that won’t take up too much space in your home? Give your loved ones a cue and direct them my way. I’d be happy to help them find you a van appropriate gift.

2 thoughts on “11 Almost Essential Items for the Vanlife (Just in Time for Christmas!)

    1. To be in the mountains of course. As for goods, I typically only need/want outdoor equipment and I am extremely selective on what.

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