During my recent trip to Ojai, I slept in an Airstream for 2 days. I brought back all the good memories (and frankly, some bad) about my 18 months on the road as a full-time RVer. One of the things I had wanted to write about during the time was what to give an RVer as a gift. For people who are on the road, receiving mail, packages and physical gifts can be a bit difficult to coordinate. And as I’ve written about before, weight is an important consideration for any RVer.
Below is my list of recommendations of what to buy RV’ers for the holidays or any other time of year, based on my experience as an RVer!
Kindle Reader and Books
I love to read and I found that to be the case of many RVers who enjoy the peace and quiet of being outside of the city and take advantage of it to catch up on their reading. Also, weather and availability of wifi or satellite can impact what activities you are able to do – rainy days can be long and a good book can really go a long way. I love the feel of a “real” book but inside an RV it is just not practical so if the RVer in your life doesn’t have a Kindle or other e-reader, I highly recommend that as a gift. If they do already have a reader, load them up on books! I read a book a week when I was on the road, that can add up fast!
Audiobook Subscription and Audio Books
There are some LONG days driving on the road getting from Point A to Point B. Music gets old after a while (or at least for the Misadventures family) as we discovered we really liked listening to books. It was something we had never done before (and totally stupid as while I was sitting in traffic in San Francisco for an hour, my life would have been improved significantly by listening to a book!) and we really loved it. As far as I know, you can’t really just buy an audiobook, you have to have a service subscription, so this would make a nice gift, along with some audio books.
Again, weather can force you indoors, so the ability to watch movies or TV series is a nice improvement on local or national TV that you get through a cable box or satellite. Of course, RVers can also buy music as well.
One of my biggest pet peeves while RVing was the lack of reliable wifi. That may not bother everyone, but if you want to stream, work on a laptop, iPad or other internet-needing devices you need, well, wifi. One thing that came in very handy, with a small form factor, and very easy to gift was MiFi (mobile hotspot). I used Karma, but saw people using ones from AT&T and T-Mobile as well.
National Park Pass
During our time on the road, we visited 21 National Parks. That can get expensive! If you gift a National Park Pass not only are you giving a great gift, but the national park system gets some much-needed money as well! If your RVing friends and friends spend a lot of time in a particular state, consider buying a state pass for them as well! Visiting parks is one of the best parts of RVing and these passes will be greatly appreciated!
Gift cards (these also largely available as electronic gifts cards) are a super easy way to gift to an RVer! Listed below are the ones I think most RVers would appreciate.
KOA Gift Cards
Whether you are a fan of this campground or not, the fact is that they are just about everywhere. One of the best RV parks we stayed on our trip was a KOA (near Glacier Park) but one of the worst RV parks we stayed at was also a KOA. However, their network really is perfect for when you are doing several days of driving between locations. During our year-and-a-half, we stayed in no less than 20 of them! A KOA gift card would have been warmly received.
Walmart Gift Cards
Another necessary evil. I don’t love this store but they are everywhere and they do have some of the most essential RV products like DEF and RV toilet paper. Plus depending on where an RVer is staying, it may be the only store around to get fresh food. For that reason, I say a Walmart gift card is a good gift!
Camping World Gift Cards
Camping World is an RV goods franchise that you can find all over the U.S. If something (other than the engine) breaks, you are likely to find a replacement at Camping World! Trust me, a Camping World gift card is an opportunity to splurge on some very fun stuff! Sure I can replace my shower hose, but I can also pick up cute RV plates!
Fuel Gift Cards
A reality of RV life, you need fuel and lots of it! The main franchises for filling up an RV are Love’s, Pilot, Flying J, and TA. Besides fuel, these stations are also a place to pick up refreshments or have a meal so the gift cards can be used for a large variety of things, like DEF and getting your tires filled. But mainly, the contribution to fuel would be greatly appreciated!
Well, that’s it, my list of essentials. The gifts I recommend friends and family of RVers pick up for holiday gifts.
How about you? Are you an RVer and have something else to recommend? Do you have friends or family that RV and you have given them something unique? Do share!