Let’s face it, shopping for a minimalist or a vanlifer can be pretty tricky, which is why I created this vanlife holiday gift guide just for you. You’re welcome.
Naturally, due to the fact that van lifers live in extremely tiny homes, living in a van means you have to be pretty strategic with your stuff. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING has to have a place, so adding anything new into that living space can mean having to rearrange the entire home on wheels just to make it work (so it’s gotta be good ).
Most van lifers have a system that if they add anything to the van, they have to take something away. It’s very Marie Kondo-ish (is this a verb now?) and personally, as a vanlifer myself, I’ve always loved the practice. On the flip side, as a vanlifer on the receiving end of a gift during the holidays, you may be looking around figuring out what you could possibly get rid of in order to add something new, something that you maybe didn’t even ask for and may not really work for the lifestyle.
Realistically, what we really need are groceries and a warm bath, but you can’t really fit that under a tree and a bunch of bananas with a bow looks darn-right silly.
The most important thing to keep in mind when giving a gift to a minimalist or a vanlifer is to make sure it’s something useful that they can use over and over again.
I wanted to keep this list pretty curated, thoughtful, and purposeful. With only 13 recommendations, I felt like that was true to the minimalistic approach I naturally lean towards anyway.
Though this list may be small, it is mighty and sure to please even the most minimalist vanlifer around.
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The 13 Best Minimalist Gifts Vanlifers Will Love
Pakt is a brand that has taken all of your travel woes, like disorganized carry ons and crappy airport or hotel coffee and made products that solve those issues into thoughtful high-quality gems. Honestly anything from their site is going to be an awesome gift for a vanlifer or minimalist.
The Pakt Coffee Kit is one of their products that really stand out to me because of how compact and thoughtful it is. Everything in the kit breaks down into a hardshell case like a russian nesting doll, but for coffee lovers who are looking for barista-quality coffee while traveling.
What I love is that not only an you use this anywhere that has an outlet, aka your office, van, airbnb, hotel, etc. but also The Pakt Coffee Kit is shipped in 100% plastic-free packaging: no bubble wrap, no plastic bags, no air pillows, and no Styrofoam. Their packaging proudly bears the SeaHive seal. SeaHive helps companies replace the plastic used in their packaging with earth-friendly materials so no extra plastic lands in the ocean.
This kit is perfect for your sustainable friendly minimalist vanlifer friend or family member who loves a good cup of coffee.
The Annual National Parks Pass is an awesome gift to give to any minimalist vanlifer. Not only does it literally fit in a wallet, you can get into any national park, conservation areas, and many state parks for a whole year with it, as many times as you want. You can have up to two signatures on the card which are considered the cards “owners” and each owner can admit up to 3+ people in a vehicle for entry.
It’s likely that a vanlifer you are wanting to gift this pass to already has one, so you may want to do a little sneaky digging. If that’s not your jam, consider giving a digital gift card which can be applied toward the purchase of an America the Beautiful National Park Pass (after their annual card runs out), books, or any other products featured on our US Park Pass store.
As much as bookshelves are cool in vans, the truth is that they take up way too much space and add too much weight (trust me, we tried it in our first van), plus donating books that you’ve pared down as your favorites can be hard when you want to add to your collection. A kindle is a great alternative because the screen looks like a real page of a book, unlike a lot of other readers where the page is super backlit.
With the purchase of a new kindle, you have the option of adding Kindle Unlimited for free for the first three months. When I bought my Kindle, I added Kindle Unlimited to my purchase and was amazed at how many books I could read for free! It’s a great addition and I would definetly recommend it for the vanlifer who loves to read.
The best part is that you can take it anywhere. So if you’re leaving the van to go on a backpacking trip or you’re going to the beach (it’s waterproof), it’s super small and lightweight.
What I love about Simply Straws is that it’s a small woman-owned company based out of California and are a 1% of the planet donor. Their colored glass is non-toxic, the sleeves are made from fair-trade, organic hemp, flax, and cotton and all of their packaging is compostable. They are also a Clean Energy business and EPA Green Power Partner. Basically they are about as sustainable as you can get when it comes to straws and utensils.
Their products are created to use forever, so they make a really great gift for those vanlifers who want something that lasts and minimize their impact. I love that this reusable packs down so small that you can literally take it anywhere.
5. Toad & Co
If you are shopping for a vanlifer who needs some new clothing but you want to make sure it’s sustainable and eco-friendly, Toad & Co. is your one-stop shop. When I first heard of Toad & Co, I was so impressed by their commitment to sustainability and the fact that 100% of their clothes are eco-conscious. They also are committed to use reusable packaging, are a 1% of the planet donor, and they’ve also partnered with Search, Inc.to co-found the Planet Access Company, a state-of-the-art warehouse that trains and employs adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities
Not only are their products changing the game in responsible apparel, their clothing is high-quality and on-trend.
I love my Burntside Trucker Jacket in Harvest. It’s so cozy and I get TONS of compliments on it whenever I wear it. It’s the perfect gift.
If you aren’t sure what to get to give as a gift, they have gift cards that make great gifts!
Being stranded with a flat tire is basically one of the worst feelings you can have when your home is on wheels. *Remind me to tell you of a time when we had a flat tire EVERY DAY for a WHOLE MONTH, woof.* Our portable air compressor was a life saver and we would probably still be stranded with out it.
This portable 12-volt air compressor can be plugged directly into the vehicles electrical system, and then quickly refill the air pressure in the tires. Note: Larger vehicles like RVs require a more powerful compressor than an SUV or smaller van.
Okay, I’m definitley someone who likes a soft, plush towel, but when you are traveling full time, those suckers take up SO much space and god forbid you are in a humid climate because they will never dry.
A travel towel that is fast drying and packs down into a small case is a game changer for someone who lives in a small space. Even the largest version of these towels still packs down extremely small.
I’ve had my Eno Hammock for YEARS and it still is in the exact same perfect shape as the day I got it. It’s durable, it packs down super small, and you can add to it over time. Note: Make sure you get the straps, as this hammock doesn’t come with them.
If the vanlifer that you’re buying this for already has an eno hammock. consider getting them the ENO Eagles Nest ProFly Rain Tarp so they can stay comfy in their hammock even in the rain.
The Reneogy Phonenix 200 Power Station is an extremely efficient battery center in a compact form. The reality of relying on solar with your van can sometimes mean that you get a little nervous if you are somewhere with cloud coverage for days at a time. This little beast can be charged through your vehicles electrical socket, wall outlet, or even from a solar panel.
I feel like I should be the spokes person when it comes to this projector. If you follow me on instagram, you’ve probably seen me raving about this little gem.
It’s literally the size of a coke can, it has 360 sound, and it’s amazing for small spaces. It’s definitely one of those projectors that the screen size is perfect for watching at a close distance. I’ve since used it on a larger wall in a house and it’s still kept the same quality when on a large wall from farther back.
Check out this post on 6 Tips to Host a Perfect Backyard Fall Picnic and Outdoor Movie Night
This magnetic screen door is a game changer for van life, especially in the the summer months. The van can get pretty toasty depending on where you decide to post up during the summer. This allows you to keep your doors open and lights on after dark without a billion moths and other bugs making their way in . The magnetic closure is awesome and it’s super easy to instal (it’s literally velcro) and take down if you want an unobstructed view during the day.
I’ve included the link to the doors that I have for my Dodge Promaster but you may want to double check the measurements on your van if you have a different type.
Okay admittedly, this isn’t the sexiest gift but a portable jump start kit for a vehicle can be a lifesaver for a vanlifer who likes to camp in secluded areas. There have been times that we’ve camped for days without seeing a single car and have thought to myself what we would do if the van needed a jump one of those times. Having something like this on hand is a great peace of mind with a super bonus being that it packs down so small.
13. Gas Station Gift Cards
Gas station gift cards are one of those practical gifts that go a long way. Not having to worry about a fill up or two is such a perfect gift (and would make a great stocking stuffer).
There you have it! I hope this guide was helpful. If you liked this, make sure you let me know by sending me a DM on instagram and leave a comment here! Happy gift giving, friends.