20 Gift Ideas under $50 for the Van Lifer in Your Life

Van Life Gift Guide | 20 ideas under $50

The holidays are here and so is the stress of gift giving. Enter our gift ideas. Check out our top picks which have been hand-selected and are geared for the adventurer in your life. Want to treat yourself this holiday season? Below is our camper van gift guide for the van lifer or adventurer in your life. It’s our top picks of not only cool things that they’ll be stoked to see but things they’ll get a lot of use out of.

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Stanley Growler ($43.95)

Got a beer lover in your life? Get them this growler so they can take home their favorite beers fresh from the tap of their favorite brewery.

LAMURO Campsite Storage Strap ($16.99)

This strap is built for the neat-freak in all of us. It comes with 19 loops on which to hang things and 8 carabiners. No more messy campsite or van.

GSI Drip Coffee Filters ($9.95)

Nothing starts the day off better than an excellent cup of coffee. Life is short, why waste it on bad coffee. These little filters really do the trick. Not convinced? Head on over to this post about how to make great camp coffee and see for yourself.

Van Life: Your Home on the Road ($16.99)

We found this book at the famous Powell’s bookstore in Portland. It sort of just jumped out at us. It’s the perfect book for that #vanlife lover in your life. Warning: upon reading you might have the urge to quit your job and go on a very long adventure. Like this? We’ve got a whole post devoted to some of the most inspirational and best van life books.

Magnesium Fire Starter by Ultimate Survival Technologies ($8.95)

My brother introduced us to this little tool. It’s guaranteed to spark, every single time. Plus it’s small enough to keep in the smallest corner of even the smallest adventure mobiles.

National Geographic Road Atlas – Adventure Edition ($15.30)

A paper map? Hell yeah. This thing is one of our road trip MVP’s. There’s plenty of times when we can’t get a signal or just want to explore without cellphones. This is our favorite version of road atlas because it shows you where all the camping spots are located. It’s put us on some really cool spots a number of times and we do not leave home without it. Ever.

Headlamp by Black Diamond ($37.50)

We don’t realize how important our headlamp is until we can’t find it. We run with this one (wear a trucker hat to support it’s weight), use it to read at night and also to help us get around camp at night. It’s been dropped numerous times, endured lots of sweat and has held up to the test of time. 

Eye mask by Eagle Creek ($10.95)

After you’ve slept in a certain number of Wal-Mart parking lots, you will want this mask. Trust us. It keeps out the light, is comfortable and can be machine-washed. We broke the rubberband head piece thing on the other “beauty mask” the first night we wore it. 

JOBY GorillaPod Compact Tripod 1K Stand and Ballhead Compact Mirrorless Cameras or Devices up to 2.2 Pounds ($29.99)

My mom and dad gave me this tripod a couple years ago and it gets the job done. It’s lightweight, compact and bends in all sorts of ways to help you get a shot from places you never thought you could.

Water Bottle by BKR ($38.00)

Sexy design and cool colors. BPA Free. The inside is made of glass and the outside is made of silicone. It just feels good in your hand and it comes in tons of great colors. 

BLACKRAPID Camera Wrist Strap ($39.95)

There’s a ton of camera straps to choose from but our personal favorites are those coming from BLACKRAPID. In particular, we love the Wrist Strap Breathe, Curve Breathe and the Backpack Breathe.

5 Liter Dry Bag by SealLine ($19.95)

This bag is waterproof and holds more than enough stuff for a day on the water whether you’re tubing, rafting or stand up paddle boarding.

SmartWool PhD Run Ultralight Micro Socks ($17.95)

We wear these day in and day out on trail runs and road runs. They’re guaranteed to stand the test of time.

SUUNTO Compass ($20.40)

Surprisingly enough, cell phones still don’t work everywhere. Make sure that your loved ones know where they’re headed with this compass. Especially if they have a love for the backcountry.

Rite in the Rain All Weather Top Spiral Notebook ($3.95)

We’ve gone through a couple of these notebooks. They help us keep track of our adventures when we’re in the field and, just like the name suggests, you can write in the rain or get the pages wet. (Bonus: Your notes will survive coffee spills as well).

Crazy Creek Fold Up Chair ($27.99)

These chairs fold up compact enough to fit between the chairs and our storage boxes in the van. They’re durable, add cushioning to any picnic table and give you an extra layer of comfort when sitting on the ground.

Snow Peak Titanium Double Wall Mug ($39.89)

If you’re thinking that $40 is too much to spend on a coffee mug, we get it. We used to drink (and recommend) out of the $7 blue enamel mugs. But the difference is the quality. It’s also super light. And it feels good in your hand. The handles fold down and it keeps your coffee much hotter for longer than the blue enamel mug.

First Aid Kit with a Soft Case ($11.55)

Band-Aids, q-tips, tweezers, a cold compress, butterfly wound closures, knuckle bandages, aspirin, ibuprofen, alcohol pads, gauze, antibiotic ointment, etc. This little kit is great to have on handy for minor wounds and injuries. The case is great for keeping it all together and it’s flexible enough that it can be stored in small places.

Buff Unisex Multifunctional Headwear ($22.78)

We wear these on our head as a headband, sometimes to cover our mouths in dusty places and almost every day to wipe the moisture off the inside of the windshield. In addition, if it’s super hot out, they’re great to soak in water and then wear around your neck.

Van Life Gift Guide Recap

Feel free to pin or share this camper van gift guide made especially for the road trip traveller in your life. Got an item that you think should be on our list? We’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or send us an email.

Erin McGrady and Caroline Whatley are professional travel writers, photographers and the authors of Authentic Asheville.  

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Published by Erin McGrady

Erin McGrady is a filmmaker, photographer, and writer exploring Asheville and beyond. My work focuses on sharing about LGBTQ safe spaces, camper van life, and the outdoors.

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