Do you need to find gifts for RVers in your life? These are folks who live in small spaces, move around a lot, have limited cargo space and important weight restrictions. The two major questions RVers ask about anything, including gifts, are: Where will I put it? What does it weigh?
Keep those questions in mind when you choose gifts for your traveling friends. Here are some good ideas.
Obviously, it is best if you can hand deliver the gift, but that isn’t always possible. What about mailing? If you know they will be in a particular area long enough to receive mail at a nearby post office, or in the park where they are staying, mailing is okay. But, if they are moving frequently and using a mail-forwarding service, there is an extra cost to them for forwarding a package. So, keep that in mind as well.
These might just be the perfect gifts for RVers – gift cards or gift certificates for restaurants, gas stations, their favorite big box store – these are easy and inexpensive to mail and, as long as the RVers aren’t completely off the grid in the middle of nowhere, sooner or later they will find a place to use them. Amazon.com used to be just a bookstore, but these days you can find almost anything there - I frequently ordered RV supplies from them.
Consumables are items you use every day,
The best consumables are items you eat – which provide an easy answer to the “Where will I put it?” question. Maybe you’ve got a special salsa or jam you make yourself. There are yummy items available these days from online stores such as Harry & David, or you can put together your own basket of goodies with assorted dry soup mixes, packages of special pasta, dried fruits, nuts – just wander through a supermarket or a specialty food store and you’ll find lots of ideas. Are there regional specialties in your area that your friends would enjoy? What about foods they love that might be hard to find on the road?
Other good items are those we use up, and need to replace. Paper napkins and plates; batteries; postage stamps; toiletries like soap, shampoo, and toothpaste; treats for the traveling dog or cat – certainly not as enjoyable as the items above, but very practical and much appreciated. Consumables make great gifts for RVers, you can be sure of that.
It may sound silly to talk about paper maps in these days of GPS, but any RVer with some miles under his/her belt knows that you can’t always trust your GPS. An old-fashioned map makes a great gifts for RVers and can be worth its weight in gold at finding interesting and out-of-the-way places software can’t take them to. To your right is my well-worn, dog-eared RV Road Atlas – I would have been lost without it.
Over the last several years there have been many studies
that seem to indicate the various technological devices we have come to rely on
are actually making us dumber. A recent
article in the Boston Globe points out some interesting things about how
GPS is disrupting our ability to form mental maps. They don’t suggest throwing
away your GPS, but having a mental image of where you are and where you’re
headed is a very good thing.
If you do much boondocking on BLM land, Benchmark Maps is known for having the most accurate maps of the western U.S. You can find them at Amazon.
Once you get beyond screwdrivers and hammers, I’m not very knowledgeable about tools, but know there are a few that every RVer should have: a tire pressure monitor, a good surge protector to protect your computer and appliances, an AC voltage monitor to check polarity when you are going to plug in at a park.
I’ve heard of something called a thermal gun to measure tire temperatures, food temps, etc. – sounds like a good idea.
Flashlights are always useful. I’ve got a big powerful one, but also like those mini-flashlights – they have a strong light and can be easily stuck in your pocket. I also find the head-light useful. It’s great for reading at night when you’re dry-camping – why run your battery power down by using house lights?
For hats, t-shirts, key chains and other fun and/or humorous gifts for RVers, check out Zazzle.com.
Books & Magazines
Many RVers are big readers, but there’s the problem of weight when it comes to books. An e-reader of some kind is a wonderful gift for an RVer. I have a Kindle and am very happy with it, but there are other options. I recommend several RV-specific books at my RV Books page.
RVers on the road much of the year, or full-time, are probably using a mail-forwarding service so there will be extra postage for forwarding magazines – but they are a good gift anyway.
RVers are, for the most part, sociable folks – good times with friends, both new and old, are the heart of camping life. And, if you’re into Solitaire, that’s OK, too - playing cards are always a good gift idea – and most RVers will have at least two decks on hand.
Tried and true board games like Monopoly, Scrabble, Checkers or Chess are always welcome. There's an outdoor game called Ladder Toss that is very popular with RVers (link to the game at right), and there's always a use for a Frisbee.
What about RVers buying gifts for their friends & families? If you’re RVing and buying gifts, you have the problem of storing the gift until it’s time to mail. So the suggestions above for gift certificates or shopping at online stores that will mail directly to the recipient are perfect solutions for you as well.