2022 Holiday Gift Guide for RVers

Everything you need for the RVer on your list

Big celebrations start with the little things

When you travel in an RV, receiving gifts can go from being fun to being stressful quite quickly. This is because RVs are such tiny living spaces that finding places to put new things can be nearly impossible.

Many traditional gifts are fun things that aren’t necessarily needed by RVers. RVers often end up getting rid of a number of the gifts they receive during the holiday season. This isn’t particularly fun for the gift receiver. The gift-giver would surely be upset to find this out. Therefore, it’s best to avoid the problem altogether.

Christmas in a motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A list of the best holiday gift ideas for RVers

Fortunately, some gifts won’t end up in the donation bin. If you aren’t sure what kinds of things to get the RVer in your life, try the holiday gift ideas in my list below.

Consumable gifts

Consumables are great gift ideas because they get used up meaning they won’t take up space for long but are still used and appreciated. There are the typical consumables such as food gifts and bath and body products but the items below are even more useful to RVers who may have allergies or don’t have access to a bathtub anyway.

Christmas craft © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1. Roll of quarters

This one might seem a bit odd but honestly it’s the perfect stocking stuffer for the person who uses laundromats on a regular basis. After all, quarters aren’t always easy to come by and having a roll put away for when you need them can be a lifesaver.

2. Gift cards

Gift cards are always one of the top gift ideas. Give the gift of a great meal by picking up a restaurant card or snag one for a favorite ice cream or coffee chain. Walmart, Camping World, and Amazon cards are also useful when an RVer needs to make a repair or upgrade.

3. Fuel gift cards

Consider getting your RVing friend a Flying J/Pilot or Love’s gift card they can use to buy diesel or gas fuel, propane, or pay for dump station fees.

Christmas display © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

4. Venture wipes

Those who spend a lot of time boondocking know what it’s like to go a few days without a shower. Help make the boondocker in your life more comfortable by providing them with Venture Wipes to clean up with between showers. These all-natural travel wipes use natural ingredients like aloe, vitamin E, and tea tree oil. They easily wipe off dirt and grime giving you a clean feeling.

5. Rainbow sticks

These are tons of fun for camping families. Simply throw your rainbow stick in the campfire and watch the flames change colors before your eyes.

Christmas in a motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Practical gifts

Practical gifts are always appreciated. They may not seem super fun but they will get used and the fact that they make life a little easier is sure to get you bonus points. Besides, some of these things are fun to receive if you choose a special color or print.

6. Multi-tool

Tools always come in handy while on the road. What better way to save space than with a well-made multi-tool? The Leatherman Skeletool Multi-Tool is a perfect example of this.

Christmas on Jekyll Island, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

7. Flashlight

You never can have too many flashlights that work. You never know when you’re going to need to peer into a dark cabinet, under the rig, or walk to the bathhouse late at night.

8. Instant Pot

Many RVers rave about the RV instant pot. The Instant Pot Dual Duo Plus 9-in-1 electric pressure cooker can do a wide variety of jobs. It can cook entire meals quickly using only one pot and is a breeze to clean up. It offers five customizable Smart Programs for pressure cooking ribs, soups, beans, rice, poultry, yogurt, and desserts.

Christmas craft © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

9. Backpack

Exploring the world requires carrying some things around meaning a good backpack is necessary. An ideal backpack for RVers is lightweight, versatile, easy to clean, and packs things in quite nicely.

10. Ice maker

When freezer space is at a premium, ice trays aren’t necessarily going to fit very well. Besides, ice trays don’t hold a lot and refilling them can be a pain. An electric ice making machine sits on a counter and will ensure your RVing friend has ice anytime they need it and give them back their freezer space.

Christmas in a motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

11. Over-the-sink cutting board

RVs rarely have enough counter space. Fortunately, over-the-sink cutting boards create a bit of extra space for the cooking enthusiast. Best of all, some cutting boards also includes a tiny built-in colander, so you can rinse as you chop.

12. Folding step stool  

A step stool is a super practical gift for an RV owner making it easier to get in and out of the RV and to interior cupboards. A folding step stool is great because it collapses to easily store in the RV when it’s not being used.

Christmas cake © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

13. Folding wagon

From laundry to chairs, you never know what you might need to lug around the campground. You could of course carry it all, but a collapsible folding wagon makes things much easier by allowing you to pull items from one place to the next. Best of all, it folds down making it easy to store.

14. Hammock

There is nothing quite as relaxing as spending an afternoon in a hammock in the great outdoors. Give your RVing friend the gift of relaxation by placing a small, yet strong, hammock under the tree this year.

Christmas goodies © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

15. Journals and photo memory books

Most people who enjoy traveling also enjoy journaling about their adventures and showing off photos of the places they have explored. Give a gift of a high-end journal or photo book and a nice pen to record their memories.

Experiential gifts

Finally, there is the option of an experience gift. These gifts are great because they don’t take up any room at all besides a slot in a wallet. They are also tons of fun to receive and help the recipient make memories that’ll last a lifetime.

Christmas in a motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

16. Event tickets

Tickets to a sports event, concert, festival, or other events might be just the thing to make your RVer happy without overwhelming them with physical things that take up space. Just make sure you know where they will be and when so you know they can make it to the event you have in mind.

17. Reciprocal museum membership

Another option is a membership of some sort. Since RVers aren’t typically in one place for long periods of time, many of them like having museum memberships that offer reciprocal benefits at other similar museums.

Below are some of the reciprocal programs available:

  • North American Reciprocal Museum Association
  • The Association of Science and Technology Centers
  • Association of Zoos and Aquariums
  • Association of Children’s Museums
  • American Horticultural Society
  • Time Travelers (reciprocal membership network for historical museums, sites, and societies throughout the US)
Christmas cake © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

18. Theme park annual pass

Perfect for the thrill-seeking traveler, many theme parks have an annual pass option that includes benefits at multiple parks across the country. These annual passes are great gift ideas. Below is a list of some of the more popular multi-park passes out there:

  • Merlin Pass (LEGOLAND Parks and Discovery Centers, Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museums, and Sea Life Aquariums)
  • Six Flags Gold Pass
  • Cedar Point Platinum Pass
  • Herschend Pass (Silver Dollar City, Dollywood, Stone Mountain Park, and more)

While they don’t offer reciprocal benefits, annual passes to parks such as Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando are popular with RVers who spend the winter in Florida.

Christmas in a motorhome © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

19. Camping club membership

Yet another card you could get for your RVing friend is a camping club membership. There are dozens of camping clubs out there and all of them offer a different collection of benefits. A few favorites are listed below:

  • Thousand Trails
  • Passport America
  • Escapees
  • Harvest Hosts
  • Boondockers Welcome

20. America the Beautiful pass

An America the Beautiful pass will offer your RVing friends free entrance access to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites. This includes National Parks, National Monuments, National Recreation Areas, National Memorials, National Historic Sites, National Wildlife Refuges, National Forests, and Bureau of Land Management.

Poinsettias for Christmas Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

21. State recreation passes

The majority of RVers enjoy exploring and camping on public land. Consider buying them a pass that allows them to recreate in a specific state. A majority of states require a day pass to enter their state park system; some even provide a discount on overnight camping.

Between all of these ideas, you’re sure to find something for your RVing friends. 

Worth Pondering…

Once again, we come to the Holiday Season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice.

—Dave Barry, Christmas Shopping: A Survivor’s Guide

The Ins and Outs of Renting an RV

You don’t have to buy a home on wheels to enjoy the experience of camping in comfort

Ever see that classic movie The Long, Long Trailer about newlyweds, played by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, hoping to make the honeymoon last as they travel across country in, well, a long, long trailer?

Class C motorhome at Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Their RV dreams didn’t go exactly as planned but RV travel has come a long, long way since then. Especially with the need for social distancing and a sharp rise in the number of people working remotely, the RV experience is appealing to travelers who never considered it before. From young couples looking for new experiences to parents eager to make memories with their children to seniors enjoying their retirement freedom, people are hitting the road.

Class C motorhomes at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

You can park your RV at a campsite in a national or state park or a 5-star RV resort. And, if you’re not ready to buy your dream home-on-wheels, no problem! Rentals are available for you. Want to know the ins and outs? Read on…

Airstream travel trailer at The Barnyard RV Park, Lexington, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Where Can I Rent an RV?

Renters have two primary options: A major rental company that owns a fleet of its own RVs (e.g. Cruise America) or individuals who rent out their personal RVs when they aren’t using them (e.g. RVshare, the Airbnb of renting RVs).

Class A motorhome at Hacienda RV Resort, Las Cruces, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

What Do I Have to Choose From?

You can rent everything from a tricked out van with no bathroom to a home on wheels complete with kitchen, living room, bathrooms, and all the amenities.

Fifth wheel trailer at Alamo Lake State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

How Much Does It Cost to Rent an RV?

Simply put, as much as you want to spend—from a small RV rental to a luxury RV rental. Just to give you a ballpark, I found a drivable RV that sleeps 6 on RVshare.com for $179 a night or $1759 for 7 nights, including taxes and fees.

Class C motorhome at Palo Casino RV Park, Palo, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Are There Additional Fees Besides Taxes?

Most of the rentals have a mileage charge and some have a generator fee. At Cruise America, for example, the mileage fee for a 400-mile trip in a standard motorhome was $140. A kitchen kit (your dishes, pots, and pans, etc.) costs $110 if you add that option, though you can skip it and bring your own; the same is true of a personal kit (very basic linens, towels), which costs $60 per kit. With those additions, a four-night rental with a base total of $620 inches up to over $1000 by the time you add standard fees and taxes. And then there’s the damage deposit, though with any luck, you’ll get that back.

Class A motorhome at Coastal Georgia RV Resort, Brunswick, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

How Do I Know What to Rent?

That depends on your needs and your comfort level as a driver. Are you an off-the-grid adventurer happy to rough it or a family of five requiring a bathroom and a shower? More than two people would be cramped in a truck camper or souped-up van while a Class A motorhome can sleep 7 to 10.

There’s an awful lot to choose from out there, but basically, RVs break down into two main camps (no pun intended): towable and drivable.

Towable RVs at Gila Bend KOA, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Towable RVs

  • 5th Wheel: Requires a fifth-wheel hitch in your truck bed and a truck with sufficient towing capacity, a three-quarter-ton or more.
  • Travel Trailer: Attaches via trailer hitch and comes in different sizes, suitable for SUVs and pickups.
  • Popup Camper: Pull it behind just about anything. It expands (i.e., pops up) to give you more space once you reach your campsite.
Motorized RVs at JGW RV Park, Redding, California © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Motorized RVs

  • Class A: Think “big-as-a-bus house on wheels”
  • Class B: Think “oversized van”
  • Class C: Think “cab over driver”

(Why the smallest RV is a Class B and the mid-sized RV is called a Class C, we have no idea. It’s just one of those mysteries of the universe.)

Fifth wheel trailer at Lost Duthman State Park, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Cruise America’s fleet includes large, standard, and compact RVs, as well as truck campers, all of them attached to the truck or chassis cab you’ll need to pull them. RVshare offers both drivable and towable RVs which you’ll rent from the owners. (You’ll need your own vehicle for the towable ones if you drive it yourself; some owners will deliver to the campsite for a fee.)

Worth Pondering…

The attraction of recreational vehicle travel is to see the country, visit new places, meet interesting people, and experience the freedom of the open road.