The holidays are just around the corner, and Curbed has you covered with key intel on the best gifts and deals to score. Today, we’re doubling down on gifts for RV adventurers, people who love to camp, and anyone who wants to explore the great outdoors in teardrops, travel trailers, tricked-out trucks, and more. Love campers and trailers? Come join our community group.
Whether you have a skoolie or a camper van, an RV helps you reach new places and return to old favorites—as long as you are start with the right gear. I’ve spent years traveling the American West in my Sportsmobile camper van, trying out different chairs, cooking tools, and blankets that make roving homes-on-the-go a bit more comfortable.
I’ve ditched some less-than-rave-worthy products and held on to a select few that pass the test time and time again. Below you’ll find a curated list of my favorites, products that I love to give and would also be pleased to receive. Need even more suggestions for the camper in your life? Don’t miss my camper van gear guide—a comprehensive list of over 90 items for every part of van life.
Not sure what to give your outdoorsy family member? These accessories are sure to impress. I’ve picked out lightweight blankets, quick-drying towels, and an adventure-proof portable speaker that delivers seriously good sound.
Whether you like camping or just need a picnic blanket, the Rumpl Puffy Blanket is a go-to option that’s lightweight, durable, waterproof, and machine washable. Available in a plethora of prints and colors.
We’ve tried all sorts of outdoor, portable speakers and never found one that can adventure hard yet maintain good sound quality. Our search ended with the Demerbox, a waterproof, portable pelican case speaker that can go 40 hours between charges. We’ve tested it on mountaintops, in our camper van, and on raft trips and love the loud, clear sound; the speaker also pulls double duty as a dry case for wallets, keys, and phones. Looking for something a bit smaller? Check out the company’s new DB1 speaker.
This low-profile dog bed works well inside a camper van or outside at a campsite. The polyfill stuffing provides just the right amount of fluff for your pup, the water-resistant microsuede top is easy to clean, and it’s nice that the pad rolls up for travel. Available in two sizes, although all but the largest dogs will be happy on the medium.
Affordable and with a variety of white and red light modes, this headlamp rises above the rest. I like that it’s waterproof, durable, and lightweight.
Slathering on a bunch of insect repellant can be a hassle, so I like to use this battery-powered repellent around the campsite. The Radius Zone protects about 110 square feet for six hours on a single charge, and it’s a good hands-off option for kids or mosquito-prone adults.
The Luxe towel from PackTowel is an ultra soft, looped terry knit towel that is super absorbent yet feels like a fluffy hotel towel. Bonus: The towels come in an array of sizes and cheery colors and are great for travel or the gym.
This lantern is completely powered by the sun with no batteries needed. It lasts for 24 hours on a single charge, and emits a warm light in four different modes. It’s also lightweight, durable, and waterproof.
If you’re miles away from the nearest laundromat and need to clean some clothes in a hurry, check out the Scrubba Wash Bag. The pocket-sized bag weighs less than five ounces, produces a machine-quality wash in three minutes, and is twice as effective as hand washing.
Keep your van clean by using a large sand-free mat at the entry. We like the one from CGear; the mat keeps sand and dirt out, can be sprayed off easily with a hose, comes in multiple sizes, and is lined with heavy duty D-rings so you can stake it down. Consider the 8-by-8-foot medium mat ($69.99) or the 12-by-12-foot extra large mat ($129.95).
A stake hammer makes setting up your tent or shade shelter easy, and this MSR version features a stainless steel head and balanced weight—the bottle opener is a bonus.
Grab a chair by the fire
No matter your RV type, a good camp chair makes relaxing around the fire that much better. Couples will love cuddling on the Kelty Loveseat, and I’ve also rounded up my favorite backpacking chair, rocker, hammock, and one chair that’s built for star gazing.
Bring a little house-like coziness to your campsite with this low-slung, foldable loveseat. Each armrest comes with an insulated beverage holder, the backrest is slightly reclined for relaxation, and the chair can handle a weight of 500 pounds.
This lightweight camping and backpacking chair packs down smaller than a bottle of wine—making it the go-to chair for picnics, impromptu porch gatherings, and more.
Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: Yes, this is an expensive camp chair. But it also reclines and swings into comfortable positions that other chairs can only dream about. The supportive headrest and cupholders are extra perks, and the whole chair packs down into a small case that works for even the most compact camper vans. Wherever I go, this is the gear item people ask me about the most.
If you have a larger RV with space to haul a less compact camping chair, opt for this super-comfortable rocker. A mesh backrest and wide, padded armrests keep you comfortable, and the must-have cupholders are conveniently placed. The FirePit sits lower to the ground; if you’re looking for something a bit higher, check out the Freestyle model.
Cooking on the go
I’ve tried a lot of RV cooking gadgets and the items below are my favorite. From a grill system that incorporates a pizza oven—seriously, you can have pizza at camp—to the ultimate portable espresso maker, these gifts will level up the camp kitchen.
These well-reviewed glasses are made of premium stainless steel and are perfect for outdoor use. They are unbreakable, chillable, rustproof, and dishwasher safe.
Easy to operate, the Nanopresso uses finely ground coffee, hot water, and a few pumps to produce richly flavored, top-notch espresso. It feels like you’re at a high-end coffee bar, but on-the-go.
This double-walled, vacuum-insulated container keeps beverages and good hot or cold for 12-24 hours, and it’s big enough to feed my family and a few friends to boot on adventures. It also comes with two lids, a smaller one for pouring and a larger one for filling and cleaning. Throw in the lifetime warranty and it’s easy to see why this thermos has earned a coveted spot in my kitchen.
Even though I have an induction stovetop in my camper van, I still like to cook outside. Recently I upgraded from an old Coleman stove to the Versatop Grill System, a non-stick flat-top griddle that’s powered by a one-pound propane tank. The flat top is a breeze to cook on, but what I like most about the system is that it’s compatible with a BBQ grill box and a pizza oven. Once you have delicious homemade pizza in the middle of a forest, you’ll never go back to your old stove again.
Available in two sizes (20-quart or 55-quart), this bear-resistant cooler is made from thick polyurethane insulation that maximizes ice retention and is built to last. We also love the oversized drain, convenient top handle (on the smaller model only), and Microban protection that inhibits the growth of bacteria.
With a bundt-pan shape and the ability to hold about 2.1 quarts, the Omnia Oven works on any type of burner or grill to bake pizza, desserts, and breads. It’s a great option for campers that don’t have an oven—and that’s most of us; I often use it to make egg casseroles or cinnamon rolls for breakfast and the additional silicone liner makes clean up easy.