Need Gift Ideas for an Off Grid Teen?Ah…teens!
Do you feel stumped when you see a teen whose family lives off grid? Do you wonder what he thinks about this life and how you can give him something that he’ll use! It’s common. And there is no answer that will cover every teen.
My first two articles in this series included:
Straight from the Horse’s MouthThe best thing you can do when planning to purchase a meaningful gift for an off grid teen is to simply talk to him/her! Within a few minutes of talking with most off grid kids, you will learn plenty! They are probably learning about this off grid life right along with their parents.
If you catch an off grid teen on a bad day, you will likely hear how hard the life is. And that can be true. Find him on a sunny day when life hasn’t been quite so pressed, and he may say what he enjoys about this wild life! Either way, if he knows you are interested, he will tell you what he likes.
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Teens are teens.
Off grid or on, they will have similar interests. But when you live off the power grid, you encounter different ways to accomplish typical tasks.
So…this list of suggestions is aimed at getting you to think a little more outside of the typical teenager box and a little more into the off grid teen box.
Let’s Jump Right In!
Disclaimer: I realized about halfway into this post that this post is very much, if not entirely geared to teen BOYS! After all, I have three teen boys and no girls! 🤷♀️. So…take this for what it is–I’ve noticed, though, when I’ve spent time around teen girls–they often secretly or openly enjoy many of the same gadgets and tools as guys! Especially off grid girls! There are obviously differences in some interests, but an off grid girl may just surprise you with her ability to handle tough situations–much like an off grid teen guy!
I will focus on:
Toys and Treats
Threads (clothing) 😉
Teens love techy gear! And it’s like opening Pandora’s box to try to explore the myriad of items a teen might enjoy. Whatever tech the teen owns, he will need off grid ways to power and use these.
- Power charger with batteries. This is a base to start with. Once you have rechargeable batteries and a way to charge them, you can move to the next item. We use Kobalt because we have a Lowe’s store nearby, because we already owned Kobalt tools, & because that’s just what was most economical and convenient for our family! You’ll want different size/amp hour batteries for different needs. I personally like the smallest because they’re lighter in weight, but the charge doesn’t last as long. For tools, bigger is better (but heavier).
- USB Adapter. This gadget slides onto a charged battery so that a teen can charge their phone/iPad/device at any time or circumstance–even on the go!
- Rechargeable USB fan
- These little fans are great because they can be charged on the above battery charger if no power is available. This particular fan is more powerful than the little fans our boys purchased locally. It also clips onto a surface, so won’t fall down into his bed if bumped. When thinking OFF GRID, that mostly assumes no A/C, so a fan for a teen’s personal space is very welcome!
- Portable Power Battery Bank Charger. This is what your teen needs to just charge up his phone/iPad/AirPods on the go. It also will power the fan overnight. It’s just a smaller, lightweight version of a corded charger. You charge this up, then you have enough power to charge a phone or device one time. Seems like our teens picked up these items in the checkout aisle of our local big box store. I’ve borrowed my teen’s battery bank from time to time! Why have both chargers? You can slip this one into a pocket or purse, where the other one is way more bulky!
- Rechargeable flashlights–I always recommend the Kobalt Flashlight, which uses the above battery pack! But various sizes of bright flashlights are great for so many off grid uses! We’ve had many, and it seems the motto is, The brighter, the better!
- Lanterns –The most versatile lantern would have several power sources. This one charges by SOLAR, HAND CRANK, or USB. It also will provide power for a phone/device. To have a light/power source that can passively charge is better than any that rely on some type of generator power to charge up the battery. This type of light would be a great tool for an off grid teen to just keep for emergencies!
- Regular Batteries
- More batteries
- Did I mention batteries?? Seems that AA batteries are always disappearing around our place! We buy rechargeables, but for a teen and their gadgets, I actually prefer single use batteries! They will get lost, so why pay more?
Teens love tools! They love accomplishing useful tasks and the chance to show what they can do! Let them at it! And provide them the real tools to do any task they want to tackle! Believe me-–whatever skill your off grid teen gains will pay you back over and over again!!I wrote an article about this a few years ago on my homeschool blog. I just reblogged it here for my homesteading audience. I think you’ll enjoy reading WHY TOOLS TRUMP TOYS
I listed many suggestions for tools there, both for children and teens.
Some Off Grid specifics are:
- Knives–utility knives with blades (obviously a teen should be responsible), wood carving knives, machetes, pocket knives, Swiss Army knives. Teens enjoy blazing trails, carving useful items from wood, and being prepared! Equip them!!
- Hatchets/axes/wood splitting “monster mauls”. They will build muscles while providing a valuable service for the family!
- Fire starters, such as flint/steel
- Survival kits
- Work lights
- Hand pruners/trimmers
- Tools for their vehicle, such as jumper cables and a power charger
You get the idea!
Talent & Tomorrow
Find where your off grid teen’s talent lies, and invest in them. Maybe it’s music lessons, books, or classes. Help them to find lasting purpose by gifting them with opportunity for growth.
Toys & Treats
Off Grid Teens still have some kid inside. Give them a bit of joy! It can’t all be practical or work-related.
Some teens enjoy:
- Soccer balls or jerseys
- Games (and play with them!)
- Outdoor equipment like swings, zip lines, goals, or ropes
- Sleds if you get snow
- Their own battery Christmas lights! Foe their rooms! These are inexpensive and can liven up their room! Be sure to buy batteries!
- Fun room lights (color changing)
Threads (clothing and bedding)
Teen’s certainly have reached a stage in life where clothes are now important to them, unlike just a few years back! The little problem with the teen’s and clothes is, that they may have strong opinions on what’s best!
So…keep it simple! And stick to basics!
For off grid teens, think:
- Warm clothing–flannel shirts, jackets, and pullovers. These can be layered over or under what’s “more cool”
- Long Johns. Nobody sees them, but they make a huge difference!
- Flannel sheets
- Warm slippers
- Fuzzy think blankets
- Simple hats, gloves, and scarves. Thankfully, scarves seem to be 😎 cool currently! I’ve seen quite a few Buffalo check scarves this year!
Maybe you don’t realize it, but having a teen means that he/she is growing up and leaving soon! Make time with your teen! Listen and let them share! Teen years are confusing, and the lasting gift of Time will outlive every possession you could possibly give!
- Scheduling a dinner just with your teen
- Blocking off an hour, put down your phone, and walk/talk/listen/plan/pray.
This gift, though listed last, is the most important.
Make it a priority! (I’m preaching to myself here)
God bless you as you seek to find a meaningful gift for the off grid teen in your life!