Teenagers can be hard to understand, let alone shop for. But almost every 16-year-old can appreciate the freedom of being able to operate a motor vehicle. Scoring a driver’s license will all but surely almost always be one of the great milestones for teenagers on the way to adulthood. (Well, at least until someone ruins it with self-driving cars.)
To help improve the journey for anyone taking up the wheel for the first time, here are some helpful and affordable gifts to help a teenager celebrate his or her newfound autonomy. They’re sure to go down better than that not-so-hilarious “Caution: New Driver” T-shirt you found online.
Yamaha Adventure Pro powered by Magellan
If one thing is true, new drivers tend to get lost — particularly if their travels take them beyond the confines of paved roads. Luckily, Yamaha’s Adventure Pro all-terrain GPS will keep them headed in the right direction. It’s got everything you need built-in, including GPS mapping and navigation, online adventure planning, tons of pre-loaded trails and waypoints, social sharing capabilities and a Yamaha-exclusive timing mode and vehicle integration. Plus, it’s portable, so you can take it from one vehicle to another without the stress.
1. The Driving Book: Everything New Drivers Need to Know but Don’t Know to Ask
What’s better than learning from experience? Having someone else’s experience on hand to consult. Karen Gravelle’s book is a helpful resource for both teens and parents answering their frantic phone calls.
2. AstroAI Digital Tire Pressure Gauge
A tire pressure gauge should be in every vehicle. This affordable, digital version is precise and easy to store in a glove box.
3. Moso Natural Air Purifying Bag
Let’s be honest: carting around sweaty lacrosse or field hockey gear can make a car smell a little…funky. These charcoal air purifying bags absorb odors, rather than overpowering them with a full-court press of fragrance.
4. EcoNour Car Windshield Sun Shade
A sunshade is a simple item that can help a teen keep the car interior cool during a long school day when the car is left baking in the parking lot.
5. VicSeed Car Phone Mount
A mounted cell phone is one that’s in the driver’s line of sight — and not in their hands sending text messages.
Gear Patrol Magazine Subscription
Gear Patrol Magazine is a deep dive into product culture. Inside each issue, you’ll find seasonal buying guides, rich maker profiles and long-form dispatches from the front lines of product design. Get four print magazines — delivered quarterly — with an annual subscription.
6. Anker Powerline II 3-in-1 Charging Cable
Always be charging. This 3-in-1 cable with Lightning, micro-USB, and USB-C attachments has every device covered.
7. AmazonBasics Jumper Cable
Every driver should have some jumper cables on hand. These 20-foot-long ones from Amazon are simple, functional, and provide more than enough slack.
8. RTIC Double Wall Vacuum Insulated Tumbler
High school starts stupidly early in the morning. That young driver in your life probably did not get enough sleep last night, so give him or her the gift of portable caffeine.
9. Hockey Stick Snow Brush
Winter has arrived in many parts of the country. You could get your teen a generic scraper/brush…but here’s a cooler one made from a recycled hockey stick.
10. Kinivo BTC450 Bluetooth Car Kit
Driving an older car can feel like moving back to the Stone Age. This Bluetooth car kit can wirelessly stream music and phone calls through an outdated car stereo’s aux input.
11. L.L. Bean Waterproof Outdoor Blanket
Blankets are a great item to keep in the car for both safety and practical reasons. This waterproof blanket from L.L. Bean is solid and versatile.
12. Meguiar’s Complete Car Care Kit
One of the responsibilities of having a car is keeping it clean. This Meguiar’s kit has everything a teen will need.
13. Visa Gift Card
Teens may be driving older cars that are less efficient. Gas isn’t cheap; help them pay for it with this Visa gift card.
14. First Secure Car Emergency Roadside Kit
Safety first. This compact, 90-piece roadside kit covers almost any imaginable automotive emergency, and includes a first-aid kit.
15. Automatic Connected Car Assistant
This connected car assistant offers crash alerts, roadside assistance, real-time vehicle tracking and vehicle diagnostics through Automatic’s phone app.
16. Pruveeo D30H Dash Cam
An American teenager may not be encountering crazy Russian traffic antics, but video evidence of the occasional fender bender could be helpful for insurance purposes.
17. Solar Wireless Backup Camera Kit
One of the biggest differences between older and newer vehicles is the extraordinarily-helpful backup camera found standard in recent cars. If it prevents even one accident, adding a retrofitted one pays for itself.
18. Ray-Ban Aviator Sunglasses
Ray-Ban aviators have a timeless style and polarized lenses to reduce glare while driving.
VSSL Camp Supplies Adventure Kit
VSSL Adventure Kits are a great piece of gear to throw in a glove compartment or center console. The Camp Supplies Kit is packed full of useful tools and a small first aid kit, capped off with an LED flashlight (with SOS mode) and compass, making for a helpful tool to have no matter where they’re headed.