Camping is a hobby well loved by many people – and even more are itching to try their hand at it! With the promise of s’mores, campfire stories, and plenty of fresh air, it’s no wonder why camping gear is such a popular holiday gift option.
However, it can be hard to know where to start looking. After all, the number of camping essentials and related knickknacks feels virtually endless. That’s why we decided to give you a hand picking out some of the best gifts for campers. This isn’t just some random list, though. It’s a compilation of some gear that we’ve come to love, and others that we’d want to receive as gifts for ourselves!
We’re sure that you’ll find a few items that they’ll love… And who knows? Maybe you’ll find something for you too!
23 of the Best Gifts for Campers
An excellent camping gift for folks who don’t want to give up their morning cup of joe while roughing it, the GSI Outdoors java drip is a handy, compact coffee maker. While it’s still a good idea to use a filter, all you really need is a cup, coffee, and hot water to make a tasty brew. The orange clips ensure that the mesh bag will remain suspended over your cup as well.
As one of the cheapest options in this list, it’s great for those of you on a tighter budget. It’s also small enough where it could easily be stuffed inside a stocking or other small container for the holidays.
Everyone needs a good knife when they’re out in the wilderness. As one of the most multifunctional tools you can pack, this Gerber fixed blade knife takes it up a notch by adding a fire starter to mix as well.
The rubber handle has an ergonomic design that makes it comfortable to grip. And the 4.75 inch blade is long enough to accomplish any task from prepping firewood to chopping food. I also love how secure the sheath is as well, whether you’ve placed it vertically or horizontally.
A great addition to any RV setup, the EcoFlow solar panels also work well for campers who want some extra power – though they will have to sacrifice on weight. At 15.5 pounds, it’s certainly not backpacking material, but it’s perfect for an extended stay at a campsite.
Despite the weight, these solar panels are very compact and fairly easy to carry. The design is also quite robust, and the overall quality is high enough where you can play a little rough with them without worrying about damage.
If you’re new to solar panels (or if the person receiving this gift has no experience with them), some extra pieces of gear are required to store the power generated by the panels. As such, these would make a great gift for folks who already have a battery setup.
Since refrigeration doesn’t exist in the wild, a cooler is the only way for you to keep certain food items from spoiling. Yeti, in particular, is a brand that’s well known for making exceptional products in this field, which makes it a great camping gift.
With a 30 quart capacity, this cooler can store a sufficient number of food items and beverages to last for a few days. The T latches ensure that the lid will stay secure, and the gasket around the lid minimizes any air exchange. While it is pretty heavy, coming in at 20 pounds, a lot of this weight went into insulating the cooler. As such, you can expect things to stay cold or frozen for a ridiculous amount of time, even if you’re stuck outside in blistering heat.
Unless you’re the type of person who likes to rise and set with the sun, an external light source is crucial for camping. In particular, I find that a rechargeable light is the best, so one doesn’t have to spend a fortune on batteries. While you will be limited to a few hours of light between charges, that usually isn’t a problem.
BioLite’s AlpenGlow is one such lantern, requiring a USB plugin instead of batteries. Able to radiate 360 degrees of light, this little tool is perfect for illuminating the inside of a tent. There are multiple light and color settings, allowing one to adjust the warmth of the light, and cycle through a variety of colors. There’s even a candle flicker mode to create a more romantic atmosphere.
This particular item has been on my wish list for a long time. In a sense, you can think of this product by Solo Stove as a miniature campfire. Wood is used as fuel, as opposed to propane or some other type of gas, making it easy to transport. All the more so because of its 2 pound weight.
Unlike a traditional campfire, this stove works to minimize the amount of smoke created by the fire. On top of that, you don’t have to worry about making a fire ring or consider any damage that might be done to the environment. The process is as simple as finding a local wood source, lighting it up, and enjoying the flame. With a cooking ring that directs the fire, it doesn’t take as long to prepare a meal, due to the intensity of the heat.
Looking for a good camping gift for dad? A fire starter is a must for many campers, especially if you’re hanging out at the local campground and need a way to light the charcoal grill for a midday barbeque. Snow Peak’s GigaPower torch can easily take care of this task and more, due to its 14,000 BTU output. Even wet wood doesn’t stand a chance against the intense fire that spews from its mouth.
Once lit, it can be used from any angle – even upside down. With the package, you’ll receive the torch, a butane fuel adapter, and carry case for easy portability. However, fuel does need to be purchased separately.
Some homey comfort is always a nice reprieve against the harsh landscape. A camp blanket has many uses, but wrapping it around oneself is probably the most popular. Nights can get chilly, so having an extra layer can make a big difference when it comes to blocking out the cold.
Aside from that, spreading a blanket on the ground will also allow you to keep your clothes clean. If you don’t have a camp chair, the ground might be your only seating option, in which case you’d be glad to have blanket to recline on.
I also appreciate the beauty and durability of these blankets. They’re made in Italy from recycled wool, using a dye-free and chemical-free process, allowing them to remain as natural as possible. And for every one that’s purchased, another is donated to a homeless shelter.
The art of camping involves making the most of limited space. Not to mention, when you’re out in nature, it can be easy to lose things if they don’t have a proper home.
The Rubbermaid Action Packer helps solve these problems by providing a convenient place to store items like utensils, toiletries, a flashlight, and other smaller pieces of gear. The 8 gallon storage container is secured by a lid with two locking handles, though you’ll have to purchase the locks separately. And while I wouldn’t expect the bucket to survive being dropped from a tall height, it is durable enough to take a beating nonetheless.
Many campgrounds have public outhouses that allow you to take care of business with some measure of privacy and comfort. However, not every location provides such a luxury, which means the local bush is often the next best option.
The Reliance portable toilet (partially) solves this problem by offering a convenient place to use the restroom. With it, you won’t have to worry about digging a hole, and your thighs won’t burn from squatting.
However, it is worth noting that this tool doesn’t solve the issue of privacy. You’ll still need to find an out of the way location, or place it inside a shelter like a shower tent.
A towel might not be the first thing you think to add to your camping checklist, but it’s an important addition nonetheless. Messes are inevitable, and you’ll need something to wipe them up with, in an effort to keep bears and other wild animals away.
On top of that, a towel that’s as absorbent as this one is nice to have after taking a river bath or something similar. Putting your clothes back on while sopping wet is a great way to lose body heat, which you typically can’t afford to do. At the very least, if you don’t want to cannonball into the lake, just wetting the towel and wiping yourself off works well too.
It’s a bit fluffy, but REI’s deluxe towel soaks up water like a sponge. And on top of that, it dries just as quickly, which is perfect for people who are on the move.
Light sources are incredibly useful in a camp setup, especially if they’re portable. After all, do you really want to try using the bathroom at 2am when it’s pitch black outside?
Headlamps, in particular, are the most convenient, simply because they’re hands-free. This is true for Petzl’s IKO Core headlamp, though there are a couple other unique features worth noting as well. For example, it doesn’t just have to go on your head – you could strap it around your chest, place it on the table like a lantern, or hang over a tree branch or tent pole. It’s a very versatile design, which is the primary reason why I’m such a big fan of it. Of course, the ultralightweight design and bright light don’t hurt my impression of it either.
There are plenty of freeze-dried options when it comes to camping food, but nothing beats a freshly made meal. However, chopping vegetables on a rock doesn’t seem very sanitary (or easy), which is why it’s so important to bring a cutting board along.
OXO is a common kitchen brand that you can find at places like Target, if you’re looking for cheap products that get the job done. This particular BPA free board has non-slip feet that keep it secure while you’re doing your food prep. And on top of that, there are even built-in drip catchers that work to minimize mess – an important feature when you have animals to contend with, and want to keep trash to a certain location!
Are you a backpacker or know someone who is? Having a good hydration system is crucial for your health on the trail, as it allows you to replenish your fluids. This is especially true when you find yourself backpacking through stretches of land where water is sparse. Having a 2 liter container like the Osprey Hydraulics reservoir might just be what you need to keep yourself from becoming dehydrated.
Shaped to rest comfortably inside most backpacks, it goes without saying that an Osprey product will fit best inside an Osprey backpack. However, it can function properly with any backpack, as long as it’s a certain size. It’s also BPA free, so you can feel a little more comfortable storing liquids inside of it for a longer period of time.
At first glance, you might wonder what’s so special about a long spoon, especially as it relates to camping. After all, there are plenty of bowls, plates, and utensils that make it easy to eat at a campsite like normal. However, what if you don’t feel like purchasing a bowl or plate, or you just don’t want them to take up space in your pack?
In that case, you’ll need to eat directly from the container your food came packaged in – usually a long plastic bag. In order to reach your dinner, you’ll need an equally long spoon to help you scoop it out.
The Optimus sliding long spoon is an ultralight, BPA free utensil. Great as a stocking stuffer, it’s a tool that any camper would be glad to receive as a gift.
While it’s easy enough to find a log or boulder to sit down on, these are hardly comfortable options, especially for any extended period of time. Not to mention, it’s a great way to get the seat of your pants all dirty.
Many backpackers won’t bring a camping chair because of the extra weight, but there’s no reason why a regular car camper can’t indulge in a bit of luxury. And what better product to use than Nemo’s Moonlight reclining chair? Lightweight and comfortable, it takes up a minimal amount of space while providing a superior location to relax. Though there’s nothing as fancy as a cupholder or built-in cooler, it’s still a great way to get yourself off your feet and off the ground after a long day in the wilderness.
Sleeping outside is a lot different (and more uncomfortable) than sleeping in the comfort of your own home. Certain items can help with this, such as an air mattress, camping cot, blankets, and so on, but many folks still have a hard time getting a good night’s sleep while camping.
Backpacking is my preferred method of exploring nature, so I usually use my fleece jacket as a pillow. However, when I’m car camping, an item like the Exped mega pillow is my go-to option for optimal head and neck support. As an inflatable cushion, you have the ability to make it as firm or as soft as you’d like. Of course, it won’t be quite as comfortable as your pillow back home, but some sacrifices do need to be made. On the whole, it’s still much better than resting your head directly on the ground, and considering how lightweight and portable it is, you can take it almost anywhere.
There’s just something satisfying about cooking over an open campfire. And what better way to do this than with a cast iron griddle, like this one made by Lodge? Most of us are familiar with the durability of cast iron, which is perfect for outdoor use where conditions can be less than ideal. However, it’s also a heavy material that can be difficult to manage. Fortunately, this griddle is thin enough where weight isn’t too big of a problem, as it comes in at about 4.5 pounds.
The cooking surface provides even heat distribution, and the lip around the edge makes it perfect for cooking various batters. Pancakes, eggs, bacon…whatever it is that you want to eat, it can easily be prepared in this griddle.
For a more self-contained and portable cooking system, you’ll want to check out Jetboil’s MiniMo. Because of its small stature, it’s a favorite among backpackers who need to boil water for their dehydrated meals. One could also sauté a few vegetables at the bottom of the pot before adding other liquids to create a soup, or one could make a simple meal like ramen or mac and cheese.
However it gets used, the MiniMo is a very handy, single propane burner. Auto ignition is included, so you don’t need to use a match or lighter to ignite the fuel, and it can be used in temperatures down to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Fuel will need to be purchased separately, but it is compatible with any brand of isobutane-propane.
A cool camping gift for couples, Mountain Summit Gear’s loveseat is perfect for folks who want to get cozy around a campfire. I also find that it’s a perfect option for enjoying the views of a scenic vista with my significant other, especially while sharing a meal or planning activities for the day.
While it’s a tad heavy, that’s only to be expected from a steel framed seating option that’s large enough for two. Because it’s made from steel, the durability is more than sufficient for extended use in rough environments. The polyester seat material also resists the buildup of mold or mildew, and it’s strong enough to support up to 500 pounds. A cupholder is also built into each armrest for a convenient place to store beverages.
Many of us have gone hammocking at some point in our lives. But have you ever tried hammock camping?
Sleeping above the ground while swaying gently between the trees is a soothing experience, if you don’t mind the confining nature of a hammock. ENO is a well-known outfitter for all things related to hammock camping, producing everything from hammocks to rain tarps to bug nets and much more. The JungleNest hammock system, in particular, comes with a built-in bug net, so you don’t have to worry about getting eaten alive when the flies and mosquitoes come out to play. Of course, I would still suggest getting a rain tarp and an underquilt as well, especially if you plan on camping in cooler temperatures.
The ground is hard and unforgiving, which is why it’s so important to get a high-quality sleeping pad. In addition to acting as a cushion between you and the earth, it also acts as an insulator against the cold air that seeps up from the ground. In fact, the r value of the Exped DownMat XP 9 is 7.8, which is remarkably good for a product like this.
At about 2 pounds, it’s a pretty reasonable weight, especially when you consider it’s 3.5 inch thickness. The down fill is the primary reason why this pad has such excellent insulating properties, though at the same time, it does work to increase the price of the product as well. When paired with an extreme cold weather sleeping bag, any camper could confidently face freezing temperatures without experiencing too much discomfort.
And finally, where could a camper be if they didn’t have access to clean drinking water? Given the nature of water born illnesses, it just isn’t safe to drink straight from a stream without purifying it first. While boiling water will kill off any viruses and bacteria, it doesn’t remove sediment and algae, which is why I use Grayl’s UltraPress water filter for all of my camping trips.
Not only does the filter remove bacteria, it also prevents sediment, microplastics, and heavy metals from passing through as well. As someone who’s made use of it everywhere from my own backyard to the peaks of the Himalayan mountains, I’ve quite literally trusted my life to it on multiple occasions. And as you can tell, I’m no worse for the wear because of it. I take my filter bottle with me on every trip I take, and can confidently say that it would make an excellent gift for anyone interested in the outdoors.
A list of gift options is all well and good, but it can be hard to know what to buy for someone if you don’t know what they need. While you could certainly ask them, this would detract from any amount of surprise and delight they would express upon receiving the gift. In that case, why not consider a gift card?
Places like REI have gift card options that any outdoor enthusiast would appreciate. You could also look into places like Amazon and Backcountry, if you feel those would be better received.