Camping Gear Hiking Gear

Cool Camping Gifts: A Gift Guide for your Favorite Outdoorsy Person

November 23, 2019
Alice Lake in Idaho's Sawtooth Mountains

When your favorite outdoorsy person already has all the basics, you need a list of cool camping gifts. Check out this holiday gift guide for cool camping gear!

Outdoorsy 

[outˈdôrzē] adjective

That totally technical term for someone who likes to be outdoors as opposed to indoors, to breathe in the fresh mountain air and to sleep under the stars. Or it may just be a good excuse to collect cool camping gear and not take a shower for a few days. 

And if your friend or family member is outdoorsy and loves camping, they likely already have all of the basics, like a sleeping bag, tent, and really good jacket. And even if they need an upgrade on those basics, they’ve probably been eyeing what they want for a while now, because it costs hundreds of dollars, like this ultralight backpacking down sleeping bag, or this super warm Arc’teryx down jacket (hint, hint).

 So, this is a list of really cool camping gear that your favorite outdoorsy person (which could even be you!) probably might not even know they need yet. Don’t worry, it’s not junk (that’s just a waste of your money, and since so many people are KonMari-ing their life, they’d probably just tell the junk present thank you and throw it out). So anyway, these camping gifts are really cool! And it’s gear that once you get, you’ll be so glad you did and won’t be able to live without ever again.

So here it goes, a list of cool camping gear that makes great gifts!

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Alice Lake in the Sawtooth Wilderness, Idaho

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Cool Camping Gifts

Luci Light

These solar-powered, inflatable lanterns are totally awesome, and so is the company’s mission. MPOWERED, the company that makes Luci lights, sends lights to areas that need disaster relief and humanitarian aid. My favorite light is the Luci Pro, which lasts up to 50 hours and can also recharge your phone via USB.  

➳ Shop on: Backcountry /// REI

Cool Camping Gear: Luci Solar Powered Lantern

Ultralight Backpacking Pillow  

A backpacking or camping pillow is one of those things that can be hard to justify, but you’ll thank yourself (or your friend will thank you), once your head hits the pillow. This Sea to Summit inflatable backpacking pillow packs so small you could fit it into your pocket, so you can bring it anywhere.  

➳ Shop on: Backcountry /// REI

Sea to Summit inflatable camping pillow

Camp Chair

One of the best parts of a camping trip is sitting around the campfire, swapping stories and roasting marshmallows. Make sure you have a comfy chair and a cozy blanket to enjoy the night. The REI Co-op Flexlite Macro Chair is comfortable, but folds up small and weighs less than two pounds. It’s easy to store at home and doesn’t take up a lot of room when you’re packing up the car.

➳ Shop on: REI

REI Flexlite Camp Chair

Camp Blanket

A camp blanket makes one of the best camping gifts; you may not think of buying one for yourself, but once you have one, you’ll find yourself reaching for it again and again. The Pendleton Yakima Camp Blanket is made of soft, cozy wool that will keep you warm both indoors and out. It’s perfect for nights by the campfire, great as extra stuffing in your sleeping bag, or just when you need another layer in the car or cabin.  

➳ Shop on: Backcountry /// REI

Pendleton Camp Blanket

Insulated Air Sleeping Mat

 If you like to go camping in places other than the desert in the middle of summer, then you need an insulated sleeping mat. Just getting off the ground is the first step, but the next one is to make sure that that mat is insulated, which means you aren’t going to be feeling that cold air on your back or side.  

Sea to Summit has a range of high-quality sleeping mats, including the Ultralight Air Sleeping Mat, which won the Gear of the Year by National Geographic Adventure in 2014. My personal favorite is the Ether Light XT Insulated Air Sleeping mat, which is specifically geared towards women. It’s a little warmer and a little wider to accommodate a woman’s hips. Plus, at only 14.8 oz, this lightweight sleeping mat is good for both car camping and backpacking trips.  

➳ Shop on: Backcountry /// REI /// Sea to Summit

Cool Camping Gifts: Sea to Summit ultralight insulated sleeping mat

JayBird Vista Wireless Headphones  

Usually I’m ready to go to bed by 8 pm when I’m camping, but sometimes I want to wind down with a little music or a podcast. These Jaybird VISTA Totally Wireless Sport Headphones are waterproof, sweatproof, and best of all, come with multiple outer tip sizes so you can get the most comfortable fit for your ears. The charging case lets you charge on the go, and just five minutes of charging will give you an hour of play time.

➳ Shop on: Backcountry

JayBird VISTA wireless headphones

Hammock

This hammock can be your bed in the backcountry, or just a place to lounge on your back porch. ENO makes awesome hammocks that fit one or two.  

➳ Shop on: REI

Cool Camping Gear: ENO Hammock

Goal Zero YETI 150 Portable Power Generator

I know a big part of the appeal of getting outdoors is to literally unplug, so maybe a portable power supply from YETI seems a little counterproductive. But even if we’re off most things that need electricity, a big part of our outdoor experience is photography, which means we need batteries. And we could either buy an endless supply of batteries, or just a few and recharge them at night. I’m sure once you have one you’ll be able to think of a hundred ways to enhance your camping experience and add a little luxury with a portable power supply.  

A portable power supply is also a must-have for an emergency preparedness kit. There’s been several planned power outages where we live in the Bay Area over the last few months, some of which have lasted several days, so a power generator can come in handy at home too.  

➳ Shop on: Backcountry /// REI

Cool Camping Gifts: Goal Zero Yeti 150 Solar Generator

YETI Cooler

YETI coolers are legendary, and for good reason. YETI coolers are about as durable as you can get and made to handle lots of abuse, so you can consider this a lifetime investment. The YETI Tundra 45 Cooler holds 32.9 liters, which means 28 cans of your favorite drink, or food, your choice. The extra insulation gives you more flexibility when you’re camping so you can have cold drinks and refrigerated food when you can buy new ice every day or so.  

➳ Shop on: Backcountry /// REI

YETI Tundra 45 Cooler

Merino Wool Hiking Shirt

If you have a friend that’s still hiking in old cotton t-shirts, give them an upgrade with a wool t shirt. Merino wool is amazing – it does a great job of wicking moisture from skin, insulates when wet, and is naturally odor-resistant (which means it will be a gift for everyone you hike with). Plus, merino wool is soft, not scratchy or itchy. Wool isn’t just for base layers when it’s cold outside; merino wool t-shirts are great for warm weather too.  

The Icebreaker Tech Lite Short-Sleeve t-shirt is light and soft, you’ll want to wear hiking, camping, and every day in between.  

➳ Shop on: Backcountry /// REI

Must-have camping gear: Icebreaker merino wool hiking t shirt


Backcountry camping gear you'll need at Alice Lake, Idaho

Camping gear stocking stuffers are the best — like long sporks for eating noodles, wool socks, and hand warmers to keep your toes toasty at night.

Cool Camping Stocking Stuffers under $20

LifeStraw Water Filter

Have an outdoorsy friend that really likes to live off the land? Then gift them the LifeStraw water filter, and they can hydrate straight from a river or lake. This can serve as a great back up water filter since it is compact, lightweight and costs just under $20. The LifeStraw filters out 99.9% of all bacteria and protozoa, so these things can be a literal lifesaver.  

If you find bending down and drinking from the lake a little awkward, then opt for the LifeStraw Go Filter Bottle with 2-Stage Filtration. This water bottle is also a great option when traveling through countries where the unfiltered tap water is unsafe to drink. With this bottle, you can still refill from the tap!

➳ Shop on: REI

Darn Tough Wool Socks

Because who doesn’t want socks for Christmas!? Especially wool socks. Socks take a beating on those long hikes, so a fresh pair wool socks make a great gift! Darn Tough makes awesome socks with a lot of fun patterns and colors.

➳ Shop on: Backcountry /// REI

Stormproof Match Kit

A big part of camping is all about being prepared for the unexpected. That means packing a water filter, an extra pair of socks, and definitely some stormproof matches.  

➳ Shop on: REI /// Amazon

Long Spork

It’s a spoon, it’s a fork…it’s a spork! And it’s a spork with a long handle and the perfect angle to dig into those backpacking freeze-dried meals. It’s basically the only camping utensil that you’ll ever need, and it weighs almost nothing.

➳ Shop on: REI /// Sea to Summit

Hand Warmers

These hand warmers are a great way to get a warm boost when you’re sleeping outdoors. I usually pop these into my socks at night to keep my toes toasty.  

➳ Shop on: REI /// Amazon

Backpacking Meals

If you have a friend that’s camping or backpacking all the time, then a backpacking meal won’t go uneaten. Think of it as taking your outdoorsy friend out to dinner. 😊 This is just personal preference, but my favorite backpacking meals are the Backpacker’s Pantry Pad Thai and the Mountain House Chicken Fajita Bowl.

➳ Shop on: Backcountry /// REI

Bear Spray

Giving the gift of bear spray is a seriously great way to show someone you love them. You don’t want them to be eaten by bears!

➳ Shop on: Backcountry /// REI

Dr. Bronner’s Organic Liquid Soap

Washing up can be a pain when camping, but you’re going to need to wash yourself or your dishes at some point on a multi-day camping trip. Dr. Bronner’s Organic Liquid Soap has you covered for almost every situation. Dr. Bronner’s Organic Liquid Soap is super versatile, biodegradable, and concentrated, so a little goes a long way.  

➳ Shop on: REI /// Amazon

REI or Backcountry Gift Card

Or, if you have no idea what they want, then get your favorite adventurer an REI or Backcountry gift card.


Hiking along Alice Lake in Idaho's Sawtooth Wilderness

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