For some, the ultimate picture of happiness is toasting marshmallows over an open fire under a star-filled sky. But what do you buy for someone who loves nothing more than the freedom of the great outdoors? It helps to have a list of gift ideas for campers, putting a focus on practicality.
14 amazing gift ideas for campers are:
- Portable fire pit
- Camp shoes
- Dehydrated meals
- Down booties
- Head torch
- Honcho Poncho
- Camping guidebook
- Portable espresso machine
- Pest repellent
- Water-resistant notebook
- Tent cleaning kit
- Camping pillow
- Bushcraft course
If you’re not somebody who shares a love of the backcountry, you’re probably wondering where on earth to start with this list of gifts for campers. But don’t fear, as in this article we will dive into each item, making it easy for you to select the perfect gift for the happy camper in your life!
14 Amazing Gift Ideas For Campers
For many campers, the appeal of a night in the great outdoors is the desire to get back to basics. The chance to be hands-on and problem solve on the fly makes camping a challenging but rewarding experience.
A multi-tool is one of the most practical gifts that you can buy for a camper, and it will help them tackle all sorts of obstacles that they may face in the wild. Whether they need to repair their tent, crack open a beer, or tackle an emergency situation, a multi-tool is a highly pragmatic gift that will come in handy for years to come.
The type of multi-tool that you go for is likely to be impacted by your budget, as they quickly go from very cheap to very costly. More expensive versions will feature more tools and generally be more useful for the camper. At a minimum, you should aim to buy a tool that has the following:
- Bottle opener
A pocket clip is also advisable as it makes it harder to lose the multi-tool when you’re on the go. Pocket clips enable you to attach the multi-tool onto your backpack or even onto a belt loop if you’d rather have it closer to hand.
One of the best things about a multi-tool is the amount that they can do considering their small size. However, sometimes their compact nature can get in the way of their practicality. When choosing a multi-tool for camping, make sure that it is small enough to be comfortable to carry, yet big enough so that using the tools isn’t too fiddly.
- Takes up little space
- Very useful
- Suits various budgets
- Can be fiddly to use
- Some options are less durable than others
2. Portable Fire Pit
Although there is nothing to dictate that a portable camping fire pit is essential for camping, there is no doubt that they do provide peace of mind. When camping in dry areas, it is very important to make sure your fire is contained in order to avoid any accidents.
There are a variety of portable camping fire pits on the market and many of these are lightweight, easy to transport, and budget-friendly. If you’re buying for somebody who often goes camping as part of a group, consider investing in something fun and quirky like the Höfats Beer Box Fire Pit and BBQ.
Höfats Beer Box Fire Pit And BBQ
This innovative fire pit offers everything that you could need for a camping trip with friends and doubles up as a fire pit, beer crate, and BBQ! This versatile gift promises to be the heart of any camp and will serve up memories by the bucket load.
The beer box can fit 24 standard-sized beer bottles and there is also a bottle opener included in the design. For campers who love cracking open a cold one, this is one gift that will be very hard to beat!
Once the beer crate has been emptied of booze, it can be filled with logs to get a fire going. Campers can rest easy knowing that their fire is contained and get on with worrying about more important business, like where they put the marshmallows!
- Various uses
- Fun and quirky gift
- Great for groups of campers
- Not suitable for backpackers
3. Camp Shoes
If you know somebody who combines hiking with camping, a pair of comfy camp shoes will be an ideal gift. There is nothing better than pulling off your chunky hiking boots after a long day on the trail and, let’s face it, sitting barefoot in a tent is one of life’s greatest pleasures.
But what about when you need to search for firewood or go to the toilet? The thought of wrestling your feet into damp hiking boots again isn’t very appealing!
Fortunately, companies know this and have started designing camp-specific shoes for weary adventurers. They focus on comfort as their first priority with breathability, waterproofing, and weight also being considerations.
When buying camp shoes, you’ll want to look for something that is waterproof and also allows the feet to air. These days, a number of different brands produce camp shoes for men, women, and children, while catering to different budgets and styles. Camp shoes don’t have to be ugly anymore!
The most important thing to look for when buying camp shoes for someone who hikes is the weight. Backpack space is a precious thing and the key to buying camp shoes is to get something that won’t weigh the hiker down.
The Ultra Bloom range by Vivobarefoot is a great choice of camp shoes as they allow the hiker’s feet to breathe after a long day on the trail. These shoes are amazingly lightweight, with the Ultra Bloom III clocking in at just 8 oz per shoe! They can also be rolled up for easy transportation.
- Allow feet to breathe
- Fashionable designs available
- Waterproofing makes them ideal for all weathers
- Extra weight in the backpack
- Need to find out the camper’s shoe size
4. Dehydrated Meals
Nothing is guaranteed to upset camp equilibrium quite like hungry bellies. For some, a night grilling steak over an open fire is paradise, but this isn’t always the most practical choice of meal, especially if the weather turns unexpectedly. A selection of dehydrated meals is a good choice of gift because they are lightweight, easy to transport, and last forever!
As the food is dehydrated, it doesn’t require cooking in the conventional sense and instead, the camper simply needs to add boiling water to the mix and leave it to reconstitute. This is ideal for those drizzly nights when it is difficult to keep a fire going for long periods.
Although dietary requirements would have once presented a challenge to those looking for dehydrated camp meals, this is no longer the case. Brands such as Firepot, Backpacker’s Pantry, Trekmates, and Summit to Eat all produce vegetarian meals and there are even a few vegan options too.
- Weigh very little
- Wide variety available
- Options for various dietary requirements
- Can be expensive
5. Down Booties
Also known as down socks, these heat holders are an essential piece of kit for anyone who frequently camps in cold climates. Essentially, down booties are worn inside tents and also while you sleep, providing roughly an extra 5-10 degrees of warmth. They are commonly used by campers in climates that fall below 40oF.
Surprisingly for an item that provides so much warmth, down booties are incredibly lightweight. In general, you can expect a pair of down booties to weigh less than a pair of woolen socks. Popular options on the market range from 1.45 oz to around 10 oz.
Although they are unlikely to be winning any fashion awards, down socks provide an additional layer of comfort, especially in harsh conditions. Some of these booties also come with a small stuff sack, meaning they will pack down small, ideal for lightweight campers.
- Packs down small
- Great for cold climates
- Can be expensive
- Not very fashionable
6. Head Torch
It might not be the most exciting gift in the world, but a head torch is guaranteed to be a well-used addition to any camper’s armory. A head torch can be used to light a tent, worn when venturing out for an alfresco pee, or when you need to delve into the darkest recesses of your backpack.
When you’re buying a head torch for your camper friend, it may be tempting to go for the cheapest option. After all, how different can head torches be? But before you order the first thing you come across, consider what would be most useful for campers.
Make It Fit For Purpose
You’ll want to opt for something with a wide beam, as these are much better suited to illuminating a vast area such as a campsite. It is also recommended to opt for a head torch with decent battery life, especially if the person you are buying for often indulges in wilderness camping. Sadly, charging ports are hard to come by in the backcountry!
Red Light Setting
Keep an eye out for head torches with a few different settings. A red light function is ideal for those who camp in groups as it is less intrusive than traditional white lights. If you are sharing a tent with someone but don’t want to wake them when using your head torch, the red light setting is the best choice.
- Essential for campers
- Not the most exciting gift!
7. Honcho Poncho
While we campers enjoy a bit of exposure to the elements, this can quickly become too much. Although most of us accept that there will be a level of compromise to our comfort levels when camping, no one wants to be miserable!
Introducing the Honcho Poncho! This camping essential will provide all the warmth a camper needs while doubling up as a raincoat. Let’s be clear here, you wouldn’t want to use the Honcho Poncho in the middle of a stormy downpour. However, for sitting out in a bit of drizzle, it’s perfect.
While it is important to note that this is not a fashionable item, it really does provide excellent levels of comfort. There is an adjustable hood to keep out the wind and a generous kangaroo pocket on the front for your hands. Although there are a few gaps around the side of the poncho, it does a fantastic job of keeping the heat in, effectively creating a little micro-climate.
Transforms Into blanket
This multipurpose item is a great addition for any camper. Once you have finished wearing it, you can unfasten the poppers to transform it into an insulated blanket, ideal for those chilly tent nights.
- Functions as a poncho, rain jacket, and a blanket
- Provides additional comfort
- Available for adults and children
8. Camping Guidebook
No matter whether your friend is a seasoned camper or a complete newbie, we could all do with a bit of inspiration sometimes! A camping guidebook is a great tool for trip planning and also opens the mind of the reader to hundreds of new destinations and possibilities.
There are a range of camping guidebooks available that target different destinations all over the world. In general, national parks are a great place to explore and many of these are very camper-friendly.
For US Campers
If the person you are buying for does a lot of camping in the US, consider buying them a Smart Travel Guide to the National Parks. These guides contain a brief description of each park, along with its unique selling points, camping information, and details of the facilities and services available.
It is a great resource for anyone wanting to see more of the US, offering useful hints and tips that will certainly help them get the most out of their trip.
For UK Campers
For those wanting to explore more of the UK, you can’t beat the Cool Camping Guides. Featuring a vast range of campsites, the Cool Camping Guides showcases the best of tent camping. Whether you’re looking for a trendy eco-retreat or fancy a spot of woodland camping, these books will tell you everything you need to know about planning a trip.
- Good resource
- May inspire future adventures
- Can tailor for specific destinations
- Some are better than others
- Information needs to be current
9. Portable Espresso Machine
For campers who struggle to function without their morning cup of Joe, there may be no better gift than a portable espresso machine. It might sound decadent at first but for most of us, our energy levels directly correspond to our caffeine intake, making the first coffee of the day a very important ritual indeed.
Of course, there is nothing to stop caffeine-loving campers from simply boiling up water and bringing along a few sachets of instant coffee. However, for many, life is just too short to drink bad coffee. A portable espresso machine will be an absolute godsend for people with this philosophy.
Weighing in at just 360 grams, the Wacaco Minipresso is an ideal choice for camping. It is compact, easy to use, and very good value for money. Unlike some other coffee machines, the Minipresso doesn’t require batteries or access to electricity and instead works using a manual piston action.
The great thing about this portable espresso machine is that you can brew everything from Nespresso pods to coffee grounds. However, you’ll need to decide which one to go for before buying as they come as separate models.
Leave No Trace
For campers, Nespresso pods are probably best as they are easier to clean up. Even though coffee grounds are biodegradable, campers should be following leave no trace principles which would mean taking them away to dispose of them properly.
- Good value for money
- Makes camping more luxurious
- Manually operated
- Option to use coffee grounds or Nespresso pods
- Some clean-up involved
10. Pest Repellent
Insect bites might well be the worst thing about camping. From ticks to mosquitos, sometimes it feels like you just can’t catch a break from creepy crawlies waiting to feast on your blood. Although sprays and lotions are arguably the best way to keep these nasties at bay, they can often leave your skin feeling greasy.
An alternative favored by many campers is a pest repellent. There are various different kinds of these on the market, from ultrasonic devices which work using high-frequency sound waves to chemical repellents.
Thermacell Camping Lantern
The Thermacell Camping Lantern is a popular choice among campers as it repels mosquitos by creating a protective zone spanning up to 15 feet. As the name indicates, it also doubles up as a lantern, making it an even more useful addition to a camper’s gear.
The Thermacell Camping Lantern works to keep mosquitos away using the chemical allethrin, which is released once the mat heats up. You can use the lantern and repellent in conjunction with each other or separately, depending on the demands of the environment and your needs.
The device comes with a fuel cartridge and three repellent mats which offer four hours of protection. It is generally pretty reasonably priced. However, for users in the UK, it is worth bearing in mind that the replacement pads are expensive.
- Keeps bugs away
- Doubles up as a lantern
- Replacement pads are expensive in the UK
- Limited effectiveness with midges
11. Water Resistant Journal
Memories made in the great outdoors are some of the most special that a person can have. Sadly though, they fade over time.
Give The Gift Of Nostalgia
A notebook or travel journal will become a cherished companion for any camper and provide them with a place to record their memories. In years to come, they’ll be able to reminisce about their experiences and even share them with their family of the future. How cool!
When choosing a journal, there are endless options on the internet, from leather-bound logbooks to cute flip pads. However, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better journal for a camper than something water-resistant and smudge-proof – it is literally made for all of the unpredictable realities that the weather can bring!
Rite In The Rain Notebook
Created by Rohan, the Rite in the Rain Notebook uses innovative paper technology which allows you to make notes in wet and humid conditions. No special pens are needed, and any biro will work without smudging.
Comprising 64 pages and spiral binding, the Rite in the Rain Notebook has been designed with durability in mind and offers the perfect place to record those memories that you’ll want to hold in your heart for years to come.
- Perfect for rainy conditions
- Highly durable
- May not be good for less sentimental campers
12. Tent Care Kit
Ask any camper what their biggest annoyance about camping is and they are likely to say keeping their tent clean and functional. Muddy boots, insects, and debris from the outside world all tend to find their way inside your portable home, no matter what you do.
To keep gear in tip-top condition, while at the same time providing a comfortable living environment, a tent care kit is a must for any camping enthusiast. Usually, these will come with a gear cleaner and a gear proofer, as well as a sponge.
These sponge-on products have been carefully designed to remove dust, dirt, and other muck from your outdoor kit. They’ll help to keep your gear in great condition and lessen that icky feeling that a few days of sleeping outside can bring.
Gear proofer is designed to increase the longevity of your camping gear. This spray-on waterproofing product will restore the water-resistant properties of your outdoor equipment, from your tarp to your tent. It will help gear withstand the rain, something which is much-needed when you are spending a lot of time outdoors.
- Keeps your outdoor environment fresh
- Enhances waterproofing
- Lends new life to old gear
- Not everyone enjoys cleaning their tent!
13. Camping Pillow
If comfort holds the key to a great camping trip, then you’ll want to make sure your sleep setup is as cozy as can be. All campers will have sleeping bags, but it is amazing how many people forget to bring a pillow on their trips.
Keep Your Body Happy
Camp pillows are an underrated yet important piece of kit. They provide support for your neck and shoulders while you sleep, meaning you are less likely to wake up feeling stiff. This is particularly important for campers who are partaking in physical pursuits during the day, such as hiking or kayaking.
An inflatable pillow is an ideal option for campers as they are light and pack down small, meaning they’ll fit comfortably into most people’s packs. The market is saturated with different brands all catering to various budgets, meaning no matter how much you want to spend, you’ll find something to suit.
- Compresses small
- Light to carry
- Suitable for all budgets
- Might be seen as an unnecessary luxury
- Not always super comfortable
14. Bushcraft Course
For those who enjoy wilderness camping, a bushcraft course is likely to be a fun and memorable gift. Courses are available the world over and teach outdoor enthusiasts vital skills that make survival in the wild easier. It is the perfect choice for someone who prefers experiences over material items.
Teach Useful Skills
Most courses will teach how to start a campfire using a range of tools, even when you don’t have matches. They may also show campers how to forage for food, cook over a fire, establish a functional camp, and construct an emergency shelter.
Not only are these courses designed to be fun, but they are also highly practical, so much so that the information learned may actually save somebody’s life. Bushcraft courses range from a few hours to multiple weeks so you can choose what works best for you, depending on the person’s time constraints and your budget.
Not Suitable For All Campers
The main downside of a bushcraft course is that it will not suit every type of camper. Those who prefer car camping may find that many of the practices these courses teach don’t apply to their style of camping. However, for those who like solo and unsupported adventures in the backcountry, the skills taught are likely to be very helpful.
- Hands-on experience
- Original gift
- Teaches useful skills
- Range of courses to choose from
- Can be expensive
- Not suitable for all campers
Choosing a gift for a camping enthusiast can be a challenge, especially if you don’t share their love for the outdoors. However, once you learn what makes a camper tick, buying for them becomes easy. The key is to opt for something practical that will enhance their experience in some way.
Whether you go for a gift to provide additional comfort, to inspire, or to provide them with practical skills that they can use on their journey, all of these items are guaranteed to maximize their adventures and help them get the most of their time in the outdoors.