Best camping gifts: ideal Christmas presents for happy campers
The best camping gifts will keep the outdoorsy folks in your life happy this Christmas, as they look ahead to adventures in 2022
Welcome to our round up of the best camping gifts this festive season. With the recent boom in staycations set to continue and more and more people discovering the joys of camping and the great outdoors, it's the perfect time to give your loved ones a camping gift or three.
Our best camping gifts range from stocking fillers, like the Camelbak Horizon Vacuum Insulated Tumbler, to pitch perfect presents, such as the best sleeping pads and camping stoves. If you're seeking something to greatly enhance someone's camping experience, you've come to the right place...
Of course, this is merely our guide to 10 of the best camping gifts, a varied selection of trinkets and tools that we think would make for great presents. To delve deeper into items like tents, sleeping bags or camping stoves, check out our comprehensive buying guides, such as our round up of the best tents available in the world today. From lightweight backpacking items to luxurious glamping equipment, we cover all aspects of camping gear across the site.
If your loved ones prefer to set off into the backcountry for a hike, rather than to camp, check out our best gifts for hikers. Otherwise, for fresh ideas and the best camping gifts out there, read on. Merry Christmas!
Camelbak Horizon Vacuum Insulated Tumbler
What says you care more than making sure the camper in your life can enjoy a cozy cup of joe round the campfire? The Camelbak Horizon Vacuum Insulated Tumbler is a big mug with impressive thermal insulation, making it one of the best camping mugs available. The mug’s clear plastic lid is a push-on fit with tight seals to retain heat, while the sipping slot has a three position slider which, when fully closed, will prevent slopping if jogged or big spills if tipped over.
A silicone base pad gives the Horizon good grip on smooth and even sloping surfaces, and the power-coated stainless steel body resists drops and knocks. The tumbler is also available in 300 (10 fl oz), 350 (12 fl oz), 600 (20 fl oz) and 850ml (30 fl oz) sizes – or, for those who prefer a more compact shape with a strong and comfortable handle, the mug version (350ml/12 fl oz) has the same insulation properties and lid. Though predictably good at keeping drinks piping hot for hours, and cooled for even longer, the tumbler also has potential as a ‘hay box’ cooker.
Nite Ize Inova T7R Powerswitch Flashlight
Light the way for you camping friends with this versatile flashlight which you can shift from spotlight to wide flood with a simple twist of the head. The end cap switch activates six illumination modes, from a high beam to a momentary strobe. The PowerSwitch dual power delivers juice through micro USB rechargeable Lithium-Ion batteries or two CR123 batteries – which aren’t included but are widely available. Having this option means you can take spare batteries on longer adventures, where you won’t be able to plug the torch in and recharge.
A charge indicator light turns from red to green when fully charged, and visa versa, so you can make the switch to batteries in good time, and there’s no more worrying about a fading light just when you need it most. The precision-machined, rugged mil-spec aluminum body is shockproof, crushproof and water-resistant (not waterproof, though). A steel belt clip keeps the flashlight secure and accessible.
One of the best multitools around, the Leatherman Surge is something you’ll want to keep in a toolbox during the week and in your backpack on weekends. With a 21-tool array, it’s got just about everything you can cram into a multitool. There’s no skimping on size, quality or sturdiness either. The blades, scissors, file and pliers are all full-size implements and it has exceptional, best-in-class ergonomics for big and small tasks. It has two wire cutters, a wire crimper, needle-nose and traditional pliers, a proprietary bit driver, two flat-head drivers, a removable two-sided file, an awl, can opener and bottle opener. So, when you think about it that's actually 21 gifts in one tidy package.
Powertraveller Falcon 21 Solar Charger
Ever wish your loved one could check in from camp, but their phone is dead? Get them a solar charger and they can keep their phone, camera and other gadgets juiced up and ready to go. With the Powertraveller Falcon 21 Solar Charger, in bright, sunny conditions there’s the opportunity to recharge two devices simultaneously from the one via the 5V USB port and the other via a 20V DC connector, designed for laptops (up to 40W).
The charger’s light weight for a 21W panel makes it an attractive choice for backpacking where every gram counts, and it’s easy to hook on to a rucksack or tent thanks to metal eyelets and carabiners (included in the box). The three solar panels fold up to a neat size, too, when not in use, and their IPX4 rating means they’ll withstand water splashes and dust.
SOTO Windmaster Camping Stove
For backpacking adventurers, this is one of the best camping stoves out there. Make sure the camper or backpacker in your life ends the day with a hot, tasty meal. As a classic screw-in type stove, the SOTO Windmaster has all the traditional advantages of a conventional canister-top design, namely, quick and easy set-up plus minimal weight and pack size. This makes it a good choice for extended backpacking trips or fast and light missions. However, as its name suggests, the Windmaster also offers superior performance in breezy and gusty conditions compared to most of its screw-in rivals.
The secret is its effective engineering. The concave burner head has a small but well-designed protective lip, while the low-profile pot support places the pot very close to the flame. Together, these features combine to offer excellent wind-resistance.
Coleman Deck Chair
You don't want your outdoorsy friends to be sitting on the wet ground, so why not get them the best camping chair? Keep your camping drinks and snacks on hand with Coleman’s comfy director-style chair – the handy side table means you don’t need to bring a separate folding camp table with you. We like the curved arms and wide supportive back panel of this model, which only weighs 3.5kg but can still take up to 113kg of weight. A smaller weight and size makes the Deck ideal for popping into motorhome storage space and car boots when you’re on the go.
Top marks for easy transportation, too – the chair folds up in seconds, and two built-in straps mean you can carry the Deck chair without needing to stick it in an easy-to-misplace carry bag. The aluminium legs are connected, so you won’t sink into soft ground.
Sea to Summit Ultralight hammock
We can't think of a better way to support your camping friends than with one of the best hammocks for sleeping under the stars and swinging in the breeze. Clever design and high-tech materials have been used to create a fully functioning hammock that compresses down to a grapefruit-sized bundle, so it can be slipped into a pack side pocket. The suspension straps (an add-on buy; you can also use correct strength ropes) are quick to deploy while the slide buckles allow for precise alterations to get the centering and the height right. Sea to Summit advises against sleeping more than 18 inches above the ground, but that’s about the right height for comfortable and practical use anyway.
Despite its tiny packed size the Ultralight has the necessary length and breadth for sleeping on the diagonal comfortably.
PrincetonTec Helix Backcountry Lantern
There's something both symbolic and practical about a camping lantern as a gift, and the PrincetonTec’s Helix Backcountry lantern is sure to please the camper in your life. There’s a lot to love about this little lantern – it may only weigh 155g and pack down to the size of a coffee cup, but it’s a very useful light source. Dim the light from a bright 150 lumens down to a more ambient 30 lumens, or switch to the red light mode when you want to locate something without blowing your nightvision, or if you’re flying under the radar on wild camping trips.
We love the concertina-style lamp, which is easy to erect or fold down on the fly. The lantern has sturdy tripod-style legs for use on the floor, or can be turned upside down and hung from a branch or a tent loop – it’s also water-resistant if you encounter stormy weather. This lamp is USB chargeable.
Thermarest Compressible camping pillow
Make sure your camping friend gets a good night's sleep in the wild with Thermarest’s Compressible camping pillow. This is one of the best camping pillows out there and is packed with comfortable foam but still manages to compress down to the size of a water bottle and weighs a middling-to-light 260g.
Thermarest also recommend this pillow for flying – it’s perfect for long haul journeys, especially if you hate inflatable neck pillows, and this versatility makes the pillow’s more expensive price point more palatable. This was the only pillow we tested with patterned designs available, which are great for kids or for cheering up your campervan, bell tent or even your sofa. The foam stuffing is also fully recycled, and four sizes of the pillow are available (we tested the medium, but you can also choose small, large and extra large).
Yeti Tundra 35 cooler
Whether they'll admit it or not, all any camper wants is a Yeti cooler, one of the best camping coolers out there. The Yeti Tundra has long been considered the gold standard in hard-sided camping coolers. And with good reason. More than any other cooler out there, the Tundra is equipped to keep your food and drinks cool on multi-day trips, all while standing up to the rough treatment of life on the road and at camp.
The Yeti is made with three-inch-thick walls of polyurethane foam insulation and uses heavy-duty rubber latches and freezer-quality gaskets to ensure your food and drinks are kept cool for up to six days. The exterior is filled with handy features too. The most impressive and useful of these are a duo of anchor points that let you strap the cooler down to your truck, boat or gear trailer, military grade rope handles, non-slip feet, and interlocking hinges that ensure an ultra-tight seal.
Night Cat Backpacking Tent
One of the best pop-up tents available. Set-up in a minute or less, the Night Cat is a sturdy, stable, single-layer shelter that is light and easy enough to take out on the trails, and big enough (just) to take two people. It is primarily designed for solo backpackers, however, and the floor plan is roomy enough for a single air mattress. Fiberglass poles deliver strength, durability and stand-up to windy breezes, but remain light to carry. Waterproof fabrics and waterproof tape on all seams keeps the water out and comfort in. Small storage bags keep poles, stakes and guy lines untangled and organized.
If you’re not backpacking, the Nightcat can still come in very handy at festivals and garden sleepovers. An inexpensive model, the Night Cat could be the perfect den away from home for recalcitrant teenagers who no longer want to share a shelter with their parents of their siblings.
Therm-a-Rest NeoAir UberLite
The NeoAir UberLite is one of the most recent additions to Therm-a-Rest's range and claims to be the lightest insulated air mat available, anywhere. In terms of weight and pack size, it is both remarkably light and impressively compact. It rolls away to about the size of a beer can and tips the scales at a mere 250g. Those figures have been achieved through a combination of clever design, the use of lightweight 15-denier fabrics and a determination to save weight wherever possible, which has meant eliminating the internal reflective layer found in other NeoAir models. Simply one of the best sleeping pads out there.
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Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.