Camping Gifts for Kids
Camping related gear are a great gift idea for kids. Many times, camping related gift items will far outlive the average junky toy and often, camping and outdoors related gifts serve to help equip children to enjoy the outdoors in new ways.
In this post, the focus is not on the core camping necessities. Gear such as tents, camping mats, and kid’s sleeping bags are covered elsewhere on the blog. This post is all about great gear that will augment and enrich your kids’ camping experience.
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Camping Gifts for Kids: The Basics
Need a few ideas for basic, kid’s camping gifts? These are the items! When camping, kids love to have their own home away from home, and they still need simple items like water bottles and socks. Basics for camping are very similar to basics for other outdoor adventures.
Often kids need drinks in the middle of the night, but no one wants them dumping water all over the tent. These 16 oz water bottles from Nalgene are leak proof (if the lid is on properly!) and come in a half size version for kids.
We love Nalgene bottles because they are easy to clean with a bottle brush, you can see what’s inside, and kids love them because of all the fun designs.
Darn Tough makes the best kids’ socks. Most kids wear their socks HALF of the time without shoes, and Darn Tough socks really are tough. If your child does manage to get a hole in their sock, then Darn Tough has a lifetime warranty.
Wool socks are great for camping because they keep little toes warm at night, they hardly ever stink, and they can be worn for everything from campfire snuggles to big hikes.
Hats are an essential part of camping gear, whether it is fall or summer. Hats keep the sun off, and bugs away. Hats also can be treated with permethrin if you live in an area with ticks.
Plus hats are fun! Sunday Afternoons hats are big favorites here at Tales of a Mountain Mama.
Camping Gifts for Kids: Campsite Essentials
Between hammocks and rope, my children can stay busy for a long time when camping. A good pocketknife is also a favorite item for many camping kids. Here are our favorites.
I think every camping gear guide should have a hammock in it. No matter what type, style, or color, hammocks are always a huge hit in our family. They are also popular with any children (and adults) who don’t have one themselves. The only time a hammock is less useful is when camping in an area without trees.
The first nylon hammocks we ever bought were singles, because one person in a hammock, right? Wrong! We quickly learned that bigger is definitely better when it comes to kids and hammocks. This Sierra Designs Double Hammock comes with tree straps for hanging, and is from a trusted outdoor brand.
Our family owns this T-Mini 2 Person Hammock from Tentsile. It is SO MUCH FUN! The hammock is help up via 2 webbing straps and one ratchet strap. You do need 3 trees or attachment points in a triangular arrangement to make it work.
Because the nylon is stretched flat and tight, it makes a trampoline like surface. Our kids love to jump on it, read on it, and roll around like puppies on it.
Carabiners are a universally handy piece of camping gear. Children can use them to hang buckets on a branch, they can add them to a rope and make a swing, or use them on their hammocks. They make great additions to birthday or Christmas gifts.
There are not many kids who don’t find rope useful. A bundle of utility cord or even something thicker pairs great with carabiners for an open ended camping gear kit.
We love this knife for elementary aged children because it has excellent safety features for a kid’s knife. The blade has a round tip, which prevents it from accidentally injuring anyone.
The blade also locks, which is SUCH an important safety feature. My 7 year old daughter loves having hers at the campsite. It is especially useful for cutting marshmallow sticks.
This knife is a fixed blade with a holster. Fixed blade knives are often safer than a folding knife as they are more stable and less likely to shift and accidentally cut their user.
This knife has a modest sized blade for carving, making marshmallow sticks, or slicing food. It also has a fire starter in the handle.
Camping Gifts for Kids: Lights
Headlamps and camp lights make a great gift for outdoors kids! They are useful for hiking, biking, camping, even playing games in the yard. Heck, they also make great reading lights inside as well. I have one son who probably uses his headlamp for reading more than he ever uses it outdoors.
This headlamp is hard to beat for its price and durability. My family owns several, and despite neglect and abuse, the lights still work great!
They are not as bright as more expensive models,but we find them sufficient for hiking in the dark, reading at night, and looking for the outhouse! I like buying less expensive lights for the kids, because losing them is common!
This headlamp is designed especially for kids. It has several features that make it unique. Once is a breakaway strap–reduces the risk of the headlamp strap causing injury.
Another super great feature is that the light automatically turns off after two hours. Many kids accidentally leave their lights on, and this feature will help reduce burned out batteries.
Being battery free, waterproof, and super light makes this a perfect lantern for a kid. It simply needs to be hung or placed somewhere with sun exposure and it will stay charged for nearly 24 hours!
This makes it great for kids because it avoids the endless battery search and finding process. Most kids like to play with their lights, and having something rechargeable makes this a fun light for everyone. Plus the design is waterproof and also casts a warm, homey glow in the dark.
Camping chairs also make a fantastic gift for a child. We wrote a longer post on all of our favorites which you can go and check out!
Camping Gifts for Kids: Sleeping Gear
If you are camping, you probably already have sleeping bags and a mattress or camp mat. Here are a few items to augment what you might already have, and to make the experience more fun.
My children often just bring their pillow from home, but some kiddos love to have a special pillow just for camping. Additionally, if you are tight on space in your vehicle, a camp pillow packs down much smaller than a regular one.
The Thermarest Compressible Pillow is much fluffier than an air pillow, but still packs down. We all find it to be comfy and cozy, and is particularly nice for backpacking.
My kids just love to have a cozy blanket to cuddle up with around a campfire or in the tent. Cozy fleece blankets are also great for taking on picnics, stargazing, or wildlife watching. This Flannel and Fleece Blanket from REI comes in fun prints and looks like the perfect cozy spot.
These might be as much a gear item for the parents as it is for the kids. Bunk beds in a tent are super fun for kids, and they make everything more organized in the tent. A bunkbed keeps kiddos off of the cold ground, and provide extra gear storage under the beds.
The team at Tales of a Mountain Mama has tried and recommends the Disc-O-Bed Kid-O Bunk Bed.
Do you camp where it gets pretty cold at night? Do you have one of those children who always manages to wriggled out of their sleeping bag at night? This Selk’Bag Wearable Sleeping Bag might be just the ticket.
A cozy sleeping bag style garment, but with arms and legs. Selk makes this with recycled, durable materials. Also works great for cuddling around the campfire or stargazing.
Camping Gifts for Kids: Nature Gear
Camping naturally makes kids curious about the outdoors world around them. We like to bring a few items on camping trips that allow them to explore and be curious. The items listed here are just the beginning of what you can use!
This pocket microscope from Carson has been such a fun tool for my children. They like to pack it in the camping bag, ready to use with any treasure they find. The scope is also great to use for hikes, walks, and even casual trips to the playground.
Pocket Nature Guides make a great gift for young adventurers. They generally have full color photos, and you can find them on topics such as mushrooms, birds, wildflowers and more. The pockets guides can also be found specific to a region or state. I like them for kids because they are laminated and much more durable than a book.
Many children are little scientists at heart. Mine love to draw simple pictures of what we see on our camping adventures. The drawings can be simple, with just pencil, or you can bring along a set of colored pencils or even watercolors to get fancy.
This Mixed Media Sketch Book from Canson is a nice size for tucking into a backpack. It also is spiral bound,which helps is lie flat, and has durable paper for using watercolors or plain pencil.
These Water Color Pencils make a delightful addition to your nature drawing kit. They are also low mess and very portable. I like that they come in sturdy tin which helps protect them from breakage.
A butterfly net is a fun tool to have for children who love to watch insects. It can be used not only for butterflies, but for insects and bugs of all kinds! A butterfly net also is a fun item to bring on a hike.
Camping Gifts for Kids: Games and Toys
Bringing an assortment of fun toys and tools will definitely help keep keep the boredom at bay when camping. Amelia shared an awesome post with tons of Toys for Camping, so I’ll just share a few of our favorites here.
Simple Tools and Toys
Less is often more, especially when camping. Simple tools and toys can keep kids busy for hours when you are outdoors. A shovel and a ball might be exactly what your child needs so you need to drink your coffee in peace.
Shovels might seem like a strange addition, but seriously, they are huge hit among boys and girls! Honestly, even the adults should really have a small shovel or trowel for those hard to stake out tent locations.
The Gerber Gorge Shovel is a lightweight, folding shovel that can easily be stashed in your camping kit. The shovel blade is made of carbon steel. The small, portable size makes it convenient for kids to use.
Trucks have kept my children busy for many hours on camping trips. There is usually no shortage of dirt to go around for making endless roads and earth constructions.
The bonus is that they can double as beach toys if your camping takes you somewhere to swim. Both dump trucks and digger trucks are high on the favorite list.
Bringing an old fashioned playground ball camping gives so many options for group games. Whether it is just with your own children or with new campground friends, having a sturdy ball provides hours of fun. One favorite game to play is four-square,. Kickball is also a favorite.
We often use sticks from trees for marshmallows when having campfires at home or at campgrounds with plentiful trees. However, many campgrounds don’t allow cutting trees, or there just are not trees available. A set of marshmallow sticks makes campfire dessert easy peasy!
Camping Gifts for Kids: Gear for Active Play
These sets and toys are awesome items that can turn your campsite into a full blown obstacle course. What is really great about them is they can be used ANYWHERE–you don’t have to save them for the campsite.
A Tree Climbing Kit is a set of hand holds attached to a ratchet strap. The strap wraps around a tree or post securely, and voila–you can have a mini climbing wall. A couple of mamas on the blog team really enjoy bringing these camping for their families.
We almost always bring a slack line with us when camping. None of us are very good at using it, but practicing with our kids, falling off, and then laughing about it makes for excellent entertainment.
This contraption is AWESOME. It basically is an ultra-strong ratchet strap that has attachments for swings, ladders, and other cool stuff. It can be strung between poles or trees. This allows you to have a swing virtually anywhere!
The swing line is super versatile because it can travel from your home to the campsite with just a little set up and take down time. I know many kids who are content as long as they have a swing set. This is perfect for kids like that.
Play parachutes are simple–a large circle of colorful cloth with handles around the edges. Despite their simplicity, they honestly provide hours of play. They can be a makeshift tent, children can play games with them, they can be a shade canopy, or even a privacy screen. They are a great multipurpose toy that will be loved at home and the campsite.
Camping Gifts for Kids: Gadgets
One might not think of gadgets being in a camping gear post, yet as kids get older, gadgets are useful, and often necessary for safety. We have outlined a few team favorites that would make great gifts for your teen or tween.
As kids get older, they often have more independence. I let my teens and tweens bike ride and do short hikes by themselves or together. It is really great to have an easy way to reach them. The Gabb watch is great because it allows for reliable communication without the distractions of apps and other media.
Use code “mtnmama” for 50% off the GABB watch and phone!
Not ready to have a cell phone watch or cell phone for your child, yet you still want to communicate in the outdoors? Rocky Talkies are a super high quality, push to talk radio system beloved by many outdoors people. The Rocky Talkie is great because it can work where cell service is limited.
The Rocky Talkie is NOT a toy. Professional mountaineers, skiers, and many others use them on a daily basis for communication. These are great in the campground, on hikes, or even bike rides to keep in touch with your independent child.
Use code “mtnmama” for 10% off!
A kid specific kindle is a great gadget to bring camping for your readers. I hate to admit it, but we have ruined several books taking them camping. They tend to get torn, bent, and trampled in the tent.
A Kindle Kids e-reader is a nice luxury for camping because they are harder to destroy and can store multiple books at a time. The Paperwhite is actually waterproof, which is an important feature for camping.
Camping Gifts for Kids: Books
I cannot write a gift guide without mentioning books! No matter what the topic, there is always a relevant book. Books can provide inspiration for adventures or education on important outdoor skills.
Here are a few top picks (including books written by Amelia and the Tales of a Mountain Mama team) that will inspire memorable camping trips in the future.
The team at Tales of Mountain Mama has been busy writing camping cookbooks, activity guides, and more for kids of all ages. These books are worth checking out for anyone on your list.
Use code “GIFT” to save 10% on your purchase of 3 or more of Amelia’s books.
This is a heartwarming book full of camping poems to read alone or around a campfire. Great choice for cozying up in the evening after a long day exploring.
This book is full of 100s of ideas to keep kids busy in the campsite and around a campfire. Activities, games, and my favorite–songs– abound in this book.
Camping Gear: Great Year Round Gifts
As an adult, gear that gets me outdoors is are some of my favorite gifts. The same is true for kids! Camping gear is usually very multipurpose, and can be used outside of a camping trip.
Those marshmallow sticks can be used in your backyard fire pit, and a cozy flannel throw is totally at home on the couch or in the tent. By giving great gear, you can enhance your life at home and at the campsite!
Camping Gear for Kids
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