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Best Gifts for Campers 2021

Best Gifts for Campers

Fresh morning air. Hearing the birds call as you wake up.  A cup of steaming hot coffee enjoyed next to a campfire. The scent of pine needles wafting through the air.  Enjoying time as a family without the distractions of technology.

This is the camping life we all dream of, right?

I know that camping isn’t always quite as idyllic as I imagine. However, spending nights in the outdoors is always time well spent.  Something about the closeness to nature, and the simplicity of tent life makes camping one of our favorite vacations, year after year.  It’s why I am always looking for the best gifts for campers.

example of gifts for campers: chaco sandals, Blackstone griddle, solar string lights, sleeping bag, eco raw bandanas, outdoors cooking book, crocs, playmobil toy set, trucker hat with bison, headlamp, sunglasses, hammock, aero press, camp mug, powder neck sweater from Duckworth.
Updated gift guide for campers! Some old staples, plus some new ideas.

Have you tried camping, but didn’t feel prepared enough? Or maybe you dream of camping, but are still looking for the right gear and knowledge to get started. Perhaps you know someone who already camps, and you are looking for the right gift for them.  This camping gift guide will help you select some of the best gear for your situation. All of this gear is something we have used and loved.

So, grab your favorite wool sweater and a cozy beverage, and let us help you find the perfect camp gifts this year!

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The Best Part of Camping!

family with hammocks in the woods.

For most of us, camping is all about relaxation, quality time with family and friends, and fun. Often, kids are content with exploring nature’s toys…stacking rocks, drawing in the dirt with sticks, tossing twigs into the river, and scooping sand.

Sometimes though, it’s nice to have a backup plan in case the sticks are too sharp or the dirt is frozen solid. Here are some of our favorites! If you need more inspiration, here is a post on 5 Ways to Add Fun at the Campsite!


Gifts for Campers: Youth Toys

Whether it’s too hot to be hiking in the blazing sun or too wet to want to wander too far away from camp, toys can be a great way to keep young minds occupied.

Playmobil Camping Adventure Building Set (with carrying case)

My kids LOVE Playmobil, and sets like these really save the day when the weather outside the tent is frightful, or the sun sets hours before the kids are ready for bed. The Playmobil Camping Adventure Building Set is the perfect gift for imaginative play.

Slackers Classic Slackline Set (with teaching line)

Big and small, almost all love a good slackline session. This Slackers Slackline from Amazon is a great affordable addition to your campsite experience! A great gift for hard to please Teens, or kids of all ages. Also great for days in the park closer to home.

Educational Insights Grill-n-Go Camp Stove

If your little helpers love to play house, give them the gift of the Grill-and-Go Camp Stove so they can play camp chef too! Bring it along on your next camping adventure…it comes with it’s own carrying case. It will keep little hands busy while you need your eyes on the real meal!

Family Camping Game Gifts

Family games are a great way to finish off an exciting day playing outdoors. Break out the family games before or after dinner, and be surprised to discover brother in law taught your kids to play Blackjack.

L.L. Bean Bocce Ball

Bocce Ball, aka Italian Lawn Bowling, is such a great game to give to your favorite campers. Sure, traditionally it’s supposed to be played on a flat manicured surface, but let me assure you, it’s twice as fun in the wild.

Camping Playing Card Deck

Go fish? Crazy bridge? Euchre? Whatever card game is you style, these beautiful playing cards with original watercolor paintings by Jennie Kilcup of Boise, ID are sure to make you smile. Each card depicts something related to camping, and each one is a work of true art.

Outside Inside Racket Set

You make the rules, you pick the tools. Generic rackets, coupled with an assortment of balls and birdies, make this toy open-ended and great fun for the family! This easy to pack Outside Inside Racket set will keep kids of all ages entertained for hours. A great gift for the sporty kid on your list.

>>>Check out our favorite camping games here!<<<


Best Lights for Camping Gifts

Big Agnes mtnGLO Tent Camp Lights

Softly illuminate the interior of your tent without the glare and shadows of traditional tent lighting solutions. Power your Big Agnes mtnGLO lights with a USB source, or three AAA batteries. Perfect for playing cards, reading bedtime stories, and looking for pajamas.

Goal Zero Lighthouse 400 Lantern

Long lasting lithium ion rechargeable battery coupled with a hand crank in case you lose power, this Goal Zero Lighthouse Lantern is the only light you’ll need if you like to camp minimalist style. The USB port will even charge your phone! 24 hr run time when using brightest setting, 48hrs with the dimmest light setting. Team-member Valerie loves her Goal Zero Lantern. “I’ve brought this lantern on camping trips that last a month and haven’t needed to recharge it!”

Bio-Lite Headlamp 330, No Bounce Rechargeable Headlamp

This sleek headlamp is a game-changer and could be the way of the future. Rest comfortably knowing no longer will you be replacing and tossing batteries from your headlamp, this one is rechargeable via a USB cord. It’s also bright and super lightweight, perfect for the whole family.

Solar Powered Festive Camp Lights

If your kids are anything like mine, they think string lights make things, “fancy.” So whether you just want to spice up your campsite, or have a ‘fancy’ dinner party in the backyard, these Light It Up Solar String Lights are sure to do the trick!

Person holding Light It Up Solar String Lights.
Solar string lights make everything seem ‘fancy.’

Gifts For Campers: A Good Night’s Sleep

It IS possible to get a good night’s sleep while camping. In fact, some say that they sleep better in their tent than they do in their own bed at home! The musical backdrop of the leaves rustling in the trees, the nearby brook babbling and giggling. Wait. Giggling? Brooks don’t giggle – that must be the kids trying their best to stay up all night.

Well, hopefully they won’t be awake for long if their beds are comfy and they’ve played hard all day. Check out our blog post on 10 Ways to Help Kids Sleep While Camping!

Sleeping Pads

Big Agnes Q-Core Deluxe Sleeping Pad

The quickest way to a comfy bed is a high quality camping pad. Big Agnes Q-Core Deluxe is an amazingly comfortable self-inflating, cold weather foam core pad with a delightful 3.5″ of cush.

Big Agnes Air Core Ultra Insulated Sleeping Pad

Lightweight and insulated, this award winning pad is super comfortable. Unlike other inflatable pads, the Air Core Ultra is insulated and rated to 32 degrees. Easy to inflate, and has the Big Agnes 100% guarantee!

Klymit Static Sleeping Pad

Klymit offers a wide range of incredibly lightweight air-chamber sleeping pads. They have a 3/4 length Static “junior” sleeping pad that is a great size for kids! Klymit Static Pads are a great choice if you are doing the majority of your tent camping in warm weather, as this line of air pads offers very little insulation against the cold.

Sleeping Bags

Big Agnes Little Red 15 Sleeping Bag

Kid specific mummy bag that is rated to 15 degrees! The Little Red is toasty warm & has an integrated pad sleeve to prevent sliding off the sleeping pad at night! Trail ready if you want a bag that will be just as good in the front country as it is in the backcountry. Having a hard time choosing a bag for your little one? Check out our Sleeping Bag Round-Up!

Kelty Galactic 30 Sleeping Bag

If you need a roomy sleeping bag that doesn’t taper at the bottom, check out this super fluffy, warm dri-down option. The Kelty Galactic stays lofty and has an anti snag zipper for easy exits. Bonus – buy two and zip them together for a cozy double bag! Also available in a women’s version.

If you’re considering a double bag, check out our review of the Kelty Doublewide for an extra warm way to spend the night.

NEMO Disco 15 Sleeping Bag

Side Sleepers – this is the bag you’ve been waiting for. The NEMO Disco features a generous cut at the knees and elbows, so you can bend and twist all you’d like. Great bag for backpacking, or chilly nights in the campground. Bonus – has a pillow pocket that can be stuffed with a jacket, extra clothes, or a travel pillow!


Best Tents for Families – Camping Gift!

Orange tent in the desert.

Where you choose to sleep the night is up to you! I personally prefer sleeping out under the stars in no tent! I don’t enjoy the claustrophobic feeling of sleeping in a tent, and my advice to families is always get the bigger tent. Kids grow, so just go with the bigger tent so everyone can have more space. Your choice of tent can really make or break your camping experience in some cases. We’ve done research for you, these tents are tried and true. And for those looking for a little adventure, consider a hammock “home” for the night.

REI Co-Op Kingdom 6 Tent

In a post on Family Camping Made Easy, Tales of a Mountain Mama team member Stephanie says this is her families’ favorite tent. “This (REI Kingdom 6 Tent) has all the essential pockets, an option to have one large open space or two separate spaces, and a full rain cover. An added bonus is that it is simple to set up.

Big Agnes Big House 4 Deluxe Tent

3-Season tent with steep walls and a 68″ peak height, this is a great choice for a basecamp for your family. Add on the optional supersized vestibule for ample space to keep all your gear out of the elements. Check out the Big Agnes Tent Review from Tales of a Mountain Mama Amelia! And the Big Agnes Cooper Spur HV tent review from Tales of a Mountain Mama, Ginny!

ENO DoubleNest Hammock

Now hear me out here- if the weather is warmer or you are someone who prefers sleeping out under the stars, you may enjoy spending the night in a hammock! While traveling in Guatemala, I stayed 2 nights in large hammock and it is an experience I never forgot! I’m willing to bet kids will love the opportunity to sleep in a hammock and live out their Tom Sawyer dreams. Teammember Jessica says “The ENO Double Nest hammock is a staple of our camping setup”.


Gifts for Campers: Let’s Eat!

Campfire and stove for cooking warm meals while camping.

Pull up a chair, a blanket, or sit on a log. Grab a dish, a mug or a foil packet full of grub and DIG-IN! For some, camping is all about mealtime. Cooking a five star feast over an open flame. Or mastering a berry cobbler in the Dutch Oven.

For others, meals are a means to an end….instant beans & rice and a salad. No right, no wrong. Here’s the gear to gift to the camp chef in your life! If you need a printable checklist to keep track of your camp kitchen supplies, check out this post! And check out this post for Five Easy Campfire Recipes!

Stoves and Griddles

GSI Selkirk

The GSI Selkirk Stove comes highly recommended from the Tales of a Mountain Mama team. It is slim, puts out some great heat and is easy to pack.

MSR WhisperLite Backpacking Stove

Lightweight & dependable, the MSR WhisperLite is a great gift for the backpacker on your list. Team member Valerie says “I’ve been using my WhisperLite for over 15 years. It’s very dependable, durable, and long-lasting!” Although primarily a backcountry stove, the Whisperlite is useful to have as a backup stove while car camping, or an extra stove to crank out hot water for coffee quickly.

Blackstone Tabletop Griddle

I’ll admit, as someone who likes to travel and pack fast and light, I was skeptical at first, but my husband regularly uses his while out hunting or while camped in the woods on wildfire risk reduction projects with his fire crew.

So whether you’re car camping or the power goes at at home and you want a warm meal, the Blackstone Tabletop Griddle is AWESOME! We quickly whip up pancakes, scrambled eggs, as well as fry potatoes and bacon on ours. The propane bottles/tank and Bulk Tank Hose Adapters needed to operate this are sold separately.

Camping Cook Gifts

Tramezzino

Ready to try a fancy sandwich from one of those new camping cookbooks you got? Turn it into a hot sandwich by toasting it over an open flame with the Tramezzino.

Lodge Deep Camp Dutch Oven

If you’ve always wanted to try Dutch Oven cooking, now is the time. Pick up the Lodge Deep Camp Dutch Oven. Practice your technique all winter long, in your own backyard!

Here are some recipes to get you started. Team member Rita loves cooking in her Dutch Oven….“A dutch oven like this is great for doing all sorts of cooking–from warming up beans to cooking cornbread. It works like a miniature oven, and the great part is that you can use it over any type of fire–even without a grill”

Also be sure to pick up a copy of Amelia’s book, The Easy Camp Cookbook for some great dutch oven recipes. She also recommends liners for your Dutch oven for easy clean-up.

Lodge Cast Iron Skillet

Equally useful at home or in camp, the Lodge Cast Iron Skillet will be a gift that is treasured for years to come (I received my first as a wedding present and use close to everyday)! Need cast iron cleaning & care tips? We’ve got you covered.

Camp Utensil Gifts

Snow Peak Al Dente Cookset

The perfect gift for a couple just starting out on their backcountry adventures. This sleek 2 pot set is stainless steel making it durable and lightweight. Use it camping or in the home!

GSI Outdoors Pioneer Enamelware Set

Enamel Tableware has been the camping dinnerware go-to for years. This enamel coated steel set is incredibly durable. Includes bowls, plates, and mugs! (tip – for little ones, use a mug as a substitute for a bowl, much easier to hang on to! and check out this great post for more family camping tips like this one.)

Sea to Summit X-Set 32

This collapsible and lightweight cooking set makes packing for a camping trip easy. The set includes one 2.8 liter pot, an 8 ” pan and 1.3 liter kettle. These are made collapsible by having silicone sidewalls, but a hard anodized aluminum base.

Camp Cooking Recipe Books

The Easy Camp Cookbook by Amelia Mayer

Organized into two sections: car camping and backcountry camping, this camping cookbook features delicious, easy-to-make recipes. Many recipes can be prepped at home so you can spend more time relaxing and enjoying camping―it even includes vegetarian options! Take the guesswork out of keeping everyone fed with this insightful camping cookbook.

The Great Outdoors: 120 Recipes for Adventure Cooking by Markus Summer

This book is on my Christmas Wish List this year. I’m intrigued by the beautiful pictures of the outdoors and food, as well as the recipes it has listed. While reading reviews online, one of the reviewer shares, “…more of an outdoor fine dining inspiration book.” Hey, I like good food and don’t think good, fine dining should be limited to fancy restaurants since with two kids under age 4, you can bet I won’t be going there (and if I was, I wouldn’t be invited back!)

Cooking With Fire by Paul Marcoux

Check out this Cooking With Fire manual. The author is a food historian and an archaeologist! Recipes range from cheese on a stick, to naan bread and roasted rabbit. Beautiful photographs, mouthwatering recipes, and detailed instructions make this a gift that will inspire and bring joy for years!

Camp Coffee Gifts

Gifts for Making Coffee at Camp

Aero Press Coffee Maker

If you drink coffee or espresso, you can not go wrong with the AeroPress. Many wildland firefighting friends of mine have started carrying these in the gear bags so that they can have delicious hot coffee while camped out on fires. They are lightweight, durable and fool proof to use. I actually use mine almost everyday at home in lieu of the fancy espresso maker I have!

GSI Outdoors Glacier Vacuum JavaPress

This GSI Outdoors stainless steel, insulated, doublewall magic pot lets you make your coffee, and then keeps it hot! A must for camping. Have a coffee lover on your gift list? Check out this camping coffee-centric post.

GSI Outdoors Mini Espresso Set

Simple, classic design. Lightweight and portable. This is the espresso maker your coffee lover will love to unwrap this holiday season! Check out the GSI outdoors mini espresso set in this post by Team member Jackie! Also available on Amazon.

Best Camping Coffee Mugs

Yet Rambler 20 oz Tumbler with Magslider Lid

This is my BEST mug and with me daily. This could be a camp mug, or your daily mug, or BOTH! This tumbler keeps my cold brews cold and my cowboy mocha hot. You better believe if I’m camping, I’ve got this mug with me.

Ultimate Technologies Klipp Biner Mugs

The Ultimate Technologies Biner Mugs are the perfect size for hot cocoa or a ladle full of steaming apple cider on a fall hike. Set of 4 ultralight stainless steel mugs.

REI Co-Op Camping Mugs

We love these stainless steel camping mugs from REI. Vacuum insulated mugs with BPA-free sipping lid and great graphics!


Stocking Stuffers for Campers

Small Stocking Stuffers ($)

Goodr Sunglasses

I came across Goodr sunglasses while visiting the Bozeman Running Compan in lovely downtown Bozeman, MT. I picked out a pair because they were cute, cheap ($25) and had UV protection. Then I wore them and I was impressed with how they neither bounce or slip off my face while active. Trust me, you need sunglasses while camping.

Eco Raw Studio Bandanas

Bandanas can be used as a hairband, hat, towel, bandage, face mask….the list goes on. Get yourself one of these beautiful and ethically sourced bandanas that are hand dyed with natural dyes at Eco Raw Studio based in Cincinnati, OH. There are also fun bandana designs available from United by Blue, and with each product purchased, the company removes one pound of trash from the ocean!

Wool Socks

Good socks are super important for for those cooler evenings and long, hot adventure days. Most importantly it’s good to have comfortable, moisture wicking and stink resistant socks while camping. Cue the natural and sustainable power of wool!

Farm to Feet is a great company producing quality socks that are, “All American” in nature- US materials, US manufacturing, US workers and a supply chain completely based within the U.S.A. Darn Tough is a Vermont-based company, making beautiful wool socks with with a lifetime guarantee. Smartwool makes a variety of socks in a plethora of colors and sizes and they fit slightly narrow feet really well.

Big Stocking Stuffers ($$$)

Duckworth Powder High Neck

This is a MUST HAVE layer for those that camp or go outside in cooler weather. The Duckworth Powder material is a dreamy soft, thick wool blend that comes in the form of a high neck, hoody and pants for both men and women. It is so warm and insulating without bulk and I imagine this is how snug sheep feel out in a blizzard. Another bonus for Duckworth is that all the wool in their products come from Montana sheep ranchers and all their garments are made right here in the USA- a true, “sheep to shelf” operation as they say.

Orca Walker Tote

Need a soft sided cooler to fit 18 of your favorite canned drinks with ice? The Orca Walker tote can do that! It keeps ice for up to 24 hours ensuring your beverages or snacks stay cold until you are ready to consume them the next day after leaving home.

Helinox Newsworthy Camp Chair

Lightweight and sturdy are the perks of this camp chair as it keeps your derriere off the ground. Sometimes it’s just nice to kick back in a camp chair with your beverage of choice in hand.

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