The Ultimate Camping Gift Guide

Are you looking for a unique gift for a camper? Every year, more and more people go camping and this year the camping scene has exploded. So many more people were spending time either in RVs or camper vans, or car camping. We go camping in very remote places where until this year, we have never seen other people. Not this year though, every camping spot was packed, even in disbursed camping. Because of the pandemic, camping has become an alternative to travel and a great way to social distance.

So what type of camping gifts do you get for someone who loves camping? Get gifts that are practical, useful, and durable. You can get affordable gifts that will last forever, and they don’t have to be a big name brand or overpriced (check out these eight ways to save money on outdoor gear). I am putting together this list based on car and tent camping essentials, as well as essential outdoor gear. Besides tent camping, I have also included some great gifts for those who backpack or have camper vans, RVs, and motorhomes.

Some of the best gifts for campers are:

  • Tents
  • Hammock Camping Essentials
  • Sleeping Bags, Pads and Pillows
  • Camp Stoves
  • Coolers
  • Camping Kitchen and Cookware
  • Cast-iron Cookware for Camping
  • Camping Cookbooks
  • Camping Gear and Gadgets
  • Camping Games
  • Camping Gifts That Aren’t Gear
  • Camping Snacks and Food

When choosing a gift for campers or any outdoorsy person, here are a few things to consider:

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  • Any gift, big or small, will be appreciated by an outdoorsy person
  • Practical and useful items and gadgets are always good gifts
  • Weight can matter
  • It doesn’t have to be expensive
  • Quality and durability are important, any camping gear needs to be able to hold up to abuse and natural elements


When you are looking at tents, you want to take into consideration the following:

  • How many people does it need to fit?
  • How easy is it to set up?
  • Is it durable?
  • What is the weight?
  • Is it meant for snow or rain?

Because we have lots of rain and snow, we get tents that are all season, but most people don’t camp in the snow. Weight is a consideration for us because we go backpacking and do not want to have to buy a different tent just for that. My husband has a Kelty two-person tent that has lasted over twenty years and our family tent is an Alps Mountaineering four-person tent that we have had for ten years. Both are in excellent condition. Coleman is also a good brand, very affordable, and durable. With tent camping, a moisture barrier/ tent footprint is a practical item to have, to keep water from seeping underneath like during the rainy season.

Hammock Camping Essentials

Hammock camping has become very popular because it can be easier to set up, and saves weight. This is a great way to camp, especially for older kids and single people. It’s not uncommon to see multiple hammocks set up for camping whenever we camp. Some hammocks come with a complete setup including a rainfly and mosquito netting. An under quilt is also recommended to have, for more cushion and as a wind barrier.

Coalatree Kachula Blanket – Great multi-purpose blanket that can be used as a camp blanket, hammock under quilt, sleeping bag and travel blanket

Sleeping Bags, Pads and Pillows

Having an adequate sleep system is a must-have while camping. When choosing a sleeping bag for camping, you want to consider the following:

  • Are you looking for a sleeping bag for camping, backpacking, or both?
  • Does the weight of the sleeping bag matter?
  • What size of a sleeping bag do you need?
  • Is the sleeping bag meant for all seasons or just the summer months?

When choosing a sleeping bag you want to take into consideration size, warmth, and weight for backpacking. Unless you plan on winter camping, a good three-season bag is perfect. You can also purchase a sleeping bag liner for extra warmth which will also extend the life of your down sleeping bag. Make sure to check the temperature rating of your bag. Besides a sleeping bag, you’ll want a sleeping pad and a camping pillow.

Camp Stoves

I am usually the camp cook and make a lot of our meals over the fire. But, for backpacking, fire-season, and big crowds, I like having a camp stove. For backpacking, there are alcohol stoves but I prefer gas because it takes longer to prepare food for a family and the alcohol stoves are more suitable for single-person cooking.


A durable cooler is a must-have for camping. It needs to be well made and able to take some abuse, as well as keep your food cold. Because coolers are often used as make-shift tables or for seating, look for a cooler that is fairly heavy-duty. A good cooler can last forever. We’ve had a few coolers that the outer plastic has busted, causing it to not keep food as cold as it should. Coolers do come in multiple sizes. That being said, we usually take two medium-size ones versus a huge one. We have two 54 quart Colemans. The big ones are nice, but are really have so they are harder to move. Here are some things to consider when buying a cooler:

  • What size do you you need for the number of people you normally camp with?
  • How many days do you normally camp?
  • Do you need a cooler with wheels?
  • How durable is the cooler?

Camping Kitchen and Cookware

A good cookware set and pans are important for camping. Everybody has a preference and the type of dishes and pans does matter. It depends on if you are backcountry camping, RV camping, or car camping and how many people you are feeding. It also depends on how you are cooking, if it is on gas or over a fire. I also really love sporks, they are perfect for any camping trip and less is more. And whatever you do, don’t forget the wienie roasters.

Cast-iron Cookware for Camping

When my husband and I first started camping, it consisted of roasting hot dogs and instant oatmeal. Now that we have a larger family, I cook big meals. My favorite way of camp cooking is with cast-iron, so much so, that I wrote the “Cast-iron Camping Cookbook”. Cast-iron is the ultimate must-have when cooking over a campfire. It is also very durable and I have pans that are over 100 years old. If you are using Dutch over for camping, it is best to get one with legs. If you are cooking with cast-iron over a fire, a shovel, leather gloves, and a grill are practical accessories to have.

Camping Cookbooks

It’s a running joke that I cannot stand hot dogs anymore while camping. We ate them for so many years that I just can’t anymore. Finding good recipes for camping can be a challenge, especially if you want to stay away from high-sodium freeze-dried or dehydrated meals. This year, a few new camping cookbooks came out, that would make excellent gifts.

Camping Gear and Gadgets

There are so many cool tools and gear for camping, that it is hard to narrow it down to just a few. So I decided to narrow it down to my family’s favorite and most-used items. Most items are under $20.

Camping Games

I like to keep a few games in our camping box or even one small game in our backpacking gear. We often do not have time to play games, but sometimes if the weather is bad, we’ll play something while we wait for the rain to stop. I also like to take with me at least one outdoor game to play, usually something that everyone can enjoy. Here are a few camping games I like to bring along that any camper would love.

Card and Board Games

Exit: The Game – The Sunken Treasure (perfect for rainy days inside a tent or road trip)
Exit: The Game – The Cemetery of the Knight (perfect for rainy days inside a tent or road trip)

Outdoor Camping Games

Camping Gifts That Aren’t Gear

For those who live and breathe camping or just really enjoy it, there are so many things to choose from. Everyone needs a camping hoodie and what about a camping cup or camping towel? Here are a few items that are fun for camping or campers.

Camping Snacks and Food

On any camping adventure, portable and non-perishable snacks are a must. Single servings are nice to fast because it’s quick and convenient. I have also added some of our favorite other foods that I like to take as well.

Do you have any ideas that you would add to your list? Any camper would appreciate and love anything on here, that would help them have a better camping trip. A great gift for any camper is usually essential camping gear, and maybe something fun is thrown in like a t-shirt. If you haven’t already, be sure to look at our other gift guides, including the ultimate gift guide for fishing and the hiker’s gift guide. And as always, be outside with no limits.

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