Ah yes, relaxing by campfire, sleeping under the stars with your loved ones, and having a good laugh with some friends. This season, pick up the best camping gifts for the dirt-sleeper on your list.
These camping gift ideas spark so much joy, you’ll be itching to sleep in a tent.
Now that I have a teardrop camper, I’ve elevated my car camping game by including fun luxuries such as twinkle lights and a memory foam mattress. The result? I simply cannot wait to get out of the house and sleep in the wilderness.
I am a full-time freelance writer for the outdoors. In fact, I regularly write gear reviews for national media outlets like Backpacker Magazine.
As such, I have an insider’s look into the best camping gear. I’m also deep in the nerd woods on this one. Seriously, I know so much about gear it’s (almost) sad.
*A quick note: This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you click a link and purchase something, I get a small kickback at no added cost to you (you get honest gear recs and I get to keep this website going).
Please note that I NEVER recommend any products before testing them out, beating them up and fully vetting their capabilities. You can read more about my affiliate policy here.
About this Guide to Finding the Perfect Car Camping Gifts
This isn’t your average camping gear guide. As a seasoned outdoor writer, I’m not going to recommend gimmicky car camping gear that doesn’t stand up to a rigurous amount of tests.
I’ve used all of these products thoroughly, which is why I recommend them as camping gift ideas. Here’s what you’ll find:
- What to look for when buying camping gifts
- The best camping gifts for any outdoor lover
- Budget-friendly camping gifts
- Additional gear resources from the professionals
What to Look for When Searching for Camping Gifts
When it comes to car camping, there is a lot of gimmicky gear. It can be easy to get weighed down with tons of useless knick-knacks that will have you feeling like you’re at a hoarders convention instead of actually stepping away from things and getting into the wild.
The key to finding amazing camping gifts is practicality and multiple-functions. Look for things that can be used for more than one activity, or more than one purpose.
Each of the car camping gifts on this list can be used in several different ways, making it a versatile product that you’ll want to use.
Be wary of something that claims to be everything such as a 50-gadget pocket knife. Instead, look for practical car camping gifts like pots with lids that double as strainers.
Or how about safety equipment you can make into a couch? A speaker that you’ll use at home too?
All of these are excellent examples of the ultimate car camping gift idea.
Amazing Camping Gifts for Under $50
Here’s a look at an incredible lineup of camping gift ideas for under $50. These gifts provide ambiance, function, and fun to any basecamp. Keep these must-have camping essentials in mind for the adventurer on your list.
1. Set the Mood with Luci Lights
MPOWERD, a benefit corp (meaning they are socially and environmentally responsible and transparent) has an excellent lineup of lighting that makes for excellent camping gifts.
Their Luci Outdoor Pro is a solar-powered, inflatable light also comes with a USB charger.
I immediately fell in love with Luci. Not only with the company’s thoughtful stance on sustainability – they distribute these handy LEDs to folks who don’t have electricity across the world – but they are also super handy for any situation.
Luci products make an excellent camping accessory that gives back to communities.
I love to string them up around camp and even while I’m on the go (seriously, I brought them to Belize just to dance at night near palm trees).
2. Eco-Friendly Kitchen Storage with Stasher Bags
I seriously cannot get enough of my silicone, reusable Stasher bags! They are simply the best things since sliced bread.
These all-silicone bags work wonders if you like to meal prep before you camp. Just dump your ingredients in the bag, seal and go.
What makes these some of the best car camping gift ideas is that you can use them for virtually anything else in your life.
Not to mention they eliminate the need for plastic baggies! They come in all different sizes and I love my sandwich and snack sizes. Other uses include:
- Fill with water and freeze for mess-free ice.
- Boil your leftovers in the baggies for no-mess meals.
- Rinse out easily and re-fill ’em with your favorite trail snack.
MSRP: $10 – $20
3. S’more Skewers
Do you dream of the perfect gooey s’more? I’m a burnt mallow gal myself (yummy, crispy carbon) and there’s something about the Rolla Roaster sticks that make this campfire tradition special.
When a friend whipped out a set of these on a car camping trip I thought it would be a novelty, but they are actually insanely helpful.
The sticks extend and you can spin the forks with the whirl of a small wheel near the handle, ensuring your sugary treat is toasted to perfection.
So are you a burnt mallow person or lightly toasted? Keep in mind, I’ll judge you if you answer wrong (totally kidding…maybe…).
4. Pee Freely with Kula Cloth
I’ve been a huge fan of Kula Cloth for years. This handy, anti-microbial pee cloth is a must-have for anyone who squats to pee. Seriously. Even at a campground Kula Cloth’s come in handy.
The concept is quite simple; go number one and wipe with the cloth. Snap it around your tent or on your day pack to dry in the sun. The anti-microbial fabric makes it safe to use time and time again. Ideal to pair with a pee funnel too.
5. REI Flash Pack
If you’re looking for a go-to day bag, the REI Flash Pack 22 is it. Honestly, I haven’t found a day pack that I don’t love more than my REI Flash 22. I’ve taken it up mountains, on multi-pitch climbing routes, overseas, on leisurely camping trips and everywhere in between.
The 22L model has side mesh and a top pocket for simple storage. The 18L version is more basic, with a side zipper and main compartment. Hydration bladder compatible and highly packable, this is a must-have camping gift for any adventurer.
MSRP: $28 to $40 for the 18L and $38 – $54 for the 22L
Must-Have Camping Gifts Ideas for Under $100
If you’ve got a little extra cash to spend, or you’re searching for that special someone. This mid-priced camping gifts offer up durability and function. These camping essentials always make it with me on any basecamp adventure.
6. Cook it up GSI Cooksets
GSI Outdoors makes camp cooking possible with their incredible lineup of cook sets. I can’t get enough of the Dualist HS Cookset.
The non-stick coating lasts along bumpy roads and the pots and pans nest – seriously mine have been in use for nearly four seasons. The non-stick makes cleanup a breeze.
Long gone are the days of using old aluminum cook sets. This set has vented lids so you can easily drain pasta or cook water in a jiffy. Essentially all of my friends own a set of these, they are literally that amazing.
7. Bring some funk to your trunk with Altec Lansing
Typically, when I’m out with friends we hardly use a portable speaker. However, when my good friend Sarah and I are cooking, we like to keep the camp kitchen dancy. I also enjoy some soft music when I’m camping solo.
However, we never blast the tunes (seriously, be respectful of your neighbors) but if you need a little beat to spice up the evening, don’t hesitate to pick up an Altec Lansing LifeJacket 2.
At the time of this post, this bad box only costs $70 – which is a STEAL considering this Bluetooth speaker can withstand being dunked underwater, rained on, snowed on and defeat dust and sand.
I’ve actually got two speakers like this, one for home and one for life on the road. I’ve beaten the crap out of my LifeJacket and it’s still as good as new.
8. Stay Covered and Cozy with Rumpl
I don’t leave for camp without my Rumpl Blanket. The Rumpl Original Puffy is essentially a sleeping bag in blanket form, it goes with me everywhere.
The Original Puffy is a long-time fave and provides ample warmth. The down and sherpa blankets are also cozy with a dash of luxury.
My friends often argue with who gets to snuggle up with the Rumpl. It’s a well-loved blanket that’s perfect for a fireside snuggle sesh, as a picnic blanket, or a fluffy bed for your four-legged friend at night.
MSRP: $100 and up.
9. The Primus Campfire Prep Set
Okay, this year I became a total Primus convert. After YEARS of using cheap cooking utensils and aluminum plates for the 1960s, I’ve FINALLY updated my camp kitchen.
The Primus Campfire Prep Set gives you everything you need to cook up any delicious dish. I really love the cheese grater and knife. The complete kit bundles up nicely, making it easy to grab and go for any camp setup.
Camping Gift Ideas for Under $200
Maybe you’re looking for the perfect camping gift that’s a little spendy, but oh-so-worth it. Don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place. This must-have list of camping gear brings camp to life and features durable, usable, loveable pieces of gear they will never leave home without.
10. Relax in style with a camping couch by Metolious
I’m going to let you in on a little secret, bouldering crash pads make excellent camp couches! That’s right, you can build a couch with a cooler and a crash pad. In fact, bouldering crash pads come in handy for more than just protecting yourself while climbing pebbles.
My dog loves to lounge on my Metolius Session II Crash Pad. It’s my favorite desert camping accessory because I can quickly pack it up, strap it to my back, and wander to the nearest climbing problem around camp.
It isn’t the cheapest lounger on the market, but if you already like to climb, then it’ll make a perfect addition to your climber’s base camp.
For more camping know-how, check out these posts:
- How to find free camping anywhere in the USA
- The best free campsites near Denver
- 22 tips to master desert camping
- Your Guide to Car Camping
11. Big Agnes Mica Basin Camp Chair
For all of the cheap camping chairs I’ve purchased in my lifetime, I could have easily paid for two Big Agnes Mica Basin Camp Chairs. This is the best camping chair out there. Period.
It’s cozy, it’s lightweight (you can even take it backpacking), and it packs down to nothing. A quick grab-and-go to toss it in the car along with all the other car camping gear and it’s off to the campsite.
Since it’s so lightweight, you may want to put it upside down on a windy night, but otherwise it’s the only camping chair worth having.
Luxury Camping Gift ideas for $200 and Up
For my spendy friends, don’t worry, there are plenty of incredibly awesome camping gifts for over $200.
Some of these items are absolute musts for the ultimate camping set up. Perfect for that really special gift this year, the camper on your list will see years of use out of these top-notch gifts.
12. The REI Co-Op Grand Hut 4 Tent
Although I rarely camp in a tent these days, if I did, I would have the REI Co-Op Grand Hut 4 tent. It’s roomy, it’s simple ever to set up, and you can even fit a pack-n-play with room to spare.
Campers love that you can stand up inside the tent, a necessity while car camping, especially with a family. The Grand Hut fits a queen size mattress with room for more.
Don’t forget you’ll also need to pick up a footprint too.
MSRP: $300 plus a $40 footprint
13. Camp Chefs Will Love the Primus Tupike Stove
For my entire life, I’ve car camped with an ancient Coleman stove from 1972 that constantly burned my food. Then I became a Primus convert.
The Tupike offers superior temperature control which lets me cook gourmet meals at camp. I’m not kidding, it’s almost better than my stove at home.
I love that the Tupike comes with lockable legs, an easy-to-assemble gas connection, and two incredibly powerful burners. Not to mention, you’ll get an awesome aluminum griddle that’s perfect for toasting bagels or grilling up some brats.
14. Sleep Like a Goddess with Exped MegaMat
If you want the absolute best of car camping luxury, look no further than the Exped MegaMat Duo 10. This plush sleeping pad sleeps two making it one of the best camping gifts for couples.
It’s got 4 inches of purely amazing insulated comfort which means you won’t even notice that you’re sleeping on the ground!
Added bonus? The regular size fits nicely in the bed of a Tacoma and most Subaru hatchbacks (definitely measure before you buy). Now there’s a night’s sleep to get excited about!
MSRP: $429. Spendy, but worth every penny.
15. Grizzly Coolers
Are you looking for a stout cooler that will keep ice for over 24 hours? Then check out the 40L Grizzly Cooler. It costs nearly $80 less than a Yeti, and works exactly the same.
This bad mamma can hold ice for over 24 hours and keeps food cool even when it’s blazing hot out. I’ve put four days’ worth of food and drink in this cooler without much of a fuss.
It doesn’t leak and if you put a few master locks on the end, it’s bearproof. Oh, and you can get the cooler in almost every color under the sun which is a nice plus.
Each of these camping gifts creates the ultimate basecamp setup. Bring a little bit of luxury to your loved one’s next camping trip.