Ah yes, relaxing by campfire, sleeping under the stars with your loved ones, and having a good laugh with some friends – these are the things the camper on your list covets the most. But how do you know if any of the camping gift ideas you see are legit? This season, pick up the best camping gifts for the dirt-sleeper on your list with a pro-level guide.
These camping gift ideas spark so much joy, you’ll be itching to sleep in a tent…even if that thought has never crossed your mind.
I’ve been camping most of my life. This year, we sold our teardrop camper and picked up a pop-up camper. Even though I don’t sleep in a tent that often, I’ve come to find that there are some camping gift ideas that really elevate your camping experience.
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 Perfect Camping Gift Idea
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 rigorous 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 gift ideas
- 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 hoarder’s 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.
Pro Tip: Check out the “best for” category on this gift guide for helpful hints.
Each of the car camping gift ideas on this list can be used in several different ways, making it a versatile product that you’ll want to use.
However, there is a limit. 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. You want an item that provides 2-3 functions very well.
All of these are excellent examples of the ultimate car camping gift ideas.
The Secret to Discovering Excellent Camping Gift Ideas
Listen, there are a lot of camping gift ideas out there that look great on the surface, but the fact is, no one will use half of the stuff on camping gear lists.
There’s one thing that makes an excellent camping gift: Find the item on this list of camping gift ideas that your beloved camper would enjoy, but would never buy for themselves.
That makes the gift a real treat! Which is the key to amazing gift giving.
Amazing Camping Gift Ideas 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. & 2. 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 that 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’ve taken my Luci Outdoor Pro camping, backpacking and even overseas! The Luci Solar String Lights bring a portable (solar powered), festive mood to any camp.
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).
MSRP: $45, $50
Best for: Campers who like setting the mood or have a variety of lights and cute decor at home.
3. Bocci Ball
Games are a ton of fun while you’re hanging at camp, and Bocce Ball is always a hit. Since you can play virtually anywhere you camp, it makes for a fun-filled camping gift that you can take wherever. This set is pretty cool because it glows in the dark – meaning you can play as the night falls.
Best for: Families. Campers who like to play games.
4. 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
Best for: Eco-conscious campers. Families. Campers who like to meal prep.
5. REI Sahara Sun Hoodie
Is the camper on your list a sun bum? Then there is no better gift than the REI Sahara Sun Hoodie. Available in multiple colors and sizes, this incredible sun hoody protects from the sun’s rays while also keeping you cool. These incredible camping gifts are perfect for the whole family! Seriously, I love these sun hoodies so much I own three.
MSRP: $50 for men’s/women’s
Best For: Campers who enjoy sunny weather. Campers who also travel. Campers who enjoy spending time in the mountains, desert, or on the water.
6. 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…).
Best for: Families. Campers with a sweet tooth.
7. Learn to Camp for Free!
Gift the gift that keeps on giving, a mini-course that teaches you how to find drool-worthy campsites anywhere in the US completely for free! Learn the secret method to finding picture-perfect FREE camp spots. This one-hour course gives you my secret step-by-step method to find incredible campsites.
There’s even a BONUS for how to find free camping near national parks!
To gift, simply purchase the course and put in the email of the camper on your list at checkout. Then, follow up by sending a link to the course (provided after you pay).
Best for: Campers who are interested in getting off the grid and into nature.
8. 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.
Best for: Campers who squat to pee
9. REI Gift Card
Not sure what the best camping gift is? Don’t fret – everyone loves an REI gift card. REI is the go-to store for gear purchases thanks to their wide selection. So let them choose the perfect camping gift this year!
Pro Tip: You can also opt to support local shops, by searching for the nearest local outdoor gear shop near them and get a local gift card!
Best for: Any camper
10. & 11. 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.
Pro Tip: These are so popular they are hard to keep on the shelves, so order early!
MSRP: $28 to $40 for the 18L and $38 – $54 for the 22L
Best for: Campers who like to travel, hike, and bike
12. Hydroflask Food Jars
Take your meals on the go quickly and easily with the Hydroflask Food Jars. These seal-fresh food jars never leak and are crazy durable! The top-quality insulation keeps items hot or cool for hours. I’ve even put ice cream in mine (needs to be consumed within 12 hours). Perfect for the camp chef in the family!
MSRP: $40 for the 20 fl oz, $45 for the 28 fl oz
Best for: Camp chef. Meal preppers. RV/Van/Camper owners. Families.
12, 13, & 14. Quick Dry Towels by PackTowl
PackTowl makes an incredible lineup of quick-dry towels. These microfiber towels pack easily, dry quickly, and make quick work of wet messes. Not to mention they come in fun colors and patterns. The Beach size is perfect for recreation and bathing, while the body is great for travel too. The face is handy in the kitchen and cleaning up kids’ messes.
MSRP: $12 to $42
Best for: Any camper, especially those who camp near water, travel, or have kids.
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. These mid-priced camping gifts offer up durability and function. These camping essentials always make it with me on any basecamp adventure.
15. Eno Hammocks
Sometimes the best part about camping is hanging your hammock and reading a book in the filtered light. Eno hammocks are durable, lightweight, and totally packable – making them one of the top camping gift ideas out there.
Just don’t forget to also snag a set of the hammock straps. These specially designed straps help protect the trees.
MSRP: $50 plus straps
Best for: Campers who are in wooded areas. Families.
16. 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.
Best for: Music-loving campers
17. Sea to Summit Watercell in 10L or 20L
Packing and storing water while you camp can be a real nightmare. It’s heavy, cumbersome, and has some spill potential. What makes the Sea to Summit Watercell so great is its simple design and packability. Making quick work of carrying water in the car while you explore, the Watercell keeps your adventures hydrated.
One added bonus, is if the camper on your list is into backpacking. Some backpacking routes (particularly in desert environments) require you to carry extra water. The Watercell is lighter and more compact than the competiting backpacking dromedaries.
Best for: Campers who camp off the grid. Campers who go on road trips or backpack in desert environments.
18. 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.
Best for: All campers
19. & 20. The GSI Outdoor Knife Set and Crossover Kitchen Kit
Having the right (and durable) camp cookware set can make or break your camping experience. The combo of the GSI Outdoors Santoku Knife Set and the nForm Crossover Kitchen Kit give you everything you need to make virtually any dish in the outdoors. You can purchase as a combo or just one.
MSRP: $38 for the Crossover Kit and $35 for the Knife Set
Best for: Any campers
21. America The Beautifull Annual National Parks Pass
Give a gift that gives lasting memories with the America the Beautiful Annual Parks Pass. This is hands-down one of the best camping gifts out there. Inspire adventure with free 12-month access to all national parks, national landmarks, and national recreation areas.
Best for: Campers who love exploring national parks. Road tripping campers.
22. Sea to Summit Camp Plus Self-Inflating Mat
For a little luxury in the tent, consider upgrading to the Sea to Summit Camp Plus Self-Inflating Mat. This rectangular sleeping pad features 3 cozy inches of open-cell foam. You’ll get excellent insulation with a 4.3 R-value (that’s nerd talk for it keeps you very warm) and the rectangular shape ensures you’ll get a solid night’s sleep.
Best for: Campers who head out on their own. Campers who value the coziness of home.
23. REI Camproll Table
Having a packable camp table is a real life saver while camping. And a lot of campers don’t even think about bringing one! But once you have the REI Camproll Table, you’ll never go back. Say goodbye to old habits like eating in your lap, playing cards on the ground, and cooking out of the tailgate of your vehicle.
Best for: All campers. It’s a smaller size, so one may not be suitable for families.
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.
24. Therm-a-Rest Honcho Poncho
Got a cold camper? (Raises hand enthusiastically). Then they need the Therm-a-rest Honcho Poncho. This sleeping bag style poncho features enormous pockets to warm up those digits, an insulated hood, and lots of cozy fluff to keep you warm around camp. Think of it as a wearable sleeping bag – like a camper’s Snuggy. I seriously can’t take mine off once the sun goes down.
Best for: Campers who get cold easily
25. Cook it up GSI Bugaboo Cookset
GSI Outdoors makes camp cooking possible with their incredible lineup of cook sets. I can’t get enough of the Bugaboo Base Camper Cookset.
The non-stick coating lasts along bumpy roads and the pots and pans nest – seriously mine have been in use for five 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.
Best for: Any camper
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
26. Big Agnes Big Six Camp Chair
For all of the cheap camping chairs I’ve purchased in my lifetime, I could have easily paid for two Big Agnes Big Six 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.
Best for: Campers with smaller vehicles who need to save space.
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.
27. & 28. Big Agnes Diamond Peak 30 Sleeping Bag and Sidwinder 20 Sleeping Bag
Big Agnes is the highest quality sleeping bag producer out there – hands down. They have sleeping under the stars down to a science and these two speciality sleeping bags have changed the camping game.
Got a side sleeper on your list? Then the Sidewinder 20 is the bag to buy. It’s specifically designed for side sleepers with added hip insulation, a wider hip area, a unique zipper location, and a toe box that doesn’t get twisted when you turn at night.
MSRP: $300 for the Diamond Park 30, $280 for the Sidewinder 20
Best for: Plus-sized campers (Diamond Park) and side sleepers (Sidewinder)
29. The REI Co-Op Kingdom 4 Tent
Although I rarely camp in a tent these days, if I did, I would have the REI Co-Op Kingdom 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.
MSRP: $430 plus a $60 footprint
Best for: Small families. Campers with dogs. Larger campers
Don’t forget you’ll also need to pick up a footprint too.
30. BioLite Portable FirePit
One of my all-time favorite purchases has to be my BioLite Fire Pit. This portable fire pit takes camp wherever you are (trust me, it was handy during quarantine). You can even cook with wood or charcoal on this smaller portable pit. The rechargeable fan keeps the smoke away and the fire crackling. It’s relatively easy to clean and can be stored almost anywhere.
Best for: campers with small back yards. Campers who like to cook over wood or charcoal. Campfire lovers.
31. Sleep Like a Goddess with Exped MegaMat Duo
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.
Best for: Camping couples
32. 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.
Best for: Any campers
Each of these camping gifts creates the ultimate basecamp setup. Bring a little bit of luxury to your loved one’s next camping trip.