Having the right gear can make all the difference when camping. When shopping for camping gifts, take into account the way the person or people you’re shopping for camp. Tent campers will likely have different needs than RVers. Likewise, people who are into winter camping will use different gear than warm weather-only folks. This list of gifts for campers has ideas for friends and family who love any kind of camping – from fancy RVs to roughing it in the backwoods and everything in between.
When doing your shopping, you’ll also want to consider the level of camping experience your giftee has. Odds are that someone who has been camping for a while already has their own tent and sleeping bag, so unless they request a specific one, I’d shy away from buying something like that for an experienced camper. New campers, on the other hand, will likely need all of the basics because gearing up for your first trip can be expensive if you’re starting from scratch and need to buy everything.
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Camping gifts for cooking and eating
If you’re a frequent reader, you know that I’m pretty food-centric, so it should be no surprise that these food-related items are at the beginning of my camping gifts list. Camp food doesn’t have to be boring – I’ve had some legitimately delicious meals in a campground – and this gear will help make camp cooking fun and easy.
Campfire pie irons
We bought these back in the ’90s and they were legit one of the best camping purchases my parents ever made. They’re so versatile and some of our favorite camp meals can bee cooked right over the fire in them. Grilled cheeses, pizza sandwiches, and mini pies (made with canned pie filling for ease) all taste better over the campfire and these can be used over and over and over again.
Collapsible silicone pot/kettle
Space is often at a premium whether you’re packing your trunk for a tent camping trip or trying to fit everything into a tiny RV kitchen. This fantastic little pot/kettle combo is made of heat resistant silicone and can boil water for tea/coffee or cooking dinner and then pack down into a compact disk. It’s a great item newbies and experienced campers alike will love.
Collapsible marshmallow roasting sticks
If you keep reading, you’re going to notice that collapsible and compact are common themes, and that’s because space is so often at a premium. This set of extendable forks comes with a sassy “Roast ’em” pouch and will help your favorite campers enjoy that oh-so-perfect s’more at the end of the night.
Heavy duty cooler
Most campers who stay at campgrounds bring coolers with them for drinks and food items. You can get coolers in a wide variety of price points from cheap $20 ones that will hold ice for a day to Yetis that cost a small fortune. I like this 5-day rolling cooler by Coleman as a middle ground. We’ve used one just like this for years and it’s really cut down on the amount of ice we need to buy.
This brilliant product is absolutely perfect for anyone who wants to cook over the campfire but is short on space. It rolls up into a carrying pouch making it the perfect camping cook surface. This is a perfect solution if you’re looking for unique camping gifts that old pros might not already have.
An electric griddle probably doesn’t scream camping, but it’s honestly one of my favorite things we take with us. It obviously won’t work for backpackers, but it’s super useful for staying in a campground with an electrical hookup. We do breakfasts of pancakes, bacon, and scrambled eggs on it almost every camping trip and it’s super easy to clean up. This one even comes in different sizes depending on the number of people you need to cook for.
Stainless steel camp dishes
Tenters and RVers will love these stainless steel camp table sets that come with a high sided plate, bowl, silverware, and cup that can be stored in a dish bag. They’re much better than taking paper plates and plastic silverware and producing a lot of garbage. This set can be purchased individually or in sets of two or four for families.
Propane camp stove
Many campers and RVs have these built into them, so I’d recommend camp stoves like this for tenters more than RVers, but it’s a great way to cook if you don’t have time for a whole campfire (ie. If it’s raining or late in the evening.)
Mini multi-spice shaker
As I said before, camp food doesn’t have to be bland. However, hauling a whole spice rack with you to get your desired flavoring isn’t always feasible when camping. This little shaker has a variety of spices all together in one container so you can mix and match much more easily.
Campfire cooking tripod
This folding tripod can be set up over a fire pit for easy grilling over the fire. Alternative styles come with a stake that can be pounded into the ground next to it with a grill top that is suspended over the fire from the top.
Life Straw personal water filter
This is perfect for campers who really enjoy roughing it – your average RV fan or campground camper likely won’t have a need for it, but it’s great for multi-day backpacking trips and rough camping. The built-in filters protect the user from harmful bacteria and other things in non-purified water so that they can drink without having to boil it or use tablets out on the trail.
Keep in mind that experienced campers may already have most of these items, so unless they make specific requests you may want to reserve these for newbies.
Light blocking tent
Where has this been my whole life? Seriously. One of the biggest disadvantages of tenting for most of my life has been that it gets super light inside when the sun rises, and I don’t like to wake up when the sun rises unless it’s absolutely necessary. This new light blocking material will make it easier to sleep in in the morning and keep it cooler inside during the day.
I’ve always found air mattresses to be more comfortable than rolled or self-inflating mats. I loved my Coleman one until my dog decided to chew it up. If the one you choose to buy doesn’t come with its own pump, consider adding one to your gift so that your friends and family don’t pass out trying to blow it up.
Compact low-rise cot
If your giftee doesn’t like air mattresses, they may prefer an option like this. This super compact cot will provide comfort while keeping them off the ground and it folds down into a small stuff sack so it can travel easily.
The type of sleeping bag needed will vary based on the kind of weather your giftee likes to camp in. cold weather camping (yes, this is a thing!) will require warmer bags that are a bit more specialized. This is a good all-around option that will work for cooler nights in the spring and fall and isn’t too hot for the summer. It also comes with a handy stuff sack that makes hauling it around easy.
Foldable aluminum table
I remember the first time we saw these tables years ago – we thought they were the coolest things ever and immediately added one to our camping inventory. It fit perfectly in our pop-up camper’s trunk and added much-needed space when trying to cook for six people every night. It’s perfectly satisfying for both campers and gadget people.
Other camping gifts
You’ve reached the miscellaneous section full of the camping gift ideas that don’t really fit into the other categories. That doesn’t mean these items are any less useful though! All of these will come in handy on a typical camping trip.
This multi-purpose source of light is perfect for the modern camper. It can be used as a powerful flashlight for walks in the woods or just picking your way to the bathhouse at night and it has a lantern mode ideal for sitting around the picnic table at night or getting ready in your tent. Oh, and it has a USB charging slot so you can top off your phone. The flashlight itself is rechargeable too, so people like me who are perpetually forgetting batteries don’t have to worry about remembering if it takes Cs or Ds. This is another great option if you’re looking for unique camping gifts that your giftee might not already have.
This is another item I recommend for a variety of different situations because it can come in so darn handy when you really need it. It seals tightly enough that it can be submerged and still keep your gear dry, so it’s perfect for camping in rain or for the boating and water activities that have so frequently been a part of my camping trips over the years.
Solar powered string lights
Back in the day, we had to run extension cords up through the middle of our camper’s canopy, but nowadays solar powered lights make it easier than ever to brighten up campsites at night. These pretty LED droplets are perfect for throwing some extra light around the canopy or in a nearby tree so you don’t trip at night. There are other designs available that cast even more light if you want to be able to play cards or read by them as well.
Compact microfiber towel
I recommend this compact microfiber towel in almost every gift guide and packing list I write and there’s a good reason – it’s super convenient for traveling and camping and dries you off without taking up too much room in your luggage or backpack. Campers will love how small it is when folded down into its little pouch and how quickly it dries after hitting the beach or showering in the bathhouse.
Foldable dog bowls
I don’t think any human loves camping as much as dogs love camping. What could be better than a weekend in the outdoors with their favorite humans for our fluffy best friends? This set is perfect for doggie campers and comes with a bag to store dry food for the trip and collapsible lined fabric bowls for eating and drinking water.
Clip on tent lights
Have you ever tried changing clothes in complete darkness? Sure, it can be done, but you’re liable to end up with your shirt inside out if you’re not careful. These handy clip on lights can brighten up tents or anywhere outdoors with a spot to hang them. They’re perfect to keep in a camper or camping tub, and the multi-color pack is great to split up among kids so everyone can tell theirs apart.
Portable phone charger
As much as we want to get away from it all when we go camping, it’s also nice to be able to snap a photo here and there or look up nearby activities on your phone. This portable charger is my all-time favorite travel accessory and I’ve traveled the world with it in addition to using it in more mundane situations like being stuck at the mall all day Christmas shopping. It can charge my phone fully at least twice, so it should be more than enough to get someone through a weekend camping trip. Alternatively, check out this solar powered charger that can refill anywhere in the sun.
Collapsible dish pan
Returning to the space-saving, collapsible theme, this flat-packing dish bin will help campers in campgrounds wash their dishes more easily without eating up a lot of room. (This is probably not ideal for backpackers or backwoods campers.)
What could be better than lounging in a comfy hammock watching the clouds go by or reading a book? This super lightweight hammock made out of parachute nylon comes in a variety of colors and can be hung between trees almost anywhere. This one comes with the required tree straps unlike many varieties so you don’t have to go around chasing accessories to use it.
Biodegradable dish soap
You can get this in a variety of sizes, from tiny stocking stuffer sized bottles to larger, more expensive bottles. One of the nice things about camping is connecting with nature, so it’s good to have a way to wash your camp dishes in an environmentally friendly way. The smaller sizes make a perfect gift for backpackers and backwoods campers who may not have access to a sink at all.
Customized RV sign
Signs like these are super popular at campgrounds. There are a variety of sayings available with both standard text and customizable options. I particularly like this one since toasting marshmallows is one of my favorite parts of camping.
If you’re looking for other personalized travel gifts, check out my custom travel gear guide here!
First aid kit
This is admittedly not the most exciting gift you can give, but when it’s needed your friends and family will be thanking you from afar. I’ve gotten more unexplained scratches and scrapes while camping than any other time, and if you’re out in the woods or in a remote location it’s nice to have some minor treatment on hand.
Camping clothes and accessories
One thing that’s pretty consistent with any type of camping is spending a lot of time outdoors. These SPF 50 shirts will help protect from the sun while still allowing campers to stay cool in hot weather. The image and button go to the women’s version of the shirt, but you can view the men’s options here.
Campers know the magic of that special super cozy hoodie that maybe smells a little bit like yesterday’s campfire. They’ll be able to keep warm at night and show off their camping style with this perfect hoodie.
Happy camper shirt
There’s a wide variety of “happy camper” clothing available in outdoor stores and on Amazon. I like the pretty colors in this screen print, but there are so many designs out there that’s it’s worth searching around!
Perfect for camping babies, this cute little onesie will help deck out the whole family in camping gear.
Kids camping shirt
We’ve covered the adults and the babies, so here’s one for the kids. This unisex shirt comes in a wide range of sizes from 6 months up to 18-20 you can set the whole family up with matching shirts. This designer has several coordinating designs, so if identical prints are too matchy for your taste, you can get a few that look similar but aren’t what my teenaged self would’ve called “lame and cheesy.”
Camping humor shirt
Anyone who has ever tried to back their trailer or RV into a tight space will relate to this. Trust me. Especially if it’s dark and rainy out.
If you’re not a camper, this roughly translates to “I might not have washed my hair in a couple days and I definitely haven’t styled it.” 98% of my time spent wearing hats is when I’m camping because getting to there aren’t always convenient showers and if you’re out in the backwoods there’s probably nowhere to wash your hair at all. Bonus: Several of the colors this one is available in come with a ponytail slot so you can pull your hair through.
Other interest-specific gifts for campers
Depending on what your friends and family like to do, there are tons of other options for gifts that will come in handy while camping. Fishing is a popular camping activity, so tackle and other gear would be great with someone with those interests. Some people like to kayak at campgrounds by the lake, so accessories related to that would be helpful. We stayed at lots of campgrounds growing up with paved roads running through them, so a giant box of sidewalk chalk would keep us busy for hours. Squirt guns and beach floats are other great gifts because our camping frequently involved visits to the beach. Think about what the people you’re shopping for like to do or ask them about their pastimes and you might come up with some fantastic other ideas.
Don’t forget to save these camping gift ideas for later on Pinterest!