The Best Gifts for Campers

The tent-toting, backpack-wearing, ground-sleeping person in your life won’t be disappointed with any of these gifts.

Updated October 26, 2023

Three campers gather around a campfire outside a trailer.

For some folks, wandering ridgelines, gazing at the stars and brewing cowboy coffee at sunrise are part and parcel of a normal weekend. And those adventurers—who already have a closet full of gear—are often the hardest to shop for. That's why we've rounded up our favorite gifts that are sure to get them dreaming about thawing trails—from cozy, water-resistant blankets to reclining camp chairs that are perfect for spotting stars.

For the loved one who sleeps best under the stars, but needs a bit of protection, consider gifting them a nifty shelter: the Dragonfly OSMO 2P Tent from NEMO. The three-season backpacking tent will fit your giftee and one other sleeper in a snug embrace. And rain or shine, it has your giftee covered, thanks to a proprietary OSMO polyester nylon ripstop fabric that repels water and is made without PFAS. Gear pockets make organization a cinch, and wide doors make for easy in and out. It's lightweight enough for the backcountry but cozy enough for car camping.

This sleeping bag from REI Co-op probably deserves its own fan site, given its many customer accolades. "People come in asking for the Siesta," says Jenny Askey, a retail sales specialist at the REI store in Boulder, Colorado. "It's an outstanding bag, given its features and price point."

Though it costs less than comparable bags, the Siesta 20 doesn't skimp on comfort or versatility. It combines a roomy, rectangular shape with the hood of a mummy bag to help trap heat. The hood is spacious enough to accommodate a full-sized pillow from home or one of Therm-A-Rest's comfy camp pillows—because who says camping has to entail roughing it? Another stay-warm feature is in the stitching. Synthetic fill is secured using offset quilt construction, which stitches one sheet of insulation to the shell fabric and a second sheet to the lining using staggered seams that don't overlap. This design eliminates the cold spots that are common among single-layer baffles with stitch-through seams.

The bag also has two zippers that allow for some versatility in your sleep setup. The main zipper opens the bag completely and gives the option to zip it to a second Siesta sack to create a double bag for couples or co-sleeping kids. A shorter, secondary zipper allows the top of the bag to fold down like a bed sheet. "That improves comfort on warm nights or when sitting or reading in the bag," says Lauren Bowman, a senior product developer for REI.

With the spacious rectangular cut and the synthetic insulation (which isn't as compressible as down), the Siesta isn't the lightest or most packable option. Campers who are short on cargo space may find it too bulky when stored, says Diller McGrath, a sales lead at the REI store in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. The bag is most popular among car-campers who sleep in rooftop tents or vans where size and weight aren't concerns.

For the camping curious or the newbie adventurer, the REI Co-op Trailmade Backpacking Bundle is the ultimate present. It comes with three backpacking essentials—a three-season tent, mummy-shaped sleeping bag and self-inflating sleeping pad—for the budding outdoor enthusiast in need of the essentials. Plus, the bundle includes a footprint to protect the bottom of the tent from wear. Though it's lightweight enough for shouldering on backcountry trails, it's also a popular choice among car campers.

Maybe your giftee has borrowed your stove a time too many. Or maybe you're hoping they'll be inspired to wake up first to put on coffee in the morning. Whatever the reason, you can't go wrong with a Jetboil, a perfect prezzie for a camper or a backpacker. The Flash all-in-one cooking system combines a burner and pot that will bring a liter of water to boil in roughly 3 minutes and 20 seconds (but who's counting?). It's easy to pack with no folding parts and a push-button igniter, so it's always ready to go.

Equipped with more than 15 tools—including a corkscrew, bottle opener, can opener, scissors and tweezers—the Swiss Army Huntsman Knife is the gift that keeps on giving. A few people it's great for: The person who always misplaces their scissors; the amateur oenophile who enjoys a red blend in the backcountry; the giftee who already has everything (except a solid mult-itool); anyone in need of a stocking stuffer. And you, because "treat yourself."

Huntsman Knife

REI Adventure Trip

Shopping for the gear junkie in your life? Instead of adding another item to their collection, consider gifting them an REI gift card toward an REI Adventure trip. They can choose from guided hiking and camping treks in Bryce Canyon and a number of guided backpacking trips in places like the Great Smoky Mountains, Joshua Tree, Yosemite, Yellowstone and beyond. Some gifts have a shelf life, but the memories your giftee makes on their trip will last a lifetime.

Test Results: The NEMO Stargaze Reclining Camp Chair is the champion of car-camping chairs, boasting superior comfort, rock-solid stability and easy setup. The recently updated hammock-style seat makes for comfy lounging and helps eliminate pressure points—the perfect perch to kick back in and spot constellations after the sun dips below the horizon. Auto-reclining hardware lets you lean back and stretch out tired legs, while the supportive headrest (which got a thumbs up from taller testers) allows for hours of stargazing without giving you a crick in your neck. The redesigned Stargaze seat also has a slightly wider fit and more elbow room than past models, a subtle change that allowed testers to curl up comfortably after a day on their feet. "This is the kind of chair that I could spend an entire evening in," said one Wyoming tester after a spring trip to the desert. "Bring me my dinner right here and I'll rest happy."

Unlike rocking chairs, which inherently feel unstable on dirt or sand, the Stargaze features a low center of gravity and four legs that can be adjusted to match a variety of uneven surfaces, so you can gently swing (or not) without worrying about tipping over. One PNW tester set it up on a rocky shore along the Snoqualmie River and felt glued to the ground. Details like an internal stash pocket, an easy-access cupholder and breathable mesh fabric are each a cherry on top of this already feature-packed chair.

For all that, the NEMO Stargaze is surprisingly packable. At just under 8 pounds, it slides cleanly into a padded carrying case. It's not our top choice for hauling into a backcountry site, but it's easy to nestle it into a packed trunk or truck bed.

Bottom Line: A thronelike car-camping chair packed with user-friendly features and a spaciously redesigned seat, the NEMO Stargaze will be the envy of any and all nearby campers, day or night.

Warm, cozy friends make the best tentmates, so do yourself a solid and gift your camping partner this quilt. It's stuffed with insulation like a sleeping bag, making it a toastier option than a single-layer blanket. That doesn't mean high maintenance, though. Your giftee can toss it in the washing machine and dryer, which makes a Rumpl a great option for throwing on the dirt. And at just over 2 pounds (for the one-person size), it's easy to tote.

Test Results: Our testing samples of this mattress have seen a lot—we put them through the ringer to test the pad's ability to stand up to adventures that require hardier gear. We've thrown down on dirt and granite, to be sure, but also desert floors, truck beds and even a gravel parking lot. The pad was even included in a bounce-house-style melee among overeager testers confined to an REI Co-op Kingdom 6 during a Colorado squall that rendered other pads in need of repairs. And after all was said and done, the venerable Exped MegaMat 10 is no worse for the wear—the only perfect scorer in the durability department in our round-robin test.

The MegaMat 10 has a laminated top and bottom, making it far more durable than most inflatable pads. The 75-denier polyester bottom layer easily shrugs off dirt and other debris should you forgo the tent like one tester did on a rough-and-tumble night outside Moab, Utah. "There were cactuses everywhere, but my pad escaped unscathed," she reports. Of course, all that armor does come with a size penalty; the MegaMat 10 packs down to the size of a bag of doggie kibble (2 feet and change by 8 inches, or nearly double the size of the packed-up NEMO Roamer).

Still, the MegaMat 10 is light for its size. It weighs less than 5 pounds—awesome for campers who might schlep it onto a raft, lift it overhead into a roof-top tent or haul it in and out of the car every day on longer road trips. Credit its horizontal air chambers for shaving the ounces without affecting comfort—the MegaMat 10 is still nearly 4 inches thick. "I'm a side sleeper, and this is the first pad that doesn't make me wake up with a bruised hip," one tester wrote on her feedback form.

Bottom Line: If you want to hit the dirt for an adventure without hindering your beauty sleep, grab the mega-hardy Exped MegaMat 10.

Testing Stats:

  • Testing states: California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming
  • Best testing anecdote: Our Utah crew rolled into Moab on a busy holiday without reservations or ideas as to where to set up a dispersed camp. After aimlessly cruising Bureau of Land Management wilderness after dark, the group called it. "It was after midnight and we were exhausted, so we pulled over on the side of the road and threw our stuff into the dirt," says our tester. "I got a good night's sleep on the MegaMat, but I was less than thrilled in the morning when I awoke to a shrub in my face on one side and a cow on the other."

Give the gift of organization with the REI Co-op Pack-Away Bin. This spacious, collapsible polyester tub comes in two capacities—100 liters and 140 liters—to hold your loved one's gear. It's great for toting camp-kitchen items to the campground or for stowing outdoor tools and equipment during the off-season. Add additional structure to your storage by nesting a couple pack-away cubes inside (they make primo stocking stuffers).

Whether it's used as an overnight bag, a gym tote, or a just-in-case carry-on, duffels are downright handy. This bluesign-approved hauler from REI Co-op features daisy chains on both sides (great for lashing down a spare puffy or your kid's stuffed animal), an easy-to-grab contoured end handle and a pack-awayable shoulder strap. It also comes with a packing cube that's capable of stowing the duffel itself or can be used as an interior (underwear?) organizer. Bonus: The recycled polyester construction is abrasion- and water-resistant.

Up the cozy factor of your friend's camp setup with this two-person loveseat from Mountain Summit Gear. The double chair offers palatial seating for you and your friend (and even a medium-sized furry friend) to relax and unwind, whether you're enjoying a weekend in the wilderness or a movie night in your backyard. The chair's six legs and 15-pound steel frame make it sturdy. However, they do add some heft, so you wouldn't want to lug this far. It's a solid choice for the person who loves car and backyard camping.

For the friend who steals your camp chair, gift the Flexlite and a hint. This portable seat from REI Co-op is sturdy and comfortable enough for campfire lounging at a car campground or in the backyard but just small enough for backpacking service. It folds down into a neat bundle that's 15 by 4.5 inches (or about the size of a loaf of bread) and weighs less than 2 pounds. (Or go all out with the 1-pound Flexlite Air for the hardcore backpacker in your life.)

The do-it-all-hammock—that's what you get with the venerable ENO DoubleNest, the most versatile sling in test and an REI Editors' Choice Award Winner. Take it to the park or the campground. Set it up in your backyard if you'd like or toss it in your pack. The DoubleNest does it all.

It starts with an easy-breezy setup. Attach the straps (not included) to a couple of healthy tree trunks with a slip knot, then clip the DoubleNest to each with the affixed carabiners. Zhuzh the tension to your liking, then you're good to go in a matter of minutes. Not bad for a hammock that stuffs down to the size of a grapefruit.

Of course, the only thing better than hammocking is hammocking with a friend, and the DoubleNest has the most generous dimensions in our test. At 76 inches wide, this palatial sling fits a pair comfortably—and those XL dimensions also make the DoubleNest a bit more luxurious if you're hanging solo. If so, lie down diagonally across the thing to minimize the taco effect from the taller walls (it's 16 inches wider than the SingleNest) or try our testers' favorite position: perpendicular across the middle with your feet dangling off the side, like a captain's seat. "The taller wall gives you a perfect headrest," says one tester.

Other than that, the DoubleNest boasts all the hallmarks folks have come to associate with ENO hammocks: sturdy aluminum carabiners, easy storage and, new this year, ultrabreathable, 70-denier nylon taffeta called FreeWave™. FreeWave™ fabric is even softer and more breathable (read: crinkle-free) than its predecessor. And it's bluesign®-approved. "The only problem you'll have with the DoubleNest is deciding what color combination to choose," another tester says. "I've seen this product work as faux studio apartment couch, city park siesta swing and backpacking tent alternative." Buy here.

Bottom Line: The portable ENO DoubleNest is suitable for any adventure, but you don’t have to sacrifice comfort—it’s big enough for two.

Testing Stats:

  • Days out: 34
  • Testing states: California, Colorado, Georgia and Washington
  • Best testing story: Our Savannah, Georgia-based tester enjoyed relaxing in his backyard in the DoubleNest with "a book, a beer and a friend." When hanging alone, he discovered two important things: You can use the extra material to create a sunshade, and the attached stuff sack makes for an ideal "snack or ice cream holder."

Help your buddy feel like they've walked onto their very own Instagram influencer shoot by giving the gift of sparkle. One hundred high-efficiency LEDs adorn this 30-foot strand, offering eight brightness settings and six modes (solid light, fade in/out, strobe, flash and fire-crackle) for creating the perfect ambiance. At only 1.6 ounces, the REVEL GEAR Trail Hound might find its way into a backpacker's camp setup, too.

Puffies aren't cheap, but you can still grab this one from REI Co-op for about half the cost of others in our lineup. And you won't be making any extreme sacrifices for the price, either. The 650 Down Jacket is stuffed with 650-fill-power down, packs down small and comes in loads of sizes (including a kids' version and a infant/toddlers' version).

Fahlstrom says she reaches for the REI Co-op 650 Down Jacket when she has room to only bring one coat. "The key question for picking a jacket is, how often are you going to use it?" she says. This one handles decently on active pursuits as an outer layer (the shell blocks wind and is treated with a DWR coating) or mid layer (the insulation fluffs up well, even after being compressed into its own pocket). Katie Smyth, an REI merchant, notes that the jacket's fit is relaxed, not technical, but it still layers well.

Some reviewers noticed frayed seams over a year's time, and a few feathers popped out. Still, the 650 Down Jacket is a bargain for the price, and it's made with materials certified to bluesign criteria. Buy here.

Fuel your loved one's daydreams of warm-weather camping trips and outdoor barbecues by gifting them the YETI Hopper Flip 12 Soft Cooler. It's ideal for toting libations, snacks and other chilled items from car to camp. A wide, cushy strap makes for a comfortable carry, and a closed-cell rubber foam ensures your stuff stays cold. A leakproof zipper is just the cherry on top.

Ensure your loved one's camp coffee or cocoa stays piping hot with the REI Co-op Solid Graphic Camp Mug. The cup's double-wall vacuum insulation maintains the drink's temp (hot or cold), and a lid keeps your gift-getter's bevvy contained when they're shuffling around camp. Plus, the vibrant colors like golden olive and rust marsala brighten up any campsite.

Since it debuted in 1949, the Nalgene Wide-Mouth has become the trusty take-anywhere trail companion because of its Goldilocks weight, versatility and price. And the latest Nalgene Sustain uses Tritan Renew, a BPA-free material derived from 50% recycled content.

At 6.25 ounces, it's not the lightest in our bunch, but you'll appreciate the added durability on the trail. Made of sturdy plastic, the Wide-Mouth can take some serious bangs and drops (though it's not entirely crackproof). What's more: The wide cap loop allows for easy carrying and lashing. Clip keys onto it or attach it to a backpack, climbing harness or bear hang. It's not insulated, though, so don't expect it to keep drinks icy on hot hikes (plus, it will sweat).

But holding drinking water for outdoor adventures is only one of the hallmarks. The most multifunctional water bottle in our line-up, it can handle a liter of liquid, hot or cold. Fill it with boiling water and you've got a DIY warm compress to snuggle with on a frigid night. Or freeze water in it for a reusable ice pack for your cooler. Measurements on the side of the bottle also make it indispensable in the camp kitchen. Yet another hack: Insert headlamp in an opaque bottle and, voila, a lantern for instant ambiance. The hardest decision: which color or graphic to choose—or how to personalize it with your favorite sticker, or six. Buy here or here.

Sure, the Lite Recycled 6G Wearable Sleeping Bag from Selk'Bag is a touch ridiculous, but that's exactly why it's sure to be the most talked-about present at the holiday party! This wearable sleeping bag-complete with a hood, full sleeves, pant legs and zip-off booties-is oh-so-snuggly thanks to 150 grams of synthetic hollow-fiber insulation. It's also uber easy to move around in and made entirely of post-consumer recycled material fibers. The Michelin Man and your Mother (Earth) would be proud.