The Best Stocking Stuffers for Campers and Hikers

Shopping for a camper or hiker this holiday season? Fill their stocking with all the best stuff to get them back out on the trail in safety and comfort.

Photo by Anatoliy Gleb
Published on

Camping, backpacking, and hiking gear can be expensive and inaccessible. Personally, I won’t buy things that don’t seem 100% necessary to me—like my tent, sleeping bag, and dog. But with winter holidays coming up, it is a great time to start the hunt for the perfect gift for those who want to escape city life and head to the mountains. So here is a list of some of the things I would love to receive as a gift (if you want to send me something I won’t be mad about it)!

An array of camping gear including lanterns, cords, a coffee pot, a knife, and cooking equipment sit outside an orange tent

A Camping Pillow

Camping pillows make the experience so much nicer at the end of a long day hiking and setting up camp. A pillow isn’t as necessary as a sleeping bag or a perfectly-fitting pair of hiking boots. They also can add a few extra ounces of weight to a pack, and when everything you need is on your pack every ounce counts. Some people prefer to use a rolled-up jacket or item of clothing to save weight and money. But if someone handed me a camp pillow that is lightweight and fits easily in my pack, I would take it in a heartbeat! Like I said, there is nothing bad about getting a better night sleep on the trail. The Exped AirPilllow UL Pillow weighs 1.6 ounces and packs up to fit in your pocket. Easy to set up and roll back up, this pillow is a dream to rest your head on.

A Trowel

Many have renounced trowels for the extra weight and space it takes in a bag. You can use a trekking pole or tent stake or a rock to get the job done instead. But after the coffee sets in you and you need to go quick, having a trowel to dig a six-inch hole is so efficient and quick. I was backpacking with a friend when we took a wilder-pee break. My friend came back a few minutes after me and said she dug a hole with her hands because she didn’t have a trowel or stake and couldn’t find a rock (don’t tell her I told you guys). The TentLab The Deuce #2 UL Backcountry Trowel weighs just 0.6 ounces and doesn’t take up much space. It makes going a lot nicer than having to dig a hole with your hands.

A Lantern

A lantern glows in the darkness

Lanterns are a great way to make a campsite feel cozy and add a bit of extra light when headlamps aren’t quite doing it for you. Headlamps are great for camp because they are hands-free and allow you to easily move around without losing light. At a campsite though, a lantern can do that just as easily. Or if you’re snuggly in your tent and want to spend a few minutes reading before getting some quality shut-eye, a lantern is a solid way to go. The Luci Color Essence lantern is a solar-charged lantern with soft colors cycling through. It packs down small and weighs 4.41oz. My friend brought it on a camping trip and lit it up in our tent every night with some sleepytime tea—it was a lovely experience.

A Camp Chair

A camp chair is a luxury. When backpacking, camp chairs are too heavy to carry long with you when you can simply pull up a rock or log or just sit right down on the ground—which is what I generally opt to do. But when you’re sitting on rocky terrain or ticks are climbing all over you, a camp chair is a simple piece of furniture to hang around in next to a campfire. And for car camping though, why not bring it along? The Travel Chair is easy to set up, budget friendly, attaches to your bag, and is a nice spot to rest your tuchus down to play some guitar, have a beer, and make some s’mores.

A Camp Coffee Press

A French press coffee maker and a blue mug rest on a log with a lake and trees in the background

Let’s talk about coffee. I don’t drink coffee (more of a tea lady myself), but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the love other people have for coffee. Waking up in a tent on a brisk morning with coffee in hand is true happiness, or so I’ve been told. The MSR WindBurner Coffee Press is simple to use and can make up to a liter of coffee—although I wouldn’t suggest you drink a liter of coffee at a time, but listen to your own body for that. Whether you take it black or want some sugar (or my best friend’s favorite—cacao powder), this coffee press will get the job done and give you that easy pick me up to start your day.

A Quilt

An extra blanket or quilt that doubles as a sleeping bag is a great item to have for extra-cold nights or for lounging around camp. They bring an additional layer of coziness to the great outdoors. The RAB Wilderness can zip up to be a sleeping bag or used as a blanket. It has a temperature rating of 20 degrees and is great for those trying to keep any additional weight low. An outdoors blanket or quilt is great for camping, stargazing, or picnicking on. Many are machine washable and easy to care for.

A Camp Mug

I have three camp mugs, and I kind of want more. One of them was gifted to me, one I bought in Durango, Colo., and one I “borrowed” from my best friend. They are all insulated to keep my beverages warm, but I also use them for oatmeal or soups or really any meal. They do tend to be heavier and clunkier, but there is something magical about holding a mug with hot tea in it. The Stanley Big Grip Camp Mug is insulated to keep your drink hot all morning (if not longer) and has a great handle to hold. For backpacking however, I would recommend a titanium pot that doubles as a mug to keep your weight down and free up some space in your pack for any splurge item I’ve listed here.

AllTrails Subscription

An array of maps are spread out and overlapping

AllTrails is a fantastic app—look into it my dudes. With a subscription, you have access to everything the app has to offer and maps of every trail you can think of. They have an annual or three-year plan you can purchase with great benefits. Mostly however, you can download trails and use the map when you are offline. I highly recommend this app. If you don’t want to pay for the subscription, you can still use the app to research hikes, see photos, and read reviews other hikers have written about the trail.

A Multi-Tool

A multi-tool is so handy. The Gerber Dime Multi Tool has scissors, a knife, a file, tweezers, bottle opener, pliers, and more. It is made from stainless steel, super durable, and easy to store in your pocket. I’ve been on the hunt for a multi tool for a while, so hit me up through my link if you have any recommendations!

These are just some of the gifts I and your camp/hike-loving friend of family members would love to bring along with them on a camping trip. Whether they are seasoned pros or looking to start camping, these gifts will surely bring a little bit of home and a big smile to the trails. These items will no doubt offer some comfort to the beautiful outdoors. Reach out to me for any other recommendations, gift suggestions, or to chat it up about all things camping and hiking. And if you are feeling extra snazzy, feel free to ask me what I want for the holidays this year (hint: it is all of the above).

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Written By
Although I've been hiking for most of my life, I didn't start backpacking and camping until college when I joined the University Outdoors Club at my school. My first backpacking trip was ambitious, the Batona Trail in the Pinelands in New Jersey done in two days. To do that, we had to walk a maratho...

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