While we love spending time in the outdoors, we sometimes find it hard to justify buying ourselves new gear to take with us into the wilderness. It’s not that we don’t want or need it, but rather that – sometimes – spending cash on our regular day-to-day lives takes priority.
That same sentiment is a part of why we love the holidays; through gift-receiving we can get the gear we would otherwise not purchase for ourselves – and vice versa for gift-giving. So, if you know anyone that might benefit from and appreciate solid camping, hiking, or just weather-ready apparel, gadgets, accessories, or otherwise – you’re going to want to start right here on our list of the best gifts for the outdoorsman.
Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow
Whether in transit or the backcountry, Aeros lightweight and compact inflatable pillows will award you a comfortable sleep. This is a high performance pillow without the weight and bulk. The pillow case construction allows the outer shell to retain maximum softness while still being supported by a durable TPU bladder.
Esbit Folding Titanium Utensils
Tough enough to go with you to the ends of the Earth, but light enough to go unnoticed amongst the rest of your pack, the Esbit folding titanium utensils are the camp cook’s best friend. And since they’re made of titanium, that means they’re also easy to clean and corrosion and rust-resistant.
Soto Pocket Torch
Put a normal rectangular disposable lighter into the Soto Pocket Torch and you’ll turn it into a windproof fire-maker that lasts up to 60% longer, burns for up to 20 minutes, and creates a flame with a temperature of up to 2,300 degrees Fahrenheit.
BioLite SiteLight XL
Designed to give off a soft glow that won’t blind you like floodlights or a raging campfire, this collapsible USB-powered camping lantern weighs just 92 grams. It also comes with 15 feet of cord and can be attached to a daisy chain, as well.
Opinel No. 8 Survival Knife
While and EDC knife is a convenient and handy tool to have day-in and day-out, a blade can mean the difference between life and death in the wilderness. This one, from Opinel, features a weatherproof handle, a serrated saw blade, and even has an emergency whistle built into the handle – whether you scare off wildlife or to call for help.
SOG Camp Axe
If you’re hoping to build a campfire or put together a survival shelter, you’ll find the work much easier if you have a camp axe, like this one from SOG. It’s compact, lightweight, and durable – but it still packs a wallop.
Olight MX1 Striker Flashlight
Not only does this flashlight offer up an output of 0.5-1,000 lumens, it also has a toothed bezel for self-defense applications, can run for up to 360 hours, and has 5 optional illumination modes that range from a blinding flash to an SOS beacon.
Gerber Freescape Camp Kitchen Kit
You don’t have to stick to granola and MREs while you’re at the campsite, if you don’t want to. Go out there, catch a fish or do some hunting, and then bring your haul back and dress it with the Gerber Freescape Camp Kitchen Kit. It comes with a cutting board, two knives, has a built-in ceramic sharpener to keep your blades in tip-top shape, and has non-slip rubber feet for a stable surface.
Leatherman Skeletool RX Multi-Tool
In a pinch, a folding multi-tool can be your EDC gear savior. Especially if it happens to be the Leatherman Skeletool RX. This device was specifically designed to be used by emergency personnel and first responders and its 7 built-in tools (which range from knives to pliers and everything in-between) are tough, functional, and as reliable as they come. In fact, each Skeletool RX comes with a 25-year guarantee.
MSR WindBurner Stove System
If you’re off on a multi-day outing, you might want to bring with you something with which you can boil water – whether you like a morning coffee or you just want a way to purify the liquid. And you could do far worse than the windproof MSR WindBurner Stove System. Best part is, it’s not just for liquids – you can use it to cook food, as well.
MSR Flex 4 Cooking System
Regular pots and pans do not make for easy portability to and from the campground, but plastic containers can’t survive an open flame. Well, this excellent set of camping cookware is designed to pack into a format that’s as space-saving as possible, but can still be used for actual cooking.
Matador Hydrolite Packable Filtration Backpack
Hydration bladders are great for hiking the trails, but what happens when you run out of water? Normally, you’d have to head back to camp or civilization. With the Matador Hydrolite Packable Filtration Backpack, however, you just need to find a water source, fill it up, and go – the onboard water filter will kill more than 99% of all bacteria and protozoa and keep you healthy and hydrated. Then, when you’re done, just pack it down into about the size of a Nalgene water bottle.
Kammok Firebelly Trail Quilt
It can get cold out there at night – but that doesn’t mean you want to go through the trouble of climbing into a sleeping bag just to lounge around outside. Instead, this ripstop quilt is easy, quick, and more than tough enough to survive in the outdoors. And, if you do decide to take a nap, it converts easily into a minimalist sleeping bag.
Garmin GPSMAP 64s Worldwide Receiver
Since your cell phone likely won’t work out in the wilderness, every off-the-grid hiker should keep with them a GPS mapping device, like this one from Garmin. Not only will it help you map out your travels whether there are cell towers nearby or not, but it also has a full-color display, 8 gigs of RAM, and can work with multiple battery chemistries.
REI Co-op Quarter Dome Air Hammock
Pairing all of the best benefits and virtually none of the drawbacks of both camping tents and hammocks, the Quarter Dome from REI is the ultimate hybrid sleeper that will keep you up off the uncomfortable ground, but still protected from the elements. It’s also super easy to set up, take down and pack, and convert from an open-air hammock, to a bug-netted one, to a rainfly-covered one, and back again.
NEMO Stargaze Recliner Luxury Chair
At the end of a long day hiking in the wilderness, there are few things as great as sitting by the campfire and/or gazing at the stars. And wouldn’t you know it, this exemplary outdoor chair is built to do both. Designed for optimum comfort whether you are sitting up or leaning back, this might be the ultimate camping chair.
Danner Crater Rim Hiking Boots
Every outdoorsman’s best friend is a solid pair of hiking boots. Not only to they get you where you need to go, but they protect your feet from the elements in the process. And it’s hard to do better than Danner’s Crater Rim boots. They feature both Vibram and GORE-TEX tech, making them comfortable and waterproof, and they will likely last for longer than any other footwear you own.
Otterbox Venture 45 Cooler
The Venture series of coolers are literally some of the toughest around and were designed to compete with the likes of YETI and Orca. They can keep ice for up to 14 days, are built to take a beating, and even come with an included bottle opener and dry storage tray.
NEMO Riff 15 Sleeping Bag
If you like to spend your nights out in the wilderness, you’re likely going to need a good sleeping bag. And this one from NEMO offers up a wealth of benefits – including the warmth of a mummy-style bag without the cramped quarters, dual vents to release heat on warmer nights, and a rating of 15 degrees Fahrenheit (so you can even use it in the freezing cold).
Casio Protrek Smartwatch
Smartwatches are excellent companions for the tech-friendly individual. And this one is even better because – in addition to all of the normal things you’d expect like fitness tracking and app access – this one also features a comprehensive GPS system, can download topographical maps for offline use, and is even water-resistant to 50 meters.
Outdoor Research Infiltrator Jacket
Next to a pair of boots, a solid cold weather jacket is probably the most important piece of gear you own. If you don’t already have one, however, you can’t go wrong with OR’s Infiltrator – a lightweight, GORE-TEX-lined, weatherproof, breathable, and flexible shell. It can even fit body armor underneath it, if you need that level of tactical advantage.
2 Best Camping Gadgets
Though most tech might be better left in the safety of your home, there’s also a good subsection of stuff built to survive out in nature. Find the best of it here on our list of camping gadgets.