What are the best camping gifts? Take your pick! Our list includes a cozy pillow, lightweight fillet knife, indispensable water filter, spectacular binoculars and the latest in outdoor tech. Give the gift of lasting warmth with premium long underwear or encourage a loved one to try something new with a backcountry bidet—besides standbys like sleeping mattresses, stoves and tents.
We’ve got suggestions for just about everyone.
Air Head Down Pillow
$59.95–72.95 USD | thermarest.com
This luxurious pillow packs into a fist-sized package, so there’s no excuse to not get a good night’s sleep on the trail. As its name implies, the Air Head combines an inflatable bladder (that can be fine-tuned for perfect support) with soft and cozy down. The regular size is perfectly adequate and works best with hooded, mummy-style sleeping bags.
Stowaway Folding Fillet Knife
$40 USD | toadfish.com
If you’re planning to catch and eat fish on a paddling trip, a fillet knife makes the cleaning process infinitely easier and less wasteful compared to using the stiffer, thicker blade of a bushcraft knife or multitool. The Toadfish Stowaway Folding Fillet Knife slides easily into your kitchen kit or tackle box, without the bulky sheath of a fixed blade. The titanium coating on the carbon steel blade (available in seven- or eight-inch sizes) and stainless steel components resist rust.
GoSpa Collapsible Travel Bidet
$24.95 USD | brondell.com
Here’s a Christmas gift that may come as an unexpected surprise: a portable bidet that will virtually eliminate bulky TP from your favorite camper’s kit. Though it may seem weird at first, the majority of people on the planet use bidets on a daily basis, and once you give it a try you’ll never go back. The Brondell Collapsible fits in a pocket and generates plenty of water pressure to keep you clean in the wilderness. Of course, eliminating toilet paper also reduces your environmental footprint in the backcountry.
$89.99 USD | solostove.com
Solo’s midsize twig stove, the Titan, strikes a good balance between portability and cooking power, with the ability to handle larger pieces of wood for longer burn times and greater cooking versatility. Twig stoves allow you to travel lighter, farther and with less environmental impact than canister and liquid fuel stoves. Solo Stove has mastered the twig burner, with a double-wall design that minimizes smoke and accommodates a two-liter pot, making it a good choice for tandem backcountry travel.
Hubba Hubba 3 Tent
$629.95 USD | msrgear.com
MSR’s Hubba Hubba is a long-proven standard for three-season backcountry travel. The three-person model offers 39.5 square feet of floor space, weighs less than four pounds, and uses the tried and true two-door, two-vestibule architecture of the popular two-person Hubba Hubba. Couples, young families or solo travelers with a dog can’t go wrong with this spacious and well-made tent.
$249.95 USD | exped.com
Looking for the warmest sleeping pad? The Exped Dura 8R provides comfort to -40°C, with 700 fill power down insulation offering an R-value of 8 (nearly double the value of four-season mattresses from other brands). Plus, it has a modest pack size and weight of around two pounds. Exped has also created an ingenious inflator bag that allows you to fill the mattress in under a minute. Besides offering supreme backcountry comfort, the 3.5-inch-thick Dura 8R also works as a spare bed for house guests. Multiple sizes are available.
Woolies Pro Tech Base Layers
$99–190 USD | ibex.com
Ibex takes the wonders of merino wool and makes it even better with its Pro Tech lineup of base layers. The brand claims that Nuyarn spinning technology makes underwear tops and bottoms 8.8 times more durable than conventional merino garments, with greater thermal efficiency and far more elasticity to resist wear. Boxer briefs, three-quarter-length and full-length bottoms, and crew and quarter zip tops are available for men and women.
Defy Satellite Link
$149.99 USD | motorolarugged.com
It was only a matter of time before tech giants started adding satellite communication capability to smartphones. While Apple introduced a satellite-based SOS function to its iPhone 14, Motorola recently launched a key fob-sized satellite communicator that pairs by Bluetooth with newer Android and iOS phones to enable two-way communication, mapping and emergency rescue for backcountry users. The Motorola Defy Satellite Link (available in the U.S. and soon to be released in Canada) allows you to keep in touch when you venture beyond cell phone range and summon emergency rescue. Motorola’s service plans are significantly cheaper than competitors like SPOT and Garmin.
QuickDraw Microfilter System
$49.95 USD | platy.com
The Platypus QuickDraw bridges the gap between high-volume gravity fed, group-style water filters and simpler (yet often slower) filters for solo or two-person use. The QuickDraw filter element fits inside a toilet paper roll and comes with a one-liter bladder for scooping dirty water. Minimal hand pressure squeezes the water through the filter and into your water bottle, in a process similar to squeezing toothpaste from a tube. You can’t go wrong in a package that weighs less than a chocolate bar and removes bacteria and protozoa (including nasties like giardia, e. coli and cryptosporidium).
$314 USD | mavenbuilt.com
U.S.-based Maven has quietly emerged as one of the world’s premier brands for outdoors optics, including binoculars and scopes, with a quality that belies its direct-to-consumer value price list. Maven’s compact, mid-range C.2 binoculars feature excellent Japanese optics for a crystal clear view in a rugged, waterproof and lightweight package—perfect for paddlers who like to observe birds and wildlife. The 7x version is more stable for handheld viewing, with a brighter view.
Feature photo: Kaydi Pyette