We didn’t have much money in those days, but these outdoor adventures in the Appalachian Mountains fueled in me a passion for nature and exploration that drives me to this day.
But while experiences may be the greatest gift you can give, there are also certain camping gifts and hiking gifts that can help make those adventures more enjoyable.
So we decided to come up with an extensive list of cool camping gift ideas, including some great gift ideas for hikers and backpackers as well.
Read on for our guide to the Best Camping Gifts & Hiking Gifts for 2022-2023, including all the best tents, backpacks, sleeping bags, camping cook gear, hiking boots, tech, and tools.
Best Camping Gifts and Hiking Gifts Guide
- Best Tents
- Best Backpacks
- Best Sleeping Bags & Blankets
- Best Hiking Boots & Walking Shoes
- Best Camping Cooking Gear
- Best Tech & Tools
- Miscellaneous Gear
READ MORE: The 15 Best Campgrounds in North Georgia
Kelty Discovery Trail 3 Tent
With an MSRP under $140, it’s one of the most budget-friendly cool camping gifts for beginners and casual campers. Yet the 3-season tent is also durable enough for the Blue Ridge Mountains backcountry.
The “Quick Corners” design element of the free-standing dome tent makes it quick and easy to set up, with a fairly light weight (5 lb, 7 oz) and 45.92 feet of floor space.
It also offers pre-attached guylines for improved stability in windy conditions, internal storage pockets, and a Shark Mouth carry bag for ease of portability on hiking trails.
Klymit Cross Canyon 3 Tent
The 3-season tent weighs 7.6 pounds, packs down to 20 x 7 inches, and offers a decent amount of floor space (44 square feet) and headspace (52 inches).
The design of the freestanding tent is fairly basic, with one entry door, rectangular shape, and aluminum poles holding it all together.
But you’ll love the interior storage options (3 overhead and 2 corner pockets), the exterior storage area provided by the vestibule, and the Cross Canyon mat, which turns into a roll-style stuff sack.
Stoic Madrone 4 Tent
We don’t often recommend buying camping gear at bargain basement prices, unless you’re on an extremely tight budget. All too often, cheap tents use cheap materials that don’t perform well in inclement weather.
But if you’re shopping for an inexperienced camper who may or may not enjoy “roughing it,” the Stoic Madrone 4 is a cool camping gift idea with an MSRP of under $75!
Weighing in at 7.8 pounds, the 4-person, 3-season tent is designed for family camping trips. It features a simple set-up, reliable protection from the elements, and a mesh ceiling that’s perfect for stargazing.
On the downside, the interior seems a bit small for 4 people, and we’d recommend buying a better footprint for it. But it’s really a solid family tent for the extremely low price.
Tentsile Ocean UNA Tent
We’ve been fans of the cool camping gear from Tentsile for years and consider popular tents such as the Connect and the Stingray some of the most innovative in the outdoor industry.
They’ve done it again with their Ocean UNA Tent, which was named Best Outdoor Product of 2022 by Gear Patrol. It’s an eco-friendly update on their classic UNA design, using fabric made with 2.79 lbs of reclaimed ocean plastic.
The unique design uses a 3-point anchor system to suspend the flat hammock tent off the ground, with a double-layered floor so you can use a sleeping pad between them for added warmth/comfort.
There’s also a rainfly to keep you dry, an external underfloor storage net, and several internal mesh pockets. Best of all, the tree tent weighs just 5.1 lbs, and you can ditch the ratchet to make it even lighter!
White Duck Regatta Bell Tent
But if you’re looking for a glamping-style tent made from durable 8.5 oz Army Duck Cotton Canvas (with a water repellent, mold- and UV-resistant finish), it’s a cool camping gift for couples who love the outdoors.
This rugged tent is built to last, with galvanized steel poles, sewn-in PE groundsheet, and silicone-coated 5″ & 6″ pre-cuts so you can even add a stove.
We love that it has 3 windows, 4 roof vents for improved air circulation, guy rope tension adjusters, and comes with its own toolkit to help make the tent easier to set up.
Able Carry Max Backpack 30L & 5.11 Tactical Eldo RT Pack
Like most experienced hikers, we have an array of backpacks we use for different purposes.
Full days on the trail require a larger bag with more storage, but we’re most often doing day hikes, where a simple day pack will suffice.
It’s large enough to hold a 17″ laptop, with foam shoulder support and ventilated back pads for a comfortable carry.
Our faves include rear access to the rolltop main compartment, a suspended padded laptop sleeve, two internal mesh pockets, breathable back panel, ergonomic shoulder straps, drain holes, and numerous hooks and loops for accessories.
READ MORE: 15 Helen GA Hiking Trails Worth Exploring
Cotopaxi Tarak 20L Backpack & Eagle Creek Explore Transit Bag 23
Cotopaxi is one of our favorite outdoor brands because they make durable camping and hiking gear ethically and sustainably as a way to support local communities in need.
Weighing just 0.24 pounds, the pack features an ice tool carry system, configurable lash points, removable foam frame sheet, and a streamlined design.
We’ve been using Eagle Creek backpacks for nearly a decade now, for trips to 50+ countries around the world. Their 23-liter Explore Transit Bag is our new favorite, with fabrics made from 100% recycled textiles.
Weighing in at 2 lbs, 11 oz, its myriad features include a 15” padded laptop sleeve, a large front compartment with loads of organization options, breathable Mono Mesh back panel and shoulder, internal compression straps, lockable zippers, and a trolley sleeve.
And it’s all covered by Eagle Creek’s “No Matter What™ Warranty.”
Gregory Rhune 25 Backpack & Tempo 6 H20 Hydration Pack
Based in Salt Lake City, Utah, Gregory is a 45-year-old outdoor brand devoted to creating the world’s most comfortable and reliable daypacks and backpacks.
The Rhune 22 is one of their smallest daypacks, weighing in at just 1.94 lbs, with a maximum carry weight of 20 lbs.
Built with recycled materials, its small frame boasts myriad features, including a moisture-wicking AirCushion back panel, tons of pockets and storage options, padded shoulder harness, and an externally accessed laptop sleeve.
Their Tempo 6 H20 Hydration Pack is a cool hiking gift for men, with a 2-liter 3D Hydro Reservoir Included, an insulated hydration compartment that keeps drinks cold up to four hours, a dual-layer 3D foam back panel, 2 external pockets, and several interior mesh pockets for organization.
Mystery Ranch Blitz 35 & Coulee 25 & Bridger 55 Backpacks
If you’re looking for gift ideas for hikers and backpackers, the Montana-based Mystery Ranch offers a hand-built line of durable backpacks that offer a great balance of comfort, function, and quality.
3 main storage pockets and 2 side pockets for organization, and side and lower compression straps for lashing on any additional gear.
Their 2.7-lb Coulee 25L women’s daypack is built on a supportive (and removable) HDPE frame sheet, with a patented yoke that allows for quick adjustment of the torso length.
There are also tons of pockets, a zippered compartment inside the top lid, and two loops for attaching tools.
For longer, multi-day treks, the Bridger 55 is a behemoth of a backpack that’s available in men’s and women’s styles.
Weighing just 5.2 lbs, it features a newly redesigned, breathable frame and an endurance yoke that offers easy hydration access, plus a detachable lid that easily converts into a hip pack!
Patagonia 32L Black Hole Pack & 36L Altvia Pack
Patagonia is another eco-friendly brand we’ve been fans of for years, both for their impressive array of camping gear and hiking gear and their nature/wildlife conservation initiatives.
We also love their responsible manufacturing processes, and their endless dedication to the “planet over profit” approach to business.
Their Fair Trade Certified 32L Black Hole Pack is made with 100% recycled fabric, lining, and webbing, with a spacious main compartment, large front and top stash pockets, and a 15″ laptop pocket.
It also has stretch-woven side pockets, a comfy Airmesh back panel, and daisy chains for lashing more gear.
Made from 100% recycled nylon, Patagonia’s 36L Altvia Pack is big enough for multi-day treks.
The frame of the 2 lb 3oz pack is designed for heavier loads, with the hip belt and a highly breathable back panel and shoulder straps making for an impressibly comfortable carry.
Best Sleeping Bags & Blankets
Kelty Cosmic Ultra 20 Sleeping Bag
As mentioned above, Kelty is an awesome outdoor brand for campers and backpackers on a budget.
You can find their popular Cosmic Ultra 20 for under $200, but it boasts many of the features you’ll see in much more expensive sleeping bags.
Its trapezoid-shaped baffle construction uses lightweight 800-fill DriDown to maximize its thermal efficiency (temperature rating of 20º Fahrenheit), and the durable 20D Nylon shell uses PFC-free water repellant (DWR).
Other noteworthy features include a spacious footbox, a zippered internal stash pocket for stowing valuables close at hand, and a stuff sack for easy carrying.
READ MORE: The 10 Best Campgrounds in Boone NC
Klymit KSB Double Synthetic Sleeping Bag
The KSB Double Synthetic Sleeping Bag from Klymit makes a wonderful gift for campers of all kinds.
It features an excellent warmth-to-weight ratio, providing soft, cushioning comfort to help you get a good night’s sleep, no matter where you pitch your tent.
This mummy-style hooded sleeping bag is made with a fill power down top and a synthetic fill bottom.
It also has two-way zippers for increased airflow when the weather is balmy, while the foot box keeps your feet warm even on the coldest nights.
Stoic Groundwork Sleeping Bag & VOITED Cloudtouch Camping Blanket
If you’re really looking to cut costs when you buy camping gifts, Stoic is arguably among the most affordable outdoor brands on the market.
The Stoic Groundwork Sleeping Bag is rated to 20ºF and comes in four color combos, with 20D mini ripstop nylon to keep you warm and cozy and a DWR finish to ensure you stay dry.
But it’s really more than a blanket, because it can also transform into a pillow, fold into a sleep sack, and snap to become a waterproof cape. And since it’s water- and stain-resistant, it’s perfect for lakeside and beach picnics!
ThermaRest Parsec 20 Sleeping Bag & Argo Blanket (Mountain Print)
Founded in the early 1970s by two former Boeing engineers-turned-avid backpackers, the Seattle-based ThermaRest is part of the Cascade Designs family (which also includes MSR, Platypus, and SeaLine).
Originally focused on self-inflating mattresses, the outdoor brand has expanded over the last 50 years to include camping chairs, hammocks, pillows, sleeping bags and more.
The Parsec 20ºF Sleeping Bag is a high-end model that combines the lightweight serious backpackers love with the cozy comfort casual campers crave.
Noteworthy features include a recycled shell/liner, certified responsible 800-Fill Nikwax hydrophobic down, heat-mapped zoned insulation, and the Toe-asis™ Foot Warmer.
For warmer nights, try ThermaRest’s ultra-soft Argo Blanket, which uses eraLoft™ insulation to reduce weight without sacrificing warmth. It’s easily compressible for packing, and big enough for two people to snuggle!
Best Hiking Boots & Walking Shoes
Vasque Torre AT GTX & Talus AT UltraDry & Vasque Breeze
Vasque is one of the most durable and reliable brands of hiking boots on the market, and they have several classic styles that make great hiking gifts for men and women.
I like their Men’s Torre AT GTX because it’s lightweight, with waterproof GORE-TEX protection and a Vibram Wavelength outsole that boasts LiteBase Technology, Megagrip Compound and Traction Lug Technology.
All of which means that this hiking boot is as rugged and durable as it is stylish!
Their Talus AT UltraDry is one of the best waterproof hiking shoes for women we’ve tested. They’re designed to tackle all types of terrain (and weather conditions), with moisture-wicking GORE-TEX technology, strong ankle support, and great stability.
The Vasque Breeze is designed for agility and speed. Waterproof GORE-TEX keeps feet dry, 200g 3M Thinsulate keeps ’em warm, and the Vibram outsole offers terrific traction on any terrain.
We also love how the high-top cut provides excellent ankle support without sacrificing all-day comfort.
5.11 Tactical A/T Trainer & Saucony Triumph 20
If you’re looking for something more lightweight, less bulky than hiking boots, check out the 5.11 Tactical A/T Trainer. The A/T stands for All Terrain (not Appalachian Trail), which is precisely what they’re designed to tackle.
With 8 color options, these men’s and women’s hiking shoes feature an Echo Lite high rebound EVA/outsole, high abrasion mesh with welded support, and a TPU toe for durability. So they’ll stand up to almost any adventure.
The Saucony Triumph 20 also offers men’s and women’s sizes. But it’s more of an everyday training shoe that provides maximum cushioning comfort, whether you’re on the trail or on the street.
This Saucony vegan running shoe combines lightweight PWRRUN+ foam cushioning with a smooth, rocker feel and a durable outsole rubber that’s made for running (or hiking) long distances.
HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 8 and Clifton L GTX
Founded in 2009 in Annecy, France, Hoka One One has emerged over the last decade as one of the fastest-growing shoe brands in the outdoor industry.
It’s not difficult to understand why. Their attractive hiking, walking, and running shoes combine the slick style of a great sneaker with the tough durability of the very best hiking boots.
Now in its 8th iteration, the award-winning Clifton 8 for women is designed for every day running (or walking).
The updated midsole is softer and lighter than ever before, with HOKA’s early-stage Meta-Rocker geometry offering improved heel-to-toe movement for an incredibly smooth ride.
The Clifton L GTX for men is a more rugged interpretation of their classic model.
The waterproof leather and GORE-TEX membrane of the synthetic ripstop uppers keep the elements at bay, while the cushioning EVA midsole and Meta-Rocker design keep a spring in your step even as you tackle rough terrain.
Salomon Men’s Ultra Glide and Women’s X Ultra 4 GTX
The all-new Men’s Ultra Glide is billed as their “softest trail running shoe yet,” with a light weight and maximum cushioning comfort.
Noteworthy features include a grippy All Terrain Contagrip outsole, a breathable SensiFit upper for a customized feel, and an energy foam midsole for bouncy energy and a smoother stride.
Their X Ultra 4 GTX women’s hiking shoes have been updated, using softer materials and a lower-density ADV-C Chassis that improves stability.
We also love the waterproof GORE-TEX protection and the grippy Contagrip MA outsole, which allows for great control on slippery or uneven terrain.
Best Camping Cooking Gear
ICEMULE BOSS Cooler & Bote KULA Cooler
Whether we’re relaxing at one of our favorite lakes, watching the sunset at beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway overlooks, or hiking to picturesque waterfalls, we’re big fans of picnics in spectacular places.
The ICEMULE BOSS cooler has emerged as our new favorite for hands-free convenience. Measuring 12.5”x9”x32”, it’s large enough to hold ice and 24 cans (or five 750ml bottles).
It also has large front and side pockets, multi-day ice retention, and a well-designed suspension system that makes the Icemule cooler comfortable to carry on the trail.
The rugged KULA 5 Cooler from the paddle board experts at Bote is essentially a fancy 5-gallon bucket designed for water sports. In addition to keeping your food and drinks cold, it can also function as a seat, bait well, rod holder, equipment storage, etc.
They’re designed to attach to Bote Boards, but they’re lightweight and easy to carry.
In the outdoor industry, Scandinavian craftsmanship is widely regarded as second to none, and Morakniv Classic knives are no exception.
Born from the ancient traditions of Swedish handicraft, the brand has been around for more than a century now, offering carbon steel knives with a distinctive barrel-shaped, red-stained birch handle.
The Garberg Knife with Survival Kit is one of the cooler camping gifts for men (or women) we’ve seen this year. The polymer handle has a friction grip and finger guard, and the blade is made of recycled stainless steel.
The gorgeous knife comes with a Survival Kit– including a fire starter, diamond sharpener, and reflective paracord–mounted on the sheath, and a vegetable-tanned leather strap that can be attached to your belt.
RapidPure 9L Gravity Purifier System & Purifier+ Insulated Bottle
This water purifying system includes a 9-liter bag, hose, and a filter cartridge that offers a 200-gallon lifespan. It’s remarkably easy to use– just fill it, hang it, and let gravity do the rest!
The system works by using electro-absorption to remove 99.99% all bacteria, chemicals, heavy metals, microplastics, parasites, pesticides, and viruses. It also filters out any sediment in the water.
The Purifier+ Insulated Steel Bottle is a smaller personal filtering option for hikers and backpackers. The bottle uses UltraCeram and OpenPore technology for protection against bacteria, parasites, and viruses, with no need for backlashing, priming, or squeezing as you drink.
UCO GEAR Flatpack Large Portable Grill & Fire Pit
The Flatpack Large Portable Grill & Fire Pit from UCO Gear measures 20” x 16” x 7.5”, so it’s large enough for full-size wood. Yet it weighs just over 10 pounds and quickly breaks down to less than 2” thick for packing.
It’s made from durable, rust and corrosion-resistant stainless steel, and comes with flat-packing grill grates, a charcoal tray, and a canvas case with straps that make the pack easy to carry.
Best Tech & Tools
Gerber DualForce Multi-Tool & Bushcraft Axe
Portland OR-based Gerber has been one of the leading manufacturers of quality outdoor tools since 1939, when their handmade knives were first added to the Abercrombie & Fitch catalog.
The new DualForce Multi-Tool adds to their legacy, offering 12 helpful tools (including pliers, chisel, screwdrivers, knife blades, fine/coarse file, saw, and additional bit storage) in a 12 oz set designed to fit in your pocket.
It uses layered construction to give the tool double the force and jaw strength, and the extra large teeth provide exceptional grip to tackle even the toughest projects.
Gerber also has an ergonomically designed Bushcraft Axe whose blade features machined relief for deeper cuts. It also has two water-resistant storage compartments large enough for paracord material and a small lighter.
LuminAID PackLite Titan 2-in-1 Power Lantern
LuminAID is another eco-friendly brand with a socially conscious mission. Their first product, an inflatable solar-powered light, was created by two Columbia University students in response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
Since then, LuminAID has distributed tens of thousands of free lights to charitable projects in more than 50 countries through their “Give Light, Get Light” program.
The PackLite Titan 2-in-1 Power Lantern is another of the female-led company’s unique camping gifts, offering 300 lumens of red or white lights, 100 hours of power per charge, and their signature twist-to-open design.
Best of all, the packable package weighs just 12.5 oz, and can also charge cell phones and other tech devices using a 4000 Mac battery.
Midland X-TALKER T71VP3 Two-Way Radio
As experienced world travelers, it was crazy for us to realize that we could get cell signals in the middle of the Wadi Rum desert in Jordan or remote National Parks in Kenya and Tanzania.
The small, sleek walkie talkies also offer an impressive 15 hours of battery life, 121 privacy codes, and NOAA Weather Alert and Weather Scan technology. They’re great for communicating while exploring off-grid!
Adventure Medical Kits Mountain Series Medical Kits
I wasn’t in the Cub/Boy Scouts for very long as a child, but the lesson that stuck with me the most was also their motto, “Be prepared.”
Whether we’re camping, hiking, or taking an epic Blue Ridge Parkway road trip, we always try to ensure we have the tools we might need to tackle any unforeseen challenges.
We use the Mountain Guide Kit, a 163-piece set that weighs 2 pounds and includes all the essentials you need to treat everything from severe bleeding, fractures, and pain to everyday aches, blisters, and scrapes. But there are also smaller, less expensive kits available for day trippers, hikers, backpackers, and explorers.
Helinox Chair Zero High-Back & Salt Life Hunt Beach Chair
The more time we spend exploring the Blue Ridge Mountains, the more we’ve come to appreciate the value of a good (or great) camp chair.
Whether you’re sitting around the campfire, chilling on the beach at your favorite mountain lake, or waiting for the sunset from a picturesque overlook, comfort is crucial to enjoying the outdoors.
Weighing in at 1 lb 8 oz, the Chair Zero High-Back from Helinox is a great option if portability is important. It packs down into a 16-inch stuff sack, yet it can hold up to 265 pounds and offers a high back and shoulder support.
The Hunt Beach Chair from Salt Life is clearly designed for the beach, with a fishing-themed polyester fabric and an aluminum frame. You’ll love the adjustable positions, quick access pouches, molded arm rests, a padded pillow, and two storage compartments in the back.
Growing up in the state of Georgia, we hardly ever got much snow. So I didn’t understand the importance of traction until a winter trip to Yellowstone National Park in my 40s, when I busted my butt on a patch of ice.
But now that we’re planning a move to the mountains of Georgia or North Carolina, we’re expecting a good bit more snow in our near future.
They’re arguably among the best gifts for hikers who explore snowy, icy mountains, ensuring they’ll stay on their feet even when the trails get treacherous. –reviews by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett; lead image via Canva