This week I’m doing gift suggestion lists and, if you didn’t know anything about me, these lists would tell you everything you need to know: inexpensive house stuff, books, gardening, and, now, camping.
I think you’ll like things on this list even if you don’t enjoy nature or leaving your house; the things we do camping are things you can do at home too. I mean, technically, a camper is just a house on wheels, but that makes it sound less fancy than I’d like. When we camp, we eat good food, relax, play, and explore. Those are things you can do anywhere. We just happen to be doing it with a house on wheels.
(Also! We’ve been camping for a while; this summer was our sixth year. We have accumulated a good amount of camping stuff by slowing adding things each summer. We didn’t buy our first camper and fill it with every single thing we wanted or needed. Camping—like most hobbies—can get pretty expensive. This is not a list of must-haves, this is a list of fun stuff to buy for someone who likes to camp. So don’t think these are all necessary. One of the great things about camping is you don’t actually need a lot of stuff to do it.)
Here’s our favorite camping/outdoors stuff. (Some of these are affiliate links, just FYI.)
Hello Nature Activity Cards (link)
Harper got these in her Easter basket a few years ago, and they’re great for kids who spend a lot of time outside exploring. Not everything works with the limited supplies of a camper, but there are enough here to never get bored on our weekends away. We don’t really allow our kids to spend much time on electronics, so packing stuff to keep them busy is important (we play a lot of games when we’re camping too; but we’ll talk more about those tomorrow).
Hand Warmers (link)
Sometimes we make our children go outside or hike in the cooler weather. I know, please call the authorities. These hand warmers make it a little less horrible for them. I put these in their stockings last year, and they were a hit.
Walkie Talkies (link)
Sure, your kids might have cell phones, but walkie talkies are different. This is a 4-pack so we can all have them if we need to. The girls love to explore together when we’re camping, and it makes me feel better about them wandering around when they have these. Just bring extra batteries, because they’ll play with them for hours. (They also play with these at home, both inside the house and out. Walkie talkies are just fun. Buy them for your kids.)
Fire Poker (link)
Last spring we camped with some friends and, while the weekend was fun, Chris Graham mostly fell in love with their fire poker. If you camp (or just have a fire pit in your backyard), you know how important it is to touch the fire at all times. Logs have to be moved. Things have to be adjusted constantly. Then adjusted *again* just in case. If you know someone like this, this fire poker will make their little pyro-loving heart happy.
Coffee Maker (link)
When I was first stocking the camper, I bought one of those small, four cup coffee makers. It was the biggest mistake of my life. Don’t do this; buy the regular-sized coffee maker and make lots of coffee with it. No one has time to make multiple pots of coffee when you’re camping. Spring for the big machine and find room for it. No regrets.
Small Crockpot (link)
Camping is fun, but if you’re not careful, you’ll spend all your time making food and cleaning up food. No, thank you. Especially if this is how you vacation, the last thing you want to do is the exact same things you do when you’re home. I have this small slow cooker and it’s the perfect size for a family of four. I don’t want leftovers when we’re camping, and this makes just enough for everyone to fill their bellies without a lot of extra. (I like to do chicken breasts or pork in the slow cooker; it’s easy to make sliders or tacos, etc.)
Phone Charger (link)
This might seem silly, but if you have an RV, just go ahead and spring for a few phone chargers to keep in the camper all the time. Someone is always going to forget theirs, the one in the car never makes it into the camper, and they’re not even expensive. Trust me, just buy some for the camper.
Good Fleece Blankets (link)
My motto is you can never have too many blankets, and, when you’re camping, a good fleece blanket is heaven. Use it around the campfire, on a picnic, or to layer up when you’re sleeping. I like the extra long ones because I’m tall, but the important part is that it’s a good fleece material. You can thank me later.
Comfortable Camp Chairs (link) (lowdown version Chris likes)
Please let it be known that in the year 2021, the Grahams have finally invested in quality camp chairs. We’ve spent the last six seasons in inexpensive chairs that have not let us live our best lives. That changed this year. I upped my game with a regular Kelty camp chair, and Chris went with the lowdown one. I, personally, hate that chair, but buy whatever you want. I don’t have to sit in it.
Magic Flames (link)
Nothing says campfire like purple and yellow flames. The girls love these magic flame packets you can throw in the fire to add color. They last a surprisingly long time. Just make sure you’re not planning to cook food over the fire after you throw them in.
Magnetic Spice Containers (link)
Space in an RV is limited. Especially in our first camper, we had hardly any storage space. These magnetic spice containers were great to store stuff in and stick to the oven vent. I didn’t use them for spices, but you could. And they never fell down, even on long trips.
Travel Spices Container (link)
Okay, so technically, I don’t have this, but I want it so I’m telling you about it. I’m really good at planning meals for camping and then only bringing 90% of the things I need to make the meal. And I always forget spices. I’ve finally learned to keep some stuff (taco seasoning, seasoned salt, garlic powder…) in the camper, but this little spice container would solve so many of my problems.
Quick Dry Beach Towels (link)
Speaking of limited space, I love these quick dry beach towels. I’m slowly phasing out of bulky ones and replacing them with these. They’re a little more expensive than a normal beach towel, but having a set of towels that dry really quickly and take up 1/4 of the space are worth it when you’re living that camper life.
Scissors with a Bottle Opener (link)
I love things that multitask when we’re camping. Every camper needs a good pair of scissors and these, complete with a bottle opener, are up to the task.
Yes, we have plenty of backpacks at home, but we keep a backpack in the camper for hiking or picnics. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s always nice to have an extra backpack for trips to the pool, a hike, or to take on a canoe trip. Mine is pink, but this tie dye one is pretty cool too.
Small Cooler (link)
We don’t camp with a large cooler (the fridge holds everything we need), but if we’re going to be away from camp one day, it’s always nice to have a small cooler available to keep lunch and drinks cold. Again, space is an issue, so buy something that doesn’t take up a ton of extra space.
Listen. I know this is the second time that Crocs have come up on my gift ideas. I feel the need to apologize but I won’t because this is who I am now. I mentioned I don’t leave the house in my Crocs ever, but I do need to confess I’m getting some new Crocs for Christmas to keep in the camper. Technically, they won’t leave my house…my house on wheels. I just really like wearing them, and they’re easy to slip on when I’m running in and out. We don’t wear shoes in the camper because it’s hard enough keeping everything clean without muddy shoes inside, but I do plan on wearing these bad boys in there. Again, no apologies.
Marshmallow Roasting Sticks (link)
These portable roasting sticks are great because they extend when you want to make the perfect marshmallow, and then you can store them in the bag when you’re done. Easy to clean and store; my love languages.
Head Lamps (link)
You can never have enough head lamps. At least that’s what Chris Graham says. The girls each have a few in the camper and then Chris has 3-15 packed inside and underneath. You just never really know when you’ll need a headlight on your forehead.
Battery-Powered Lantern (link)
This lantern is perfect for the picnic table at night when you’re playing cards. You don’t want a ton of light, but just enough to see how great your hand is.
Folding Camp Table (link)
I love this folding table. It fits neatly behind our couch and is really easy to set up. We use this to hold all our food for meals so the picnic table that comes with the campsite is left open for eating. I’ve had a few different folding tables and oftentimes they end up warped or uneven. I’ve had this one for two years, and it hasn’t let me down yet.
Bike Rack (link)
We are like a circus train driving down the road. Our large SUV pulling the travel trailer, then the travel trailer with the bike rack on the back. We are a sight to behold. But no regrets, because we travel with our bikes and it makes camping even more fun when you can explore parks on your bike. Harper Graham spends whole weekends biking around campgrounds. We hardly ever see her.
Foldable Hanging Drying Rack (link)
I love this compact drying rack. It holds a lot of stuff, and, if it’s wet outside, it fits in the shower. Perfect for bathing suits or wet clothes when your kids fell in the water again.
Electric Skillet (link)
Sure, cooking over a fire is fun, but if you don’t want to spend all day making food, an electric skillet is the way to go. I make many of our meals in this: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s easy to clean and gets hot fast. I ordered it online and didn’t realize how big it was, but it’s worked out great because we often camp with friends and make a lot of food.
Nalgene Bottle (link)
We keep a set of water bottles in the camper and these hold the perfect amount for a morning hike or an afternoon at the pool. Camping can be rough on water bottles so buy something that will withstand some rough adventures.
DISCLOSURE: Affiliate links used