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The Best Gifts for Your Friend Whose Instagram Is Full of Camping Pix

From gorpcore puffer jackets to hiking boots, coffin tents, and personal water filters, we've got ideas for every outdoor adventurer.
Ian Burke
Brooklyn, US
October 27, 2021, 4:57pm
best camping gifts unique camping gift ideas
Composite by Vice Staff

You know the type: Their Instagram is full of camping pics, they seem to constantly be bopping around state parks, and you’re high-key jealous of the stamp pages of their passport. They have a mysteriously high number of vacation days,  they’re caught up in vanlife, and their feed is full of Yosemite, Joshua Tree, and secret swimming holes. We love our campy camper friends—particularly during the holiday season, since they’re always the easiest ones to buy gifts for. 

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There’s no stress when it comes to buying gifts for your outdoorsy friends—after all, some of them would literally squeal with excitement at the sight of a roof rack or a Yeti cooler, and we love them for that. Normally, your only challenge would be having to come up with a litany of unique camping gifts all on your own, but fortunately for you, we took the liberty of compiling a short list of some of the best camping gifts out there. 

If you’re in the market for some sweet camping gift ideas, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got everything you need to make this holiday season the gorp-iest yet, from streetwear puffer jackets and hiking boots to tents that look like coffins and personal water filtration devices. 

A backpack full of mysteries

The North Face Terra 55 Backpacking Backpack is exactly what the camping doctor (is that a thing?) ordered for your friend who loves to be outdoors. It features a self-equalizing Dyno Lift System, a cushioned back panel, breathable mesh for outdoor travel, and a comfortable hip belt for extra support. It’s also quite spacious—you never know when your camping buddy is going to need some extra room for their giant water bottle, CBD gummies, or fancy headlamp

The North Face

The North Face Terra 55 Backpacking Backpack

A solid first aid kit 

Is your camping friend also your clumsy friend? Do they send you troubling pictures of fish hooks stuck in their eyelids every weekend? If so, it’s time to gift them a sturdy first aid kit—and gift yourself some peace of mind. We like this one from MyMedic, not only because it’s affordable, but also because its components are extensive; it includes meds and gear for bleeding, burns, airway obstruction, punctures, and topical emergencies. 

MyMedic

The Solo First Aid Kit

A good old fashioned leg jacket

You know, like the ones our ancestors wore. This cozy jacket for your legs (reverse Snuggie?) is made with an outer shell of windproof, weather-resistant, heavy duty nylon and a plush heavyweight fleece interior. It’ll help keep you warm all the way down to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. (It’s also $50 off right now.) 

A pair of stylish hikers 

Look, we know a thing or two about hiking boots. These X Ultra Mid 3 Aero hikers from the outdoors-brand-turned-streetwear-icons at Salomon are perfect for hiking over moderate to technical terrain in wet-weather conditions, and let us be the first to tell you—you’ll look great doing it. 

Salomon

Salomon X Ultra Mid 3 Aero

A sleeping bag that doesn’t suck 

Sleeping bags are a crucial piece of camping kit, and they don’t have to be crazy expensive. This one is our favorite for a couple reasons: First off, it’s called “Big Agnes,” which, correct, and second, it’s a double sleeping bag—perfect for romantic backpacking getaways. It also features a Flex Pad Sleeve which secures one or two sleeping pads for restless snoozers. 

Big Agnes

Big Agnes Cabin Creek Double Sleeping Bag

An affordable tent 

This Quest Rec Series 3-Person Dome Tent is roomy enough for your camping friend, their significant other, and a whole lot of Catholic guilt—and it won’t break the bank. Plus, it has so many applications for the person receiving it: They can set it up in their living room, in their backyard, in front of the Supreme store, or, you know, in the woods or something. 

A bodacious bivy

We’re not talking about the famous bull, either—we’re talking about Outdoor Research’s Helium Bivy. This single-person sleep sack is one of our favorite camping shelters, despite looking suspiciously like a coffin. It features “no-see-um” netting, which keeps out mosquitoes, and a single Shockcorded Delrin overhead pole, which keeps your roof from touching your head while you snooze. It’s also made with 40-denier Hydroseal floor fabric.

Outdoor Research

Helium Bivy

A gallon jug for camping juice

This massive, one-gallon jug from the internet’s favorite outdoors/cooler brand YETI is exactly what your outdoorsy friend needs to keep their camping juice (also known as “booze”) at the optimal serving temperature. It’s “damn near indestructible,” according to YETI, and both the jug and its lid are dishwasher safe and easy-to-clean. 

Yeti

RAMBLER ONE GALLON JUG

A functional, fashionable puffer

Oh, you haven’t heard? Puffer jackets are streetwear now. (New Yorkers have known this for years.) They’re also absolute tanks for keeping your camping friend warm when they’re out fighting bears or climbing mountains or doing whatever looks best for the ‘gram. These Cerium puffer jackets from Arc’teryx are warm, not too puffy, and are great for when you have to make a lean-to at three and smoke cigarettes outside the bistro at six. 

Arc'teryx

Cerium LT Jacket Men's

Arc'teryx

Cerium LT Jacket Women's

A personal water filtration device 

This cult favorite water filtration device has a perfect 5-star average from over 80,000 reviews on Amazon, so you know the company is doing something right. The Lifestraw will let your camping friend drink from streams, lakes, and more otherwise-dubious water sources—just don’t blame us if they start using it to drink the tap water when you’re out to dinner. 

Lifestraw

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

A sweet multi-tool

Don’t get us wrong: We love our readers, but not quite as much as you’ll love this Leatherman multi-tool. There's a reason many people consider Leathermans an everyday carry must-have—they have literally everything your camping friend will need to make small repairs on their vacation vibrators, open cans and bottles, and cut through wires. 

Leatherman

Charge+ TTi Multi-Tool

A warm travel blanket 

This insulated Gray Layover travel blanket by Gravel is made with an anti-static, waterproof coating, and packs down to the size of your fists. Plus, the new machine-washable blanket comes in handy in lots of other non-camping settings, too. It’ll be perfect for outdoor excursions, chilly plane rides, and whipping out when your significant other is cold on the way to the house party, because all they're wearing is a shrimp cowboy costume. (Which, for the record, they should be grateful to receive.) 

Gravel

Gray Layover Travel Blanket

A rechargeable headlamp 

Whether they’re going to be blazing trails after the sun goes down or they need to shed a little light on the late-night beer-opening situation, this rechargeable headlamp from BioLite is their best bet. It has a max output of 330 Lumens, and it’s available in four colors to match their ‘fit. Headlamps are also great for running or walking at night—combined with the proper reflective safety gear, of course. 

Happy trails, snails. 


The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story.