Sometimes, shopping for the outdoor enthusiast in your life can be tricky. You know they already own most of what they need, so the key is finding something they want or didn’t know they needed.
The best gifts for outdoor lovers (from weekend warriors to vanlifers, casual hikers to peak baggers) should always do three things: fuel adventure, maximize the stoke, and keep them outside longer.
Whether it’s hiking, biking, camping, climbing, skiing, surfing, or simply just exploring, I’ve rounded up a collection of my favorite outdoor gear that checks off all the boxes for every kind of adventurer and helps them get outside, living their best life.
Don’t forget to check out my other outdoorsy gift guide, 20 Unique Non-Cheesy Gifts for National Park Lovers, as well as my gift guides for people who just love to be outside: 37 Genius Gifts for Gardeners They’ll Really Dig and 26 Perfect Stocking Stuffers for Gardeners Under $25.
I hope they help simplify your shopping this holiday season so you can spend more time doing what you love.
Disclosure: All products on this page are independently selected. If you buy from one of my links, I may earn a commission.
The best gifts for outdoor lovers, adventurers, and road trippers
1. The New Camp Cookbook – I’m kicking off this list with my own cookbook, which has been a bestseller for several years running.
If your idea of a good time in camp is great food and even better friends around a fire, this book is for you. It offers a variety of modern, easy-to-make (yet gourmet) recipes from breakfast and snacks to dinner and drinks to take your camp dining up a notch.
It also serves as a camping guide of sorts, with tips and tricks for stocking your camp kitchen, packing your pantry and cooler efficiently, washing dishes (without using a ton of water), and cooking in bear country.
It’s an Amazon Editor’s Top Pick in the cookbook category, so you’ll want to get it before it sells out again!
The Backyard Fire Cookbook shares techniques and recipes for cooking over every type of live fire: ember roasting, planking, cast iron, foil packets, and more.
There’s also a step-by-step guide on building your own fire pit, tips for cooking over coals if you don’t have space to make a fire pit, a rundown on the best types of wood and fire starters to use, secrets to stocking an indoor and outdoor pantry, and my favorite tools and accessories to help you master the flames.
If you can only get one book and can’t decide which one to order, check out the special compilation called The Ultimate Outdoor Cookbook.
But I’ve since taken my Solo Stove along on camping trips and tailgating parties and love how portable and efficient it is. The design minimizes smoke incredibly well, and it cools off quickly, so you don’t have to deal with a blazing hot fire pit at the end of the day. (I also recommend getting the heat deflector for it.)
4. Colored Solar String Lights – I own a few of the portable inflatable solar lights by this company, and loved them so much that I got these string lights a few years ago for camping.
I like that you can cycle through six different colors for the type of mood you’re in, and the LED lights give hours of soft illumination when you’re out on the road. There’s even a built-in USB charging port and flashlight just in case—when you’re tight on cargo space, multi-functional products like this are key.
I’ve tried a dozen other similar string lights but this one rules them all with how durable and reliable it is.
5. BioLite AlpenGlow – This is my absolute favorite camping lantern! I have the AlpenGlow 500 but am thinking I need to get the smaller version next.
Both sizes are similar in function, but what sets them apart from other lanterns is their ability to cycle through several color modes. You have bright white, warm white, and a rainbow of colors, but give the lantern a shake and access even more color modes that transition through a range of beautiful ombre light.
You can set the lantern on a surface for illumination or hang it overhead. My kids love using it as a nightlight (by adjusting the dimness to low) so I think the AlpenGlow 250 will be perfect for them.
6. Bose Soundlink Micro – It’s hard to beat a Bose in terms of sound quality, and even in such a petite package, the sound blows away all other Bluetooth speakers in this size range. (Yes, I own this!)
It’s the perfect portable speaker to take on a road trip, set up at the campsite, clip onto a backpack, or even just use at home if you’re tight on space. (The waterproof rating makes it a great shower radio.) You can also pair it with another Bose speaker for stereo sound. I like the slightly larger Bose Soundlink Flex as a travel speaker, too.
7. Compostable Sleeping Bag Warmers – You know those small squares of air-activated hand warmers you can stuff into your gloves or pocket for slow, steady warmth?
These sleeping bag warmers are just a larger version of that and give up to 24 hours of constant heat that’ll keep you toasty and comfortable at camp. When you’re done with them, simply rip them open and dump the natural minerals into a compost heap.
8. Handheld Cordless Vacuum – Before you laugh, a hand vac is actually the perfect gift for a vanlifer or RVer to keep their home-on-wheels speck- and dirt-free.
For places where a broom or dustpan won’t reach, this cordless handheld vacuum is more useful than you think for cleaning up spilled food, crumbs off a tent floor, and sand tracked in from the beach. Charging is easy too; all you need is a USB charger. If you’re not into mint, the Eufy hand vac comes in black or white as well.
(Eufy is a great company, by the way—they also make the robot vacuum I use at home that has so far outlasted my previous Roomba and Shark robot vacs.)
9. Waterproof Power Bank – Anyone who spends any amount of time on the road, away from everyday conveniences, could use a power bank or two. This one has enough juice to charge your phones, headlamps, and POV cameras, and even comes with an emergency flashlight.
I especially like this rugged version from Goal Zero because you can take it on an adventure without worrying about getting caught in the rain or forgetting it overnight on your picnic table.
10. Pour-Over Coffee Kit – What makes great coffee even better? Brewing it in the great outdoors with this Stanley pour-over set in classic hammertone green.
Coffee aficionados won’t have to be without their favorite grinds now when they’re RVing or heading into the backcountry. An easy-to-clean, reusable filter and insulated mug complete the kit.
11. Puffy Beer Koozie – This adorable koozie is made in Portland, Oregon, and the first time I bought one for myself, it was a total impulse purchase.
But you know what? I’ve found myself reaching for this koozie over and over again because it’s lightweight, insulates cans really well, and gets all kinds of compliments when I take it out. It’s a real conversation starter at camp!
12. Cooler Cup – It’s a koozie… it’s a mug… nope, it’s a Hydro Flask Cooler Cup.
I have a whole collection of water bottles and coffee mugs from Hydro Flask that my family uses every day, and this is a new addition on our adventures. It’s super versatile as a cold or hot beverage mug, and can keep both bottles and cans cold for several hours.
13. Soft Cooler Tote – For a long time I wanted a Yeti soft-sided cooler, but couldn’t justify the high cost.
Then I found this company, which also makes accessories that I use for paddling (like dry bags and sand anchors), and took a chance on their version. After using it the last few summers and toting it with us to lakes, rivers, and dozens of trails, I can say it was a decision well made! This cooler is airtight, leakproof, lightweight, and keeps things cold for an entire weekend.
It has the same packability, water-resistance, and insulated puffy shell that Rumpl is known for, but with super soft sherpa fleece on one side to keep you extra cozy.
15. Hot/Cold Neck Wrap – After a long day on the trail (or the crag, or the mountain…), this beautiful printed therapy wrap is welcome relief from aches and pains. (It comes in this pretty botanical pattern too.)
Heat it in the microwave and drape it around your neck to help melt away tension, or stash it in the freezer to use as a cold pack.
16. First Aid Kit – Every adventurer needs a first aid kit or two, and I love this one with its stylish metal storage tin that can be refilled and reused.
The kit comes with most things you’ll need to mend yourself on the go, including an assortment of fun printed fabric bandages, medical tape, non-stick pads, triple antibiotic cream, and ibuprofen.
17. Garmin inReach Mini – If you’re looking for the perfect gift for someone who means the world to you, no gift says “I care about you” more than this compact satellite communicator.
I got this for my husband for the days he heads into the backcountry, but we also bring it on long RV trips when we know we’ll be passing through areas with no cell reception. Having a link to emergency services gives us peace of mind, whether we’re on the road or on the trail.
18. Milo Action Communicators – Yes, this is a spendy item, but when it comes to peace of mind outdoors, it’s hard to put a price on safety.
These wireless communicators are something I’m seriously thinking of getting for my family since we often go biking, skiing, snowboarding, and hiking together, but don’t always stay within earshot of each other. They differ from walkie-talkies in that you can talk freely without having to push a button (making it especially great for kids).
The reviews are good, and I’ll probably take a chance on this two-pack for this winter when we head to the mountains.