Some people like the outdoors. Others downright love it. Whether they spend their days climbing rocks, hiking trails, or overlanding on a customized camper van, these folks will always appreciate a gift that can help fuel the fire they feel for the wide spaces and the open trail.
Here are some of the cool outdoor gear we’ve checked out this year.
Stanley Quadvac NeverLeak Mug
Is there an easier can’t-miss-gift to give than a mug? We’ve been doing it since we were kids and people still find it a welcome present every holiday season. For your outdoorsy recipients, it’s a good idea to opt for this 20oz stainless steel travel mug, which can fit in most cup holders while keeping all its contents inside, no matter how rocky the trip goes. Equipped with Stanley’s vaunted insulation, it can keep drinks hot for up to seven hours and cold up to 10 hours. Heck… if you throw ice cubes in the darn thing, it can even retain ice for 30 hours, making it very useful in the backcountry.
This pillow packs down to less than half the size, while blowing up to the size of a proper pillow to rest your head on at camp. Once deployed, it uses its shredded memory foam filling to deliver a striking balance of comfort and support, while the reversible pillow case made from a poly-cotton blend shrugs off dirt and water to ensure you’re nodding on a clean sleep surface. It comes in two sizes: a small (18 x 12 inches) for those packing ultra-light and a large (23 x 16 inches) for those with a little more room to spare. If you want someone to think of you before they retire for the night under the stars, this just might do the trick.
If you’re going to give a cooler for a gift, make it this eco-friendly ice box from Igloo, which has a body and lid constructed out of post-consumer recycled resin (made mostly with discarded yogurt cups and milk jugs), along with the outfit’s Thermecool Eco Foam insulation. This 52-quart cooler is a perfect size for gifting, as it’s big enough to hold 41 cans, while being manageable enough for one person to carry. It’s quite tall, too, at 17.5 inches, with a durable build that allows you to sit down on it like a stool to give your legs a rest.
This impressive piece of cloth does everything a beach towel does, from drying you off to keeping sand out when you lie down, without the thick materials of traditional towels. It measures 60 x 30 inches, so it’s just as big as a traditional beach towel, all while packing down to a compact 6 x 5 x 1.75 inches for easily squeezing into a pocket of your backpack. While designed for the beach, it should be just as useful on any outdoor trip, giving you a very convenient way to dry off with its ability to absorb 2.3 times its weight in water and cover the ground anywhere you go.
An all-in-one backpacking kitchen kit, it combines a stove, a pot, and a frying pan, with a design that allows everything, including a 230-gram gas canister, to nest inside the included pot with a foldable handle. This allows you to carry a veritable kitchen while taking up very little room in your bag, making it easy to solve your cooking woes while exploring the backcountry on foot. The stove is pretty powerful, too, producing an 8,600 BTU flame that should let you boil a liter of water in just 3.5 minutes.
This updated version of the outfit’s power bank houses a bigger 9600mAh battery inside, allowing it to charge up to three smartphones to full capacity, all while being protected inside an IP67-rated enclosure that keeps it running in any weather condition. With two USB-A slots and one 18W USB-C slot, you can charge multiple gadgets at a time far away from the grid, while a built-in 50-lumen flashlight lets you quickly illuminate the way when the fire you’ve got running at camp gets overrun by sudden rain.
This compact monocular packs a handy telescope in a colorful, rubberized body, making it equal parts useful for any outdoor excursion and much more attractive than most magnifying gear. It’s water-resistant and shockproof, so it can handle anything the backcountry can throw its way, while an 8x magnifier makes it powerful enough to use for navigation, hunting, and other recreational pursuits. The multi-coated lens provides a 384-feet field of view at 1,000 yards, by the way, so this lets you see a good swath of whatever lies ahead.
While BioLite has plenty of camp lighting options, this model sets itself apart by combining its 500-lumen camp site utility with a multi-color setting that can simulate sunrise or gloomy night skies, depending on which one you prefer. There’s also a cycling mode that switches into different individual color hues, a party mode that brings veritable club lighting to camp, and a fireworks mode that makes it glow with the same dynamic intensity as an aerial light show. Simply put, it combines practical camp lighting with fun mood lighting in a way we rarely see, making the whole thing quite special.
Designed to hit the sweet spot between air pads and foam pads, this hybrid sleeping pad uses open-cell foam with very wide channels built into it that can be filled with air, allowing it to self-inflate like an air pad. The result is a sleeping surface that delivers the cushion and stable thickness of air pads while bearing the same insulation and resistance to bottoming found in foam pads. It even folds down at a similar size to traditional air pads, making it just as convenient to pack during trips. We can’t imagine any seasoned camper not appreciating getting one of these for the holidays.
Measuring about the size of a light bulb, this 1,200-lumen camp lantern can be set down on a flat surface, mounted on a tripod for uneven surfaces, and even attached to the included telescoping pole to set up at heights up to nine feet. It uses individual LEDs on each side, allowing for sectional brightness control, so you can illuminate one side, two sides, or all sides for maximum lighting.
One of our favorite compact fire pits, it measures just 18 x 14 x 9 inches (length x width x height) and weighs 14.5 pounds, allowing you to squeeze it into a corner of your car’s boot for easily taking anywhere. It has a stainless steel mesh body that allows heat to radiate at all sides, while large openings at the ends let you easily add wood while promoting healthy air circulation. The top mesh panel, by the way, can be removed, if you want to roast marshmallows over open fire, all while accommodating any grates you have in tow if you want to cook some grilled food for dinner.
For those who like to go deep into the mountains or deserts, this communication device is plugged in to the Iridium network, whose satellite coverage map vows to cover every inch of land, sea, and air in between the planet’s polar regions. When paired with your phone, the device will let you send and receive messages, send an SOS, share your location, and get weather reports anywhere you are, so you’re no longer dependent on your cell signal to stay in touch with the world. What really sets it apart, though, is the convenience, as it requires no activation or annual fees, allowing users to activate it only on months when they need it, cancel when they don’t, and activate again with no extra charges.
A great gift for car campers, this inflatable mattress turns the front cab of your van into a functional bed area, allowing you to have a bed in the back and another bed out front, so an extra guest can sleep comfortably right in the same vehicle. Do note, it’s custom-sized to fit flush on a Mercedes Sprinter, Dodge ProMaster, the Winnebago Trovato, or the Winnebago Solis, so it only makes sense if the recipient goes camping with one of those.