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The 2020 Camper’s Gift Guide

How to shop for your favorite trekker this holiday season.

Coronavirus may have put a pause on international travel for 2020, but, for travelers still desperate to explore the outdoors, there was newfound comfort in camping. It gave us the chance to explore the world beyond our home but not too far from our backyard. And, while we can’t wait to resume international travel (we’re hoping sooner rather than later), it seems the camping craze might just be here to stay.

Looking for the perfect gift for your loved one who decided to trade in five-star hotels for an RV? We rounded up the best gifts for every type of camper—from glampers to trailblazers—to make your holiday shopping a little easier.

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PHOTO: Courtesy of Hydro Flask
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Insulated Food Jars

Whether enjoying a night in their sleeping bag under the stars or a day in their car headed to the next destination, your camper is going to need a snack. Gas-station favorites might give the road trip a nostalgic feel, but the options are limited and the once-tasty snacks will leave you with nothing but a stomach ache and excess trash. To get started on the right foot, Hydro Flask introduced insulated food jars: enjoy a hot dish when you’re far from a stovetop or keep the chocolate in your trail mix from melting all over your almonds. These are perfect for those looking to enjoy a cleaner meal while on their hike, in their tent, or just on the road—plus, no trash you have to store until you can find the nearest trash can. It’s a win-win.

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PHOTO: TasiPas/Shutterstock
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Caffeine on the Go

And while we’re on the topic of insulation, an insulated mug is perfect for campers who, even when on the road or on a trail, could use a morning pick-me-up. This insulated mug promises to keep your hot coffee hot all morning long (and for a decent price). And if the camper in question has always wanted to be an Instagram-camper with an incredible morning view and pour-over, try this stand that is both durable and small (so go ahead, cram it into your backpack).

For the tea-inclined, David’s Tea sells presses sure to please anyone, regardless of where they fall on the cold versus hot debate. They also have a variety of on-the-go matcha makers for those who prefer their caffeine-jolt steady and slow.

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PHOTO: Parker Amstutz via GCI
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Lawn Chair

So, your camper friend has found where they’re going to park their trailer for the night and are finally ready to get some outside time. After stretching their legs and exploring the grounds, they might find that even after a day of sitting and driving, sitting and just enjoying the fresh air sounds awfully nice (no shame in that). A lawn chair is the perfect RV accessory—it folds up and stores easily and proves itself useful at almost every stop, whether it’s sitting down for dinner or just enjoying a night around the campfire. There’s an endless list of lawn chairs to choose from, but for those who experience lower back pain and restlessness, REI’s rocker chair might just be what you’re looking for (and needing).

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PHOTO: Courtesy of Julia D'Agostino
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A Seriously Cozy Blanket

Cold nights call for warm blankets. After they’ve parked the RV and set up camp, it’s nice to enjoy a night in the lawn chair under the stars—but it’s not quite as enjoyable if their teeth won’t stop chattering. Everyone should have a blanket in case of emergency, but you should also have one in case a fun night outside turns chilly. This fleece blanket comes in a variety of colors and is just under $20. And, though it might be cheap, has maintained a 4.5/5 rating after over 40,000 reviews.

For those looking for something a bit more personal, there’s ChappyWrap. This mother-daughter blanket company run out of the New England area sells destination-designed blankets, like this Great Lakes one, that are as cozy as they are beautiful.

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PHOTO: filmfoto - 1177495342
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Hiking Boots

For your camper who enjoys not just a camp but a trek, consider investing in their future—and by that we mean a nice pair of hiking boots that will protect their arch and joints. These boots from REI were ranked the best hiking boot for overall durability, comfort, and support by The Cleaver Hiker (just make sure to break them in before your first serious hike). And for those wanting a little more style, trendy active-wear brand Outdoor Voices collaborated with Merrell to create a hiking boot that is both picture-perfect and trail-ready.

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PHOTO: Brendt A Petersen/Shutterstock
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Fire Starter

We know this isn’t a thrilling holiday gift, but it is the perfect stocking stuffer. As confident as one might be in the fire-making skills they earned a Scout’s badge for in fourth grade, things can go wrong (have you ever watched Naked and Afraid?). So as to avoid a night shivering under your sleeping bag and without hot food, go ahead and purchase a fire starter. This multi-purpose fire starter offers not just fire, but a compass and whistle as well. And why not throw in some fire-starter squares just to be safe.

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PHOTO: tigristiara/Shutterstock
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Cooking Gear

For the camper who believes that a night in the woods doesn’t have to mean a night of just beans, cooking gear is imperative (otherwise, enjoy the can of beans). If fire-starting isn’t their strong suit, fret not because portable stoves do exist and, to my surprise, won’t put too bad of dent in your wallet—this one from Camp Chef is seriously heavy-duty.

But, if after their stocking discovery of a fire starter, they feel more confident than ever about their fire making ability, skip the stove in favor of something like this fire pit grill. Or have some fun with this fireside popcorn popper or this camp cooker, perfect for grilled cheese, smores, or makeshift pies (all you’ll need are Pillsbury rolls and pie filling).

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PHOTO: JLauer/Shutterstock
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Can’t Forget the Cooler

If they’re planning on bringing along anything that spoils, or just a case of beer to end the night, they’ll need a cooler. Yeti has made a name for itself in the insulation world, quickly becoming everyone’s go-to cool-keeper. The company’s 24 Hard Cooler boasts that “it’s 10% lighter weight, holds 20% more, and even performs 30% better thermally than its legendary predecessor.” OK, OK, we get it! You’re great (and we’re sold).

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PHOTO: Zheltyshev/Shutterstock
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Safety Precautions

We all want to keep our loved ones safe (even though sometimes the more adventurous make it hard on us). To let them know you support their hiking endeavors but would prefer they kept themselves in one piece, there’s the Adventures Essential Survival Kit. This comes with just about everything they might need in an emergency situation: a military-grade flashlight, wire, trail markers, fire starter, a whistle (the list goes on).

And for those who prefer their camping to happen in nature (meaning not in an RV), consider Rab Group’s two-person shelter. While your favorite camper probably has their own beloved tent, this shelter is light-weight and a little more makeshift. If suddenly a storm pops up and they find themselves out of time to really set up camp, this offers quick and easy shelter (and in bright orange, makes them identifiable to anyone else on the path).

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PHOTO: ojellavm/Shutterstock
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Lawn Games

And last but not least, we’re having fun! Lawn games are the perfect thing to throw into the car or RV to play at the campsite. Gifting a lawn game to your favorite camper gives them something to pass the time on nights where, even though they committed to a weekend outside, they’re missing the entertainment provided by their home (namely, WiFi). Whether it’s Spikeball, Giant Jenga, or Pro Ladder Toss (also known as “Hillbilly Golf”), these games are sure to spark some fun and friendly competition at the campsite.

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