The 2018 Camping Gear Gift Guide
Good gear to help you enjoy a night (or more) under the stars
Who doesn’t enjoy a good sleepover under the stars? Camping is one of the easiest, most enjoyable, safest ways to connect with family, friends, and Mother Nature, and these days, several gear manufacturers make it even easier. To help you dial in on possible gifts for your favorite camper, here are a few items to make their overnight go off without a hitch.
Forget pulling up a stump to the fire pit. After a hard hunt, your butt deserves better. With a sturdy frame that feels like a permanent deck chair, yet collapses flat for easy transport and storage, this camp chair handily beats your average soccer-mom folder. The side table is roomy enough to accommodate your plate of venison burgers (go ahead, have two) and the one feature every chair needs: a cup holder. —G.B.
When I’m chasing elk, I’m all for sleeping in the dirt and filling my gut with trail mix or jerky on a hike. But there’s certainly something to be said for the creature comforts of a base camp, and if I can get a fresh, warm apple pie when I’m miles away from the nearest greasy spoon, then I’m an especially happy pappy. The stove/oven combo from Camp Chef isn’t light (32 pounds), but it can run for 7 hours at 350 degrees on a single one-pound propane tank. I used one on a recent trip into the Frank Church Wilderness and we ate like kings. There’s nothing wrong with iced cinnamon rolls in the morning and peach cobbler at night. —B.R.
As Outdoor Life Editor Emeritus, Lamar Underwood, once said: “Classic sporting art conjures up imagery of an adventurous tale that remains unfinished—one in which the reader can literally fantasize how it all might end.”
“There Stood Three Bucks” by Walter Haskell Hinton appeared on the November 1936 cover of Outdoor Life and comes to life once more on Guide Life men’s and women’s hooded sweatshirts. These hoodies are soft and comfortable, yet rugged enough to wear on any outdoor adventure. Available in various colors and styles. —G.B.
Eagle’s Nest Outfitters
No matter the time of year, my dog loves to lay down, soak up the sun shining through a window, and take a nap. Since I started carrying a packable hammock, I know exactly how he feels. There’s nothing finer than suspending a bed, laying back, and feeling the warmth of the sun and the cool of the breeze at the same time. Thankfully, Eagles Nest Outfitters (ENO) has created a lineup that speaks to every hunter’s inner Homer Simpson. The SingleNest weighs just 17 ounces, and holds up to 400 pounds—perfect for stretching out on the shores of a lake, at the trailhead, or even in your own backyard. —B.R.
Be prepared for chilly nights and frosty mornings with the Guide Life 15° three-season sleeping bag. Whether you’re camped on a ridge listening for bugling elk in the fall or staked out on a steelhead run in early spring, the Bedroll 15° sleeping bag, designed with the editors of Outdoor Life, is engineered to keep you warm and comfortable thanks to a whopping 73 ounces of hand-selected synthetic insulation, its rectangular design, and the gusseted foot-bellow construction. —G.B.
Years ago, I bought a Helinox Sunset Chair for a trip into Canada’s Quetico Wilderness and it became one of my most valuable pieces of gear. It’s comfortable, light, and easy to assemble. It’s become a staple in all my camps, as well as to events like kid’s T-ball games. Weighing in just shy of 3 1/2 pounds, it can support 320 pounds, and packs down to the size of a bread loaf. Sit in this chair after a day of backpacking or rowing a raft. Your back will thank you. —B.R.
Whether it’s clothing, hunting and fishing tools, or supplies, outdoorsmen always tote along a lot of gear. That’s why your choice of a camping duffel bag is critical to your outdoor excursions. Guide Life’s Cache Creek duffels are water-resistant, rugged, and easy to carry, and afford you plenty of room to tote along all your base camp accessories. Constructed of 840D nylon with a waterproof welded TPU bottom, our versatile bags can also be worn as a backpack to help make lugging in and out of the woods a whole lot easier. —G.B.
For more than a decade, Yeti has singlehandedly reworked the way coolers look and function, and they show no signs of slowing down. This year they introduced the latest model of their Hopper lineup, the BackFlip 24, which just like the name implies, fits perfectly as a backpack. Not only will it keep the contents ice cold for days on end, it will free up your hands so you can carry other gear, cast a rod, or pop the top on a beverage you just pulled out. —B.R.
Getting in and out of your tree stand, field-dressing game, setting up a waterfowl spread, and trekking back and forth to camp, all require hands-free lighting you can rely on. The water-resistant Guide Life Timer Trail Headlamp (3.5-ounce) is a stretchable headband that features a 250-lumen lamp with five lighting modes: white high, white medium, white low, red, and a flashing red. You can use it as a spotlight or flood beam, and it runs on three AAA batteries or a rechargeable Li-polymer battery (included). —G.B.
For more gift ideas, see our Holiday Gift Guide.
At the right place and time, a little music goes a long way. For those occasions, an ION Tailgater speaker fits the bill. It’s rechargeable, offers Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port to recharge phones, and auxiliary inputs (for wiring in devices that don’t have Bluetooth functionality). I’ve used this unit with the family in the summer when we boat upriver to find our own private beach, and on the bow while bowfishing for carp through the night. I’ve always been impressed by its sound quality and battery life. —B.R.
One of the reasons I go hunting and fishing is to distance myself from technology. However, I’ve found sometimes it’s easier just to bring technology along for the ride. That’s where the new Pro Trek watch from Casio fits in. Not only does it have the final say on when legal shooting hours begin and end, it helps me avoid over grilling the steaks at camp, wake up on time to beat the sunrise, and realize it’s actually Thursday, and not Friday like I thought. What’s more, not only is the piece water resistant and have all the bells and whistles like a barometer and compass, it’s solar rechargeable and easy on batteries.