Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Holiday Gift Guide for Happy Campers

I'm back with another one of my annual holiday gift guides, and this year I've decided to focus on camping as my theme. I've collected a large list of Christmas gift ideas for families who enjoy tenting, RV camping, and backpacking.

Holiday Gift Guide for Happy Campers 

All links go to the product or company website. A few links go to the Amazon Canada website (If you choose to purchase anything off Amazon I might make a few pennies off the purchase, but please feel free to shop wherever works for your family.)

You'll also find many links for products off the All Out Kids Gear website, where I'm an affiliate partner. Altitude Sports has also been a huge supporter of this blog so you'll find links to their website as well. Shop from either company where you can order quality outdoor gear and clothing online across Canada.

Holiday Gift Ideas for Happy Campers

1. Leatherman Multi-tools and Knives

Learning to use a pocket knife is a valuable skill for older children, and whittling by the campfire can be a fun source of entertainment. For us parents, a good multi-tool is one of the most basic "must have" items in a day pack or on a backpacking trip.

Leatherman Signal Multi-Tool
The Leatherman Squirt is a small keychain-size multi-tool. Tools include pliers, scissors, a screwdriver, knife, bottle opener, and a file. This small multi-tool is perfect for snipping fishing line, and is nice and light for backpacking.

Alternately, the Leatherman Micra is perfect for a stocking stuffer gift. With a small knife, tweezers, a nail file, scissors, and a bottle opener, this is an item that should be in any mom's purse or day pack.

Finally, for the full meal deal, check out the Leatherman Signala full-size multi-tool which includes a firestarter, hammer, one-handed blade and an emergency whistle. Alternately, take a look at the Leatherman Free, P4, "the most advanced multipurpose tool ever made." This multi-tool comes with 21 tools and yet weighs in at only 8.6 ounces (making it ideal for backpacking.)

Leatherman Multi-Tools make great Christmas gifts for your camping adventures (winter or summer!)

2. New Sleeping Bags, Sleeping Pads, or a New Tent

With technologies always improving, it's safe to say most of us could appreciate a new sleeping bag that's either warmer, more lightweight for backpacking, easier to compress, or just more comfortable. The same can be said for sleeping pads! I upgraded a few years ago and I sleep so much better on my much thicker (yet somehow lighter in weight) sleeping pad.

You'll find a great collection of sleeping bags and sleeping pads for the whole family from All Out Kids Gear with free shipping included on orders of $49.99 or more (before taxes.)

And I'd especially like to highlight one of the coolest things I've seen for parents who want to co-sleep with younger children. The Big Agnes Dream Island double wide sleeping bag is a nice roomy bag with an  integrated pad coupler that can accept a double-wide sleeping pad.

Finally, you'll find a great collection of tents for all family-sizes from the same website.

Follow this link to shop all camping gear at All Out Kids Gear.

** If anything you're interested in is out of stock with All out Kids Gear, please send them a message and Phil will let you know if he has more of that item on order.

By shopping from this company you are supporting a local Alberta family and business.

Invest in a new tent or upgrade your sleeping bags and pads this Christmas 

3. New Backpacks or Hydration Packs 

My son got his first overnight backpack from his grandpa a few years ago and it was a fabulous Christmas present. Last year I was asking for a new day pack for mountain biking, and my husband recently updated his overnight pack as well.

Regardless of who you're shopping for in your family, there's almost always a need for a new backpack of some kind or size. 

You'll find no shortage of great packs on the All Out Kids Gear website so take a look around and see if there's something you're missing. Maybe the kids just need a bigger pack. 

I also recommend hydration packs for the kids for day hikes. My son doesn't carry a huge pack when we're out for the day, but he does need to carry his own water, a few basic items, and most importantly, his own candy!

Backpacks are a great Christmas gift for anybody!

4. Hydro Flask Products for Camping and Backpacking 

We LOVE our Hydro Flask products and have used several different items from this company while both car camping and backpacking.

Some of my favourite items are below (with links to the Altitude Sports website where Canadians can easily order Hydro Flask products.)

25 Ounce Wine Bottle - Fits a full bottle of wine and keeps it perfectly chilled. Great for overnight paddle trips when you won't notice the extra weight. I've also used this bottle for cold brew coffee and taken it with me to the beach while camping.

10 Ounce Wine Tumblers - Each tumbler comes with an insulated lid and these cups are worth their weight in gold! I use these tumblers for car camping and my wine is always the perfect temperature (even sitting out in the sun.)

64 Ounce Beer Growler - One of our favourite things to do on camping trips is to stop at local micro breweries along the road. Having a growler in the trailer allows us to fill up at each brewery (even if they don't sell bottles to go.) The growler also allows you to take beer on overnight paddling trips without having to worry about keeping cans cold. The Hydro Flask growler keeps beer at an ideal temperature for a few days.

Stop at micro breweries on the road and fill your Hydro Flask Growler for cold bevies at camp

16 Ounce Pint Cups - Enjoy a cold beverage in these double wall insulated cups. Perfect for folks like me who take a while to nurse their beer and don't want it getting warm in the sun.

12 Ounce Coffee Mugs - Enjoy your morning coffee in one of these insulated mugs with a lid to prevent spills. I can't think of a better coffee mug for camping!

12 Ounce Food Flasks - I have a child who will not eat sandwiches while camping, hiking, or when on the go. Having a food flask in the trailer saves our butt on every trip. They also come in an 18 ounce model. 

18 Ounce Standard Water Bottles - While these bottles are a little heavy for hiking, they're perfect for hydrating around the campsite and for always having a cold drink handy. We spend a lot of time driving between new campsites and sightseeing on our road trips as well, where having a good water bottle in the vehicle for each person is imperative. These water bottles also come in 21 or 24 ounce models.

Cooler Cups - "The new Cooler Cup is two great things in one: it’s a can or bottle cooler, and, with one quick switch, it’s a 12 oz beverage cup. As a Cooler Cup, it’s brilliantly versatile with a silicone sleeve that lets you slide in a narrow bottle or a can—all with the same snug fit. Pop off the sleeve and you have a 12 oz cup made to keep cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot. The ultimate win-win." - and while I haven't tried this product yet, I'm definitely intrigued!

Hydro Flask Wine bottle and Wine Tumbler for a camping win 

5. New Sun Hats or Knit Toques for Cold Weather Camping

I recently discovered Sunday Afternoons when I was given an Aurora Beanie to keep my head warm this winter. Let me tell you, I am in love with this hat and if you've seen me in the past month, I was probably wearing it. 

Another hat that has caught our attention is the Sun Tripper Cap. This hat is perfect for hiking and comes in youth sizing along with colors for both men and women. (Every member of my family has one.) 

Matching Sun Tripper Caps 

The cap has a bungee cord at the back to cinch it in when it's windy, it has slits for the arms of your sunglasses so they won't fall off when worn on top of your hat, it's water repellant, and it can be folded for traveling. All in all, it's a brilliant hat and I'll never want to wear anything else in summer.

Sunday Afternoons has a giant collection of hats for all weather, seasons, activities, and temperatures. 

Hats of note I suggest you take a look at:

- The Snow Tripper Cap (the winter version of the Sun Tripper Cap)

- Kids Play Hats (in a variety of different color themes)

- Kids Trucker Hats (in a variety of themes with beautiful animals and nature scenes on each hat)

I've already placed a second Aurora Beanie from Sunday Afternoons on my Christmas list this year 

6. New Hiking Shoes 

Hiking is one of our favourite things to do when we go camping in the summer, and a good pair of boots will be invaluable on a backpacking trip.

We're big KEEN fans in this family and my son gets a new pair of Targhee Hiking Shoes every year. Myself, I live in my Terradora boots and I like the Explore shoes for mountain biking or walks around the city.

I also live in my KEEN slipper shoes around the campsite when it's cool outside and they're easy to put on for night time trips to the bathroom. 

Kids grow! You can't go wrong with new hiking shoes as a Christmas present

7. Camping-Themed Books and Guidebooks 

I love receiving new guidebooks for Christmas because then I can spend the afternoon reading through each book, highlighting trails I want to hike, and dreaming about the upcoming summer.

For families planning to camp in the Canadian Rockies, I recommend both of the books below, written by local authors from Calgary:

Family Walks and Hikes in the Canadian Rockies - Volume 1: Bragg Creek - Kananaskis - Bow Valley - Banff National Park  - written by Andrew Nugara and published in 2019

This guidebook is filled with colorful photos of local families hiking around Calgary, and my son spent hours reading through it last summer. It's been a great tool for creating interest in hiking with my son and he's added several hikes to our list after reading about them in this book.

Andrew has also published his second edition to this book. The next book carries on with more hikes, areas to explore, and trails not described in the first book.

The Ink Pots in Banff National Park, one of the hikes we read about in Andrew Nugara's book 

Canadian Rocky Mountains Hiking Guide for Families - Hikes for Families, from toddlers to grandparents, near Banff, Canmore, Kananaskis, Bragg Creek, and Calgary written by Annika Mang and recently published in 2020.

Each hike featured in the book has a good map, directions to the trailhead, a difficulty rating, a description of what to expect on the hike, nearby attractions, and insider tips from one outdoor family to another.

Best of all, every hike in this book has been researched and walked by Annika and her young children, so you can trust what you're reading.

Other recommended books for Happy Campers 

 - A camping logbook and travel diary 

- Goodnight, Campsite - A children's picture book on camping

And by searching for this book on Amazon you'll receive suggestions for many other great camping-themed picture books to start a fabulous collection for your family.

- A Hiking Journal for Kids (we have this one and it's a beautiful way to record the hikes your child completes.)

This hiking journal was a great gift for a happy camper and outdoor child

And check out this brand new book: The Easy Camp Cookbook: 100 Recipes For Your Car Camping and Backcountry Adventures by Amelia Mayer of the popular blog, Tales of a Mountain Mama.
"Organized into two sections: car camping and backcountry camping, this camping cookbook features delicious, easy-to-make recipes. Many recipes can be prepped at home so you can spend more time relaxing and enjoying camping—it even includes vegetarian options! Take the guesswork out of keeping everyone fed with this insightful camping cookbook."

Also check out this brand new family adventure journal: The Outdoor Family Adventure Guide (Journal + Activities for every season) by Amelia Mayer and her team at the Tales of a Mountain Mama blog.

"Help inspire year-long family time outside with this unique adventure guide made just for you. Over 350 different ideas for outdoor family fun, divided by season so you can choose-your-own-adventure depending on the weather in your area, ages of your kids and personal preferences.
Choose your favorites and document them in the included 52-week journal with room for specifics, photos, lessons learned and questions you have.The book also includes a list of 75+ books we recommend to supplement your outdoor time together.
This book is for ALL families in all climates and is incredibly easy to customize for an adventure keepsake. Plus 14 bonus extra family CHALLENGES to work on together and a huge book list divided by seasons."


8. Lightweight Gear for Backpacking or Tent Camping 

Christmas is a great time to update or upgrade backpacking gear. There's always something out there that's lighter, better, more comfortable, or easier to use.

Check out the All Out Kids Gear website for ideas

And a few of my personal suggestions:
  • Headlamps

  • LED Lights and lanterns

  • Backcountry chargers (we just found an affordable one at Costco that looks great.)

  • Inflatable pillows

  • Backpacking chairs

  • A new stove or cook set

  • Satellite communicators and locators 

  • A Gravity water filter (We LOVE ours and never sit beside a stream filtering water anymore.)

  • Down blankets (We always use our down blankets for hostels and backcountry cabins)

  • Down hut booties 
Upgrade this Christmas with great gear for tenting and backpacking 

9. Camp Toys for both Kids and Parents

Admit it, camping is more fun when you bring the toys. Be it a great hammock that you spend hours chilling in with a good book or something as simple as a fishing rod.

Below are a few suggestions for gifts you can wrap and put under the tree:

Water Toys:

- Inflatable floaties and water toys

- Inflatable stand up paddleboards

- Kids sit on top kayaks 

- Fishing rods and a starter tackle kit

Hours of entertainment at camp with inflatable SUPs and floaties 

Toys for the Campsite:

- A slackline the whole family can enjoy at camp

- A great hammock (and consider getting a freestanding frame for sites without good trees)

- New games to play at camp

- Inline skates for campsites that have paved loops 

- Walkie talkies for the kids to use around camp

Check out the All Out Kids Gear website for ideas (and you can also order slacklines and hammocks here.)

These skates were my son's fav. camping toy this past summer!

10. More Awesome Gear to take Car Camping to the next level! 

Some of these items could be hard to find this time of year, but you could always wrap a photo of what you intend to buy your partner once Costco brings their camping gear out for the new season. A Costco gift card would also work in this situation with a voucher for one "big round comfy Costco chair."

Below are just a sampling of suggestions other Happy Campers have said they'd like for Christmas this year:

  • Heavy duty welders gloves for cast iron pots on the fire

  • A screen tent for the campsite to protect you from rain or bugs 

Wrap up some awesome gifts to take car camping and RV life to the next level!

Check out my Complete Set of Holiday Gift Guides

A Holiday Gift Guide for Active Kids 

A Holiday Gift Guide for Winter Hiking and Snowshoeing  

Big Thanks to all sponsors of this year's holiday gift guide!

- All Out Kids Gear

- Hydro Flask

- Sunday Afternoons

- Leatherman Canada

- Annika Mang, Calgary Author

- Andrew Nugara, Calgary Author

- HT Designs


  1. Our 15 month old needs a sleeping bag and the Kid's Explorer Cap for our camping adventures next summer! And mommy would need the wine tumbler from HydroFlask! So far our favourite family hike has been the new Ha Ling trail - soo many gorgeous views! Marii

  2. Our fave family hike in shoulder season is Sulphur Mountain because you can hike up, then take the gondola down for free before May long weekend and after Thanksgiving. Its a real treat to have a ride down!
    Our 10 month old baby boy needs his first sleeping bag...hopefully soon!
    I would love a coffee mug from Hydro Flask.
    We also love hiking the backside of Powderface Ridge in the summer times. It has beautiful wildflowers meadows to greet you as you climb upwards.

  3. I probably use the bottle opener the most on the Leatherman tool!

  4. I need the sleeping bag the most! I bought both my boys new ones last year but I haven't bought myself one.

  5. I would use the Coffee flask and cold drink flask!

  6. I LOVE my hydroflask! I think a coffee flask would be super handy!

  7. The crescent moon beanie from Sunday Afternoons is lovely! That would be my choice.

  8. Our favourite family hike is Sunshine Meadows - beautiful views, accessible for the grandparents and everyone else alike!

  9. What tool would you use most on a Leatherman? -- wine opener for sure!

  10. Our fave family hike in shoulder season is really anything that we can get out of the city for. In Saskatchewan I really love doing the Douglas sand dunes hike.
    We cannot keep sharing a sleeping bag with our one and a half year old, he sleeps sideways!
    A hydroflask coffee mug would add to my collection!
    We depend on our Sunday afternoons play hat for our little one in the summer and would love a winter touque for him!
    Additionally I have pre-ordered the Born to be Adventurous book and am SO excited to get it.

  11. The leatherman tool - probably the pliers. Though we are all good in our family for spring summer fall sleeping bags, my son is in scouts and they do winter camping so he needs a new sleeping bag. And the hydroflask... wine tumbler. :)

  12. The leatherman tool I would use most often is the knife!

  13. The adults need new sleeping bags! Kids have great gear. :)

  14. I would love a new hydro flask water bottle.

  15. My youngest son needs a new ball cap, and the trucker hats look great.

  16. My favorite hike with kids is Jura Creek.

  17. We enjoyed a hike to the beach in BC.

  18. My youngest would love a trucker hat. Outlet favourite shoulder season family hike is any hike that can get us out year round. Our favourite hike this summer was our backpack trip to ribbon falls and ribbon lake

  19. The tool I would use the list on a leather man would be the knife for whittling wood around the campfire.

    In our family it is my toddler who needs a sleeping bag for camping as he doesn’t have one yet.

    If I won the hydro flask I would want a sunshine yellow hydro flask and I would cover it with VW camper van stickers

    If I won the hat I would get my hubby a black beenie.

    My favorite hike this summer was Big Hill Springs as our baby was just learning to walk. It is always fun for both my one year old, six year old and our dog, Indy.

    My favorite family hike is Troll Falls especially in the winter months after a fresh snowfall. We take a sled for the kids so if they get tired trecking through the snow they can hitch a ride.

  20. I would probably use the scissors the most on the Leatherman tool.

  21. I need a new sleeping bag most. I just bought my daughter a new this past summer and I find the one I that I have had for a few years now is too cold :-(

  22. I need my morning coffee so I would definitely use the coffee flask.

  23. I would probably owl toque for my daughter although the trucker hats are pretty cute too! It would be a tough choice.

  24. My favourite family hike in the Canadian Rockies is Johnston Canyon.

  25. The small knife would probably be the most used on the Leatherman.

  26. My daughter is only 3 so we didn't really do any hiking this summer, but we did enjoy walking around the hoodoos in Drumheller.

  27. Would use the knife the most on the leatherman.

    I am wanting to start backpacking with my kids so they all need new sleeping bags!

  28. I would buy a hat for myself. Got one for one of my kids and they refused to wear it.
    Our favorite hike is Troll Falls.
    In the summer we really enjoy going to Cat Creek Falls and Big Hill Springs

  29. I would use the small knife most on the Leatherman.

  30. My son needs a new sleeping bag.

  31. I would use the coffee flask the most.

  32. I would use the signal multi-tool

  33. The leatherman wine tool would come in mighty handy on camping nights once the kids are all in bed ;)

  34. I would give the leatherman tool to my son he would use it for everything.

  35. My husband needs a new sleeping bag his gets ruined after every hunting season.

  36. Definitely the coffee HydroFlask. Need my coffee when camping.

  37. Would love the ULTRA ADVENTURE STORM HAT if I won.

  38. The Grand Trucker Hat is sensational. Should I not win then I will buy it for sure.

  39. I would use the Needlenose Pliers the most, in the Leatherman Signal Multi-Tool.

  40. I would buy the northern lights trucker

  41. I would use the knife the most

  42. My husband would use the coffee hydroflask

  43. My son has outgrown his sleeping bag and needs a new one

  44. My fave hike is the Opabin Plateau

  45. I would use the knife the most on the Leatherman

  46. I would love a new hydro flask water bottle.

  47. I would choose the SHADE GODDESS HAT if I was a winner

  48. My favourite family hike is Johnston's Canyon

  49. The hike we enjoyed the most this summer as a family was in Tunnel Mountain (in the Banff area).

  50. I need a new sleeping bag. Mine is over 15 years old and it feels cold when I sleep in the mountains.

  51. If I won a hat, I would get the Taylor hat in Heathered Ice Blue.

  52. I would probably use the screwdriver for my wine the most often; gotta have my wine while camping! :D

  53. I am the one in the family in desperate need of a new sleeping bag!

  54. I would really like the 32 oz Hydro Flask Wide Mouth Water Bottle!

  55. I would probably use the knife most often.

  56. The person who most needs a sleeping bag in my family is me. My husband has a great one but mine is not warm enough.

  57. The coffee flask would be the best for me from Hydro Flask.

  58. Banff is my favourite hiking area in the Rockies.

  59. The hike I most enjoyed with my family this past summer was in Banff, in the Rockies.

  60. I would use the knife for when I go hiking.

  61. I think I would use the scissors the most.

  62. I could really use a new sleeping bag.

  63. I would use the drink flask the most.

  64. my son needs one for camping

  65. I would use the coffee mug most.
    tis-so at hotmail dot com

  66. I would probably use the scissors the most on the Leatherman tool.

  67. From Sunday Afternoons I would get the CRUSHIN' IT CAP for me or perhaps let hubby choose a hat for himself.

  68. My daughter really needs a sleeping bag. She is always cold when we are camping.

  69. Aside from the coffee mug, I would also use the wine tumbler a lot lol!

  70. I would get the kids rodeo hat in melon for my daughter from Sunday Afternoon!

  71. It's right on the edge of the rockies but in Tumbler Ridge there is this great hike that takes you near a place called Boulder Gardens. Its such a beautiful walk and its a lot of fun too.

  72. Didnt get to do a lot of hiking this summer but we went hiking around the Jarvis Bay campsite by Sylvan Lake Alberta. It was an easy hike but it was a lot of fun. The kids really enjoyed themselves.

  73. I need a new sleeping bag most...my kids already have great ones but I freeze!

  74. I would use the knife the most of all the tools I think.

  75. My 10 year old needs a sleeping bag the most!

  76. A wine flask. Great for momma at the camp ground!

  77. I would love the kids Stellar beanie!

  78. Would use the knife the most on the Leatherman.

  79. I would definitely use the coffee flask.

  80. I would use the firestarter on the Leatherman

  81. Ive never had the opportunity to hike the Rockies (YET) to have a favorite!

  82. We hiked Spirit Sands in Manitoba this year - it's a dessert in the forest!

  83. I could use a new sleeping bag!

  84. I could use the 16 oz True Pint glass from Hydro Flask

  85. I love the Havana hat from Sunday Afternoon

  86. I'd use the pliers the most!

  87. I am the one who most needs a new sleeping bag. The one I have is over 20 years old and quite a bit larger than current sleeping bags are when it is stuffed in a stuff sack. Would be nice to have a smaller one since I want to start doing some backcountry camping with the kids.

  88. Our most favourite family hike this summer was the one to Iceberg Lake in Glacier National Park

  89. A hydro flask coffee mug would be great for camping next year. My travel mug had to be tossed this year since it had an awful smell to it when we opened up the trailer and no matter how much I soaked it the smell and taste wouldn't come out. I need something that will keep my coffee hot on cold mornings when we are out with the kids.

  90. We love to hike near Mount Kidd Park.

  91. I would use the knife most on the Leatherman tool as we do a lot of camping & the knife can be used for multiple things!

  92. My son needs a sleeping bag most as he not only comes camping with us as a family, but also goes to summer camp with his peers.

  93. The coffee HydroFlask would be most utilized by me!

  94. I would choose the KIDS' PLAY HAT for my kiddo!

  95. I would use the blade the most on the multi-tool.

  96. I would make good use of the wine bottle flask!