Review

10 Gifts for Campers Under $30 That Are Actually Useful – Decide Outside – Making Adventure Happen

There are lots of people that LOVE camping, but sometimes you aren’t sure what to get for them, because A.) if it’s something they need, they probably already have it, and B.) You may not be a huge camper yourself so you have no idea if it’s something they’ll want in the first place! Lastly, C.) You don’t want to spend a lot of money on fancy camping gear if you’re not even sure that they’ll like it. Therefore, I compiled a list of inexpensive gifts that are sure to make the camper in your life a happy one. Yes. A happy camper. You were waiting for that, weren’t you?

What are inexpensive gifts that a camper will like?

  • Epiphany Outdoor Gear Pocket Bellows
  • Supfire Headlamp LED Headlight
  • Sabatier Forged Stainless Steel Santoku Knife
  • O2 Cool 10 inch Battery or Electric Portable Fan
  • Texsport Heavy Duty Over Fire Camp Grill
  • Lodge L8SK3 10.25 inch Cast Iron Skillet
  • Winner Outfitters Double Camping Hammock
  • The Knot Tying Bible
  • Sierra Dawn Campsuds Outdoor Soap 
  • Kiwi Camp Dry Heavy Duty Water Repellent

Lots of lists of gift ideas for camping seem to include anything and everything. My goal for this post is to just include items that are useful and
that not every car camper is going to have already. Even small gifts like these can make camping more fun and take the camping experience up a notch.

10 Gifts Under $30 for Car Camping

1. Epiphany Outdoor Gear Pocket Bellows – see price on Amazon

So, I had to humble myself a little before buying this one. I wasn’t the best boy scout, but I had a little pride that I could start a fire without resorting to flammable gases. The last camping trip we went on the wood was wet and smoked FOREVER before it finally caught and stayed caught. This little tool keeps your face away from the flames and the smoke away from your eyes and helps you create a focused current of air on your small flame. Focused air can help turn your small flame into a happy fire perfect for cooking tinfoil dinners and roasting marshmallows.

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2. Supfire Headlamp LED Headlight – see price on Amazon

So, a headlamp is on this list. You may at first react with: “They already have a headlamp.” The key difference between this headlamp and others is that it doesn’t have removable batteries. This makes this headlamp NOT super great for backpacking trips because it would be bad if your charge ran out on you halfway through your trip. But for CAR camping, the convenience can’t be beat! Now, instead of hunting for AAA batteries, you can charge it with a micro-USB cable, which I’m certain you have a million of those floating around your house.

I’ve loved this headlamp for using around the house as well because it has an interesting temperature-sensor feature, which allows you to turn the headlamp on and off by waving in front of the headlamp. This is actually very nice when you are working around people, and your hands are dirty with whatever it is you are working on, so you don’t have to cycle through all the headlamp modes to turn it off and on, when you want to talk to somebody and not blast their eyes out with your small star on top of your head. Instead, you just wave your hand in front of the headlamp. Nifty!

One downside is the red light didn’t seem super bright to me (which is actually part of the point of having a red light), and it’s a little non-intuitive to activate. To use the red light, you hold down the on/off/mode switcher button (not the temperature sensor button).

3. Sabatier Forged Stainless Steel Santoku Knife – see price on Amazon

Again, you may be thinking: “They already have a camping knife! It’s one of those outdoor pocketknives that looks like it could have its own name like Glamdring and could have been constructed by some blacksmith named Vipthar or something like that.”

Fair. But sometimes when you’re cooking, you don’t want to use your all-purpose camping knife, but rather, you want to have a knife just for cooking that is made for slicing food, not dragons.

The knife itself isn’t important, as long as it’s fine quality. A sheath is a must since this is for car camping and will go in the car camping kitchen box.

This particular knife comes with a sharpener built into the sheath. Nifty! The perfect fit for a low-maintenance knife just for camping.

4. O2 Cool 10 inch Battery or Electric Portable Fan – see price on Amazon

If your loved one lives in a hot climate like Arizona or Texas, and likes to camp, then it’s possible they may be missing out on sleeping better on those hot nights. We live in Texas and went camping at Colorado Bend State Park in June of last year. Typically people don’t enjoy camping in June in Texas since it’s so hot you sleep on top of your sleeping bag. We had a portable fan we grabbed from Walmart similar to this one. It was an incredible luxury that made the experience much more enjoyable. It takes 6 D batteries, which, I recommend to always take out when you’re not using it so the batteries don’t drain.

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5. Texsport Heavy Duty Over Fire Camp Grill – see price on Amazon

This is something I do not have, but something that’s on my wish-list. We’ve cooked right in the coals of the fire before, and although it works really well, a grill is a huge step up. Sometimes you’re lucky and the campfire pit at the campground is at the right height so your food will actually cook based on the fire you make. Many times, though, the grill is in an convenient setup, or there is no grill at all.

I’m noticing in the reviews that many people cook the top of grate first so as to melt off any paint so they can cook food directly on the grill. Just a note I thought I’d mention.

6. Lodge L8SK3 10.25 inch Cast Iron Skillet – see price on Amazon

We LOVE our cast-iron skillet. Besides being a very durable pan where we have no concerns cooking over an open fire, we also really like Lodge as a company. I think what sold us was their YouTube video where they go through a tour of how they make their pans.

The Official Lodge Cast Iron Foundry Tour – Extended Version

We actually use our skillet in our kitchen, it’s almost a permanent fixture on our stove. When we go camping, we just put it in a bag so it doesn’t get dirty and throw it in our camping box.

Okay, okay, I’m gushing. Anyway, cast-iron is fun to learn how to use and is a great addition to a car camper’s kitchen. They have more videos on their website that explain how to maintain and use cast-iron. http://www.lodgemfg.com/videos

7. Winner Outfitters Double Camping Hammock – see price on Amazon

If you haven’t experienced using a hammock, yet, the best way I can recommend it is to imagine your stresses and concerns melting away as you hang blissfully with the wind going through the trees above you.

I don’t often sleep in our parachute hammock (since I’ve been married, anyway), but we love to set up our hammock to … well… hang out. I don’t feel like I’ve had a great camping experience until I’ve spent some time in the hammock. This hammock kit is cool because it comes with
carabiners and tree-friendly straps to hang around the tree.

There are a million of these small companies on Amazon that sell these parachute hammocks. If you want to spend more money you can get the ENO hammocks. But the knockoffs seem to work really well (at least our’s has).

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8. The Knot Tying Bible – see price on Amazon

Recently, I spent a month practicing knots every day for an hour. Like I said earlier, I wasn’t the best boy scout, and I couldn’t tell you the difference between a hitch and a bend, and I seemed to have a 50% success rate at the square knot.

Having a great illustrated guide like this makes you excited to go camping! We don’t often tie things in our urban lifestyles, but when we go camping, there’s all sorts of scenarios where it’s VERY handy to know your knots.

9. Sierra Dawn Campsuds Outdoor Soap – see price on Amazon

There’s a lot of concern about the environmental impacts of certain soaps. This soap is biodegradable while still being in a convenient bottle.

This soap is also my kind of soap because there’s only one of it.

What I mean is that I already struggle with all the different bottles of soap in our shower that I apparently can’t use interchangeably. This soap, on the other hand, is an all-purpose cleaner and can be used for dishes, skin, hair, etc.

10. Kiwi Camp Dry Heavy Duty Water Repellent – see price on Amazon

This handy stuff is for waterproofing your tent and other outdoor gear. It is completely optional and therefore is not in everyone’s gear already. It is, however, helpful to add a waterproof edge to your tents and tarps, as well as some outdoor gear such as your rain jacket, etc.

Summary

Hopefully you found an item that your loved one has survived without, but will be pleasantly surprised with something that they will want to use. Keep Adventure Simple, y’all!

Related Questions

Here are a couple gifts ideas that fall outside the $30 range as well as the useful definition.

What gifts are good for campers who have everything? Maybe they have everything camping related, but perhaps they haven’t yet ventured into the obscure sport of slacklining. Without fail, whenever kids see a slackline (and probably any male who hasn’t quite grown up yet, such as myself), they want to try it. I actually purchased a flybold Slackline Kit (see price on Amazon), recently. Great fun. Make sure you, *ahem* set it up so you can stand comfortably over it to avoid any painful falls.

What about gifts for campers who love music? Instruments aren’t everybody’s thing, and that’s okay. Also, not every campground loves someone who brings an instrument, or speakers. However, if your group is out there in solitude, there’s a certain magic to be around a campfire near someone who knows how to play the harmonica. I have a Hohner Harmonica (see price on Amazon), and it sounds great. My dad used to play one growing up.

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