Ten Gifts for Weekend Campers


By Robin Follette

If you have weekend campers on your gift list this year, you’re in luck. They’re some of the easiest people to choose gifts for, and it’s likely your gift will be used more often than weekend camping trips. Here are ten gifts for weekend campers…and a bonus.

1. Alps Mountaineering Meramax Tent

We’re big fans of getting kids outdoors to learn and improve their skills, and have a great time. Once they’re old enough, or brave enough, they can have their own tent. With 38 square feet of floor space, the Alps Mountaineering Meramac Tent is great for two or three kids. It’s a free-standing tent that’s so easy to put up and take down they’ll be able to use it in the backyard during the week. The seams are sealed to prevent leaking so even on a misty night they can “rough it” outdoors.

The Meramac tent has two doors with big zippers that are easy on smaller hands. Each door has a window. The tent weighs six pounds and has only two poles so it’s easy for kids to lug from the vehicle to the campsite or backyard. $84


2. Kings Camo Sleeping Bags

Every camping kid needs a sleeping bag! They’re also handy to have on hand for sleepovers or to snuggle into and stay warm during a power outage. Kings Camo sleeping bags for kids are lined in flannel to make them cozy. They’re rated for different temperatures, some as low as 0°F. The anti-snag lining along the zipper keeps zipping and unzipping easy and safe, no pinched fingers or torn fabric while trying to free a fabric-jammed zipper. If you want to zip two Kings Camp sleeping bags together, you’ll want one left and one right zipping bag. The sleeping bag has buckling straps to keep them rolled up and has a self-storing pocket to keep them clean when packed away between camping trips. $55 to $142.


3. Sierra Designs Reflective Guyline Kit

The Sierra Designs Reflective Guyline Kit will replace your guylines on tents, tarps, hammocks and popup blinds with reflective line that is easy to see by flashlight. If you’ve ever tripped over a guyline in the dark, you’ll have more appreciation for this gift. There are six guylines that are six feet long, giving you plenty of line. $14


4. Pahaque Hammock

Hammocks are almost a necessity in camping now, and hammock camping is a big thing these days. Sleep under the stars, relax with a book, or have an afternoon nap in a hammock. You can tie them between two trees or two solid campers. The Pahaque hammock comes in single and double size and has a generous 350-pound weight limit. They weigh just over two pounds and take up little space when packing. You can add a bug screen to keep flying insects from putting a damper on your relaxing weekend.


5. E-Trends Portable Lanterns

E-Trends Portable LED Lantern Tent Light Bulbs make lighting up a tent or camper easy and fun. These little light bulb shaped lanterns run on three AAA batteries. They come in yellow, red and blue. Each provides 150 lumens on high. Need less light? The dimmer switch allows you to dial it down to suit your needs. The built-in hanger works well in tents, campers, trees, gear and clothes lines, and even on your porch. They come in packages of two, and you might want extra packages for the path to the bathrooms, camper closets, and for the kids to play night time games. Hang a lantern over the picnic table for evening rounds of cribbage, Scrabble or cards, and of course to light up your late-night snacks.

6. Coleman Folding Double Wash Basin

The Coleman Folding Double Wash Basin makes dishwashing easy and keeps water use to a minimum. Fill one side one-quarter full of cold water and top off with enough hot water to bring the temperature up, and use the other side for rinsing soap off in warm water. The basin is 10” x 20” x 6.5” with each basin being 10” square. It dries quickly and folds up to 8” x 11.5” x 3”. This wash basin is also great for hand washing before and after meals. Add a little dish detergent to one side, plain water to the other, and have a cotton towel on the end for drying. We were initially surprised at how often we used the wash basin when left out all day for washing hands or getting a damp cloth to wash a picnic table.


7. Bighorn Medical Kit

A first aid kit isn’t a barrel of laughs when it comes to gifts but it’s a great idea. First aid is often overlooked with the notion of “oh we won’t need that.” The Adventure Medical Kit from Bighorn Medical Kids is fully packed with sterile bandages, care for wounds, blisters and burns, and fractures and sprains. Two kits let you leave on in the campground while the gift recipient take another hiking, paddling or otherwise away from the camping site.


8. Coleman Enamel Dinnerware

Carry In, Carry Out is a motto campers tend to take seriously. Paper plates and cups are convenient for the moment but when you must carry out a trash bag of paper goods the convenience is lost. A 24 piece set of Coleman Enamel Dinnerware is a one-time purchase that packs conveniently back into its box to be left in the camper, or can be put away in a cabin’s cupboard. The place settings for four include a 10” plate, a bowl, a mug and silverware. Enamelware is to dinnerware what cast iron is to campfire cooking.


9. Coleman Percolator

Add the Coleman Enamelware Percolator for another piece of traditional camping gear. A 14 cup coffee maker is good for a round or two of coffee, hot chocolate or tea. It’s a handy way to heat water for dish washing and cleaning up that lets you pour hot water without splashing it out of a pot. My percolator comes in for the winter to be used on the gas stove when the power goes out.

10. Mr. Heater Buddy Heaters

As much as we plan for sunshine and warm temps, cool weather and rain happen. Hypothermia is most common in July and August. We get wet, usually from swimming, and don’t realize how much the temperature has dropped in the evening, or that the gentle breeze has cooled them off too much as they sit in wet suits or clothing. Mr. Heater has indoor-safe portable radiant heaters for tents and campers. The regulator tips out to allow easy access when changing the one-pound propane cylinders.

Auto shutoff trips when the pilot light goes out, the heater is bumped or tipped over, or oxygen drops below a safe level. Dry out and warm up the late-day swimmers or take the chill out of the tent or camper before bedtime with this small, convenient heater.


And a Bonus! Our dogs have a gift or two under the tree. If you take your dogs camping there’s a bag for food and another bag for food and water dishes. The Comsun Collapsible Dog Bowl set holds 12 ounces of water and a cup and a half of food. Hook the bowls together with a carabiner and hook that to your backpack for convenience when you leave the campsite. The bowls wash well and collapse to take up little storage space.

So there you have it, my list of favorites for weekend campers. What’s on your list?