10 Camping (and Hiking) Christmas Gift Ideas for 2019


Each year we put together some gift ideas for those who love the outdoors.  This is our list for 2019.

Our goal this year is to highlight items that we think are actually worthwhile purchases for anyone who loves being outdoors.   

Nothing gimmicky or useless.  

Just gear that won't be forgotten in a cupboard.

This list contains some of our most recommended (and loved) camping/hiking gear for the year.

Biolite Charge 20 USB Waterproof Power Bank


Why we like it - there is no denying we live in an age of technology and the need to be switched on. And having a charge on your phone is not only beneficial but could save you in an emergency.  It is waterproof (heavy rain and spills), and can charge your phone up to 2 times, and charge cameras also. If you have other Biolite products, it works on those ports as well.

Added feature - small enough to take every day in your pocket or bag, so not just purely for the outdoors.

Read more and buy it here

Wacaco Minipresso GR Portable Espresso Machine


Why we like it - anything that does not make you drink instant coffee is a winner.  This gives you espresso - all you need is ground coffee and hot water. A pump per second will give you one shot (around 50ml) of espresso.  For the lover of coffee, this is small enough to take to the office, or in your bag, or outdoor adventures. If you love that shot of caffeine, you will love this.   For under $65 its a unique gift.

Read more and buy it here

Luci Inflatable Lantern


Why we like it - it's small, practical and has no batteries. What's not to like?  The review can be found here if you want to know more.   Coming in under $20, it's a little light we love.   It makes our list every year too.

Read more and buy it here

Thermarest Pillow (compressible)


Why we like it -  if you think about taking your everyday pillow on a camp or hike is a bit much, then this pillow is for you. It compresses down making it more practical and you will sleep a lot better with this (as opposed to a folded up piece of clothing).  It's a must for all campers who love comfort.  May not be the most glamorous Christmas gift, but could be the most appreciated on the next trip.

Read more and buy it here

Black Diamond Spot 325 Headlamp


Why we like it -  this is a great all-rounder headlamp, and we have always found this brand to be reliable and great for every sort of outdoors person.  We have a story on how to choose a headlamp and the Spot 325 meets a lot of our needs.  If you are looking at headlamps as a gift, and not sure, this is a great choice at 325 lumens and a long burn time.

We love the battery meter so you know exactly how long you have left.

Honourable mention as a backup choice to this one is the Black Diamond Storm 375.

Read more and buy it here

Otter Box Esky


Why we like it - this is our favourite esky.  Nothing has come close to it.  Nothing.  It's also a very expensive esky and if you have a fridge, you are unlikely to need this.  But if you don't have the option to power, this is the only esky that keeps ice frozen for a long time.  You can read our review of this esky.  It's a big-ticket item  Christmas gift.

Read more and buy it here

Oztrail Anywhere Hammock


Why we like it - technically, not something I would take camping, but great for your backyard.  We have had ours for years, and when the hammock itself wears through use and exposure, you can buy a replacement. The frame just keeps on going and going.  You may not think you will use it that much, but on warm days (in the shade) this is a highly sought after place to lounge.    For under $100, it's a bargain.

Read more and buy it here

Osprey Levity 45L Lightweight Backpack


Why we like it -  Osprey has some of the best backpacks you will find.  We are just highlighting this one because it's so light 840 grams and perfect if you are worried about weight, but realistically any of Osprey backpacks are great.

This Levity 45L will suit the experienced hiker and the new to hiking.  I have one, and I wouldn't use any other brand for a backpack these days.  Yes, it's going to cost a bit, but this is an investment which will last the recipient of this gift for ages!

See all the Osprey backpacks here

Read more and buy it here

Helinox Chair One


Why we like it -  This was our first ever lightweight chair and there are now plenty of them on the market, but this one still stands out as a great chair to take if you want to save weight and room.  Not for the ultralight hikers, but this chair is comfortable and if saving space is an issue, this is a great gift.

Everyone loves this chair once you try it.  It made our top camping chair list as well.

Read more and buy it here

Gift Vouchers by Wild Earth


Why we like it -  because that way the person getting the gift, gets exactly what they want when they want.

No guesswork involved by you.

If in doubt on what great gear to buy or finding it all a bit overwhelming, our affiliate, Wild Earth, gift card is the best (and maybe easiest) present.

Buy it here

We hope that you like some of our favourites for the year and maybe one of the above items will become your favourite sometime soon.

Disclosure:  We use affiliate links to monetize our content. Some links in this story are an affiliate link.  We receive a small commission if you purchase from this company, but the price to you remains the same.   

Read more about this at our main website 

How to save space when camping? With Collapsible camping gear of course!!

collapsible camping gear

Saving space on a family camping trip can be tricky.

Do you ever wonder, as you gaze around everything that needs to fit in the car, how are you going to do it?

On longer car camping trips, the boot of the car is like an intricate jigsaw puzzle, with every box packed precisely, and every gap utilised.

This dilemma to save space is universal in the camping world.   So much so, that inventors are trying to work out how to save space and the idea is collapsible camping.      

Gear that folds down, shrinks, collapses, making room for more gear.      

We all know that tents, chairs, tables and camp kitchens collapse into smaller, more manageable, easier to pack items.

That’s nothing new.

But what else could we collapse or fold down on our camping trips?

Collapsible Silicone Kettle - for lightweight hiking/camping


If you are looking to save space and save grams, this kettle by Sea to Summit, with a 1L capacity can boil your water plus it's versatile - you can use as a pot as well thanks to a wide opening.

Where to buy   -  Click here for the Sea to Summit X Kettle

Pop Up Luci Light


We have covered this Luci Lantern before - you can read our review here.
When not in use, squish it down.  Another big and great feature - it is solar powered so no batteries to worry about running out.

Where to buy?  Click here to buy the Luci Lantern


Collapsible Water Bottles - by Crumple

We all know that the environment is not being helped by our endless use of plastic bottles and cups.  It's time we reused our bottles and did our part in solving the mess this planet is in.

Crumple has introduced these water bottles (large range) and available via our affiliate Wild Earth.
They are BPA free, leak-free, and heatproof.  They also have coffee cups that collapse, so its not just a camping thing.   

Availability and pricing here - large range of colours and options

Crumple says "Our eco cups and bottles are made from food-grade, natural silicone that can safely be heated to 220 degrees celsius and is travel safe, kid-friendly and portable. It costs the environment $36 to produce 200 disposable cups  versus $0.98c to produce 1 Silicone cup and wash it 200 times!" 

Collapsible Cooking Gear

When we first started this blog/website, collapsible cooking gear was not as common as it is now.  Sea to Summit has really excelled in the marketplace by producing a whole lot of collapsible cooking items.  Here is a selection below.

Sea to Summit - 5 piece set    (a pot, 2 bowls and 2 mugs)   Availability and Pricing here.

If you still need more, then you can get mugs, plates and bowls individually or in sets. 
The below items are at Wild Earth - see pricing and availability here

Washing Up Tub

camping gear space saving

The washing up tub is one thing I rate as essential when camping.  So many uses apart from washing up the dishes!     We use a plastic one from a variety store, but maybe its time to think collapsible?

See pricing and availability here

Collapsible Shot Glass



Not sure if this is theoretically a camping item, but for those of you who like to take a shot and get a measured amount (no swigging from the bottle needed with this), then add to your keychain, whether you camp or not.

Availability and pricing here

Pop Up Toilet



Who doesn't love a toilet that collapses?

Availability via Amazon   Priced around $62.

Collapsible Rocket Lamp


Another lamp that collapses is the Princeton Tec Helix Basecamp, with 250 Lumens.   With collapsible legs and takes 3 AAA batteries, you can stand it up, hang it from your tent, use dimmable red and white lights, this collapsing lamp would be great in any tent.

Availability and pricing here 

Collapsible Camp Oven



Gasmate used to produce a camp oven that collapsed, but it seems hard to get these days.  So the closest we could find is a collapsible BBQ from Gasmate.

Availability via Gasmate

If space is an issue with your camping gear, then maybe it is time to start choosing collapsible gear?

This story was first published in 2015 but has been updated and edited for accuracy.  

Disclosure:  We use affiliate links to monetize our content. Some links in this story are an affiliate link.  We receive a small commission if you purchase from this company, but the price to you remains the same.  
 Read more about this at our main website 

Tips for Camping in the Rain

how to go camping in the rain

Have you ever camped in the rain? And I don’t mean a sun shower. I mean rain, that doesn’t ease up.

Good or bad experience?

Generally, most people will say its far from ideal, and many just pack up and head home early.     And if that is possible, then do it.  Because it is not fun.     Sometimes, ending a holiday is not possible, and you are going to have to just deal with it.

Important disclaimer before you read further:   I do like rain on the tent at night.   It’s a great sound to hear when you are warm and dry.  So a little rain, is not going to kill you, and doesn’t mean a ruined holiday.    Stay calm and keep camping.

So, here are some tips for camping in the rain  (ie. not sun shower)  

Don’t go - if it's an option

Now, this might seem like an obvious thing to say.

But if you do have the option to cancel, you might want to do it.    If your camping trip is just a weekend away, not planned with military precision, you might find that staying home could be a better way to spend your weekend.

Yes, it can be disheartening that planning and preparation are put on hold.   Yes, the kids might whinge and moan at the plans being thwarted.

But ask yourself this – would you much rather have the kids upset at home (and with lots of distractions and options available) or have them miserable and trapped in a tent/caravan with you for 2 days?

There will always be another time.

Location Location Location

Think about where you set up each and every camp trip.

So even if it's sunny when you arrive, think about what it's going to be like should it rain.

Where will the water run?

When it runs off your accommodation, will it run away from the tent, or pool in the indentation where you set up?

We camped in the pouring rain, and as it ran off the annexe, it was running straight to the tent entrance (in a dip).   Our son ran out in the rain and dug trenches away from the tent (which he still talks about today!).

If you need more advice on this, read our how to choose campsite tips (might just save your gear)

Tent Footprint

If you are tent camping and using a footprint beneath your tent (which you should be doing every time), you will need to take a bit of care with how you set it up.

Do not have the tarp/footprint sticking out from underneath the tent.  Water will pool on this tarp, and then funnel the water underneath your tent.

Setting Up in the Rain

You arrive at your campsite, and it's still raining.   You may choose to wait it out and hope that there is a break in the weather, or you may have to set up your campsite in the rain.

Extra shelter (see tip below) will be very handy.

You might want to set up a tarp or something that is easily put up and place your key gear items in there, away from the rain.

You will get wet doing this.  There is no avoiding that.   But it's not about you!  It's about getting your camp set up.

Of course, you will be wearing appropriate gear (see tip further down on that).

Depending on the size of your tent, if you can manage to put a tarp up successfully and high enough, your tent could be erected underneath the tarp.

The tarp (or whatever significant shelter is nearby) can also be utilised to start putting together some of the camping gear you need.    So use that time under the shelter, to put together any tent poles, get your stakes ready, and if using a fly, have it ready to be thrown over the tent when the time comes.  

Speed and confidence with your camping gear at this point is recommended.

 If you don't have a tarp or some sort of shelter available, you won't have a lot of options when it comes to setting up your camping gear.    It has to be done, so if you can't wait for a break in the weather, you will just need to move fast and have lots of towels ready to wipe down anything that gets too sodden.

Do all of your outside chores first, and only enter the shelter when that is all done (because you don't want to be taking off your wet gear to go in the tent, and then putting it all back on).

Need advice on building a campfire in the rain?

Read:     How to start a fire in the Wilderness

Extra shelter


photo credit: knowinspiration via photopin cc

If space allows, bringing an extra shelter (apart from where you are sleeping) is VERY helpful.

You can use it as a space to wait out the rain and not be trapped indoors.   See the above tip on why we recommend always carrying at least 1 extra shelter/tarp.     It can provide protection for other camping gear, plus provide an area to cook and eat in (because you should avoid having food in your tent).

And if there is a leak in your accommodation, you can always use this tarp/extra shelter, to provide much-needed protection.

It does not need to be a massive pop-up shelter either.  A tarp can do a great job.

The site Camping with Charlie has some good ideas on ways to set up tarps if you don't know how to do so.

And the important point, a shelter, provides an opportunity to set up a clothesline to dry off wet clothes.

If you have children – this might just save your sanity.  It allows them to be outside, not in the camper trailer/caravan/tent and keeping dry.  Just remind them about no shoes inside!

how to go camping in the rain tips
photo credit: Pig Monkey via photopin cc

Appropriate Gear

camping in the rain tips
photo credit: via photopin

Bring wet weather gear.

This gear isn't expensive, and readily available at many stores.

Look at jackets with hoods, and buy a jacket that is a bit long on you and covers your bottom.

The good brands will have more features on them which will make them more reliable in wet weather.    Things to look for in your wet weather gear

- lightweight (if you have to carry it any distance, the weight will be an issue)
- breathability (because you don't want to end up soaking from the inside due to perspiration)
- fully taped seams
- zip flaps
- wrist cuffs
- adjustable hoods with a stiff brim (to stop the rain pouring off the hood, and down your face)

Synthetic materials are good for wet weather camping.  Look at nylon, polyester or wool.  

Cotton clothing is really useless in rain.  It gets wet and stays wet.   Whilst it can be great on a warm day, for rainy weather, it's bad news.     See more on why cotton and rainy weather are not best friends, in this article about why cotton kills.

Umbrellas can work in the right situation, but not ideal especially if you are moving around the campsite and need hands to be free.

Some rain ponchos might be sufficient if you don't have the wet weather gear.  

Dress appropriately, with layering is the best option.

For children, the same sort of gear applies - get them a jacket with a hood, and better to buy big so you get more use out of it.   And good Wellington boots or any shoes that are are waterproof.    Wet socks for a little one (and big ones, is miserable).    Pack extra!

And if you are camping in winter, you need to know how to stay warm when camping.   Important info to know!

Bags and more bags

camping in the rain tips

Image: seatosummit.com

Keeping your “stuff” dry is paramount.

Don’t let wet gear into your sleeping area, because that is an area you need to remain pristine. 
If transporting your bedding from a car to the shelter, put your bedding in a garbage bag as you move it around, to minimise water on it.

All wet gear stays outside and store it a plastic bag to keep it touching anything else.  Dry sacks are great for keeping wet and dry, apart.

Ensure all clean clothes (and dry) stay in a bag that won’t let water in.    Use garbage bags if you don't have stuff sacks.

All equipment especially cameras/phones should be in dry sacks when not in use.   Water getting into them can be fatal to them.      In your tent at night, keep them in waterproof bags too – if the accommodation lacks adequate ventilation, condensation can build upon them.

Lack of ventilation in your sleeping area will mean condensation that makes everything damp.

Avoid letting bedding touch the walls of the tent.


tips fo camping in rain

The meal on the campfire might have to wait due to rain.      Bring at least one backup meal that doesn’t require a roaring fire.   Pasta and a bottled sauce is a good one to have in the supply box.

But just don’t try to cook inside your tent – ever.

A good campfire stove is recommended for those times when a campfire is not an option.    We have a variety, but the Trangia is a very multi-functional stove and is lightweight and portable too.      Just ensure if you are cooking under your tarp/shelter, that there is a large distance between the stove and the shelter.

And there are lots of articles on how to start a fire in the rain – but for me, it all sounds too hard when camping is meant to be fun.     If you are into Man Vs. Wild style of camping, then read up on how to do it here.

Want some easy camping recipes?    

Then read food to cook over a campfire on a stick and also these easy camping recipes, that don't need a campfire (but a stove is required).

Hopefully, some of these tips will help make your next rain-filled camping adventure a little easier to cope with.

And if you do hang in there, and not head home because of the rain, don't let a bad experience colour your opinions on camping.

It's all these little, not-so-perfect moments, that can make your life one big adventure.

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This story was first published in 2013 and has been updated and amended to be more informative and accurate.

Lead photo credit here