If you're planning a camping adventure with someone who loves the outdoors, chances are they already have the essentials taken care of. They probably own a tent, a sleeping bag, and some heavy-duty bug spray. But what about the subtle essentials they might forget to bring? Or worse yet, that they may not even know they should be packing in the first place. Well, today's your lucky day. I happen to love camping, and I'm willing to share the insider tricks of the trade with you. Here are some things that would make great gifts for the happy camper in your life.
There's pretty much no scenario in which a headlamp isn't dorky. But it's also a super useful tool. It gets dark with a capital D in the woods at night, but with a headlamp, the dark won't get in the way. They can use it when they walk to the bathroom, to read in their tent before bed, or to see the category cards when playing Scattergories. The bonus is that kids love them and will be entertained for hours with one of these.
Some people think using a fire starter is cheating, but those people are wrong. The point of camping is to have fun, not to spend all night proving they can get a fire going on their own. So, get them a starter and let it do the work for them. Most are made out of environmentally friendly materials, light quickly and easily, and even work in wet weather. And, of course, don't forget to give them matches!
While we're talking campfire, let's not forget about one of the most important fireside traditions: s'mores. Everyone likes to make s'mores, but do your friend a favor. Don't let them rely on the random twigs and branches that litter the ground to roast marshmallows on. Get them a roasting fork. It's long enough to give their marshmallows the right amount of crisp and has a handle on the end so they won't hurt themselves. It's perfect for hot dogs too!
Often, it's only when we step out of our routines that we realize all the things we rely on every day. Campers generally remember to bring food and plates to eat that food off of, but don't forget, there's no maid when camping. Fill up an eco-friendly bag with dish soap and a sponge for cleaning up post meals. And throw in some bags for garbage and recycling too. Many campgrounds have the "whatever you bring in, take out with you" policy. Besides being the right thing to do for the environment, they may even charge a fine to those who try to bypass the rules.
While a sleeping bag is of course essential, many don't realize the importance of the sleeping pad. Not only does it provide that extra layer of comfort, but it also separates campers from the ground, which can be cold and dewy. With the sleeping pad between them and the earth, they will stay dry and toasty.
The camping enthusiastic in your life may know a lot about camping, but they don't know it all. Impress them with these thoughtful gifts and yours will be the first marshmallow they roast. Happy trails!
Dana Holmes is a lifestyle, gift and etiquette expert who acts as Editor in Chief of Gifts.com and the Gift Rap Blog. She has been working in trend forecasting and gift recommendations for the past decade. Dana loves making occasions special with her unique gift ideas, tips and touches. She has been interviewed by the New York Times, Associated Press, Fox & Friends, TODAY in NY and many more.