Gifts for Car Campers
Are you looking for the perfect gift for that friend who is always going car camping? There is always another piece of gear that a car camper could use to make their camping experience better.
I have been camping all my life and since moving to Canada, Dave and I have decked out our car with a sleeping platform and started car camping (sleeping both in and outside of our car).
This guide includes items for all budgets and they are listed in order from most expensive gifts to cheapest gifts. All of these items we either already use ourselves or we have on our shopping list.
In this gift guide, there are a mix of fun items, techy gear and useful items that your camping friend will love!
What is Car Camping?
Car camping can mean literally camping in your car or it can mean that you drive into a campground and set up your tent right next to your car.
Unlike backpacking, you can bring more luxury items and fun items like games when you car camp!
Gifts $100 +
Nemo Stargazer Chairs
This is no ordinary camp chair! This chair swings and reclines so that you can stargaze in comfort from your camp chair.
This is a game changer to the car camping world, as I know very well how sore your neck gets when trying to look up at the stars from a normal chair.
The Nemo Stargazer also has an adjustable headrest, a no-spill cupholder, and a stash pocket for your car keys and phone.
Luno Car Camping Mattress
We have had our Luno Car Camping Mattress for a couple of years now and it is the best! It is comfy and so easy to set up and down.
The mattress is inflatable so if you need to, you can deflate it while you are on the road and then inflate when you arrive at your campsite.
The mattress is made from super strong materials and perfect for camping with a dog. Those sharp puppy claws will not hurt this mattress!
Luno Car Camping Mattresses are specially made for each type of car so that they fit the back of your car perfectly.
Luno Gift Card
Luno is a car camping accessories retailer and there are quite a few Luno accessories included in this gift guide. However, if you can’t decide what to get your car camping friend, get them a gift card so that they can choose one themselves.
Luno do gift cards for $50 – $500 worth.
REI or MEC Gift Card
Depending on whether your car camping friend lives in Canada or the USA you might want to get them a MEC (Canada) or REI (USA) gift card.
Both of these shops are similar in the way that they have LOADS of outdoor camping equipment and accessories to choose from. Being in Canada, we get a lot of our camping equipment from MEC so I can confirm that a gift card would be super useful for that camping friend you are looking to purchase a gift for.
Rumpl Puffy Blanket
These blankets are perfect for card camping. They are super cozy and some of them have the prettiest designs of national parks!
Luno Cargo Hammock
If you have ever been camping, you will know how quickly the space in your car fills up. We only have the 2 of us, yet we somehow always seem to pack our car to the brim.
This is where the Luno Cargo Hammock comes in handy. It is a hammock that attached to the ceiling of your car to store your extra gear. Pretty nifty right?!
GCI Outdoor RoadTrip Rocker Chair
This is a camping chair that rocks! So I guess you could say it’s a camping rocking chair?
If you are looking for something unique to gift, this one is a great choice!
Luno Gear Tote 50L
This Tote is perfect for keeping your loose gear tidy and separate from your dirty gear. It could also be used as a daily organizer to hold all your groceries!
Inflatable paddleboards are the best! We have 2 and we take them on lake day trips but also love having them when we are car camping next to a lake. It’s almost feels like a resort holiday, being able to go out on the lake with your own paddle board whenever you want!
Paddleboard Electric Pump
If they have an inflatable paddleboard and are using a hand pump, then this is best gift you could get them! It saves you loads of time and energy. We don’t have one yet but we REAAAALLY need one. Hint Hint friends and family😉
Patagonia Los Gatos 1/4 Zip
This is probably the cosiest fleece sweater I own and I can’t recommend it more! It’s super warm so great for those chilly camping nights. It also comes in lots of different colours.
Yeti Roadie 60 Cooler
This extra large Yeti Cooler is perfect for road trips and longer camping trips. It is taller than normal coolers so can hold up to 19 wine bottles!
It has wheels and a handle for easy transport to and from your campsite. There’s nothing worse than having to carry a heavy cooler from your car to your campsite if it is located away from where you park your car.
The Yeti Roadie 60 Cooler has a Dry Goods Basket for easy organization and RockSolid Strength with insulating, pressure-injected polyethylene.
Birkenstocks are the perfect shoe to hang around the campsite in. They are easy to slip on and off so you don’t have to fuss around with laces. There’s nothing worse than getting out of your tent or car in the morning and having to do up shoe laces.
Helinox Chair Zero
The Helinox Chair Zero is a lightweight, compact chair which is perfect for relaxing for relaxing at your campsite. Because they are so light, they can be used for backpacking trips as well as car camping.
For car camping, we love that they don’t take up much space in the back of the car because free space seems to disappear very quickly when we pack our car for a camping trip. 😅
Kindle Paperwhite E-Reader
I have been wanting a kindle for SO long, not just to take camping but also for at home because we have nowhere to store books (apartment life 😆).
I got this one for Christmas this year and I’m so excited to use it. I think it is the perfect size – not too big or small and it is nice and light to hold.
A kindle is a great gift idea for any camping friends who like to read.
Outdoor Research Tundra Aerogel Socks
The Outdoor Research Tundra Aerogel socks keep your feet extra warm inside your sleeping bag, or you can wear them around the house at home as slippers!
They have synthetic insulation and a waterproof outer layer with anti-slip, microsuede soles so that you don’t slip if you decide to wear them around the house.
They also have ankle cinch tops so that you can adjust them to your ankle size.
GSI Selkirk 540 + Camp Stove
A camping trip will never be complete without a 2 burner stovetop for cooking hot breakies, coffee and dinners.
Big Agnes Soul Kitchen Camp Table
We have a similar table to this one and it is great! It is a good size and packs away super small so that you can fit it easily into your car.
I will say that it is a good size table for 2 or 3 people but may be a little squishy for more than 3.
Big Agnes Spicer Peak 4 Tent
The Big Agnes Spicer Peak 4 Tent is a 3 season, free standing dome tent that fits 4 people. It is really spacious and perfect for car camping if you don’t want to sleep in your car.
Ignik FireCan Portable Fire Pit
The Ignik FireCan Portable Fire Pit is a luxury item. You could use it in your own backyard or at your campsite instead of a traditional firepit.
It’s legs fold up to allow for more compact packing and its removable lid also acts as a carry handle. You can learn more about this awesome camping item using the links below.
Jackery Explorer 1000 Power Station
The Jackery Explorer 1000 Portable Power Station can give power to 8 different devices at one time including items like cameras, mini fridges, hot plates and more!
The Jackery Portable Power Station can save you from having to camp at powered campsites as often because you can bring power with you where ever you go!
NEMO Helio LX Pressure Shower
This portable shower is a game changer! To use it, you need to pressurize the tank using the foot pump and you can keep a strong continuous spray going for 7-10 minutes with occasional pumps.
You can use it as a shower or to hose off dirty gear or dishes.
NEMO Roamer Sleeping Pad – Double
This double sleeping pad is super comfy and great for sleeping on uncomfortable terrain because you will not feel a thing through the thickness of the pad. It is easy to inflate and uses a pump sack.
The North Face Dolomite One Sleeping Bag
I absolutely love the idea of this bag! If your camping friend likes to go camping in a seasons, this might make a great gift for them.
The North Face Dolomite One Sleeping Bag acts like 3 bags in one, 15 degrees F (-9 degrees C), 30 degrees F (-1 degrees C) & 50 degrees F (10 degrees C).
It works out to be SO much cheaper to get the North Face Dolomite One Sleeping Bag instead of individual separate bags with different rates.
Gifts $50 – $100
ENO SingleNest Hammock
A hammock adds a feeling of luxury to any car camping trip! We don’t have one yet but it’s definitely on the list. You can hang these Eno Hammocks up between 2 trees at your campsite to relax at during the day.
Luno Car Window Screens
Sleeping in the car and unsure of how to get air flowing through your car without having annoying bugs come in? This car window screens are the solution!
We have used these during Summer and they make SO much difference to our sleep. The screens slide over the car windows and then you can roll down your window as much as you want to get a nice flow of air.
Luno Car Privacy Curtain
The Luno Privacy Curtain is the perfect way to block out any unwanted light and to add some privacy when you are sleeping in your car.
Luno Packable Pillow
This pillow is pretty awesome! It is super comfy, made from memory foam and has a dual sided design with one sleeping surface made to keep you cool on extra warm nights and the other side made to keep you warm on colder nights.
The Luno Packable Pillow also packs down (as its name suggests) into a stuff sack, making it the best car camping pillow around!
Luno Gear and Shoe Storage Bag
This bag does exactly what the name says it does – stores gear and shoes. The bag is water-resistant and magnetically attaches to the side of your vehicle. Your shoes and any other smelly gear can then be stored inside the bag overnight to keep your car a bit cleaner and less smelly.
Luno Camping Mattress Sheet
We actually don’t have a mattress sheet for our Luno car camping mattress yet, so I wouldn’t say it is 100% necessary but it is definitely a nice this to have.
The mattress sheet adds comfort and protection to your Luno Air Mattress and is cozy, breathable, and offers temperature-regulated insulation.
Luno Cordless Airpump
This cordless USB-C rechargeable pump is 2.5 times more powerful than the standard Luno corded pump which the mattresses come with.
The fact that it is cordless also means that you can inflate your mattress where ever you are and don’t need to be right at your car.
Luno Mesh Gear Duffel
The Mesh Gear Duffel was designed with car campers in mind. It is made to let your smelly gear breathe and dry after being packed away after a day of adventures.
LuminAID PackLite Titan 2-in-1 Power Lantern
These camping lanterns are really cool! We don’t have one ourselves but we went camping with friends who had a bunch of them. They are really bright and so easy to inflate and pack away. The LuminAID PackLite Lantern is inflatable and rechargeable. It can also charge your devices on its USB output.
Portable power banks are great to bring along on camping trips to charge your electronic devices. Yes, you can charge them in the car on the way, but you if you are planning on staying at a campsite for more than a day, you might not have a chance to charge your devices in the car again.
Wekapo Inflatable Lounger
This inflatable lounger doesn’t even need to be pumped up! You just need to whisk it through the air to inflate it and then relax at your campground or take it down to the beach or lake to hang out.
This is a great gift idea for anyone outdoorsy because you can take them anywhere.
Thermacell EX90 Rechargeable Mosquito Repeller
We discovered Thermacell earlier this year during Summer and it is a game changer for keeping mosquitoes away!
This Thermacell Repeller creates a 20ft. protection zone that is invisible and scent-free. It is powered by a rechargeable battery and provides up to 9 hours of protection on a single charge. To use, you just need to simply press a button.
Solar Powered String Lights
These Solar Powered String Lights will make your campsite pretty! You could also use them in your backyard.
The solar power charger that comes with the lights can also be used to charge your phone.
Plates and Bowls Camp set
This is a pack with plates, bowls, cups, and mugs for a group of four people. All items fit into a mesh stuff sack which is included.
GSI Outdoors Rakau Knife Set
This knife set comes with a chopping board, dish towel, sharpener and 3 knives in a cloth case to make travelling easy!
America the Beautiful Pass
National Parks Passes are super useful for people who love car camping! You can get an America the Beautiful Pass for $80 which will last for an entire year of adventures.
This cooler backpack is a great way to keep your food and drinks cool while on a road trip to find your next campground.
Aeropress Go Travel Coffee Press
Calling all coffee lovers! The Aeropress Coffee Press is the ideal coffee making tool for car campers, that is if you like your coffee delicious.
Luno Seatback Organizer
This is a car camping version of a ‘nightstand’ which can hold things like your phone, a headlamp, key storage hooks, tablets, books and more. It attaches to the back of the front seat.
Luno Car Camping Fan
The Luno Car Camping Fan is the perfect gadget to keep cool while you are sleeping in your car!
The fan will need a separate power bank or USB port to function. It can then suction cup to your window.
Stanley Adventure To-Go Food Jar and Spork
This little jar and spork is the perfect way to bring hot soup, pasta or cold meals with you on your car camping adventures.
These camp slippers are perfect for using around your campsite. They are warm and comfy and have a padded nonslip sole.
SpeedArmis Wooden Throwing Game
This game is so much fun and doesn’t have to be a camping game but can also be played in the backyard at home. If you know anyone with a backyard that is. I know they are kind of hard to find these days.
We have played it a few times with friends at Christmas and it is a great game to get everyone outside.
S.O.L Flat Pack Kitchen Tub
This collapsible tub can be used as gear storage or a kitchen sink to wash dishes in.
BioLite Prep And Grill Tool Kit
This is the perfect bbqing kit. It comes with a metal spatula with integrated bottle opener, tongs, a knife and a roll-up storage mat to keep your kit organized.
YETI Rambler Tumbler With MagSlider Lid
This Yeti Tumbler is perfect for storing hot or cold drinks in.
Adventure plus music? Yes please! This little speaker is great for camping, cabins and road trips.
Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter System
We use the Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter System on all of our camping trips and it stops us from ever running out of drinking water! You can filter water using this little gadget from streams or lakes.
Gifts Under $25
GSI Infinity Backpacker Mug
This is my favourite camping mug. I use it for both backpacking trips and car camping. The lid keeps you from spilling anything and it has great insulation so your hot coffee, tea or chocolate stays hot for longer.
Rolla Roasters Marshmallow and Hot Dog Roasting Forks – Pair
What camping trip would be complete without a night of roasting marshmallows! Now your camping friend can have their very own marshmallow roasting forks. A super fun gift!
Backyard Bocce Set
Bocce is such a classic backyard or camping trip game. Personally I think you can never have too many games with you when you go camping.
Hoyle Waterproof Clear Playing Cards
If you have ever tried playing cards when camping, you will know that it’s hard to keep them clean. That is why these waterproof playing cards are a genius gift idea!
Camping Adventures Chambray Towel Set
Only the cutest towel design ever! 😍
Black Diamond Astro 300 Headlamp
This headlamp is simple and lightweight and perfect for using around the campground. The head strap is detachable to enable you to wash it.
LuminAID PackLite USB
This blow up, rechargable lantern has a powerful LED light. Because it is inflatable, it packs down perfectly for traveling.
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