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Gift guide for the wanderlust couple

This post was updated October 4, 2017.

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Need help finding the perfect gift for your favorite outdoorsy couple who loves camping, traveling, and outdoor adventure? 

My favorite engagement memory is of our friends throwing us an unforgettable outdoorsy themed couple's shower.  Many of those gifts we received over 18 years ago are still in use by us today.  As our family has grown, so has our stash of camping equipment.

Here's a gift guide to help you bless your favorite outdoorsy couple.  These are tried and true and Rad Family approved.  For creative gift-givers and those who like to build things from scratch:  I've included a crafty idea if you want to add a personal touch.


Of course, this gift guide works for your favorite single guy or gal in your life too.

Two is better than one (wrap his & hers)

Hiking daypacks  Our personal favorite?  The Osprey Daylite backpack.  We use ours for day hikes, major sporting events, camping trips, and more.  Feeling generous?  Buy them each a hydration bladder to fit inside.  


1 Liter water bottles  Our go-to right now is the CamelBak Chute 1L water bottle.  Our kids love these and prefer these over the ones with straws or wide mouth rims.  Easy to clean, easy to use, and easy to clip on to your pack.


Gaiters  We like Outdoor Research gaiters and they have come in quite handy on summer hikes and for playing in the snow.  They prevent rocks, dirt, and light snow from creeping into your boots.  


Wool socks  Our absolute favorite wool socks over the years have been the Smartwool PhD Outdoor Light Crew Socks.  Their superb warmth, ability to wick away moisture, non-itchiness, non-smelliness, and durability win us over every time.  I wear these on summer hikes and with winter boots.  Great gift for anyone really, outdoorsy or not. 


Comfy sleeping pads  I just bought a medium-wide Exped SynMat Basic Sleeping Mat this past summer and it feels like I'm sleeping on a bed.  Heavenly for car camping.  Only weighs 36 oz, so while it's not the uber lightest sleeping pad out there, it's also not heavy for the occasional backpacker like me.  Includes an integrated hand-pump.  

I also mention it in my list of  7 must-haves for car camping.



Camp chairs  Our 18 year-old Therm-a-rest camp chairs (that also double as 3/4 sleeping pads) remain stashed in our van for soccer games, picnics, and camping trips.  I've also used it backpacking.  Super durable.  They've changed a bit over the years, but Therm-a-rest makes great sleeping pads that are easily combined with their Trekker Chair.   



Head lamps  Hands-free light around camp after the sun goes down, our Black Diamond headlamps have served us well.  Lots of colors and options to choose from.  Ours have lasted through four kids, backpacking trips, and car-camping trips.  Also useful at home when you find yourself without power.


Travel money / passport belt  My hubby and I each bought a money belt for our European backpacking trip back in 2000.  Fantastic way to safely carry your money and passport.  I like this one made by Doffey:  inexpensive, waterproof, durable, and uber lightweight.


Gifts for the couple to tear open together:

2 person backpacking tent  Our 18 years-old-and-going-strong Sierra Designs Lookout CD tent is still our favorite tent.  This puppy has endured a severe thunderstorm, microburst, several road trips, as well as big and little kids.  Sierra Designs knows tents.  Don't forget to add a footprint, which serves to protect your tent floor from dirt, rocks, scrapes, and tears.  

Related post: Rad tents, sleeping bags, & pads for the whole family

Hobo Hammocks double hammock  One of the best parts of camping or backpacking is hanging about camp.  There are all sorts of reasons to love the Hobo Hammock. Very affordable at just $59, it comes with a lifetime warranty, 2 ultra strength steel carabiners, and 2 Hobo Straps (each 10 feet long) so you can hang as soon as you like.  (With the Eno you have to buy the hanging straps separately.)  And there’s more… one delicious meal is delivered to a hobo in your name when you buy a Hobo Hammock.  Love it. 



Get them dreaming with a travel book.  Rick Steves Europe Through the Back Door helped us plan a whirlwind trip through Europe as we celebrated our 2nd anniversary.  Rick Steves updates his books every year and they are filled with savvy travel tips and perfectly honest sight-seeing suggestions about what to see and what to skip.  Check out other Fodor's, Frommer's, and Lonely Planet travel books too. 


 Camp stove  Our Camp Chef Everest two burner camp stove is ready to go for family camping, road trips, and tail-gating.   Lid and side flaps shield the heat source from the wind.  Separate burner controls so you can cook bacon on one side and eggs on another.  Works with 16.4 oz. propane canisters, sold separately.


Backpacking Camping Stove  If you wanna splurge for a serious backcountry couple, consider a Jetboil Helios backcountry camp stove or the like.  We lucked out and got ours on clearance when a backcountry store was closing it's doors.  


Dutch oven  This gift will last forever.  A cast iron 6 quart dutch oven is perfect for campfire cooking.  Bonus: the lid flips over for use as a griddle.  


Medical kit  Always a good idea to have one of these on hand.  This waterproof, lightweight first aid kit is handy for short trips. 


Large cooler  The Coleman 48 quart cooler is just the ticket.  Like a lot of the items I've mentioned, this will get lots of use even outside of camping.  Doubles as a seat too.


Dear creative, crafty, gift-giver,

Building a personalized CHUCK BOX for the outdoorsy couple who loves car camping just might be your thing.  Buy a large plastic tote box, or better yet, build your own chuck box complete with shelves, drawers, hinges, and latches. 

Then, fill the chuck box with the following:

cutting board / large knife / paring knife / large mixing bowl / hot pads / cast iron skillet / large pot / medium pot / camping plates, bowls, mugs / camp silverware / large slotted spoon / large serving spoon / whisk / metal spatula/ French coffee press / wash basin  / biodegradable soap / seasonings / lightweight quick-drying towels / measuring cups / measuring spoons / whisk / rubber spatula / wine key / paper towels / Whirly Pop / sponge / scrubbing pad /can opener / trash bags / roasting forks / match box / lighter

Or, gift-wrap some in-camp entertainment:  Fun, lightweight ideas for backpacking:  frisbee, deck of playing cards, Farkle, or a wiffle ball set.  We always bring device-free entertainment for when we're hanging around camp.  Great ideas for car camping: Spikeball, Bocce ball, the washer game, or other easily portable yard games.

Happy wrapping!

What other gift ideas do you have for the outdoorsy couple?

The pictures in the opening photo collage are courtesy of