Interested in exploring new outdoor pursuits? Have a friend or significant other keen to explore more in the new year? Love our photo essays but not sure of camping or backpacking on your own yet? We’ve got you. This carefully considered gift guide features high quality yet affordable essentials sure to improve the life and experience of every new outdoor enthusiast.
Best of all, much of it is up to 30% off.
Meet the Beginner Outdoorist's best friend, Stoic—a Backcountry exclusive that makes quality gear for a fraction of the cost of competing retailers. This 4-person tent is the most bang for your buck on the market, and although it's meant as a car camping option, at around 8 lbs it could potentially be split between a few friends for backpacking, too.
Equally suited for sitting fireside while camping or chilling in your own backyard or local park, the REI Flexlite Chair features a deep seat for sinking into, mesh side pocket for stowing a book, flashlight, phone, etc, and still packs down to an easy to carry—and easy to store—size.
Price: $80 SHOP NOW
Perhaps the most key piece in any gear closet is a sleeping bag. You can almost always borrow a tent, but sometimes folks don't like the idea of other bodies sweating in their sleeping bag. So it's best to invest in a quality, 3-season bag like this—made with Spirafil insulation that retains loft even when it gets slightly wet—to ensure you're camp-ready nearly year-round. Packable, inexpensive, warm, and lightweight—exactly what you want.
The biggest turn off for new outdoorists is a poor night’s sleep, so it makes sense to be careful when buying a sleeping pad—don’t just go for the lightest or cheapest. An insulated option like this one from Stoic helps prevent waking up in the middle of the night freezing cold. Plus it’s stable, comfortable, and self inflating. And about as cost-effective as you're going to get.
This clever little lightweight pack is perfect for day hikes or stuffing in your luggage while traveling for extra carrying capacity on the way home. At just 9oz—and hydration bladder compatible—it’s great for basecamp hikes while backpacking too. Also works well for the daily commute in town.
Once we tested a Rumpl, it became a permanent fixture in the camp kit, every time. Keep your backside cozy at the campfire, improve a lightweight sleep setup, stay warm on chilling mornings, or use it around the house. Either way, the light, packable, and water-resistant design is ideal for keeping in your camp kit or car for when adventure calls.
Price: $99 SHOP NOW
Imagine waking up in a tent, knowing your only responsibility for the day was to walk some miles, eat some food, maybe take a nap or swim in a lake, then watch the sun set. No email, no news, no group chats—that’s backpacking. And this lightweight pack is your ticket to getting after it. Plenty of support, enough room for a multi-day trek, and a built-in rain cover for that storm that wasn’t on the forecast but will inevitably show up anyway.
Women’s Option: Yes SHOP NOW
This mug from Seattle-based MiiR is easily one of the best new interpretations of the classic enamel camping mug. Made with thermo 3D molded double wall vacuum insulation, it will keep your coffee hot and your cold beverages cold. Bonus points for a lid to keep drinks from splashing when roaming around the campsite or neighborhood, and for the speckled colorway update with everyone's favorite, Patagucci.
Price: $25 SHOP NOW
Like a pocket knife, you may not need a multi-tool every day, or even every trip, but when you do, you’ll be beyond glad it’s there. This bundle comes with both—perfect for stashing in your rig and your camp kit.
Price: $50 SHOP NOW
An absolute essential for camping and backpacking, we’d suggest even bringing a headlamp along for day hikes, ski tours, or any other outdoor pursuit—if you wind up spending the night outside, it could literally be a lifesaver. Heck, I even keep one in my glove box in case of roadside emergency. Also, be sure to keep spare batteries on hand.
Price: $30 SHOP NOW
Perhaps an overlooked piece of gear for new outdoorists, a good quality stove is something to invest in right off the bat. This legendary design from Seattle's MSR packs down incredibly small and is perfect for backpacking, thru-hiking, and car camping, too.
It's not every outdoorsy person's favorite thing in the world to start a fire from scratch, contrary to popular belief. With wet wood or poor weather, making a fire can take a lot of time and cause a lot of frustration, so cut a corner with this fire starter. We won't tell anyone.
Price: $3 SHOP NOW