Here is a gift list of 10 items that we use regularly for car camping, hiking, or backpacking. Hopefully it gives you ideas for the outdoor lover in your life!

Under $50

Cambridge SoundWorks speaker

Cambridge SoundWorks Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker – $28

We freaking love this Bluetooth speaker. We take it along on our car camping trips and also use it while working on the house. It’s small and light (9 oz). It’s water resistant. It’s dust-proof + sand-proof. We’ve tested that out enough times in the desert, between windy sandstorms to just [me] dropping it in the sand.

Lodge cast iron skillet

Lodge Cast Iron Pre-Seasoned Skillet Black – $16

Car camping game changer. Once it’s hot it heats so evenly – simmering soups, sauteing vegetables, and frying pancakes is so much better + easier. It’s heavy [7.5 pounds] so it’s not a backpacking item.

Darn Tough hiking socks

Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Socks – $20

I’ve worn these socks backpacking, hiking, and canyoneering (through sand) and they are the best socks I own. I have tried Smartwool and REI brand socks but Darn Tough has held up much better – no wear spots even with years of use. They stay in place = no blisters. And I don’t need to wear liner socks anymore.

Titanium Spork

Snow PeakTitanium Spork – $9

Very light (0.6 oz) and lasts for forever. Dan has taken his on 10+ years of backpacking and travel trips and it looks new. Stocking stuffer!

GSI Backpacking Mug

GSI OutdoorsInfinity Backpacker Mug – $10

Dan got me this and I love it for backpacking trips. It’s light (3 oz) and along with the Jetboil (below) I can make 56 cups of tea on backpacking trips. Saving weight on food and gear so that I can bring 3 pounds of tea = totally an ultralight backpacker…

It holds 17 oz of fluid and with the lid closed keeps liquid hot for a surprising amount of time. The outer cozy is removable so you can wash the mug in the dishwasher.  Another good stocking stuffer.

Under $100


Jetboil Flash Cooking System – $99

I use this all the time and am always amazed at how quickly it boils water. It lights with the click of a button (no lighter needed) and heats two cups of water in ~2 minutes – great for hot drinks or freeze-dried meals. It has a 1 L fluid capacity and weighs less than a pound. If you are looking for a compact stove to quickly boil water while camping or backpacking then this is it.

Goal Zero solar charger

Goal Zero 41022 Guide 10 Plus Solar Recharging Kit – $99

This is an awesome product. We used this on our 30 days in the Alaskan wilderness to charge our iPhone 5’s, the Kindle, and the speaker for music. On our backpacking trip to Turquoise Lake we strapped it to the outside of our backpacking packs.  It has a magnetic closure, a pretty rugged case, and is light (~1 lb). The one drawback we had was that it needs strong sunlight for a consistent charge [not always available in Alaska]. It was still able to charge in partially overcast skies, but slowly.

Coleman Stove

ColemanTriton Series 2-Burner Stove – $70

A great item for car camping. We have an older version that Dan picked up on Craigslist for $20. We used to use a DragonFly or cook over a campfire with mixed to poor results. You can heat two medium-large pans at the same time. And the wind shields are nice for windy desert nights..

Camp chair

REIFlex Lite Chair – $80

Our friends got this chair as a wedding gift and after trying it out slash stealing it on camping trips, I bought one. It’s light enough for backpacking trips (~1.75 lbs) and the seat is comfortable for long stretches of time. One downside is that the feet dig into soft ground so you may find yourself sinking in a bit. I don’t really mind this, but other reviewers find this to be a bigger negative.


Zebra Light Head Lamp – $65

Dan and I have collectively gone through 4 other headlamps that either break easily or run the battery out faster than you’d hope. This runs on one AA battery, which on the low setting can last for days. It has 3 main light levels – high, medium and low. Each main level can be programmed to one of its two sub-levels. It’s easy to toggle between the levels of brightness. The light tint is a nice warm white. And one of the best things is that it’s extremely durable. Highly recommend!

Happy Holidays!




  1. Dear Ashleyoutside: your life is so amazing and is such an inspiration!! Please keep the posts coming and I look forwards to seeing your next adventure!!

    • ashleyoutside Reply

      EEE! Having a [best] friend like you keeps life pretty full 🙂 Love you

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