For those of you with “outdoorsy” types on your list, please read about our favorite outdoor gifts below. This list includes our most important items that come with us on every camping trip. It was an easy list to compile, since each item fought its way past all the gimmicky junk to take its place on top.
Aimee and Emily have a habit of dropping knives off of counters/picnic tables directly at our feet. Its very important to us to keep our feet hiking-ready in camp, but the sheath is better known for its use in the pack. You simply can’t put a chef’s knife in your pack without a sheath, and we’ve all spent too much time in our lives cleaning cheese and peanut butter out of the grooves of our pocket knives.
After years of using stumps as cutting boards, we finally graduated to floppy cutting boards. They are thin, lightweight and usually come in different colors to help avoid cross-contamination. There are several kinds on the market – some paper thin and others a little thicker (think 1/6 in). These are a no-brainer for car camping and even at home. For backpacking, slip it into the back of your pack and forget about it until it’s chow time.
It is no fun to do dishes outdoors, but it is even less fun to do them when you have to use a dirty pot as your washtub. This kitchen sink is the answer to all your problems. It folds up small, but opens up large enough to hold plenty of water for soaking and scrubbing. A little tip – fill the sink with a little cold water and add some hot water to it to help with the dishes and keep your hands warm.
We got this book last spring in preparation for a backpacking trip in the Sierra Nevada mountains. It is loaded with really delicious atypical backpacking recipes to prepare at home and at camp. It also has a great introduction with useful backpacking tips. So far one of my favorite recipes is the Lentil Rice Cakes that we made ahead of time and ate with tahini sauce for lunch. No more excuses for defaulting to dense protein bars!
Please see the Java Drip Review previously posted for all our compliments of this machine. It is easy to use, impossible to break, and makes some of the best brewed coffee you can find in the backcountry.
Aimee received a dutch oven for Christmas last year and it opened up a whole new world of camp cooking possibilities. We’ve had fun experimenting with recipes for cobblers, eggs, potatoes, and stews. This is an essential gift for anyone who loves to cook outdoors. Don’t forget the lid lifter to go with it, it’s a must-have accessory.
This is a no fuss kitchen utensil cooking set that includes a ladle, spatula and strainer. These utensils conveniently fold up and fit into most cooksets so you’ll never lose them. The ladle includes measuring marks, a very handy feature when you’re following a Dirty Gourmet recipe.
This is our favorite pot set for the average camper. You don’t usually want to carry more than two pots, so the crazy huge systems are unnecessary and easy to lose the pieces to them. Unfortunately, this set doesn’t offer a lid that doubles as a pan like the stainless steel pot set does, so if you’re looking for ultra-multi-purpose tools over non-stick, then go for that choice. The Base 2 Set is nice, because it is very lightweight while still feeling sturdy and offering some help with even cooking.
This is a basic, sturdy cooler with bonus points for its retro style. We actually own 2 of these in the stainless steel. Besides storing food, we like to use them to display stickers of all the places we’ve been to. Though it’s a splurge, this is one of our favorite outdoor gifts.
This is the ultimate mug. We know, its a tiny bit expensive for a measly little mug, but this is the last mug one will ever need to own. It is extremely lightweight, strong and has a handle that folds for easy storage. Best of all this mug is is double walled which means you can hold a hot beverage without scorching your hands.