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Christmas Camping & Hiking Wishlist for Kids

In the last few years, we have made an effort to be more intentional with our Christmas purchases. We prefer experiences over things, but let’s be honest, kids want to unwrap gifts. As a family, we love being outside; traveling, hiking, camping, and beach days are our favorite things to do year-round.

Our kids are 7, 4, and 3. They are in all different levels of skill, size, and ability to take care of gear. I have chosen 2-3 options to browse through- depending on your Childs age and skill/maturity level.

I chose to purchase a few cheaper options because they will outgrow them, but I read many reviews and specs before buying. I have listed options based on the price and age of the child. I linked everything to Amazon, mostly because I am a last-minute shopper, and they are super quick and easy. Most of these items (or similar) are at REI or similar camping/gear shops. So, let’s get started! Happy shopping!



We have been using the BLITZU headlights for a few years. They are not “kid” size, but they have lasted very well. Our kids use them at home and while camping. We have tried other “kid-friendly” headlights, but they were more expensive and didn’t hold up very well. When they are a little more responsible with their items, we will purchase the PETZL headlight. It is a bit lighter and will be better for backpacking.


I have listed three different backpacks. The Venture Pal is great for day trips, airplanes, small hikes, and the best quality and price option. Once we start backpacking, I will be getting them an Osprey. It is more expensive, but much better quality material and lighter for longer/overnight trips. The Cotopaxi is a recent purchase I got for myself. I wanted something that I could use a water bladder with, something light enough to take on longer hikes, yet had enough room for all of the snacks and ten essentials. 

The Cotopaxi would be perfect for a teen or adult, who wants something cute, not so technical, but comes with great features.

Water Bottles


We have gotten past the point of needing sippy cups, but I still get nervous about them spilling. For camping, I don’t love a straw option. I chose the Nalgene kids water bottle with a smaller lid to help cut down on spills. For an older child or teen, you can’t go wrong with the Hydro Flask.

Sleeping bags

Last year we got our kids the Wenzel sleeping bags. They will grow out of them quickly, and we only do warm-weather camping. That being said, they are the thickest of the basic kid sleeping bags, and they tend to keep them very warm. If we did more cold weather camping, I would purchase the Coleman Kids bag. It is a mummy bag and has a 30-degree rating. It also packs up much smaller than the Wenzel.

Eating Utensils

For car camping, I love the Knork Ware spoon and fork. It was important to me that they were separate items. I do not like the feel of a real ‘spork’ and didn’t want them to get hurt on the combos’ knife side. For older kids, backpacking, and when space/weight is essential, we like Sea to Summit.

Camp Site Lighting

Both of these items we use every time we go camping. The little bulb lights are perfect for hanging up in the tent or outside on a clothesline. I love them so much that I sometimes leave our lantern at home! The space savings are terrific. The slap bracelets are great too! I am a 90’s kid, and when I saw them, I HAD to get them. The batteries last a long time, and I can see the kids once the sun goes down. If you prefer to camp in campgrounds, these are great for those late-night walks to the bathroom. I always get worried about cars going too fast and not seeing us.

Trekking Poles

We have not explored trekking poles yet. I have done a lot of research on them, but I feel like the kids would primarily use them like swords at this time. I do have two choices saved for future use, though. They are the Hiker Hunger Carbon Fiber Trekking Poles and the Leki Legacy Lite COR-TEC AntiShock Pole.



I listed a few accessories for camping that your kids might love!

  • We love a good hammock while camping or spending the day at the beach. This hammock is what we have, and let me tell you- it is durable! After all of these years, we are so happy with its condition despite the kids torturing it! Also, you can’t beat the price.
  • Our son loves to be helpful around camp. He is very responsible and has been asking for a knife for a while. I have been on the fence about this one, but he is ready. I chose this Swiss Army knife precisely due to the quality and grippy handle.
  • This fanny pack isn’t a need, but it is handy. Also, it is the cutest fanny pack I have seen. It would be perfect for that teen girl in your life. But really, I want one too.
  • A slackline could add a lot of fun to those boring, in the woods camping spots that we adults seem to prefer. But they are versatile and easy to use at home, the park, the beach, etc. This version has a top rope and bottom rope, so even the littlest adventurers can use it safely.
  • Roasting marshmallows and cooking over the fire is one of our favorite things. We have been delighted with these extendable sticks. They are color-coded, durable, and you can safely adjust the length for added safety.
  • This past year, I have tried to cut down on the amount of space we were taking up for camping gear. I got these backpacking towels and was amazed at how much space we saved. I take them to the beach with us, camping, and even on hikes when there might be water. When there is water, the kids will find it. These dry out quickly, wash very well, and have a nifty little zipper pocket in them to keep your keys or phone.
  • While sitting by the fire, we love Magical Flames. I have gone through so many versions of these that I have lost count. This brand is more expensive than others, but you get what you pay for in this case.
  • I got the kids Walkie Talkies last year for our 4th of July camping trip. I knew that they were sad about firework show cancellations, so I wanted to make this trip a little extra special. They were running around the woods for HOURS playing with these. But I didn’t realize that they would also play with them in the house and backyard. These were a great purchase and have held up very well. We’ve gotten our money’s worth.
  • These binoculars on our wish list for this year. The kids have gotten into bird watching, and it makes things fun while we are camping and hiking. Initially, we got some cheap “kid” binoculars, but they were more like toys. I am happy with these reviews and the price


Written by Heather Dembeck

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Chasing the King Tide, Embracing the Wet at Ecola and Cape Disappointment State Parks.

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