21 Cool Gifts for Outdoor Lovers

1 Min. Read
21 Cool Gift Ideas for Outdoor Lovers

Outdoorsy Gift Ideas (You’ll Want on Your Wish List, Too!)

Our annually-curated list of gifts for outdoor lovers is no doubt one of our readers’ favorite posts each year. From gear we love to fun games and cool gadgets, these are some of the best outdoorsy gifts out there right now. Just don’t blame us if you find an item or two to add to your wish list, too.

Gear We Love

Luci solar lights illuminate an evening volleyball game on the Lower Salmon River
1) Luci Solar String Lights

A guide-favorite, MPOWERD’s Luci Solar String Lights have become a common sight on river trips, and we know exactly why. You can easily hang or wrap them to help illuminate your tent, a group common area like the camp kitchen, or even a late night beach volleyball session. They’re a total game changer for any camping trip and wrap up into a portable case for easy packing. ($50)

2) Neso Gigante Sun Shade

Ditch the clunky beach pop-up for the 11×11-foot Neso Gigante Sun Shade, which can fit up to five chairs. Its unique and streamlined design uses bags of sand or rocks to anchor the shade in place, along with two poles. It can also be staked like a traditional tent if you opt for Neso’s anchor conversion kit. The best part? It’s easy to carry and can even fit in your luggage if you’re traveling. ($170)

3) NRS Bucket of Straps

The 1-inch heavy-duty, signature blue straps from NRS have been a staple of the whitewater community for rigging rafts and strapping down gear since 1978. Beyond the river, they’ve proven to be the ultimate tie-down-anything solution outdoors and at home, which is exactly why everyone should have a bucket of them at their disposal, “ready for whatever.” (From $75)

4 ) Ocoopa Rechargeable Hand Warmer

One of our adventure consultants loves Ocoopa hand warmers and recommends them to guests for early- and late-season rafting trips when the weather can be unpredictable (though it will serve well for any cool-weather adventure). Take the chill out of your hands in the morning or stuff it in the bottom of a sleeping bag to help keep feet warm, plus the IP45 waterproof model works double duty and can charge your smartphone. It’s drop-proof, dust-resistant and provides 15 hours of warmth when fully charged or approximately two smartphone charges, depending on the phone. (From $42)

Outdoorsy Gifts for Water Worshippers…

Best outdoor gifts of 2022 - YETI Waterproof Panga Bag
5) YETI Waterproof Panga Bag

Not your average gear bag, the Waterproof Panga Bag features a puncture-resistant, high-density nylon shell and a HydroLok™ Zipper that keeps the water out even when fully submerged. This is an extremely durable bag that has been built for those who adventure hard. And, if the number of these we’ve been seeing on the river lately is any indication, they’re definitely whitewater worthy. They’re available in two colors and three sizes ranging from 50L to 100L. ($350)


GoPro’s latest camera brings a ton of new features and increased resolution. Designed around a new larger imaging sensor, the HERO11 can shoot 5.3K video at 60 frames per second and up to 27-megapixel still photos, definitely sharp enough to capture every drop of water that comes over your raft. It’s waterproof to 33-feet and can take a beating, making it the perfect camera for any epic adventure. ($399)

7) Onyx Inflatable Belt Life Jacket

The Onyx Inflatable Life Jacket will give any paddleboarder, kayaker or open-water swimmer peace of mind on the water. Coast Guard-approved and worn around the waist, it’s a comfortable alternative to wearing a more traditional bulky life jacket. If needed, pull a quick cord and the life jacket inflates using a CO2 cartridge. (From $56)


We love this beverage-holding solution for paddlers. The SUPBUDDY adheres to most surfaces with three suction cups, but just in case that doesn’t work, the base also has a Velcro strap that will attach securely to D-rings or bungee cords. Not just for cans, its built-in beverage koozie can fit water bottles, coffee thermoses and more. ($32)

9) Rheos Floating Sunglasses

If you spend as much time on the water as we do, then you’ve likely lost a good pair of your favorite sunglasses after a harrowing rock jump or an unexpected raft flip. That’s where Rheos polarized floating sunglasses, which weigh 20-30% less than standard sunglasses, can save the day. Not only will they not sink, these light-weight and stylish shades look good, too. ($65)

10) Whitewater Book

This gorgeous coffee table book produced by YETI in collaboration with American Rivers is an ode to the thrill of free-flowing water and the magic of our iconic rivers. Any water lover would delight in its 156 pages of spectacular photography and essays by notable storytellers like Kevin Fedarko, author of The Emerald Mile. ($100)

We Would Definitely Wear That…

Two stand-up paddlers wearing Therm-a-rest Honcho Ponchos
11) Therm-a-Rest Honcho Poncho

The Honcho Poncho is a one-size-fits-all sleeping bag poncho hybrid designed by Therm-a-Rest. It’s breathable, water-resistant and includes a hood and kangaroo pocket in front. Perfect for wearing around camp on a brisk night, but truly, the possibilities for using this ultra-cozy blanket alternative outside are endless. Your always-cold partner or family member will thank you for this one. ($129)

12) Chaco Ramble Puff Slippers

Speaking of camp comfort, Chaco’s Ramble Puff Slippers are a must-pack shoe for camping trips or even backpacking as a comfortable, fairly lightweight option to put on at the end of a long day on the trail. Easy to slip on, hard-soled, and fleece-lined, the shoes come in a clog or over-the-ankle style with cinch down straps for a snug fit. (From $75)

13) Custom Grand Canyon T-shirt

Featuring one-of-a-kind artwork by Diné artist Vernan Kee of the Navajo Nation, this stylish and breathable Grand Canyon T-shirt not only makes a statement, but helps support the work of Grand Canyon Trust, a non-profit advocating for the protection of the region since 1985. For every shirt purchased in the OARSTORE, we’ll donate $10 directly to the organization. ($25)

14) Anetik Tech Hoody

A UPF-rated sun shirt is a must-have piece of gear for any outdoor lover. Anetik’s Hooded Performance line promises to keep you “unbelievably cool in the harshest heat.” Their tech hoodies come in a wide-range of light and airy colors in both men and women’s styles and check all of the boxes that we look for in a good sun shirt—comfortable, breathable and quick-drying. (From $65)

Just For Fun Outdoorsy Gift Ideas

Just for Fun Outdoorsy Gift Ideas - Bottle Bash Game
15) Bottle Bash

We can’t get enough of Bottle Bash. It’s like a hybrid of frisbee, disc golf, and cornhole all in one. Teams take turns trying to knock a non-breakable “bottle” off of a pole that’s located 20 to 40 feet away (depending on how hard you want to make the game). To win, you have to out throw and out catch your competitor. But trust us,  it’s harder than it looks. ($40)

16) Ooni Pizza Oven Karu 12

A portable oven fueled by wood, charcoal or gas, the Ooni Karu 12 will transform any car camping trip or group gathering into the ultimate pizza party. This stainless steel and fiber ceramic-insulated unit can heat up to more than 900 degrees in 15-minutes, promising legit wood-fired pizza in just 60 seconds. ($415)

17) Koala 2.0

Ever watch your phone disappear into the murky depths of the Colorado River, or ricochet off the side of a cliff to an untimely demise? We have, which is why we’re totally here for the Koala 2.0 which tethers your phone to your gear so if you accidentally let go, it’s not actually going anywhere. Made of 100% recycled materials, the simple design of this “smartphone leash” fits the latest models and won’t get in the way of your camera. ($29)

18) Kinship Cribbage Board

Handcrafted by OARS Idaho guide Sarah Mallory, this go-anywhere cribbage board is made out of premium leather, basswood, and solid brass. Designed with rafters and travelers in mind, this beautiful and compact version of a beloved game is a gift that will be cherished for years to come. ($80)

Stocking Stuffers for Outdoor Lovers

Venture Wipe individually packaged bathing wipes
19) Venture Wipes

Just about anyone will love having a few Venture Wipes stashed in the trunk of their vehicle to clean up after an active day on the trail or packed in a gear bag for a backcountry bath solution on a multi-day adventure. The best part about these biodegradable bathing wipes is their size. They are 300 percent larger than your average baby wipe, and one usually gets the job done. (From $13)

20) Wildland Coffee

Wildland Coffee single-serve coffee bags give you the convenience of drinking what tastes like a French press coffee in the backcountry minus actually having to bring the French press (and no grounds at the bottom of the mug either). This is not instant coffee, but real ground coffee sourced from Brazil that’s packaged in tea bags and steeped for 8 minutes for a delicious on-the-go coffee. All of the packaging is 100% compostable. (From $10)

21) OARS Gift Card

If you prefer to give your loved ones experiences, not things, then may we suggest giving the gift of adventure? OARS gift cards are available online through our partner QuickGifts for $25 and up year-round. Cool points guaranteed.

21 Cool Gifts for Outdoor Lovers

Photos: Mpowerd Luci String Lights on the Lower Salmon River – Rob Aseltine; Waterproof Panga Bag – YETI; Honcho Poncho -Therm-a-Rest; Bottle Bash game – Rob Aseltine; Venture Wipes 0 c

An earlier version of this post first appeared in December 2013 and was last rewritten and republished November 2021. 

Cari Morgan heashot

Cari Morgan

Cari Morgan is the Content Marketing Manager for OARS. Since 2014, she has managed the company’s blog, The Eddy, and has been the primary “voice” behind the brand’s social media sphere.

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