Not so secret Santa – our top camping and caravan gifts

December 14, 2012
by Laura Canning | seasonal

We've been very very (very) good Apparently there are some people, more virtuous than us, who prepare for Christmas all year round. They buy Christmas cards in the January sales, set aside presents each month, and are right now sitting back smugly with mince pie and mulled wine, presents all perfectly tucked up in last year’s carefully saved and ironed giftwrap.

We are not these people. We’d like to be, as it would save the enraged panic that’s due to creep in this weekend as we’ve just realised we have to buy presents for fourteen people and other folk will inconsiderately be in town doing the same. But, alas, we are not. So, to offset the festive temper and stop us getting arrested in Debenhams due to trolley rage, we’re planning to do all the shopping online, tonight, while getting into the festive spirit. Hic.

If you have a camping or caravanning person in your life that you’ve yet to buy for, or you’re a camper/caravanner yourself and suspect that the ungrateful sods you share a house with haven’t yet sorted your presents, here are our top ten camping and caravanning gifts for Christmas. Cheers!

Clever Grandpa

Grandpa’s FireFork : You really can’t go wrong with a Christmas camping gift for around a fiver, although we’d recommend adding a stick (and maybe a pic of the FireFork in use) to the gift parcel so that your recipient doesn’t sit there and wonder why the eff you’ve given them a piece of twisted wire for Christmas. Made by canny Swedish company Light My Fire, who also brought us the FireKnife , the FireFork is how you toast your marshmallows over the flames without also toasting your fingers.

PowerPot : Campfires are good. Heat when camping is good, especially if it’s the sun and you can charge your phone with it. While we’re full of admiration for those who go truly off-grid when camping, we break out in a light sweat if we can’t charge our gadgets. So when heat = power, it’s a win/win. The PowerPot, like the BioLite CampStove , works on the principle of using heat as an alternative energy source to charge up gadgets, powering up to three USB gizmos at a time.

Wow wireless speakers : Wireless speakers are all the rage now with the young people, so we hear. But we’ll add that while they’re a truly fab idea for lounging around outdoors, there’s no need for them not to look purty as well. Hence, these very cute and very functional silicone speakers, which have up to six hours’ play time – less if you’re putting Metallica on at full boom.

Handpresso : Those of you who need to mainline coffee first thing in the morning when on hols – or who have been told testily by the other half that caffeine is essential – should be happy to unwrap this dinky device, which makes coffee anywhere. No batteries or electricity needed – just don’t forget your beans.

Handheld camper Build your own VW Campervan : For under £15! Alas, it’s a model rather than an actual VW, cos that would just be silly, but we’d like to find one of these under the tree nevertheless. The VW was ‘an absolute godsend if you had long hair, wore ridiculously flared jeans and liked joss sticks in the 60s’, says the product description, to which we say there’s nowt wrong with those things in 2012 too. And that yes, we did also buy a set of these VW campervan eggcups as a wedding gift a few years ago, which we almost didn't give the happy couple.

Stonking huge Swiss army knife : You’ll have to really love someone/be very rich to buy this ultimate Swiss army knife, as it weighs in at a huge £799.95 with 85 gadgets. Even with the current discount, the beast of a knife is still around £700, so we’re also including a more standard Swiss army knife here , which at a discounted £40 still says ‘I love you’ without adding ‘Now can you pay my rent’.

Solar-powered radio : The makers of this clockwork radio say it should retain enough power to work if it’s left sitting on a windowsill – but if it does run down it takes only a couple of minutes to wind it back up. There’s an LED torch on the end as well, so you can find your way back to berth after a nighttime singsong on the beach.

Alternative to Christmas jumper Tow ho ho T-shirt : Tee hee. We featured these folk in our competition last month and are including them here too, partly because they’re a nifty alternative to the hairy Christmas jumper, and partly because there have been dire hints that one of us might find a Camp Cook apron under the tree on Christmas morn. (We’d rather have a Warden hoodie , thanks.) Be quick though – orders finish tonight for guaranteed Christmas delivery.

Little Blue Campervan Book : Because kids love, or should love, camping too, and because it’s never too early to foster/indoctrinate a love of all things campervan in your offspring. Also, it’s under a fiver. This story and colouring book tells the story of Junior the lonely campervan (aww), who travels forlornly around the country until he meets his new family. And, under a fiver.

And finally…the perfect camping gift is the VW campervan tent . Yes, we’ve featured it before . And we think about it daily. And we’re hoping that if we go on about it enough, someone might buy us one if only to shut us up. But actually, on second thoughts, we think we’d rather have this flower power one instead, relentless hippies that we are. Again, cheers!