Updated November 24, 2021
We all have that one friend or family member that is difficult to shop for but if they’re a road trip warrior with a dog (or several), we have got you covered. So if you’re looking for gifts to buy your travelling friend or their dog, the pack and I put our heads together and came up with a few ideas. These are great gifts for road trips and people that enjoy camping. Okay it was a really long list but once we got rid of all the treats that Leo kept trying to suggest, we pared it down to our top 15 ideas.
This post does contain affiliate links and as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no cost to you.
Here’s our list in no particular order:
Collapsible Coffee Cup
Ideal for: Coffee lovers, hikers, and anyone wanting to reduce waste.
I love these things. Not only do you keep one more cup out of a landfill, but you feel like an absolute superstar when you produce the cup like magic from a pocket. You can literally watch their minds being blown at the sight. I use the Stojo collapsible cup; one stays in the glovebox of my car and one is in my desk at work.
Do you want a collapsible cup of your own? Click here for a great selection of cups.
Collapsible Coffee Cone
Ideal for: Coffee lovers that love to camp, anyone looking to lighten their load and conserve pack weight.
These collapsible pour over coffee makers fold down until they are completely flat. It is light and can bend around other items in a pack, making it ideal for backpackers that don’t want instant coffee. All you need to turn boiling water into some delectable bitter brew is a paper filter and some ground beans. With a collapsible cup, you have a compact coffee-making system.
Shop for a cone here.
Dog Sleeping Bag
Ideal for: Dogs that love to cocoon.
When we go camping, Leo often feels the need to burrow down into the foot of my sleeping bag. In the past, he would stay there for about half an hour, then climb back over me when he got too warm. If I didn’t let him in my sleeping bag, he would climb on top of the blankets and shiver, staring at me accusingly until I piled the blankets on top of him. As soon as I finished, he would dig his way out and go back to shivering. Well with a sleeping bag of his own, I don’t have to worry about a Boston Terrier butt squeezing over my face.
Snuggle with your pup and let them pick a sleeping bag for dogs from here.
Merino Wool Socks
Ideal for: EVERYONE!
Happy feet means happy everything else. I will admit that I have a bit of a sock obsession. I have double layer synthetic socks for running and toe socks for high-mileage runs, but my favourite socks for just about everything else are made of merino wool. They are warm when you need them to be, dry remarkably fast, and go for a while before they start to stink. I know socks aren’t sexy but they sure are practical.
Remember: no foot, no fun so click here for your first step to happy feet.
Biodegradable Camping Soap
Ideal for: Anyone that wants to cut chemicals out of their life.
With warming global temperatures, algal blooms are becoming more common so why not cut out some of the chemical load in our waterways. These soaps will help you get squeaky clean after a long day in the bush, something your travelling companions will appreciate as well. These are great because you can use them for everything from washing dishes to washing clothes to washing people. I prefer the Campsuds for tough grime but Dr. Bonner’s Castile Soap leaves a nice minty scent. Just remember to dilute the castile soap, otherwise the tingle can become an uncomfortable burn in delicate areas. Even though it’s biodegradable, always remember to wash and clean far from waterways.
Stock up on biodegradable soap here.
West Paw Design Toys
Ideal for: Dogs that destroy everything.
I’m a big fan of these toys. My dogs have tried their hardest to tear them apart and have failed spectacularly. These dog toys are dishwasher safe, float in the water, and are brightly coloured so they won’t get easily lost. You can read reviews I have written about the toys here and a separate one for the flying disc here.
If you’re looking to fill your dog’s toy box, this link will give you plenty to choose from.
Ideal for: Campers and anyone that wants to have a light source in the event of a power outage (so everyone)
It gets really dark once the sun goes down and having a lantern that you can set on a table helps to keep the good times going. I bring a small Black Diamond Orbit lantern with us when we go camping. It’s the small lantern in the photo above and in the picture it is expanded. Being able to collapse the lantern is an advantage when backpacking. It is surprisingly powerful for such a tiny device and the handle splits so that it can slide into the small loop in the ceiling of my tent. I also have a GE lantern that I have brought for extra light on a tabletop, perfect when you want to sit around with a bunch of friends playing cards.
Light up your life with these lanterns.
Camping Solar Panels
Ideal for: Gadget-lovers
As much as we camp to get away from civilization, it’s good to be able to keep your electronic devices charged. For that certain someone that can’t leave their electronic toys behind, a portal solar charger for camping is an ideal gift. Portable panels are easy to move to get the maximum amount of sun or can be propped in a window as you drive.
Ideal for: Backpackers and hikers
I think that a lot of people scrimp on their backpack and end up paying the price. Backpackers are kind of a masochistic group and it’s almost a badge of honour when you’re sitting around the fire talking about your level of suffering but there are plenty of other things that can hurt (like your feet in uncomfortable socks) instead of your back and shoulders. Wide padded shoulder straps, a bag that is the proper length, and a well-fitted hip strap make all the difference. As much as I’d like to offer some to click on, I strongly suggest going and getting properly fitted for one since that is the only way to make sure it will be comfortable. As tempting as it can be to buy the largest expedition pack you can afford, consider your needs carefully. The more space you have, the more things you tend to carry.
I have several packs for different uses: a small 8L day back, my standard 30L backpack that faithfully carries all my clothes and personal items on every road trip, and my 80L backcountry pack.
If you just can’t stop yourself from perusing the selection on line, check here for packs.
Ideal for: Dogs with thin coats or travelling to different climate zones
Leo is a thin-coated little guy which means that he can’t go outside naked as late in the season as he would like. Even King has a winter coat for when it gets really cold and the boots come out not long after the coats. Luckily we live in the country so salt isn’t much of a concern; they just have boots to keep their paws warm. I do bring some boots when we travel just in case we end up where there’s sharp rocks. A well fitted dog winter coat can be left on your pup overnight to help keep them warm, especially if they don’t want to curl up in a dog sleeping bag. Leo has a fleece sweater for nights in the tent and he looks positively dashing in it.
Check here to find new items for your dog’s wardrobe.
Collapsible Dog Bowls
Ideal for: Dogs that do any kind of travelling
Whether you’re backpacking and need to account for every gram or you’re loading a bunch of stuff into a car that’s too small (like a Corolla with three dogs and human), portable dog bowls are essential pieces of equipment. They come in different sizes and many have clips so they can be attached to a pack or belt loop. The soft models have the advantage because they are less rigid and and fold around harder items in a pack.
Follow this link for bowls.
Ideal for: Anyone that likes to record their travels
With a little notebook that can fit into a pants pocket and a pen, you have everything you need to create a permanent record of your thoughts and travels. If you pack a small glue stick, you can even add ticket stubs, camping permits, or any other items you collect. What a lovely personal memento of a trip.
Get your journalling started here.
Ideal for: Hikers and anyone needing a bit more stability
I think that many people shy away from hiking poles until they use them to power up a steep incline. Then they are sold. They are also good for testing questionable terrain, like a leaf-lined trail that can hide ankle-deep puddles of water that you step into and you turn your shoe into a pond and you go limping around for the rest of the day (ahem…guilty). I have a pair of Black Diamond Z poles and I cannot recommend them enough. They are not cheap but they are long-lasting, super light, and have no real moving parts to break. These poles fold into thirds which makes them easy to tuck into a side pocket when you don’t need them. They can also be used as splints if branches aren’t available or to make a dog stretcher in case it’s a REALLY bad day.
Everyone needs more stability in life. Check here for a selection of trekking poles.
Ideal for: Action photography and videos
This is a splurge item for sure. A gimbal can be purchased for action cameras (such as a GoPro) or for full-sized cameras. It holds your camera steady and significantly reduces unwanted motion which reduces motion-sickness when showing off the footage from your awesome trip.
Donation to a Charitable Cause
Ideal for: Anyone
Instead of giving people stuff, consider a donation to a cause in their name. Piper’s passing hit me really hard so a donation to a local animal shelter was how I chose to honour her. Our veterinarians also get random heaping platters of baked goods to say thank you. I would like to challenge everyone to give something other than things for birthdays or holidays.
What else would you suggest as a gift for a traveller and their dog? Other than boxes and boxes of dog treats of course.