2012 Holiday Gift Guide


Below are some summer camp-inspired gift ideas for the summer camp lover on your list this holiday season. Click here for the Canada version >>

Because you and the folks on your list probably already have too much stuff, the most summer campy of all gifts this holiday season would be to make a donation to a campership program, like SCOPE.

SCOPE has provided camperships for more than 15,000 children from low-income communities since 1991.

Donate here >>

Shop your summer camp store
Many summer camps have online stores with merchandise (like this really cool one Lake Hume has). Redirecting some of that money you would otherwise spend at department stores would be a great way to help your camp out in the offseason. Plus, who doesn’t love camp swag?


Gaga Ball Pit
A gaga ball pit would make a great addition to any backyard and give your family hours of entertainment that doesn’t require an electric outlet.

If you are handy you could build your own pit or check out Coach Cliff’s Gaga Pits for an affordable option (if you want to spend a lot of money you’ll find several recreation outfitters willing to take your money).

Check out www.gagaballpits.com for more information and pricing.

Screen Shot 2012 11 19 at 4.53.32 PMGaga T-shirt
Speaking of Ga-Ga. I (Summer Camp Culture editor Matt Ralph) designed this shirt to sell at my camp last summer and promote the love of the sport, which we’re told from several articles that have been appearing in the media in the last several months is exploding beyond even summer camps.

The shirt is available through the online store of the camp (Delanco Camp) for $16 postage paid.

Buy the Gaga shirt >>

psistillhateithereP.S. I Still Hate It Here Book
After her wildly successful collection of letters written home from summer camp P.S. I Hate It Here, Diane Falanga returned earlier this year with another hilarious and touching collection of letters that should be required coffee table reading for anyone fancying themselves a camp person. 

Click here to buy the book from Barnes & Nobles (affiliate link) >>


campfirecologne 01

Campfire Cologne
Impress the bearded outdoor loving hipster on your list with Campfire Cologne, a new product that as best I can tell is a miniature campfire that you burn to add the scent of the campfire to any environment. It’s made in Portland, Oregon: enough said.

Click here to buy >>

Moonrise Kingdom DVD/Soundtrack/Poster/Shirtmoonrisekingdom
Wes Anderson didn’t go to summer camp as a child, but he came pretty darn close to it in his breakout movie Moonrise Kingdom, which is set in part at an island summer camp where a reluctant but oddly confident scout runs away from camp and falls awkwardly in love. The movie recently came out on DVD and since it’s Wes Anderson it’s worth owning along with the official poster, prints from a recent art show and a Camp Ivanhoe shirt.

Buy the poster from Amazon (affiliate link) >>
Buy the DVD from Barnes & Noble (affiliate link) >>
Buy the original soundtrack from Barnes & Noble (affiliate link) >>
Buy prints from the Bad Dads art show >>
Buy a Camp Ivanhoe shirt from 6dollarshirts >>

smoresbigbiteRussell Stover S’mores Big Bite
Chocolate always makes a good gift, especially if you like to hang stockings, are participating in a work gift exchange or exchange numerous gifts over a period of time either for Channukah or the 12 days of Christmas. Russell Stover has a new campfire-inspired snack that, unlike the real thing, fits nicely into a package.

Buy directly from Russell Stover’s here >>

smoremakermicrowaveS’more Makers
Speaking of s’mores sans campfire, a microwavable s’more maker that looks like a chocolate bar with arms would make a good gift for the s’more lover on your list. Or if you like your s’mores without the radiation, you can get the s’more maker that enables you to make six s’mores at once in six wire boxes that fit perfectly in your oven or grill without the mess or burnt marshmallows, which seems like defeating the purpose.

Buy microwavable s’more maker (affiliate link) >>
Buy wire box s’more maker (affiliate link) >> 

S’mores the Card Game
If you like products that have nothing to do with s’mores, check out S’mores the Card Game (affiliate link).

perkispowershirtFictional Camp T-shirts
Show off your love of summer camp pop culture with T-shirts inspired by your favorite summer camp movies and TV shows like:

Camp Anawanna, Salute Your Shorts (affiliate link) >>
Perkis Power, Heavyweights (affiliate link) >>
Camp Ivanhoe from Moonrise Kingdom (type Camp Ivanhoe in site search) >>
Camp Firewood, Wet Hot American Summer (affiliate link) >>
Camp Crystal Lake, Friday the 13th >>
Camp North Star, Meatballs (affiliate link) >>
Camp Half-Blood, Percy Jackson and the Olympians books >>
Camp Arawak, Sleepaway Camp (affiliate link) >>

Wood iPad/iPhone Case
Smartphones and tablets aren’t exactly summer campy by their very nature, but there is a way to make them more campy: get a case for it that is either made of or looks like wood. This way, your gadgets will at least blend in a little better with the natural scenery and when you use them you’ll be reminded that no gadget, no matter how cool, can replace time spent in nature. Not even a video game set at camp like this one from Cabela’s.

Wood grain iPad case from Amazon.com (affiliate link) >>
Wood iPhone case from Amazon.com (affiliate link) >>

melissaanddougboxfullofquestionsMelissa and Doug Camp Bunk Box Full of Questions
Melissa and Doug, makers of wooden toys that always make great gifts, created this product especially for campers looking to get to know fellow campers in their bunk with conversation starters and other questions that encourage communication and listening skills.

This one might just be the perfect gift for a counselor, particularly female counselors. While you’re at it, if you click on the link below, you can always easily purchase this item with a Camp Mad Libs that is also great for getting conversation going.

Buy from Amazon.com (affiliate link) >>

Mini Camping Fan
It might be early to be thinking about gifts that would be great for being at camp, but a battery-operated mini fan always comes in handy at summer camp and tent camping in the summer. Here’s one you can get from Amazon.com (affiliate link).

campfirenightlightCampfire Night Light
While a campfire is impossible to recreate without an actual fire, this campfire night light at least gives off the appearance of a small campfire with the bulb acting as the flame.

Buy from Amazon.com (affiliate link) >> 


City Boy: The Adventures of Herbie Bookbinder by Herman Wouk
Plenty of books have been written about the summer camp experience, but Herman Wouk’s 1948 novel might just be the closest thing to classic summer camp literature. A heartwarming and hilarious tale of a precocious young man at summer camp, City Boy is a book that deserves to be rediscovered with a new generation of readers.

Buy from Barnes & Noble (affiliate link) >>

Screen Shot 2012 11 19 at 5.09.39 PMFred 3: Camp Fred
Much like Ernest P. Worrell a generation earlier, the character of Fred Figglehorn (Lucas Cruikshank) is somewhat of a divisive one. Some find him hilarious. Others find him unbearably annoying. Camp Fred is his Ernest Goes to Camp and since it comes out on DVD in early December it might be the time to buy it before the character is long forgotten.

Buy from Barnes & Noble (affiliate link) >>