Christmas should be a time of joy and happiness, so don’t throw a lump of coal in somebody’s stocking with one of these low-quality outdoor gifts. There is a lot of great outdoor gear out there that doesn’t cost a fortune (see 5 Stocking Stuffers for your Camper), so be careful with your money and make sure that you understand exactly what your favorite outdoors person wishes they had.
My favorite category of “worthless camping products” are the gimmicky ones, like this lantern with a flip-top fan. There was no explanation on the product’s website as to why someone would need a fan on top of their lantern and, try as I might, I can’t think of one, either. This isn’t even a decent lantern, as it only puts out 65 lumens on four D-size batteries. That’s not much more than the tiny backpack lanterns that run on AA-size batteries and fit in the palm of your hand.
Low Budget Tents
Sure, they’re tempting – big, great looking tents for less than $100. Don’t let price influence your buying decision when it comes to tents, though. A tent is one thing that can ruin your entire trip, from frustrating assembly, flimsy poles that break after a few trips, to barely slowing down the rains drops from that gentle spring shower. Think I’m stretching the truth? Here’s a poor buyer’s review of this $84 jewel:
This is the worst tent I have ever seen. I set the tent up and was very hopeful because it was huge! As soon as it started raining outside, water started to sprinkle through the rainfly. The material was pretty much the same as the rest of the tent. Within 30 minutes, everything in my tent was completely soaked. Even offbrand 30 dollar tents are more waterproof than this. Buying this tent was the WORST MISTAKE EVER! After one night, all of my stuff was ruined, there was a tear in one of my seams, and a pole broke.
With a few very expensive exceptions, 12-volt coolers are a complete waste of money, because they use a lot of power, don’t cool very well and the motors burnout quickly. A really good, 64-quart, 12-volt cooler, like an Engle, goes for around $1,000 – so if you’re looking at one for $100 you just know something’s not right.
Cheap Survival Kit
Sometimes these come in canisters and sometimes in heavy-weight sealable bags, but the contents are usually the same; some fishing hooks and line, some flimsy matches, a really flimsy space blanket, a really bad compass and a whistle that may, or may not, actually work. Heaven forbid you or your loved one should ever need to use a survival kit but if you did, wouldn’t you want to have quality gear?
Multifunction Weather Radio Flashlight Gadget
There are some good multifunction weather radios out there, from companies like Midland, Oregon Scientific and Eton, but this is not one of those. The problem with the plethora of cheap multifunction devices out there is that they don’t do anything very well. They’re made cheap, so they usually don’t come with chargers – the only way to charge them is with the hand crank. They’re also cheap because they don’t have a lot of buttons, dials and displays – so you’re left to rely on guessing, as to which channel you’re tuned into. If you can receive a channel at all.