Vintage Camping Gear That Screams Nostalgia and Takes Us Back to Simpler Times

by Madison Miller

Hiking and camping are activities that have always been popular and likely always will. For older generations, there’s something different to say about their experiences in the outdoors.

There are those old memories of loading up the old Chrysler Town & Country with a year’s worth of supplies before heading off to the woods for a weekend. There is a sense of nostalgia here. Camping has changed a lot in the past few years as more technology and gear could make camping seem more like “glamping.”

This list will ignite a fire of nostalgia or just some old-school happiness in you.

Basic Survival Tools

One of which is the old camping lanterns made by Thermos. Even the red logo and white, very old-timey font makes Thermos a brand with loads of nostalgia all on its own. These camping lanterns were an essential part of camping back in the day. Before modern lanterns and flashlights came into the picture, these mid-century devices would be the center of your entire camp.

While Thermos doesn’t sell these vintage lanterns anymore, there are other ways to get that vintage look. Places like Amazon sell replicas. If you’re lucky, some of these often pop up in stores like Goodwill for a bargain of a price or antique stores.

When it comes to gear, what you put on your feet makes a huge difference. Without the proper boots, you’re left with cold, sore, and wet feet, especially if there’s any kind of hiking in store.

Back in the day, the Danner Cascade Mountain Lite would make camping that much more comfortable. These authentic leather boots are a staple. They have wide, red laces, big metal lace loops, and a wide tongue. While other nostalgic items have died off, these boots are still on the market.

These boots are well over $300, but people continue to give glowing reviews about their comfort and durability. These boots have made it through the years for having a style that never fades and a structure that never fails.

Another key item is the multi-purpose tool. This means that small gadget in your pocket that’s a knife, a bottle opener, a corkscrew, a screwdriver, and a million other things that most people probably never use. Before, people carried the old camping knife from Colonial. It was a spoon, bottle opener, knife, and fork.

This was the key item in the ’50s when you wanted that basic knife, but with a few extra luxuries. These are hard to find now. Most people carry around a Swiss Army knife instead. Other tools like compasses

When camping, food is essential. Food can make a huge difference in everyone’s overall mood. For coffee drinkers especially, having a nice brew in the morning can light you up inside.

One vintage item is the old Worthmore Aluminum Percolator. It weighed almost 20 pounds. It most likely felt like someone put rocks in the bottom of your bag.

This percolator was made of aluminum with a classic black handle. While the weight probably seems unbearable now to campers trained to carry the least amount of weight, it certainly had its pros. They could hold up to 12 cups of coffee at a time. Despite its weight, it was a hard thing to leave behind.

Now, percolators are just as important when camping. However, they don’t weigh 20 pounds and can make the same amount of coffee. That vintage look from the Worthmore though, priceless.

Besides coffee, old-time campers remember dragging out their long popcorn poppers and kernels to bring on a camping trip. While we now have more modern options far less bulky, there was something about holding it over the fire and feeling the end slowly get heavier as more popcorn popped away.

If you don’t mind hauling it around and want that nostalgia back, there are nearly identical replicas still out there.

Other items were the Coleman Steel Cooler, which could hold all those essential beers on a weekend away. It could hold 85 cans and was rust-resistant. It can still be purchased.

Old-Fashioned Comfort

When it comes to comfort, the two essential were tents and blankets. Anything else wasn’t worth carrying.

The old Coleman American Heritage tent was one of the classic tents made by the longstanding camping brand. It was eight feet tall and could sleep six different people. It had big, heavy metal rods that were used to keep it upright.

This tent has the basics, canvas and poles. It always got the job done. Coleman continues to be a leading brand in tent sales. Now, however, they have added a bit more luxury to their products since then.

For blankets the Army Surplus Camp Blanket was a common find.

These wool blankets were capable of withstanding harsh conditions and years of trips to the woods. They were scratchy and thin but seemed to never really go away. This is partly because you can still find them today, although there are warmer and thicker options available.

However, if you want to snuggle up with nostalgia, take a look here.

If you were lucky, the old rust-proof steel framed camping stool would even make an appearance. It could be folded up and carried just about anywhere. For carrying all these tools, the Bradley Mountain Scout Pack was at the top of the list. It can still be purchased today. Some are made with waxed duck canvas that is water-resistant and is very sturdy.

H/T: Gear Patrol