This is the time of year when we often think of gifts to give to others, or for others to give to us, if they are so moved. So I will share an item which took a bit of research to lock in on, and which has worked out very well in practice.
When I was in my teens, I was content to throw a sleeping bag on a tarp right on the ground when camping. In my 20s, I used a half inch thick dense foam pad, a classic Ridge Rest. I wanted a little more cushion under me in my 30s, and so graduated to a 1.5 inch (3.8 cm) thick self-inflating sleeping pad like this Stansport. For backpacking in my 40s and 50s, I craved yet more air space underneath me, especially for curling up on my side, and got good usage out of a narrow, 2.5 inch thick inflatable sleeping pad.
Now my wife and I are pretty much done with roughing it. We still enjoy the great outdoors, but find we enjoy it even more when we have essentially all the comforts of home, which includes a full size queen air mattress. We inflate it either with an inverter plugged into the car cigarette lighter and a long extension cord to run the 110 volts into the tent, or more recently, using a rechargeable power pack which also keeps all our electronics charged. It takes a big tent to accommodate a queen sized mattress plus all our other gear, without feeling squashed.
I have had some large tents in the past, which were very tedious to set up. So I was pleased to find a huge, airy tent, which almost erects itself. This is the Ozark Trails 9-Person Instant Cabin.
The main room is 9 x 14 ft (2.7 x 4.3 m), which is plenty big for glamor-camping (glamping) for two people. In huddled masses mode, probably 8 bodies would fit comfortably on the floor. The tent has a screen room across the front, for a bug-free place to sit. The fly over the screen room provides a roof over the door to the main room, keeping out rain even when the tent door is opened. Here are two views from within on our latest camping trip, first looking out the door through the screen room, and then looking straight up through the roof before we put the fly over the tent at the end of the day.
As an engineer, I am tickled by the clever joints that allow you to make the structure arise with just a few strategic tugs. One of those joints over the roof is visible in the photo above. Going from stage 2 to stage 3 in the photo below takes all of fifteen seconds. Taking the tent down for storage simply involves doing all these motions in reverse. The tent itself stays always attached to the poles.
The only major drawback is the price, about $300. That is a lot for a tent, but for us it was worth it. This tent gives us much of the space and utility of a pop-up camper trailer, for a fraction of the cost.