What are you buying for your adventurous friends for Christmas this year? Not sure yet? Here are some gift ideas that are sure to please. Most of these items can be bought for under $25, but depending on your budget that may vary. Feel free to ask questions or leave suggestions in the comments. It’s not a be-all end-all list, but if you want to call it the best list of christmas gifts for an adventurer I won’t argue with you. Let’s get started.
Easy! AAA and AA batteries always come in handy for outdoor gadgets. Headlamps and flashlights are common juice junkies, and nobody likes going to the store just to buy some new batteries. Give ’em a large pack of quality duracells or energizers to keep things charged and ready.
2. Socks & Underwear
From socks to shirts, Smartwool offers some great quality material that hikers love. Definitely the socks though. You can’t go wrong with a pair of Smartwool socks. If the brand doesn’t appeal to you or socks are just too “granny gifty” for you, look for shirts and underclothing made from Merino wool. This material is great for layering, wicking sweat and keeping odors at bay. Just the ticket when you need to hike for a week in one shirt!
3. Stove Fuel
There are a few different kinds of fuel canisters you can buy. It could be liquid fuel for a homed setup, MSR or JetBoil canisters, or even for a coleman grill. It’s best to find out what sort of cooking set-up your giftee uses before sending them the wrong type. If you can sort that out you’re golden. A simple “hey, what do you cook with on the trail, I’ve been thinking about upgrading my set-up” will set you in the right track. Then you can just look up the model online, get the right tank of gas, wrap it up and send it off. Keep those fires burning!
I can’t overstate how handy a lighter can be, and also how easily they are lost! I don’t smoke, so it seems like an extra effort to keep a cigarette lighter on hand, but its totally worth it. Flint and steel are great for emergencies and all, but I’d rather use a lighter 9 times out of 10. I always keep two small Bic lighters with me on trips. The mini ones work great and take up hardly any space. I keep one safe in a waterproof med-kit and one with my stove kit. Seriously, buy someone special a 3-pack of these for a couple bucks. Be awesome.
If you know someone who likes to adventure in a specific area often, think about getting them a physical map of the area. Online and digital maps are super handy nowadays and sometimes we don’t even take the old fold-up physical things with us anymore, but they are still a staple for some and refreshing for others. You can order topographical maps from different sources online, and some will come laminated or waterproofed for durability. Check out government usps site and http://www.greentrailsmaps.com/home to get started.
One can never have enough flashlights. Headlamp, car light, boat torch, tent lamp, bike light, nightstand emergency flashlight, sleeping bag zipper light, handheld ultra-bright floodlight… ok, maybe thats a bit excessive. It’s always a nice gift though, especially if a little thought and effort is put into the size, specs and usefulness of it. Some nice things to look out for are longer battery life, max lumens, max beam distance, durability, and red LEDs (on headlights).
Drybags are great for hikers and paddlers alike. Along with keeping your gear dry on wet trips, a decent sized bag can be used to hang food up in bear country. SealLine and Sea to Summit both make durable and trustworthy bags for a decent price.
8. Trail Snacks
Give them some sustenance! There are many different types of nutritious bars out there, but arguably the most well known brand is probably Clif Bars. Clif also makes some tasty energy gummies called Clif Bloks. Sugary and sweet, these make for a nice trail treat. Some other good brands to look out for are Pro Bar, Lara Bar, Bear Valley, and PowerBar. Thats a lot of bars. which one to choose?? Most brands offer multiple flavors and types but the main idea is to get the most amount of energy with the best flavor. My current favorite is the Oatmeal Raisin Probar, but to each their own!
9. Freeze Dried Meals
Speaking of food, why not send a friend a three-course care package? A cornucopia of tasty trail meals await you at sites like Mountainhouse, Packit-Gourmet, Backpackers’ Pantry, Mary Janes Farm, and Outdoor Herbivore. Most meals have extended shelf lives so storing them before the next outing shouldn’t be a problem, just double check before you order!
10. Eating Utensils
Everyone’s gotta eat, and by golly we’re gonna do it with class! No fingers or carved spoons here. Get your merry recipient a nice spork and knife set, or perhaps a titanium drinking and cooking mug! Light My Fire has been a popular choice for many spork enthusiasts, myself included.
11. Water Purification
Wrapping up the digestion section, a meals not a meal if you don’t have clean water to drink or cook with. Aquamira water purification drops make a great addition to any cooking or survival kit. They won’t filter debris or silt, but they are a well recommended and trustworthy way to treat water for contaminants. Iodine tablets are a similar method and just as acceptable, though maybe not as popular lately. Another option is the relatively new product LifeStraw. This product provides immediate and lightweight water filtration for an unbeatable price.
I saved my favorite one for last, so I hope you made it all the way down here. Hammocks have gained considerable popularity over the past few years, especially within the backpacking crowd. I’m not talking about the old backyard models with webbing and wooden spacers, these are the more traditional gathered end hammock. They can be packed into a lightweight grapefruit-sized ball with all the mounting equipment needed to set up between two trees. When your body needs a rest there is nothing more relaxing than gently swaying gently in the soft cradle of a hammock. Some people(myself included) find them so comfortable that they will often substitute their tent for a hammock! If you really want to introduce your adventurous friend to something awesome, get them a hammock. Some affordable models to begin looking at include the Grand Trunk Ultralight and the Eagle Nest Outfitters Single or Doublenest.
I think all these gifts are simple, affordable and enjoyable, but here’s how you can turn one of these stocking stuffers into a main present. Instead of getting the cheapest thing on amazon, take a little time to do some research, read some reviews, ask some questions and find the best quality product out there. You might spend a bit more than you planned, but that’s how gifts work right? I received a present a couple years ago that I will cherish and remember(and use!) for a long time. Someone did some research and gave me one of the nicest headlamps you can buy. This thing probably cost nearly $100, hell I didn’t even realize you could buy headlamps for more than $25! I am always trying my best to spend as little as possible on my gear so it just feels special when you receive a really nice piece of gear that you could never bring yourself to splurge on. With all that said, I don’t like to I’m promote consumerism so do your homework and buy what people need and what they will use! I hope you found some inspiration here, and more importantly I hope your gift recipient thinks you’re the coolest, most thoughtful friend.