It’s the most wonderful time of the year! No, I don’t mean winter arriving on the trails (okay, maybe a little bit), but time for Christmas and other holidays. I love Christmas–the eggnog, the decorations, and finding the perfect gift for everyone on my list. Here are my recommendations* for the outdoorsy people on your list!
For the Hop-Headed Hiker
For the beer-lover on your list, I’d recommend Beers At the Bottom’s book Beer Hiking the Pacific Northwest. Especially if they are new to hiking or new in town, this book has 50 great hike and beer pairings, most of which can be done even in winter! This summer I tried a hike and brewery pairing from the book out for myself.
For the Belated Bestower
Passes (like a Discover Pass, NW Forest Pass, or America the Beautiful Pass) are a wonderful gift at any time of year. However, they actually might not be the best on December 25th. The passes are good through the end of the month of purchase, so you get an extra month of hikes in if the pass is purchased early January compared to late December.
Let Me Upgrade You
Sometimes, gifts mean buying something for someone they would never buy for themselves, but will use tons. For those who hate getting sap on their pants or a cold rear, a Thermarest Z-seat is a huge improvement for the top of your hike. The boyfriendo used to be content to just ball up clothing for a pillow when backpacking, but the Rumpl pillowcase I got him last year is a huge step up. For those who brave snow camping, I’ve heard down booties, like ones from Feathered Friends, are a godsend of a camp shoe.
To Show You Really, Really Care
If your favorite hiker is planning any longer backpacking trips or thru-hikes in 2019, you can show you really care with a GPS satellite communication device like a Garmin In Reach. While spendy, these items go above and beyond a personal locator beacon, with the ability to send text messages via satellite if running late before you call in a search party. Many of these devices come with associated monthly fees, so keep that in mind.
For the Person Who Has Everything
You can never have too many socks, gloves, neck gaiters, or hats for hiking. Personally, I love fleece or knit headbands, like my beloved Trailheads one, more than knit hats, as they don’t overheat you if you are working hard. Don’t forget baseball hats for keeping the sun or rain off! This is also a good opportunity to see if there’s any local or woman-owned businesses that make outdoor gear nearby you, if that’s something that’s important to you as a consumer. Brands like Dirty Girl gaiters, Purple Rain skirts, and SugarSky headbands and neck gaiters are all good options.
Tons of outdoor gear can also be the perfect stocking stuffer. Last year, I put a Tesla Coil lighter in the boyfriendo’s stocking. This lighter is rechargeable by USB and will work even in a windstorm as it is a coil instead of a flame. It’s also a push button instead of a click wheel, so you can even keep your gloves on! Kitchen gear, like utensils, are also great stocking stuffers–last year I saw a ton of people recommending an extra-long handled spoon or spork for digging into dehydrated food bags.
And If All Else Fails…
Hikers need to take good care of their feet. An ingrown toenail can keep even the most determined hikers off the trail. Gift cards are of course one-size fits all, but go beyond one to REI with a gift card for a nice pedicure to keep those tootsies trail-ready, a beloved post-hike brewery, or for a massage for after a punishing hike. Lastly, for those people who hate receiving gifts or insist they truly want nothing, a donation to a hiker-friendly charity in their name (such as Washington Trails Association, Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, or the Sierra Club) is great way to get something with a long-lasting impact.
I’m very lucky to have gotten some amazing hiking gear over the years as gifts–what are you hoping to receive from St. Nick?
*All recommendations are my opinion. I have received no compensation in any kind from these recommendations.