2019 Holiday Gift Guide

Welcome to our 2019 Holiday Gift Guide! To create this year’s guide, we took a good look at the things we love and use the most, only to realize the list doesn’t change much from year-to-year. Maybe that’s a sign that these items have enduring value. So if you’re looking for a gift for the person on your list who loves travel or the outdoors, here are some suggestions.


We participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.We may earn a commission if you make a purchase through one of our links.

YETI Rambler 14 oz Stainless Steel Vacuum Insulated Mug
(about $25)

For a mug, it’s not cheap, but it’s super-durable and insulated. I use mine every morning for coffee and can take my time drinking each cup because my coffee stays warm longer. You can throw one of these in a gear bag or back of a truck and not worry about it getting dinged up. Mine still looks brand new after many road trips and nights around the campfire.
Product Link

Nalgene Wide Mouth Water Bottle
(about $9 to $15 depending on size and color)

The first time we each bought one we thought they’d be our one and only water bottle for the rest of our lives. Then we got another and another… Now, we always carry a few with us on day hikes. If you have a hiker on your gift list, they would love getting a Nalgene bottle this holiday season—no matter how many they already have. Stuff one with granola bars for a nice touch or fill it with Peanut M&Ms and you may win the coveted Best Gift of the Year Award – Under $20 Category.
When you search for Nalgene water bottles on Amazon, be sure to pay attention to size, color, and price. There is a wide range of combinations and prices.
Product Link

Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Socks – Men’s and Women’s
(about $22 per pair)

We’ve tried every kind of sock made for hiking, and so far, Darn Tough socks are the best we’ve found. They seem to look good as new after repeated uses and washings, which isn’t the case with most socks. Many different styles and colors to choose from. These socks are made in Vermont and come with an unconditional lifetime guarantee, no matter how many mountains you’ve climbed.
Product Link

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
(about $18)

Here’s an item we hope never to use, but we carry it whenever we hike regardless. It weighs only 2 ounces, so there’s no excuse for not throwing it into the backpack. You put one end of the LifeStraw in water and suck through the other end, pulling the water through a filter that removes most bacteria, parasites, and microplastics. The manufacturer states the device will purify up to 1,000 gallons. It’s a $15 item that could save your life one day.
Product Link

Kahtoola MICROspikes Traction System
(about $65)

Snow and ice can appear unexpectedly on trails throughout the fall, winter and spring. We don’t want to be hiking and have to turn around because the trail has suddenly become too slick to navigate due to ice and snow. If there’s even a small chance of running into these kinds of conditions, we’ll throw our Kahtoola MicroSpikes in our packs. They’re the first microspikes we’ve used that are easy to put on and take off, even when they’re cold. And they’ve saved us from falling on our faces more times than we can count.
Product Link

Therm-a-Rest Z Seat Cushion Insulated
(about $15)

One of the few items we’ll go back to the truck to get if we’ve left them behind, they’re light (2 ounces), durable, and comfortable. They help cushion your backside from the rock or tree stump you’re sitting on during hiking breaks. And when the trail is wet and soggy, they also provide a dry place to sit or rest your pack.
Product Link

Energizer LED Headlamp
(about $12)

After getting lost on a hike with darkness approaching and no source of light, we now each carry a headlamp with us whenever we hike. We’re prone to losing gear, so these inexpensive Energizer headlamps are perfect for us. They’re comfortable and work every bit as well as headlamps that cost many times more. They’re also invaluable when camping, whether you’re reading in your sleeping bag or taking a midnight stroll to the bathroom.
Product Link

Carhartt Men’s Watch Hat
(about $15)

Not just for men, this hat will instantly make you part of the hip crowd—or whatever they call the hip crowd these days. It’ll also keep you feeling warm while looking fashionable, whether you’re snowshoeing or playing cornhole at a brewery. From the product description: A classic. You’ll reach for it every time the wind gets blustery and the temperatures drop. Made of 100 percent acrylic rib-knit fabric, stretchable, one-size-fits-all, fits most any noggin.
Product Link

2020 National Park Foundation Wall Calendar
(about $8)

Want to help out our national parks and give a great gift at the same time? The National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s National Parks, has put together this 2020 wall calendar filled with breathtaking pictures from our beautiful national parks (12’’ by 12”). Each month showcases detailed information and photos of National Park Foundation-supported sites. It’s a gift that gives back- every purchase helps to preserve these sights for generations to come!
Product Link

Cell Phone Tripod
(about $18)

Take some professional looking selfies using this flexible little tripod. Its octopus legs can balance on any surface or wrap around a tree branch or a pole, so you won’t need to set your camera on a cracker box. And it comes with a wireless remote control so you don’t have to set your camera’s timer and run like a crazy person to get in the photo before it goes off. We love it. Fits most smart phones and takes both portrait and landscape orientations.
Product Link

Delorme Atlas & Gazetteer
(about $15 to $25 depending on state)

The first thing we do when planning a trip is pull out our “big red map books” as Karen calls them. We spread them out on the dining room table while we figure out where we’re going, how we’ll get there, and what we’ll want to see along the way. And when it’s time to head out, we always bring them with us. Yes, we have navigation in the truck and Google Maps when there’s an internet connection, but these old-school maps never need to be charged or lose their connection. They’re available for all U.S states. We’ve placed a link to the Utah book, you can search Amazon for the other states. 
Product Link

National Parks Travel Quest Poster
(about $25)

Perfect for tracking your trips to visit all of our beautiful National Parks. This United States map laminated poster includes all 61 National Parks and helps you keep track of your park visits with campfire stickers! (Plus it looks good hanging on your wall.) We wish we would’ve had one back when we were on our park journey. MADE IN THE USA: Made in Minnesota, to be exact.
Product Link

Of course, you could always give the gift of laughter with one of our books

Dear Bob and Sue
Dear Bob and Sue: Season 2
Dear Bob and Sue: Season 3
Dories, Ho!

Outdoorsy in Vegas

Slot machines, high-rollers, and sold-out shows are the first thoughts that go through many people’s minds when the topic of Las Vegas comes up in conversation. It’s a town of secrets; what happens in Vegas, well, you know the rest, or do you? Maybe the best-kept secret of all is that Las Vegas is an excellent jumping off point for visiting some incredible outdoor venues.

Continue reading “Outdoorsy in Vegas”

In Search of Methuselah

Last May, on a drive home from Palm Springs to Seattle, we took the less-traveled route along the eastern side of the Sierra Nevadas on Highway 395. Not only did we get to experience a part of the country we hadn’t seen before, but it also gave us an opportunity to take a detour and visit the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest just east of Bishop, CA. In our earlier travels through Utah and Nevada, we’d seen stands of bristlecone pines that were several thousands of years old, but the trees in the White Mountains of California are much older, closer to five thousand years.

Continue reading “In Search of Methuselah”

Your Guide to Canyonlands National Park

Canyonlands National Park is one reason why Moab, Utah has exploded in popularity in recent years. With almost 800,000 visitors annually, its Island in the Sky Visitor Center is less than an hour drive from town. At the center of the park is the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers. Looking at a map, you’ll see the two rivers form a “Y,” dividing the park into three distinct districts. For practical purposes, it’s three parks in one: the wedge at the top of the Y is the Island in the Sky District, the southeast section is the Needles District, and the southwest is The Maze.

Continue reading “Your Guide to Canyonlands National Park”

Your Guide to Zion National Park

Zion National Park had over 4.5 million visitors in 2017, making it the most visited of the Utah national parks, and the third-most-visited national park in the US. behind Great Smoky Mountains and Grand Canyon National Parks. At 229 square miles, the most prominent feature of the park is its 15-mile-long Zion Canyon, where the reddish-brown walls rise over 2,000 feet in places above the valley floor. Carved by the north fork of the Virgin River, the canyon is the starting point for some of the most spectacular hikes in Southern Utah.

Continue reading “Your Guide to Zion National Park”