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.
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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.
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.
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.
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
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.
Kahtoola MICROspikes Traction System
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.
Therm-a-Rest Z Seat Cushion Insulated
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.
Energizer LED Headlamp
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.
Carhartt Men’s Watch Hat
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.
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!
Cell Phone Tripod
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.
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.
National Parks Travel Quest Poster
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.
Of course, you could always give the gift of laughter with one of our books