Gift Ideas for the Outdoor Adventurer

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The holiday season is here, and it’s time to swing into elf mode and get that Christmas (or Hanukkah, or whatever other holiday you celebrate!) shopping finished (….. or started, if you are a solid procrastinator like me).   Have a camper, hiker, or other adventurous soul on your list?  Here are some great ideas for the outdoors-person in your life.

 1.  A Gear Subscription Box

These are a great idea for someone who is still collecting camping and hiking gear and enjoys getting some surprises to try out!  The gist is that they will receive a curated box of outdoor gear (usually monthly).  Check out some websites for subscription box ideas here and here.   I have received a two month Cairn subscription box as a gift and it was awesome!  I got a nice mix of some outdoor gear (backpacking dinnerware, gear organization, pack towel, etc) and some new granola/energy type bars to try out.  These subscriptions cost in the ballpark of $30/month and give them something to look forward to each month! Other ideas include Nomadik, Isle Box, and The Feed (food and energy fuels).


2.  A membership

Have someone who already seems to have EVERYTHING? Spring for a membership to an outdoor club or a conservation group.  Help save the environment, protect public lands, and get them some perks such as discounts on merchandise and camping/hut reservations, etc.  Here are some ideas (focusing mainly on the Northeast US, my local turf, but look for similar ideas in your neck of the woods – they exist). This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it’s a start – let me know if you have some suggestions to add!

  • Appalachian Mountain Club – guided adventures, discounted hut stays, discounts onamc maps and guidebooks, and support for trail maintenance and conservation efforts in the Northeastern United States.   They have local chapters that often have meetups, etc to help you get out there and explore!
  • Sierra Club – Nationwide organization fighting to protect our environment and conserve our public lands.  Local chapters all over the country.  Get involved and get political.
  • Nature Conservancy – Worldwide organization (with many local chapters) working to protect lands, protect the environment, taking on climate change, saving the oceans, and working in urban areas to create and preserve natural areas.
  • Your local land trust or land conservancy organization  I guarantee there is one nearby!  For us it is the Avalonia Land Conservancy – join to protect and improve local open space, trails, and public lands.
  • Your local forest/park association.  I am a member of the Connecticut Forest and Park Association.   They work to care for and protect many places I frequent on my trail runs, especially some of my beloved blue blazed trails around the state.  Membership also gets you their magazine and discounts on merchandise such as the blue blaze trail guide.

3.  Maps = Art

A unique map or print makes for some great wall decor.  Some of my favorites include a vinyl raised topographic map of Vermont/New Hampshire.  Something like this is a great way to give someone a very meaningful gift, representing a place that is special to your adventurer.  For example, I have a vintage National Geographic print of the New Hampshire White Mountains and a black and white print of Half Dome adorning my walls, gifts that are very dear to me.   Another really cool map idea I have my eye on is a map of the hiking trails in the white mountains that is made to color in as you finish each trail.  Check out Sherpa Ant’s Etsy Store for other cool hiking-oriented paper goods, prints, and t-shirts.

4.  A gift certificate for adventure and travel

Sure, a store gift card is handy if you need some stuff.  But take it one step further and give them the gift of an adventure!  Many travel sites offer gift cards that can help jump start the trip of a lifetime.  Some of my favorites include…

  1. Escape Campervans – brightly colored vans with 10 locations across the U.S.  These img_6119are the perfect adventure-mobiles for someone looking to get out and explore some new places and try out the Van Life.  Take on some of our spectacular National Parks, check out some urban adventures, or drive across the country!  The options are limitless.  Check out my review of Escape here for more information about the vans.
  2. AirBnB – I’ve had great luck with this rental site, offering homes for rent by local owners.  Find a unique cabin or glitzy urban apartment to use as a jumping off point for whatever your heart desires!
  3. Hipcamp – Unique campsites and glamping adventures across the country.  One of my favorite camping resources!
  4. Airline gift cards – help your adventurer get to where they want to go to start an epic adventure!
  5. REI membership and gift certificate – yes they can get that piece of gear they’ve been eyeing.  But REI also has a variety of guided trips and adventures all over the globe that are pretty epic!
  6. Individual campground/hotel/whatever – know they want to go somewhere cool?  help fund it!  Many local places will likely sell you a gift certificate. Give ’em a call.

5.  Technology

There are LOTS of cool tech-y outdoor gifts out there.  A few come to mind (these are kinda big ticket items, sorry – but use them as a stepping off point!)…

  1. GoPro camera – these things are amazing.  Great video and action shots to help document those adventures forever.  Some of my favorite shots have come from our (super old, as far as technology is concerned) GoPro.  They are pricy, but worth it in my opinion!  Shop around
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    Work those gopro angles
  2. for holiday deals and read up on comparisons of the different models available to find what is best for your use.
  3. Satellite Locator/Personal Locator Beacon – Safety gear that can be used to help track someone while they are out in remote areas.  Some allow you to send pre-set messages at certain time/distance intervals, and they also have emergency distress signals that are activated in dire situations in order to alert family and authorities that you are in distress.  Something you never want to use, but just might save your life.
  4. GPS – a high tech adjunct to good old paper maps, these can up your adventure tracking to a new level.  Just don’t rely on technology alone!  A compass and map have no batteries…. so they won’t fail you!  There are also some great paid GPS Apps available for smartphones – my favorite is the New England Hiker App by Atlas Guides – they have great resources available for around the country!  Gaia GPS is another very popular GPS app.

I hope this helps get you in the festive, gift-giving mood!  Many of these are electronically deliverable, so perfect for a last – minute gift.  Happy holidays, and Happy Adventuring!

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