The Christmas season is here! I know a lot of you will be running around trying to snag the perfect gift for everyone on your list. If you are reading this you may be one of two people; You are either an outdoorsy person who wants one of the items listed here and are giving someone a subtle nod or you are the gift-buyer whose been sent here by someone giving you a subtle nod.
These gift ideas range from practical to nice to haves and are all things that I wouldn't be upset to receive! Hopefully this can help make your Christmas season a bit less stressful All these items retail for less than $100 dollars.
1) Warm and Cozy Merino Wool Base Layers
A good merino wool base layer can be the difference between spending all day outside and retreating indoors. Once the temperature drops I slide on my base layer to keep me toasty and warm. Many people don't have a full base layer and if they do, they probably wouldn't mind having another spare set. There are two parts to a base layer system, the pants and the sweater. You can either buy them both or just one of the two pieces depending on your budget.
When buying base layers, look for something that is form fitting to the person's body to keep it from moving around underneath all their other clothing. There are also varying differences in thickness and warming capabilities, so if they have a base layer already try and find what they have and get them another option for different temps. If they currently have nothing I suggest getting a "medium" thickness (each brand calls their something differently) - this will be more versatile and a good first addition to their kit.
2) A Reliable Headlamp
A headlamp is the type of gear you don't need until you need it. I seem to have quite a few floating around and I always use them. Either I lend them out to people or have them stashed in various bags. A solid headlamp like a Black Diamond are what I recommend. Don't get something cheap as they tend to fall apart quite easily. You don't want them trapped in the dark without a light!
When buying a headlamp get something that has both a red and white light setting. Don't make your loved one be that person who is blinding everyone with their white light in the campsite. Headlamps can vastly vary in price but I have found ones priced around the $50 to $60 to be what most people need.
You can get headlamps that run off of rechargeable lithium ion batteries, (Like your cell phone) I don't recommend these as sometimes you don't have the ability to recharge the battery. I prefer to either have one that runs on AAA batteries. Some newer models can use both a lithium ion or a AAA battery, which I also recommend but the price point on these starts to rise quickly.
3) A Handy Backpack Rain-cover
This is another item that you don't need until you need it. Essentially it is a tarp for your backpack for when the weather turns.
To help you out a 20-30L bag would be a normal sized backpack or day back, a 60L-75L bag would be an overnight hiking bag. Make sure you buy the right size for the bag they have!
Get something that is lightweight and packs down to something the size of your fist. You don't want this taking up a bunch of space and adding weight in their bag.
4) A Sturdy Fixed Blade Knife
This would be something I recommend for that person who is starting to take their outdoor activities a bit more seriously. They are spending nights in the bush and loving it! A reliable and strong fixed blade knife is the ultimate tool on the trail.
I use mine to chop wood by using a technique called batoning, or I will use the handle to pound in stubborn tent pegs or to cut up food that I have brought on the trail.
Make sure you get a knife that comes with a sheath to carry it in. The sheath should have the ability to easily attach it to a bag or a belt. There are hundreds of models out there, so I suggest stopping by a hunting and fishing store and ask them for recommendations. They will be the experts!
5) The Gift of Deliciousness - Cast-Iron Bushpie Makers
If you have never experienced a bush pie, then you are missing out. These are the perfect gift for people who often go car camping. (You won't be carry these on the trail!)
If you don't know what a bushpie is, the best way I can describe it is a homemade, campfire Pizza Pop. To make them you butter two pieces of bread and then fill it full of good stuff like pizza sauce, meat, vegetables, cheese or whatever your heart desires and then roast it over the fire. You can even make dessert bushpies full of blueberry pie filling. Your imagination is the limit when it comes to recipes!
A very important tip - only purchase the cast-iron versions. The aluminum ones are garbage, the bread sticks to the inside of them and they just burn the outsides of your bushpie while leaving the insides cold. If you can't find cast-iron bush piemakers do not just settle with the aluminum ones, you will ruin the experience!
Anyone who loves camping will love having bush pie makers as part of their kit.
I hope these ideas will help you cross some people off your list this Christmas. If you have some great ideas on other gifts that I haven't mentioned share them in the comments!