As most know, my father was writing this article for years before I ever thought to; one thing he never tried to do was use this article as a platform to sell stuff in the store. Now that the store has closed though, I have no qualms about telling you of what to get your significant outdoors-loving other for Christmas. And, ladies, I know that you always say it’s so hard to find something that your man will like, well trust me when I say it’s no easier for us….and by the time you pick this up at the stands, you have 10 days or less till Christmas, so let’s get a move on.
This is a Christmas present for that backpacker in your life, especially if you hear them complain about how heavy their gear is. The Exos series of packs from Osprey is the rare combination of a large pack that carries a load well, but doesn’t weigh you down. Available in a 58L (3500ci) size that only weighs 2lbs 10oz, it’s a great pack that will handle almost any adventure you can throw at it. At $220, this might not be the most affordable gift, but it could be the one that the person always remembers. (I can say that line without guilt since I no longer sell outdoor equipment.)
One thing that men never tire of is knives. Knives that pull double duty are even better, which is why I love the K.I.S.S series of knives from Columbia River Knives. Not only are they sharp, simple, and sturdy, it doubles as a money clip which makes it the coolest wallet on the planet. Normal MSRP is $40, but you can find it for around $20 on eBay and other stores online. Some women are partial to knives so this gift could be used for men or women, but I think we can agree that this isn’t exactly going to win fair maidens heart.
Clothing is sketchy business, so I’m really afraid to hand out suggestions. And, guys, unless you have had her pickup a jacket, try it on, say that she loves it, and walks away with you holding it, I’m not sure I would suggest getting her something if you’re not absolutely in tune with her tastes. Socks, however, are a perfect gift. They come in a range of sizes so you don’t have to be exact, they can be soft and fluffy like puppies and as warm as them as well. It’s also a practical, everyday usable gift, which is something that I think everyone can appreciate. Smartwool is a good choice for long-lasting, warm socks and Life is Good makes Snuggle socks. They’re good gifts ranging from $10-18.
Something that’s good for anyone who hikes in places outside of Kansas is trekking poles….more commonly known as “pokey sticks”. They reduce stress on your knees, and if you’re hiking on a steep enough hills and pass someone without a pair, you can sell them for their weight in gold. This is a gift that the person might not know they want, but after the first hike in the mountains will come back raving about how much they helped.
Now if all other ideas fail you, let me give you some advice on where to look for ideas. Sierra Trading Post is the outlet store of the outdoor world, and you can get some killer deals from both their magazine and their online store on anything from watches to skis, to furniture. Another good site to visit is www.steepandcheap.com, which serves up multiple hot deals a day at discounts up to 70% off, with some expensive items being sold for $1. Finally, www.guyotdesigns.com offers unique gear that just about anyone can appreciate. From squishy bowls to Nalgene lanterns, they do some pretty unique stuff.
When all else fails do what my family has always done and give the gift of a trip. The trip is never expensive or exotic, but it’s funny how $20 spent on campground fees and food at Chester State Park makes for much better memories than $20 spent at Best Buy. Do it in the dead of winter, packing as much winter gear and firewood as you can pack in a car and have a night-long hotdog roast. Have a smore-gourmet contest and see who can cook the most delicious one. A gift by itself is useless; a gift that has memories attached is the best kind.
Merry Christmas everyone and I hope you have a blessed and wonderful year to come.