The Great Go Outside Gift Guide
Gear fellow outdoor enthusiasts will love — and use!
With Christmas Eve a month away (! yes, one month…how did that happen?!), we’ve got gifts on our mind.
And so, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite gear to give and receive.
One thing we’ve confirmed while researching this post is that people who like to go outside LOVE to talk about what they like to bring with them when they go outside.
There’s so much quality gear available nowadays, we find it’s helpful to hear from others about what they like (and don’t) and what pieces they repeatedly use. If you’ve got a favourite piece of outdoor equipment that’s missing from our compilation, please add a comment at the end of today’s post.
If you’re a frequent backcountry user, we highly recommend a dehydrator. Annalise has an older Nesco version and uses it to dehydrate stews, curries and soups throughout the year that turn into backcountry dinners on summer camping trips. They’re also great for snacks — think fruit and jerky, as well as condiments like hot sauce or sides like hummus. The internet is full of recipes, or you could get a Dehydrator Cookbook — another great gift for the outdoor love in your life.
One of the pieces of gear we use all year long, and for a range of activities, is our headlamps. They’re always in our backpack on hiking trips (you never know when a wrong turn could mean you’re coming down in the dark) and they come in handy throughout the winter months (think skiing by moonlight and headlamp.) They’re also a must have when camping. Versatile, light and useful, what a great gift.
Go Outside Subscription
Did you know you can give the outdoor lover in your life a subscription to the very newsletter you’re currently reading? Not only will you support our writing (and keep our content accessible for everyone to read) but we’ll send you two Go Outside Patches — one for you and one for the lucky recipient of the gift subscription. You can also schedule your gift to arrive in the recipients mailbox at a later date, or keep your gift anonymous.
Anything That Will Keep You Going Outside
In researching this guide, Annalise asked people on Twitter to chime in on the single piece of gear they enthusiastically recommend to others (a great question to regularly ask the outdoor enthusiasts in your life!) She heard from a contact who was convinced to buy this collapsible cot for a big canoe trip. “Game changer for aging campers,” he wrote. We’re both big fans of any gear that keeps people, no matter their abilities or age, going outside. For both of us, as new-ish parents, this has included gear that allows us to head outside with the whole family (i.e. baby carriers, bike trailers and merino wool layers for the little ones.)
Something To Sit On
Having a dry spot to sit makes a big difference when you’re hiking, biking, camping, skiing or snowshoeing. There’s a number of ways to achieve this. You can opt for a fancy lightweight chair (This Helinox version has been recommended to us) or you can go a much simpler route — a Twitter user reminded us of the ‘girl guide sit upon,’ which, at least when we were in Brownies in the 90s, was a thick square stack of newspapers wrapped tightly in a few layers of garbage bags and lots of tape. A sit upon can be used to, well, sit upon, but it can also be used for a range of other purposes as outlined in this tweet.
Outdoor stores sell different types of “bum rests” and you can also make your own out of material that’s not newspaper and garbage bags. We both bought this $20 foam pad (looks like it’s $35 now #inflation) at MEC several years ago and cut it into several sitting pads, which we then gave to friends, who continue to bring them on hiking and skiing trips.
Gear That Gives Back
Annalise was recently given a Six Percent après activity cooler bag that fits tall cans and keeps them cool (after speaking in the class of an early reader of Go Outside, it’s worth noting). She was pleased to learn that, not only was this handy cooler created by new parents (who “discovered that the cooler bags from our pumps kept four beer cans just as cold as four bottles of milk”), the creators are passionate Revelstoke cyclists who donate 6% of profits to their local cycling association.
We love gear that gives back and this includes Protect Our Winters Action Apparel Collection, which includes buffs, socks and reusable hand warmers. Buy these items and 90% of proceeds are given back to POW, a nonprofit organization that helps passionate outdoor people protect the places they love from climate change.
We can get behind any piece of gear that allows its users to leave the confines of their comfortable homes and head outside in winter. MICROspikes fit that description, and don’t just take our word for it.
Both of us were gifted these spikey shoe additions last Christmas (thanks mom and dad!) and they have certainly made travel on icy surfaces while carrying babies easier.
The Gift of Knowledge and Adventure
Google around for organized tours, workshops or classes near you — think snowshoe stargazing tours, Indigenous-led hikes, avalanche safety classes and backcountry first aid. Some of the best money we’ve spent outside has been on building our knowledge and learning how to safely access new terrain.