You have this person in your life. You may classify this person in a number of ways: unconventional, outdoorsy, adventurous, dirtbag. This person may seem hard to shop for. They have all the gear they need, and don’t really like extra “stuff” lying around. So what do you do?
Here are some gifts for the outdoor friend that you’ll love to give — and they’ll love to get, whether during Christmas, Hanukkah, or any other gift-giving occasion.
You may think this is a weird gift, but being able to wipe down the essential bits when you need to run to a meeting and have no time to shower feels like heaven.
As kids, most of us thought socks were the worst gift ever. Now, we long for a pair of good wool socks to keep our feet smelling fresh in the backcountry for days. And those suckers aren’t cheap!
Arguably the most versatile clothing item ever made. They can be bandanas, neck warmers, snot rags, ear warmers. But we all know their real use is to fashionably hide dirty hair.
We can’t have a gift guide without including this! A guidebook isn’t just a book to place on a shelf and collect dust. It’s an opportunity for adventure, a lesson in the history of the land, a plea not to get lost forever. Give your loved one a copy of Menasha Ridge Press’s new camping guides
- Benchmarks Maps & Atlases: Incredibly detailed, well-researched and updated every two years, these are must-have guides for whenever you’re planning a trip.
- Wildsam Field Guides: off-beat travel guidebooks and travel insight that artfully reveal the wonders of our world to curious travelers
- Backpacking and Hiking Maps from a local outfitter: Either hook up with REI hiking maps or better yet a local retailer to recommend the best guides and apps for backpacking, hiking, camping, mountain biking, climbing, or whatever exists!
This tiny piece of technology is worth its weight in gold for those of us who are obsessive iPhone photographers in the backcountry. And photographs only! Because we all know phones shouldn’t be relied on for trail directions, right? Right?
Any outdoor-lover will be thrilled to get a gift helping protect and preserve public lands. Sign them up to be a member of one you know they will love. Better yet, if they love to manage invasive species, sign them up to be a North American Invasive Species Management (NAISMA) member!
Boot brushes are really versatile, especially the PlayCleanGo handheld boot brush with hoof pick. They work not only on shoes and boots but also are great with packs, the cloth undersides of strollers, bike tires, horse hoofs, and any outerwear. If you’re out in wet, muddy conditions, you might need to wait until the mud dries to be able to scrape seeds and plant fragments off. Be sure to bag up whatever you scrape off and throw it in the trash. Does your dog like to hike with you? Use the boot brush on their paws too and check fur for hitchhiking seeds that might be from invasive plants.
Shammy towels are the ultimate in outdoor recreation usefulness. Towel off your gear including PFDs and paddles after boating, wipe down your bike and bike gear, and wash it for your next outdoor adventure. Try to get any seeds, plant parts, or aquatic animals into a plastic bag and throw them away. Another great PlayCleanGo tip.
Several companies offer lightweight portable showers but you can make your own with a little drill bit and a disposable / recyclable water bottle. Drill several small holes into the cap of a disposable water bottle, fill it up before you head out for your mountain bike ride, hike, hunting excursion, or camping trip, and shower off gear before you leave the trailhead or campsite.
Leave Only Footprints T-Shirt or Sweater
Steward grew up a product of the pristine forests, crisscrossing trails and clear waters of North America. Bigfoots are tidy creatures by nature (so much so that many people doubt their very existence!), so “Stew” was raised to make sure he kept his play areas just as they were when he arrived. So whether he ran through the winding trails of the Great Plains or splish-splashed on the breathtaking shores of the Great Lakes, he was always very careful not to disrupt the environment.
Now you can commemorate the PlayCleanGo spokescreature with a Leave Only Footprints T-shirt or Full Zip Sweatshirt. This classic unisex jersey short sleeve tee fits like a well-loved favorite. Soft cotton and quality print make users fall in love with it over and over again. These t-shirts have-ribbed knit collars to bolster shaping. The shoulders have taping for better fit over time. Dual side seams hold the garment’s shape for longer.
Other items that seem to go over well include good sun protection. Who enjoys using sunscreen on their face? Not many, so instead go for a good hat to protect them from the suns rays.
Add a great water bottle or coffee mug that can be used for camping or thrown in the mix.
Multi-tools or knives! Can you ever have too many? Pocket knives, fish cleaning knives, multi-tools with finger nail clippers; the possibilities are endless!
Don’t forget those sport specific gifts such as fishing lures, inclinometer, smart devices like lawn sprinklers (who would’ve thought), indoor/outdoor weather station or hygrometer.
Go for the Experience!
Does your dirtbag have it all?! Value the day together by planning a fishing trip, a hiking adventure, a kayak trip, a horseback ride, or fun in the mud with your ATV. Have fun and happy holidays!
Written by Hannah Bowers
Former Communications & Program Manager, North America Invasive Species Management Association (NAISMA) & PlayCleanGo