Buying gifts for outdoor types is hard. They often have very specific tastes.
Keri and I discussed the following list. By combining thoughtful and practical you can show the outdoor person in your life you both love and accept them for who they are.
With Christmas on the way and a few months of bad weather due now’s the perfect time to get some outdoor gifts that will stand the test of time and impress the most hard to buy for outdoor enthusiast.
(The pictures in this post are affiliate links, click if you want to see more about the product)
Christmas socks are a must but don’t be tempted by a pack of plain black or god forbid some novelty ones. These are personal passion for me as they are the one item that made soggy moorland walks always a pleasant and toasty experience.
Trust me when I say Sealskins Socks will change your outdoor giftee’s world.
Not heard of them? They are thick warm socks that are completely waterproof!
There are other brands these days but seal skins are the only ones we’ve used, so can confidently recommend.
Even the most expensive pair of waterproof walking boots are essentially useless if a muddy puddle goes above ankle height. In fact, walking boots need about 3 days next to a radiator after soaking before it’s safe to slide your feet back in.
What’s even better is that sealskins make any shoe essentially waterproof. I wear them with normal “town/work” shoes. It’s like a walk round your house in slippers: warm and dry.
Although practical, I have it on good authority it’s still not ok to wear them with sandals.
My personal preference is wearing running shoes with an aggressive grip and a pair of sealskins socks, even for big walks.
You can feel the ground a lot better so far less risk of a twisted ankle. What’s more you have the ability to run and swim if needs be.
If you are doing more than one day you can slip another pair on and have a dry pair of feet, whilst everyone else is making a choice between dry sock into wet boots or slipping on wet socks.
2) Fell running shoes.
Well if Santa’s bringing a few pairs of seal skins there’s no need for those expensive leather walking shoes. Time to invest in a really good pair of fell running shoes.
Why? If you or your potential giftee is a runner or thinking it might be an option for a new year resolution, free yourselves from a dreary plod around the block or dodging cars on the road. Get out in the mud, explore, get lost, and find your way back. Go into the woods, on a bit of coast path or out on the moors.
My absolute favorite brand is INOV-8. Inov8 make great Zero Drop shoes. This means they have same amount of padding under the heel as the toe, this mimics barefoot running. DOn’t worry if that’s not your thing as they have more traditional running shoes also.
My personal preference is their bare grip model. However this was discontinued as barefoot running became less popular.
Inov8 renovate the same models every year so you can get a bargain finding an older model.
expect to pay £120 + for the latest and around £50 for an older model.
If you find some for £35 you’ve done really well.
3) Thermal underwear.
I’ve been recommending these since before I knew what affiliate marketing was. (if you don’t know what affiliate marketing go to the FAQ on our home page). Skin tight leggings and tops that keep you warm even when you’re wet. I’ve ran along a coast path on new years eve and gone for a swim in the sea and got out and been warm enough to stand around and drink mulled wine outside. For anyone who spends time outdoors in winter, these are a must.
When running I would suggest a pair of shorts for gentlemen as they don’t leave much to the imagination in the undercarriage department. Maybe a T-shirt as well, if like me, you are starting to look festively plump all year round.
They are very warm but not wind proof.
4) Personalised Map.
Tech is great but there’s still a bit of me that loves pouring over a proper map. I love tracing over old routes remembering how the land was laid out and the odd wrong turn. I love having a bigger picture of the landscape, you begin to understand why the land is the way it is.
Also I love planning a new route. When Keri and I first started dating. It was often me who would plan the routes, unfortunately it was also me who bore responsibility when things went horribly wrong, which they often did.
Admittedly out of petulance at first I told her she should plan the next adventure. Rightly she refused, however It was such a bone of contention that I would insist on it for birthday, Xmas presents or as the answer to the question what shall we do this weekend.
Eventually, she caved and planned a route which inevitably I took over and made changes to anyway. However, it really did mean the world to me.
My point is, If you want a really special “outdoor” gift. Make the effort to plan an adventure. The cheapest way to do this is to get a map.
In the UK we are lucky to have some of the best map makers in the world. Get an OS map of your local area or somewhere you plan to visit.
The Explorer (orange ones) are best for walking and adventuring.
Get the laminated one (These used to be called active map, i think the newer ones say AWM: All-Weather Map) it will last forever rather than fall apart the first time it gets put in a damp bag.
Some of the new ones include a digital copy for your phone.
Top tip: To make this gift extra special, Take the time to mark locations for treats.
- Park here
- Cup of tea here
- Pub lunch here
- Camping here
- Picnic here
- Swim here
Mark them out on the map.
You could also mark locations of memories
- Where we first met
- Our first mountain
- That time we saw a…
- Where we said we going to build our house.
- Where we said we would meet if the zombie apocalypse happens
You get the gist.
Not good at navigating, tell them it’s part of the challenge. Include a compass in their gift.
As a guide each square is 1000m. If you want to keep your walk under 3 hours keep your adventure within a block of about 6 squares.
You don’t even have to be there. If you really hate walking or running or cycling. You can be there to meet them at each location with all the gear. Send them out in the rain whilst you wait at the spa or pub.
Sound good? Just double-check that you’ve marked the correct place.
5) A good waterproof
I’m sure they’ve got something already, but a good waterproof can last a lifetime and potentially something you use every day. Investing in a really good one can make adventures so much more pleasant.
If you’re buying for an outdoor friend or partner who insists on wearing outdoor gear everywhere it’s your chance to inject a bit of style. By far the best brand for combining style, performance and quality is arc’teryx. It’s a bit of an investment but worth its weight in gold.
If you’re looking for something a little more pocket friendly, montane offer some great performers.
Watch this space for a guide on what jacket to buy. there is always a steep price rise between hard core and lightweight waterproofs.
In the meantime, montane has a great jacket selector tool.
A little tip for getting a bargain for parents or any one who values practicality and versatility over aesthetics; look for the XXXL. If you happen to be XXXL you’ll benefit from being able to get great quality items for less. They’re often on the sale rail but can be great. Especially if your layering up or looking to keep some cargo like a backpack or child in a sling. They can be great for getting everything under cover. Also having something that comes a little lower down your body can mean keeping the water off and maintaining a toast bottom.
6) Outdoor camera
If you or your outdoor giftee loves capturing your adventures A go pro is a great tool. If you don’t know, they are tiny high-quality water and bash proof cameras that can be strapped to you or other things in multiple ways.
It does have a slight annoyance of creating very shaky footage.
If you want something a little more unique a DJI Osmo pocket is an awesome way of not only capturing all the action without all the expected shaky miss directed shots. It is essentially a tiny robot camerawoman. It will track a face or keep a shot steady when your walking.
You may have seen the funky gimbal selfie sticks. We got one recently. It’s a lot of fun, especially for the kind of work we do.
DJI the pocket is the same tech but with a built-in high-quality camera. Because it doesn’t have to hold or balance the weight of a phone, that tech can be scaled down to the size that will slip into most pockets.
It can also come in a waterproof case so it can be taken running, cycling, swimming or whatever the chosen activity might be.
7) An insulated flask
Sometimes a huge adventure isn’t always appropriate. Sometimes when it’s freezing sitting out having a picnic is just daft. However when an after-work outdoor fix is needed but you don’t have the energy for a run. Finding a quiet spot for a hot drink can be an absolute charm.
Check out our Dandelion coffee blog if you’re looking to forage for something with that coffee richness without the caffeine.
Stanley is the high-quality standard. Well worth the investment.
However, a cheap one can be a decent stocking filler and a thoughtful secret Santa.
8) Book an activity
It’s always good to have something to look forward to after the festivities. Something like a race is a great plan for the future. Especially if you haven’t been able to spend the actual day with your giftee.
If you’re booking for someone with a different fitness level to you book yourself an obstacle race. It’s not about going fast it’s about getting round together, having a bit of a laugh. It will encourage everyone to train a bit so your really giving the gift of fitness.
We find hammocks are a great way to add a Pitstop to any adventure.
We all have romantic ideas about wild camping, having a fire and disappearing into the wilderness.
Unfortunately, the reality is that finding somewhere wild, flat and dry enough to pitch a tent is very rare.
Any flat grassy area will be privately owned, exposed to people or occupied by a big bull.
The only places you can really wild camp are at high altitudes where it’s a few degrees colder and exposed, not to mention you’ll have to carry firewood.
Most likely you will find that your either on a slope that creates a pile of people and clothes. Or you’re draped over roots and rocks that make a nights sleep impractical.
I love being in the woods, but you haven’t got much chance of pitching a tent. One solution that opens up a world of secluded wild camping spots is a hammock. They also take very little room so can be used on fast and light adventures. They can be slung up between any tree and set level so anywhere wooded no matter how sloped can become a cosy campsite. Also, woods mean plenty of firewood.
You only need the hammock if you want a sleepy day bed but you’ll probably need a mosquito net and rain shelter if you want a serious overnight rig.
Be careful hammocks do not provide insulation. You may require an insulation mat or under quilt if your out in anything less than 20 degrees.
10) Personal development.
For Keri and I, after we left our outdoor centre and started a family we really struggled to get out and adventure like we used too.
That’s why we started ALittleMoreOutdoor.com. To share resources with others who want to get outside as well as create an income for ourselves that would allow us the time, financial and geographical freedom to enjoy the outdoors as a family.
Interested in building freedom for yourself. Find out more