UpNorthica, a publication focused on canoe camping and Up North excursions, has posted a list of great outdoors-minded gift ideas. From a blow-up pillow to camp journals and a neat canoe seat, UpNorthica’s Pam Wright dishes on a dozen options for that hard-to-gift outdoorsy person on your holiday list.
SealLine Map Case, $16.95. Great gift for a buddy starting to assemble a kit for backcountry exploration or canoe trips. Not only does the SealLine case protect your maps, it can hold permits, licenses and other important documents safe in one accessible and waterproof place. A double-zip enclosure keeps it watertight. At 12 × 16 inches, the medium-size case can hold a large section of your paddling route map visible without a lot of folding. More info/purchase gift.
Hail Merry’s Miracle Tarts, $4.99. After a long day of hiking or XC skiing, we love to bite into some chewy, sweet goodness. Hey, we all need survival food! Hail Merry has a delicious pack of four tarts that you’ll want to give as yummy gifts. The chocolate, almond, mint and lemon tarts are made with organic ingredients like coconut oil ganache, raw blue agave, lemon zest, raw almond butter and dark cocoa. All tarts are raw, vegan, gluten-free, and amazingly good to eat. Give a four-pack, one of each Miracle Tart flavor, for $20. More info/purchase gift.
Vargo Hexagon Backpacking Woodstove, $39.95. Light on your pocket book and light to carry, the hexagonal design of this small, wood-burning backpacking stove is made up of collapsible hinged panels that snap into place. Put wood and kindling inside and ignite — the flame is concentrated upward, limiting heat loss and concentrating the action on your cooking pot. A hinged door on the side provides access for adding more wood fuel to the fire without ever removing your pot stewing on top. Comes in either stainless steel ($39.95) or, to save some more weight, an upgraded titanium build at $59.95. More info/purchase gift.
Big Agnes Sleeping Giant Memory Foam Pillow, $29. Shoving a fleece jacket under your neck at night for an ad hoc pillow can lead to disastrous, neck-creaking results. Big Agnes’ foam pillow has been a staple of our camp sleep system for over a year, and we’ve had no more neck pain or shoulder soreness as a result! It is an inflatable air pillow with a foam liner and nylon zip cover. Use the mouth valve to inflate up to your preferred pillow firmness before bed. Comes with a stuff sack and compresses down to a small package that’s worth adding to your pack. Great gift for campers in need of a smidge more luxury for their outdoors sleeping experience. More info/purchase gift.
SPOT Messenger, $169. Give the gift of “keeping in touch.” The 5-ounce SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger lets your loved one send a communiqué from almost anywhere on the planet. There are functions to track a GPS route, send an “I’m OK” message, and (for emergencies) a “911” button, which notifies area search-and-rescue if things get grim. More info/purchase gift.
Seattle Sports Pocket Shower + Towel, $29.95. For longer trips, we like a shower system that is a simple, straightforward design. This 3.5-gallon shower lets you scrub down away from the lake and leave no trace. Warm the water by leaving the urethane-coated nylon bag out in the sunshine. Hang it up, and a twist-valve shower head then lets you control the flow. Complete the set with a microfiber towel — it packs small and dries quickly hanging on a branch. More info/purchase gift.
REI’s Sahara Tech Long-Sleeve Shirt, $33. A button-up wicking shirt can make camping life more tolerable. What makes this the one to give? First of all, it is made of lightweight nylon that breaths and dries quickly. No need to stay sweaty and wet all day. Integrated mesh ventilation on the back and under the arms keeps the breeze moving when it’s humid out. SPF 50+ fabric will keep a camper from becoming a crispy critter out in the middle of the lake, and rolled shoulder seams reduce rubbing from a portage pack. Sahara shirt comes in a men’s and a women’s model.
“Water and Sky: Reflections of a Northern Year,” $15. Have a friend dreaming of paddling a long, northern river? We were gripped by author Alan Kesselheim’s account of a two-year paddling expedition over a good chunk of Canada. Kesselheim and his girlfriend begin their journey in Alberta and paddle north roughly 1000 miles to Lake Anthabasca. There they scrounge up winter employment as the lone caretakers of a camp. The following summer they paddle 1000 miles further north through the Dubwant and Kazan River systems to Baker Lake in Nunavut. The book includes armchair-gripping encounters with bears and rapids. The pair is awestruck by the migrating Beverly caribou. They paddle past ancient Inuksuk cairns built by native paddlers. Detailed maps and engaging stories of the journey make it a great read and a great gift. More info/purchase gift.
Wenonah Super Seat, $39.95. Give your dad or a friend some extra canoe comfort. The Super Seat provides back support in a canoe, lessening paddling fatigue. When done paddling for the day, the Super Seat doubles as an around-the-campfire chair. More info/purchase gift.
Nature Watch Knot Tying Kit, $17.99. For a kid on your list. When it comes to camping, kids are pretty adaptable with activities, and they love to learn new things. This knot-tying kit comes with supplies for learning 16 knots. Kids practice tying with the colorful, easy-to-follow instruction booklet. Comes with cord and carabiners for kids ready to learn. More info/purchase gift.
Sea To Summit Tie Down Neoprene Buckle Covers, $19.95. A utilitarian gift option, tie-down straps will no doubt appeal to a certain practical person on your list. The Neoprene Tie Down straps are made of a rigid webbing that feeds through heavy-duty buckles. Neoprene casings slip over the buckles to protect the vehicle paintjob. The color-coded straps come in 12-, 15- and 18-foot lengths. Maybe you’ll need to pick up a boat to complement the gift. More info/purchase gift.
Camp Journals, $12 or less. Blank-book journals are a great way to document a trek, and they are an easy gift. In the wilderness, a haiku or a sketch of a lone red squirrel — or simply the documentation of the miles and portages — will guarantee memories. Etsy has some neat choices, including the “Exploring Bear Moleskine Squared Journal” and a wood-grain cover “My First Camping Trip” journal complete with 80 lined pages to fill.
—Pam Wright is an editor at UpNorthica. She recently wrote a guide to buying outdoors-inspired art for the site.