As active outdoors people we thought it would be a great idea to share our experiences in both giving and receiving gifts.
If you’re not into the outdoors yourself, buying a gift for an active camper, hiker, paddler, cyclist, or other outdoors enthusiast can be quite a challenge.
Here are a few quick tips for finding the perfect gift for the adventurous outdoorsy person in your life:
- Do some reconnaissance! Ask him or her questions about the activities he or she engages in to get specifics.
- Buy for his or her aspirations. Gear may be what is holding him or her back from pursuing a higher level of the outdoor activity he or she enjoys.
- Buy for his or her comfort. Some outdoor gear may not be suited for the trail, but will bring comfort and happiness in his or her day-to-day life.
- Take into account the outdoor person’s financial situation. Just because they have a certain piece of gear, doesn’t mean they wouldn’t be excited about an upgrade.
- If he or she is extremely hardcore in a particular outdoor pursuit, avoid expensive, technical gear for that sport unless you know that it is specifically what he or she wants or needs.
- Don’t be offended if they return or exchange a gift you give them. Many outdoors people are minimalist and would prefer not to have something unless they really need it.
Some Hot New Adventure Gift Ideas
To help you get started in your quest for that perfect adventure gift, here are a few of our favorite items we’ve come across on Amazon. If you’re looking for more general gift buying advice, please scroll down for more useful tips.
If you are not familiar with the newer designs of camping chairs that have hit the market in the past few years, be prepared – these are not your Grampa’s big folding lawn chairs. Perfect for car camping, backpacking, adventure picnicking, a concert in the park, or even a neighbor’s backyard party, these ultra light and ultra comfortable chairs quickly pack down into a tiny bundle weighing only around two pounds. A must have for any active person!
If you’ve lugged a large, hard-sided cooler across a large park or down a crowded beach, you know how awkward and uncomfortable they could be. This clever cooler is basically a cross between a durable dry bag and a self-inflating camping pad. It keeps food and drinks cold and keeps your side from becoming bruised. Plus, when you are done with your food and drinks, the cooler deflates and rolls up into a small, easy-to-carry bundle.
Trekking poles are one of those items you don’t appreciate until you actually own a pair. And this pair on Amazon have features like carbon fiber shafts and cork grips that you would only expect from trekking poles costing much much more. A great gift for anyone who is into walking, hiking, or backpacking!
Adventurous Gifts for Her
This awesome blanket is the perfect gift for the adventurous woman. Its water-repellent finish, light weight, and compact size make it great for outdoor adventures, yet it’s comfy enough to curl up in for a night at home on the couch. Plus it has a unique snap system that allows multiple Kachula blankets to be snapped together for couples and families who want to snuggle up together.
This fashionable yet functional sling style daypack is a great gift for any active, outdoorsy woman. Whether going on a day hike, traveling, or just going off on an adventure in the city, this comfortable and lightweight pack is hard to beat. With a single wide shoulder strap, plenty of pockets, and room enough for a small laptop or tablet, this bag is super versatile for a woman on the go.
To be fair, this is actually a great gift for active men as well, but for women on the go, it’s a truly fantastic gift. It’s ultra light and ultra simple construction means it’s perfect for both travel and outdoor use. The best thing about this roll organize is how fast it deploys. You can have it unrolled and hanging in a hotel bathroom or tent in seconds!
Adventurous Gifts for Him
Tarps are the ultimate in ultralight camp comfort. Whether it is hot and sunny or cold and rainy, a tarp turns misery into joy. There are a lot to choose from these days and we think this tarp from Amazon is a great deal – especially for someone who has never used a tarp before. It comes with everything you need and is adaptable to many different situations. Choose the 9’ version for solo campers and couples, and the 13’ version for small groups and families. Read our in depth blog on setting up tarps here.
We’re not going to go on too much here about why we think this is such a great knife – you can read our blog on the Gerber Big Rock here. Suffice it to say, if an outdoorsy guy in your life is getting into camping, bushcraft, or trail cooking, this is a piece of gear he will appreciate having.
This has to be one of the most versatile and fantastic penlights ever made! First of all, it is more like a tiny worklight than a flashlight. There is a strong magnet at one end of the light that makes it great for working on cars or around the house. When it comes to camping, it is the ultimate mini lantern. Not only will it light up a picnic table or tent with ease, but for ultralight hiking situations, you can remove part of the aluminum housing and one of the batteries making for a super tiny lantern and tent light. Every outdoorsy dude (and dudette) should be issued one of these at birth!
Cool Gifts for Outdoorsy Couples
For couples who love to car camp, this double sleeping pad will definitely be appreciated. Weighing in at 32 ounces, it could even be brought along on shorter backpacking trips. And it will always come in handy as a guest mattress at home. A very cool feature is that the stuff sack it comes in doubles as a pump.
This is a fantastic gift for active couples who are into cooking, or just want to reduce their use of plastic when traveling or dining on the go. Each set contains a knife, fork, spoon, chopsticks and a straw, all made from ultralight and ultra durable titanium. Included is a quality cloth bag. Remember to buy two sets for a couple!
Since we are an adventure picnicking magazine, we love outdoor pocket blankets! If you know an adventurous couple, this is the ultimate affordable gift! Great for picnics, camping,the beach, and outdoor concerts, these clever pieces of gear fold up into a tiny bundle that – you guessed it – fit in your pocket. We like the Holbros pocket blanket for it’s larger size and great value, but there are plenty of others on the market. Read our in depth pocket blanket review here.
DESERT & FOX Ultralight Mini Camping Stove
The new generation of ultralight backpacking stoves are not just light and durable, but inexpensive! We haven’t had this stove long, but so far it has been performing well and is similar in design, construction, and function to the slightly more expensive BRS 3000T titanium camp stove we’ve been using for a few years now, so if you want to learn about that stove, read our review here. We feel that either would make a great gift for an outdoors person needing a stove upgrade.
Once you’ve had one of these microfiber head scarfs, you won’t leave on an adventure with out one. Not only are they comfy, but they can be worn as a neck scarf, head warmer, bandana, balaclava, or face mask. Ultralight and ultra-convenient protection from cold, wind, sun, and dust.
Every outdoors person should carry a ferro rod. These failsafe fire starters can generate sparks even when wet. With a little practice, anyone can use one to start a fire in almost any conditions. This particular ferro rod is a great deal since it comes with a paracord lanyard that doubles as a handle and the cordage can be unraveled in a survival situation.
More General Tips on Gift Buying for an Outdoorsy Person
The following tips are for the non-outdoorsy friends and family of an adventurous outdoorsy person who wants to find that perfect gift for him or her – and avoid just settling for giving a gift card. If you can answer even one of the following questions, then you’ll have a good lead on what he or she would appreciate receiving as a gift..
Do You Know the Specifics of His or Her Favored Outdoor Activity
They may be into camping, but this could mean ultralight backpacking or comfort car camping. Both pursuits involve camping, but most backpackers are focused on minimalism and prefer dependable, high-quality, gear that addresses a variety of functions. Most car campers on the other hand are happy with heavy, bulkier gear that offers them a more civilized and comfortable outdoor experience.
Another way to think about this is that for some outdoor enthusiasts, their gear can actually mean their safety or even their survival. They will generally be very picky about what they bring along with them while out on an adventure. Their lives may actually rely on how that gear functions, so they generally know what works and what doesn’t.
If the latter seems to be the case, and you definitely want to get him or her gear, maybe ask what he or she specifically wants or needs. This may take away the surprise, but in the end he or she will appreciate that you understand the importance of having the right gear for one’s outdoor sport.
Is His or Her Gear Worn or in Need of an Upgrade?
If someone is active outdoors, he or she probably goes through a lot of gear and would really appreciate any chance to replace something that is outdated or worn out.
If possible, try to assess the brand, age, and condition of the gear he or she has now. If you can’t get a peak at the gear he or she uses on adventures, pay attention to the clothing you see them wearing. If he or she is always wearing a tattered old Patagonia jacket, a newer Patagonia jacket of similar design and function may really be appreciated.
Newer gear by the same company at a similar price point usually means newer technology, better functionality, and no dirt, scrapes or scuffs. It may be that he or she lacks the funds to replace what they already have and will most likely be thrilled to have the latest version.
What Is the Person’s Dream Adventure or Outdoor Trip?
The person you are buying for may not be a hardcore outdoor enthusiast, but dreams of bigger adventures than they are currently having. Sometimes gear is the limiting factor and one gift can get them closer to their goals. The key here is to understand not what they do now outdoors, but what he or she wants to do outdoors.
For example, someone who goes camping often with heavier car camping gear may dream of hiking the Appalachian Trail one day, but his or her bulky gear might make even weekend backpacking trips an exercise in misery. An ultralight camp stove, titanium cookware, or a quality camp knife can be a game changer if he or she doesn’t already have these things.
Is the Person a Minimalist?
Most people understandably break into a cold sweat at the very thought of having to buy a gift for a minimalist, but the truth is, minimalists are actually easy to buy cool gifts for.
The trick is to appreciate why he or she is a minimalist. Generally, minimalists like things to be simple, well made, not take up much space, and, if possible, handle a variety of functions. An easy trap to fall into here is in mistaking luxury travel items for quality minimalist outdoor gear.
Generally, it’s good to stay away from The Sharper Image and other similar gift stores and go for high quality gear at a store more focused on outdoor adventure. A cool trick if you shop online is to simply go to the Amazon outdoor store and simply search for terms like “titanium” or “ultralight”. These two search terms alone should give you a ton of cool gift possibilities.
Outdoorsy People Often Appreciate Cool Comfort Items
Don’t feel that you have to get them something for their sport. Quite often outdoor enthusiasts lead fairly spartan lives at home, not because they don’t appreciate comfort, but rather because they never allocate time, energy, or money to outfit the domestic part of their existence.
A good tip for buying an outdoor enthusiast an at-home comfort gift is to choose something with the same look and a similar construction to the outdoor gear they use. A good example would be the Coaltree Puffy Kachula Travel Blanket mentioned above. It’s built for outdoor use, yet would make a great blanket to curl up on the couch with. It also looks and performs like true outdoor gear.
Don’t Be Offended If They exchange or Return What You Bought Them
Don’t feel bad if you didn’t get the gift right and they ended up returning what you bought. Outdoor people generally don’t like to have things not be used and will almost always appreciate the effort you put into trying to find the perfect gift. We understand how hard we can be to buy for.
Maybe You are More Outdoorsy Than You Think?
More often than not, someone who goes out of their way to find that perfect gift for an outdoors person is at the very least curious about the equipment, lifestyle, and experiences that adventurous person is having. And that is a beautiful thing.
If time, health, or money are standing in the way of you exploring the outdoors, adventure picnicking may be the perfect solution. It’s affordable, can be enjoyed by people of any fitness level, usually doesn’t take a lot of time, and promotes healthy eating and an active lifestyle. If you want to learn more, please read our in depth blog on adventure picnicking here.