I think it’s fair to say that during the course of 2020, many people have looked at the things they own, and realised that stuff is not what makes them happy. Maybe they’ve had a massive clear out, or they’ve promised themselves to be much more mindful of the things they purchase. And while we might still want to share in the gift giving traditions of the season, maybe we don’t want to add to someone else’s stuff pile with brightly coloured plastic or random bits and bobs.
While I am definitely all for gift giving (and receiving…), it’s important that we are all mindful of needs verses wants, and not simply reach for the obvious. Something personal. Something thoughtful. Something your friend or family member will use, admire, do.
And so, for this year’s gift guide, rather than sharing a whole bunch of specific products with you, I wanted to provide more of a commentary that might help start a few ideas when you’re shopping for others this year. Consider these ten things as idea starters, inspiration, places to help you think of something to share for all the right reasons with your loved ones.
Shared in no particular order, here are nine idea starters for your gift shopping this year (and next…).
Gift Idea Starters for Outdoors Lovers
01. Camping and Outdoors Gear
I’m a big fan of useful Christmas gifts. I mean, if you’re going to spend money on things, they should fulfil one of three needs – they should be useful, they should be fun, or they should be beautiful (the latter two coming up shortly). If your loved one loves spending time outside, then why not get them something they need to help them enjoy their camping trips or other outdoor adventures? I am certain that gifting something to their life outdoors that little bit easier will be very much appreciated.
Think enamel or steel cookware, accessories for their hiking bitty bag, a shiny new water bottle or flask, something for their travel wash kit, or a bit of kit to keep them warm and cosy at night. Even gas for someone’s stove is a good option, we always need gas for our stove!
Here’s an idea that combines useful with pretty, and is personalised, too. This lovely enamel mug (pictured filled with my favourite hot chocolate) was a PR gift from Asda Photo Gifts – I personalised it with my One Hour Outside logo, and I absolutely love it. The process was super easy (I uploaded my logo as an image file and positioned it where I wanted it), and my one-off printed camping mug arrived later that same week. You can upload someone’s name, a phrase they love, or even a memory filled photograph. This really would make a lovely gift for the outdoors lover in your life. When you’re on the site, look for the camping mugs, and go from there.
02. Outdoorsy Inspiration for the Home
We might not be doing much travel and adventure at the moment, but I think we’ve all done a bit of DIY at home. I know it’s not just me! How about some art for the walls? There’s a plethora of great outdoorsy prints available, and this is a great way to support small business in your local area or on Etsy.
Whether you choose a large map of a specific area, a scratch map such as this one I recently reviewed, a painting of your friend’s favourite scene, a photographic memory, or an abstract print, will all depend on your friend’s taste.
Have you seen Subpar Parks on Instagram? Amber Share takes bad reviews of National Parks and turns them into fantastic poster prints. You can buy the prints here on Etsy. I can’t wait for UK National Parks to become available to purchase!
One thing I did for my Dad was buy him a Custom OS Map with his house in the middle, one of the flat versions rather than a folded one, which he framed and put up in his kitchen. It looks fabulous, the perfect art for an outdoors lovers’ wall.
03. Guidebooks and Maps
If I know outdoorsy people, they are forever looking for inspiration on where to go and what to do next. For some, that might be new footpaths and green spaces to explore from home, for others it might be making plans for their next big adventure across continents. Either way, guidebooks and maps for areas on their list are always appreciated.
Has your friend always talked about doing a long-distance hike? One of the Trailblazer guidebooks for the West Highland Way or Cotswold Way would be a good option. Maybe they’re looking for short walks to inspire Sundays outside in 2021? The short walks series of Pathfinder Guides are always a decent bet.
Or maybe they don’t need routes but need activity guidebooks instead. You can get them for everything. Camping, running, paddle boarding, wild swimming, the choice is yours.
04. Saving the Planet
I think most outdoors lovers probably already carry a reusable water bottle and a cloth bag around at all times these days, but there are lots of other ideas linked to sustainability and looking after our environment. An insulated coffee mug, hot food canister, lunch tin, cutlery, a vegan food hamper or recipe book, soda stream (read a review of mine here) there are so many ideas.
Given that this is 2020 and shopping for toilet paper has been much harder than ever before this year, how about a box of loo roll from Who Gives a Crap? I received one myself a couple of months ago and I have to admit, it made me smile more than it probably should have done. Their limited edition Christmas wrapping also allows you to write messages to each other in the bathroom.
You can also check out my gifts to help reduce lunchtime plastic guide for more ideas.
05. Lockdown Footwear
I know it’s a bit of a cliché, but I honestly don’t think you can beat a great pair of slippers. And this year more than ever, a pair of house or camp slippers would make an awesome gift for the outdoors lover in your life. Something comfortable, cosy and warm they can put on when they get in from a few hours outside; whether that’s inside their own home, their van, or their tent. The benefit of this kind of gift is you can really get something to suit the recipient as well as your budget.
My house slipper suggestions would be a pair of very practical and hard wearing traditional wool slippers such as those from Isobaa or Baabuk (I absolutely love my Baabuk Gus slippers). Or, if you’d rather have something synthetic, the new The North Face Traction Mule is an excellent option and one I don’t think I’d be without at home.
For camp shoes or slippers, I honestly can’t recommend the Teva Ember enough. So warm, so comfortable, and with a sole that can cope with the area around as well as inside the tent. I also very much like the look of the Sorel Out n About slipper booties as a camp shoe or house slipper, they look so fluffy and warm. For some of my other camp shoe suggestions, check out this recent post on the topic.
06. Outdoorsy Entertainment
We’ve already talked about guidebooks and maps to inspire outdoors adventure, but us outdoors lovers also like a bit of pure entertainment from time to time. Get us a book or film that will help us switch off and relax while taking our minds back outdoors into nature or adventure and you’ll have nailed gifting for us.
On top of my entertainment wish list this year is Terry Abraham’s latest Life of a Mountain documentary film, featuring Helvellyn (and my good friend Nigel!). The trilogy of Terry’s Lake District films would make such a lovely gift for anyone who loves the outdoors, big views, and the human story of rural England.
07. Great Quality Basics
I think it’s fair to say that outdoors lovers have plain and simple taste when it comes to clothing. What we want, what we need, are great quality, comfortably fitting, hard wearing, easy to care for, basics. Yes, we also want and need the technical stuff, in all the colours, but what we want next to our skin, what we reach for on a daily basis, are the pure and simple essentials. An organic cotton tee, woollen beanie hat, merino sweater, top quality hiking socks, all good.
If you want to treat the outdoors lover in your life to something from this category, start by checking out the ranges offered by Isobaa, which is my personal favourite (read more about them here), Tentree, who plant a tree for every item of clothing purchased, or Smartwool, who make some fantastic base layers. Look out for organic cottons, merino wool, and companies with sustainability at their heart, and you can’t go wrong.
08. Self Care Luxuries
Taking time to practice a bit of self-care is always important, and so providing the outdoors lover in your life with a luxury or two to help them do this is never a bad idea. A thick and creamy hand cream, some magnesium filled bubble bath, their favourite sweet treats, a voucher for a meal out or takeaway from their favourite burger place, or even a pair of cosy pyjamas.
I think I might treat myself to a nice blanket this Christmas-time, I fancy one of those weighted ones that are supposed to be very good for insomnia, but also have my eye on the Pillow Blanket by Voited, which would be great for camping as well as in the home, and the Juniper Blanket by Tentree, which would look great in my lounge.
09. Experience Vouchers for Later
Maybe you don’t want to buy things. How about spending your money on experiences instead? As someone who adores receiving experience vouchers for Christmas, birthdays, or whenever possible really, I think they are a brilliant present idea. And while it’s not been the best year to redeem experience vouchers, it would be an excellent way to promise some real-life fun in 2021, when we’re allowed.
Two things I would highly recommend would be the Via Ferrata Xtreme at Honister Slate Mine in the Lake District, an utterly fantastic way to spend a few hours, especially if you are fortunate to get good weather, and Zip World Velocity (watch a video of my experience here) in North Wales. Both are fabulously fun adrenaline fuelled experiences that would make great gifts.
It’s also worth noting that BuyaGift vouchers are valid for 20 months at the moment, to allow people to book experiences when they are both available and comfortable taking part in them, which is good to know.
I hope this list of nine gift idea starters has helped inspire your gift giving, or maybe even your wish list writing. I’d love to know what other categories of gifts you’re thinking about for the outdoors lover in your life.
There are affiliate links on this page, but this is not a sponsored post and no-one asked me to include their link in this blog post. The One Hour Outside was a PR gift from Asda Photo.