Gadgets and gear for people that love the outdoors
This past year both of the girls have become involved in scouts, which means that I have stepped up to help. We’ve had an exciting year of camping, hiking, and adventure.
Even before scouts, we have always loved the outdoors. Hiking and nature walks were a large part of our life in both Washington state and Kansas.
This year for Christmas I have decided to do my gift shopping in three areas: books, games, and scouting gear. The girls are getting too old for toys, and they have plenty of electronics.
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Outdoor gear and gadgets make great Christmas gifts because most people enjoy getting something useful. Plus they will be amazed at all the cool new tools out there that solve the same old outdoor conundrums.
Who this list is for
- Boy Scouts
- Girl Scouts
- Camping enthusiasts
- Pioneer types
This list is also great for unique gift-exchange ideas.
Camping and Backpacking Gifts
1. Flashlights – we are always losing flashlights so I carry extras in my van and in our camping storage.
2. Fire starter– lightweight and easy to use.
3. A collapsible bucket for transporting water.
4. The Coleman folding dishwashing station makes clean-up much easier.
5. Folding knife or multi-tool – if you are looking for a scout it must be a folding pocket knife with a blade no longer than an average palm (about 4 inches).
- Swiss army style knives make great gifts
- A leatherman (multi tool) is useful to a wide variety of people as well
- Or try just a simple folding pocket knife
6. EZ Towels, aka “coin towels” – we discovered these when we lived in Korea. They are little compressed rayon cloths that expand with the addition of just a small amount of water. Just a capful of water is needed. These work great if you have to do your business out in the field (not for septic systems – but they are biodegradable in the trash/field). Works great for cleanup and environmentally better than baby wipes.
7. Sporks – some people prefer separate utensils, but we love our sporks. You can find ones made from plastic or metal, and they are small and compact. We buy them in bulk because it always seems like someone forgets their mess kit on a group campout.
8. For those planning to camp in the backcountry – a trowel is a necessity. Metal ones add too much weight to your pack, so a simple plastic one is best.
9. Water bottle – Nalgene bottles are all the rage these days. They are BPA-free and come with a wide lid perfect for pouring into a cooking pot. Most scouts and backpackers carry 3-4 bottles with them, so they always need a few extras.
10. Cookware – cooking gear depends on what kind of camping you will be doing. We usually bring a few aluminum pots and a dutch oven. Most of the time we are cooking on propane stoves or our fuel stoves.
- Lightweight pots are easy to carry
- Backpacking sets that fold together are handy to have anywhere you go
- Of course, if you plan to make s’mores you need roasting forks
11. Backpacking stove – these stoves weigh about 1 pound and use small fuel canisters. They are great for backpackers and survivalists. We use the Etekcity stove because it stands on the ground and uses butane canisters that you can find at most Asian grocery stores. A set of 5 canisters for $8 is way less than you will spend in a sporting goods store.
12. A place to sit – One of the rules in our scouting crew is if you don’t bring a place to sit, you sit on the ground.
13. A lightweight daypack – useful for taking gear from your campsite on a nature walk.
14. Gear Aid Tenacious Tape – when you need to patch up your gear.
15. Compass – this one by Bear Grylls is nice and sturdy
16. Something to write with – like a space pen that will write virtually anywhere!
17. And something to write on – a nice field journal works great for taking notes or making sketches
Cold Weather Gear
Even camping or hiking in mild weather can get risky at night when the temperatures drop. Read about how to stay warm while camping in cold temperatures.
18. Warm socks
19. Thermal underwear – there are so many options for base layers now, you don’t have to rely on the ugly white thermal underwear anymore! We love the Magellan Outdoors thermal options for men and women at Academy Sports.
20. Sleeping bag liner – adds warmth without adding bulk. Fleece and silk work best.
21. Sleeping mat – air mattresses will not keep you warm. A simple closed-cell foam mat will work to insulate
22. Stocking hat and gloves – suitable for the area you live in. Think about if there will be snow, ice, etc. Fleece is a good choice.
23. Hand warmers
24. Protection for lips and hands – I like to have a tin of Rosebud Salve with me for chapped lips and cracked hands.
Food and Drink gifts
25. Instant Coffee – I do love cowboy coffee prepared right over the fire. However when you only have access to hot water, little instant packets work the best. I highly recommend Maxim coffee packets – this is the only item over $20 on the list ($21.98) but you get 100 packets. They include sugar and powdered creamer so all you need to do is pour and mix!
26. Herbal tea samplers – for when you want something warm to drink without sugar or caffeine
27. Trail mix
28. Snack bars – some of our favorites:
30. Dried soup mix – Bear Creek makes the best dried soup mixes! These are handy to have for power outages, camping, prepping, and quick meals before you head out for scouts!
Books and Other gifts
33. Boy Scouts Fieldbook – this is the official manual for basic and advanced skills for outdoor adventure. Great tips for everyone, not just boys!
35. Portable USB charger – charges your cell phone or tablet
36. Swiss USB “knife” – this is just a fun gift that plays on the Swiss Army knife.
37. CPR mask – for those that are CPR trained, this is a handy accessory to have in your first aid kit. This one is reusable.
38. Pocket games – keep the crew entertained while outdoors!
39. Paracord – 550 cord is a standard supply for scouts and outdoorsy types. They can make literally anything with it.
40. Nature Guides – get one specific to your region. Or you can get general ones, like North American Trees
42. Books for Parents – for parents who want their kids to grow up “wild”
- 50 Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do)
- Playful Preparedness
- Free-Range Kids
- Handy Dad in the Great Outdoors
43. Outdoor Knot Cards – these handy cards will teach you how to make knots useful for survival.
44. Edible Wild Foods – another set of handy cards
45. US Scratch Map – show where you have travelled by scratching it off this cool map!
46. Hand-Crank Weather Radio – helpful for just about anyone who lives where there is nasty weather and possible power outages.