Saturday, December 20, 2014

Last minute gift ideas for the outdoor lover

Posted By on Sat, Dec 20, 2014 at 7:10 AM

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Christmas is a few days away. If you’re looking for a last minute gift for the outdoors enthusiast on your gift list, here are a few ideas.

Maps/Compass/GPS: I don’t know too many hikers, cyclists or equestrians who couldn’t use a new map or two at some time or another, especially for an area they haven’t visited before. The Pikes Peak Atlas is one of the most detailed for the Colorado Springs area while the Trails Unlimited series has detailed maps of a large part of the west. The locally made Pocket Pals maps offer simpler to read maps, coupled with detailed instructions for many trails in the Colorado Springs area.

A good compass is a great, inexpensive gift, and a necessity when using a map. But if you want to spend a bit more, GPS receivers are also a good gift. Whether it’s a compass or a GPS your recipient will need to know how to use them, so include with the gift information on instructional classes. You can find the maps I’ve mentioned, along with GPS units and information on classes, at almost any outdoor recreation supply store.

Clothing: Consider a wide brim hat or a poncho; vital pieces of hiking gear year round. I’m a fan of Tilley hats because they’re well made and seem to last forever. They cost just a bit more than other hats, but worth it. A lightweight plastic poncho can provide much need warmth, and keep your favorite person dry, and makes a nice stocking stuffer. Lightweight microfiber or fleece layer clothing is another good gift choice.

Tools and accessories: LED technology has given us smaller, brighter lighting with much better battery life than older technology. LED headlights are available almost anywhere and in a wide range of prices — don’t forget the extra batteries. And there isn’t much that can’t be done in the field without a multi-tool and/or a pocketknife. Available in a wide variety of sizes and uses, they make great stocking-stuffers.

Another must-have on the trail item is a first-aid kit; available in a wide range of sizes. A simple, one-person-size kit for minor injuries is small and inexpensive. But, while you’re at it, how about enrolling the recipient in a basic first-aid class, too?

Hydration: The key to healthy outdoors recreation is staying hydrated. Who couldn’t use an extra water bottle or hydration pack? The Camelbak All-Clear bottle has a UV lamp built into the cap that sterilizes water taken from streams or lakes. Or there’s the Steri-pen that also sterilizes water in any bottle, and the Life Straw lets you drink water directly out of a body of water. The Steri-pen and Life Straw are small, making them good stocking stuffers.

Parks Pass: A Colorado State Parks Pass or a National Parks Pass will make for a great gift, or you could help support search and rescue teams by giving a Colorado Search and Rescue Card.

Of course, there are many, many things you can buy your favorite outdoors enthusiast, and this list should give you some ideas to start with. For the person who seems to have everything, you can always go with a gift card from their favorite store. Whether you give a gift or a gift card, it’s a sure bet they’ll love it!

Happy Holidays and Happy Trails!

Bob Falcone is a firefighter, arson investigator, non-profit board president, college instructor, photographer, hiker and small business owner who has lived in Colorado Springs for 23 years. You can follow him on Twitter @hikingbob, Facebook, or visit his website Hikingbob.com. E-mail questions, comments, suggestions, etc to info@hikingbob.com.

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