Holiday Gift Guide for the Last Minute Shopper

We’re down to seven more shopping days before Christmas, and if you’re anything like me, you’re not finished buying presents for everyone on your list. With the clock ticking on the number of days left you can make a purchase online and still have a gift delivered by the 24th, it’s time to get shopping! So what is one to do? Well, you can start by checking out our holiday gift ideas for the outdoor family!


There are so many options for outdoor gear, and with a huge price range, it can be overwhelming to find the perfect gift. Think about the activities your outdoor adventure loves most, and start there.

Snowshoeing at Harold Parker State ForestSnowshoes are a great gift, especially for families looking to expand their hiking season. Tubbs makes great, reasonably priced snowshoes for all ages and experience levels. Addie started using her Snowflakes when she was two. I have the Mountaineer snowshoes, and love them. L.L. Bean also has great snowshoe packages that include the shoes, poles, and a carrying bag – they sell quality gear at a fantastic price.

Water Bottles are probably one of my favorite things to receive – you can never have too many. In our house we have a mix of wide-mouth Nalgenes (my favorite) to Camelbak (Kendra’s favorite). To make the gift extra-special, toss a pair of Smartwool socks inside.

Thermarest sleeping pads are great for campers. They are way more comfy than the foam ones, and easy to blow up. And every campsite needs a lantern. We used to use old-school Coleman liquid fuel lanterns, but since having kids we’ve switched to a Coleman battery-powered LED lantern.


Addie chugging a squeeze in Paris.

Addie chugging a squeeze in Paris.

We are big fans of food – what hiker isn’t? A grueling hike deserves the reward of beef jerky and oreo cookies. Right?

Kids will love Honey Stinger kids’ organic waffles. Addie prefers honey over chocolate, though I found both tasty. These are a great snack for outdoorsy, active kids. We are also huge fans of Happy Baby and Tot squeezes and Ella’s Squeezes. These were a godsend when traveling in Europe, and are also great when hiking, camping, snowshoeing… or really anytime you need an easy to transport, no-mess, healthy snack. The varieties range from fruit blends, to fruit and grains, and full meals.

Mountain House's Mountain Oven Flameless Heating Kit.Adults will dig the Mountain House Mountain Oven flameless heating kit. We reviewed one last year and loved it – it especially came in handy during Hurricane Sandy when we lost power for three days and needed a safe way to cook hot meals. It’s also a great, lightweight alternative to stoves and fuel during backpacking trips. And of course, to go with the oven, you need the Mountain House pouches. Our favorite is the chicken and white bean chili.

Other food ideas that are great for stocking stuffers include trail mix (we like Kirkland Wholesome Fruit & Nuts), beef jerky, and protein bars (I love Larabar, Kendra likes KIND bars, and Addie likes Clif Kid Chocolate Brownie Z Bars).

Great Reads!

We are big fans of books in this house, so it’s no surprise we love them as gifts. For your outdoorsy reader, we recommend:

Up UP – A Mother and Daughter’s Peakbagging Adventure by Patricia Ellis Herr
This true story of the author’s journey to climb all of New Hampshire’s 4,000 footers with her six-year-old daughter inspired me to become more adventurous with Addison.

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson
I love Bryson’s writing, and his tale of hiking the Appalachian Trail was no exception. It did make me slightly more terrified of bears though.

AMC Guide to Winter Hiking & Camping by Yemaya Maurer & Lucas St. Clair
Great info, particularly for the novice adventurers. This book is filled with gear lists, survival techniques, and navigation techniques.

Frommer’s 500 Places to See Before They Disappear and 100 Places to Take Your Kids Before They Grow Up
These are great books for inspiring you to travel somewhere new and explore exciting places. We use them to check off the things we’ve done.

Our favorites for the younger crowd include:


Purchasing an individual or family membership to a national, state, or local organization is a great way to support the preservation of nature and the outdoors while at the same time giving a meaningful, useful gift. Memberships usually come with perks such as reduced entry fees to recreation lands, discounts on books and merchandise, and oftentimes include a subscription to the organization’s newsletter or magazine. We recommend:

Stocking Stuffers

  • Outdoor/Nature themed Christmas Ornaments
  • Headlamp
  • Travel mug/tumbler
  • Carabiners
  • Flint and steel fire starter

Hopefully this helps you pick the perfect present for the outdoorsy folks on your shopping list. When all else fails, a gift card to L.L. Bean or R.E.I. will do the trick!

Did we miss anything you would include? Give us a shout via a comment!

About Jen

Just started our latest adventure with the birth of our twins! Latte addict. Writer. Photographer. Digital media & English teacher. Outdoor adventurer.

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One Response to Holiday Gift Guide for the Last Minute Shopper

  1. Mary Lou Bolduc December 17, 2013 at 8:57 pm #

    Nice article Jen. Thank you for the suggestions.

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