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Welcome to the Wandering Pine Outdoor Gift Guide! Featuring gifting options for your favorite outdoorsy peeps (or treat yourself!) at under $25, under $50 and even gently used gear! Note: this guide was originally published in 2020, but has been edited and refreshed for this year’s gift giving season- like your Christmas tree….this post is EVERGREEN!

Julie Andrews’ classic ‘Favorite things’ is playing on repeat in my brain and I’m stoked to share some great gift ideas that will ho-ho-ho-pefully delight the outdoor lovers in your life…

These are a few of my fa-vor-ite things…

Gifts under $25

Blister Sisters on the Superior Hiking Trail

Kula Cloth – For all the places you’ll “go”!

If you have been reading here for a while, you will know that I have several of these amazing little reusable technical pee cloths. I love their thoughtful designs, technical construction, sustainability story and the ‘straight up fun’ community they have created. The very first Kula Cloth I ever saw was hanging on Trail Mom’s Christmas tree and she’s about as cool as they come!  Don’t worry about your friends thinking you’re weird for giving them a pee rag for Christmas – every one I have ever given as a gift was sincerely appreciated! If you really want to plus up your backcountry bathroom game, read my post on how to do it like a pro and add a culo clean backcountry bidet to your Christmas stocking! Available at Kula Cloth, Garage Grown Gear and REI

Gerber Dime Multi-tool – I use this little hero almost every dang day.

I bought this to replace my gigundo leatherman a couple of years ago, and added it to my keychain.  It has a great set of little pliers, wire cutter, scissors, screwdrivers, tiny knife, tweezers and a unique blade for cutting clamshell packaging and opening boxes.  At 2.2oz, this little hero packs a punch! Available at REI and Campsaver

HikeGoo Blister Prevention Cream-protect and pamper those lil piggies!

It might seem weird to give someone foot cream for Christmas – but this stuff is really a treat for the feet that hikers will appreciate. Pair with a good pair of socks. This foot cream moisturizes, lubricates and protects those hard working feet in wet, muddy or sweaty conditions and is always in my pack now.  After trying a few other formulations, I like this stuff because it stays on all day, doesn’t get greasy and has kept my feet happy on back-to-back long days on the trail.  Available at REI and Outdoor Gear Exchange

I’ve had these darned tough socks for almost 4 years….still truckin!

Darn Tough Vermont Socks-Holey’ Moly, lifetime guarantee!

Because I am prone to blisters, my favorite long-day-hiking socks are Wrightsocks paired with Hikegoo…BUT if I were giving someone the gift of socks….these babies are the ones!   I have 4 pair ranging from runners to thick winter weight and have never had to use the lifetime warranty.  They just keep on truckin!  I have friends that sent their holey socks back after some hard use and Darn Tough stood by them.  Totally worth the investment. Available at Backcountry, REI, Campsaver, Outdoor Gear Exchange and Moosejaw

Rawlogy Cork Ball- Give the gift of self-care on and off the trail!

Rawlogy’s ultra-firm cork massage ball is made from recycled wine corks (cool!), and is an eco friendly way to relieve sore muscles and knots at home and on the trail.  I bought a set of these lightweight massage balls before my 2018 SHT Thru hike as a lighter alternative to a lacrosse ball for my plantar fasciitis, and they have held up to the test and work on all kinds of knots and sore spots!  These lil amazeballs come in small, medium and large sizes and will only set you back $11-$16.  Available at Garage Grown Gear

LuminAID PackLite Nova USB Solar Lanternlet there be light!

This compact inflatable solar lantern is a great item to add to your next camping or backpacking trip. I have used this lantern for a couple of years and it creates such a happy glow. It’s easy to snap to the outside of your pack to re-charge during the day and creates a bright diffused light with 5 different settings at night. It can be charged in the sun or with USB and saves on batteries! Available at Moosejaw and REI

Swiss Army Classic SD Knife – my sweet, sweet lil baby knife

This knife is THE ONE that goes on every day hike and backpacking trip and is a permanent part of my 10 essentials kit. Sometimes I add my Mora knife or Gerber Dime multi tool if needed, but this 1.5 oz knife has been great for repairs, minor first aid and cutting open stubborn packages. Available at REI, Campsaver, and Moosejaw

Gifts under $50

Sawyer Squeeze- light weight water filter, for gallons of good water

The good people Sawyer have been making this outdoor favorite for years and its a great gift to add to your day pack or home emergency supply kit. I have tried the mini and micro version of this filter and the tiny bit of extra weight is totally worth the flow rate. It works on the provided bag, upcycled plastic bottle or can be coupled with the nifty CNOC Vecto Water Container to give you clean water anywhere you roam. Available at REI and Outdoor Gear Exchange

Yak Trax Traction devices– Rubber side down!

I have so many thoughts about traction devices that this will be an upcoming blog post! As a person that loves winter and has also suffered a head injury smacking their head and other body parts on the ice, I think this is a great gift to give anyone you care about! I have used the following versions over the last 10 years and recommend them all:

  • Yaktrax ICEtrekkers Diamond Grip– the creme de la crème of foot traction! Aggressive yet low profile, diamond-shaped steel beads have hundreds of biting edges to provide traction for all conditions.  This will be my 4th winter with these babies and they are my favorite. Available at Backcountry, REI, Campsaver, Outdoor Gear Exchange and Moosejaw
  • Yaktrax Runners – A lightweight combo of spikes and coils that are good for both snow and ice.  Reflective velcro straps keep them in place.  Available at Backcountry, and Moosejaw
  • YakTrax Walkers – YakTrax traditional coil bottom. Good for grabbin’ on packed snow, not as good for ice and have a lighter weight rubber frame that are suitable for walking.  Available at Backcountry, REI, Campsaver, Outdoor Gear Exchange and Moosejaw

Keith Myrmel Maps- stick your nose in a map, and have a little dream.

I’m a pretty big fan of local Minnesota cartographer Keith Myrmel’s maps.  These maps are functional works of art with so much beautiful detail that you can get lost in them like a giant ‘where’s waldo’.  I have all three of his maps and one is framed in our home.   I used the first map to plan and track my progress on the Superior Hiking Trail, just marked my completion of the Sioux Hustler trail on his two sided BWCA map, and will spend some time this winter looking at the Isle Royale Map, dreaming of an adventure next summer! Available at Keith’s site, Midwest Mountaineering, and select REI and Minnesota State Park gift shop locations.

Nemo Fillo Elite Ultralight Backpacking Pillow– Give the gift of a good night’s sleep!

I posted a picture of me on a camping trip with a FULL SIZED memory foam pillow on my Instagram account this summer, asking for backpacking pillow recommendations for people with creaky necks.  The Nemo Fillo Elite rose to the top!   It came highly recommended and is the first inflatable pillow I’ve used that cradled my head and neck instead of it leaving it wobbling around and stayed put on my sleeping pad.  The Nemo Fillo Elite is a bit of a splurge, but the comfort is worth every penny.  It’s lightweight and compresses down to fit into the palm of your hand in its own internal stuff sack.  I’m happy to report that I sleep great with this little pillow and its now a permanent part of my gear list. Available at Backcountry, Nemo Equipment, REI, Campsaver, and Moosejaw

Dear Santa… The Big Gifts!

Rest in peace Original Delorme InReach – aka the ‘black brick ‘

Garmin InReach Mini 2-way Satellite Communicator- E.T. phone home!

After a 10 year run, my beloved ‘black brick’ InReach, finally died.  I definitely got my money’s worth and my family appreciates the peace of mind of being able to send an SOS if needed and check in with home when cell service is not available. The InReach Mini pairs with your phone for easy text and map functionality via satellite, provides weather updates and can be used on a monthly as-needed basis without an annual contract. Available at Backcountry, REI, Campsaver, Outdoor Gear Exchange and Moosejaw


Snowshoes are a fantastic way to extend your hiking season and are probably going to be more popular this year in the northern regions as people look for more ways to get outside! They make a great gift, but be sure to get a pair for yourself too so your buddy has someone to stomp with! Check out the manufacturers size charts and don’t be afraid to start out with a basic pair that’s within your budget. Click here or my Snowshoe tab if you want to read more. I’ve owned several pair of snowshoes over the years and find myself selling and upgrading as I learn more about what features I like. This year, I’ve got my eye on a pair of Northern Lites Snowshoes! These super lightweight stompers have a speed binding that looks really easy to use and I love that they are made just across the river in WI!  Shop Snowshoes at Backcountry, REI, Campsaver, Garage Grown Gear, Outdoor Gear Exchange and Moosejaw

Gift Cards and Gear Boxes

Still not sure what to give your favorite hiking or camping buddy?  I purposely left off the BIG gear items like a tent, sleeping bag, backpack, boots, etc because those are items that people typically want to research or decide on for themselves.  A gift card or box is a great way to help fund the next big adventure and give them the gear they’ve been eyeing (but might not ask for).  

Gear them up for a backyard or backcountry adventure, a taste of the #vanlife or a surprise box of goodies with a giftcard from

Reduce Reuse Recycle

I get excited about new gear and bringing you the deals, but also care about consumption and reducing my environmental impact. While this post is ALL about the deals, and grabbing some new gear…I love that companies are hosting buy back and used gear sales too! So, be sure to wear out, repair and squeeze as much life as you can out of the gear you have, and when you need something new, check out some of these used and re-used resources below!

REI – “Buying used might seem like a small thing, but little by little, it’ll make a big impact on this place we call home.”

Patagonia Worn Wear – “Worn Wear is Patagonia’s hub for keeping gear in play.”

Repair Lair – “unfill the landfill”

Final Thoughts

As another year of transition, transformation, and adventure comes to a close, I hope you are discovering hope and joy in the midst of it all. This post focuses is on gift giving, but my hope for all of you this season, is that you will be able to find meaningful ways to connect with the ones you love, anchor to what’s really important in life and find peace in the things that make your heart sing.

There are so many great gift options and this post only scratches the surface! I’d love to hear your ideas or what the best outdoor gift you’ve ever received was. Shoot me a note in the comments or head over to the Wandering Pine Facebook page to join the discussion!

Happy Trails!


2019 Women Who Hike MN Ugly Sweater Hike!

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