Floating over powdery drifts on snowshoes for the first time. Seeing a city from a new perspective, high up on a nearby viewpoint. Going to sleep under the stars, and waking up invigorated by the fresh air.
Trying a new outdoor activity for the first time can be incredible – but it can also be intimidating. Do you need special gear? Will it be hard? How do you make it more fun?
Help your friends and family members overcome their hesitations and get them ready for #goodtimesoutside. Whether they want to try a weekend camping trip, bike commuting to work or snowshoeing up a hiking trail, these practical, thoughtful gifts will support aspiring adventurers to play more.
1. A light in the dark
When they can’t find the tent zipper at 2am, the Petzl Tikka Headlamp comes to the rescue. A red light mode helps preserve night vision, and a glow-in-the-dark ring makes it easy to locate. Plus, it checks off one of the 10 hiking essentials.
2. A better view
Let them get a little more out of every peak and vista. Bushnell Powerview Binoculars have 8x magnification, and they’re small and tough enough to toss in a daypack.
3. Gear rentals
4. Toasty toes
Outdoor adventures are more fun with warm, dry feet. Inspire them to hike a little further or finally try an overnight backpacking trip with these Darn Tough Light Hiker socks.
5. Tech protection
Instagramming from the trail or the kayak can be risky. Help keep their technology a little safer with a slim dry sleeve.
6. A soft base layer
Cozy, stretchy merino wool will keep them comfortable when the temperature drops. This mid-weight base layer has flat-locked seams to prevent chafing, and it’s versatile enough for all seasons.
7. A comfy toque
Having a warm head makes a huge difference. This pom pom toque is made from merino wool, which means it’s super soft and will keep their head toasty even if it collects a few snowflakes.
8. A hot drink on a cold day
There’s nothing like sipping a mug of warm tea or hot chocolate after a long snowshoe or hike. The Stanley One Hand Vacuum Mug keeps drinks hot for hours, and the leakproof lid means no nasty surprises in their pack.
9. A beginner-friendly guidebook
Help them prepare for their first backpacking trip. A favourite since it was first published in 1998, The Backpacker’s Field Manual helps them get trail-ready with advice on everything from buying a pack to planning a trip menu.
10. Spray-free rides
11. Waterproof hiking shoes
Appropriate footwear is a must for hiking. Keen Targhee hiking shoes have grippy outsoles for stability in rough terrain and a waterproof-breathable membrane for dry feet on rainy days.
12. A secure ride for tiny adventurers
Are they hoping to get back on the trail after adding to their family? With more than 140 reviews, the MEC Happytrails Child Carrier Backpack is a proven way to introduce the next generation to the outdoors. Its backpack suspension system and fleece-lined child harness make it comfortable for both the carrier and the little one, and the diaper bag even unclips to become a daypack.
13. Packable raingear
There’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing. In a durable waterproof-breathable jacket like the Patagonia Torrentshell, they won’t have to worry about a little (or a lot) of rain. It packs into its own pocket, so it’s easy to stuff into any daypack.
14. Easy hydration
Going farther often means carrying more water. Keep them well-hydrated on day hikes and multi-day trips with an easy-to-clean Platypus hydration system.
15. An outdoor mug
For mornings that call for super-sized coffees, and long, hot chocolate-fuelled nights around the campfire. This enamel-glazed steel mug feels great in your hands, and United By Blue removes 1 pound of trash from oceans and rivers for every product sold.
16. A no-hassle campfire
No more shivering while going through half a box of matches trying to coax flames to life. A fire-lighting kit will have them roasting marshmallows and warming their fingers in no time.
17. Grippy snowshoes
Keep hiking even after the snow flies. The MSR Evo 22 snowshoes grip well on both uphills and descents, so your friend can check out their favourite trails and summits in a new season.
18. A durable picnic blanket
When the ground at their lunch stop is a bit damp, they can whip out this ground sheet and enjoy a leisurely meal. It also works as a tablecloth for a picnic table or a place for the kids to play.
19. A versatile daypack
Big enough for extra layers and lunch, the Gregory Salvo 28 Daypack is designed for all-day adventures. With an inner hydration sleeve and exterior water bottle pockets, it holds plenty of H2O, and the suspension system helps stabilize the weight while preventing a sweaty back.
20. Adjustable trekking poles
Help them stay balanced on rough terrain and long hikes. Trekking poles can make steep hills and slippery surfaces more manageable, and they’re also great for deflecting spiderwebs and testing how deep that mud puddle really is. These Black Diamond Trail Poles come with powder baskets to use while snowshoeing, and collapse down for easy storage when they’re not needed.
21. A guide to the stars
Mountaintop stargazing is more fun when you know what you’re looking at. This Night Sky Star Dial helps them identify constellations, making their next overnight camping trip even more unforgettable.
22. An MEC gift card
Let them spend an hour wandering the store or perusing the website with a gift card in hand. Who knows what new outings you’ll inspire?