The holidays are all about spending meaningful time with the people we love most. Sadly there can be a lot of pressure during this time of year to give the perfect gift, and the accumulation of unnecessary “stuff” can really dampen the experience for some people (including me!) On top of this, generally a lot of waste occurs around the holidays, leaving some people feeling slightly jaded about it all… but I have a solution!
In this guide I am sharing a range of holiday gift ideas for the outdoor lover in your life, and they are mostly based around meaningful experiences you can gift or enjoy alongside that someone special. I have also included a range of physical items you can gift any adventurer, all with a focus on supporting sustainable and eco-friendly brands.
Meaningful Experiences and Eco-Friendly Gift Guide for Outdoor Lovers
In collaboration with Backcountry.com
Gift Meaningful Moments these Holidays
Thinking back to my favorite holiday memories, they are all focused around special experiences that I’ve had with my family and friends. Those moments of connection and being together are what the holidays are all about, right?! (or at least they should be!) Here are some ideas for experiences you can gift or organize for your loved ones these holidays.
Plan a Cozy Cabin Getaway
One of my favorite things to do around the holidays is to stay in a cabin tucked away in the mountains. There’s nothing quite like the cozy feeling of sitting by the fire and playing board games with your loved ones… or curling up in a blanket to the view of pine trees and a good book.
Some great options for cabin getaways in the Pacific Northwest are Tye Haus (pictured above), South Fork Cabin, Getaway House, and Canyon Creek Cabin. Surprising a loved one with a weekend away in the mountains would be an awesome gift for the holidays… or any time of year really!
Experience a Holiday Festival
There are always so many events and festivals going on around the holidays. One of my favorites is visiting the Canyon Lights at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, located just outside of Vancouver. The park is filled with fun light installations, a lit-up treetop walk, holiday tunes, children’s activities, hot chocolate stands, and more. Their 2019 winter festival runs from November 22 to January 26 and the park is open from 11am – 9pm.
Another fun festival you could experience with your loved ones (or gift them) is visiting an Ice Castle Festival. We had the chance to visit the Alberta location last winter and had such a magical time! They have locations in Colorado, Alberta, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, and Utah, and opening times vary depending on the city. Just be sure to pack a warm coat 😉
Most cities have some sort of Christmas markets, ice skating, or lights festival around the holidays. I know where I live in Washington there are a bunch of options, including: Christmas Ship Festival, Enchant Christmas Festival, Bellevue Downtown Ice Rink, Bellevue Snow Flake Lane, Garden d’Nights, Lights of Christmas Festival, Leavenworth Lighting Festival, and more!
Visit some Snowy Hot Springs
Visiting a natural hot spring during the winter months makes for a truly magical adventure, and it would be the perfect holiday surprise for your friends/family! You can either opt to hike out to a hot spring in the backcountry, or choose to soak in a more established drive-up natural spring.
Your best bet is to research hot springs in your local area, but here are some I would recommend in Washington:
- Olympic Hot Springs in Olympic National Park – accessed via the Boulder Creek Trail, this backcountry hot spring is comprised of seven pools surrounded by forest scenery and waterfalls… magical!
- Doe Bay Hot Springs Resort on Orcas Island – an island retreat with soaking tubs overlooking the ocean, waterfront yoga classes, relaxing massages, a sauna, and cozy cabins.
- Goldmyer Hot Springs in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest – a 4.5 mile hike into the backcountry will bring you to these beautiful hot springs, including nearby established campsites. Keep in mind that a high clearance vehicle is required.
- Carson Hot Springs in the Columbia River Gorge – historic Victorian-era hot springs with antique claw-foot tubs filled with mineral water, pumped directly from the Wind River. There is also a resort you can stay in as well as spa treatments, restaurants, golf, and more.
- Scenic Hot Springs in Okanogan Wenatchee National Forest – three backcountry hot pools surrounded by pine trees and mountains. Keep in mind that they are privately owned and access must be reserved ahead of time.
When visiting backcountry hot springs it is important that you follow Leave No Trace principles, pack in and pack out your stuff, leave alcohol and glass at home, and be respectful to others.
Take a Winter Hiking or Camping Adventure
Getting out into the backcountry during the snowy winter months can make for a truly memorable adventure. A unique gift idea for the holidays could be surprising your loved one(s) with a planned out hiking or camping trip to explore some outdoor scenery in your local area. Hiking through a winter wonderland provides all the holiday feels!
Be sure to research where you are going in depth and read up about gear you will require. Some great options for winter adventures in the Pacific Northwest are:
- Artist Point in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest – this 4 mile snowshoe hike is probably my all-time favorite to do in the winter. You can also backcountry camp nearby if you are wanting to brave the cold!
- Wahclella Falls Trail in the Columbia River Gorge – this 2 mile loop trail is absolutely magical after a fresh dusting of snow. Microspikes may be required.
- Rattlesnake Ledge Trail in North Bend – located a short drive from Seattle, this 4 mile hike is popular but worth the crowds for the stunning views. Microspikes may be required.
- Mount Pilchuck Lookout Trail in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest – a beautiful 5.4 mile hike but keep in mind that snowshoes will be required during the winter months.
Explore a National Park together
The national parks are often associated with summer visits, but many of them are wonderful to explore during the winter months! Like any outdoor adventure, you will need to research and plan ahead to make sure the park is accessible over the holidays and read up on any gear or permits you may need. Some of my favorite parks to visit during the winter months are Yosemite, Redwood, Olympic, and Rocky Mountain.
Other than planning a national park getaway, actually gifting an annual national parks pass is also a wonderful gift idea for the outdoor lover in your life! These can be purchased online, at park entrance stations, and at park visitor centers.
Holiday Gift Guide for Outdoor Lovers
Let’s face it… we need gear to help us have amazing outdoor adventures, especially during the winter months. As consumers we also have a choice about how and where we spend our money. Below are some holiday gift ideas for the outdoor lovers in your life, with an emphasis on purchasing from ethical and sustainable brands.
This blog post is in collaboration with Backcountry.com. Like me, they are strong believers in encouraging people to get outside and experience this beautiful world we live in. For years now Backcountry have been my go-to online retailer for purchasing gear so that I can make these outdoor adventures happen. They partner with a range of sustainable brands, support incredible causes like The Nature Conservancy, and their Gearheads are always available to give advice and recommendations. Backcountry have kindly offered my readers 15% off first-time online orders using code RENEE15! *some exclusions apply
For the Road-Tripper
Snow Peak Pack & Carry Fireplace Starter Kit: Easy to pack and carry fire kit that means you can have a campfire with significantly less impact on the environment.
BioLite SolarHome 620: Solar-powered light system for camping trailers, vans, cabins, tents, and more. Also features an MP3 player and USB parks for charging devices.
Helinox Sunset Camp Chair: Lightweight luxury for campsite hangouts and relaxing by the fire.
Low Waste Essentials
Hydro Flask 12oz Coffee Mug: High-quality, insulated, and reusable coffee mug that comes in a range of colors. Hydroflask also make larger sized insulated tumblers and drink bottles.
MIZU Cutlery Set With Straw: The perfect reusable utensil set for the eco-conscious explorer. Comes in a handy pouch for traveling or camping.
Grayl GEOPRESS Water Purifier: Drink bottle and water purifier in one for outdoor and international adventures. Great for anyone who is fed up with buying plastic water bottles when they travel.
MIZU V8 27oz Water Bottle: Simple, functional and high-quality water bottle that comes in a range of colors. Perfect for everyday use as well as outdoor adventures.
United by Blue Canvas Tote: A stylish yet functional tote bag for avoiding single use plastics. Can be used for grocery shopping, school, gym, travel, and more.
SteriPEN Ultra: Water purifier for outdoor adventures and international travels, helping to reduce single use plastics and keep you safe from waterborne illnesses.
For the National Park Enthusiast
Nomadix National Parks Collection Towel: Absorbent towel made from certified post-consumer plastic bottles. Designed for yoga, beach, camping, and travel, and comes in a variety of designs.
Parks Project Yosemite Riders Crew Sweatshirt: National park themed sweatshirt that is ethically and sustainably made, whilst also supporting the protection of public lands.
Pendleton Glacier Park Anniversary Blanket: High-quality and sustainably made wool blanket themed around Glacier National Park (other options available).
Cozy Layers For Her
Patagonia Fjord Long-Sleeve Flannel Shirt: A classic flannel that has become one of my go-to’s for outdoor and casual adventures. It’s sustainability made, high-quality and comes in various colors.
Icebreaker BodyFit 175 Everyday Legging: I am obsessed with my Icebreaker base layers. They are made with natural fibers, which means less washing, more breathability, and overall better for the environment.
Prana Permafrost 1/2-Zip Fleece Jacket: You can’t go wrong with gifting this super cozy sweater! It’s slightly oversized, sustainably made, and comes in four color options.
Icebreaker Waypoint Crewe Sweater: I’ve owned this sweater for over a year now and constantly reach for it during the cooler months. It’s merino wool based, making it cozy and versatile.
Columbia South Canyon Sherpa Lined Jacket: My favorite winter parka! It’s lined with cozy sherpa material, warm but not too heavy, ethically made, and comes in black or brown.
Patagonia Lunar Frost Jacket: This jacket is so fun for casual adventures like cabin getaways and holiday festivals. I am not exaggerating when I say that it’s the softest thing I own!
Cozy Layers For Him
Patagonia Classic Retro-X Jacket: Stylish, windproof, breathable, odor-resistant, and a water resistant pocket to protect valuables… this jacket gets my tick of approval! Perfect for casual outdoor adventures and everyday wear.
Patagonia Capilene Cool Daily Long-Sleeve Shirt: My husband loves these shirts for hiking and traveling. They are lightweight, quick drying, breathable, slim fitting, and sustainably made.
Patagonia Fjord Flannel Shirt: A classic yet high-quality flannel shirt for everyday and outdoor adventures. Comes in a range of earthy colors and fun patterns.
Patagonia Diamond Quilted Bomber Jacket: A windproof and water resistant lightweight jacket for layering during the cooler months. Comes in four different colors.
Fjallraven Vidda Pro Trouser: Rugged outdoor pants with reinforced fabric in the knees and rear, meaning years of durability. They also come in seven color options!
Tentree Juniper Pullover Hoodie: Midweight fleece for casual and outdoor adventures with every Tentree purchase going towards planting 10 trees.
Fjallraven Kanken 16L Backpack: The perfect backpack for casual outdoor adventures and travel. I use my Kanken all the time and it’s still in perfect condition!
Patagonia Nine Trails 28L Backpack: A highly functional and practical backpack for the hiker in your life. Available in smaller and larger sizes as well as a range of color options.
Topo Designs Rover 16L Backpack: I’ve owned this bag for 3+ years now and find it a great addition for short outdoor adventures, road trips, and urban commuting.
Patagonia Powder Town Beanie: A stylish, sustainably made beanie that is unisex and comes in a wide range of patterns. Would make a great stocking stuffer!
Sunski Dipsea Polarized Sunglasses: Sustainable resin frames made from recycled scrap plastic with polarized lenses to protect your eyes from those harsh rays.
Icebreaker Sierra Glove: I love these lightweight merino wool gloves with touch screen tips and grippy material on the palms. Perfect for adventures in the cooler months!
Smartwool Hike Medium Crew Sock: Merino wool crew socks for rugged hikes and moderate backpacking. I love that they are naturally antimicrobial and odor resistant.
Arc’teryx RHO LTW Neck Gaiter: A practical neck gaiter for anyone who loves outdoor winter adventures. Sustainably made with odor resistant merino wool.
United by Blue Let’s Fly Bandana: Multi-purpose banana for casual and outdoor adventures. United by Blue are leaders in sustainability and ethical manufacturing.
For the Outdoor Coffee Lover
GSI Outdoors Gourmet Pourover Java Set: A complete set for making coffee while backpacking or camping, including a grinder. Great to pair with a reusable coffee mug.
Kuju Coffee Kuju Coffee Pocket PourOver Coffee: Ethically sourced pour-over coffee pouches for outdoor adventures. I love their 100% wind powered manufacturing and 1% donation to National Parks for every sale.
Snow Peak Cafe Latte Set: Ultralight way to whip up gourmet coffee in the great outdoors, including a French press, milk foamer, and handy travel bag.
Outdoor Themed Home Goods
Pendleton Eco-Wise Wool Washable Blanket: This environmentally-friendly blanket is perfect for road trips, cabin getaways, and for having around the house.
United by Blue Out-Of-Doors Candle: A woodsy sent with cedar and sandalwood, for those days when you want to bring the outside in.
United by Blue Enamel Steel 12oz Mug: Campfire and stovetop safe enamel mug for indoor and outdoor adventures. Comes in a variety of designs.
Pendleton Footwear Cabin Fold Slipper: A stylish and cozy slipper with rubber outsole, so that they can be worn inside or for casual outdoor adventures.
United by Blue Copper Shot Glass Set: Beautiful set of four shot glasses for use at home or when out camping. Featuring unique engraved slogans for every outdoor lover.
Filson Log Carrier: A gift they probably won’t be expecting! This stylish yet practical log carrier is perfect for hauling firewood from the car to cabin (or home).
Danner Mountain Light Boot: A classic leather boot made ethically in Oregon from a family owned business. I’ve owned my Mountain Lights for years and they are still going strong!
KEEN Revel III Boot: These winter hiking boots are waterproof and insulated. They have been my go-to for winter adventures the last few seasons.
The North Face Shellista II Mid Boot: The perfect boot for more casual winter adventures and road trips. I love the rubber sole for walking around town when it’s icy.
Gift to Charity
Another option for gifting these holidays would be to donate to a charity on behalf of your loved one. This is perfect for those people in your life that tell you that they don’t need any physical items these holidays, but maybe they live far away and you can’t gift them a joint outdoor adventure. Some incredible charities to consider:
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Disclaimer: Thank you to Backcountry for collaborating on this blog post. As always, all opinions are truthful and my own. The offer of 15% off does not apply on top of any other offer or discount, and it’s one use per customer. This post contains some affiliate links, which means if you buy something my blog will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.