21 Cool Gift Ideas for Outdoor Lovers

The OARS Holiday Gift Guide

Yes, many of us would rather avoid the inevitable this time of year—the stress of holiday shopping. But it doesn’t have to be brutal. In fact, when we started talking about gift ideas over at OARS, the suggestions just kept coming. So, our present to you this holiday season, is a handy little gift guide to make your life a little easier in the next few weeks (assuming you’re buying for the outdoor lover on your list).  Here they are, some of the best gift ideas for outdoor lovers…

Gear We Love

Gifts for Outdoor Lovers | Goal Zero Solar Charger

Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus Solar Kit
One of our guides reviewed the Goal Zero Guide 10 Solar Charger earlier this year and gave it a thumbs-up for multi-day river trips. But as more of us use our devices for multiple purposes (like our camera), solar chargers are a good option for full-day adventures, camping trips or backcountry treks. ($115)

Black Diamond Titan Lantern
We can’t be the only ones who are tired of fumbling around with a book of matches in the dark trying to light our old-school Coleman propane lanterns. It’s time for an upgrade and the powerful Black Diamond Apollo Lantern, which can light up the whole campsite, is it. Plus, it can even charge your handheld devices thanks to its external USB port. Say good-bye matches and hello to glare-free LED lighting! ($59)

Sea to Summit Lite Line Clothesline
Sure, a piece of rope tied in between two trees does the trick, but the Sea to Summit Lite Line Clothesline is just so darn convenient. No clothespins needed. Plus, it’s ultra-compact and can be put up anywhere…even a bathroom in a hotel room. ($9)

Eagle Creek’s Pack-It Specter Compression Cubes
Whether you’re trying to squeeze everything into a backpack for a trek through the mountains or an overhead-friendly suitcase for a beach vacation, Eagle Creek’s Pack-it Specter Compression Cubes are a must-have travel accessory that helps maximize space and fit all of the essentials no matter what the destination. (Various sizes from $8)

Therm-a-Rest Air Head Pillow
The nifty Therm-a-Rest Air Head Pillow gives folks who spend a lot of time sleeping under the stars a great alternative to rolling up a sweatshirt for a pillow. Plus, it’s super lightweight and takes up minimal space when deflated. ($29)

Leatherman New Wave Multitool
Every outdoor lover needs a good multi-tool in their kit. The Leatherman New Wave Multitool, with several blade options, pliers, wire cutters and more, is an affordable and best-selling option that’s just as good at home as it is on a camping trip. ($89)

For the (Outside) Kitchen

Gifts for Outdoor Lovers | Dutch Oven

Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven
The hefty Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven takes cooking by charcoal to the next level. Lasagna like it’s straight out of the oven? Yup. Ghirardelli brownies after dinner? You bet. Just because you’re camping doesn’t mean you don’t have to eat well. D.O.’s are standard on most O.A.R.S. overnight whitewater rafting trips. ($93)

Jetboil Flash Cooking System
On the other hand, when something hot is needed stat (say, a morning cup of joe after being forced out of a cozy sleeping bag into the cool morning air), the Jetboil Flash Cooking System is the best. Literally, this handy unit heats water for a hot beverage or meal in minutes. Talk about convenient. ($99)

GSI Outdoors Java Press
Pair the Jetboil with the GSI Outdoors Java Press and you’ll have one happy camper who is actually excited about getting out of the tent in the morning. Serious coffee-lovers will love this on-the-go French press system for two. ($32)

Klean Kanteen Double-wall, Vacuum Insulated Bottle
Don’t want that hot cup of coffee to get cold? That’s where the Klean Kanteen Double-wall Vacuum Insulated Bottle comes into play.  It keeps liquids hot for up to 6 hours and cold beverages frosty for more than 24 hours! The family-owned company emphasizes durable stainless steel solutions to replace toxic plastic and displace single-use container pollution.  (From $24)

We Would Definitely Wear That…

Gifts for Outdoor Lovers | Patagonia Nano Puff

Patagonia Nano Puff Hoodie
It’s warm, lightweight, wind-blocking, compressible, and although it’s water resistant, it keeps you warm even when wet. The Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody (for guys and gals) is definitely a must-have for anyone who likes being active and outside year-round. You can’t go wrong with this pick. ($199)

ExOfficio Give-N-Go Underwear
Underwear…that one present that usually induces the cringe-face once it’s opened in front of the entire family. But we promise the ExOfficio Give-N-Go Underwear will do the exact opposite. Highly breathable and quick-drying, these are the perfect travel undies and will put a smile on anyone’s face. Check out our review.  (From $18)

Cold River Fleece Skirts
The perfect gift for “her” and totally original. Cold River Fleece Skirts are custom skirts designed for warmth and comfort in the outdoors by someone who knows best—O.A.R.S. guide Kate Wollney. (From $40)

Just For Fun!

Gifts for Outdoor Lovers | Glow Bocce

Playaboule Lighted Bocce Set
Glow-in-the-dark bocce! Need we say anymore? The Playaboule Lighted Bocce Set is such a hit with kids and adults that we make sure to bring it along on most of our rafting trips. (From $46.95)

Eagles Nest Outfitters DoubleNest Hammock
Give the gift of outdoor relaxation with Eagles Nest Outfitters DoubleNest Hammock. Why double? Because getting cozy under the trees is more fun with somebody else. The kids also love using the “nest” as a swing. ($69.95)

YayLabs! Ice Cream Ball
Chef Bob Anderson has been known to make ice cream on OARS’ Wilderness Gourmet river trips, but now anyone can make the good stuff anywhere, anytime with the YayLabs! Ice Cream Ball. Just add some cream, sugar and ice. Toss it around with the family for 20 minutes and voila!  ($35)

GoPro Hero6 Black
You’ll be somebody’s hero if you give them the GoPro Hero6 Black. This is the ultimate toy right now for anyone who is eager to capture whatever crazy adventure they’re getting themselves into at that moment. ($499)

For Our Fellow Water Worshippers…

Gifts for Outdoor Lovers | River SUP

Red Paddle Co Ride 10’6” Inflatable Paddleboard
A stand up paddle board that you can throw on your back and hike with to a remote coastal spot or river? Yes, the Ride 10’6” from Red Paddle Co offers up that experience in the most popular inflatable SUP on the market today. And, it’s just as good as a rigid board. Probably better since you can go just about anywhere with it. Pump and collapsible paddle included. ($1,099)

Pelican 1050 Micro Case with Carabiner
Ask a river guide what’s on their wish list and they’ll likely say a Pelican Case (if they don’t already have one). These durable, water-resistant cases are perfect for protecting things that matter on the river or on any rugged adventure. The 1050 Micro Case is a good starter option for small valuables like a smartphone or camera.  ($20)

Eagle Creek Quick Dry Towel
When you’re living off a boat, there’s not a whole lot of room for much of anything, so a beach towel doesn’t usually make the cut. But with the ultra-absorbent and compact Quick Dry Towel by Eagle Creek, there’s no sacrificing drying off after a refreshing “shower”or a dip in the river. Also great for backpacking. ($24.95)

The Emerald Mile
We’ve raved about this book since it was released, so there’s no way we were going to leave it off of our gift guide. We’ve slotted it under good gifts for water-lovers, since it’s all about a record-breaking boat ride through the Grand Canyon, but The Emerald Mile is a highly entertaining page-turner that everyone will love. Buy The Emerald Mile here.

Other than an O.A.R.S. gift card (come on, we had to drop the hint), did we miss anything awesome that should be added to the list? Tell us about it below.

This article was originally published 11/25/13. Last updated 11/21/17.



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  • Cris Hazzard

    That was an awesome list. Especially the fun stuff like the glow in the dark bocce set. If you’re looking for a specific gift for a hiker, I have some choices on my blog as well:


  • Jennifer Martin

    I love to go for outdoors and these gifts would surely help me a lot.

  • Aisha Begum

    Great list! I would consider buying Candeberg LED candles. They are perfect on outdoors too

  • Nice choices. Gonna read the Emerald Mile, sounds interesting! I also recently published a list of unique outdoor lovers gifts here: https://allthingswaterproof.com/unique-outdoor-gift-ideas/ Hope you like it 🙂

  • Judd Wagstaff

    This list is great, I got a few of these last year and my buddy loved them. However, you should add campcloud hammocks on here for sure. I found their site a few months ago after seeing they sponsored most outdoor trade shows. Their prices are half off other hammock companies and I think the designs are pretty awesome, but maybe that is just me! But quality is definitely amazing. It’s http://www.campcloudcrew.com if you do another write-up!

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