2017 Holiday Outdoor Gear Gift Guide

It’s that time of year again. Up North, the days are getting shorter and nighttime is longer and longer.  This is the perfect time of year to start getting excited about the holidays and plan your winter trips. It’s also a good time of year to start thinking about Christmas gifts for those outdoorsy people we know.

As we slip into the long nights of winter, the snow piles up and we have skiing and the holiday season to look forward to. These items on our holiday gift guide this year will help make winter cosier.

Here are some of our favourite outdoor gear items that will be great gifts for the outdoorsy person. Read 15 great outdoorsy gift ideas. 

1. Luminaid Lantern

luminaid packlite nova lantern in dark bc25

LuminAID Packlite Nova lantern.

I’m really a fan of this lantern not only because it’s convenient to use, portable, and solar rechargeable, but the company also does a lot for disaster relief and third world countries. Luminaid is socially responsible, so you can feel good about buying from them. It’s inflatable, so it’s easy to stow away and quite portable. You can even use it for ambient outdoor lighting.

The Luminaid Packlite Nova lantern retails for $19.99 and is available from the Luminaid store and a few other retailers. 

2. Water purification


We got to review these water filters this year and really liked them.  Give the gift of convenient, safe drinking water without getting too technical with filters or tablets. Our favourites this year include the Katadyn BeFree water bottle and LifeStraw Personal water filter. Lifestraw also makes a water bottle with filter, the Go bottle costs $44.95. 

The Katadyn bottle retails for of $39.95 and the LifeStraw for $19.99. 

3. Buff

buff headbands image by airFreshing via Flickr

There are many different styles and colours of Buff headbands available. Image by air Freshing via Flickr.

Buff products have been around for awhile, and finally we picked up some product. I can’t say enough of how much I like it and how versatile it is. You can get a lightweight and cooler UV-protective buff for the summer or a heavier, more insulated one for winter. The Buff retails for around $20-30 depending on the style and construction. They can be used as a neck gaiter, mouth cover, headband, hat and so much more. I like to use mine as a neck gaiter and a hat. If you flip it inside out, twist it in the middle and pull the printed side out, you get a neat hat that’s great for keeping your head warm, or sweat and hair out of your eyes when it’s warmer out. 

You can get the Buff for about $20-30.

4. Salomon Ultra Low GTX trail running shoe

salomon gtx trail runners bc25

Salomon Ultra low GTX trail runners can be use for either hiking or running.

We like these shoes because they are so versatile, they can be used for hiking or running, and because they are made with Gore-Tex, they are usable for much of the year. They come with toe caps to keep you from hurting your toes while running on uneven terrain. They are great for trail running or trail hiking, and the Gore-Tex makes them perfect in inclement weather, keeping your feet dry if it rains or if you step in mud or puddles, even snow.

The Salomon Ultra GTX retails for about $180 but you can usually get it on sale. 

5. Patagonia nano-puff hoody 

patagonia nano puff hoody

The men’s Patagonia Nano Puff hoody in smolder blue. Image from Patagonia.com.


This one is the real splurge on the list, but we couldn’t resist this jacket for many reasons. First of all, this jacket is extremely warm for the weight, and it’s made of recycled lightweight polyester with DWR coating. It’s made with recycled synthetic insulation which stays warm when wet. 

Patagonia’s socially and environmentally conscious strategy is something unique among outdoor clothing and gear manufacturers and is something to admire and support. This includes using recycled items when they can and fixing jackets instead of replacing them and recycling  when the jacket is ready to be retired, instead of throwing it out. 

The Nano Puff hoody costs about $249.

6. Cotopaxi Roca Duffel bag

cotopaxi roca duffel

The Cotopaxi Roca Duffel. Image from Cotopaxi.

This bag is great because it’s a bombproof gear hauler that will survive rough handling in the cargo hold, rain and snow. It handles being tossed around, so common during adventure travel.

This bag is made from TPU coated nylon with an extra strong reinforced ballistic nylon base. The main compartment is huge and also features a collapsible laundry pocket. Carry handles double as shoulder straps, so you can carry your duffel like a backpack for extra comfort and convenience.

This bag also stands up well on backcountry canoe trips, since this is a dry bag. It’s available in 50, 70, 90 and 110 Liter sizes. It costs about $100 – $170.

This bag is available from Cotopaxi only.

This bag occasionally sells out because it’s only available direct from Cotopaxi. A comparable bag is the Base Camp duffel from The North Face which comes in similar sizes and has similar features. This bag fits everything you could possibly need.  It has been in production for a long time, is very popular, and is virtually unchanged. Both are absolutely bomber bags.

7. Yeti Rambler coffee travel mug

The Yeti Rambler Magslider 20oz mug in Seafoam


The Yeti rambler mug is great because it insulates really well and is great for using on the road, featuring a spill proof lid. In made our list of top coffee travel mugs.

The Yeti Ramber mug is made of tough stainless steel. Cost $30.

8. Hydro Flask wide-mouth vacuum water bottle, 32 fl oz.

The Hydro Flask Wide Mouth water bottle in Copper Brown fits 24 ounces of liquid. Image from Backcountry.

The Hydro Flask Wide Mouth water bottle in Copper Brown fits 24 ounces of liquid. Image from Backcountry.

Hydro Flask has been making these awesome bottles for years and they are the perfect choice for hydration year round, keeping hot liquids hot and cold liquids cold. We like them because they are double vacuum insulated and keep contents hot for 6 hours or cold for 24 hours. The inside temperature of the bottle won’t affect the outside, meaning you can touch your bottle without burning your hand, or making it cold from condensation. It has a lift handle that makes handling easy, and the wide-mouth opening is great because it fits most backcountry filters and makes it easy to fill with soup or to add ice cubes.

The Hydro Flask water bottle costs $39.95.

9. Smartwool PhD socks 

One can simply not have enough merino wool socks: it’s a fact. Soft, comfortable, cosy, quick drying and warm when wet, they are the perfect hiking or ski sock. Grab a pair of the PHD ski socks for the skier or snowboarder or a pair of hiking socks for use anytime. Reinforced impact protection in high impact zones increases durability, and also reinforced to give super secure and comfortable fit above and below the heel, under the arch and across the midstep. Good quality merino really makes a difference, read why you need good quality merino wool socks

Smartwool socks cost about $25, but prices vary on style.

10. MSR PocketRocket 2 Stove

MSR pocket rocket camp stove image by Ryan Gardner via Flickr

The MSR PocketRocket camp stove heats up food fast. Image by Ryan Gardner via Flickr.

Most outdoorsy people have camping stoves, but this one is great because it’s so tiny, convenient and packable. It will come in handy for those solo trips or trips where you want to be ultralight and fast. The stove screws into an isobutane canister and weighs only 73g.

The MSR Pocket Rocket stove costs about $50.


11. VSSL utility light and survival kit

vssl outdoor utility light

VSSL survival kit, $99.50

This is a great safety item that will likely impress the gear head on your list. 

Read our review of the survival kit here or the flask flashlight here

12. Therm-a-rest Neoair X-Lite sleeping pad

thermarest neoair xlite sleeping mattress image by Anatol Jasiutyn via Flickr

The Thermarest Neoair X-lite sleeping mattress works great both summer and winter. Image by Anatol Jasiutyn via Flickr

I was unsure how good these mats would be when they first came out, now it’s all I want to sleep on in the mountains. It’s super compressible, ultra lightweight, but comfortable to sleep on. It’s not loud and crinkly when you turn over either, so you won’t wake your tent mate when you turn over. It packs down to the size of a one liter bottle and weighs only 350 g, regular length. Available in small, regular and large sizes.

The Thermarest Neoair x-lite Max SV is the model we like because of it’s square (non-tapered) shape. it costs about $200 depending on size.


13. Campsuds

campsuds REI image

Because it’s so concentrated, only a few drops of this biodegradable soap is needed. It’s made with purified water, vegetable based biodegradable cleaning agents, this awesome cleaner works in hot or cold water, even salt water. It contains no animal ingredients or petroleum oils. This is a must have, very versatile backcountry item.

A bottle of Campsuds soap costs $7, and more for a larger bottle

14. Hestra Heli Gloves

Hestra Gloves are some of the most robust, bomb-proof gloves out on the market today. They are made for people who need an extra warm and extra tough glove for the backcountry. They are made from Hestra’s waterproof breathable Triton/polyamide fabric with reinforced palms made of goat leather. These ultra durable gloves feature a removable liner so it dries quickly. Great for skiing, but just great for all around winter use.

The Hestra Heli glove costs abou $130-140.

15. Lightweight trekking poles

komperdell c3 powerlock trekking poles

The Komperdell C3 Powerlock trekking poles. Image from Backcountry.


These help keep balance on uneven terrain, and are indispensible. Once you start using trekking poles, it’s hard to leave home without them. They save your knees and keep you from falling on slick trails or while route finding. Try the Komperdell C3 Carbon powerlock poles which feature glove-friendly adjustments and weigh only 400 g. Read our article on the pros and cons of hiking with trekking poles.

These Komperdell poles cost $140.





Alicja is an economist, enjoys climbing, mountaineering, backcountry skiing, cycling and gets out into the backcountry as much as possible. See all of Alicja's Blog Posts