Obviously, it is that time of year again! A time of year that thoughts of gifts roll through your mind, whether they are the gifts that you are wishing for, or the gifts that you need to get. And of course there are so many choices, so I will run through a few items that I myself wouldn’t mind getting or have already got (and of course while maintaining as small amount of cost as possible…) from a backpackers standpoint (or at least mine).
1. The StickPic. ($11.99) This tiny jewel is the perfect way to get all those self portraits when you are out on the trail all alone, that is if you carry a trekking pole. When ordering simply pick the brand of trekking poles you use and hit order. If shipped in the US s&h is only $1.61 extra. And the real beauty is that it weighs a third of an ounce so there is no reason not to carry this thing with you on your next backpacking trip, or that special someones next backpacking trip…
2. The RAY-Way Knife Kit. ($25.95) This is a DIY knife kit. Everything that you need to make your very own knife kit, and these are some really nice looking knives when they are finished (can’t post pictures, they are copyrighted ~ but have a look, you will like them). Not a skilled craftsmen (such as myself)? No problem! These kits are simple enough for even beginners, no special tools required, except your hands and brain… They say that you really learn to love something once you have put your hard-earned sweat into it.
3. The simBLISSity LevaGaiter. ($26.95) At 1.8 oz per pair there is no reason to ever worry about small rocks and debris getting into your low-top boots / shoes while on a hike again. (Not recommended for ankle height boots.) And what is cool is that these super-light and ultra-breathable scree gaiters do not rely on a under-shoe cord, glue or Velcro to hold the gaiters in place, but rather the actual shape of the gaiters is the magic that holds it all together.
4. The Rite In The Rain All-Weather Notebooks. These are offered at various prices, depending on which size, how many pages are in the notebook, as well as how the notebook is bound. There are many options to choose from. One great example (as far as backpacking is concerned) is the 3 1/4 x 5 1/4 Memo book (# 100). It contains 48 perforated pages, is bound at the top and weighs in at a listed 0.1 lbs. The cool feature: you can write on it in the rain with no problems!
5. The Fisher Space Military pen. ($12.00) Of course you will need a pen that will work under pressure to go with the Rite In The Rain Notebook. While some prefer to simply carry the refills, this entire pen can be carried without much notice since it only weighs 1 oz (listed). This pen can write under water, on photographs, in freezing cold as well as extreme heat and in space. The pressurized replaceable cartridge allows the pen to write at any angle ~ even upside-down! And the stainless steel body will ensure that the pen will live through whatever is thrown at it.
6. Kelty Triptease Guyline. ($14.95) Giving rope for Christmas may seem like the last thing that you would think to give, but the truth of the matter is, rope can be a very essential part of gear in the backcountry. Rope can be used for things such as hanging food bags, tying things on your pack, or even tying the soles of your boots back on so that you can make it off the mountain! And of course at 1 oz / 50 foot, why not carry a little extra, just in case?
7. Outdoor Research PL400 Gloves. ($35.00) Now that winter time is here, staying warm is definitely a concern, especially those little digits at the end of your arm which happen to come in quite handy, at times. These 400 weight polyester fleece gloves will do just that! These gloves wicks moisture, dries quickly and insulates when wet, however they are not too thick to be able to still function while wearing them.
8. The White Box Stove. ($20.00) Are you an alcohol stove user? If so, this will be a great addition to your collection. Not an alcohol stove user? Well, this is a great place to start! Made from 100% recyclable materials, the WBS is light (~ 1 oz) and will boil up to 8 cups of water on one fill of fuel (3 oz of HEET in the yellow bottle). The double-walled aluminum stove features a rolled lip which is stated to hold up to 400 pounds of weight. And since there are no moving parts, this stove requires no maintenance, so what’s not to love?
9. The FBC Fabric Cozy. ($13.95) Now that you have used the WBS to boil your water for your Freezer Bag Cooking (FBC) meal, now it’s time to let the meal cook. Of course you can use your boggin, but now that it’s cold out, you may want to keep the hat on your head and just use one of these cozies. Offered in a variety of pattern designs, these hand-made cozies feature Velcro closures, are light-weight and will crush down next to nothing, so there is no excuse to leave one behind!
10. The Kupilka 21. (€18.95) These cups are unlike any other cup you have probably carried as part of your backpacking gear. These cups are based on the original Kuksa cups which are made from birch burl, however, the eastern Finland company Kupilka has modernized these cups by making them of 50% plastic and 50% pine fiber. By using the plastic/pine fiber biomaterials the cup is 100 % recyclable, yet still has the feel and look of the traditional Kuksa cups and is able to be offered a great deal less expensive than the real deal.
11. The Gossamer Gear 3/16″ ThinLight Sleeping Pad. ($15.00) Sleeping pads can be very costly, but not this ThinLight pad. At this price this pad is hard to pass up on. There are some hardcore people out there that will sleep on nothing but this, whereas I would rather use it under my expensive air pad as not only protection, but also to boost the R-Value of my expensive air pad. These pads are tough, flexible and resilient, and exhibit good UV stability (which means they keep you warm).
12. The EXOTAC nanoSTRIKER. ($26.95) From the EXOTAC website: “Our collapsible ferrocerium fire-starter takes all excuses and throws them into the fire! This may possibly be the smallest ferrocerium fire starter on the market today. Attach it to your key chain, throw it into your pocket or tie it to your pack but never again leave home without one.”
So, these are just a few ideas, and at a relatively low-cost. Of course, each backpacker ultimately decides what does or does not work for him / her but these are some great all around gifts that should make any backpacker smile on that special day!
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and may God bless you over these holidays!