12 best Christmas stockings for outdoor enthusiasts
Many gear guides in the outdoor community tend to focus on clothing and big-ticket items, like tents, camping stoves, and backpacks. Yet we all know that many of the best things in life come in the smallest packages.
With that in mind, we’ve decided to highlight some of the best Christmas stockings for outdoor enthusiasts. Since the items on this list are meant to fit in a stocking, they’re (generally speaking, anyway) both wallet-friendly and one of the smaller ones, which means, as an added bonus, that ‘they are also great for traveling with.
The best Christmas stockings for outdoor enthusiasts
From items that will be used a lot throughout the year to those little things that could literally save a life, here is our pick of 12 of the best Christmas stockings for outdoor enthusiasts:
1. Collapsible water bottle
The HydraPak UltraFlask 600 is technically a ‘soft flask’, but it’s really one of those tomato-tomato, potato-potato pairings. For all intents and purposes, this is a collapsible water bottle – and one of the best available.
Closely associated with trail running due to their compactness and ultralight weight, collapsible water bottles are some of the best stocking stuffers for outdoor enthusiasts of all types. This particular bottle collapses when you drink, ultimately compressing to virtually nothing. The soft material also fits almost any pocket or compartment when full. And finally, the wide opening is easy to fill, even with ice.
The uses that a keen outdoor enthusiast will find for a good headlamp are endless: running or hiking at night, camping, stargazing, fishing before dawn or after sunset, to have in case power outages or other emergencies… the list goes on and on!
Our first choice for a headlamp is the BioLite 750 (which we also named the overall best pick in our article on the best headlamps for the trail). This model has eight awesome light modes, a unique flush design, and the ability to charge while you wear / use it – easily our favorite feature.
3. America the Beautiful Pass
One of the best Christmas stockings for outdoor enthusiasts is a America the Beautiful Pass, AKA a national parks pass. These passes cover entry to thousands of federal recreation sites, including national parks, monuments, wildlife sanctuaries, and more for one year. They even cover daytime usage fees and get you discounted camping rates in many state forests!
At just $ 80 a year, an America the Beautiful Pass is an absolute steal, given that popular parks like Yosemite and Zion cost $ 35 per car to enter.
If you like the idea but want a more regional alternative, consider offering an annual pass to state or county parks instead.
4. Water filtration system
A personal water filtration system is not only one of the best Christmas stockings for outdoor enthusiasts, but it is also one of the most practical. Drinking contaminated water leads to a host of problems, including gastrointestinal and nervous system problems. And the reality is, you just don’t know if a backcountry water source is safe.
Water filtration systems like the Squeeze Sawyer Water Filter solve this problem. Simply fill the sachet from a water source and attach the filter – it works like a screw-on water bottle cap. And just like that, you have clean drinking water! The entire system weighs less than three ounces, and Sawyer even makes adapters for hydration packs so you can fill your hydration pack without removing it from your pack!
5. Power bank
A portable device charger, or power bank, is an absolute must for any outdoor enthusiast. After all, you can’t risk having a dead phone battery when you get to the top or just as the wildlife spawns!
We like it Anker Power Bank because it has dual wired and wireless capabilities, allowing you to charge up to three devices at a time. It also charges devices quickly, so you can charge your phone during a snack break or during lunch.
6. Rechargeable batteries
While we’re on the subject of charging devices, rechargeable batteries are another great stocking stuffer item for outdoor enthusiasts. Items like headlamps and flashlights typically use AA or AAA batteries, and how quickly you burn them is amazing.
It’s not exactly practical (or financially beneficial or even safe) to carry around a bunch of extra batteries, but luckily rechargeable batteries provide a great alternative. This affordable setup from Amazon includes AA and AAA batteries, plus a convenient charging bay. Charge the batteries at home between adventures and you never have to worry about a dead headlamp again!
7. Performance wool socks
We could go on and on (and again…) about the importance and benefits of high quality socks. For outdoor enthusiasts, they are essential. They keep you warm, dry and comfortable overall, keep you from getting blisters, and – in the eyes of many people, most importantly – can extend your time in the great outdoors.
We’ve written a lot about the different types of socks for different activities (hiking and running are just two examples), but one of our favorite pairs overall is the Smartwool PhD Pro Endurance line. They come in both female and male specific versions and come with a long list of benefits. Notably, they are extremely durable and they come in many fun prints.
Hey, no one said you can’t be stylish spending time outside.
8. Hand warmers
Even if the person you’re shopping for doesn’t live in a particularly cold climate, hand warmers are some of the most useful stocking stuffers for outdoor enthusiasts. Alpine and lake temperatures often drop after the sun goes down, even in the height of summer.
Whether it’s a sunrise hike, fishing, hunting, setting up a camp or any other outdoor activity, hand warmers just like good socks , allow you to spend more time in nature. We’re big fans of the Aurora Heat Handmade Reusable Warmers made from sheared beaver fur. If you don’t need something this intense, or are looking for a more wallet-friendly option, these reusable packs are practical and affordable (not to mention much more environmentally friendly than single-use stoves).
9. Shampoo bar
Let’s face it, time in nature means you are (and stay!) Dirty. In the countless hours we have been outside, we have tried all kinds of cleaning methods: baby wipes, microfiber towels, water and dish soap dispenser … but many of them result in a even more mess or a lot of garbage. .
Shampoo bars like those from Ethics solve these two problems. There are several variations, some specially designed for babies and pets, as well as for sensitive skin, dandruff and more, but we prefer the “Adventurer” pack. This two-pack includes a tip-to-toe bar, which works as shampoo, conditioner, soap, and shaving, as well as a Flash bar for laundry and cleaning. As a bonus, 100 percent of Ethics products and packaging are vegan and recyclable.
10. Squirrel nut butter
Skin irritations and irritations are unappealing realities and inevitable if you spend a lot of time outdoors. We have already mentioned the many advantages of Squirrel Nut Butter specifically as an anti-chafe product for runners, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
This versatile wonder makes a wonderful Christmas stocking for any type of outdoor enthusiast, from the most casual to the most hardcore. The all-natural balm is completely waterproof and can be safely applied anywhere on the body, making it an effective and soothing treatment for eczema, insect bites and even diaper rash.
11. Freeze-dried dishes
Anyone who is camping, hiking, backpacking, or just outdoors on a regular basis probably has a stash of at least a few freeze-dried meals. This particular area has come a very, very long way in recent years, so consider offering a few meals and presenting your gift with new brands.
There is certainly nothing wrong with old vigils like Mountain House and Backpacker’s pantry, but with innovative brands like Heather’s Choice and Pinnacle Foods, you can completely improve the game of freeze-dried dishes. Heather’s Choice meals are all paleo-friendly (no dairy, gluten, or soy), and Pinnacle Foods makes some utterly delicious meals that also come in safe-to-burn pouches. Oh, and they’re both small family businesses too!
12. Premium subscription to an application or to an outdoor club
The latter is technically not a “thing,” as most memberships are intangible and don’t necessarily come with a physical card. However, gifting someone with a premium membership is definitely one of the best Christmas stockings for outdoor enthusiasts!
Whatever a person’s specific interests, there are apps, memberships, or clubs that will suit them just fine. Some of our best suggestions include a lifetime membership in REI (which costs just $ 20 and reimburses you for 10% of your total annual spend as a Member Reward Dividend each year!), or a premium membership at Gaia GPS, OnX, Where All trails, all of which give you access to great downloadable maps.
Taryn Shorr is an avid outdoorsman, frequent traveler and aspiring photographer based in Southern Arizona. She lives for the opportunity to explore the great outdoors, both at home and in new destinations, and firmly believes that nature is a form of both therapy and religion.
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