Keeping Kids Warm in Winter

Gear you need to keep kids warm!

The Best Short Hikes Near Calgary

1-4 km hikes less than 1 hour from Calgary!

Play Outside Holiday Gift Guide And Giveaways

Enter to win 1 of 8 great prizes including a pair of KEENs, Terramar Sports Base Layers, and Stormy Kromer cap!

4 Banff Shoulder Season Hikes

Tunnel Mountain, Johnson Lake, Fenland Loop, and Johnston Canyon are great late fall / early winter hikes!

The best hikes to do in Kananaskis NOW!

The best late fall/early winter hikes in Kananaskis!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Family Fun at Grande Rockies Resort

Staying in the mountains means more playing in the mountains, which is why we love spending weekends in Canmore! After a day of adventure, there's nothing better than soaking in the hot tub and grilling a steak on the BBQ (sure beats driving home and grabbing fast food). Of course, if you ask my kids, the best thing ever is splashing in the pool and going down the waterslide a hundred times! You can do all these things and more at the Grande Rockies Resort.

With beautifully appointed suites, an amazing fitness centre, pool - with indoor/outdoor hot tub and kids' pool, spa, and award-winning restaurant, you may never want to leave the resort, but then you'd miss out on all the fun Canmore has to offer. Here's what we loved about staying at Grande Rockies Resort - starting with our sweet suite!

Home Away From Home

Our 1-bedroom suite at the Grande Rockies Resort was the perfect home away from home with a full kitchen, spa shower, in-suite laundry, BBQ, flat screen TVs, wifi, and gas fireplace. The 570 square foot room was beautiful and spacious and had everything we needed.

The luxurious suite sleeps 4 people: 2 on a double pullout sofa bed in the living room and 2 on the king sized bed in the bedroom. The king sized bed is bigger and comfier, so put the kids on the sofa bed and take wine to your room. ;) Both rooms have large flat screen TVs.

Living Room
After a day of playing in the snow, the girls clothes were wet and in need of a wash. In-suite laundry for the win!
It's great to have in-suite laundry when you travel with kids!
Lazy breakfasts in our PJs were made possible by a full kitchen. I was especially pleased about the dishwasher; it's not a holiday if you're handwashing dishes! The full-sized coffee maker rocked my world too because... coffee!!! The more the better for me!

Grande Rockies Resort Suite Kitchen
Image Credit: Grande Rockies Resort
Breakfast is served!
While the fully stocked kitchen was wonderful, my favorite feature of the suite was its spa steam shower. This is something I do not have at home and it surpassed anything I've seen even at fancy spas! Besides a rainrop shower head and side jets, this baby had foot massagers and steam, and played music! Between the awesome steam shower and indoor/outdoor hot tub, we didn't miss having a bathtub in our room at all.
  • NOTE: Do not allow young children to shower unattended as they could get pretty hot if they turn the steam on. (The control panel is up high to prevent kids from messing with the controls, but little climbers could get into trouble.)
Spa steam shower
If you have work to do or want to catch a show on Netflix, you will be pleased to hear that the free wifi works great! Be sure to use the log-in credentials available in your room for the fastest speed (as the lobby wifi doesn't work well when you're on the other side of the resort). There is also a business centre at the resort if you need to print or fax anything.

Finally, each suite has a barbecue on the balcony and large storage closet that would be perfect for skis. 

Standard double rooms (sleep 4), two-bedroom suites (sleep 6) and penthouses (sleep 8) are also available. More information is available here:

Double Room or Suite? I highly recommend a suite for the best family getaway. For little more than a standard double room, you get twice the space, a full kitchen and barbecue, and in-suite laundry. By cooking your own meals, you can recoup what you spent (plus some), stay up after the kids have gone to bed, and relax in the morning in your PJs. It's worth it!

To see highlights of our stay at Grande Rockies Resort, please see this video!

Family Fun at Grande Rockies Resort

Hotel Amenities

Grande Rockies Resort has the following fine amenities onsite:
  • Pools: Children's wading area, Pool with 3-storey waterslide, indoor/outdoor hot tub
  • Heated underground parking. Outdoor parking available for overheight vehicles.
  • Award-winning Habitat Restaurant & Bar
  • Lounge: Enjoy a cocktail, appy or steak sandwich in the comfortable lounge! Open 4 pm - 10 pm.
  • Verde Day Spa
  • Fitness Centre 
  • Business Centre
  • Banquet and conference facilities including ballroom
Grande Rockies Resort Lounge

We loved the pool and went there every day - including the morning we checked out! The wading pool is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers, while the pool is suitable for kids 5 & up as the shallow end is around 3.5' deep (vs many public pools that start at 4'). It is really well set up for families!

  • Note: The pool key code and pool towels are in your room - bring them with you when you head down to the pool. There is a shower in the pool area for your convenience.
Grande Rockies Resort Hot Tub

We lucked out Friday night and got a table at Habitat without a reservation (yay for shoulder season!) and ran into friends from Calgary! While the girls demolished chicken and waffles from the kids' menu, my husband had seafood fettuccine aglio e olio, and I had the venison tenderloin with red juniper glaze. We don't usually order waffles since mine are the best, but Habitat's were awesome! My husband and I enjoyed our meals as well and found the portions to be just enough with half a kid's meal each. If I didn't have kids' plates to pick off of, I would've ordered a dessert - next time!

The ambience was pleasant with quiet music and friendly servers. A great place for a delicious meal, or cocktails and appies!

Open for breakfast and lunch daily; dinner: Wednesday-Sunday. For hours or reservations, visit

Delectable venison tenderloin

Things to Do in Canmore

Canmore is a year round adventure playground with great hiking, biking, climbing, caving, skiing, dogsledding, and more. See 14 Things to Do in Canmore This Winter for ideas! I recommend cross country skiing at Canmore Nordic Centre, the Grotto Canyon Ice Walk, and Grassi Lakes hike.

Grassi Lakes
Cross country skiing at Canmore Nordic Centre
Grotto Canyon Ice Walk
Banff National Park is a short drive away. Ski at Mount Norquay, take the Banff Gondola, cross country ski at Cascade Valley, or try one of these shoulder season hikes including Johnston Canyon!

Banff Gondola


For a grand weekend in the Rockies, stay at Canmore's Grande Rockies Resort! Family approved!!

Excited travellers! Where will they go next?

For More Information

Please visit Grande Rockies Resort at

Disclosure: I received a special room rate in exchange for an honest review. As always, all words and opinions are my own.

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Thursday, December 1, 2016

14 Things to Do in Canmore This Winter

Canmore is a winter lover's paradise with world class cross country skiing, dogsledding, fatbiking and more at its doorstep.Whether you go for the day, weekend, or extended stay, you will find plenty of adventurous activities to suit your adrenaline level. Winter is also a great time for festivals! Here are 14 of our top picks for winter fun in Canmore.

  1. Do The (Coolest) Ice Walk: Grotto CanyonWalk the frozen creekbed to ice falls and 500 year old pictographs. Microspikes mandatory, white socks optional. 
    Grotto Canyon Ice Walk
  2. Explore the Bow Valley Bunker. A short 1.9 km hike takes you to large caverns built during the Cold War. Bring a headlamp - the caverns are 50 feet long!
    Bow Valley Bunker
  3. Spel-what? If the Bow Valley Bunker has you wanting to do more cave exploring (spelunking), take an adventure tour of Rat's Nest Cave with Canmore Cave Tours. The caves are a great place to visit when it's cold out as the temperature stays 5 degrees C year round! I loved rappelling down into a large, dark cavern and peering up at stalactites. 
    Rat's Nest Cave
    Image Credit: Canmore Cave Tours
  4. Cross Country Ski with Pros at the Canmore Nordic Centre. Many national team athletes train at this world class facility just minutes from downtown Canmore. Pristine grooming and gorgeous views guarantee a great day no matter your experience level. Note: Trail fees in effect 9 am - 5 pm. Rentals available onsite from Trail Sports
    Canmore Nordic Centre
  5. I'm not fat, I'm snowbiking. Whatever you choose to call it, fatbiking is an amazing way to stay active in winter! Rent a fatbike at Trail Sports (Canmore Nordic Centre) or Rebound Cycle.  Quarry Lake Park and Canmore Nordic Centre have beginner-friendly trails.

  6. Ice Skate at The Pond (7th Ave & Mallard Alley). This 150m x 60 m well-maintained ice rink in downtown Canmore boasts beautiful views of the Three Sisters, has a heated gazebo, and is lit up until 10 pm.

  7. Dashing through the snow in a 6-dog open sleigh! Snowy Owl Sled Dog Tours' powder hounds will take you on an adventure like no other. After an amazing ride, enjoy some treats around the fire and get to know your sled dogs.   
    Cuddles with the Cute Sled Dogs
  8. Enjoy Canmore's indoor playground, Elevation Place; your place for swimming, climbing, or working out.  

  9. Rotary Festival of Trees: This annual festival includes tree viewing (by donation), kids' crafts ($), kids' story time (by donation), beer/whiskey and wine tasting ($), Breakfast with Santa ($), and Adult Christmas Crafts ($). Monies raised support the Canmore Rotary Club. See the December 2-31, 2016 schedule and purchase tickets here
    Enjoy Canmore's Christmas light as you make your way from venue to venue.
  10. RE/MAX Skate With Santa: December 22, 2016 4:30 pm - 7:30 pm at Canmore Nordic Centre. Free! (The rink is weather dependent - please check before you go!)

  11. New Year's Eve Party on The Pond & Fireworks at Millennium:  
    • Party at the Pond (7th Ave & Mallard Alley) - December 31, 2016 6 pm - 10 pm.
    • Family fireworks - 8:30 pm at The Pond (7th Ave and Mallard Alley)
    • Midnight fireworks at Millennium Park (1st St and 5th Ave)

  12. FIS World Snow Day: Kids ski free at Canmore Nordic Centre and can win costume prizes! January 15, 2017.
    Cross country skiing at the Canmore Nordic Centre
  13. Snowy Owl Kid n Mutt Races: Dogsledding races for kids! Pre-registration required ($). February 12, 2017 at Canmore Nordic Centre.
    Dogsledding at West Spray Lakes
  14. Canmore Winter Festival - Dates and details TBA (Usual dates: Feb 1 - mid March).


Grande Rockies Resort, Canmore
My Where to Stay page has more Canmore accommodations to consider.


Family-Friendly Dining: Harvest Cafe (breakfast), Summit Cafe (breakfast), Rocky Mountain Bagel (breakfast or lunch), Iron Goat Pub & Grill (lunch or dinner), Rocky Mountain Flatbread (dinner), Habitat Restaurant & Grill
Best Coffee: Mountain Mercato

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Bow Valley Bunker

Known as the Heart Creek Bunker, Diefenbunker, Vault, and Bow Valley Bunker (among other names), the large caverns in Mount McGillivray are a unique hiking destination with a colorful history. Urban legend has it that the massive bunker was carved into the side of the mountain to house important government officials during the Cold War. The real reason for the "bunker", however, was to store sensitive documents1. Due to budget constraints and humidity, documents were never stored here, but the caverns remain as a testament to the politics and paranoia of the late '50s. An interesting place to visit year round.

The trail to the Bow Valley Bunker begins at the Heart Creek Parking lot, just off the Trans Canada Highway, across from Lac des Arcs. Look for the Trans Canada Trail marker across the parking lot from the Heart Creek Trailhead. If you pass an interpretive sign about black bears within a few metres, you're on the right track. Continue through mixed forest to a gravel lined gulley (200 m from the parking lot). The path has been re-established post floods and is easy to follow. 

Start here
The broad trail is Chariot friendly but bumpy in sections.

1st Gully
At the halfway point (~1 km from parking lot), you will cross another gulley. Continue through the forest on a fairly level trail, then go down a big hill. At the junction (marked with a Trans Canada Trail marker), turn left. At the next junction (also marked), turn left again. From here, it's only 200 metres to the cavern entrance.

On dirt trail

First junction - go left
Second junction - go left

Almost there - Heart Mountain in the background
Bunker entrance
Bring bright headlamps so you may explore the 80' x 25' caverns2. There is also a smaller cavern that may have been meant to be a reception area or lounge3.

Looking into the cavern
Looking towards the entrance
Looking down at Lac des Arcs
My kids were a bit freaked out by the darkness and graffiti, so we didn't venture too far inside, but were still happy to discover this interesting site. We enjoyed some cocoa and cookies at the cave entrance and watched a train go by Lac des Arcs below. A quick win when you want to try something new!

Bow Valley Bunker Trail At A Glance

SAFETY NOTE: The last 100 metres to the bunker is avalanche terrain. Avoid this area if the slope is snow covered.

Distance: 3.8 km return
Elevation gain: 94 m
Difficulty: Easy
Chariot friendly: Yes
Directions from Calgary: Go west on Hwy 1 for 86 km. Take exit 105 (Lac des Arcs) and turn left.   Continue straight to the Heart Creek Parking Lot.

This is a fun hike to do on the way to or from Canmore as it's quick and easy!

What's your favorite short hike in Bow Valley Provincial Park?

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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Winter Backpacking Part 1: Keeping Warm

My famous last words before our backpacking trip were, "If you don't hear from us Monday, we probably died." That may have been a bit melodramatic given the fact that we're bonafide snow lovers and experienced backpackers, but it was our first winter backpacking trip as a family and it was expected to drop to -16C (3.2F) in the night. A little colder than what we usually camp in, and with kids in tow, we didn't want to take any chances. We packed everything on our list, then packed some more, but in the end, keeping warm was the easy part! (Lucky for us, it never went below -10C.)

In this installment of Winter Backcountry Camping, I'll cover what gear we brought to keep warm. Part two will discuss safe gear transport, part three will discuss cold weather backpacking food and hydration, and part four will cover where to go winter camping. Are you ready? Let's go winter camping!

Keeping Warm When Winter Backpacking / Camping 

The essential items you need to keep warm are good clothes, protection from the elements (shelter), insulation from the cold ground, a warm sleeping bag, and proper nutrition and hydration levels. If I can hack cold weather camping with Raynaud's Syndrome (weird autoimmune problem that shuts off circulation to my extremities in the cold), you can too - with the right gear!


Keeping dry and warm are critical to winter backpacking (and hiking) comfort and safety. Base layers made of merino wool or technical fabrics will wick moisture away from your skin to keep you dry. If it's cold enough for mid layers, put them on as soon as you cool down and take them off as soon as you heat up. It's better to stop for a minute to remove a layer before you get sweaty,as it's extremely dangerous to have wet clothes in subzero temperatures.

What We Wore: Base layers, a mid layer (fleece/down sweater), shell jackets, wool socks, winter hiking boots, and snow pants for the hike to camp.

What We Packed: 1 extra set of base layers, 1 set of fleece base layers for sleeping in, 2 pairs of socks, 1 thick pair of sleeping socks, underwear, and 1 parka/puffy down jacket per person PLUS extra snowpants for the kids, buffs (neck gaiters), extra toques and extra mitts. We used almost everything (Little POG dropped her hat on the way in, yay for extras!) and only regret leaving our down booties at home! We also packed a case of hand and foot warmers, but didn't need them (they're great for -15 and colder).

For more details on keeping warm, please see these posts:
It's all about technical gear and layers!


I had a bit of anxiety about not having a 4-season tent, until I realized that our friend sleeps under a tarp year round. A 3-season dome tent works fine if it's sturdy (an ultralight tent may not be the best choice), pegged out properly, and there isn't heavy snow - provided you double up your sleeping pads and have a good sleeping bag.

Our home away from home was our MEC Wanderer 3-season dome tent. This rugged tent kept the wind out, heat in, and didn't allow much condensation to build up. We have camped in this tent (and others) in -10C very comfortably, so we probably won't invest in a heavier 4-season tent unless we become cold junkies and start camping regularly in -20 or below.

  • Keep vents partway open to prevent condensation buildup. 
  • Use a footprint / ground tarp to provide snow melt from going in to your tent. 
  • Peg your tent out well to allow snow to slide off. I recommend Y pegs for hard ground, and deadman anchors for camping on snow (saves you trying to pry snow stakes out of the snow). 
  • Low Gravity Ascents has a good writeup on setting up your tent in the snow which includes deadman anchors, windbreaks and cold air trenches. Since we were camping below treeline, on a tent pad, in moderate weather, we did not make a windbreak or cold air trench and were able to use our Y pegs. 
For tips on what to look for when buying a tent, please see this post: How to Choose a Tent Q&A.

MEC Wanderer Tent (note the fly is not up yet so we can load bedding) 


Our regular backpacking gear is suitable for -7C (or -10C if wearing fleece layers), but since the forecast was calling for -16C, we doubled up on sleeping bags and sleeping pads. No matter how amazing your sleeping bag, if you are not shielded from the cold ground, you will have a chilly night. Best to use 2 sleeping pads!

What we slept on/in:
  • We layered self-inflating sleeping pads (Therm-a-rest Trail Pro) on top of foam sleeping pads (Therm-a-rest Z Lite Sol or Ridgerest) to be super comfy and warm. Besides being light and affordable, foam pads never, ever leak. They also make great camping/hiking chairs! Attach these to the outside of your pack to make room for extra sleeping bags/quilts and clothes.
    • My setup was *special* and I used a Therm-a-rest Luxurylight Ultralight cot with a Trailpro self-inflating mattress. So amazing!
  • We brought 7 sleeping bags and 2 down quilts:
    • Each kid had a kids' MEC 0C sleeping bag inside a MEC Raven -7C down bag;
    • I had a -12 Western Mountaineering down sleeping bag;
    • My husband had a -7C MEC Aquila down sleeping bag and +15 sleeping bag.
    • We used the down quilts as over and underquilts. 
I don't recommend doing what we did. Our setup was bulky and heavy! 

  • If you can afford it, get lightweight winter sleeping bags.
    • Down is highly compressible and warm. The new hydrophobic down bags are great as the down will maintain loft when wet to keep you warm.
    • Hybrid bags are great for warmth, but bulky. They have down on top for warmth and compressibility and synthetic fill on the bottom that doesn't compress as much as down (so you stay warmer).
  • A less costly option than 850 fill down bags or double sleeping bags, is to purchase/make an overbag or overquilt to use with your 3-season sleeping bag. We plan to make our $27 ($20 US) down quilts into overquilts. Thanks Coldbike for telling me about the Costco quilts (and how to adapt them), and Rockiesgirl for letting me know they were in stock!
  • Spread outerwear out around your sleeping pads to prevent cold from seeping in from the floor (also makes it less of a shock if you roll of your sleeping pad in the night). If you use a cot, stuff empty stuff sacks and extra clothes under your cot to prevent cold air from flowing through.
For more information on choosing camp bedding (sleeping bags, cots, sleeping pads, travel cribs), please see: Camping Sleep System 411.

Sleep like a baby, cozy warm!


Keeping fueled and hydrated helps you keep warm. Did you know that being hydrated helps you balance your temperature? So carry warm drinks and sip often! A hearty soup makes a good meal too, to get extra fluids down (many people don't want to drink cool liquids on a cold day and don't drink enough).

We found staying hydrated to be a challenge on our trip as we had forgotten a water filter/purifier and it took forever to boil water. 

Stay tuned for Winter Backpacking With Kids Part 3: Camp Food & Hydration to learn what we would do next time to alleviate this problem.

Don't forget your water purifier or filter!


We packed for -20, but only had to sleep in -6, so it was a good trial run for family winter camping. Would we do it again? Absolutely, but we need to make a few changes to our sleep system to get our pack/Chariot weight down if we want to go further than Elbow Lake.

If you're well prepared, winter camping can be a lot of fun! It's even better if you go with friends! My kids' favorite moments were sledding, stargazing, roasting marshmallows, and dancing under the stars with Rockieschick's and Coldbike's kids. I hope you will be inspired to try it as we'd love to see more kids at camp!

What would you like to learn about winter camping?

Little backpackers

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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Play Outside Holiday Gift Guide And Giveaways

I love everything about Christmas except shopping, so I shop early and do it mostly online after the kids have gone to bed. By getting gifts throughout the year, I save money and save weekends for what we love most: playing outside!  I hope our outdoor-themed holiday gift guide and giveaways will help you get outside more too!

A HUGE thank you to our sponsors for all the great prizes! There are 8 prizes up for grabs this year! Good luck!!

Disclosure: This post includes Amazon affiliate links. I receive a tiny commission for items purchased through these links, at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance for supporting Play Outside Guide!  I have also received some of these products for free to review, but as always, all opinions are my own. 

For Outdoor Kids 

Grandma is a Slowpoke is one of the sweetest books I've read all year! It's the tale of a girl and her Grandma who go on a pokey, but amazing, nature walk together.

Book Available on Amazon
Looking for a water bottle that won't leak? The Camelbak Podium Water Bottle works great with the added bonus that the top is easy enough for kids to open and close (but doesn't slide open and leak in your pack). We all have one!

Camelbak available on Amazon
Zippyrooz Biking Gloves are perfect for young cyclists. They're easy to put on and take off (thanks to loops on the fingers), are super comfortable, and come in cool designs. We've been testing the Flowers Full Finger Gloves since August and love them! There is padding where needed, soft fabric on the thumbs, and the kids hands are fully ptoected. I have to mention, they feel like pro cyclists too! Full finger and half finger gloves available for children up to age 6. Enter to win a pair below (Canada & US)!

Available from (Canada) or Amazon (US)
Little music lovers will adore Rocky Mountain Fairy Tales & More Rocky Mountain Fairy Tales. A young girl's Rocky Mountain adventures with fairies are set to classical music in the first album and jazz in the second. Each album has original stories and songs that will appeal to children and parents alike. We loved hearing stories about places we'd been to like Heart Creek and Castle Mountain. It was also cool to listen for the different fairies' sounds; the Red Fire Fairies, Green Forest Fairies, Yellow Wind Fairies, Blue Water Fairies and Purple Mist Fairies are all represented by different instrument families. Listen to a sample here. Enter to win both awesome albums below (Canada only)!

Available online at CD Baby and in store at select retailers.
MSR Tyker Snowshoes are our top pick for little kids' snowshoes as they are light, provide excellent traction, and have great bindings. Of the three brands we've tried for 3-8 year olds, the Tykers are #1! For a detailed review of kids' snowshoes, please see this post. All Out Kids Gear has generously provided one pair of MSR Tyker Snowshoes to give away to a lucky Play Outside Guide reader. Enter to win the MSR Tyker Snowshoes below (Canada only)!

MSR Tyker Snowshoes - Available at
Good quality outer layers are essential to having fun outside, but it helps if the pieces have a bit of style (so the kids will actually wear them). Oakiwear's matching rain jackets, umbrellas, and rain boots in bold, solid colors, or fun prints like owls, dinosaurs, space ships and mermaids are sure to be a hit! We've tested Oakiwear rain boots and rain gear and been really impressed with the materials used and attention to details. Check out our Oakiwear rain boot review here and Oakiwear Trail Rain Gear review here. Enter to win a super cute Oakiwear polyurethane rain jacket and umbrella below (Canada & US)!

Oakiwear Kid's Outer Space Rain Jacket
Available from Oakiwear (US) or Amazon (Canada)
Skiing is so much more fun with cool ski goggles. We love these Spy+ Cadet Kids' Goggles as they have anti-fog and anti-scratch protection, provide 100% UV protection, and look great because they fit little faces well.

Spy+ Cadet Goggles available at MEC
Technical base layers are a must for our climate! We love the Terramar Sports Power Play 1.0 two-piece set for hiking and cross country skiing. On colder days, we wear Terramar's Thermolator midweight layers. The base layers breathe well, do not pill, and are very durable and come in all sorts of fun patterns. My girls like them so much, they often wear them as normal clothes!

Terramar Sports Thermolator Top (left)
Available from Terramar Sports (US) and Amazon (Canada)
Get a high quality 17.5" stuffie, help animals at risk, and get a $30 donation receipt all at the same time with World Wildlife Fund Wildlife Adoptions.  The stuffie comes with a poster and pamphlet explaining what project your donation will support, gift bag of your choice, and adoption certificate which you can personalize. A great gift for the kid who has everything!

Narwhal available at WWF

Gifts For Her / For Him 

For a unique, made in America gift, you can't go wrong with a Stormy Kromer cap! Stormy Kromer's legendary caps are still made by hand in Michigan, just like they were back in 1903. Choose from wool, waxed cotton, Harris Tweed, denim or canvas in a variety of styles and patterns to suit your look. I lived in the Ida's Infielder all summer and wear the Button-Up in stormy weather. They make high quality apparel and bags as well! For more details on the company and its products, please see my writeup here. Enter to win a sweet Stormy Kromer cap below (Canada & US)!

Stormy Kromer Ida's Infielder Cap
Available at Stormy Kromer and select retailers
For the person who has everything, get them a KEEN gift card! KEEN makes amazing footwear from hiking boots, winter hikers, backpacking boots, and sports sandals to casual shoes and boots. I love my Durand Waterproof Hiking Boots, Riesen Zip Full-Grain Waterproof boots, and Versatrails! The waterproof boots are actually waterproof and the Versatrails are so light and.. well, versatile! I hike, walk, and run in them. Enter to win a pair of KEENs below (Canada only)!

KEEN Reisens Available from KEEN Canada, MEC, and select retailers
Terramar Sports Technical Base Layers are what I live in most of the year. I've been fortunate to try several different items from the fall/winter lines and spring/summer lines and love them all! The Cloud Nine pieces are so soft and comfy, I wear the leggings as pants! They breathe well too! When it's cold out, I wear my Thermawool top (my fav!). Wool on the outside and fleece on the inside keeps me warm and cozy without irritating my sensitive skin. Another cool thing I tried this year was Terramar's Microcool tops. The fabric actually feels cool to the touch and stays cooler than regular technical gear, even when it's really hot out. I don't know how it works, but my long sleeved Microcool hoodie kept me cool and dry backpacking in 28C weather! Enter to win a set of cozy men's/women's Cloud Nine Base Layers from Terramar below (US Only)!

Terramar Sports Thermawool Top and Cloud Nine Leggings (right)
Available from Terramar Sports (US) and Amazon (Canada)
A hammock is a great gift to share! The Sequioa Hammock by Serac Hammocks is an extra large double hammock that fits two adults or a whole bunch of kids. We love that the hammock is light, super easy to hang, and comfortable. You can easily lie flat in it, so it would be great for camping in a warm place. Another great thing about this hammock is that it comes with everything (no extra charge for stuff sack, tree straps and carabieners). It's well made and reasonably priced. See my full review here. Enter to win a super Sequoia hammock from Serac Hammocks below! 

Serac Hammock available at Amazon (US Only)
If you know someone who loves to fish, you can't go wrong with a fishing store gift card. In Calgary, visit the Iron Bow Fly Fishing Shop (Dalhousie), Hanson's Fishing Outfitters (downtown), The Fishing Hole, Cabela's, or Bass Pro. I'm hoping Santa brings me a sweet pair of Simm's Goretex Waders!

Gifts of Experience 

For the person who has everything, give him/her the gift of experience!

Some ideas for Calgary & area include:

Ski Resort Loyalty Cards (RCR Rockies Card, Lake Louise Plus Ski Card, Sunshine Card, Big Drop Card)
Gift cards for Winsport - Luge, Skiing, Mountain Biking, or Zipline
Calgary Zoo, Heritage Park, Calaway Park, or Telus Spark day/annual passes
Canmore Cave Tours
Snowy Owl Sled Dog Tours

Giveaway Prizes

 Now is your chance to win some great prizes! Prizes available include:
  • 1 set of Cloud Nine Technical Base Layers from Terramar SportsOpen to Residents of US only
  • 1 pair of shoes/boots from KEEN CanadaOpen to Residents of Canada only
  • 1 Stormy Kromer Cap - Open to Residents of Canada & US 
  • 1 pair of MSR Tyker Snowshoes from All Out KidsOpen to Residents of Canada only
  • 1 Oakiwear polyurethane rain jacket and 1 umbrella - Open to Residents of Canada & US
  • 1 hammock from Serac Hammocks. Hammock comes with carrying bag, 2 tree friendly straps and 2 carabieners. - Open to Residents of Canada & US
  • Rocky Mountain Fairy Tales CDs (Rocky Mountain Fairy Tales & More Rocky Mountain Fairy Tales)- Open to Residents of Canada only
  • 1 pair of Zippyrooz biking gloves - Open to Residents of Canada & US

Giveaway Rules

The giveaways end at midnight on Sunday, November 27, 2016. Winners will be selected at random, via the Rafflecopter app, and notified via email. Winners must respond within 48 hours of notification to claim their prize.

This giveaway is not affiliated with Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+ or any other social media.

Good luck!

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More Holiday Gift Guides & Giveaways! 

Please check out my fellow Outdoor Families bloggers' holiday gift guides for even more great gift ideas and giveaways!

Born to be Adventurous - Gift Ideas for Babies and Toddlers
Brave Ski Mom - The Brave Ski Mom Holiday Gift Guide, 2016 (Giveaway)
Currently Wandering - 25 Gift Ideas for Adventurers, RVers, & Families
Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies - Holiday Gift Guide for Outdoor Families (With Giveaways) 
Go Adventure Mom - Holiday Gift Guide 2016 - Companies that Give Back Gift Guide 2016
Little Family Adventure - Gift Guide for Outdoor Families