Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Outdoor Lovers Holiday Gift Guide & Giveaway

We plan to make your life easier with this holiday gift guide and giveaway! Call us crazy, but our Christmas tree has been up since the beginning of November, and baking and card making have already begun. Why such early Christmasing? It prolongs the fun and maximizes quality family time outside over the holidays (as soon as school is out, we're outta here)!

Christmas shopping is done throughout the year to save time and stress, but luckily for us, the girls are easy to shop for. For two years running, the girls have requested the same single item of Santa: a candy cane! This carefree attitude gives us free rein to get outdoor gear we were planning on getting anyways (but better stuff because we're not wasting money on toys!).

We prepare outdoor wish lists for the relatives and it's worked well for everyone. Grandma is happy to buy useful things, the kids get the best gear, and we save money. Triple win! Savings are applied to excursions (lift tickets!) and the girls' education funds (we donate some to our favorite charities too). 

To help with YOUR holiday shopping, check out my gift recommendations for outdoorsy men, women, and children and be sure to enter my giveaways below!

Here are our top holiday gift recommendations for outdoorsy children and adults. Enjoy!

Stocking Stuffers (up to $25)

Living Book of the Forest (Pop-Up Book With Sound): My sister found this book at Bass Pro and my kids LOVE it! Real animal sounds play on each page and there are pull-outs with fun facts on various forest animals. Also available on Amazon.

Gift card to local fishing shop A fisherman/woman's dream! And seriously, do you know what kind of flies to buy for that creek? In Calgary, try the Iron Bow Fly Fishing Shop, Hanson's Fishing Outfitters, Cabela's, or Bass Pro.

Technical socks: We love the comfort and quality of Bridgedale and Smartwool technical socks and ask for them every year. They aren't cheap, but they're worth every penny! Available at Mountain Equipment Coop and other outdoor gear stores.

Dark chocolate: Best trail snack ever... if it makes it out of the house!

Emergency and Safety Gear: Nothing says "I love you" like wilderness survival gear - gear that will keep your loved ones safe while adventuring. If you follow my blog on a regular basis, you will know I am as BIG on safety as I am on fun. I've featured four itemsevery hiker should carry. For the top 10 pieces of wilderness survival gear your child should carry, please see this post.
  • Paracord bracelet - Whether you buy it or make it, this bracelet is a handy way to carry a few metres of paracord! The cord has so many uses from riggin a shelter to fishing line (inner strands)! Paracord and buckles are available at Michael's if you'd like to make them yourself. 
    Paracord bracelet in pink camo
  • Whistle - When I was researching whistles, the UST JetScream stood out because it is one of the loudest available, pealess (will work when wet and has no moving parts to freeze up), and compact. It is very reasonably priced too! Every member of the family should have one. Enter to win one below! Available from Mountain Equipment Coop, Amazon and other retailers.
    UST JetScream Whistle - tiny but amazingly loud!
  • Firestarter kit - Another essential for outdoor adventurers! The ideal firestarter kit is waterproof and contains a fire ignitor and tinder like the UST Firestarter Kit 1.0Enter to win one belowAvailable from Mountain Equipment Coop, Amazon and other retailers.
    UST Firestarter Kit 1.0
  • First Aid Kit - You can never have too many first aid kits! I keep one in my purse, one in my pack, one in the house, and one in each vehicle. My kids carry their own mini first aid kits too (in case they are ever accidentally separated from us)! UST Brands and Adventure Medical Kits make high quality, lightweight first aid kits in several sizes to suit your needs. Enter to win one below! Available from Mountain Equipment Coop, Amazon and other retailers.

    • Pro Tip: Add needle-nose tweezers and Polysporin To-Go spray (with local anaesthetic) to your first aid kit. My kids think the spray is magic because it takes the ouch away!
      UST FeatherLite First Aid Kit 2.0 - 125 pieces of peace of mind
  • Compact Lantern - It's always good to keep a light source in your backpack or vehicle. We prefer lanterns and headlamps over flashlights so we can be handsfree. Backpackers will appreciate the collapsible silicone Spright Lantern from UST Brands. Collapsed, the lantern's dimensions are only 2.75” x 3.5” x 3.5” (70 x 89 x 89mm)! Its LED bulbs provide 3 levels of brightness: nightlight setting - 10 lumens, low - 50 lumens & high - 100 lumens. Available from Mountain Equipment Coop, Amazon and other retailers.
Spright Lantern Closed

Spright Lantern Opened

Gifts For Kids

Kid's Hydration Pack: Our kids were always trying to sip from our hydration packs, so we got Uncle to get them their own. Now they feel like "real" hikers! For younger children, get a small bladder (1 L) so it won't be too heavy. We like the MEC Fountain Jr Hydration Pack. The Camelbak Kid's Mini-M.U.L.E. is also highly rated. MEC Hydration Pack Available at Mountain Equipment Coop.

Pro Tip: If you already have a good kid's backpack, save money and buy the hydration system without the pack! 
MEC Fountain Jr Hydration Packs in Action
Sled: A sled is a must-have in a snowy place. For towing kids and gear around the nieghborhood, we love the classic Pelican Mega Snow Glider sled as it's sturdy, light, and large enough to fit 2-3 kids.
This style of sled is also safer than the fancy ride-on type sleds and scooters that have handles sticking out (a cause of spleen punctures according to my nurse friend at the Children's Hospital!). Available at Canadian Tire.

Pelican sled
Skates: Skates are another fun purchase. For the tiniest skaters, consider bob skates (double blades that attach to boots). For ages 3 & up, real skates should be ok. Although we started our girls on top end Bauer skates, they now have adjustable princess skates (can adjust from size 9-11). They are adequate for beginner recreational skaters and a good value as they will last a few years. You don't need to go too expensive to have fun, but more experienced skaters should get better quality skates. Available at Canadian Tire, Sport Chek, and Atmosphere.
Adjustable skates
Technical base layers: This is the ideal gift for someone who's always cold. Technical base layers are made of wool blends, silk blends, or synthetic materials to wick moisture and provide extra warmth in cool weather. High quality brands layer well and are easy to move in. I wear them under jeans, fleece pants, or snowpants! We have been longtime fans of MEC and Patagonia base layers, but have recently have become acquainted with Terramar Sports Base Layers and are very happy with them (Disclosure: I am a Terramar Sports Brand Ambassador). The materials are high quality, comfy (my Cloud 9 stuff is super soft!), and made for athletic builds. The leggings fit perfectly over my meaty legs and have a cool pattern too. I think I could get away with wearing them as pants! The kids' stuff is pretty sweet too. Best of all, Terramar Gear is reasonably priced. Stay tuned for an in-depth review! Available at these select retailers and on Amazon.

Enter to win 2 sets of Terramar Sports Technical Base Layers below.

To win Base layers for the whole family, see this post for details on the HUGE #ThankfulForFamilies Instagram contest!

Terrramar Sports Cloud Nine Full Zip Top - love the full zip, thumbholes, and super soft material
Terramar Sports Power Play 2-Piece Set - so cute!
Bike / Skateboard Helmet: If you have trouble getting your child to wear a bike helmet, you need to invest in a Nutcase Helmet. With fun designs including watermelon, ladybug, plaid, bumblebee, sugar skulls, and houndstooth, your kids will be stoked to put on their head protection and get on their bikes/skateboards! For more details, see my review here. Available at Mountain Equipment Coop and select bike stores.

Nutcase Bike Helmets - The coolest helmets out there!
SnowshoesFor fun, try the Tubbs Snowglow Snowshoes that light up with every step (available at Canadian Tire). For serious snowshoeing and excellent traction, go for the MSR Tyker Snowshoes. For a complete review of MSR Tyker (available at MEC), Atlas Sprout 17 (available at MEC) and Snowtrek SS 14 snowshoes, see this post.

MSR Tyker Snowshoes - Our Top Pick For Safety and Value!

Gifts For Her / For Him

Stormy Kromer Cap & Scarf/Mitts Gift Set: If you want something special and made in America, shop at Stormy Kromer! Stormy Kromer still makes their legendary caps in Michigan, by hand, and has expanded their product line to include shirts, jackets, accessories, and bags! I am stoked to represent this family-run American heritage brand (established 1903). Stormy Kromer cap and mitts/scarf gift sets are available for the holiday season in a variety of colours and styles. I'm partial to the Harris tweed cap and raspberry Ida gloves shown below. Available online and at select retailers.

Enter to win a $99 Stormy Kromer Gift Card below. To enter to win a Cabin Blanket, see this post for details on the HUGE #ThankfulForFamilies Instagram contest!

For more details on the company and its products, please see my writeup here(Disclosure: I am a Stormy Kromer Brand Ambassador.) 

Stormy Kromer Cap and Mitts (and jacket!)
Siltarp: This was on my wishlist forever and we finally bought one this year. Sturdy and compact, the Siltarp can be used to make an emergency shelter, rain cover, or sunshade. Keep it in your pack just in case! Available at MEC.
Siltarp in action
Potable Aqua PURE electrolytic water purifier: For the backpacker! Have you ever clogged your ceramic filter with silt or had the batteries in your Steripen die? Either way, you need a Potable Aqua PURE device. The solution the PURE creates kills everything, and the long battery life and solar panel ensure you will always be able to treat water when you need to (just be sure to keep some table salt with you). It is tiny and weighs less than 4 oz so it's perfect for lightweight backpacking! You can also treat up to 20 litres of water at one time, so it's effective for families. For a full review, please see this post. Available at select retailers.

(Disclosure: I am a Potable Aqua Brand Ambassador.) 
Potable Aqua PURE electrolytic water purifier
Therm-a-Rest Treo chair: This is still on my wishlist, but too cool not to recommend. It folds down to only 4.5"x10.5"! At 2 lbs 4 oz, I wouldn't take it backpacking, but I would definitely take it camping or to the beach! We have a small vehicle and weren't able to bring 4 camp chairs on our 3.5 week road trip, but would definitely be able to fit 4 Treo chairs! Available at MEC and Atmosphere in Canada. Available at REI in the US.

Therm-a-Rest Treo Chair

KEEN Gift Card: For the person who has everything, get them a KEEN gift card! They have a huge selection of high quality footwear from hiking boots, winter hikers, backpacking boots, and sports sandals to casual shoes and boots. I love my Durand waterproof hiking boots! Available from KEEN, MEC, and select retailers.

To enter to win any pair of shoes or boots from the KEEN Canada website (open to Canadian residents only), see this post for details on the HUGE #ThankfulForFamilies Instagram contest!

(Disclosure: I am a KEEN #FollowYourFeet Campaign Ambassador. To learn how you can earn a #FollowYourFeet patch, see this post.) 

KEEN Durand Mid WP Boots

Experience Gifts

For the person who has everything, get him/her the gift of experience! Cool options in the and around Calgary include:
  • Ski Resort Loyalty Cards (RCR Rockies Card, Lake Louise Plus Ski Card, Sunshine Card) 
  • Gift cards for Winsport - Luge, Skiing, Mountain Biking, or Zipline
  • Calgary Zoo, Heritage Park, Calaway Park, or Telus Spark day/annual passes


Now is your chance to win some great prizes! 

Prizes available include: 
  1. $99 Stormy Kromer Gift Card - Open to Residents of Canada & US 
  2. Technical Base Layers for Two from Terramar Sports (2 adult sets) - Open to Residents of Canada & US 
  3. UST Brands - Spright Lantern, Firestarter Kit 1.0 - Open to Residents of US only
  4. UST Brands - JetScream Whistle, FeatherLite First Aid Kit 2.0 - Open to Residents of US only
The giveaways end at midnight on November 25, 2015. Winners will be notified via email after the drawing is over and need to respond within 48 hours to claim their prize. This giveaway is not affiliated with Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+ or any other social media.

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  • I am a Brand Ambassador for Stormy Kromer, Potable Aqua, and Terramar Sports. I am also a #FollowYourFeet Campaign Ambassador for KEEN Canada. I have received free products to test, but all opinions are my own.
  • UST Brands kindly sponsored the giveaway because I'm a big fan of their great gear!
  • I have not been paid to endorse any of these products. 

More Gift Guides & Giveaways!

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


Ooh, the red & black plaid set would be awesome!

I'd keep one set of longies for myself and give the other to my grandmother who is always cold.

I need to buy my son a larger helmet for ice skating and skiing!

The fire kit would go to my husband who is the pyromaniac of the family.

Thanks for the guide and great giveaways! I need to restock our first aid kit so that's what I'd get safety wise! Would give the fire starter set and one set of base layers (I'd keep the other set for myself!) to my husband as a Xmas gift. Love gray/charcoal Stormy kit!

I would give my husband the base layers. He is a firefighter paramedic and active outdoors person.

We will be buying homestead type outdoor stuff this year. We bought our property a few months ago.

Love all these ideas! I'm going to look for firestarter kits for gifts this year and I love the idea of the whistle! We have them in life jackets but think that all seasons/sport need whistles: skiing, hiking, geocaching.
If I win the base layers I'll keep one for me and give one to my sister in law!

If I win 2 base layers I'd give on to my husband.

I couldn't get the link for for the gift sets to work for me, but I would go with a red color set. Hubby would get the second set of base layers.

Fantastic ideas! As for the base layers, if I won I'd keep one for myself and give the other to my husband. My kids have great winter gear, but I've been neglecting myself and hubby recently. We're in need of new stuff for ski season!

I like the Charcoal Petal Pusher Cap & Pink Frost Infinity Scarf

I'd probably give the base layers to my son and my husband.

I would get base layers for my son... he's getting big enough to need adult sizes.

bbrrrr.. i'm chilly. i'd wear both sets at the same time! (ok, maybe i'll share....;)

Love these gift ideas especially all the local experience ones!

I like the charcoal grey hat or the black one ...with coordinating scarf! (Ps the direct link isn't working)

For the base layers, I'd give one to my husband and one to my sister!

I'd keep all the Terramar base layers for myself, but my husband could have the original Stormy Kromer cap.



I'd give one base layer to my husband and keep the other 😀

I'd want to keep the lantern and fire starter kit, but if I had to pick someone else I'd give it to my Dad. After reading your gift guide I will be getting my son his own mini first aid kit to carry and we are all getting whistles in our stockings!

I would give my best friend one baselayer and keep the other! =)

I will buy bear spray for my family and gift the fire kit to my sister!

I would like the Charcoal Original Cap and Gray/Black Flannel Scarf from Stormy Kromer.

If I win 2 sets of base layers they will be Christmas gifts for my wife and my brother.

I recently bought some 100 hour candles. We don't lose power much but have trees near power lines that I am certain one day will be hit by snow and fall. I also have on hand some Mountain House meals if we get stranded at home.

I would give the fire starter kit to my husband

If I win the layers I would give them to my sister and mom

I would get the same hat that you've been wearing lately! Love it, it's so cute! If I won base layers I'd give them to myself (is that allowed?!) and my hubby.


I will give the base layers to my husband. He is a farmer and spend a lot of time outside.

I would love the pedal pusher cap and a scarf. I would keep one pair of base layers and give the other pair to my sister. Hubby would get the lantern and Firestarter. This year we will get our kids actual whistles (not just the ones on the chest strap on their hydration packs) and mini first aid kits for their packs.

I will give the firestarter to my brother in law!

I would like to get some walker slip on for my family!

If I won two base layers, I'd give the other to my 63-year-old dad, who also has Raynaud's syndrome and needs to stay warm.

For the gift sets, I like the charcoal original cap and grey/black flannel scarf.

The gift set from Stormy Kromer I like is the

Black Petal Pusher Cap & Black Idas's Mittens

If I win the 2 sets of adult base layers, I would keep one for myself and gift the second set to my BFF since junior high school and the better half of Double D, Diane S.

If I won the UST Brands gift set, I would gift it to myself. I don't have a set like this and really need one.

The safety gear I purchased for my family were flashlights and whistles.

I love this list thank you for being so helpful I look forward to entering the contest. ��

Thanks for all of the tips! It will make christmas shopping much easier for sure :)

I would LOVE to win any of these great prizes and thanks for all the great gift ideas!

I'd get The Parkland Vest in brick! Love it!

Charcoal Petal Pusher Cap & Pink Frost Infinity Scarf

I would give the base layers to my son who works outside a lot in construction - yes in the NH winters too.


If I win the Terramar Sports Technical Base Layers one would be for me and one for my husband.

The fire kit would be for my husband. He loves that kind of stuff.

If I win 2 Tarramar base layers for adults, I'd give them to my sister! We're planning to go snowshoeing and I am busy getting all the equipment she needs for her! She is very ill with melanoma right now and I think it would be wonderful for her to get outside and have an adventure! Planning to take it slowly of course but while she's still strong enough we need to concentrate on diet and exercise! We need to get her out to have some fun! She needs to keep her skin covered and protected from the sun, Terramar base layers can help her do that!

If I were to win the UST Brands Spright Lantern and Firestarter Kit 1.0 again I would give it to my sister! She's been busy with college, and dealing with melanoma (Doctor removing spots of cancer every 3 months for the last 5 yrs). Very depressing! She need to get out and have some fun! I'm working on it!

I have a couple first aid kits, hadn't thought of putting needle nose pliers with them but that does sound like an awesome tip! I will have to get a new set of pliers to add to the safety first aid kit! Thank you!

I am currently saving to get the Backcountry Access T2 Rescue Package which contains..
457kHz Tracker2 transceiver with real-time display
(Will need 2 of these! 1 for sis & 1 for me!)
Quick-locking, easy-to-collapse avalanche probe
Depth markings on probe make determining depths simple
Telescoping shovel with ferrule-less blade


I would give the adult set to my sister and my future brother in law!!! THey would love it!

I would like the Stormy Kromer Blue Spruce Petal Pusher Cap and Blue Spruce Ida's Mittens.

I would give a base layer to myself and the other to my husband. We are taking a snowshoeing trip to Vermont in March and will almost certainly need it.

I would give the UST Brands set to my husband he is the prepper and worrier in the family.

I will be buying some Mountain House meals to keep around should we lose power for an extended time.

Adirondack Original Cap & Charcoal Tough Mitts

I would have to keep a set of the base layers for myself, and then gift one to my sister who works in an outdoor job all winter.

For safety gear, we've been restocking headlamps and each kid has bandages in his backpack. Still need whistles and hand warmers.

From Stormy Kromer I like the

CHARCOAL PETAL PUSHER CAP & PINK FROST INFINITY SCARF, my daughter would love it...and I just might have to borrow it lol.

I would give the base layers to my husband since he is outside alot during the cold winter here in Maine.

I would give the gift set to my husband, who enjoys ice fishing and outdoor sports.

I need to buy a first aid kit, some basic survival food just in case, and I want to get a paracord bracelet for my daughter and husband.

I need to buy a first aid kit, some basic survival food just in case, and I want to get a paracord bracelet for my daughter and husband.

I would give the gift set to my husband, who enjoys ice fishing and outdoor sports.

I would give the base layers to my husband since he is outside alot during the cold winter here in Maine.

Love those hat/scarf combos, especially the red and black plaid--so festive! Great gift guide, Karen!

Lots of the Stormy Kroner sets look snug and stylish, but the black mitts and cap are calling me!

The base layers are for my husband and I, the kids got theirs for their birthdays!

I would get the


The base Layer set would be great for my husband and myself

I would give the UST brand sets to my uncle, he is a hunter and outsdoorsman

I would choose the charcoal original cap with the black and gray scarf!

If I win the Terramar base layers I'll keep one for myself and give the other to my sister - she's always cold like me, so she could definitely use them!

If I win the lantern and fire starter kit, I'll give them to my oldest daughter; I think that would really get her excited about our next camping trip!

As far as safety gear goes, I bought a new first-aid kit for my backpack this year, but I'd like to get one each for the girls' packs too. I've also thought about getting a whistle for each of them - such a great idea.

I would keep the base layers for my husband and myself.

I would choose the Adirondack Original Cap & Charcoal Tough Mitts gift set

I would give the base layers to my teen son to use for biathlon and skiing.

At Stormy Kromer I would get the The Sugar Island Henley for myself

The White Petal Pusher Cap & Juniper Infinity Scarf is really, really cute!

I would keep one base layer for myself and give the other to my sister.

I would give the Terramar Base Layers to myself and my husband! New to Wyoming we are building our layers!

I would give the lantern to my son and the fire starter in my backpack!

We really need to add bear spray to our safety supplies!

I would share the base layers with my husband and my mom


I would give it to my husband he loves to hike

i love plaid , i would like something in plaid

We have to buy some more bear spray this year

i would give the UST Brands gift set to my hubby

Love the Red/Black Plaid Original Cap & Black Tough Mitts gift set!

I love the fire starter kit, and that's a safety I would buy for my family. I would give the other thermal layer to my husband for skiing!

I love the fire starter kit, and that's a safety I would buy for my family. I would give the other thermal layer to my husband for skiing!

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I like the Black Petal Pusher Cap & Black Idas's Mittens set.
Sadie B

I will give one set to my sister.
Sadie B.

I would give the UST Brands gift set to my brother in law.
Sadie B

Our family could use a new first aid kit for the holidays.
Sadie B.

I've never seen those lanterns before. Love it!

I would keep one of the base layer for myself and give one to my brother.

I will give the base layers to my girlfriend and myself since we're always buying stuff for the kids!

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