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A Gift to Enjoy the Outdoors

 
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It is often a challenge to find just the right gift for everyone on your list, particularly if you are trying to find something for the outdoor enthusiast. Just a few questions that can be asked in casual conversation can help steer you to a thoughtful and useful gift that will serve him or her for years to come.

First, before we get into the questions, we'll share a word of caution. Many of the items that people will use on the trail are highly personal – packs need to be fitted to the person's frame; boots come in so many different options that it is difficult to get the proper fit without having your gift recipient there to allow our trained boot fitters to find the right shoe; even something as innocent as a pocket knife is quite an individual choice for how it fits in the hand, how it will be used, how much it weighs, etc. Don't despair; there are plenty of items to fill their packs to hit the trail.

Use questions like "How was your Hike Yesterday" to begin gathering information to select the thoughtful outdoor gift. 

Now for those questions… An easy one to lead off with is "How was your hike yesterday? Where did you go?" From their answer you can learn if they are a hiker who likes to see the sights and look for birds, or if they are up for more adventure. For those who take things at a little more leisurely pace and enjoy a less technical trail, such as the trail at Bass Lake or Price Lake, a pair of binoculars or a guide to local birds will be a good bet. If your hiker spent time on the Crest Trails at Grandfather Mountain, they enjoy a challenge. Some suggestions for this hiker might be a stuff sack, which will make it easier for them to put their stuff away in their pack and to find it again later, a rain cover, or a lightweight cooking stove.

“Where did you camp?” is another question that can help you choose a gift. If their answer is "On the ‘A’ Loop at Price Lake," then you know that they are a car camper. You may consider a heavier cookware set that will serve them for a number of years. If their answer is "up on Carver's Gap” (along the Appalachian Trail), you might consider a lightweight flashlight for camp use, in order to save the power in their headlamp.

To get a bit more specific, here are six items that anyone who enjoys the outdoors will appreciate.

109528.jpgThe Mini Filter with 16-ounce Pouch by Sawyer – Water is always a concern when you are in the backcountry or in some foreign countries. The Mini Filter from Sawyer is a lightweight, yet powerful answer. It can filter up to 100,000 gallons of water from any fresh water source and removes bacteria like giardia and e. coli

Synthetic Fabric Cleaner by McNett – Outdoor enthusiasts have a lot of money tied up in their gear. The Synthetic Fabric Cleaner will help keep jackets, fleeces, and soft shells in tip-top condition and will help prepare them when they need to be treated with new DWR. 

Groove Fresh-Filtered Water Bottle by Camelbak – Everybody needs to drink more water! This bottle will keep 375 plastic disposable bottles out of the waste stream. Just fill it with tap water and out comes filtered water. Great for removing chlorine found in many municipal water systems. 

115983_glow.jpgBuckshot Speaker by Outdoor Tech – For tunes on the go, you can't go wrong with the Buckshot Speaker. Connect to it via Bluetooth and get up to 16 hours of music from one battery charge. Great, full sound.

FireStone 2-Stage Knife Sharpener – This easy-to-use knife sharpener will keep a sharp edge on your favorite knife. 

Disc Golf Set by Innova – Not all time on the trail has to be hiking from one place to another. Find an open bald and set up your own disc golf course. This set contains a driver, mid-range, and putter. 

Some other gift ideas for the hiker include some dreaming material, like a map and or guide to the Grand Canyon or the Appalachian Trail. Audubon Field Guides are wonderful reference books with information and terrific photos. You may also want to consider a Mast Store Gift Card, which comes with free advice when your favorite hiker brings it to the store.