Well, it’s Black Friday, the day in which we honor our great American tradition of consumerism by getting into fights with strangers over reduced-price toys and electronics. What a day. But, here I am, about to jump on the bandwagon and send out into the ether one more article about stuff to buy. It is officially the holiday season, after all.
I’ve put together a list of stocking stuffers for the outdoorsperson in your life. Each of these items is under $20 and each of them is something that I carry with me whenever I head out into the woods. You can’t go wrong with any of them.
Canteen Cup for Nalgene: Alright, so I know I have mentioned this before, but back when I was in high school, I was pretty obsessed with Man vs. Wild, Bear Grylls’ first show. One of those immensely useful pieces of gear he often carried was a canteen with a metal cup that fit perfectly around the bottom. It was lightweight, took up no additional space, and could be used to boil water or cook. That is an elegant piece of gear.
Unfortunately, he always carried a traditional, military-style canteen, which I never wanted to purchase. I have always carried my water in nalgenes (I have to assume Nalgene is the most popular water bottle brand), so I was very pleased when I found a canteen cup that fit perfectly on my preferred water bottle. I carried this with me on every fire assignment, and it was responsible for making me many, many cups of coffee on days when I really needed them.
The Perfect Sock Combo: Cold feet in the morning and blisters at the end of the day stand as two of my least favorite things. Here’s a combo, worked out over years working as a wildland firefighter that I promise will keep your feet warm and significantly cut down on your blisters: nice wool socks like smartwools on top and toesox liners underneath. You can wear them for days (and I have–we regularly wore the same socks for 4-5 days of serious hiking and working). The liners absorb your sweat, and the smart wools keep you warm and cushioned. Plus, the individual toes in the liner reduces your risk of blisters. I know that a lot of men out there probably won’t love the idea of putting on toe socks before heading out into the field, but take it from a former wildland firefighter: these puppies work.
Paracord: This is not a particularly sexy gift, but it is a practical one. There are enumerable uses for paracord, from hanging food and meat to constructing shelters or just lashing something down on your pack. It packs small and is quite strong–one strand capable of hoisting about 550 pounds.
Shooting Gloves: Good shooting gloves are a wonderful thing. My preferred set are wool with a fleece lining. They have individual fingers with a mitten top that folds over to keep your fingers warm when you don’t the extra dexterity. The quick transition from warm fingers to shooting fingers is a must. But, even if you aren’t hunting, they’re great for photography or just using your smartphone.
Buff: Something akin to an infinity scarf, these things work in all manner of different scarf and headband configurations. I typically wear my buff as a scarf, pulling it up over my nose and mouth on cold mornings. When worn like this it both conceals the features of my face and makes those frigid mornings in the duck blind a little bit easier.
Hopefully you found something here to fill the stockings of your loved ones. If not, here are a couple other lists of gift ideas I’ve put together for the hunters, fishers, foragers, and outdoorspeople in your life:
And again, click any of the links or pictures of these products to see them on Amazon. These are affiliate links, so anything you purchase during that session, I get a small kickback, which helps me to create more content. Happy Holidays!