Shopping for people who love to travel or spend most of their time on the road can be tricky. There is always the balance between giving them something that they can use while not taking too much space in their bag and never really being sure that you are picking the “right” gift.
Thankfully, we have plenty of adventurers on our staff and plenty more at home so we may have learned a thing or two when it comes to picking out the perfect gift for the wanderlusters in our lives. To help spread the cheer this holiday season, we have put together this great list of gift ideas for adventurers.
Send Them On Scavenger Hunts!
Scavenger hunts provide an excellent opportunity to learn more about landmarks while bonding with travel mates. Each experience is unique, educational, and exciting! Gift cards are available and can be redeemed in any one of our 400 cities worldwide.
For the Explorer
Explorers can be some of the hardest and, at the same time, the easiest people to buy for. If you live with someone who loves to pack up their stuff and rush out into the wilderness, then you may have a good idea of what outdoor gear they already have and what they are still missing or dreaming about. In the lead-up to the holidays or their birthday, make sure to keep an ear open for something that they are complaining about (i.e. a broken headlamp, ripped drybag), or mention that they wish they had. This is one of the best ways to start building up their wish list without having to come right out and ask them.
If you don’t live with the explorer, this may be a bit tricky but there is no need to worry—we are here to help! Below is a helpful gift guide for campers, hikers, kayakers, and bikers, and pretty much anyone who loves to spend a lot of time doing outdoor activities. While many of them can be purchased on Amazon, if in doubt over what to buy, head over to the closest outdoor adventure shop like REI or Decathlon to get some advice from trained professionals!
This nifty little camera burst onto the scene about a decade ago and everyone who was anyone was suddenly filming their journey on a GoPro. These rugged cameras are great for people who spend a lot of time outdoors, especially snorkeling or diving, as they are light, tiny, waterproof, and virtually indestructible. They are also set to wide-angle shots which means that you are almost guaranteed to get the shot that you want … almost.
If the adventurer in your life already has a GoPro, a wearable mount could make a great present. You can buy mounts for someone’s chest, head, wrist, or bike helmet which are perfect for people who do activities where they need/want to be hand’s free. Unlike some bulky tripods, mounts are very small and add very little weight to an already bulging backpack.
Depending on where you are traveling, hammocks can be extremely useful. They can serve as comfy places to grab a quick nap or, in a pinch, they can even serve as a bed for the night. While there are plenty of fancy ones that you can get that come with their own stands or hand-woven ones that you can buy while you are traveling, most of these are designed for people with plenty of space. For travelers, it is usually better to pick up a travel hammock.
Travel hammocks are ultralight and are usually made of quick-dry or water-resistant material. Rather than needing a stand, you can simply string them up between two trees. While they may come with their own suspension system (i.e. straps), you may also need to buy one separately particularly if you want ones that are suitable for hanging on trees.
Hammocks can be pretty pricey so if someone is just starting out and sleeping in hammocks for days on end during extended camping trips is certainly not for everyone, it is probably a better idea to get an inexpensive one before upgrading to a higher quality version.
Another great gift for the outdoorsy people in your life is a good-quality sleeping bag. Sleeping bags normally come in a variety of thicknesses that are specially designed for different temperatures. For people who love to hike to their camping spots rather than car camping or want to take it on a backpacking trip, the best bet is for one that is thick, lightweight, and compact at the same time.
Sleeping bags either come in rectangular shape or in a “mummy shape”; both of which have pros and cons. While rectangular-shaped sleeping bags are more useful in normal everyday life (i.e. they can be unzipped and used as a duvet or blanket), the mummy-shaped sleeping bags are much, much better at retaining heat. However, make sure that you get one that is long enough for the giftee. As a 6’0 tall woman, I can assure you that it is very difficult to sleep in a sleeping bag that is too short for you and you end up losing a lot of the warmth from the top of the bag.
Camp Stove and Cooking Equipment
Sometimes after a long, cold hike, there is nothing better than a cup of tea or hot chocolate or a warm dinner. A camp stove can be extremely useful if you are hiking in the backcountry or don’t otherwise have access to a place where you can prepare a meal. Camp stoves are normally made of stainless steel and have a small burner at the top.
Again, this is a time when you need to factor in portability and functionality when choosing the right stove. Biolite makes a great range of camping gear, including a camping stove that uses wood rather than propane for fuel which cuts down on one more thing that you have to carry.
Another great (and easier!) gift idea is to buy cooking equipment or utensils. Some of these are pretty fun to play with and you may be amazed at how much stuff can fit into one tiny space. If you have the time, try to purchase them at your local outdoor store so that you can check the weight, quality, and functionality of everything before you buy them. The last thing you want is to send your camper off with cooking equipment that leaks or breaks during the first day of a long trip!
Imagine being out on the trail and desperately needing a pair of pliers to fix something, a set of tweezers to remove that pesky splinter you picked up, or a can opener to open your dinner for the night. Now imagine that you have one handy tool that has all of that and more! Multi-tools are great gifts for pretty much everyone as they are portable and very useful.
As with most things on this list, they CAN be purchased on Amazon but getting them directly from a store is better if you want to double-check the quality.
When you are hiking or camping, headlamps with LED lights can be an absolute lifesaver (literally!). Much more convenient than flashlights, they can help you stay on the path and avoid any obstacles when you are walking, help you set up camp, and are perfect when you are lying in bed reading a book! Most headlamps are extremely portable and make a great gift for pretty much any outdoor lover. When you buy one, try to get one that is waterproof so that it can be used under any weather conditions, and make sure that the band is adjustable.
Clothing and Accessories
Clothing and accessories designed for outdoor activities are also great gifts. Base layers are particularly useful plus it is an easy way to get something that the giftee can use even if you aren’t too sure of their style. Try to get ones that are wicking so that they can help pull moisture away from the skin and help people stay dry for longer. Most sportswear companies sell base layers so it shouldn’t be too hard to find great quality ones.
When you are picking out clothing, try not to get anything too bulky like hoodies as they tend to take up a lot of space in backpacks and can be quite cumbersome to carry. They also usually take a long time to dry which means that you are effectively carrying around a wet sponge.
There is nothing worse when you are hiking than worrying about all of your stuff getting wet. Drybags are a great gift that can help ensure that your loved ones’ valuables stay nice and dry no matter what nature throws at them. Like most other things on this list, drybags come in many different shapes and sizes. Some are designed to hold your phone, camera, and tablet while others are full-size backpacks that can be used for water-based activities like kayaking, snorkeling, or swimming. When you buy one, make sure to check the seams and the top to make sure that they are completely waterproof.
National Parks Pass
If you want to give something useful that will keep giving all year round, why not give the gift of over 2,000 different national parks and recreation areas? A National Parks will give your adventure traveler the opportunity to explore some of the world’s most breathtaking scenery from the magnificent Grand Canyon, to the otherworldly landscape of Arches National Park to the pristine forests of Olympic National Park in Washington. At just $80 per year, this is an amazing steal for people who are frequent park visitors. And, how often can you tell someone that it is time to lace up their hiking boots since you just gave them the Grand Canyon for their birthday? That alone makes it well worth it!
To learn more about America’s fantastic national parks, make sure to check out our article on the Best National Parks in the United States.
For the City Slicker
Adventurers aren’t limited to hikers and campers and there are plenty of people who prefer an urban adventure in a bustling city or an epic road trip stopping in wonderful towns and villages along the way. Whether someone is navigating the chaotic streets of Old Delhi or watching hot air balloons fill the sky over Cappadocia, there are plenty of great gadgets that are extremely useful and make the perfect travel gifts!
Thanks to their godlike ability to transform electricity, these handy little gadgets can be your best friend when you are traveling and can be one of the best gifts for people who travel internationally frequently. Travel adapters come in two main varieties. The first is a basic one that simply serves as a way to help all of your electric plugs fit into sockets. The other type of adapter is one that also can convert the standard 220v that is used in many countries around the world to the 110V that is commonly used in the US. These are very important as they keep your electronics from getting accidentally fried.
Many of the new adapters and converters available also have convenient USB slots which means you can plug in your phone or tablet charger and your laptop at the same time through the same outlet. They are the most useful so try to get one with at least one USB slot if possible.
Reusable Water Bottle
When you are traveling, it can be heartbreaking to see the excessive amounts of plastic that humans create. It is even worse if you look down and see a plastic water bottle in your own hand. Since hydration is extremely important, especially when you are traveling, reusable water bottles are a great gift as they can significantly help cut down on the amount of plastic that is generated and as the icing on the cake, they are also much better for your health! Stainless steel water bottles are a great option as they make water “feel” cool (I know, it sounds strange but trust me) when you are drinking it, even on hot days. Hydro Flask and Yeti both make a great line of bottles so they are always a safe bet!
When you are buying a bottle, try to keep in mind the type of lifestyle that the giftee has. If they love sports then it may be much more useful to buy one that has a handle, a wide mouth, or a pull-up spout so that they are easy to carry and drink out of. Ones with clips are also very handy as you can hang them off of your backpack or purse for easy access.
Travel journals are an incredible way to record your thoughts and experiences during your trip, can help you stay organized, and can serve as scrapbooks that you can look back at at the end of your journey. There are tons of benefits to keeping a travel journal and you can help your friends, family, and colleagues get started by giving them the perfect journal. If someone is creative, blank books can be turned into canvases and for the ones who love to stay organized, line notebooks provide a great spot for creating to-do lists.
Some journals even come with little pockets where you can store tickets, postcards, receipts, dried flowers, bottle labels, and pretty much anything else that folds flat! If you want to learn more great ways that you can save your travel memories in a journal, check out our guide to collecting and preserving travel souvenirs.
Sometimes when you are getting ready for a big trip, it is easy to forget about bringing a daypack along. Suddenly, you arrive at your destination with a suitcase or a backpack and a tiny purse but with nowhere to actually carry the stuff that you need for a day of exploring. Day packs can be the perfect gift for people who love to spend the day meandering around a new town, hiking up to see the nearest castle or viewpoint, or spending a day at the beach and there are plenty of styles that are versatile enough that they can be used for both urban exploring and adventure travel (Nothing screams tourist more than carrying a backpack around all day).
When picking put a daypack, make sure to think about the person’s taste and lifestyle, and don’t forget to check how roomy the inside of the bag is. While it is great to have lots of pockets, if your bag is so compartmentalized that you can’t fit anything big in it like hiking boots or beach gear, it may not be as useful as you think it will and may end up at the bottom of a closet somewhere unused.
Another invention that has burst on the scene in recent decades—Bluetooth speakers have proven to be extremely useful for travelers. They are the perfect accessory when you are staying in hostels and want to create a lively mood or want to watch a movie with your new friends, are great for Zoom calls, or for simply lounging around in your hotel room. Bluetooth speakers come in all shapes and sizes so try to get the most lightweight ones that you can. Chances are they don’t need to be super powerful so in this case, you may be able to skimp on a little bit of the functionality if it means a drastic reduction in the size.
If you aren’t sure about Bluetooth speakers but still want to get your loved one something that they can use to listen to music, don’t forget about Bluetooth headphones. They come in very and are surprisingly easy to lose so you can never have too many pairs of them lying around!
Many travelers swear by these incredibly useful and lightweight bags that help compartmentalize your suitcase and help you stay much more organized throughout your trip. Packing cubes come in a wide array of shapes and sizes and can be specially designed to hold particular things (shoes, underwear, sweaters, etc) so you can find everything easily. They also make packing and unpacking a breeze as you simply need to throw a few bags into your suitcase rather than various articles of clothing. You can get packing cubes at most luggage or outdoor stores.
If you want to give your favorite urban explorer a fun-filled afternoon or evening, why not pick up one of our exciting scavenger hunts? These will have your loved ones (and maybe you too!) racing through their nearest and dearest racing through the streets! This is one of the most fun ways to learn about the history and culture of a new city and have a great time doing it.
Scavenger hunts can be purchased individually by city or for hard-core travelers, you can even pick up an Explorer Pass that is valid for an entire year and gives access to scavenger hunts across the country.
Let the Gift-Giving Begin!
We hope that this gift guide has given you a lot of good ideas for your holiday gifts for the outdoor enthusiasts and travel junkies in your life this year! If you are still scratching your head a bit, don’t forget that gift cards are always appreciated and useful and can be used towards everything from kayaks to crampons.
Frequently Asked Questions
Gifts for adventurers can be tricky, but there are plenty of useful presents that don’t take much space. Bluetooth speakers and travel adapters are great, or consider a voucher for city scavenger hunts!
People who love camping can always use a great multi-tool, travel hammock, or headlamp. For more inspiration, check out this gift guide for adventurers!