Yes it’s that time of year again – when you start finding yourself singing tunes from the Muppets Christmas Carol, wanting to live in a nest of blankets, and eating your own weight in mince pies. It might also be the time where you spend days staring blankly at your friends or family wondering what to get them, but fear not! Here’s my guide to the best Christmas gifts for outdoor lovers – perfect for climbers, hikers, adventurers and anyone just a little bit wild.
1. Barts Beanie, from £22
It’s a universal law that you can never have too many beanies – especially if you spend a lot of time outside in the cold and wind. Barts are a great go-to for cosy knitted headgear with a huge range of styles and colours on offer – so whether you’re off on a winter hike or just cosying up by the campfire, you’ll definitely be able to keep your ears warm.
2. Forest Trees notebooks, £7.50
Hedgerow Designs is the work of Catherine Frere-Smith, inspired by her walks through the woodlands and rolling landscapes of the Surrey Hills. Outdoorsy pals will love being able to jot down their thoughts in this pair of forest-themed A5 notebooks – if they can bear to spoil the pretty by writing in them.
3. 8b+ Monster Chalk bag, £19.90
For the climber with a wild side. 8b+are known for their quirky climbing gear, the most adorable of which are their monster-themed chalk bags. They all have their own personalities so there’s one to suit every rock monkey – whether they’re a Max or a Moritz.
4.Enamel Camping mug, £13.99
No true adventurer heads into the world without a trusty mug for warming drinks – hot chocolate and whiskey anyone? Enamel mugs are lightweight and tough enough for life on the trail, and these ones from Rear View Prints happen to look pretty stylish too.
5. Lifestraw Go Water Bottle, £35
When out on the trail, tap water is a bit hard to come by. Enter Lifestraw – a filter system that removes 99% of waterborne bacteria, including E. coli and salmonella from water. The Go Water Bottle incorporates this technology into a refillable water bottle, so you can scoop water from a river or pond and hike on – safe in the knowledge that you won’t be drinking any nasties.
6. Hawkridge wellies, £28
‘Tis the season of mud and puddles, and sometimes all you need is a good pair of wellies to splosh around in. These ones from Hawkridge will keep your feet snug and dry wherever you roam, and look stylish to boot (pun intended).
7.K&F Concept DSLR Backpack, £59.99
This rugged backpack can be split into two compartments: a padded section for a DSLR camera and gear in the bottom, with enough room in the top to carry the essentials for a day’s hiking. There’s even a handy side-access flap so you can grab your camera easily to get that perfect shot, and straps to carry a tripod on the side. Plus it’ll look great on Instagram.
8. Hedgerow by John Wright, £11.68 & Hedgerow Cookbook by Caro Wilson & Ginny Knox, £10
Know someone who spends most of their autumn climbing into bramble bushes in search of blackberries? These two books are the perfect gifts for keen foragers. In ‘Hedgerow’ John Wright lays out the entire year of seasonal foods that can be found growing wild, while the ‘Hedgerow Cookbook’ covers a whole host of delicious treats to make with the fruits of your labour.
9.Fjallraven Ovik Knit/Ovik Folk Jumper, £130/£145
Hailing from Sweden, Fjallraven gear is well equipped to deal with a bit of chill and wild weather. Their cosy Ovik jumpers are made of soft wool which wicks away moisture and stays warm even when wet. Each pattern comes in both male and female fit and makes a great insulating layer for a frosty winter walk.
10. Creative Countryside magazine subscription, £30/year
Creative Countryside is a beautiful online journal and quarterly printed magazine. It focuses on seasonal slow journalism – covering everything from everyday adventures to folklore. Great to curl up with on a rainy winter’s day (accompanied by a cuppa).
11. Black Diamond Moji Power Station, £58
Multi-purpose gear is a god-send when you’re trying to cut down weight in your rucksack. The Moji is a great example – serving one use as a powerful base camp lantern, and another as a USB charging point to keep cameras, phones and other small handheld electronics going strong while roaming far from home.
12. Prints by The Wheatfield, from £15.72
Not all walls are made of canvas (or highly technical ripstop nylon). For days when your adventure buddy has an actual roof over their head rather than a tent, these watercolour wall-art prints will help to bring the outside in. From nature-inspired quotes to beautifully drawn landscapes or flora and fauna ID charts, there’s something to suit everyone.
13. Fireforks, £8.85
If you’re going to have a campfire, it’s pretty inevitable that you’ll end up wanting to toast marshmallows. Rather than lug around toasting forks, with these nifty little inventions all you need is to find a long stick to act as a handle. Cheap, cheerful and a great stocking filler.
14. Opinel No. 8 knife, £23
In 1890, Joseph Opinel designed his first small foldable pocket knife, and after a few years he began to produce different sizes for different tasks. The most popular of these is the No.8 – a favourite outdoor bushcraft enthusiasts – that can be used for tasks like preparing food, cutting cordage, or even for a spot of whittling. Great for keen campers and outdoorsy types, or people who just wants a cooler alternative to a pair of scissors.
15. Custom OS map, from £16.99
Sure there are plenty of fancy GPS tools these days, but you can’t beat a good old paper map and compass for reliability. If you’ve got a cartophile in your life, they’ll love a custom OS map made specially for them. Just pick the centre point (maybe their house, or a favourite wild camping location?) and customise the design, then let OS do the rest – while you take the credit for being the best adventure pal ever.
16. Moon Necklace, £14
Everyone likes a bit of sparkle now and then. This tiny moon necklace will remind your outdoorsy friend of fun nights out camping, or you can choose another planetary body from BeautySpot’s collection (because there’s a whole universe out there to explore).
17. Climb On Crème, £13.50
You can always tell a climber by the skin peeling off their hands. Climb On Crème is an all-natural balm that helps to repair the damage and moisturise hands dried out by chalk. It can also be used to relieve sunburn and windburn, sooth chapped lips, treat cuts and scrapes and eczema plus about 100 other uses – an ideal all-rounder for anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors.
18. Klean Kanteen 800ml, £18.95
Say goodbye to plastic water bottles, and replace them with this BPA-free and eco-friendly stainless steel number. Choose between the Sport cap for easy drinking while working out, or go for the Twist cap to make extra sure nothing gets wet when carrying it in your bag. Both caps also come with handy loops, so they can be attached to a bag with a karabiner.
19. Craghoppers Womens Kiwi Trekking Pants, £45
Gone are the days of hideously baggy walking trousers with a rustle you can hear five miles away. These tough, outdoors-proof leggings from Craghoppers not only look stylish, but are stretchy and comfortable enough for a full day on the trail. The fabric is treated with SmartDry technology, which repels stains as well as water, and there are even pockets to store all the small essentials. Team with a base tee and lightweight waterproof for no-holds-barred adventures all year round.
20. Sealskinz Halo Running Gloves, £40
Does your running partner lose their enthusiasm as soon as it turns a bit colder? Help them out (and stop their excuses) with this pair of unisex running gloves. They’ll help to retain heat against the winter chill, and they even come with touchscreen-friendly fingertips so your pal can update Strava without removing a glove and risking frostbite. There are even bands of LED lights across the back – visible from over 150 metres away – to help you stand out in the winter gloom.
21. Mountain Horse Boots, £144.95
Although these are technically riding boots, they’re actually great for all sorts of uses. They’re chunky, tough and waterproof so work well for country walks, with the grippy sole helping you to keep upright even when it’s a bit muddy. Once you clean the muck off they’re stylish enough to wear around town or even to the office, with a shock-absorbing sole to keep you comfortable all day long.
22. DIY Tree Stump Candle Holders, Free(ish)!
Sometimes the best Christmas presents are ones you’ve made yourself. This tutorial shows you how to craft tealight holders out of tree stumps, which you can give individually or secure together into a stunning rustic centrepiece. And all for the price of a few tealights.
23. Joby Gorillapod, £20 – £70
The Gorillapod is a great tripod solution for photographers on the go. It’s compact and lightweight, but the real selling point is the flexible legs that can be contorted to wrap around posts, trees, railings or even the side of rocks. The Gorillapod comes in various sizes to hold smartphones, compact cameras and even DSLRs – so you’ll always be able to get that perfect shot.
24. Uniqlo Flannel Shirt, £24.90 (adults), £12.90 (kids)
Rugged, cosy and goes with pretty much anything: no nature-lover’s wardrobe is complete without a flannel shirt (or five). Uniqlo offer a huge range of patterns for men, women and kids, so you can kit the whole family out in matching plaid.
25. Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody, from £170
If you’re looking for quality outdoors clothing, Patagonia are hard to beat. The Nano puff hoody (in both male and female fit) is a lightweight but cosy hooded jacket that packs down small, but has a synthetic Primaloft filling so you’ll stay warm even if you get a bit damp. Patagonia products aren’t cheap, but it’s worth the investment to get rugged, high-performing gear from one of the most ethical and sustainable brands there is.
26. Feuerhand Storm Lantern, from £19.90
Feuerhand have been making hurricane lanterns for over 100 years and they’re still the best in the business. While they might not be as practical as electric torches, there’s something magical about carrying a proper paraffin lamp through the woods or using it to light up a campsite. Plus it’s a great way to warm up cold hands.
27. Bibico Chunky Knit Socks, £29
Bibico is a fair-trade and sustainable clothing brand based in the beautiful city of Bath. As well as tops, dresses and jumpers they have a selection of cosy hand-knitted socks made from 100% soft wool or mohair. They work great as boot socks for stomping around the countryside, or for warming up frozen toes after an outdoor adventure.
28. ‘Wilderness Weekends’ by Phoebe Smith, £10.99
Author and adventurer Phoebe Smith has slept wild all across the UK, from caves to mountain tops. In this book she reveals 26 of the country’s best places for a weekend wild camp, with detailed maps and tips to help plan your next adventure. Just don’t forget to pack a sleeping bag!