We know shopping for gifts for hunters, anglers, and other outdoor enthusiasts can be as difficult as bagging a Boone & Crocket prize buck. If you’re struggling to find an appropriate gift for the outdoor adventurer in your life, here are a few gift-giving pointers and ideas to suit a range of tastes and budgets.
Choosing the Right Gift
When sourcing a gift for an outdoors person, camper, hiker, or an avid hunter or fishing enthusiast, think about who they are and what makes them tick. What strengths and qualities do they have that attracts them to and makes them love their pastime? Odds are, they are most likely practical and resourceful people, who also enjoy a bit of a thrill.
Experiential gifts—that is, presents that provide an experience that is special or unique to the person—are truly awesome.
Give someone a helicopter ride or chartered flight to let him have a birds-eye view and a different perspective over a favorite area for hunting, fishing, hiking, or camping. That goes for new, unexplored territories as well.
For real thrill seekers, is there something that they still long to do? If so, you may be able to give them the chance to realize that high adrenaline adventure right now—think skydiving, whitewater rafting, abseiling, zip lining, or bungee jumping.
Give them a surprise visit to a special outdoor spot where they camped as a child, where they proposed, where the biggest and best fish/flora/animals always are. Get creative in the wrapping and packaging—a key to the cabin or a series of clues and signs may pique an innate sense of curiosity and tracking instinct.
You can never get enough knowledge of the great outdoors and how to properly and safely use the tools and equipment needed to survive in outside environments.
Consider a magazine subscription to a publication that specializes in that person’s favorite interests. There are many specialized online and print publications out there for knife enthusiasts, hunters, fishermen, hikers, campers, kayakers, and boaters.
Alternatively, you can give them a book written by a favorite author, an instructional manual or an autobiographical and inspiring adventure tale.
For anyone learning how to hunt or wanting to increase their knowledge and techniques, courses are available in most states for safe and responsible hunting practices approved by the International Hunter Education Association (IHEA-USA).
Other types of courses that may appeal to outdoorsy people include scuba diving instruction, shooting or archery lessons, or outdoor survival sessions.
Purely practical gifts for outdoorsmen will never go to waste. The necessities of life, food, and water are even more critical to have on hand in the outdoors, even for those people who do anticipate fueling and sustaining themselves through their hunting and gathering expeditions.
Fill a new backpack with water bottles, flasks, thermoses, water filters, rehydration mixes, lightweight freeze-dried or dehydrated food, protein bars, and snacks.
Keep it clean. Understandably, most outdoor types will not likely be impressed with an overly complicated dopp kit or any unnecessary toiletries to lug about. However, there are basic hygiene items that can be packaged up into smaller products to take on an outdoors trip. A first aid kit is a necessity, as are biodegradable and environmental friendly soaps, body and hygienic wipes to prevent infections, small bottles of sunscreen, and insect and mosquito repellent wipes.
Give a Good Knife
Good quality knives, of course, are always a fantastic gift for anyone enthusiastic about exploring the outdoors, whether camping, hiking, hunting, or fishing.
For practical and functional use, choose a knife that suits the type of activity at hand. Knives are usually classified in a way that describes how the blade is set into the handle and operates from it—fixed, auto, flipper, folding, and out the front (OTF).
Features to look for include good handle grips, sharp blades, serrated or smooth edges, and the degree of point on the tip. For passionate knife specialists, look for something new and unique to add to their collections.
Knife accessories that make for good gifts are pouches, sharpeners, spin tops, pens, and key organizers. Personalize a knife with engraving or etching, and they may have a keepsake for generations to come.
For rifle hunters, there may obviously be the choice of a new gun or weapon. Useful accessories and stocking stuffers for these folk may include things to help with a good aim—rifle rests, rifle scopes, or fiber optic sites. Ammunition and bullet holders will never go amiss.
For added safety, look at high-grade earplugs for hearing protection from the noise of the gun’s blast and hi-visibility safety vests to prevent accidental hunting deaths. For attracting prey, there are duck callers, deer callers and elk callers—and scent killers, so animals do not pick up that a hunter is on the way.
Do Not Forget the Pets
Many hunters and outdoors people take their dog, whether a domestic or specialized hunting breed, out on an excursion. Pets deserve presents, too, and they can benefit from some specialized equipment.
There are collars that are designed for training and hunting, which can transform into an emergency rope, or chest protectors and vests that can prevent cuts and scrapes when running through bush. Maybe your hunter transports the dog on the back deck of a truck, but for cab dogs, a backseat cover will help to keep interior vehicle surfaces clean.
Get Set for Camping
Whether going back to real basics and being extremely rough-and-tough or camping with a few amenities, there are still a few necessary things every camper needs—bedding, shelter, and food equipment. The overall range of camping accessories is huge!
Food is always a good place to start, so food utensils and cooking equipment always make good gifts. Camping crockery and cutlery can be durable using quality metals or made from disposal materials for one-time use.
Interlocking cutlery is great for saving space, and it makes sure that losing one piece along the way isn’t a possibility. Crockery and cups may be light and collapsible or you can opt for outdoor plate and bowl sets designed for a culinary feast!
Impenetrable food storage containers are essential in the outdoors. Nobody wants to find ants or insects sharing food supplies. Zip-lock bags, plastic containers and bins, and bags will all do the job well—and you can fill them with other items to take on the journey.
Set the scene for a good night’s sleep with a sleeping bag, throw blanket, roll pad, camp cot, or airbed. Sleeping under the stars is romantic and restful, but a good tent, overhead canopy, or another shelter will protect from the elements. Ground-based tents and vehicle rooftop tents are great, or go that one step further! Check out the newer suspended tents that can be hung between trees to avoid ground predators and sleeping on the hard or damp ground.
Other useful equipment can include solar or battery-operated lights, GPS locator and emergency beacons—and don’t forget a pair of binoculars to zoom in on your prey.
Give Good Clothing and Gear
Most hunting involves a bit of walking—or wading. That means that a good pair of boots are essential. Along with the boots, give them some new socks and a little sound advice for breaking in a new pair of boots. It takes a few weeks for them to mold to their foot structure so it’s best to avoid wearing brand new boots to the hunt.
Other specialized clothing includes ultra-tough, light-weight and quick-drying t-shirts, jackets, vests, pants, leggings, and socks. Look for materials that allow the wearer to be cool during hot conditions and warm when the temperatures drop. Layering clothing is the key—what is worn closest to the body should absorb moisture. The middle layers should keep you warm, and outer layers should offer protection from inclement weather.
Hats and caps can provide protection from exposure to the sun or be warm and thermal to maintain body temperature in the cold, such as beanies. Gloves can have added padding and rubberized grip materials to help you grip your hunting weapon effectively.
A good pair of sunglasses will provide protection from the glare, and wind. Boating and water devotees will appreciate polarized glasses with different tinted lenses to minimize the glare from the water. Sunglasses for hunters should be shatterproof to protect from recoil, have a sweat bar to prevent perspiration from running into eyes, and be anti-fog treated so they stay safe in the field.
Take a Shot with a Camera
Let’s face it. Outdoors people see some of the best scenery and wildlife in their natural habitats in the way that many people never will. The gift of a camera can capture that—and maybe allow the hunter or outdoor adventurer to show the experience with others.
A handheld camera can capture those pristine surroundings or close-up shots. Even better, a head-mounted GoPro can film the action as it happens or a waterproof camera can capture underwater shots.
Remote controlled drones can check out the lay of the land ahead of a trek, but remember to check the laws on usage for your particular state. They may include height restrictions, distances from airports, and trespassing limitations. Camera accessories also make great gifts— tripods, selfie-sticks, spare lenses, batteries and storage bags.
For the Urban Jungle
Sometimes it is just not possible for those in urban environments to get out into the wilds as much as they would like. Perhaps a gift can simulate a favorite activity to bide some time or keep someone in physical training for when the outdoor opportunity arises.
Many places have shooting ranges for target practice, indoor ski slopes, orienteering activities around a local park, or indoor rock climbing facilities. Or, give an outdoors gift in the city where they live—hire a kayaking guide, join a horseback group, or, if you are in Chattanooga, take just a short ride out of town to tour the underground waterfalls at Ruby Falls.
Give Some Additional Outdoor Fun
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box! There are many items that make great gifts for people who love to be outside. What about a portable hammock that will swing in the treetops for unwinding after a hard day. New accessories for a mountain bike can add some excitement to those off-road trails. As long as it speaks to their favorite outdoor activity, it will make a great gift!
Even if it seems like an avid hunter or outdoors person already has everything they need, there will always be something useful to give them for the holidays. There is such a wide range of clothing, equipment, and gadgets to enhance their favorite past-time. Your choice of a thoughtful and caring gift will contribute to a safe and happy holiday season for everyone in the field!