Want to give the gift of happiness this holiday season? Science says experiences make us happier than material belongings. And given that fresh air is shown to have myriad health and mental benefits (Hello, Vitamin D!), getting outside is a surefire way to guarantee that we’ll feel better and fun.
But when it comes to experiencing and, more importantly, enjoying, the great outdoors, the right gear can help. Whether you’re looking to buy for the causal wanderer, novice adventurer or the experienced voyager in your life, here are some gifts that are sure to please this holiday season.
For the Hiker Always Heading to the "Backcountry":
Because every outdoor enthusiast needs a good pack to carry the necessary supplies on treks through the hills, backpacks like this lightweight Marmot model are perfect for a day hike or overnight. For longer trips, Osprey’s Ariel pack (available for women and men) can fit upwards of 70 pounds of gear without sacrificing comfort. A book of best hiking trails in your area for inspiration or an annual National Parks pass are other options sure to please your favorite adventurer.
For the Friend Who Never Leaves Their Fur Baby Behind:
Give your favorite pet parent the gift of letting their pup tote his own supplies — might we suggest a collapsible water bowl, organic paw salve and a few tennis balls? — with a rucksack made for four-legged companions. This one is water resistant, features a safety stripe and comes with a harness for treks that don’t venture into off-leash territory. For the friend who wants to exercise her dog without putting in the miles herself, try a ChuckIt ball launcher (Bonus: throw in a glow-in-the-dark ball for after-dark rounds of fetch). Trips to the park have never been so fun.
For the Special Someone Whose Head Is Always in the Clouds:
Some of nature’s most majestic shows happen after the sun goes down. Why not plan a night of star gazing with special someone in your life? Wrap up a cozy outdoor blanket, a cute thermos perfect for spiked cocoa and guide to the night sky for an unforgettable outing. For the aspiring astronomer who takes the stars more seriously, consider a portable telescope. Add in a trusty headlamp to avoid contributing to the dreaded light pollution on your way to your favorite night time spot.
For the Adrenaline Junkie Who Isn't Afraid of Heights:
What to get that one friend who won’t stop raving about Free Solo? The gear they need to get out in the crag and “send” some routes themselves. A harness package from Black Diamond is the first step to suiting up safely for the sport. Feeling generous? Add in a pair of climbing shoes (note: they should be snug!) and a handy reference guide for all the knots they’ll need to tie. Know someone who is extra extreme (and not averse to being outside when the temperature drops below freezing)? Try a pair of ice axes for a visit out to scale frozen turf a la your favorite characters on Game of Thrones.
For the Beach Bum Who Craves Their Toes in the Sand:
Know someone who spends every second of summer at the beach? Some gear upgrades will make the outings even more relaxing. Try a colorful umbrella that will make their place on the playa easy to spot, or a collapsible wagon that will make transporting their cooler, towels and beach toys a breeze. On the cheaper end of the spectrum a set of plastic beach coasters can keep their drinks, snacks and phone sand-free.
Add in some sunscreen as a stocking stuffer to make sure they’re protecting their skin while soaking up those rays.
For the Former Athlete Who Always Needs to Win:
Nothing gets the blood flowing faster than some healthy competition. And when it comes to ourdoor yard games, there are plenty of options to please the wannabe pro athlete in your life. Spike Ball is fast-paced, super fun and portable — you can play it anywhere from your yard to your roof to the beach. Those who have a yard (or live near a spacious park), might enjoy a kit with everything they need to start up that Disc Golf league they’ve always dreamed of or a corn hole set that’s perfect for their annual bash on the 4th of July. Hook games like TikiToss are surprisingly fun (and deceivingly challenging) for those who want to play without having to actually move. And for your friend who seems to still be living on frat row? This giant game of “Pong.”
Scouted is internet shopping with a pulse. Follow us on Twitter and sign up for our newsletter for even more recommendations and exclusive content. Please note that if you buy something featured in one of our posts, The Daily Beast may collect a share of sales.
Want even more holiday shopping ideas? Check out our huge list of gift guides for everyone on your list.