Gift Guide for the Outdoor Enthusiast

“Wilderness is not a luxury but necessity of the human spirit.” –Edward Abbey

I’m one of those lucky women who married an outdoorsman. Happiness to him is camping out under the stars, creature comforts be darned. I, on the other hand, lasted about and hour and a half during our one and only attempt to camp as a family in our backyard (turns out two people and a dog in a two person tent is not my idea of a good time.) Come the holidays, finding a gift for my husband can be hard - he pretty much only wants outdoor stuff, but a man can only have so many pieces of camo, am I right? I know I’m not alone in wanting to gift meaningful, practical, and useful gifts that aren’t the same old thing for my outdoorsy loved ones when the holidays come around. So below is a compilation of items perfect for the nature-lover that will not only be practical, but also feature great craftsmanship and are meant to last.

  1. Parks Project Sweatshirt | Who doesn’t love a comfy, wear with anything sweatshirt? These insanely soft Parks Project sweatshirts are made in the USA. What originally started as a volunteer project, Park Project now works directly with over 30 park conservancies across the US who have boots on the ground inside our national parks. With their apparel, you can represent over 60 national parks, from the Smoky Mountains, to Zion. American-owned company located in Marina del Rey, California | $70 |

  2. Cabin Porn | My husband rarely gets excited about anything. But when I sent him this book during his last deployment, he was ridiculously thrilled. Like most outdoorsmen/women, he yearns to live in a small cabin in the woods somewhere off the beaten path. This book, which started as a website created by a group of friends who preserved 55 acres of hidden forest in Upstate New York, combines the idea of a “cabin in the woods,” with gorgeous visuals to create a look book of possibilities to make even the biggest urbanite want a small cozy space amidst the wild. Published by a French-founded and owned company located in Paris, France | $30 |

  3. National Parks Print | Continuing on the National Parks trend, this screenprinted poster is one of the products of the 59 Parks Print Series, a collection of artwork by over 50 artists created in an effort to celebrate America’s national parks and use design to promote park attendance. For every purchase, 5% of the proceeds are donated to The National Park Service. Fun side fact; The founder of 59 Parks takes over 400 of the posters designed for this project on the road in a traveling exhibit titled The National Poster Retrospecticus. American-owned company located in Austin, Texas | Printed in the USA | $60 |

  4. Opinel No8 Garden Knife | Sure, you could get a super rugged, tactical knife, but why compromise aesthetics for function? This knife folds up to be the perfect pocket-knife size, but unfolded the 3-1/4” blade can handle some really rugged tasks. It’s also gorgeous enough that it can be passed down through generations. The locking mechanism for the knife, designed by Marcel Opinel in 1955, is also pretty ingenious. All of Opinel’s folding knives are still made by 128 year old family-owned French company. French-owned company located in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne, Savoie, France | Crafted in France | $16 |

  5. Ranger Station Candle | Odds are that your nature-loving friend still has a 9 to 5 job NOT located in the wild outdoors. To help fill the hole in their heart, these candles smell JUST like the outdoors, but in a really subtle way. I for one dislike candles because 99.9% of them are incredibly overpowering, but these guys are subtle enough to just emit a hint of their respective scents. Their Birch Bark scent is a favorite, but others available are Leather & Pine and Balsam Fir. They’re also more than just another candle: #1) The candles are hand-poured in Nashville, TN by the women of Thistle Farm, who are survivors of trafficking, prostitution, and addiction. 2) Each candle comes with a set of matches, and when the candle has finished burning, they can easily be used as beautiful low-ball glasses. American-owned company located in Nashville, Tenessee | $44 |

  6. Barefoot Architect | Ok, so this is/was a textbook (that I may or may not have had in my sustainable architecture class in grad school), but it is honestly a very, very cool resource. It’s one thing to want your own cabin in the woods, but another to actually build it and make it complimentary to it’s surroundings. This book has every possible building technique to make your home energy efficient, sustainable, and economical. Full of incredibly informative drawings that can help even the most novice of builders. Published by an American-founded and owned company located in Bolinas, California | $17.95 |

  7. North End Bag Company The Shaw Bag | Each and every one of North End Bag Company’s bags is hand made in a small studio space tucked down an alley in the ViBe arts district of Virginia Beach. Owner Aaron and Sarah McLellan champion the slow life, and their approach to craftsmanship reflects that mantra, with intention behind every stitch and rivet. Made from waxed canvas and tanned leather, this water resistant bag provides longevity while keeping belongings dry in the rain. This is an incredibly practical bag that can be seamlessly taken from hikes to daily office use and will become more beautiful over time. American-owned company located in Virginia Beach, Virginia | $248 |

  8. Pendleton Yakima Camp Blanket | What comes to mind when you think “wool blanket?” Scratchy? Itchy? Rough? Uncomfortable? This blanket is none of the above. Comfortable, luxurious, warm, and very rugged, this blanket is the perfect companion for any one who wants something that’s going to last and do its job of keeping you warm with or without a fire. This 100+ year old family-owned and operated company still makes their quilts from 100% virgin wool at their mill in Oregon — one of the only remaining woolen mills in operation left in the Unites States. American-owned company located in Portland, Oregon | Manufactured in Pendleton, Oregon | $149 - $199 |

*note: all of the comments above are my own opinion - and they feature no affiliate links

(aka I make no money if you do order from the above companies.)