The holiday season is full of events, activities, and reasons to celebrate. But these months can also wreak havoc with your budget. If you’re flooded with invites and don’t want to break the bank, consider a few of the items below for your outdoorsy friends, family, coworkers, and gift-exchanges. Better yet, if parties fall through due to bad weather, double-booked calendars, or the seasonal flu…you get to keep them for yourself! (Which is 100% healthy self-care, especially the first two.)
This one’s a no-brainer. Winter? Cold? Rainy? Dark by 4 p.m.? The answer is always coffee. With Cascadia Instant Coffee you’ll have a hot or cold pick-me-up by just adding water. Available in 6- or 20-packs in the single serve size, there’s also a 33-serving jar for emergencies. (And yes, running low on coffee is an emergency.)
Gift your loved ones regular or decaf roasts in a variety of delicious blends. From single origin regional specialties to custom crafted brews, there’s something for everyone. Order extra just in case your regular supply of beans dwindles. No-one wants to drive to the store when it’s icy, snowy, or No Pants Friday.
Along the same lines, Treehouse Originals Drinking Chocolate comes as individually packaged, single-serve saviors. Perfect for keeping the kids warm on a hike (or mixing with Cascadia Instant for a mocha-esque kick) these small-batch hot chocolates can even be ordered with sea salt, coconut, and chili/cinnamon. Purchase in 2-, 5-, or 10-packs or spring for the 8-ounce mega bag for sharing.
When camping, always carry extra of the important things: bungies, rope, zip ties, coffee packs, and tent stakes. Better yet, order glow-in-the-dark, ultralight stakes with hi-vis loops. These will charge after just a few minutes in the sun and provide a delightful glow all night long, according to reviews. Avoid tripping in the night thanks to their fairy-ring ambiance.
Matches are notorious for getting soggy and not all of us were Scouts. The UltraFire knife does double duty as a handy outdoor tool and fire starter, thanks to a firesteel rod in the blade cover. This addition generates sparks which burn at 5,500 degrees and that’ll tinder every time.
The same company, Renegade Outdoor, also makes asaw system for under $25. It comes with a 4” blade and blade cover but is refillable with any length t-shank jigsaw blade. Even with the included blade, this saw weighs less than an ounce overall for easy packing.
Nature gets everywhere. Make a clean workspace for meal prep, coffee heating, or just setting things down mud-, grass-, and bug-free thanks to flexible cutting mats. These are just over 11x14” and can be curled as a funnel or hung on hooks to dry.
Or upgrade to theCollapsible Cutting Board with Cutlery Tray. A cutting board, water-holding basin with drain, and underside silverware storage bin, it collapses fairly flat for storage.
The Pacific Northwest isn’t terribly buggy, especially compared to some of our southern states. But at night…while you’re trying to sleep…any bug in the tent is one too many. So while you’re puttering before bed, run the Zapout which advertises that it can keep a 200-square-foot zone bug-free for up to 12.5 hours. There’s a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, three light settings, an emergency flasher, and it’s weather- and waterproof. The small hanger can even work on your backpack for wandering entomophobes.
Don’t be THOSE campers who blast music as they stomp through the wilderness. But if you’re not too far from civilization, this Craftsman radio is a fun extra for your trip. Battery powered, it has an AM/FM and NOAA weather alert radio, integrated solar panel, hand crank for charging, and even LED flashlight. You can charge small devices from it but be prepared to crank until your arm falls off…trust me. The whole thing weighs less than ½ pound so it’s easy to tuck away until needed.
The NY Times top pick for best packable camp towel, this is slightly more than $25 for the body size but absorbs four times its weight in water, folds into the included pouch, and dries 70% faster than cotton towels thanks to a snap loop and polyester/nylon microfiber blend. There’s even antimicrobial treatment built in to minimize any odors you might have picked up along the trail.
For smaller/lighter needs, PackTowl comes in face and hand sizes or the jumbo beach size for super-soggy adventures.
In addition to their mission for doing good in the world, Miir makes fantastic double-insulated stainless steel products. This 12-oz Miir camp mug has been Jason's favorite for years - both at home and on the trail. So for this holiday season, Cascadia Roasters is excited to introduce our own custom “Peace Out Bigfoot” design to a limited run of this perennial-favorite Miir camping cup.
This 12-oz cup is perfectly paired with Miir's Press-fit Slide Lid. Slide to cover the mouth opening when not in use for an extra dose of insulation and splash-proof peace of mind.
Camping with kids or want something reusable for trips to the big game, beach BBQ, or next dinner party? Invest in a stack of Party Pal trays which are great for one-handed eating. Hold the single handle underneath and the Party Pal fits a 9” paper plate, up to 32-ounce glass/can/bottle/cup, napkin, and silverware. They nest together and are dishwasher safe. The platform could also hold a small coloring book with crayons or markers safely in the cup holder or host card games if you’re dexterous.
Small, Lightweight Kid Stuff
No matter how long the hike, what you decide to bring often comes down to size and weight. Especially if kids are involved. They may be eager to explore, climb, and play during the day but as night falls, restlessness and screen-time withdrawal kicks in. Here are a few easy, inexpensive things to keep spirits up while in the great outdoors.
- Hoyle Waterproof Playing Cards: Because you’re never to young to be the Old Maid or try your first Gin (Rummy).
- Mystical Fire: Imagine the bedtime stories you’ll invent in front of a fire that morphs from deep orange into green, blue, yellow, and purple.
- Tenacious Tape Gear Patches: Kids do two things simultaneously: break stuff and get really sad when things break. Fix the spot on the spot with precut patches or embellish with Bigfoot, wild animals, and nature-themed decorations.
- Nature Explorer Kit: Let your littles carry their own gear with this handy, lunchbox-sized case. It contains loaded with binoculars, magnifying glass, crank charged flashlight and more…including a handheld fan for when it’s sooooooooooo hoooooooooooooooooot.
Itty Bitty Versions of Things
These might be a bit of a splurge if you only hike once or twice a year, but you can get just about everything in camping sizes these days. With powders, tablets, flakes, and packets, these workaday items put the TSAs 3-ounce limits to shame.
- Katadyn Micropur MP1 Water Purification Tablets: These little guys kill bacteria, viruses, cryptosporidium, and microorganisms galore and were rated as having the best taste for crypto-fighting tablets.
- Summit Suds Powdered Soap: Yup, powdered soap. Just because nature is dirty, doesn’t mean you have to be. Use on hair, hands, body, clothes, dishes…go crazy.
- Tooth Tabs: They look like replacement teeth but just crunch these mint or cinnamon nubs and brush away the day. Your teeth (and tent-sharing-companions) will thank you.
- Tooth Powder Paste: Tabs just too big? Try tooth powder in citrus mint, botanical mint, power mint, or German mint. No water needed, doesn’t foam, and fluoride-free.
- Multi-Purpose Expandable Wipes: Remember those washcloths and foam dinosaurs that grew if soaked in water when you were a kid? These are like that but so much better. They expand, are multi-use and reusable, biodegradable, and compostable when done.
- Insect Repellant Lotion Packets: Effective up to 14 hours, these packets repel all manner of biting critters but won’t harm your gear or equipment. Just don’t get the little packs mixed up with your hot cocoa or Taco Bell fire sauce.
The nice thing about camping gear is that even non-campers enjoy a stash of compact necessities with long expiration dates. These gift ideas are perfect for road trips, college dorms (well, the non-pointy/fire-y ones, anyway), and winter emergency kits. Whether impromptu summer picnic or snowed in with no power, inexpensive camping supplies are sure to save the day. Order now for stocking stuffers, gift exchanges, or drop-ins from your rugged neighbors. It’s always a good idea to be ready for whatever the universe throws at you, indoors and out. But definitely start by ordering coffee. It’s ALWAYS time for a second cup.