The Outdoor Adventurer Gift Guide

Updated: Dec 17, 2019


I’ve heard it before. Outdoor adventurers like me are difficult to shop for. You know, the ones who seem to have all the gear they need, and are now just fine tuning their gear collection with very specific and deliberate purchases? But we have good news! After a lot of thought and consultation, we have pulled together an incredibly comprehensive list of gift ideas that will delight just about every adventurer. This is a long post, but it should be easy enough to get to the information you are looking for.

I should mention that Alpenventures UNGUIDED now offers Gift Certificates for our self-guided outdoor adventures in the Alps, so that your adventurer can enjoy the experience of a lifetime without investing the time to plan and book everything.

This Gift Guide includes so many great ideas, we recommend you bookmark it for future reference and share it with your friends. Here is a quick summary of the many ideas included in the text below:

  • 9 Practical Gift Ideas for Outdoor Adventurers Who Seem to Have Everything

  • 3 Creative Ways to Present an Alpenventures UNGUIDED Gift Certificate (or any gift card)

  • 6 Practical Stocking Stuffers for Outdoor Adventurers

  • 5 No Cost Gift Ideas

9 Practical Gift Ideas for Outdoor Adventurers Who Seem to Have Everything

9. Set up an adventure fund and ask friends and family to contribute

I think it is safe to generalize here, and say that outdoor adventurers have long bucket lists. Setting up an adventure fund that many friends and family will contribute to can simplify gift giving for years to come. As a result, the outdoor adventurer in your life may now purchase that plane ticket for that international adventure they have been holding out on. I recommend this option if you can gather enough people to contribute to the fund, so that it makes up a substantial amount. For creative ideas on how to present this, read my 3 Creative Ways to Present an Alpenventures UNGUIDED Gift Certificate below.

8. Power for outdoor gadgets (batteries, power bank or solar charger)

Although there are still a few hold-outs out there, most of us outdoor adventurers are carrying quite a few gadgets with us these days. We have GPS devices, cameras, GoPros, cell phones that we now use as GPS devices and/or cameras, and sometimes even radios (walkie-talkies) or drones. Power is a theme for us. You’ll have to do some poking around here to see what kind of devices your outdoor adventurer uses, and what they do for power. Solutions can include buying the right batteries, a light-weight power bank, or a high-tech solar charger (read reviews first – not all are good). Whatever you do, think lightweight and make sure what you buy works with their gadgets.

7. A map or guide book for that dream adventure they haven’t planned yet

As mentioned above, outdoor enthusiasts have long bucket lists. Most of us have one or two adventures in mind that are high on that list and we talk about continuously. Helping us take our first step toward making that happen shows us that you are listening and that you care about us. The gentle nudge of purchasing our first map or guidebook for that dream can be powerful motivation for us in moving it forward.

6. Season or annual passes to national parks, state parks or a rock climbing gym

One of the best gifts I ever received was an annual national park pass for the U.S. national parks. I would have equally appreciated passes to get into an expensive rock gym in order to train and climb with my friends. There are a lot of directions to go with this! One point on the passes to a rock gym – make sure they don’t already pay a regular running membership (every rock gym does this different – many do punch cards instead) and only purchase this if they already have somebody to climb with at this rock gym. For creative ideas on how to present this, read my 3 Creative Ways to Present an Alpenventures UNGUIDED Gift Certificate below.

5. Anything from a gear store with a generous exchange policy

Gift cards to gear stores are amazing, and we all love to get them. But, some of our friends and family would rather gift something a little more fun. So, here is your solution…buy the funniest or craziest thing you can find at a gear store with a generous exchange policy for the amount of money you want to spend on them. Gift it with the gift receipt and an explanation that you expect them to exchange it. Now, only do this if exchanging the item is convenient for them. I would shy away from an online store, as getting to the post office to return something is not a pleasant addition to already-busy schedules. This option is best when there is a physical gear store near them that they go to regularly. And make sure you check the exchange policy beforehand…REI’s has changed in the last years.

4. Framed topographic map of their favorite adventure area

We all have our favorite adventure area. For some of us, it is a local area where we spend most of our time, and for others, it is a distant place that we maybe only visited once. Regardless of where it is, maps of the area probably have more meaning for us than you might expect. Having a beautifully framed map on our wall is certain to bring us joy, but this is something many of us don’t spend our time or money doing. So, surprise your adventurer with a meaningful gift they are sure to love that also lets them know that you are listening and you care. Tip – try to make sure the frame fits their deco style.

3. Wall prints of their best adventure photos

Almost all outdoor adventurers have more incredible photos than we know what to do with. Some of us are better than others at organizing, printing and displaying them. But this is something that we all struggle to keep up with. You might have to do a little poking around to get the original files for these photos (I do not recommend using photos from Facebook due to quality), but you can go as simple or as big as you like with this one. Enlarged prints on canvas have become very cheap these days. We recently enlarged 4 of our adventure photos on canvas for € 16 each.

2. The latest, greatest, and lightest version of anything they already have

Lighter gear will thrill just about any outdoor adventurer, but only if it has the functionality they need. I recommend this option only if you really know what you are doing, know which gear they use and how, and have done some detailed questioning beforehand.

1. Plan and share an adventure with them!

What many people may not realize about outdoor adventuring, is that the bonds we build with people in the outdoors are very powerful, and very central to our adventure life. One of the best gifts you can give us is to come adventure with us! You can go as big or as small as you want to on this one. And if you aren’t an experienced adventurer, don’t worry about doing something as challenging or as technical as we would usually do. Plan something that you are comfortable with, and we will be delighted to share the experience with you!

3 Creative Ways to Present an Alpenventures UNGUIDED Gift Certificate

3. Hide it in a container full of nature

Chances are, your outdoor enthusiast is also a nature enthusiast. Nature, after all, plays a huge role in their lives. So, bottle or box up some of that nature by collecting flowers, grass, pine cones, dirt, and anything else you can find and hide that gift certificate right in the middle of it. You now have the perfect opportunity to wrap it, leave it under the tree, and leave them guessing about what it could possibly be all season long!

2. Hide it in a piece of gear they will use on the adventure

What is better than your outdoor adventurer unwrapping a beautifully wrapped gift from you, and discovering that it is their own used and dirty backpack, chalk bag, or hiking boots? Of course, the moment when they find their Alpenventures UNGUIDED Gift Certificate hidden inside! Better yet, pack all their gear for the adventure and stuff stuff the gift certificate somewhere deep inside.

1. Geocache it!

Give the gift of adventure with a mini pre-adventure! If a geocache is not your thing, then do an old-fashioned scavenger hunt instead.

6 Practical Stocking Stuffers for Outdoor Adventurers

6. First Aid Kit Supplies

We are almost all guilty of it – expired items in, and poor maintenance of, our first aid kits. So, take a sneak peek into their first aid kit and see if you can find any expired items. Replace them. Also, make sure there are enough bandages of all sizes, travel size rubbing alcohol pads, etc. Here is a great resource with recommended items for the first aid kit. I will be honest, on standard tours without excessive risk of injury I carry a fraction of that. Just make sure you don’t expand the volume or the overall weight of their first aid kit too much.

5. Hand and Feet Warmers

This is a great gift for adventurers who tend to get cold easily. Those of us who use them, need to replenish our supply regularly. Tip – as much as I am not a Walmart fan, I have found the ones sold at Walmart to be better quality than those sold at REI. You can also buy the HotHands brand (the brand from Walmart) online:

4. Travel Toiletries

I have mentioned it several times already, but weight is very important for us outdoor adventurers. We are always in need of small bottles of hand-sanitizer, sun screen, and shampoo for the travelers.

3. Lip Balm

It is not really that we use so much lip balm, but rather that lip balm tends to disappear. We prefer lip balm with sunscreen that doesn’t taste like it has sunscreen in it.

2. Drink Powder/Tablets

Some of us prefer to just drink water, but others crave a little flavor and some extra electrolytes in life. While Gatorade is always a great option, you can see here that REI has so many more options. I recommend something small and compact, that is easy to throw in a backpack and go.

1. Trail Snacks

We always need trail snacks! Make sure you find out what kind of snacks your outdoor adventurer likes to eat on the trail. Throw in some of those, and then throw in some fun new snack finds at Trader Joes or World Market for them to try.

5 No Cost Gift Ideas

5. Bake homemade trail snacks for the next big adventure

Most outdoor adventurers LOVE food! But we also prefer to be on the trail instead of in the kitchen. We often don’t bake those great homemade trail bar recipes for ourselves. This is where you come in. DELICIOUS FOOD + OUTDOOR ADVENTURE = HAPPINESS

4. Volunteer with their favorite conservation or trail maintenance organization

Outdoor adventure and conservation typically go hand in hand. Chances are, your outdoor adventurer has an organization they support, either through volunteer work or donations. Volunteering your own time with that organization is a meaningful gift that reaches beyond just one person.

3. Volunteer to help with gear maintenance

It is recommended that every year certain maintenance activities are performed on our tents, sleeping bags, waterproof clothes, boots, bikes and more. How many outdoor adventurers keep up with this? Very few. How many carry guilt around about it, or have it on their never-gonna-get-this-done-to-do list? A lot. Help a friend out and volunteer to do some of this for them, with a little guidance from them, of course.

2. Provide a car shuttle

Chances are, your outdoor adventurer has a big, one-way tour on their bucket list that requires a car shuttle. Okay, so you might have to pay for gas here, and it is not completely free. However, volunteer to dedicate a day car shuttling them, and you are enabling adventure!

1. Apply your skills

Many of you have skills that can benefit the outdoor adventurer in your life, but perhaps neither of you realize this yet. Get creative, but here are some ideas:

  • Edit their videos or photos

  • Sew (repairing gear or creating the exact carrying case they would like for their camera)

  • If they have a blog, help them with marketing or SEO

  • Make a piece of art out of their favorite adventure photo

  • Build custom shelving/hooks for gear organization

Now you should have enough ideas to last for several years of gift giving. Make sure you bookmark this page for the future, and share these secrets with all your friends who have an outdoor adventurer in their life. And, of course, check out Alpenventures UNGUIDED’s Gift Certificates and our Tours!


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