Does anyone else save their holiday shopping until the last minute? I always think that I have all the time in the world, or certainly enough time to have gifts bought and delivered in time for Christmas. But inevitably, every year, I cut it awfully close.
And this year is no exception- it’s December 14th, and I’m just now starting to think that I should probably go out and buy a few gifts for the people in my life. That, and also give my family a few suggestions from my own wish list.
It was when I began to put together a little list of my own that I started to see a trend: guidebooks and good socks and travel notebooks. In other words, some of my favorite things to take on my trips and my walks.
So this is a little collection of gift suggestions, for the traveler/pilgrim/walker/hiker in your life. And, of course, don’t forget yourself; sometimes the holidays are a nice time to treat ourselves to the things we’ve been wishing for all year long.
(As I briefly referred to in my last post, some of these links will be affiliate links; this means that if you click through and order one of these items, a small commission will come to me at no extra cost to you. A win-win! And, I’ll never use an affiliate link on something that I haven’t used and loved myself.)
Stocking Stuffers $15 and under
- Dr. Bronner’s Soap: While this could give some people the wrong message, I think a good bar of soap is always a fun and appreciated little nugget to find in your stocking. There’s a lot I like about Dr. Bronner’s- it’s a family business that focuses on organic and environmentally responsible products, and I’ve used their Castile bar soaps on every Camino and long-distance trek (my favorite is peppermint). On my walks I use the soap to wash my body and my clothing and it works great, and smells even better.
- Buff: Ah, the strange piece of tube-shaped fabric that has countless purposes. It took me a couple Caminos to warm up to my buff, but now it’s an indispensable part of my pack. Some popular uses: head band for windy days, head band on hot days (soaked in cold water first), wrist band for strange patches of sunburn (shout-out to my cousin!!), neck wrap to avoid sunburn, napkin, worn over the mouth in dusty areas, etc. The list is really endless.
- Moleskine Journal: I use Moleskine notebooks in my job, and I also use them in my travels. The link will take you to the particular type I use on my walks: they are thin and lightweight but high quality and perfect for capturing details and memories.
- ExOfficio Underwear: You might not give this to a friend (unless it’s a really close friend!), but with family anything goes. This is great underwear for traveling: light, comfortable, dries extremely quickly.
- Nalgene Water Bottle: I’ve had my Nalgene for years and years (I have several, but my 16oz bottle comes with me on the Camino, along with a backup supply of water in my pack). The bottle has taken quite a beating, but it’s been indestructible.
- ChicoBag Daybag: I’ve taken one of these on every summer trip for the past 4 years: they barely weigh a thing, are perfect for using in the evenings when I’m not carrying my large pack around, and they also work well as a shower bag (they are water resistant and can hold an incredibly large amount of stuff).
- Camino Frances Guidebook: Now’s the time when pilgrims are planning their 2018 treks on the Camino de Santiago, and many will start with the Camino Frances. Love it or hate it, John Brierley’s guide is the most popular of them all (personally, I really liked it).
- Darn Tough socks: They keep my feet warm in the winter, cool in the summer. They are durable and the pairs I’ve had for several years and worn day after day on my long-distance treks have held up really well.
- Eagle Creek Packing Cubes: These were a game-changer on my second Camino. They helped me organize my clothing, protected it from the rest of my (dirty) pack, maximized space, and were ultra-lightweight. I’ll probably never travel without them again.
- Havaianas Flip Flops: Hiking shoes or boots aren’t the only footwear you’ll need for a long-distance trek… you’re going to need something to change into in the evenings. For a summer walk, I love a pair of Havaianas. Soft, durable, designed and made in Brazil.
- Marmot Rain Jacket: Bought it for my first Camino, used it ever since. Lightweight and protects pretty well from the rain. A must for any long-distance walking trip.
- JetBoil Cooking System: I suppose you’d only take this on a pilgrimage if you were planning to camp (which some pilgrims do!). But if you are planning on any camping or backpacking trips in 2018 and don’t have a way to heat up water to cook food, then I highly, highly, highly recommend this system. Compact, lightweight, beyond easy to use, heats water to boiling in 2 minutes. I’ve only really been on one solo-camping trip, but this thing worked like a charm.
These are just a few ideas; if you want to read more about the things I brought on my Camino you can take a look at my packing list, as well as this post, which goes into more detail about the items I used and loved on my treks.
Happy holidays to everyone, and I’ll be back with more soon.