2017 Holiday Gift Guide

2017 Holiday Gift Guide: Outdoor Utility

November 20, 2017

Happy Holiday Season 2017!

We’re doing something a bit different here this year. We’ve seen so many cool products that one post isn’t enough. So instead, we’re going to do a week (!!!) of gift guides, starting with this one! Throughout the holiday season I’ll keep these posts updated with any promo codes, so be sure to follow us on Facebook for any updates we find on discounts.

Holiday shopping for the outdoors. What do you need? What’s vital? I tested the gear myself and noted what was discussed in the hiking groups I’m a member of across the US. From Alaska to the Appalachian Trail, these are useful and cool things to make outdoor adventures more fun and more enjoyable. Let’s get started!


VSSL First Aid $66.50
When VSSL reached out to me to try this product, I was intrigued. A neat metal canister with a compass and an LED flashlight stocked with first aid supplies. It gives me peace of mind to keep it in my vehicle, and I throw it in my daypack for hikes. We haven’t had to use it yet (knock on wood), but it comes stocked with antiseptic wipes, bandages, aspirin, tweezers, and medical tape (see the content description in the product link for everything inside.)

What I like best about it is that it’s easy to take apart. When I just want to use the flashlight, I can unscrew it and carry it in my pocket; same with the compass. Add in extreme durability and a warranty that says you can return it, no questions asked, and it’s a perfect gift for the camper in your life.

Deals: They’re doing a Black Friday and Cyber Monday deal with 20% off sitewide that includes free shipping. I’ll post these promo codes on Facebook and Twitter as soon as I have them!

Update: Black Friday – VSSLBF20
Cyber Monday – VSSLCM20



Outdoor Research Sparkplug Gaiters $16.49 – $27
There is literally nothing worse than water getting into your socks and shoes from the top. If you’re like me and you hike in trail running shoes instead of boots, these are a great way to keep ankles dry and prevent thorns and poison oak/ivy from getting to you. This is a really lightweight option for hiking and trail running, and keeping rocks out of your shoes.

The only possible issue would be that you have to apply velcro to the back of your shoe to attach the gaiter to – downside if you change shoes a lot. The upside is you don’t have a strap on the bottom of your shoe. If you’re like me, you also can’t stand anything on your arch when hiking.

Deals: On Amazon, the Rio colour is the most affordable in all sizing, so if you’d like a bright blue you can save a few dollars.


Cairn Obsidian Box $ 249.95
I got this as a Christmas gift for Matt last year and we intended for it to be a one time only purchase. They kept sending cool stuff and we kept getting so excited for it every quarter that we ended up keeping our subscription.

The Original Box ($29.95/mo.) is great, but it is mostly little knick-knacks that are very cool, but not 100% vital. The Obsidian Box has given us so much cool stuff over the year, including our favourite camp chair, a new sleeping bag, this super warm Marmot coat, and so much more. It’s pricey, but the gear inside is worth it.



URSAck Major Bear Bag $99.95
I have yet to camp somewhere where bears aren’t around me. I don’t ever see them, but I sometimes smell that wet, musty odor that they have. Certain trails even require bear barrels when you’re overnight camping, and it’s honestly just a smart thing to do. I like the URSAck bear bag because it’s not as bulky as a hard-sided bear canister. It can be shaped to fit in your bag but still has ample space.

The Ursack Major S29.3 has a 15 liter capacity, capable of holding several days worth of food for two people. It meets International Grizzly Bear Committee standards, featuring a bullet-proof fabric. There are online videos of these being played with by bears, with the bears being unsuccessful at accessing the contents.

Safety tips for camping in bear country: make sure you store your food AWAY from where you are camping. String it in a tree if you can. Don’t bring anything with a smell (toothpaste, snacks, flavored water, etc.) into your tent space. Make sure to cook a little bit away from your tent site.


Grayl Water Purifier $59.50
Sometimes it’s just not feasible to hike with the amount of water you need. And sometimes, you just run out of water. Instead of drinking from a water source where you don’t know if there is any bacteria or harmful properties in it, you can use the Grayl water purifier to filter, purify, and drink from basically any water source you see.

This is also an awesome thing to pack if you’re going to a foreign country that has different water standards than what you’re used to. Also, this would be another great item to keep in your emergency kits in case a storm knocks out the power and you’re left without clean, running water.



LuminAid PackLite Max 2-in-1 Phone Charger $49.99
I’ve been a gear tester for LuminAid for a while now, and this has been my favourite thing they’ve sent me. The light is a perfect size for camping, keeping as an emergency light in your car, and helping to light kayaking and hiking trips in the evening hours. The fact that this one can charge your phone (or realistically, anything that charges via USB) is a huge added benefit. It uses solar power to charge itself, so we keep it tucked into our daypacks mesh pocket and it’s able to charge itself throughout the day. If you’re trying to prep for a trip and want to make sure you’re good to go before you leave, you can use their provided USB to charge the LuminAid. Charge the charger. That’s a little inception there for ya.

Carrying around a heavy charger isn’t always practical, and sometimes you just need a little more power to get through the day/trip. I am addicted to my iPhone (I admit it!) and take almost all of my pictures on it. During some of our more interesting days, my phone will be at zero percent by 2 pm. Using my own USB cord, I was able to add life to my phone in a decent amount of time.

Currently, this item is available for pre-order, but they’ve assured me that any orders placed will be delivered by Christmas Eve. So, if you’re ordering it for someone else, make sure to mail it to their address!

Deals: 10% off the 2in1 with code TENTSTRAILS








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