I’m a Physical Therapist – here’s the 5 healthiest Christmas Gifts for Outdoor Lovers

We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases. Read more about us.

gifts for outdoor lovers list

Selecting outdoorsy gifts can be a joyous yet challenging task. When searching for the best gifts for outdoor lovers in your life, consider their love for the great outdoors and how your gift can enhance their experiences.

Fresh Air Favorites: Healthy best gifts for outdoor lovers

Best Stocking Stuffers

  1. Plant-Purifying Book

    • Ideal for: The indoor gardener
    • Why it’s great: Educates on air-purifying plants for healthier indoor environments.
    • Price range: Cheap
    • See the connections between nature and indoor air quality with “How To Grow Fresh Air.”
  2. Adventure Education Text

  3. Nature-Inspired Journal

    • Ideal for: The reflective adventurer
    • Why it’s great: Encourages capturing outdoor memories.
    • Price range: Budget-friendly
    • Bring a companion with you on Nature walks to record notes, jot down thoughts and facts and feelings from the trail with “A nature Journal
  4. Forest School Inspiration

    • Ideal for: Those with young explorers
    • Why it’s great: Promotes outdoor play and learning.
    • Price range: Varies
    • Foster a love for adventure in young minds with inspirations from “Risk & adventure in early years outdoor play.”
  5. Eco-Friendly Outdoor Gear

    • Ideal for: The sustainability-minded trekker
    • Why it’s great: Durable products that don’t harm the environment.
    • Price range: Depends on product but we love Patagonia brand for their commitment to the planet with all profits going toward environmental causes.

Remember, the quality of the gift ideas you choose can leave a lasting impression, so opt for items that align with your loved one’s outdoor passion while also fitting into your budget. A gift that supports the health of your recipient and the planet is a win-win.

1. Epic Hiking Trip in the Dolomites Alta Via 1

Embark on an unforgettable journey by trekking the Alta Via 1 trail in the awe-inspiring Dolomites. Tailor this adventure to your liking with options ranging from a compact 4-5 day hike to longer 7 or 10-day excursions.

Book the Best Adventure in the Dolomites

Get OFF the Beaten Path with Hut to Hut Hiking in the Dolomites

The best way to experience the stunning Dolomites filled with dramatic mountains and waterfalls, picturesque villages and wildlife.

Walk each day from one high elevation mountain hut to the next where they provide:

  • Local delicious mountain foods and wine
  • Warm comfortable beds
  • A chance to connect to what really counts
     

Immerse in Nature and Support Rural, Small Businesses for the Vacation of a Lifetime.

Whether you opt for the thrill of the via ferrata or prefer a leisurely, scenic path, the Dolomites offer a route that guarantees an exhilarating experience amidst majestic nature.

Begin your hike at the picturesque Lago di Braies, a perfect starting point that sets the tone for the natural beauty to come.

Over the course of several days, your journey will lead you through tranquil trails and offer challenging climbs, rewarding you with panoramic vistas that will take your breath away.

Here’s a bite-sized plan of the Alta Via 1 route over 5 days:

  • Day 1: Start at Lago di Braies and trek to Fodara Vedla Rifugio – 12km
  • Day 2: Continue to Lavarella Hütte – 9km
  • Day 3: Ascend to the high-altitude Rifugio Lagazuoi – 17km
  • Day 4: Make your way to Cinque Torri Rifugio – 12km
  • Day 5: Conclude with a hike or bus ride back to the Cortina Spa Hotel in Cortina d’Ampezzo

Each day promises stunning landscapes, delicious Italian cuisine, and the comfort of a cozy bed in a friendly mountain hut. Revel in a digital detox while you forge a connection with nature so stunning, it’s recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Use the Alta Via 1 hiking venture as an opportunity to disconnect from daily stress and indulge in the simple pleasures of life. After a day’s trek, savor authentic Italian dishes in remote huts, enjoy warm beds, and share stories around the table with loved ones, making each step of this journey as rewarding as the last.

Your adventure in the Dolomites awaits, offering not just an epic hike but an extraordinary experience where every day is a rewarding endeavor, served with the backdrop of Italy’s enchanting mountain landscapes.

Not Ready to Travel? Buy ➡️ Walking in the Alps Hiking Guidebook to Start Dreaming

2. Step Right Up: Finding the Perfect Socks for Happy, Healthy Feet on the Trail

Look at that little lamb just getting rid of blister-causing moisture. Hemp also does this due to the structure of the fibers.

When you’re on the trail, the right pair of socks is as vital as a sturdy pair of boots. They are the unsung heroes that keep your feet dry, cushioned, and blister-free. But what makes a sock suitable for hiking?

Here’s what you need to know to keep your feet happy and healthy on your next adventure.

Materials Matter
Seek out socks made from materials like merino wool or synthetic blends, as they have moisture-wicking properties. Merino wool is particularly known for keeping feet dry and comfortable, and it can help decrease the likelihood of blisters. Merino wool socks are your go-to for a dry and comfy hike.

Fit is Fundamental
Your hiking socks should fit snugly without constricting your feet. Too tight, and you risk cutting off circulation; too loose, and friction will inevitably lead to blisters. Aim for a sock with a supportive fit, particularly around the arch and heel.

Cushioning is Key
Consider the terrain you’ll be traversing. Will your hike be rocky, or is it a softer forest floor? More challenging trails may call for socks with extra cushioning under the foot to absorb impact and protect your soles.

Breathability is Paramount
Good ventilation is crucial, especially on warmer days. Look for socks with a ventilation system to avoid overheating and maintain a cool flow of air, keeping the moisture—and blisters—at bay.

Tips for the TrailWhy It Matters
Skip the CottonCotton absorbs moisture and can cause blistering.
Arch SupportSupportive socks reduce fatigue on long hikes.
Test the PairAlways try your socks with your boots before a big hike.

Remember that no sock will serve you well if it doesn’t fit the specific activities you’re engaged in. You’ll find anti-blister socks that offer great benefits for hikers, and investing in a pair might be the difference between ending the day with a smile or a wince. Happy trails and snug soles to you!

If you’re in search of amazing socks that can keep up with all your outdoor adventures, check out the Darn Tough Micro Crew Socks. You can find them at the Darn Tough Store, REI or on Amazon.

They last a really long time and offer a lifetime warranty. That’s sustainable.

Most Sustainable
Darn Tough Micro Crew

Darn Tough Micro Crew

  • Midweight with Cushion 
  • Micro Crew Height
  • 59% Merino Wool, 39% Nylon, 2% Lycra Spandex. 
  • Guaranteed For Life
  • Made in the USA 

What we loved: A warm and extremely comfortable choice when conditions demand it, this fine gauge knitted sock provides mid-level cushion density under your foot. True Seamless technology allows for an undetectable seam fusion for an Ultra-smooth, invisible feel.  The shorter, more concise take on the traditional Crew Height. Peeks just above the top of a standard hiking boot.

Note: Guaranteed For Life - If these socks wear, tear, or develop holes, Darn Tough will replace them. No strings. No conditions.

Every pair of socks is knit in Northfield, Vermont.

Pros
  • Moisture wicking
  • Blister protective
  • Lifetime Warranty - Send them Back
Cons
  • Can be hot
  • Thick
  • Pricey

3. Navigation and Safety

When venturing into the great outdoors for a Christmas adventure, having the right equipment to navigate and ensure your safety is paramount.

A reliable GPS hiking watch can serve as a critical tool, not only to guide you along the trails but also to provide vital health and location data in real time.

First, consider the Garmin Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar, a robust GPS watch designed for harsh conditions and providing a stellar battery life that can last you through lengthy expeditions. The added solar charging is a lifesaver on long treks, reducing the need to carry extra power supplies. Its ability to support numerous satellite networks, including GPS, GLONASS, and Galileo, ensures precise navigation.

Another great option is the COROS VERTIX 2, which offers a remarkable battery lifespan—up to 60 days in regular use. This watch has durable construction with a titanium alloy bezel and a scratch-resistant screen. Its dual-frequency GPS provides highly accurate location tracking, which is crucial when exploring challenging terrain.

If you require a watch with a barometric function for altitude accuracy, the SUUNTO 9 Baro stands out. It not only offers 80 sports modes but also withstands water pressure up to 100 meters, making it versatile for various outdoor activities and weather conditions while tracking up to 120 hours of continuous exercise.

Your Christmas gifts for the outdoorsy should include items that prioritize safety and practicality. A good GPS hiking watch will keep you informed and safe during your holiday adventures, making it a top gift for mountaineers, trekking enthusiasts, or anyone who enjoys outdoor sports.

⭐️⭐️⭐️Recommended Watch for Hiking
9.4

⭐️⭐️⭐️Recommended Watch for Hiking

Based on my personal experience of trying out various watches, I recommend the Fenix 7X Sapphire Solar Multisport as the best option on the market.

The watch features a long battery life

  • flashlight
  • large always on display
  • 24/7 wellness monitoring for hiking, mountaineering, biking, hunting and Nature walks.

Note: TOP RATED NAVIGATIONAL WATCH

4. Hydration and Nutrition Solutions

When you’re gearing up for the great outdoors, keeping hydrated and well-nourished is crucial. On your campsite adventures or picnics, a reliable water filter or LifeStraw is a must-have for ensuring access to clean drinking water. A solid, durable water bottle is just as essential, enabling you to stay hydrated on the move.

  • Portable Campfire: For a cozy gathering, a portable campfire empowers you to cook and stay warm.
  • Stove: A lightweight stove is perfect for whipping up a hot meal to fuel your activities.
Must-HavesDescription
Water FilterRemoves impurities, necessary for safe drinking water.
LifeStrawPersonal water filter allowing you to drink safely from streams.
Water BottlesSturdy and leak-proof for constant hydration.
StoveCompact and easy to use for cooking anywhere.
Portable FireCreates ambiance and warmth for evening meals.

For ideas on choosing the best kit for your next wilderness culinary adventure, consider exploring campfire cooking kits that elevate your experience beyond traditional tin foil dinners.

5. Rest and Recovery Tools: Sleep is the Key

When selecting outdoor gear for rest and recovery, side sleepers require special consideration to ensure their hip bones are comfortably cushioned. If you’re a side sleeper, choose a sleeping pad with ample padding, especially designed for your preferred sleeping position.

The best portable mattresses for side sleepers are listed in the table below.

BENEFIT: I’ve listed the best mattress for each use case.

Best Self-Inflating for Couples
Exped MegaMat 10 Duo

Exped MegaMat 10 Duo

  • Comes in single sizes also
  • Stretch tricot surface
  • Warm & Packable
  • EXPED's Mini Pump
  • SideWinder stuff sack makes packing a breeze
  • All EXPED sleeping mats are CO2-balanced through myclimate.
Click Here to Read More

What we liked: Super PLUSH! Easy to set up and awesome.The Exped MegaMat 10 Duo for two is perfect for basecamp, camper van, or where light weight is not the main priority but luxury is paramount.

Note: This is heavy. It's not for backpacking.  It's SOOO comfy and fast to set up. 

Pros
  • 8.1 R Value
  • 4 inches thick
  • Self inflating with a mini pump to fine tune your preference
Cons
  • First time setup takes time
  • Pricey
  • Not much - this is awesome
Best with Dogs
HEST Foamy

HEST Foamy

  • Won't deflate with dogs nails
  • ENHANCED MEMORY FOAM
  • Integrated compression strap 
  • Rolls tight for easy transport and storage
Click Here to Read More

What we liked: When the Foamy is unrolled, the compression harness doubles as a welcome mat. Use it as a dry, flat platform to change onIt rivals your home mattress in a packable, portable adventure-ready form.

The Foamy rolls tight for easy transport and storage and the durable handle makes transport a breeze. Toss your foamy roll in your van and get after it! No pump or air required.

Note: A pocket at the top of the mattress is the perfect location for your phone and other small stashables.

Pros

  • Exceptional support and comfort
  • Durable and waterproof
  • Conveniently portable

Cons

  • Weight may be a drawback for some
  • Noisy waterproof base
  • Top material may require careful usage

Best Bang for Your Buck
Sea to Summit Ether Light XT

Sea to Summit Ether Light XT

  • Extra-thick 4-inch, lightweight air mattress provides a plush sleeping experience for 3-season (3.2 R-Value) 
  • Mimics a spring mattress
  • Fast inflation 
  • Insulated pad features high-loft fiberfill and reflective fabric, to prevent heat loss and radiate heat back during sleep; non-slip 30D/40D nylon face fabric is durable and quiet
  • Weighs 1.1 pounds
Click Here to Read More

What we liked: Extra-thick 4-inch, lightweight air mattress provides a plush sleeping experience for 3-season (3.2 R-Value) backpacking, camping, and bike touring. Ideal for side sleepers.

Non-slip 30D/40D nylon face fabric is durable and quiet.

Note: Tapered - Regular size measures 72 x 21.5 x 4 inches, packs to 4.5 x 9.5 inches, weighs 1.1 pounds; includes stuff sack, field repair kit, and PillowLock patches for securing a Sea to Summit pillow to mat

Pros

  • Exceptional thickness supports your joints comfortably.
  • Quick inflation saves energy and time.
  • Compact and lightweight design suits backpackers.

Cons

  • Noisy when shifting positions could interrupt light sleepers.
  • Price may be steep for budget-conscious campers.
  • Small width might restrict movement for some.

Best for Car Camping
NEMO Roamer Sleeping Pad

NEMO Roamer Sleeping Pad

  • 4 inches of expansive, plush thickness
  • A level sleeping surface
  • Warm, rated to -30 F
  • Innovative Flow Core construction 
Click Here to Read More

What we liked: Soft, cozy top of premium 50D stretch fabric makes the Roamer feel like a slab of heaven; A level sleeping surface delivers comfort on all sorts of bumpy, rough terrain, while the rugged, 75D Poly on the bottom adds durability.

Note: Extra Long, Extra Wide model packs down to 16.0 x 10.0 in dia with a minimum weight of 5 lb, 8 oz; Double model packs down to 26.0 x 11.0 in dia with a minimum weight of 7 lb, 8 oz

Pros

  • Provides a mattress-like comfort on uneven terrain
  • Insulation properties ensure warmth in low temperatures
  • Convenient features like easy inflation and connection toggles

Cons

  • May be too bulky for backpacking enthusiasts
  • Occupies considerable space in smaller tents
  • On the pricier side compared to basic sleeping pads

Best for Cold Weather
Exped Dura 8R

Exped Dura 8R

  • 7.8 R value
  • 2.1 lbs
  • Durable
  • Head-to-toe air chambers
  • 9 cm air cushion
  • Pumpbag Included
Click Here to Read More

What we liked: Made for extreme camping conditions, Exped Dura 8R ensures max warmth in super compact size for your adventures

Head-to-toe air chambers with 9 cm air cushion fully support the body for an unrivaled night's sleep and increased durability.

Note: Sustainability is Our Second Nature - All EXPED sleeping mats are CO2-balanced through myclimate.

Pros

  • Plush cushioning contours to your body, promoting a sound sleep even on rugged terrain
  • Integrated pumpbag eliminates the hassle of manual inflation while preserving pad hygiene
  • Impressive insulation properties excel in sub-zero environments, ensuring a warm slumber

Cons

  • A premium build suggests a higher price tag, potentially stretching your gear budget
  • Heavier than ultralight options, which could be a factor for weight-conscious backpackers
  • Limited reviews may leave some wondering about long-term resilience and comfort across diverse user experiences

Top Picks for Side Sleepers:

  • Exped MegaMat 10 Duo: An excellent option for couples, offering a stretch tricot surface that provides warmth and a packable design. It comes with an Exped Mini Pump and a SideWinder stuff sack for easy packing. The CO2-balanced certification from myclimate is an added bonus.
  • HEST Foamy: With enhanced memory foam, this pad won’t deflate even if you have pets around. It rolls tight for convenient portability and storage, plus an integrated compression strap.
  • Sea to Summit Ether Light XT: It’s an extra-thick air mattress that provides a comfortable sleeping experience, great for three-season camping. Its reflective fabric prevents heat loss, while a non-slip surface keeps the pad in place.
  • NEMO Roamer Sleeping Pad: With 4 inches of expansive thickness, the NEMO Roamer is a warm option even in freezing temperatures, thanks to its Flow Core construction.
  • Exped Dura 8R: It offers a high R-value, is incredibly durable, and provides a 9 cm air cushion for comfort. Plus, it comes with a pumpbag.

Each of the above choices caters to the specific needs of side sleepers in various outdoor settings, from casual car camping to more rugged ventures. When planning your outdoor adventures, invest in a sleeping pad that offers both comfort and recovery advantages.

Consider their various features from R-value to ease of transportation in order to find the best fit for your outdoor escapades. If you’re in need of further details on the best options for side sleepers, consider reviewing a dedicated list of the 8 Best Sleeping Pads For Side Sleepers to guide your choice.

Final Verdict

Get them the gift they will actually use to enhance their experiences in the Natural world, get recovery, stay hydrated and well-fed, or an ACTUAL experience like hut to hut hiking in Europe.

While there is no one best gifts for outdoor lovers I hope this list has sparked your curiosity.

Curious about Hut to Hut Hiking in the Dolomites or Alps?
“demi-luxury backpacking”
👉 Learn about a vacation that matters.

👉 Sign up for the free course now. It’s one of the best ways to drop the to-do list and connect to what really counts.

Author profile: Morgan Fielder is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and passionate hiker who believes in exploring the world on foot with good food. Follow her journey as she shares science-based hiking tips and advocates for sustainable tourism.