Gift Ideas for Outdoor Families

Christmas is coming up (I know, duh). And while I’m sure most of you have all your holiday gifts squared away (wink wink), for those who don’t, this post may help. All are gifts that will encourage you and your family to be outside. Note that they are also realistic, I refrained from listing a Sportsmobile and the entire inventory at Jacks Plastic Welding.

Let’s get right to it, here are my top 10 picks. 5 Things you can make and 5 things you can buy. Plus links to other outdoor Mom bloggers who are posting about outdoor family gifts today as well.

I’d also be interested to know what your’re giving this holiday…

5 Things You Can Make/Assemble

Olivia Bag (aka survival kit)Whether you’re hiking, backpacking, river-rafting, biking, or doing some other outdoor activity, you will always be prepared with your ‘olivia bag’. Here’s how to assemble your own kit. My bag was a gift… one of my favorite in fact.

Hammock – It’s soooo easy to make, you don’t even need a sewing machine. Choose some funky fabric and bright webbing, it’ll be great, and cheep. Here are instructions on how to make a hammock. A great gift idea for just about anyone.

Bird-feeder – Make a feeder out of a plastic bottle and some wooden spoons, or go for something more artistic, like this feeder strung with cranberries, or here’s a tutorial on how to make gourd bird feeders, they all look just plain awesome. Also, include a checklist of birds in your area.

Mobile Kitchen – What kid would not be delighted to open a box full of cooking supplies on Christmas morning? Well, they would if they knew it meant more camping in the year to come… Here is how to build your own mobile kitchen, takes a lot of stress out of packing for a camp trip.

Make a Bracelet out of Plant Fibers – When I was young my Mom had us make our friends Christmas gifts just about every year. Older kids can make this bracelet. Leave it plain or add beads and charms. They turn out a lot like hemp jewelry, so if you were part of the 90’s hemp craze you’ll be a pro.

5 Things You Can Buy

An Axe – Mark, from Adventure Parents, recently blogged about the axe his wife gave him. Got me thinking… an axe; that’s a good idea! Mark really likes his, and I also have to recommend the Gerber Camp Axe, since it’s small enough to throw in a box with your camping gear.

Multi-sport helmets – If your like us you dabble in a wide variety of outdoor sports, therefore, so do your kids. For us it’s not economically feesable to buy a kid helmet for every sport, but it is important that our kids are wearing one. This is where a good multi-sport helmet comes in handy.

Light – Headlamps, lanterns and flashlights, you can never have too many. We love our Apollo Lantern, and have recently fallen for a Nite Ize BugLit LED Micro flashlight (way more versatile and sturdy than it looks). We have yet to find a good kid headlamp however, they all tend to fall apart too fast. Maybe this year?

Frisbee – It’s the perfect sport to play outdoors. Playing amidst sagebrush, trees or sand dunes provides a whole new dimension to the game. Just make sure you get a Discraft Ultimate Frisbee, there’s a reason the pros use it. Also, I highly recommend paring it with a vintage copy of Frisbee by the Masters.

Take a Trip – Joe and I started this tradition before we even had kids. Experiences are far more valuable to us than stuff, and since we really can’t afford both, we don’t buy a lot of stuff. We save our $$ and take a trip every year over the holidays. It’s my #1 gift pick.

More Gift Ideas from fellow Outside Mom Bloggers

Gift Ideas for Cycling Families by Jen (aka Velo Mom).

Christmas Gift Ideas – The 5 Pieces of Gear we Take Everywhere by Jessica (from Bring the Kids).

A Wishlist for Cragbabies by Erica (aka Crag Mama).

Gift Giving Suggestions for Skiing Families by Krsiten (aka Brave Ski Mom).

Great Kids Gear - Adventuring for Christmas by Amelia (from Tales of a Mountain Mama). PS She also has a giveaway going on today.

19 Comments so far

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  1. […] Outside Mom: Gifts for Outdoor Families […]

  2. I love your list of homemade gifts! Especially the bird feeder, with the cranberries! Thanks for sharing these great ideas!

  3. Love the idea of the mobile kitchen!!!

  4. We offer two groundbreaking new nature films that can make you smarter, happier and more eco-friendly. M.D.’s are calling them a “transcendent healing experience” for both planet and people. Plus we have a great holiday sale. We are a mom and dad with six kids and a passion for connecting people’s hearts to the natural world. Nature is healed when we allow it to heal us. It would be so wonderful if you could share our films with your readers and thanks so much for all the great ideas!

    Warm Regards,

    Sacred Earth Pictures

  5. I’m in the market for some kiddo headlamps and would love to know which ones you’ve tried and not liked, just so I don’t get some lemons too. In exchange I promise I’ll let you know if I find The Best kid headlamp. :)

    • Kristal – Don’t get this headlamp. There is a reason it’s cheap. And really, does it makes any sence to buy a KID a cheap headlamp? No, they are the ones that need the sturdy one. Our’s didn’t last a month. I’ve also had bad luck with the petzel zipka, but I see they now have the “petzel zipka 2” so maybe that means they finally fixed the falty switch, in which case maybe I still not need to get a new one every year. Aside from the fact that it breaks, I love it, thats why I just keep trading it in… I’m thinking about trying the petzel tika next. Or maybe I should try something other than petzel? Hummm, seeing a trend here.

  6. I totally forgot about your hammock idea. I have someone on my list who will need one (you know, one of those hard to shop for folks). Thanks!

  7. I second the “take a trip” idea! I would SO much rather throw down some cash on an experience that will have forever memories than something that will just break within the year.

  8. Nancy

    We’re avid hikers and I thought of buying practical gifts this Christmas as I feel uneasy about being decadent over Christmas. Most of our hikers in our club use Tracfone phones because of the really good coverage you get on them, so I’m buying Tracfone’s for the family, they’re cheap, reliable and you don’t get dropped calls on them because they use the major networks. There are some attractive touch screen and qwerty keyboard phones and the great thing is if you buy them on the website you get free delivery to your door.

    • Nancy – I haven’t heard of a Tracfone, well, aside from the fact that I just googled it. I’d never considered getting one, do you use this instead of a regular cell phone?

  9. Yes trips are the best holiday gift ever!!

  10. Super list! I like that you included gifts to make along with ones to buy. I just bought my friend some camping accessories for her birthday including a mallot! She needed it.

    • Traci – A mallot!? This is a gift I have not yet thought of… What other accessories did you get her?

  11. What great ideas! I love that you included some things to make. I think I might have to give that bird feeder a try. A survival cord bracelet is another fun do-it-yourself gift idea — I’m including that one on my list of cheap outdoorsy stocking stuffers which I hope to finish and post within a couple days.

    • Emily – I hadn’t thought about making my own survival cord bracelet. What a great idea! I’ll have to look for your post.

  12. […] year I posted gift ideas for the outdoor family, this year I’m recommending giving the gift of scientific inquiry. So, here are few […]

  13. […] experiences.  Nature is everywhere….”  This book is perfect for first time moms, as a really awesome baby shower gift, and for those who wish they did more things outside but aren’t sure how to […]

  14. […] Outside Mom: Gift ideas for outdoor families […]


    I'm Lindsey. I'm an environmental educator, my husband's a biologist. The outdoors is infused into everything we do; which explains why I'm better at mud pies than home decorating. More About Me

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