Do you find gift shopping more terrifying than hearing a thunderclap eight miles out from the trailhead? Tired of guessing what your brother would even want? Would you rather skip the mall and get outside instead? If so, this guide is for you. We chose the best gifts with the best deals, so you can get back to studying for that exam tomorrow….or hit the slopes for a few more runs. Best of all, we chose gifts that you can share–you’ll thank yourself when you and your best friend are laying side-by-side in her new hammock.
For the Broke College Student
As any broke college student can testify, receiving gifted outdoors essentials is the best part of the holiday season…second only to using them *cue hiking daydream.* This list compiles the must-haves for your roomie, Secret Santa, or adventure buddy.
Perfect for both the novice outdoors-person and the seasoned veteran, this mega-affordable 2-person tent is a complete steal with both rain fly and footprint. A functional basic, the Bear Creek is lightweight and roomy, so whether you’re stowing it in the backseat or compressing it into a pack, it is easy to transport and comfortable.
Windproof, waterproof, breathable–this jacket protects against summit gales and the downpours on the way to class. The Panorama Point is a favorite among the Outdoor Research collection because of its versatility and breathability. And the style is pretty badass.
Curled up in your tent on a cold night, there is no better feeling than being blissfully warm. How about in a durable bag made with continuous fiber insulation? With the Endurance 0°F, you’ll be well prepared for the cold. Best of all, the Endurance offers killer pricing for quality warmth. Reviewers on College Outside call the bag “comfortable, warm” and surprisingly lightweight.
For Your Non-Outdoorsy Sibling
You might have that sibling who prefers the glam to roughing it in a tent. You may wonder, what do I possibly buy for them? Fortunately, College Outside has you covered.
The Sensor Dry Envelope is the perfect way for your sibling to keep their phone dry while they Instagram their outdoor experience, whether it’s in tall trees or the concrete jungle. With bright coloring and touchscreen compatibility, the Envelope is easy to locate in your pack or purse. It seals tightly around any smartphone, to ensure protection against the elements.
Our friends at Outdoor Research designed the Growler Parka for all your evening walks to the local brewery. Buy your bro or sis a growler and this handy insulated transportation device, because tempting them with a rewarding cold beer is the first step in luring them on your adventures outside. With its water-resistant lining and adjustable shoulder strap, reviewers rate the growler as a 5-star refrigerant.
This fitted, insulated puffy is lightweight and versatile, and a great gift option for anyone spending time outside in the cold. The Cold Forge has a slim fit with strong insulation and lengthy sleeves to keep your fingers toasty in the cold.
For Your Sending Partner
How does one choose the perfect present for the person with whom you share all of your adventures? The belayer who has your back and the trail buddy who has your snacks? This holiday season, you owe them a gift that shows them how much you love them.
With the Sequoia double hammock, hanging with friends has never been easier. College Outside reviewers describe it as having “plenty of room” and “ideal for overnights as well as just hanging out.” Your friend will thank you when they’re swaying in the spring semester sunshine… and, lying right next to them, you will thank yourself, too.
The perfect addition to your best friend’s closet, the Microlight vest is lightweight and resilient, a great insulator layer. The Microlight is fitted yet spacious and moves freely. Style-wise, the vest will take you from the trail to the bar with ease.
What better way to celebrate an outdoors buddy than giving them a food prep set to share? Complete with a stainless steel knife, durable oak spatula, fork, spoon, and stainless steel grater, the campfire prep set is a camp kitchen-to-go. Buy this and you will be one step closer to devouring your favorite recipe and laughing over the camp stove with your sending partner.
For Your Parents
We can all remember the first time we went on a hike. Maybe it was our parents who took us climbing for the first time, or who taught us how to attach our skis. During the holidays, give back to the people who brought us to the outdoors. Here are some of the best gifts for the most badass parents.
Remember when your mom used to harass you about putting on sunscreen? Now you get to help her avoid the rays with the Seattle Sombrero. With a UPF 50+ and waterproof crown, the sombrero is made for all types of weather, sunny days or monsoon rain. The hat features a comfy chin strap to keep Mom or Dad dry in all types of wet adventures, from sea kayaking to adventure motorcycling.
With 150 weight fleece, the Sensor Gloves are the warmest way to tell your parents, “I love you.” Reviewers describe these touch-screen compatible gloves as comfortable, while being thicker and smoother than other similar products. They can be worn freely or as a liner for an outer glove layer.
The Shade Maker is ideal for a relaxed sunny day. Send your parents on a beach getaway with this product, whose tall height and wind-buffering shape provide space and respite to relax, cook, or just take in the beachside shade. Its convenient collapsibility makes it easy to transport, and the Shade Maker is easy for two to set up.
After a rough semester, you deserve a treat for all your outdoor adventures over winter break. Make sure you celebrate yourself with selections from the You gift list.
Treat yourself to hydrated skin and warm fingers this season with the Alti Gloves. Paired with a strong liner, these expedition-weight gloves provide complete and durable insulation. The Altis are tough and insulating, great for alpine scrambles, ski outings, or hiking on a cold day.
This jacket is an outdoors self-care wardrobe essential. Rated as the Powder Magazine Skier’s Choice Apparel of the Year, the Hemisphere is warm, light, durable, and breathable. Best of all, the Hemisphere has insane stretch capacity in all the right places, without sacrificing any durability or warmth. Stylish and sleek, this GORE-Tex shell will serve you well on any backcountry or frontside powder days.
Buying your first backpacking pack is an unforgettable experience. You look at her, she looks at you – it’s the beginning of a long friendship. Meet the Maven, a lightweight pack with a breathable ventilation system and Aerolon suspension. The pack is intuitive, easy to open, and functional, perfect for the night or weekend treat-yourself trip. Also available in 55L and 65L.
In just a few clicks, you can be done with gift shopping and onto your next adventure. Happy Holidays from College Outside!
Header image courtesy of Ian Patterson | College Outside