2023 Outdoor Lovers Holiday Gift Guide

The new Hydroflask French Press is a winner

December is now within spitting distance so it’s time for my 2023 HikeBikeTravel outdoor lover’s holiday gift guide. I’ve got lots of suggestions from experiences to unique hand warmers, camping gear and some cozy winter wear. All of these products and experiences can be ordered online. I hope you find some new ideas that friends and family alike would enjoy.

This post includes some affiliate links. If you make a qualifying purchase through one of these links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you very much for your support.

What are some unique gifts for 2023?

The older I get, the more I love gifts that are experiential – cue the gift card to a restaurant or something I would never have thought about doing on my own.

I’d highly recommend looking at some of the experiences Viator offers – wherever you live. In Canada check out these ones or these ones in the United States.

In Alberta that could be a day trip up the Icefields Parkway and a visit to see the Abraham Lake Bubbles – so all you have to so is get to Banff, and you’re looked after the rest of the day. The Johnston Canyon evening ice walk would be another fun one – and not something many people have done. 

How about a walking food tour in Toronto? Whistler and the Sea to Sky Gondola Tour would be great fun for someone you know who’s planning to visit Vancouver. The bottom line – the possibilities are endless.

John checking out the last of the Abraham Lake bubbles of the winter
John checking out the last of the Abraham Lake bubbles of the winter – go in January for the best experience

Holiday gift recommendations that would are perfect for someone who loves outdoor activities

Scout Tarp from MEC

If you have a camper, paddler or hiker you need to buy for, I highly recommend MEC’s Scout Tarp. John and I put it to the test over a week in Woodland Caribou Provincial Park. There are many things that set it apart from the heavier, blue Canadian Tire versions we’ve bought in the past.

First of all, it’s lightweight enough that you can take it backpacking. The small one weighs just over a pound. Other features include:

  • Lots of brass grommets around the edges – that don’t pull away from the tear resistant fabric.
  • A reinforced bag system for the centre pole that keeps the tarp high and tight.
  • Set it up on an angle and get out of the wind.
  • Easily stuffs back into the sack.

Purchase the Scout Tarp here for $119.95

Putting up the Scout Tarp in Woodland Caribou Provincial Park, Ontario
Putting up the Scout Tarp in Woodland Caribou Provincial Park, Ontario

Hydaway Camp Bowls

If you’re into camping – or you have granddaughters like I do who don’t do well with bowls that break, then the reusable Hydaway insulated bowls are a perfect addition to your camping kit. They’re also useful as drinking bowls for dogs, and they make great gifts. Even the lid can be repurposed as a side dish when you’re eating.

The bowls come in two sizes – 1.5 cups and 4 cups. They are lightweight and because they’re collapsible, they don’t take up much room. These sturdy bowls come with a stainless-steel rim and a leak proof lid that keeps the contents warm until you’re ready to eat. There’s also an insulated foam sleeve will keep food hotter longer. All parts are dishwasher safe,

Purchase the 1.5 cup bowls on Amazon in Canada as well as the one quart bowl.

In the US can order directly from My Hydaway or via Amazon.

The Hydaway bowls are perfect for hot oatmeal in the morning
The Hydaway bowls are perfect for hot oatmeal in the morning

Fjällräven Snow Cardigan

Fjällräven’s Snow Cardigan is a treat to wear on a fall day. I’ve had my share of wool sweaters over the years and without fail, all have been itchy. This one is not. It’s a jacquard-knitted cardigan made with soft lambswool, a renewable product that is odour resistant and great at wicking away moisture.

I love this piece as it’s useful for my lifestyle – winter walks with the dog, cross-country skiing and just hanging out by a fire. It’s a classic Scandinavian design, something I really came to appreciate when I was in Sweden hiking the Kunsgleden trail in September 2023. The two-way zipper is good for moderating temperatures. 

This is a piece of clothing you’ll have until you’re sick of it as Fjällräven is known for its quality. You can purchase directly online from Fjällräven for $210. It comes in sizes XS to XL. I’m wearing a medium, and could probably get by with a small, but I prefer loose rather than form-fitting.

Sporting my Fjallraven snow cardigan on a November day in Calgary
Sporting my Fjallraven snow cardigan on a November day in Calgary


Microspikes might not be the most exciting gift to receive, but they sure are useful for any type of winter hiking where ice is involved. They prevent falls and all the grief that goes along with a sprain or a break. 

There are lots of microspikes on the market. I like the ones made by Kahtoola and Hillsound, a Canadian company. Just be sure to purchase a pair that are large enough to fit the winter boots you usually wear.

I always keep a pair of microspikes in the car in winter
I always keep a pair of microspikes in the car in winter

Inflatable seat cushions

An inflatable seat cushion ($29.95 at MEC) might seem like a yawner of a gift – but in a year where practical items are very much appreciated – I’d recommend one. John and I always have a seat cushion with us on hikes – whether it be for rainy days or cold, snowy days. The cushion makes all the difference between being comfortable and warm when you stop for a break. On a 16-day hike to India’s Zanskar region it was one of the top three things we were happy to have brought with us.

An inflatable seat cushion that packs down well
An inflatable seat cushion that packs down well

Garmin InReach Mini 2 

It took me years to pony up the money for my Garmin InReach Mini2 ($399.99 until November 27th, then the usual $539.99). They aren’t inexpensive and once you’ve purchased one you still need a subscription plan – though those are reasonable.

What the Garmin does for you is give you and your family piece of mind. If there’s an emergency, press a button. You hopefully never need it – but it’s there if you do. If you’re on remote multi-day trips, you can let friends and family know you’re safe on a daily basis. And one day you may also end up helping someone else on the trail that gets into trouble. 

My Garmin InReach Mini2
My Garmin InReach Mini2

Innovative or new products for the 2023 holidays

Hot Poc hand warmers

One of the most interesting new products to hit the market, that were featured on Dragon’s Den are the Hot Poc hand warmers. They come in two sizes – small and large. 

When a metal disk inside the Hot Poc is flipped inside out, it starts a reaction that instantly produces heat. It’s way better than anything I’ve come across before – though the heat only lasts an hour. The amount of heat they produce is shocking, so whatever body part is cold, will warm quickly. Sometimes that’s all you need – not a full six hours of heat.

After they have produced heat, you boil them for five minutes to get them back to their liquid state. They can be reused 100 times!!

I think these hand warmers would be excellent to keep in your car’s emergency kit. Anyone doing outdoor activities in winter would benefit, whether you are skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, skating, doing night photography or anything else outside. 

The company also makes a quilted cell phone carrier that fits both a Hot Poc and your cell phone. It will extend the battery life up to three hours. 

After the metal disc in the Hot Poc is flipped it instantly starts going white and lots of heat is produced
After the metal disc in the Hot Poc is flipped it instantly starts going white and lots of heat is produced

The Unisex Sunday Afternoons Outback Storm Hat

The Sunday Afternoons Outback Storm hat – which was just released in September 2023, is a great one if you want a waterproof hat with a large brim. It’s got almost four inches on the back and three inches on the front, so you’ll get lots of sun or rain protection. It’s breathable but best of all is the fact the hat packs flat AND keeps its shape. The chin strap is adjustable, so it will fit everybody.

It’s got a +50 UPF sun rating, weighs 150 grams – and needs to be hand washed.

If you’re in the US you can buy directly from Sunday Afternoons. In Canada, you can purchase the outback storm hat on Amazon. The hat comes in a medium and a large and retails for between $60 and $70 in Canada.

John sporting the Outback Storm Hat
John sporting the Outback Storm Hat

Hydroflask 32 ounce insulated French Press

If you have a coffee aficionado on your holiday list, then I think they’d love one of the newest products available from Hydroflask – the 32 ounce insulated French Press. It’s thoughtfully designed – like all their products but it’s also durable (no glass to worry about breaking), and it’s great for home use or car camping. 

There is double-walled insulation that keeps your coffee hot for a LONG time. I use medium ground coffee and I didn’t have any coffee grounds in my mug – thanks to a mesh filter. Other features include a press-in lid, an ergonomic handle, and easy pouring.

You can purchase the French Press from Valhalla Pure Outfitters in Canada for $81.95 – and shipping is free.

The Hydroflask French Press
The Hydroflask French Press

Hydroflask coffee mug

If you a friend or family member who loves coffee – but they never seem to finish a mug before it goes cold, then the Hydroflask coffee mug ($33.95) would be just the gift for them. It’s got double-walled insulation, so coffee stays hot for hours. It’s easy to drink from the lid without spilling. The one thing you can’t do is throw it in the dishwasher – which won’t be a problem if you use it as your camping mug.

The Hydroflask coffee mug
The Hydroflask coffee mug

Final thoughts

Simple is good. Not going into debt is also smart. Keeping up with the Jones doesn’t need to be a thing. Do what’s best for you and your family. Happy shopping.

Interested in some winter getaways?

Past outdoor lovers gift guides

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