Autumn Escapes in the Pacific Northwest

Holiday Gift Guide from Northwest TripFinder

by Lauren Braden on November 22, 2012

in Travel Tips & Trends

holiday gift guideIn between the recent torrential rain and fierce gusts of wind in the Pacific Northwest, we might find a few moments to do a little holiday baking or crafting. Or we might choose to relish these short, dark days in a different way, with family or a book by a warm fire. But one thing we just shouldn’t have to spend much of our precious time on? Shopping! As much as I love the holidays, shopping for gifts is one tradition I rather loathe. This is especially true if it involves a mall and standing in line for more than five minutes. So I break down my gifts into two categories: things I can make/bake, and things I can buy online. Below is a little guide containing some of my favorite gift ideas for the variety of travelers in our lives. There’s something for every budget, and many of these ideas can be purchased online. And remember — a well-chosen gift, no matter how inexpensive, can bring on a bright smile like nothing else. And that is what gift-giving is all about.

The Camper

REI Stratus Inflatable Air Mattress for Camping or BackpackingHave someone in your life who adores sleeping under the stars? They’ll sleep so much more comfortably with one of these REI Stratus Insulated Air Pads, which clock in at 2.5 inches thick but weigh only 25 ounces. Big comfort for light weight is an important factor for backpackers, especially, though even the most comfort-craving car camper will love this pad’s air tube construction that is cushioned and insulated with high-performance, water-resistant PrimaLoft® synthetic microfiber. Without that fill, an air mattress can get mighty cold. I also love how the larger tubes on the outside of this pad keep you from rolling off.

Buy it: Insulated sleeping pad

 

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Can you think of anything tastier at camp on a chilly morning than waffles cooked over a campfire? I’m sure your favorite camper will agree when they open this Cast Iron Waffle Iron ($24.99) with 16″ wood and steel handles, plenty of length to hold over a fire or BBQ grill. Just season the waffle iron with a little oil and you’re good to go. Makes traditional 6″ diameter round waffles. This model is made by family camping cookware specialists, Rome Industries.

Buy it: Cast Iron Waffle Iron

 

 

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Many camp lanterns are LED these days, a smart and easy choice. But the light can sometimes feel harsh and too artificial. Not so with the Snow Peak Mini Hozuki Lantern ($39.95) which features an innovative candle mode to add ambiance to a fun-filled camping adventure And, this lantern is so small and lightweight it can be used by backcountry campers.

Buy it: Snow Peak Lantern

 

 

 

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If you haven’t jumped on the dutch oven bandwagon yet, maybe it’s time to get on board! Frequent car campers have long known the benefits of investing in a good-sized cast iron dutch oven for one-pot campfire meals that feed the whole family, from fresh-baked bread to soups, roasts and casseroles. The Lodge Logic Camp Dutch Oven comes in different sizes, from 2-quart to 6-quart.

If this is your giftee’s first dutch oven, include this Lodge Camp Dutch Oven Lid Lifter. Even better, tuck in this great book with your gift, 101 Things to Do with a Dutch Oven

Buy it: Lodge Camp Dutch Oven

 

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Cool Camping TshirtsEvery happy camper needs a t-shirt that professes their love for building campfires or roasting s’mores! Our t-shirt shop, Camp and Caravan,  has dozens of quirky, fun designs to choose from. Sizes available are S, M, L, XL and you can choose from several shirt colors and styles, including American Apparel T-shirts.

See the shirt store: Camp and Caravan

 

 

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Get your favorite road tripper a reliable and useful Delorme Atlas and Gazetteer for their state. This series of detailed, large-format maps has all the information you need for a local roadtrip, including every road, land management boundaries, campgrounds, boat launches, historic sites, wineries and more. I have them for six states, and that probably makes me some sort of Delorme groupie, but that’s only because they are really, truly the best. Buy your road tripper Delorme Gazetteers for OregonWashington, Idaho or California. Or, click here for a good road atlas for British Columbia.

 

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Some things are truly classic, and will last almost forever if you take care of them. Like the Stanley Classic Stainless Steel Vacuum Bottle, for instance. Any avid road tripper would be ecstatic to receive one of these as a gift. The classic color of a Stanley is known as Hammertone Green, and this durable thermos features double-wall stainless steel unbreakable vacuum insulation to keep coffee, tea or cocoa hot all day long. The lid is double-wall stainless steel and doubles as a drinking cup. The finish is rust-proof. It’s perfect!

 

 

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The Hiker

It seems that every year there’s a new spin on fabrics used to make hiking clothes and gear. And as excited as I am apt to get about new gear, there are a few classics that will never go away because they’re still really great! If your favorite hiker is out and about in winter months, a set of Patagonia Capilene baselayers will go a long way towards keeping them warm and dry. I think  they’re still the best long underwear for outdoor recreation in cold and wet conditions.  

Another classic is Patagonia’s Synchilla Fleece Pullover, a sharp-looking, comfortable piece of clothing that will last for years. I received my first as a gift when I was starting college, nearly twenty years ago and I still wear it! Right now I’m in love with beautiful, soft flannel. It’s timeless, versatile and most importantly, warm. So near the top of my own Christmas list is Patagonia’s Long-Sleeved Fjord Flannel Shirt, made with soft organic cotton flannel in several color patterns. And it is soPacific Northwest.

 

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The Naturalist

Give the gift of a field guide – that can go on your wall! One of my favorite things about Good Nature Publishing nature posters is that they’re beautiful and useful. I’ve been a fan of these posters for years and was thrilled when the company decided to sponsor Northwest TripFinder. Sunset Magazine calls these posters “Horticultural fine art!” and it’s easy to see why. The posters range from Northwest native conifers to Eastern woodland wildflowers, and each is full of eye-catching wonder. Right now, Good Nature Publishing is offering a sale on their website where you can buy two of their posters and get two free. It’s an incredible deal, especially with holiday gifts in mind.  To see their whole collection of artwork and place an order, click here.

 

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Got a budding naturalist on your hands? Skip the laundry list of field guides for just this one: The Audubon Field Guide to the Pacific Northwest. It covers a little of everything (like birds, mushrooms, trees and sea creatures) without being too basic. One of the authors is Dennis Paulson, who is one of Washington state’s most awesome naturalists!

 

 

 

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The Forager

Got a person on your list who is constantly checking wild huckleberry reports online? This is the wild forager, an uncommon but expanding Northwestern subspecies that will hike through mud and rain just for a bucket of hand-picked chanterelle mushrooms.

Two books on the topic should be on the bookshelf of any Northwest forager. The first is Pacific Feast: A Cook’s Guide to West Coast Foraging and Cuisine by Jennifer Hahn. Jennifer brings you into her world of harvesting and cooking wild foods from the beach to the forest, and shares over 60 recipes from some of the Northwest’s best chefs who cook with foraged ingredients, including Tom Douglas and Maria Hines. The other book is Langdon Cook’s Fat of the Land: Adventures of a 21st Century Forager. Through a series of essays, Langdon makes the case that our desire for foraging our own edible foods is not just a throwback to our hunter-gatherer past, but rather it’s a way to reconnect with the landscape that surrounds us.

 

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Razor Clamming Tube

Razor clam enthusiasts come to the Washington and Oregon coasts in droves each winter. They come on a mission. That mission is to go home with a bucket of fat, juicy razor clams. If your forager is not well-versed in this winter past-time, help them along with a gift of a clamming tube! Also known as a “clam gun,” this specialized tube is used for digging clams out of the sand. West Marine sells this great one.

 

 

 

 

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Every berry-lover needs a favorite berry bowl, preferably one made by a talented potter on a scenic island surrounded by pods of whales. Orcas Island Pottery makes a variety of beautiful berry bowls with drainage holes and matching saucers for underneath.

 

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If there’s a double-edge sword when it comes to foraging, it’s the bounty. Gather blackberries in peak season and you’re likely to come home with buckets full of ’em, far more than you can eat before they go bad.  Well, there are three tools that a savvy forager will want to have on hand to preserve their goodies. One is a chest freezer. Truly, nothing says “Happy Holidays, I Love You” like a 7-cubic foot chest to freeze anything from venison to huckleberries!  (okay, maybe just to me…) Note that some extra basement or garage space is required before you gift someone a freezer.

 

A bit more budget-friendly and less space-consuming (but equally useful) is a quality food dehydrator.  A great one is the Nesco American Harvest FD-61WHC Snackmaster Express Food Dehydrator, which has 5 trays and an awesome jerky gun. You can dry many different kinds of fruits, herbs and vegetables in one of these, making fruit leather, dried veggie soup for summer camping trips, and a whole lot more.

 

 

 

 

My last gift pick for a Northwest forager is the one I use the most – a package of essential canning supplies. This enamel-on-steel Granite Ware  Canning Kit has 9 pieces, everything but the berries and the canning jars.

This 9-piece canning kit includes a 21-quart canner, canner lid, 7-jar rack, 9-inch colander, lid wrench, funnel, tongs, jar lifter, and magnetic lid lifter.

 

 

 

 

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For even more of our gift ideas, check out our Pinterest pinboard “Gift Guide”

Don’t want to give “stuff” this year? Check out our gift guide ideas for trips and experiences.

Happy Holidays from Northwest TripFinder!

NOTE: I have linked to some of these products on Amazon.com, but I’m sure you could find many of these at small local retailers if you prefer. Should you decide to make purchases through these Amazon links, it helps keep this travel blog up and running–Northwest TripFinder gets a small commission from your purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Hey! Become a fan of Northwest TripFinder on Facebook for more great information on travel in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia.

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