Gift Ideas for Getting Outside This Winter
Getting outside during the winter can be a challenge. Cold-weather camping, drizzly hiking, or a long day outside in the snow can seem rather intimidating to fair-weather folks. But fall and winter present not-to-be-missed experiences that other seasons just don’t offer. That’s why we put together this gift guide to encourage people to get out there and experience outside year-round. That way, the nature-lovers on your shopping list can enjoy the season’s brilliantly colored foliage and snowy vistas (or simply just less crowded trails and campgrounds).
Gift ideas for the hesitant cold-weather hiker
Getting into winter hiking takes the right attitude and the right gear. Chances are if the person you got for this year's gift exchange is a hiker already, they probably have the right attitude. But the gear? Maybe not. Here are some gift ideas to prepare them for hitting the trail in the colder months:
Gaiters: Although most fair-weather hikers don't typically use gaiters, winter hikers swear by their ability to keep feet nice and dry when it's wet, muddy, or snowy. When buying a pair of gaiters as a gift, make sure to research which size, material, and attachment method is going to work best for the recipient.
Waterproof backpack cover: Turn any day pack into a winter-approved hiking backpack with a waterproof rain cover.
Trekking poles: Not just for winter, but an ideal season to use them. A must-have for snowshoeing and a great take-along on the trail when that hard pack can get a bit slick.
Crampons, microspikes, or snowshoes: Depending on where you live, a nice set of cold-weather traction devices can give the hiker in your life the confidence to get out there this winter. Snowshoes are great for areas with lots of snow powder, whereas crampons or microspikes are best for slick or icy trails. Just make sure to pick the right size for your hiker.
Think that special someone might need some new winter-ready hiking boots? Check out our men’s and women’s Revel IV Polar boots. KEEN.WARM insulation keeps feet feeling toasty hour after hour. And since slippery conditions are just part of winter hiking, each pair comes equipped with KEEN.Polar Traction outsoles for awesome grip.
Winter-ready gifts for kids and teens
It's usually not a challenge to convince kids to head outside for some cold-weather play. Teens on the other hand? Now that tends to be a tad more difficult (after all, they could just stay inside, where there's central heating and a fully-charged tablet). No matter the age, if you make things fun and keep ‘em comfortable while they’re out there, you might have another challenge on your hands—getting your crew back inside when it’s dinner time! Check out some of our favorite cold-weather gifts for kids and teens.
Snow paint: Make up a homemade batch of snow paint or purchase a colorful set. Either way, your little artist can create outdoor masterpieces on the blank white canvas of a snowy lawn or playground. Our simple recipe? Put two tablespoons of cornstarch, two cups of water, and a few drops of natural food coloring (made from fruits and vegetables for an even bigger yay factor) into spray bottles, and you’ve got snow paint!
A cozy balaclava: A hat/face mask that looks almost like what superheroes wear (plus it keeps kids and teens warm and toasty)? Yes, it exists, and it has a fun name too.
A climate and weather science kit: For the inquisitive kid in your life, get them set up with a science kit that explores Earth’s climate and weather systems. There are a variety of kits out there that let kids experiment and understand everything from the impact of temperature on our planet to how snow is created!
Waterproof camera: If you send them outside, teens are bound to get creative in the wet and snow. After all, pretty sure they invented the snowball fight and the slush-puddle long jump. Encourage your budding photographer to document their outdoor adventures or create photographic works of art with a waterproof camera.
Since kids and teens have feet that are pretty much constantly growing, another great gift idea is a fresh pair of cozy boots. Techy enough for all-day winter-play, yet casual enough for dinner out, our waterproof and insulated Redwood boots for big and little kids are a win-win.
Must-haves for fall and winter campers
More and more people are getting into cold-weather camping and, honestly, we couldn’t be happier for them. After all, there is almost nothing that smells as good as a fresh layer of rain in the woods. If the person on your list this year loves to camp and is looking to get their toes wet (figuratively speaking, of course) with winter camping, have a look at some of our gift ideas below.
An insulated mug: In most everybody's camp kitchen, there’s a set of classic enamel camp mugs. Although they work great for enjoying coffee while summer camping, in winter they just don’t cut it. A nice insulated mug with a lid keeps coffee hot enough to enjoy the whole cup.
Sleeping bag liner: Pretty much every established camper has a trusty sleeping bag. But many might not be rated for colder winter temps. Adding in a sleeping bag liner can provide extra degrees of warmth and insulation during cold nights.
A heater/stove combo: Although it’s possible, it can be a challenge to get a fire going in wet weather. A combination heater and stove for camping can be a huge help when it comes to cooking up a meal and creating a gathering place similar to the campfire. Most outdoor stores carry a few different types, so give your local store a call to see which one might be best for your camper.
Camping-in-the-rain kit: This one is fun because you get to build it yourself! Think of it as rain camping in a box: everything the fairweather camper needs to take their summer setup into the rainy season. Gather the items below, place them in the plastic tub, pop a bow on top, and—voilà!
- A few plastic tubs with lids that seal to keep everything from food and kitchen gear to clothes and shoes nice and dry.
- A couple of waterproof tarps, one to hang over the tent and another to create a separate covered eating area.
- Utility cord to hang tarps and use as a clothesline under the tarp to dry wet clothes.
- Waterproof treatments to use before the trip to re-waterproof a rainfly or jackets.
- Heavy-duty plastic bags that can be used as a poncho, firewood cover, or to separate soppy gear from dry gear.
For the complete cold-weather-camping package, add in a nice new pair of boots. Great for getting in and out of the tent, cozy slip-ons like our men’s Anchorage III boots or our women’s Terradora II boots are perfect for the campsite. (Plus, they’re both insulated and waterproof too!)
Gifts for the around-towner in winter
Snowshoeing and winter camping aren't for everyone. Some people prefer to enjoy the colder months closer to home. Here are some gift ideas for those on your list who might not jump at the idea of a frozen waterfall hike but who still want to get out to walk the dog or stroll through a holiday light show.
Waterproof bucket hat: You might as well get yourself one of these too while you’re at it. Seriously. For those who live in wet climates but balk at the idea of an umbrella, a waterproof bucket hat is the perfect rainy day accessory.
Insulated mittens or lobster gloves: Another item where you may end up buying a pair for yourself too! Mittens or lobsters tend to be warmer than standard gloves, so when cold weather comes around, they keep hands extra happy.
A monocular or set of binoculars: Even within the confines of the city, public parks and nature areas offer plenty to see. Get the person on your list a set of binoculars or a compact monocular so they can enjoy watching squirrels bury nuts in the fall or cedar waxwings snack on berries in the winter.
Matching dog and human jackets: Obviously this is a gift for that very specific someone, but chances are you are already picturing them in your head now, right? For that person on your list who loves walking their dog no matter the weather, matching outfits are simply too cute.
Even people who don’t plan to climb mountains this winter need comfy shoes. Check out our men’s Slater II boot or our bestselling women's Kaci II Winter Pull-On boot, and give the gift of insulated city-ready footwear.
At KEEN, we're firm believers that getting outside is a year-round thing. Whether it’s just a quick 20-minute stroll or a full day of snow fun, time spent in nature is good for us no matter the weather. Set your loved ones up for success this fall and winter with gear that makes it easy for them to get outside.