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What's Your Favorite Outdoor Gift?

What's the best outdoor gift you have ever given or received? When I posed that question to several REI colleagues, here's what I heard: treat: I gave our nieces the Camper's Dream Play and Freeze ice cream maker. Man, do they ever love making ice cream with it. Even in sunny Southern California it works easily. It's a big hit with their friends, too. It's even easy to clean. —Danny

Kid-size sleeping bag: We gave our daughter a Kindercone sleeping bag for Christmas 2 years ago. She loves that bag. We've taken it camping all over the Pacific Northwest. She loves filling the iPod pocket with camping treasures. It's a great bag—durable, washable, and brightly colored. —Rachelle I gave my 2 sons the GoPro Helmet cam, and what a blast they have with it!  They've used it mountain biking and skiing. They say it's really easy to attach to a helmet or bike, and simple to operate.  And it must be pretty rugged to survive what they put it through.  After their adventures, they have fun adding music to make their own action videos. Now that's how you do family movies! —Karen ultimate utensil: There's nothing like a pair of Rolla-Roasters at a campfire to get other campers talking. I wowed the family crowd the first time I pulled one out. First I heard chuckles and "Oh, brother, what have you got?" Once they saw the smooth rotation, that all changed to "Let me try" and "Can I use it?" It proved its worth that night by dispensing a multitude of evenly browned marshmallows, but my family still calls it the "Whirl-a-Weenie" to this day. —Nikki

Smartphone shield: Last Christmas I gave my Dad an Otterbox Defender Case for his new iPhone. I was bummed to find out that he had already bought a fancy leather case for it. I figured I would leave it up to him to decide which to use, though I knew the Otterbox would be better for his active lifestyle. I was very happy when I saw him this summer sporting a well-used Defender Case with his iPhone nestled safely within. —Leigh Ann crib: I love things that make it easier to get my young family outside. I got tired of lugging one of those "portable" cribs on family trips. Then this crib (the Guava Family Go Crib) came along. It's just 11 pounds, so it's truly portable. It inflates into a full-size crib, and when it's time to go it packs down into its own daypack. We'll use it at the beach, in hotel rooms and at grandma's house. —Tad extraordinaire: A Buff is the simplest thing, but it's so multifunctional. It has kept me warm, kept my lungs dust-free, kept my hair out of my face and much more! —Roselyn

Super stove: There is nothing better to find under the tree than a Jetboil. It's a great gift for outdoorsy people. Personally, I keep mine in my emergency kit. —Luke inside your pack: Two years ago I gave my husband the Celestron SkyScout Personal Planetarium for Father’s Day. He loves it, and the kids do, too. It’s so educational.  Since then I’ve added the Celestron SkyScout Speaker and the SkyScout Expansion Card. Now all we do is point at the star or planet that interests us and our SkyScout tells us all we’d ever want to know! —Tracy

Cheers: My boyfriend gave me a REI Titanium Double Wall Mug. It's perfect—super lightweight and compact. I not only take it backpacking, but literally everywhere so I save all those throw-away coffee cups!
—Sarah As our kids have gotten older, they seem to already have everything they want and need—in duplicate. So we have started giving them more experiences instead of stuff. It could be something simple, like a trip to a local park, or something elaborate like an REI Adventures family trip. For example, over New Year's we are going to Whistler in British Columbia. So for Hanukkah I made a collage of different activities available there, from riding the zipline to dogsled riding. On the collage I wrote "Good for a Whistler Outdoor Adventure of Your Choice." The kids decide together what exactly they want to do, and we get to do it as a family. —Robin

Posted on at 12:49 PM

Tagged: Buff, Camper's Dream ice cream maker, Celestron SkyScout, GoPro, Guava Family Go Crib, JETBOIL, Kindercone sleeping bag, Otterbox Defender Case, REI Adventures, Rolla Roaster, gifts and rei

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M Woods

The best outdoor gift I ever received was a rack of Black Diamond Stoppers -- probably way before I was actually qualified to use them, but it gave me something to practice with, and that was enough to open the door to learning to set my own climbing anchors, then top-roping, then leading, and my life hasn't been the same since! I spent the past week surveying my climbing friends to ask the same question, and put up the most frequently-cited gifts on Hard to think of a better thing to give than enjoyment of the outdoors!

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