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      Outdoor-Minded Gifts for the Taste Buds

      Need a last-minute gift? Think food. Unless you plan to present the outdoor person in your life with the gift of dehydrated okra (yikes) or liver jerky (Inconceivable!), you can't go wrong with food.


      Tanka barTanka buffalo/cranberry bars and bites (1 oz. bar, $2.80; 3 oz. bites, $6.50): A nice trail treat for any confessed carnivore who's hungering for a meat-flavored comfort-food rush during a multiday hike. The strips and bites really are a mashup of buffalo meat and dried cranberries, and to me the texture and taste are first-rate—a nice alternative to jerky. The "hot" variety is not as peppery as I might wish, but still tasty.


      TrioSeaBear Smoked Salmon Trio (3 filets, $35): Want to be voted most popular hiker in camp? Bust out one of the wild-salmon delicacies (Sockeye, King or Pink, 6 oz. each) from this boxed 3-pack. No refrigeration needed until the package is open.

      salmon Other options: SeaBear Copper River Sockeye Smoked Salmon (a single 6 oz. fillet, $14.50) or the SeaBear Wild Salmon Hiker and Camper Variety Pack (3 packages, $18), which includes a trio of 3.5-oz. packages of wild sockeye, smoked wild sockeye and lemon-pepper wild sockeye. You can also snag a solo 3.5-oz. package of the smoked sockeye ($5.95) if you want something small.

      Or give fish jerky some consideration. In addition to its beef and turkey offerings, jerky-crafter Five Star also offers tuna and salmon jerky options (3 oz., $9.50 each).


      Mountain House Wraps: If you know someone who totes tortillas on the trail, consider using Mountain House wrap-fillers to stuff them, from Breakfast Skillet to Chicken Fajita to Chicken Salad, all $6.50. The Chicken Salad variety can be prepared with cold water—nice for a no-stove-needed fast lunch break. The Breakfast Skillet ranks among REI's top-sellers in food; some mornings the product-buying team at REI headquarters has been known to heat up a batch here in the office.

      Harmony kitVEGGIES TO GO

      Harmony House Backpacking Kit ($49.95): The kit includes 18 zip-shut packages of dried vegetables and beans—peppers, potatoes, carrots, cabbage, corn, peas and chopped onions, plus beans from black to pinto. Simplicity in a box.


      Honey StingerHoney Stinger Protein Bars (1.5-oz. bar, $1.90; dark chocolate mint and 3 other flavors): Give the gift of these really tasty bars and if you're lucky, the recipient will later share them with you on the trail.

      Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews (1.8-oz bag, $2; fruit smoothie and 5 other flavors) are healthier, perhaps even tastier alternative to the movie-theater gumdrop.

      Honey Stinger Stinger Waffle (1 oz., $1.40): Ever have a European stroopwafel; this is as  close as you can get without leaving the states, and it's all organic.

      Clif CrunchClif Crunch Granola Bars (10 count box, $4; 4 flavors): Made from 70% organic ingredients, grocery-store bars don't quite measure up.

      Clif Shot Turbo Gels ($1.30 per packet; 8 flavors): I've found the caffeine-infused Shot varieties to be real engine-revvers. Give chocolate cherry a try. To go caffeine-free, choose the chocolate, vanilla or razz flavors.

      Bonk Breaker (2.2-oz. bar, $2.50; blueberry oat and 5 other flavors): This high-calorie meal-replacement bar is a nice option for quick-start breakfast when you have miles to cover and no inclination to make time to cook a meal. As of this writing the Bonk Breaker has nothing but 5-star customer reviews on


      I'm not sure what color is this season's hottest shade, but coconut appears to be the taste sensation of the moment. Some options to validate your gastronomical hipness:

      Clif Bar (coconut chocolate chip is the 7th choice in the drop-down menu of choices); Luna Bar (chocolate dipped coconut); Larabar (coconut cream pie, 4th choice in the drop-down menu); Hammer Nutrition Energy Bar (cashew coconut chocolate chip); Honey Stinger Protein Bar (dark chocolate coconut, 2nd choice in the drop-down menu); Bear Valley Pemmican Bar (coconut almond, 2nd choice in the menu); Kind Fruit/Nut Bars (almond and coconut, 2nd choice); Raw Revolution Organic Live Food Bar (chocolate coconut); Zing Bar (chocolate coconut); Theo Chocolate Classic Bar (toasted coconut/dark chocolate, 5th choice in the menu); and CocoHydro beverages, 25-serving packages (pomegranate-raspberry, pineapple and original).


      Some high-quality ways to share what may be the world's most popular food item:

      Toblerone: Big Holiday Bar (14 oz., $10) or the One-by-One Gift Box (7 oz., $8).

      chocoMoonstruck Chocolate: either 3 varieties of bars (3 oz., $4.50) or multilayered "tumbled" chocolates involving coffee beans, hazelnuts and caramels (5 oz., $12.50, and enthusiastically endorsed by a chocolate-loving colleague).

      The Chocolate Traveler: wedges in a tin, 3 varieties (1.75 oz., $4-$.50) and 2-pack tins ($8.50).

      TheoTheo Chocolate Holiday or Classic bars: several varieties (3 oz., $4).


      kidsFor alternatives to food, you can also scan recent REI Blog posts that offered suggestions for outdoor toys, books, small and lightweight gear, and even the gift of time outdoors with kids. Fresh air and the time to enjoy it; that might just rank as the best gift of all.

      Posted on at 11:47 AM

      Tagged: food and gifts

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      Ann B

      My current addiction, indoors or out: the Kind Plus bar that has Dark Chocolate/Cherry/Cashew + Antioxidants. Yum.

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