It's that time of year again! Time to stress and worry about what to get the person on your list who has it all, is constantly out and about camping, hiking, backpacking etc. Never fear Hiking Forward is here once again to offer some suggestions for gear items for that special outdoor person, family or even four legged outdoor nut. Not only will we offer a range of items for a variety people and interests we will also be offering items at a variety of price ranges, proving once again it doesn't cost an arm and a let to get outside. Are you ready? Here we go!
Teton Sports - Somina Ultralight Camp Cot
Okay, you're probably thinking... A Cot? Really? Yeah! It's a cot. But it's a ton light from the previous versions that Teton Sports has crafted, yet without sacrificing on comfort, versatility or functionality. It usually prefer the cot when car camping in the winter to get off the ground allowing me much better sleep. This ultralight cot is only 10 pounds and the carry bag doubles as a side pouch to keep all your smalls organized while camping.
Click here to check it out. Teton Sports
Serac Sequoia Double Hammock
I'm a sucker for a great hammock. And my holiday gift guide wouldn't be complete without a great hammock on the list. To me, a hammock is the ultimate stocking stuffer. Plus, hammocks already kinda come wrapped. Serac puts out a fantastic hammock, that is lightweight, comfortable for two and comes with the straps (a huge bonus and necessity).
Check out our review on this hammock.
Wenzel Sleeping Bags for Kids
It's never to early to get the kids used to and comfortable with sleeping in a sleeping bag. Wenzel offers a great and inexpensive line of sleeping bags for kids. If you have kids on the list this year who are curious about camping, sleeping in backyard or would just be excited to have their own sleeping bag, this is the one. The stuff sack straps allow the sleeping bag to carried as backpack. I got to experience my godson on his first camping trip this summer using this bag, he was so over joyed that it was his and he to got sleep in it every night. He, reminded us all that it was his sleeping bag and that it was comfy. He even made it each day. For the price, the experience of giving kids their first outdoor piece of gear is well worth it ten-fold.
Wenzel full line of sleeping bags
Wellness - CORE Dog Food & Snacks
If you have a four legged adventure buddy like I do, then you can't let the holidays pass without stocking up on great food and snacks to keep them at the ready for the next adventure. CORE by Wellness provides an amazing grain free and high protein option for your adventure pup to keep them lean and full of the right kind of energy. As winter approaches ensuring that the your dog has proper nutrition and protein in their diet is extremely important. Boston loves the CORE dog food, snacks and the Air Dried CORE for our hiking adventures. The Air Dried CORE is so much lighter then normal food and is far easier for him to carry in is saddle pouch.
Sunflair Solar Oven
I guarantee who ever you a buying for this year doesn't have anything like this. The Sunflair Solar Oven is a lightweight alternative option of cooking outdoors. Tired of propane? Not a huge fan of cooking over the fire? Then use the sun as you fuel. Sunflair has a variety of oven sizes with multiple assecories for your oven. We began using our oven this summer on a Labor Day trip. Two whole split chickens cooked in the sun. When was the last time you had fresh cookies on a camping trip? Now you can. Fish, casseroles, stews, pies, breakfasts and more... it will cook and or bake it all. One of the best parts about the oven is if you have kids they really want to get involved in the cooking and be a part of using the oven. In addition, another benefit overall is the lack of mess created by using the Sunflair Solar Oven over traditional methods.
Palisade Gear Hiking Sticks
When we come across a deal like this we just have to share it! Carbon Fiber trekking poles right not for just over $60.00. These poles have the feel and functionality of high end poles of more then double the sale price. The company while new and small has turned out an amazing product. And, in the season of giving and shopping small let it be noted that Palisade Gear is one of the supporting partners of Gear Forward who has generously giving gear to youth in need and is a small family owned company. So, if you going to spend your hard earned money on a pair of sticks this year for you or someone else who would purchase them for a large company, when you and purchase them from a generous, small and family owned operation?
Another item from the stocking stuffer (and belly stuffing) category. No matter who you are buying for this holiday season as an outdoor nut, one thing is for sure, they all need to eat when outside. Sasquatch Fuel (another small family owned company) offers backpacking meals in a paper envelope versus the normal foil envelope. What the difference? Well, you don't have to pack out your trash when you are done eating the meal. The paper envelope can be burned versus thrown away in the trash at the end of one's adventuring. Oh and by the way they are delish... buy a few for yourself. These meals are great for campers, hikers, and just to have around in case of a zombie apocalypse.
For more information about these meals check out our video review below.
We hope these items help you as you check off items on your holiday shopping list year. If you purchase any of the items on our list, we would love to hear how your loved ones or friends liked the items.
Have a happy, safe and adventurous holiday season!
Keep Hiking Forward!
We are pleased to announce our first Hiking Forward AT Crew member... Goldielocks. Presently, Goldielocks is only utilizing her trail name until just before her hike. Please enjoy the story of her preparations of her future thru-hike.
Hi everyone! It's great to officially be the first member of the prestigious AT Crew 2017!! You can call me Goldielocks!
Just a few things about me:
-I'm a super nerd. I love all things math and science. Where my follow nerds at?
-I have a fluffy dog that I absolutely love dearly. (We'll call her Sasslefrass Fluff-bottom).
-Food is a passion! I love Thai Food. I live for Thai food. And sushi. And casseroles. Green bean, squash, sweet potato - you name it. You get the idea.
-I will be setting off for a Flip Flop thru hike of the Appalachian Trail approximately Mid April next year.
Now, let's begin!
I often think about what it must've been like for prehistoric man to stand before the great beasts we call mammoths, armed with only a spear and determination.
I don't really find myself thinking about a man fighting a hairy elephant with a stick, but it seemed like a good way to begin. :)
I DO, however, find myself contemplating the mammoth feat that stands before me: thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. We can all agree that tackling a thru hike of any of the long distance trails in the United States (notably the AT, CDT, & PCT) is a mammoth undertaking requiring physical stamina, mental fortitude and some serious perseverance. Maybe even a dash of stubbornness. Okay, a lot of stubbornness.
Every day is a roller coaster of emotions filled with highs of "This is totally happening; why did I ever doubt this?" and lows of "what on earth are you thinking?!?" Maybe a more accurate analogy would be the teacup ride - you know, the one that spins the life (and hotdogs) out of you. Spinning around and around. The excitement that once filled your soul has begun to fade. The butterflies that once fluttered their wings in your stomach have suddenly turned sour. You find yourself repeatedly asking yourself "Why?"
This ride will last until Mid April when I step foot on the trail. Then, it becomes real. It's really happening.
The obstacles keep piling up into a colossal mountain.
-I'm out of shape and overweight.
-I'm a woman - it's hard to find other women in this hobby to train with
-I'm a novice. There's so much to learn and so many opinions floating around out there.
-I live in Florida. We're known for our white beaches, not mountainous terrain.
-I'll have to quit my job.
-I have another human being that partially relies on me for her care.
-I have to keep a strict budget to reach my financial goals prior to the trail.
-I have to make arrangements for my dog. Does this make me an awful doggy mom?
The mountain of obstacles and doubt is seemingly smothering me. I keep clawing my way, digging through the debris hoping to see light. I just keep telling myself to keep my head low and keep trudging through. There HAS to be an out. Before we even step foot at Springer, or in my case Harpers Ferry, we must first conquer the mountain of obstacles and doubt. And, boy is it all piling up!!
I would like to believe this is totally normal. But, I'm not so sure. Everyone out there is writing about their gear choices and why they chose to save half an ounce on one item here and there. (Just take the extra little bit of toilet paper for crying out loud, Tarzan. We're not barbarians. And when we cross paths later on: You're welcome.)
But, let's be real, I'm also worried about the important questions:
-How am I going to stay up to date with Game of Thrones?
-How greatly will taking time off from my MBA steer me off course?
-I am an avid contact wearer. What am I going to do about my eyes? WHAT. ABOUT. MY EYES?!
-What if I somehow end up on a trail cam pre-tinkle with the full moon in full exposure? THE HORROR.
-How will I burn down my tent if there is a spider? (I'm terrified of spiders...add that to the obstacle list)
We prospective thru-hikers are somewhat on our own in this endeavor. No one is going to force you to live like a badass, mountain-conquering, homeless person for half of a year. It's easy to feel completely overwhelmed and alone. But the fact of the matter is - there wasn't just one man taking down a mammoth. There were a multitude of others with the same goal, different perspectives, all striving for the same thing - a satiation of a common hunger.
These people are my tribe. Even you reading this now - paint your face, baby! Because you're in the tribe too! We all have the same hunger. Although I may not know you, I know I am not facing a colossal beast alone. With that final note, I invite you to join me in my journey. Let the adventure begin!
Keep Hiking Forward!
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