13 Green Gifts That’ll Make for a Holly Jolly Adventure

A (baker's) dozen ways to make an outdoor-lover’s winter

By Katie O'Reilly

December 11, 2021


Photo by Sasha_Suzi/iStock

Three out of four adults in the US plan to purchase gifts associated with outdoor activities this holiday season, according to a newly released poll from the National Recreation and Park Association. We can’t say we’re surprised—the holiday season is the perfect time to reflect on what’s important to us and to share those passions with family and friends. What’s better to share with others than a love of the outdoors? Whether you’re inspiring rookies to hit the trails or slopes or giving your diehard adventurer pals more reasons to scale that mountain or explore farther off the grid, this baker’s dozen of goodies will get adventure plans a-brewing.

The hydration mavens at Camelbak tete-a-teted with the water-purifying geniuses at Lifestraw. Their lovebrainchild: a groovy self-filtering water bottle collection. New 32-ounce Eddy+ bottles ($70) contain a fiber filter that removes bacteria, parasites, and microplastics as well as an ion-exchange filter that reduces lead, taste, odor, chlorine, and other chemicals. What's more, these vessels are made from 50 percent recycled materials and vacuum stainless steel, and offer easy sipping. So give your favorite adventurer the gift of peace of mind while hydrating during backpacking trips or while traveling abroad. (That peace of mind doubles as a gift for you too!)

Have we got a perfect present for your friend who runs cold and can’t seem to sit still! Sierra Designs’ Mobile Mummy ($300 to $320) is a 15-degree sleeping bag featuring a zipper down the center front, self-sealing armholes, and a footbox that can be tucked away, meaning wearers can mosey around camp, preparing meals or just lounging around the fire in a seriously cozy state. Even better, it’s made with 55 percent partially recycled nylon ripstop fabric and is insulated with 800 fill power down.

Here’s fun fodder for chatter around the tree—the gift of a Biocircular™ outdoor shoe. Erem is a new footwear company specifically dedicated to the exploration—and conservation—of desert landscapes. Its rugged  Xerocole boots ($170) are made from bio-based materials with proven paths back to nature (including corn, organic cotton, and TENCEL) and designed for comfort, breathability, protection, and durability while hiking in rough terrain and hot temps. They're perfect for eco-minded desert lovers.


Got a giftee who loves backyard barbecues, day hikes, tailgating, and other excuses to day-drink with a view? The ORCA Walker Tote ($200) is a lightweight cooler in a backpack that holds up to 18 cans. It’s durable, water-resistant, easy to open, and BPA-free, and it comes with the comfiest shoulder strap.

Treat the climbers and mountaineers in your orbit to a literary summit with Imaginary Peaks ($27) by Katie Ives, longtime editor of Alpinist magazine. Out earlier this year from Mountaineers Books, this imaginative read uses an infamous deception about a fake mountain range in British Columbia to explore other cartological mysteries. With plenty of climbing history and tantalizing descriptions of fabled peaks and first ascents throughout the world, it makes for a thoughtful and transporting treat for adventurers and dreamers.

Fact: We could all use another hoodie gift. Especially one that’s built for stop-and-go fun in cold temps; i.e., is cozy yet breathable and insulated (with recycled polyester, in this case). Enter the Shadow Insulated Hoodie ($199) for men and women. Available in multiple good-looking colors, this piece offers that sought-after midlayer trait trifecta: stretchy, soft, and stylish.

The notion of being nestled even snugger in one’s tent makes for happy campers (and way more visions of dancing sugarplums). NEMO’s 3D Quasar sleeping pad ($130 to $250) is made from 100 percent post-consumer Bluesign-certified recycled fabrics and offers a chaise-lounge-like experience, thanks to baffling that keeps campers cradled and centered, rocky or uneven terrain be damned.

Or perhaps your favorite adventurer is more of a car camper? Help them level up with the gift of the extremely easy-to-set-up, comfy camping bed system. The Zenbivy Motobed ($240) includes a convertible top quilt, dual-layer mattress, sheet with integrated hood, and pillowcase (BYO pillow). Just roll the entire system out, let it inflate to a desired comfort level, and jet off to dreamland. It comes in seriously fun colors, and with a convenient carry bag too.

Give loved ones’ tootsies the gift of quality, cushioney recovery after a long run, hike, or backpacking trip. The Revive recovery shoe ($70) from Kane is made from 75 percent bio-based materials, like Brazilian sugarcane, and is 100 percent recyclable. The Revives come in a veritable rainbow of colors and are also lightweight and moisture-resistant. Plus, they make ample use of orthopedic principles to help muscles seriously recover.

Also ideal for post-hike recovery as well as travel, and for anyone who has to sit or stand for long periods? Compression socks, which help decrease lactic acid, prevent cramps, boost blood flow, increase circulation in the legs, and minimize muscle fatigue. We’re partial to the many fetching and varied options ($30+) from Vim & Vigr, a female-owned outfit in Missoula, Montana, that crafts the coziest—and giftiest—socks.

A contemporary take on the WPA posters of the 1930s, the tributes to our public lands’ crown jewels found in Art of the National Parks ($45) makes for the perfect art book for armchair—er, coffee table—adventurers. Created in collaboration with an impressive range of artists and designers, it’s a series of one-of-a-kind odes to the national parks that’s filled with comprehensive history; overviews of each park’s most notable flora, fauna, and sights; and plenty of travel advice. Plus, sales benefit the National Park Service.

57Hours functions like the Airbnb of adventure: It matches outdoor enthusiasts of all experience levels with guides who can custom-curate excursions. Participating guides specialize in kayaking, surfing, climbing, fly-fishing, kiteboarding—you name it. 57Hours (thus named to remind weekend warriors exactly how many hours they have to burn between work letting out on Friday and resuming on Monday) offers gift cards—ideal options for those who prefer an experiential gift. Guides exist in most US locales and practice COVID-19 safety, so this gift is also ideal for loved ones who’ve been missing travel and novel experiences.

Great news for those beachers, campers, and backyarders who’ve ever wrestled with the impossible choice between posting up in a cabana or a hammock: The TreePod Cabana ($300+, depending on size) represents true evolution in relaxation. These contraptions, inspired by the seamless lines of the Herman Miller Magis Spun Chair, are easy to set up from a tree, allowing giftees to lounge about like lazy ewoks and to help trees multiply: For every TreePod sold, Trees for the Future will plant a tree in sub-Saharan Africa.