As Christmas approaches, ideas for gifts begin whirling in our heads. What should I get for him? My husband loves camping - what would he love for Christmas? My in-laws spend their days off out hiking, driving to remote parts of the U.K. and don’t really need anything. What would they possibly enjoy for Christmas? This year more than ever, people are being intentional in their gift giving and want to choose fewer, more sustainable, better gifts. If they can support small businesses at the same time, then perfect. Small businesses often have unique, fun and great quality gifts, and their customer service is top notch since they have less going on at a large, corporate scale.
Over the last few months, I’ve been looking for the perfect Christmas gift to give someone who loves camping, hiking and the great outdoors. I have come up with this little gift guide which supports small businesses all over the U.K. and offers such lovely gifts for those people in your life who have everything but can always do with more of nature. There are a number of price points, so hopefully you can find something or get great ideas for all those adventure lovers you want to get gifts for!
1. A soft, wooly winter hat that does more than just keep you warm.
OutsideIn is a Northern Irish small business that I have been aware of for a year or two now, but last month, I finally got myself a winter wooly hat and I am in love. The Pom-Pom hat is ethical, thick, looks amazing with its multi-yarn cable knit design and has a soft shearling thermal lining inside so that it isn’t itchy like previous knitted hats have been. I’ve worn it a couple of times and cannot wait to have it on all winter long.
OutsideIn wooly pom-pom hats come in a huge variety of colours and colour combos, some more feminine, some more masculine, they are one size fits all, and for each hat bought, a cap is donated to someone experiencing homelessness. This “wear one, share one” concept is one I can get behind 100%. Giving a fantastic, high quality gift to someone at Christmas has the added benefit here of helping someone while they are outside in the cold. It’s a very practical way of helping and giving to someone in need.
2. Camping theme tea towel
100% cotton, this tea towel is a wonderful way to keep the camping life going even when you’re in your own home. It is good at wiping up messes (the children will spill a dink no matter where you are!) and drying dishes, both when you’re camping and washing dishes in a river, and when you’re at home washing up in a full sized sink! The camping tea towel is bright and fun, with illustrations all over it including tents, campfires, camping chairs, enamel mugs, marshmallows on sticks, hiking books and backpacks… so many fun drawings in gorgeous yellows, oranges and greens.
Covered with adventure-themed illustrations, this tea towel is a great gift for men or women, can be used at home or can be the special camping tea towel which is packed in the camping bag ready to go alongside the pocket board games, the sporks and the Trangia! It makes chores more fun, and has my children offering to mot up messes and help with the washing up!!
Designed and manufactured in the U.K.
Comes wrapped in a belly band, perfect for gifting.
3. True North Life backpack
I love wearing yellow outdoors - I have a bright yellow coat, and I look forward to cold weather to wear it. True North Life (another northern Irish brand) has designed a really cool yellow explorer backpack, but if you prefer a different (more subtle) colour, they have these as well. I spotted one at a conference I was at last week and had to point out to the owner that she had a VERY cool backpack (even though hers was khaki green…). The explorer backpack is available in three colours, Moss Green (khaki green), Sunflower Yellow and Lough Blue (navy).
Made with recycled polyester, the explorer backpack boasts a range of features that keep you comfortable and your kit organised as you get out exploring, such as a padded laptop sleeve (so you can look like you’re exploring when you’re on the way to the office), zip pockets inside the bag and outside too, a key hook, elastic aged holders on the sides for bottles etc, and a signature orange triangular carabiner.
The backpack has been designed with both comfort and practicality in mind. It is for everyday use, be that going to school, the office, out with a baby or in to the great outdoors exploring.
4. Mallow makers toasting kit
You can never go wrong with edibles, especially if they involve sugar. And fire. The Mallow Makers are yet another small brand local to me in Northern Ireland. Ingrid loves to play with flavours to make the most delicious marshmallows, and turns them in to kits, to add to the fun. In the kit, you get a burner, some marshmallows and usually some themed chocolate, biscuits, stroopwafels, and other bits and bobs to make delicious treats.
You can also get fluff kits, so you can add liquid marshmallow to your hot chocolate, or a Christmas toasting kit. We have had 3 now, still have the burners in the cupboard as there is plenty of time to toast more (boring, shopbought) marshmallows once the delicious squishy ones are all gone.
The Mallow Makers toasting kit makes a great family event, and you can pretend you’re sitting round a campfire roasting marshmallows of an evening. This would be a fab Christmas Eve tradition.
5. Land Rover Defender camping in Northumberland
Before moving to Northern Ireland, I lived in Newcastle and I can say with confidence that there is no more beautiful and remote place within easy reach of an airport and train lines as Northumberland. It is stunning with forest, beaches, castles and darkness - Northumberland is a fabulous place to camp wild and watch the stars.
Weekend Candy offers overland adventures in a Land Rover Defenders with roof tents with vehicle pickup in Newcastle, just a few miles from the incredible coastline and dense forests. You choose where to drive and stay the night, and you can go alone, with a partner or the whole family, as some of the vehicles sleep 5. You can even drive to Scotland and stay in the Cairngorms mountains, or head West to Cumbria and the Lake District. It’s up to you!
Freedom and adventure come as standard – the Defender will go wherever you ask without complaint – and the copious camping equipment, including roof-top safari tents, foam mattresses, awning, sleeping bags and duvets, chairs, table, fridge/freezer, Primus Fire Pit/BBQ and even a hot water bottle means nights under the stars are as snug as they are spectacular. How amazing does this sound?!
From £110 per night, Overland Land Rover Defender adventure weekend
6. Surprise adventure book
The surprise adventure book is a fun interactive book which gives you the opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and go on surprise adventures. There are various versions of the book, there’s a couples edition, which is great for getting out of a mundane date plans routine and do something different, there’s a family edition to go off on days and adventure differently, there’s a solo edition if you’d like to do some fun and different things on your own, and there’s a friends edition, perfect for a group of students living together for instance.
Each adventure is a surprise with a few clues so you know it’s not going to be completely impractical, such as cost, time and length of time it will take to complete.
You can then fill in the book with notes on how your adventure went and add some photos so that once complete, you will have a beautiful record of all the adventures you went on.
The surprise element adds to the fun, as you’ll see, these dates aren’t completely unusual but having no idea where you’ll go and what you’ll do until moments before is a really exciting element of this gift.
Surprise Adventure have very kindly given readers 10% off any purchases - just use code ANDHOPEDESIGNS10 at checkout. 🥳
£20-40, Surprise Adventure book
I hope this gives you ideas for all the adventurous people you would like to buy a fun gift they will love to receive and use.