As with the previous ideas, I’ve looked at featuring smaller, more ethical producers – something a little different from the norm.
1. SueMe Beech Undies
You might think that one pair of pants is as good as another, but when it comes to heading out into the great outdoors and getting hot and sweaty walking up those steep hills, never underestimate the benefit of some good wicking undies.
I’ve had a pair of SueMe Beech Shorties for a few years now and absolutely love them – more so that they are made from natural products – sustainable and eco friendly.
Besides, it’s not Christmas if you’re not getting socks and undies 😉
(Image taken from SueMe website)
2. EDZ Base Layers
EDZ is a family owned independent brand which has been operating from Cumbria since 1995.
I was pretty late to the EDZ party and, despite buying outdoor clothing for as long as they’ve been operating, only became aware of them when I started testing out their products a couple of years ago. It’s difficult to believe how I missed seeing their products for so long.
I’m currently testing out a merino base layer and absolutely love it – it’s my go-to base layer at the moment. The Yeti fleece jacket I tested last winter is also still a firm favourite when the weather drops cold. The pricing is really good too – merino at an affordable price – check it out!
3. Walking Guidebooks
You can find all kinds of walking books these days – from ones which cover the most popular walking areas in the Lake District, to long distance routes, to pub walks and short local walks on your doorstep. They’re great for inspiration or sometimes just as a good coffee table book.
Some are self-published and some are through larger specialist publishers, but they have usually been written by an enthusiastic individual who is working on a freelance basis.
The Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild has lots of freelancers featured on it’s website in the ‘Member’s Area’ (with links to individual websites to find out more) and also a page showing some of their recent publications.
Apologies for the shameless plug of my book here 😉
4. Custom made OS Map
Ordnance Survey is the UK’s national mapping agency and their OS Explorer and OS Landranger maps are the most common map you’ll see a walker using.
You could buy the walker in your life an OS map of their favourite walking area, but why not go one better and get a custom one either centred around the place they like to visit most, or centred around their house.
If they’re anything like me, they’ll love it (my dream house has a room dedicated to maps).
5. Navigation Course
Ok, maybe I’m old school here, but I’m a strong believer in knowing how to use a map and compass if you’re heading out into the hills. GPS and online mapping has it’s place, but what happens if the signal disappears or the batteries die. Learning some basic navigation skills also gives you a massive confidence boost.
I’ve been on a couple of navigation courses over the years. One was a larger group course with a well known provider where I learned loads but still felt unsure about going out on my own. The other was with an instructor ratio of 1:2 and was absolutely superb – it gave me so much confidence to go out walking on my own, and surprisingly was not expensive to do.
Check the small providers in your own area, but to give you an idea check out Peak Mountaineering in the Peak District: