Outdoorsy Holiday Gift Guide

Do you stare longingly at photos of epic mountainscapes, beautiful forests, and gorgeous waterfalls?  Do you look at travel blogs and say, “I wish I could do that?”  Do you want to try new things, get outdoors, see amazing places, and feel adventurous?  Wonder what gear you need to get started?  Here’s our favorite gear that we started with when we first began camping and hiking.

We are minimalists.  While we’d love to have all the latest gear and gadgets, we know that if we waited until we could afford everything, we’d never get started.  Here’s our favorite gear that we started with when we first began camping and hiking.  Check out our 10 Tips For Living A More Adventurous Life to help you create more memories as a family.


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Gear For Hiking


  1. Shoes– A good pair of tennis shoes are important.  We love La Sportiva Bushido.  So much so that Gabi, Isabelle, and I have matching pairs—yeah, it can get confusing when it’s time to find who’s is whose.  Victor is on his fourth pair and Danny even traded in running in Vibrams to run in these.  I really like that we can run and hike in these shoes (it saves storage space in our RV).  It’s too bad we aren’t badass enough for La Sportiva to sponsor us because their Katana and Mythos climbing shoes are my favorites also!  La Sportiva Climbing Shoes, Outdoorsy Holiday Gift Guide
  2. Hiking Sticks– We don’t always carry these, however, they were a big help in motivating Tatiana and Jiraiya to hike when they were younger.  Because we stay on top of our training regimen, we don’t really need them for stability when we hike, but most people can benefit from using them.  If you have any knees discomfort when hiking, you should use hiking sticks and improve your lower leg strength and flexibility with Vic’s Coaching Series—I promise if you do his program, your knee pain (and any other joint pain) will disappear.  
  3. Backpack– I love our REI Flash 22 pack, however, it was out of our price range when we first started.  Instead, when we first started hiking, I got each kid one of these 20-liter, lightweight, foldable backpacks and loved them.  They were perfect for holding the bare necessities—a jacket, a snack, a water bottle, and a phone or camera—and the kids liked that they each had their own color.

    REI Backpack at Goat Lake, Outdoorsy Holiday Gift Guide

    REI Backpack at Goat Lake

  4. Water bottle– I am so excited to have the Clear Flow water bottle by HydroBlu.  There have been so many times when we’ve taken off on extra long hikes, like The Enchantments, and had to refill our water bottles from waterfalls.  While we’ve never got sick from drinking out of running water, it’s really nice to have the peace of mind that the water in our water bottles is now being filtered.  I also love that we are helping out the environment by no longer hiking with plastic water bottles that aren’t reusable.

    Hydro Blu Water Bottles in Descanso, Outdoorsy Holiday Gift Guide

    Hydro Blu Water Bottles in Descanso

  5. Jackets–  I am asked in interviews all the time If you had only one piece of gear in your backpack, what would it be? Easy…my Patagonia Jacket.  I carry it everywhere.  I get cold easy, and the worst thing for me is to be cold while hiking!  At first, I only had the Nano Puff, but now I carry the Patagonia Down Sweater Jacket.  I told you I’m a minimalist—and cheap—but this is one expenditure I’ve never regretted.  It’s worth every penny!

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    Patagonia Nano-Puff Jackets are our absolute favorite gear.  We don’t go anywhere without them.  We use them for dawn patrol in San Diego, snowy hikes in Zion, in the pouring rain in the UK, morning rock climbing in Arizona, and everywhere else we go! They are super comfortable, warm and offer lots of mobility so they are great for rock climbing in cold weather.


Gear For Camping

  1. Cooking– I love being able to cook outdoors!  While we typically have our RV and can use the stove in it, I prefer to cook outdoors when we are in a campground.  I use this cooktop, but when we were in Europe, I saw a lot of #vanlifers using this small propane stove.  When we tent camped in Europe for 52 days, we carried two of these Pocket Rockets because they take up so little space in a backpack.  Don’t forget your camping pots and cooking utensils.  Unless you are hopping on a plane (if so you’ll need to track down a sporting goods store at your final destination) remember to pack a propane cylinder or isobutane canister and lighter, .  
  2. Coffee– I never travel without coffee!  I like using the JetBoil Flash Java Kit and this coffee grinder because it collapses down small to pack.  For greater health benefits, try to always grind your coffee right before you make it! 

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    Many times on our trips the words, ‘I don’t know what we would’ve done without the Jet Boil’ have been spoken.  Whether we’re in the mountains or by the sea, in a motorhome or in a tent we don’t go a day without using our water boiler/coffee press.

  3. Relaxing– I can do without chairs because sitting on the ground is good for your health, but my favorite part of camping is lying in my hammock.  We always carry our Eno hammock with us…even on hikes to alpine lakes!  These chairs are great because they pack down so small.  

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    This may not seem like a necessity to you, but nothing screams relaxation like a hammock.  This two person ENO hammock has seen a lot of forests and is fought over with feverish passion between family members.  Your mission: To find the perfect trees!

  4. Sleeping– We traveled for 52 days in Europe with this tent.  It was great for a big family like ours because there was plenty of room for all seven of us to sleep and have our backpacks in it.  I highly recommend spending money on a good quality air mattress.  I personally love my REI Cirrus!  Get the wide one so you have room to move while sleeping. tent camping norway
  5. Electronics/Lighting– Even if you are getting into the outdoors to disconnect, you are still going to want some power and lighting.  Having solar powered chargers for phones and tablets is nice, as well as a lantern or solar powered lanterns, and one good headlamp.  If you are flying to a different country, don’t forget to pack a travel adapter.


Adventure requires stepping out of your comfort zone and embracing the elements. It can be intimidating.  That’s what the Nomads are here for!  Next summer we will be guiding families on our adventure road trips.  Join us, and we’ll make your outdoor adventure a once in a lifetime experience!


P.S. Go check out these other awesome outdoorsy gift guides for the holidays:

Mountain Mom and Tots: 40+ Gift Ideas for Family Hiking, Biking, Camping, and Skiing + GIVEAWAY

Play Outside Guide: 2017 Holiday Gift Guide and Giveaways

Our Hundred Acre Wood: Holiday Gift Guide & Giveaways: 2017 Family Biking Edition

Go Adventure Mom: Holiday Gift Guide 2017


Born to be Adventurous: Holiday Gift Guide for the Outdoor Family

Brave Ski Mom: Simple Gifts for Skiing Families (Giveaway)

Rockies Family Adventure: A Ski Family’s Holiday Gift Guide

Backwoods Mama: Holiday Gift Guide for Canadian Outdoor Families (+12 GIVEAWAYS!)


Tales of A Mountain Mama: 2017 Outdoor Gift Guide for Families


Outdoor Families Online: The Ultimate Gift Guide For Outdoor Families

Wilder Child: The Ultimate DIY, Handmade and Unique Gift Guide for Your Wild Child!

Rockies Girl: The Under $30 Gift Guide for Outdoor Families

We’ll Eat You Up We Love You So: Outdoor Gifts for the Little and Big Kids in Your Life!