I’m not a big fan of “Wish Lists.” I understand them, and even have one myself; there is something to be said for sacrificing a little mystery (I wonder what is in that package?) for some assurance that your gift will actually be welcomed. Still, I’m old-fashioned. I think there are few things better than seeing a friend or family-member open a gift that delights and surprises.
If you have a hiker or backpacker on your list, here are five items I own that have delighted me over the years. Perhaps, among these, you will find a solution to one of your gift-giving puzzles.
Patagonia Capilene® Thermal Weight Zip-Neck Hoody. Every time I wear this I keep thinking that I’ll need to change the batteries in it someday – it is that warm. And the hood makes it perfect for wearing in a sleeping bag that is a few degrees cooler than the current temperature demands. It comes in men’s and women’s, and the colors are quite attractive. (I have the “Smolder Blue.”)
Classic Hikes of the World: 23 Breathtaking Treks by Peter Potterfield. I’ve owned this book for more than a decade and find myself re-reading portions several times a year. It’s a coffee-table book, but when I first received it I read it cover-to-cover. If you are looking to rekindle your enthusiasm for hiking in the middle of winter, there is no better place to look. In case you were wondering, the John Muir Trail is the first trek described.
REI Flexlite Chair. I’ve sung the praises of this little guy before, and since then have bought one for my wife. Some of our best hiking memories are of us sitting side-by-side enjoying a meal and a view. Like everything in your backpack, this chair will force you to do a cost-benefit analysis. But, if you are of a certain age where sitting on log, a boulder, or the ground is hard on your back (and backside), you just might find the extra couple of pounds worth it. Check it out here.
Born In Yosemite by Peter T. Hoss. Most John Muir Trail hikers fall in love with the Sierra Nevada before they fall in love with the trail, and many of those first experience the Sierra in Yosemite. This combination of memoir and history truly gives readers an inside look – both small- and big-picture – at Yosemite National Park and how we got the current mixed results in our attempt to preserve it. Mr. Hoss has an appreciation of this beautiful place that comes from a perspective few have.
Patagonia Capilene® Lightweight T-Shirt. I’m no gym rat, but three times a week you’ll find me in our fitness center slogging through a aerobic & anaerobic routine. Over the years I’ve worn probably fifty different shirts. These days I’m down to three (one blue, one red, one green) Patagonia tee-shirts, made out of what was then called Capilene 1. For me, there is nothing better. I actually bought these shirts for hiking more than a decade ago, and continue to wear them as an outer-garment on the trail in warm weather, or as a base layer in cooler weather. They are comfortable, light as a feather, and are tailored so that they don’t look like a potato sack with three holes cut in them. They seem impervious to wear. They come in men’s and women’s versions.
Good hiking, Ray