SNOWSHOE MAGAZINE FEATURED ARTICLE:

Last Minute Gift Ideas to Keep Your Snowshoer Happy

‘Tis the season for high volume gift buying, and whether you celebrate Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, or the advent of the Winter Solstice, I want to offer some last minute ideas which will undoubtedly please the snowshoer in all of us.

Topping my list this year is Polartec fleece clothing. Pants, sweatshirts, hats. You name it, this fleece material is incredibly warm and affordable. More importantly, it feels like a sweet kiss against your skin. Spend the day snowshoeing the trails or enjoying an afternoon with your family, you will be thrilled by the softness of this fabric as well as its quick-drying ability and the fact that it is wrinkle free. Plus, it usually keeps me so warm that I find myself turning down the heater and conserving energy when I’m wearing my favorite Polartec fleece. It can be found in a variety of stores, both online and off, and often comes in colors which will remind you of the natural world you spend hours swishing through during the winter.

Another favorite of mine this year would have to be those innovative wool mittens, which actually function as fingerless gloves when you flip the tops of the mittens back. They’re perfect for those times when you need to scrape the ice or snow from your windows on an early morning trek to hit the trails or when you might want to keep your gloves on for the drive itself but can’t handle the inconvenience of mittened-hands. Whatever your pleasure, these gloves ideal stocking stuffers for everyone in the family.

Let’s say you just need one more gift for that hard to buy for relative on your list. Well, I’ve found the most unique one around which will help save a tree in the process. Travel chopsticks. Yes, that’s right. Streamside Sushi Sticks are portable chopsticks, which can be reused and come in their own canvas-carrying bag. So now you can take a pair while camping, snowshoeing, or for a short jaunt to the neighborhood sushi restaurant. I found these chopsticks offered on Sahalie.com, but a search on the Internet is sure to lead you to a wider variety.

This year I was trying to find gifts for my children which we could use on long trips to the mountain to provide them entertainment and education. Knowledge Cards seemed to fit the bill very well. Again I found these in Sahalie’s catalog but they are available through various environmental venues as well. Each set of cards offers different information such as wilderness survival skills, animal and bird tracks, and tips for saving the planet. A portion of all proceeds goes to the Sierra Club.

Adventure Plus Survival Tool is a fun gift that might just help your favorite showshoer out of a jam this winter. This tool contains seven essential gadgets including LED flashlight, a liquid-filled compass, thermometer, magnifying glass, whistle, waterproof storage compartment for matches, and a signal mirror. This neat tool does it all but cook your dinner over a campfire. It can be found through an Internet search and is very affordable.

We’ve all heard the horror stories of hikers who have been attacked by a huge grizzly bear while on a short trek through the wilderness. While it might not happen very often to snowshoers given the fact that bears tend to hibernate in the winter, a bear bell or whistle still might be a good idea for snowshoers and other outdoor enthusiasts. These can be found almost anywhere outdoor sports equipment is sold or you can be creative and design your own using bells, velcro, and useful bracelet material.

Know someone on your list who has a sense of humor? I found some amusing boxer shorts that are good for snowshoer friends whom are done for the day and want to laze around in the cabin. These can be found on Sahalie.com and are made of 100 percent cotton. Each features a picture and amusing saying stamped across the derriere of the shorts and are sure to amuse everyone who reads them.

Then we have some nice gift ideas for our four legged friends who occasionally join us on our snowshoeing jaunts. My favorites include the Gulpy water dispenser that clips to your belt and offers a water bottle attached to a tray that your dog can drink out of quite easily. I also like the newer versions of doggy sweaters that come in a variety of sizes and fabrics and can be found anywhere dog accessories are sold. Finally, there are many different pet strobes and LED-light collars which can be seen up to a half mile away for those moments when your furry friend might stray a bit too far.

May your holiday season be filled with happiness and a spirit of love and environmental concern.