The Scouts’ Outdoor Christmas Gift Guide
A Guide to Christmas Shopping for Outdoor Enthusiasts
This year, we thought we would jump on the Christmas band wagon and do a “Christmas Gift Guide”. Let’s be honest, are you even a proper blog if you don’t have one? Who should we target for our list though. We thought about putting a specific list together for outdoor cooking but seemed a bit contrived.
As Scout and Venture Scout Leaders, we get a lot people asking us about gear. And then sometimes, we also see young people arriving on camp with things that perhaps, we wouldn’t have recommended. So a list of gear that would make a good Christmas present for a Scout or Venture is pretty useable. Don’t be put off though if you don’t where a Scout Scarf, this list is a pretty good starting point for anyone interested in spending a bit more time outdoors; hiking, camping or getting into their bushcraft. We’ve prioritised items which are good value for money, that we have some experience of using and will hopefully last a while if used properly. We’ve tried to pick a variety of products ranging from stocking fillers to main big presents.
A wee note, we aren’t sponsored by anyone but I’ve linked to some websites for simplicity’s sake. Even if you don’t like the shops or brands we’ve shown, you can find your own supplier or label you’re happier with!
A Decent Torch
We like headtorches most of the time. Between us we’ve used a variety of brands but at the minute I am using a Black Diamond. Petzl have served me well in the past too. For us it’s important to be able to dim/brighten the beam. This is good for conserving battery and not blinding people around you. When hiking, we prefer a red light option as we find it is better for your night vision.
This Black Diamond Cosmo 200 is great and what I am using at the minute as my main torch.
A Good (Appropriate) Knife
Not every child should be trusted with a knife. Any child that is, needs to taught and shown how to use it properly. If you think your Scout is ready for one, here are some ideas of good entry level brands. If you want to stray from these three brands, for young people and beginners, stick to stainless steel, you don’t want to worrying about it rusting.
The traditional Swiss Army Knife is a great start. A good selection of tools and safe to keep in the bag. These a great entry knife and so many people use and trust this brand.
Opinel are a great brand. They have an amazing variety of knives, in all shapes and sizes for specific purposes. If you think your young’un is ready for a knife but maybe not a pointed one just yet, consider the Opinel No.7. The rounded edge makes it a bit less… stabby. Don’t be fooled though, these have an incredibly sharp edge and shouldn’t be considered a toy.
These are a good quality, Scandinavian-made bushcraft knife. They’re serious bits of kit though so should be owned and kept responsibly. The Mora Companion is a great start. These are also great because you can pick some very bright colours. Handy to remember to resheath your knife and if you drop it or set it on the floor, you aren’t going to kneel on it accidentally. Plus, you as the adult can see when it’s out and when it’s safely away.
A Waterproof Coat
Yes, a proper coat, whatever brand or money you want to spend. Everytime we’re away and the heavens open, the kids run run off to get their “coats”. Someone will come back with some lightweight tracksuit top. Honestly, worse than nothing. Our young people are pretty good at staying warm in the cold but they are rubbish at staying dry. Get them a good coat.
A Reusable Water Bottle
We are all trying to do our bit for the environment so every Scout should have ditched single use plastics by now. In terms of capacity, between 800ml and 1.5l should be sufficient, anything more is unweildy and difficult to distribue the weight in your pack. When I need more water than that, I’ll take two bottles.
I’m a massive Sigg fan. Though sadly, I’m between Siggs at the minute! The Fabulous Red would be my choice.
These Tritan Wide Mouth 1L are pretty great bottles too! The have measurement marks on them which is useful for campfire cooking and the wide mouth is also handy for cleaning! Make young people clean their bottles!
Now I have not used these personally but I know people who rate them highly. The benefit of the Pathfinder Bottle and Cup system is that it can be used on a fire so if you’re buying for someone who’s into their Bushcraft or Backwoods, this could be a great gift.
Plates and Cups
I like when Scouts show up on camp with something to eat and drink with. Inevitably though, there will be someone without a bottle, cup, plate, fork, something. Consider a Knife/Fork/Spoon set as a gift. They can be picked up fairly cheaply to fill stockings with. In terms of crockery, I like enamel cups, plates and bowls. They’re super strong and fairly light. The downside being that they are rubbish at keeping things warm. Or if your’re drinking a hot drink, they get really hot and your’ll burn your lips. It’s all about balance.
A Roll Mat
We’re maybe into the “main present” part of the list now. You can spend a fortune on camp sleeping equipment if you want to. Camping is the essence of Scouts and at some stage, even if they don’t want to or pretend they don’t, they will sleep. I go by the addage “a layer beneath you is worth two above you”. I’ve picked two of the roll mats that some of our Scouters use that we are happy to recommend.
This Mountain Equipment Helium 3.8 is pretty bombproof and a great budget option, it’s been on special offer for years too!
Sea to Summit
I have this Sea to Summit Ultralight SI which I think is great. I like the valves which make inflating and compressing a breeze, it’s also warm and packs to the size of nothing.
We said at the start that this would focus on things that would last and wouldn’t break the bank. For that reason, I thought I should include these Knockaround sunglasses. They are sturdy framed and made with polarised lenses but really cheap for high quality protection. The idea being that when you’re climbing, camping, sailing, whatever, your eyes are protected by good quality glasses and it’s not the end of the world if something was to happen to them. Knockaround sent us some glasses over the summer to try out and we loved them so we’re happy to recommend.
It’s worth adding, that all Scouts need a pair on camp. Ours are firmly of the belief that sunglasses will help the wearer blow into a fire, as if the glasses will protect their eyes from all the smoke!