Time for thinking about Christmas presents is fast approaching. Here are some tips and ideas for gifts for travellers or outdoor lovers who need to keep comfortable and warm.
These days thousands of people go on winter vacations and very often visit cold countries – snow is a magnet that’s for sure. If you know someone who loves being in the great outdoors here are a few gift ideas that will not only be useful, but will be loved and even cherished!
I have included some tips on how to choose too the right garment for your needs too.
Dressing properly to keep warm and comfortable has become a fine art, and a few well-chosen items of clothing will make all the difference to anyone who enjoys being outside in the winter.
The first thing you need to think about when choosing clothing is layering. A thick jumper and heavy padded jacket will not work if you’re into active holidays such as walking or cycling, because they will weigh you down, make you sweat, and generally cramp your style.
You need layers that you can quickly and easily put on and take off. They need to be easily packable and lightweight. Undergarments are so important that they can even save your life.
High cliff walking during the winter months is becoming more and more popular, so an addition to a layering system will be a very well received gift.
Three layers are recommended, the base, middle and outer.
The Base Layer
The base layer is closest to your skin and its job is to wick the sweat away from your body. Cotton is not a good material because it soaks up sweat and gets wet, cold, and clammy.
Here are some examples of excellent base layer garments:
Don’t forget the legs! Long johns or leggings are also very important. These are all great examples:
The middle layer
This layer traps the warmth your body produces and keeps you warm. In winter this can be a fleece or even a down jacket. If it’s very cold then the fleece should be replaced with an insulated jacket. Here are some good examples:
Top Layer: A Good Jacket
A good quality warm jacket is an essential piece of gear and if you really want to treat someone this Christmas you won’t go wrong with a specialist jacket. But they are a bit of an investment, so the first thing you should be clear about is what activity the person you are buying for will be doing while wearing the jacket. You’ll feel as though there are hundreds of them to choose from. But that’s not true because there is only about 3 different kinds of fabric. A good outdoor jacket should be windproof and waterproof and you need a very specialized fabric to achieve this. Once you know what material you need, then the style follows. For example a cycling jacket will be short, lightweight and thin compared to walking jacket, which should be longer. If you’re buying for someone who enjoys active holidays like climbing, cycling or trekking for miles on hilltops, the jacket must be both breathable, easy to pack, and lightweight. If on the other hand you’re buying for someone who enjoys family camping and walking dogs, then the weight and packablity is not important and the jacket need not cost as much.
So how do you choose? Here are a few tips:
Normal GoreTex A material called GoreTex has been around for quite a few years and works very well indeed at wicking out body moisture through tiny holes while stopping water getting in. Have you ever tried going for a walk in the rain with a waterproof jacket that is not breathable? You get wet –very wet indeed! That’s because the sweat from your body is trapped inside the jacket. Walking becomes very uncomfortable and very soon you will get cold. So normal GoreTex is really excellent if you need an all round breathable windproof jacket. It can be worn comfortably for everyday winter living with a fleece and vest underneath for warmth. These are the cheaper in the GoreTex range. GoreTex Active Shell Another kind of waterproof and windproof jacket is called GoreTex Active Shell. It is a lighter thinner GoreTex that lets more air run through it quicker than ordinary GoreTex. It is packable and ideal if you need a jacket for someone who is into things like running, mountaineering, mountain biking, fell walking etc. The only downside of this jacket is that it is not as durable as GoreTex.
Then there’s GoreTex Pro, which is more durable and more air permeable than all the GoreTex jackets, and therefore it s more breathable. So this is great for mountaineers or hill walkers who are quite hard on their gear. It’s the most expensive jacket and a favorite among professional mountaineers. These jackets all have fully taped seams and sewn seams.
Another type of jacket is called eVent. This is a membrane jacket that allows the air that your body creates to pass through the membrane really well. It is fully waterproof but it is not as warm as GoreTex, so you need to wear warm layers. Also, it has to be kept clean to keep the pores free or it lets water in. So you need to wash it with a special soap. It’s very light and comfortable, excellent for very active people. Polartec NeoShell These are extremely air permeable and very breathable – but they lose heat. They are great for climbing and are completely waterproof. They are very, very comfortable. Perfect for mountain bikers or runners.
These are for skiing and snow. Waterproof trousers, may not sound very romantic, but they are essential if you’re going in snow or walking in rain. In my experience they are the item that people skimp on because they don’t realize just how important they are. So if you really want to please someone consider buying them a pair of these for Christmas.
Essential: A Warm Hat
Warm hats that fit under hoods are a great present. It’s so easy to lose a hat so you really can never have too many. I have picked out examples of lovely hats that would make any walker very happy indeed. The brightly colored beanie is Jacquard, which means that it is waterproof.
Essential: Warm Waterproof Gloves
Gloves are also very easy to lose and so a new pair is always gratefully received. I remember forgetting my gloves when I was away skiing and I had to buy a pair at the resort, believe me they cost me a fortune! Anyone would really appreciate a good pair of warm waterproof gloves. You can buy them with inner fleece layers and outer GorTex for skiing. Here are a few examples:
Here are some ideas for gifts that aren’t clothing.
If you’re looking for a great winter holiday click on the image below. Intrepid Travel have some great ideas: