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2015 Christmas Gear Guide

Every year around Christmas time we get asked for lots of help from people looking to buy gear for their loved ones. In no particular order here are a few items that make great gifts and stocking stuffers for all budgets and all gear heads!


The UCO Stormproof Match Kit. This particular one is $9.99. The UCO Storm Proof Matches are pretty superior when compared to other storm proof matches. They burn for up to 20 seconds and light easily in any type of weather. For the avid outdoors type, fire starter is never a bad thing to have. What I like best about this as a gift is it comes complete with it’s own beefy case that can be easily integrated for other things and added to your 10 essentials or survival kit as is.


The old faithful flannel shirt! There are tons of patterns and styles out there and they seem to pass the test of time and are always in style. One brand I’ll highly recommend is Ecōths. Not only do they have a wide variety of different styles of shirts built for different levels of ruggedness, they are huge supporters of giving back!  Ecōths supports regional food banks around the country. For every Ecōths garment purchased in the United States, three meals will be provided to someone in need through their regional food bank. Ecōths mission is simple – bring together the triple bottom line of People, Planet, and Product. Not only will you be buying some awesome threads, you can feel good about giving back at the same time too!

Gift Cards! Yeah, so people say gift cards are an easy way out and less personal. Well, have you ever turned one down? When it comes to gear people can be pretty tough to shop for. Gift cards can go a long way, especially when buying small supplies and restocking for trips. Cooking sets, butane, food, gas, water bottles, batteries, head lamps, maps, guide books, etc. For every new adventure there are items that always need to be restocked, and gift cards are great for this.

Books! Ranging from adventure stories fictional or nonfictional, to guide books, survival and training books, to flora and fauna guides, there is something there for everyone. Kids too! Empower the children! Make learning fun and find child based reads that will get them excited about upcoming trips and vacations that might be planned! A tip on that is to give children a specific responsibility. I’ve seen it work time and time again from traveling and adventuring with Steve and Randi, with their son Cody in tow. Give the child a job and make them the specialist in the category. For example, maybe you are going to the desert in the south west, like we try to do a few times a year. Have the little ones learn all about say, reptiles. You’ll see lizards and maybe even some snakes. Let them tell you what they see, make them the specialist in the subject. The kids will learn so much from this empowerment and the memories will last a life time!

Snowshoes seem to be a pretty popular item we are being asked  a lot about this year. I’m personally a big fan of MSR makes. Removable tails and heal lifts come as extra options with these. Not all have them and not all need them. Pending where the destination is, the weight being carried (in combination with body weight, total weight), types of snow and ice, as well as terrain make all the difference in snowshoes. There is a tool for every job, do a little research and make sure you have the right gear.


Does someone have a 4 legged adventure friend? Several companies have mastered the outdoor gear for dogs! I’ve been a big fan of Dog Packs from Mountainsmith for sometime. They are very durable, water resistant, easy to use, and are sold at a great price point. My dog has been in a Mountainsmith pack since he was big enough to carry his own food. Mountainsmith as well as several other companies make a lot of products now in addition to packs for dogs. Booties, collapsible water and food bowls, leashes and collars, toys, and water bottles to name a few. If you have an outdoor dog, consider getting them some gear, or if you know someone who does, they’d be stoked to receive a gift for the dog!


Some great stocking stuffer items ideas could be home made, DIY, S.O.L. Kits. With websites like Pinterest this is a synch! More for the stocking though, hand warmers, socks, gloves, batteries, headlamps, fuel, snacks, toiletry kits, bear bags, first aid kits, water bottles, iodine tablets, field guides and maps, star charts, pocket knife, and dehydrated meals. Maybe make your own personalized little kit including things like, chapstick, sunscreen, lotion, travel tooth paste, and such. This could be fun and personalized touch added to it. And trust me, these items will be used.


Give an adventure to someone! The Mrs. and I started this little tradition a couple years ago, and I absolutely love it! How you do this is up to you and it will vary due to the activities involved and the location. For example, maybe you want to take someone snowshoeing to a backcountry hut this year. What would you need? Gear the person up! Not all items have to be bought, many can be rented. But secure the items needed as well as rent the cabin or hut for the desired dates. Give the person a bunch of different items that would be used. Sunglasses, goggles, hand warmers, wool socks, hat, etc. Maybe drop a postcard of an iconic place if that’s the destination, like Rocky Mountain National Park.


There sure a lot of coffee lovers out there. Have you tried the awesomeness from Mission Coffee Roasters yet? They have a nice variety of great coffee and the even label and produce the UpaDowna Coffee! We’re not biased or anything, but we sure do love Mission Coffee Raosters!!! While you’re at it, why not grab a collectible UpaDowna coffee cup as well!

These are just a few quick hints we hope you find helpful. Pending the sport or activity there is always a gift that could be handy. Climbers, how about a chalk bag or carabiners. Backpacker, maps and compass. Fly Fishing, leader or flies. There’s always something. Between the lot of us here at UpaDowna we got ya covered. If not I’ll ask a trusted friend in the specific field. With that being said or you need some more tips, or something more specific please feel free to email me at

Happy shopping and Merry Christmas!


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