Hello! Wow, it is December 1st already. I swear I wasn't awake for November this year. Thankfully, we have had our Christmas decorations up for several weeks now, so even if December disappears, it will feel like Christmas was forever. I asked on Instagram and you guys all voted that you would like to see Gift Guides again this year, so here we go.
Today's gift guide is a bunch of products that I use all the time when going on adventures, and doing cool things but don't directly relate to 'dogs'. They are things I would love to receive as a gift, have previously received as a gift or asked for as a gift this year. Honestly, they may be obvious, I am not sure if people know to get people these things. I haven't included any of the gifts I have purchased myself this year including a surfboard, skateboard, wetsuit and something bigger that I will be announcing later in the week. Those would be good gifts too if you are buying for someone trying to make the most of Summer.
I remember being younger and absolutely hating receiving socks or underwear for Christmas. It seemed like such a boring present, and something that could just magically appear in my clothing pile during the year anyway. However, as an adult this has all changed. Since going down South in April when I purchased these MacPac Hiking Socks I have sworn by them. Every time I wear my boots, I need to use these socks, or another type of merino hiking sock I also own. I no longer finish a hike with sore feet, and blisters. It's bliss. So this year when mum asked me what I wanted for Christmas, more hiking socks were at the top of my list. I sent her an email with about 7 links to different hiking socks that I would want and enjoy, and let her really surprise me with what type of sock she picks.
If the person you are buying for doesn't have hiking boots, definitely buy them some boots at the same time. Both boots and the socks have changed my life and made longer hikes and adventures a lot more bearable. After I rolled my ankle badly, I actually used hiking boots for every dog walk for about a year. They are fantastic at protecting the ankles when you have rubbery ankles like me. So let's all be adults this year and get excited for some socks!
I never used to be a hat, or cap type girl. With my wild, curly hair, and my long face when I wear a cap I often feel like I look like a 29 year old surfer boy. This used to make me a bit self conscious and I was worried I was not 'girly' enough. Oh My Fluffy Dog a few years ago released a cap and being the supportive gal I am, I had to buy one even if I didn't think I would be able to pull it off. But that cap started my obsession. I am embracing my surfer dude appearance. Last Summer, and already a few weeks into this one I have been wearing a cap of some form or another pretty much daily. It tames my hair, slightly, and I could have the sweatiest hair and no one knows. Plus sun protection of course. I have been going to the beach quite a bit recently, which makes my hair at the ends curl really nicely, but the top not so much. Chucking a cap on solves this problem. Also when out hiking in bush, I hate wearing sunglasses as often the sun is flickering in and out of trees, while wearing a cap just solves all that sun glare in one go without constantly having to take glasses off and on. This is definitely one of the gifts that I find pretty self-explanatory, especially in Summer, but like, if you haven't already, get on the OMFD train and buy one of their sick blue ones.
Stainless Steel Drink Bottle
My life changed when I purchased my first stainless steel drink bottle. I can't believe I went so many years just purchasing plastic bottles filled with water from the supermarket and then just re-used that plastic bottle over and over again til it was disgusting. Looking back on how I used to do that is kind of gross. Not only is it terrible to continually use a plastic bottle as they start to leak toxins into your water, plastic is also terrible for the environment as we are all very aware. I now never go anywhere without my bottle, and have got into the habit of just filling it up and chucking it in my car whenever I go off on an adventure. Getting a good bottle will also keep your cold water super cold, no matter how hot your car gets. I love this when I have been on a shorter walk, or one where I haven't taken water with me, and then I get back to the car to enjoy some ice cold water. This one also has a nice big opening when the cap is unscrewed, so Diego can drink out of it easily. That may be gross. Too late, i've already told you guys about that now. I have the one shown in the photo above that has a straw which is great for while I am driving. I have another one that has a full screw cap which is also amazing, but has been added to my camping kit for coffee. I feel like this would be an awesome gift for someone that is looking at being more eco-friendly, or does go through a lot of plastic water bottles. Pair it with some other eco-friendly items like re-usable straws, wooden cutlery and the like and you have an awesome gift on your hands.
Bum Bag / Fanny Pack
Hear me out on this one, I know y'all are thinking I have lost my mind. I use my fanny pack all the freaking time when walking Diego, especially not that the weather is warmer. I use it so much when walking Diego that now when he sees me grab the fanny pack he gets excited for a walk. I originally purchased my own last minute for a concert at a lake in Rotorua, and that's why I ended up with this weird pink coloured bag. I kind of hate the colour, and appearance of my one as it sometimes reminds me of a beer gut hanging out of a shirt. Appearance aside, this fanny pack is so freaking helpful. In Summer, most of my clothes don't seem to have decent pockets, and I like to take a ball or toy on my walks with Diego. In the fanny pack I store his ball, my phone, poop bags, keys, ya know the usual things you need when walking. It makes everything easily accessible right in the front of you, and allows you to carry a lot of things that are useful when walking. I would absolutely love to get another fanny pack as a gift, potentially a black one that has more compartments. Top tip but fanny packs are actually coming back in as fashionable, so like, you could be a fashion icon when walking if someone gets you one. A cool idea if you do get someone a fanny pack for Christmas is to fill it with things they would use while out walking, or just fill it with chocolate and candy. That would make me so happy receiving that.
The reason I am including this in the gift guide is because I received this as a Christmas gift and it has been one of the most useful gifts I have ever received. I use this bag a lot, and love it for so many different reasons. Before owning this bag, I either wouldn't take a bag which on some longer hikes is a big no-no, or if I did take a bag it would be a crappy, ill-fitting one that I purchased cheap. Buying a good quality bag, that has been made to hike or adventure in is so key to saving your back and being able to carry more with less strain. This one I have has an amazing padded back and straps that make it super comfortable to wear. It also has this belt clip and a chest strap so that you can really strap it to your body for extra protection while walking. I also got a 3l bladder to put inside of this one. I love it. You can carry 3 litres of water without even feeling like you are carrying anything. I love taking this on my long hikes, and slurping out of the bladder while I walk. Then I get back to my car and slurp from my super cold water in my drink bottle I mentioned above. In this pack I am able to carry my water, some snacks, extra layers, dog food, and more without really feeling like I am lugging that much stuff around. With me often hiking alone, in quite remote areas, it is very valuable and important that I do take gear in case anything happens that means I need to stay in the bush overnight. Recently on hikes I have been slipping this bag onto Tammin's back so she can lug around the water and food and then I take a cheap bag with all the camera gear. I have really noticed a difference in how sore my back and shoulders are after using my cheap bag compared to this good one.
Those would be my top picks on things to buy for your friends, family, colleagues, next door neighbour, random receptionist at the gym that you think would be into more adventure gear. I think buying presents and gifts that are useful, will be well used and make a difference to their daily adventures is such a better idea than just little knick knacks that a person won't really use. I would much prefer to receive a strange, useful gift over something that looks pretty, or is cool but I have no general use for.
For other gift guides, I will be posting our Dog Gift Guide on Tuesday 3rd of December which will be all the gifts I recommend you buy for your dogs, or for people that own dogs for their dogs. Then on Sunday 8th of December it will be a Human Gift Guide with products that are more dog themed, or related that I would suggest buying for dog lovers in your life.