2014 Holiday Gifts for Adventurers

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What you'll see on the LaplandX Extreme Lapland Northern Lights tour.
Holiday gifts for adventurers
Not the MiG-21 for sale, but still incredible. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have a rule – I won’t even start talking about holiday gifts until after Thanksgiving. Well, we’ve passed that milestones, and now I present one of my very few gift lists. This one is my Holiday Gifts for Adventurers list. I’m going to break it out by price, from the high-budget items to the stocking stuffers. And I’m avoiding the obvious, like helmet cams. Come on, we all know about that stuff already!

Let’s start by going big — no, actually huge!

Strictly for Supersonic Bank Accounts

A decently equipped Chevrolet Corvette runs about $70,000. Color me unimpressed. With the same amount, you can get your loved one a surplus MiG-21 supersonic fighter with only about 2,000 hours of flight time on it — like this one I found on Global Air. That’s far more impressive than any Corvette in history – and so are the skills needed to fly it, and the bank account to fuel that bad boy. But still, if you have the means and the person you’re shopping for has the skills, you will not do any better than this. Ever. And imagine the Corvette driver’s face when he’s going on about his 0 to 60 acceleration and the lucky recipient of your MiG gift is like “aw, that’s sooooo cute.” And I’ll straight-up admit that Chevy has never produced a less-than-stellar looking ‘Vette (unlike some of the awful Mustangs that litter Ford’s history) … but none possess the Cold War, shiver-down-the-spine menace of a MiG-21.

Holiday gifts for adventurers
What you’ll see on the LaplandX Extreme Lapland Northern Lights tour.

A Cool Big Budget Holiday Gift for Adventurers

On Feb. 16, the LaplandX Extreme Lapland tour heads out in search of the best views of the Northern Lights. The 7-day journey starts gets underway aboard an icebreaker. From there, you’ll ride sleighs and snowmobiles on a Northern Lights tour that takes you to the ultimate storybook landscape. When you’re not zipping through the awesome Lapland scenery, you’ll be digging into gourmet Nordic dishes and lounging in saunas (let me tell you, sauna is a great thing any season of the year). You can get this for your favorite adventurer for $3,990. Space is limited, so sign ‘em up now!

Awesome Adventure Stuff for Less-Awesome Budgets

If you know someone who loves camping and hiking, look into a course at the Aboriginal Living Skills School in Arizona. From overnight survival classes to 12-day aboriginal living skills courses, you’ll find something to suit your favorite adventurer. My wife signed me up for The Provident Primitive course, and it was by far the best birthday gift ever. With Cody Lundin and Mark Dorsten as your instructors, you are sure to learn a ton. If you pick up what they’re putting down, your future hiking and camping will never be the same. Prices vary, but the lower end of the spectrum is around $700 for a course.

Holiday Gifts for Adventurers
A misty day at the Gaia Riverlodge.

There’s a lot of adventure to be had in Belize – especially if you like SCUBA diving and caving. If there are cavers in your life who are headed to Belize, chances are their plans will include the Cayo District and its epic limestone caverns. Your perfect gift to them – a few nights at the GAÏA Riverlodge, a hydroelectric-powered eco resort. It was just named one of the Top 10 eco resorts by the Smith Hotel Awards.

holiday gifts for adventurers
Make a log flight better with wireless Tracks Air headphones. (Photo courtesy of Sol Republic)

We stayed there in 2007 and used it as a base to visit the Actun Tunichil Muknal Cave and the Caracol ruins. If you’re lucky, you’ll get some nighttime drizzle that bounces off your cabana’s thatched roof and lulls you to sleep … and you’ll wake up to a misty morning like the one in the photo. Current rates are around $165 a night, but that will vary by season. A few nights there will be a memorable holiday gift.

And chances are, your adventures start with a long flight. For me, that means it’s time to listen to some tunes. The Sol Republic Tracks Air headphones deliver high-quality sound … and they’re wireless, so that puts an end to getting tangled up with every escape to the lavatory. They also have a 100-day money-back guarantee. If you have $199.99 to spend on your favorite adventure seeker, the Tracks Air is worth a close look.

Holiday gifts for adventurers
Good knives make great holiday gifts for adventurers in your life.

Stuffing the Stocking with Holiday Gifts for Adventurers

Anyone who loves some adventure needs a good knife. And not a Swiss Army knife or any other folding knife – a fixed-blade, full-tang knife that can hold up to all the abuse of a routine camping trip or a life-or-death survival situation. There are a ton of great knives out there, but my favorites right now are ESEE knives; I have an Izula and an ESEE-4 that hold their edge and fit my hand very well. Both are super-useful, but a bit more tactically-oriented than I’d prefer (the blades on both are on the thick side, which is makes them less effective at tasks like batoning). But once ESEE releases its CAMP-LORE series, look out! My Izula with a sheath was about $70 online. ESEE knives go up from there – not bad at all for U.S. made knife.

Holiday gifts for adventurers
Just like mine – a bunch of Metolius locking carabiners make great gifts.

OK, this won’t fit in a Christmas stocking. But it’s definitely a lower-budget holiday gift for adventurers – a food dehydrator. I picked up a low-end NESCO four-tray model for about $65; I’ve been working overtime for last few months. I’ve been making my own jerky, trail snacks and pemmican. It’s weaned me from store-bought food bars, and I’m lovin’ it.

I know this will make me sound like Ron Swanson, but everyone – adventurous or not – should have on their person at all times at least one locking carabiner. You won’t believe how often they’ll be handy. At $10 each for this excellent Metolius carabiner, you can grab a bunch of these to drop into the stockings of everyone you know who doesn’t think “If the outdoors are so great, why did we invent the indoors””.

A good daypack is also a helpful but affordable gift. And it’s hard to beat the REI Flash 18. It has room for a hydration bladder, plus all the gear you need for a medium-length hike or a day strolling around Seoul or Reykjavik. Easy to find for about $30.

I know there are all sorts of other great holiday gifts for adventurers out there. What would you like to receive as a gift for your next big trip”


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By Wandering Justin

Writer. Traveler. Gastronomic daredevil. Fitness fan. Homebrewer. Metal dude \m/. Cat and dog lover.


  1. Well, I won’t be giving out too many surplus MiGs myself. But some of those items toward the bottom of the list can definitely fit a realistic budget. That REI Flash 18 daypack can make a lot of travelers happy.

    Thanks for the comment!

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