The holiday season is approaching quicker than we think! Before you rack your brain for ideas while Christmas shopping, we wanted to help alleviate some of the stress associated with finding the perfect gift for the travelers and adventurers in your life (while saving you some money with discount codes). That's why we’ve compiled a list of our favourite gear for you.
Before we begin, we wanted to be upfront with our values and what we’ve taken into account in this holiday gift guide:
Tried and True - You might be wondering, how did we come up with this random list? Well, it is quite an assortment but nothing was random. After looking around our house at the gear we’ve accumulated over the years, we realized that our detailed research has resulted in getting products that have improved our travel experiences. We’re sharing our favourite gear with hopes that these gems will add value to your lives as well. In some cases, our faves have become hard to purchase (thanks, supply chain issues), so we’ve included variations of other great products. As always, we only promote products that we truly believe in.
Sustainability and quality - We don't promote over-consumerism. That's why these recommended products are practical and should last for years. We encourage you to purchase what is needed and only if it is within your means. Presents don’t need to be material to bring joy which is why we have also included a list of experiential gift ideas at the bottom. We also try to share items that are high quality (avoiding “fast fashion” or the equivalent with consumer goods) so that things do not enter the landfill quicker than they should.
Versatile and lightweight - These gift ideas have applications in various seasons and for different activities, and are not limited to single use.
Accessible prices - We understand that discretionary spending is a privilege and so we’ve included gifts with a wide range of prices. Some are more budget-friendly (which can also be used as stocking stuffers), and others are a bit of an investment.
Supporting small businesses - in the list below, we’ve indicated which holiday gift ideas are from Canadian small businesses because we want to support local.
Gender neutral - the gift suggestions are inclusive and appropriate for all genders.
Please note that this post may contain some affiliate links and we may earn a small commission when you click on the links at no additional cost to you. In fact, purchasing through our links is a huge encouragement to us and helps us continue to create content for you. Thank you for your support!
We will continue to update this guide in case anything new comes into our purview, so be sure to check back for updates.
Without further ado, and in no particular order, here are our top picks in a 2022 Holiday Gift Guide for Adventurers.
Gear Ideas for any Traveler and Adventurer
#1: All-in-One Sustainable Travel Kit from Keepsie Kits
[$7 to $180 CAD - Canadian, sustainable female-founded business]
Keepsie Kits' carefully curated travel sets are the perfect gift if you want to get all the things for your travel-loving and susty friend or to help someone kickstart their sustainable travel journey. Parts of the set are available individually, and there are different sets for each type of traveler (ie. solo, business, couple, festival-goers). My favourite item from Keepsie Kits has to be the Explore20 Packable Backpack - it’s such a handy packable bag to throw in your luggage.
DISCOUNT CODE: Save 10% on your purchase with JOURNEY10.
#2: Waterproof Travel Shoes from Vessi
[$110 to $175 CAD - Canadian, Vegan Products, and AAPI and female-founded business]
Your search for the perfect pair of travel sneakers will be over when Vessi’s step into your life (pun intended!). We’ve traveled locally and internationally in them for years and can attest to the fact that you feel like you’re walking on clouds, for 10,000+ steps a day.
The best thing about these shoes is that they are 100% waterproof, good for any weather conditions (rain, snow, mud, and slush), while still looking stylish. They’re perfect for those who travel light as they will not only combine a few shoes into one but they’re also lightweight. In fact, Vessi’s Cityscape sneakers rank as the lightest waterproof shoe in the world at 6.7 oz.
I would pick the Weekend sneakers for a versatile shoe that you could wear with any outfit (Tip: women should size down if they’re between sizes for the Weekend Shoes) or the Everyday Move shoes for a full day of activity while traveling.
DISCOUNT CODE: Save $15 on your pair of shoes using AJOURNEYINSPIRED.
#3: Coffee in Tea Bag from Wildland Coffee
[from $10 USD, American small business]
Coffee equipment can be a hassle to lug around, but Wildland’s Coffee in a Tea Bag has prevented me from sacrificing a solid morning cup of coffee while on the road or in the backcountry. Wildland’s coffee is not only smooth but it is also produced ethically and sustainably from beans grown in Brazil. This is the perfect gift for the coffee-loving adventurer!
#4: Travel Waterbottle from Hydrapak
[$16 to $25 CAD]
One of my biggest gripes with water bottles while traveling is that they’re heavy and space-consuming. That all changed when we found the perfect solution in the Hydrapak Stow and Hydrapak Stash 1L bottles which flatten in your pack but expand for the trail. They are heat safe so you can fill them with hot water or freeze them as well.
DISCOUNT CODE: Save 10% on your order with the code AJOURNEYINSPIRED10
#5: Merino Wool Toque from Woolove
[$32, Canadian small business]
While our toques are quite a few seasons old and you’d have a hard time finding the same ones, we'd recommend this toque because it’s made of premium 100% merino wool but is so affordable compared to competitors. It’s lightweight, compact and conveniently fits in your bag/pocket. Plus, it’s moisture-wicking, odour-resistant, and an ideal base layer for any outdoor activity. Woolove creates premium merino wool shirts and pants as well.
DISCOUNT CODE: Save 15% on your order with the code AJOURNEYINSPIRED
#6: Travel Coffee Maker from Aeropress
[$55 CAD for the Aeropress Go]
This is the one and only coffee maker I use, even at home! It reliably makes a clean cup of coffee and is portable for any type of travel, since the entire device packs into the size of the cup (including your coffee grinds). This coffee maker only weighs 11.4oz so it’s perfect for backpacking or carrying on your travels.
#7: Enamel Camp Mug
[from $10 CAD]
Nothing speaks of cozy camp vibes more than a mug for the hot drinks you’ll be making in the mornings. I love gifting enamel mugs because you can find a design that vibes with the recipient or print a personalized one on Etsy. I found my favourite mug in a small surf shop in Hawaii, so keep your eyes peeled, you never know where you’ll find a great gift!
Chances are you already have a microfiber towel for travel, but have you ever traveled with an ultra-light towel? Despite it being as thin and lightweight as a paper towel, it is incredibly absorbent and quick drying. Our favourite is the Matador NanoDry Travel Towel, which has been flying off the shelves, so you might need a bit of luck to find one. Fortunately, the Sea to Summit towel carries many of the same features. Either of these towels will be a game changer for your travels!
#9: Camp sandals from Birkenstock
[$55 - $65 CAD]
The Birkenstock Madrid Eva Slip-on sandals are the ULTIMATE camp and travel shoe! I use them for backpacking since they are waterproof and have good arch support for the tired feet after long treks. I also travel with them as they look good with any outfit and double as shower slippers.
#10: Anti-Odour Socks from KOY Gear
[$19 - Canadian, AAPI-founded business]
We love these anti-odour socks because they are versatile and perfect for sports like cycling, light hiking, and daily wear. KOY Gear designed these socks starting from the thread so they’re super soft and breathable, and best of all, they won’t stink. We've smelled Geoff's socks after 3 straight days of use and they were as good as new. Everyone we’ve gifted these socks to has been huge fans!
DISCOUNT CODE: Save 15% off using the code AJOURNEYINSPIRED
#11: Waterproof Touchscreen Gloves (from Vessi)
[$65 - Canadian, Vegan Products, and AAPI and female-founded business]
A good pair of waterproof touchscreen gloves is essential to keeping warm and dry on those long adventure days. We'd recommend the Vessi gloves which are form fitting and allow for maximum dexterity when using your electronics outdoors. They also serve as a great baselayer glove if it’s ultra cold.
DISCOUNT CODE: Save $15 on your purchase when using the code AJOURNEYINSPIRED
#12: Lightweight hiking cap
[$45 for the Arcteryx hat and $25 for the Outdoor Research hat]
We absolutely love our lightweight caps for backpacking! Candace’s favourite is the Arcteryx Elaho cap which is water resistant and comes in a beautiful pine colour. Geoff’s favourite is the Outdoor Research Ascent Shell Rain cap which has both water-resistant and UPF features.
#13: Buff Wool Neckwarmer
Neckwarmers are absolutely essential in an adventurer’s pack! They’ve served as neck warmers, headbands, and pillowcases when we’re out and exploring. I would recommend the merino wool buff (unless you are allergic) because of its natural bacteria-fighting properties. If you prefer a brand name, Buff makes a great neckwarmer. For a budget-friendly version, we'd recommend this Decathlon merino wool neckwarmer.
#14: Toothpaste Tablets from Change Toothpaste
[$10 to $25 - Canadian small business, vegan products]
Gone are the days where gel toothpaste eats into your carry-on liquid allowance or where the empty tube goes to the landfill. Change Toothpaste comes in different flavours, bundle sizes, and with/without fluoride. We love using their toothpaste for camping and backpacking as well because it’s lightweight and all-natural, and can be deposited without negative effects in the wild.
This carbon fiber tripod is literally the BEST travel tripod you’ll be able to get for the low price (but props to you if you are able to drop $900 for a Peak Design Carbon Fiber camera tripod). We’ve taken this one on backpacking trips and in carry-on luggages and we swear by its design, quality, and functionality. This is saying a lot since we grew up doing photography and have tried all kinds of tripods!
Another holy grail product for photographers on-the-go is this SanDisk solid state hard drive. Not only is it portable (the size of a credit card), it also has quick read and write speeds that help creators store high quality content. Bonus points for being able to back-up directly from USB-C compatible smartphones!
Do you have a friend who loves traveling long distances or on red-eye flights but can’t seem to catch some rest on the plane? This revolutionary pillow is scientifically proven to hold the head in a better ergonomic position during a long-haul flight.
We purchased this pillow when the company first launched, and then we also got the new and improved version this year and can attest to the fact that it’s made a difference in our travels! It’s a great pillow because it is compact, weighs less than 9 oz., easy to put into your carry-on (there’s no pillow bulk), and it’s easy to clean (machine washable). PLUS, it’s super soft and comfy - your friend will thank you for the restful flight!
#18: Light Fleece Jacket from Arcteryx
The Arcteryx Delta LT jacket is one of the most versatile pieces of travel clothing you will own. It’s breathable & lightweight, and we use it so much more than our thick fleeces. Candace owns it in two different colours and loved it so much that I bought one for Geoff, and he hasn’t traveled without it ever since!
The fanny pack is my little secret when it comes to backpacking and traveling. I can’t go on any adventure without it because it keeps my snacks, sunglasses, wallet, phone, and keys at my fingertips, and I won’t have to worry about losing my essentials. At first, I thought that my backpack’s hip pockets would do the trick, but you don’t know what you’re missing out on until you carry a fanny pack while hiking! I especially love this Matador 2L pack or Patagonia Ultralight Black Hole 1L since they pack into themselves and are incredibly lightweight yet waterproof and durable.
This travel kettle is game changing as it allows you to make your hot drinks or ramen (hello, late-night hotel cravings) while traveling anywhere there’s an outlet (ie. in a campervan, airport, even at some campsites). It’s compact and airplane carry-on compatible, so it’ll be there for you when the fuel for your Jetboil / MSR camping stove kits can’t be.
#21: Mini Powerbank portable charger from Charmast
We’ve tried tons of portable chargers on the market but nothing beats the compact size and longevity of this 10400 mAh portable charger, especially for multi-day hikes. Geoff and I each have one and they lasted an entire 5-day backpacking trip!
Shampoo bars are such a practical gift for travelers because they eliminate the liquid and weight. Each bar replaces three 250mL bottles of liquid shampoo - talk about sustainability! Lush carries different bars for varying hair types which is why we’ve chosen this brand.
Experiential Gifts for the Explorer
If your loved one already has everything or doesn’t want anything but you still want to display your thoughtfulness, here are three great experiential gift ideas.
#23: National Parks Pass
A Parks Pass is a practical gift that empowers and encourages your friends and their families to go out and explore! Annual passes can be purchased as gifts online and come with a blank signature line for use by the recipient. If the recipient doesn’t travel far from home, each province/state typically has a local park pass too (for example, the Ontario Day Use Permit for $99).
#24: Surprise roadtrip itineraries from Guess Where Trips
[$39 to $65 - Canadian small business]
Surprise a loved one with a day-long adventure itinerary that comes in secret envelopes that you open along the way! This Canadian company has planned epic itineraries for you and all you need to do is choose your style of traveling and pack your bags. The trip plan will come with a combination of hikes, hidden gems, foodie destinations, and odd attractions to explore. It’s perfect for dates or spontaneous adventures, starting from various locations across Canada.
#25: Virgin Experiences for Trip Excursions
If you know where your friends have a trip planned, you can give them an epic excursion from destinations all across the US! Their range of experiences are endless - from National Parks and flying trips to golfing and spa packages, there’s something for everyone. You can even purchase a gift card if you aren’t able to choose a single activity.
This ultimate gift guide contains the best gifts for your traveling and adventurous loved one, but if you can't decide, why not spend time with them outside?
Hope you enjoyed our guide to the best gifts for travelers in 2022 and found it useful!