Admittedly, I am an awful person to gift shop for. It has been my mission to achieve and maintain as minimal of a lifestyle as possible. Two years ago my father asked what I want for Christmas, insisting he get me something. At the time I was in the process of selling or giving away everything which I owned to live out of a backpack. Any additional items would have been a burden, not a prize possession. Looking back, after two years of minimalist traveling, this is the list of items I wish I had known about. This is the short list of great gift ideas for the traveler on your shopping list or for yourself.

Luci solar lights by MPowerd

Traveler Gift Guide: Four Items Everyone Needs

One of the most important aspects to a minimalists pack is that, well, it is minimalistic. The Luci light is deflatable to the size of a pancake, provides multiple illumination settings, and best of all is fully rechargeable. No need to carry extra batteries means less weight, less waste and less space. Additionally, I am a sucker for a company with a benevolent mission. MPowered has a goal of empowering the lives of the 1.5 billion people living without electricity. Through there “Give Luci” program, people have the ability to help provide handheld solar lights to people in developing countries. At one point I had three of these incredible lights. I’m down to one now as I gave the others to a couple of kids in a tiny village in the mountains of Guatemala so they can read at night. So Dad, I could use a couple more, hint hint…. Great company, great cause, great product, great price…

Price: $9.99 to $24.99

You can learn more and purchase here.

Hydro Flask

Traveler Gift Guide: Four Items Everyone Needs

There are few things as satisfying during a long, difficult trip as taking a big drink of freezing cold water after it has been in your bottle for hours. It calms you. Plus, you literally have to drink water every day or you will die. What better way to say I love you than, “Please don’t die of dehydration. Oh and by the way, I want your face to make smiles and drink cold things that are supposed to be cold and warm things when they are supposed to be warm.” Sizes range from 12, 18, 21, 24, 32, 40 and the monster 64oz. growler.  The 21oz standard has been my go to bottle day in and day out all year.

You can read more about my feelings toward what I consider to be the best water bottle on the market here.

I still haven’t been able to get my hands on the the 16oz wide mouth coffee thermos yet, so grandma, hint hint….

Price: $21.99 and up, depending on bottle size

You can learn more and purchase here.

Blue Ridge Camping Hammock by Lawson Hammock

Traveler Gift Guide: Four Items Everyone Needs

I had the privilege of meeting Wes Johnson, the owner of Lawson Hammock while traveling last summer. It was no surprise to me that he had created what is very possibly the most bad ass hammock on the planet. Wes has what I would call, “true stoke” when it comes to the outdoors. In the time before and since we met, I have completely lost count of the number of surf hostels, beaches and random spots I’ve camped at. Most coastal hostels offer a cheaper “camping option” that still allows access to amenities like WiFi, bathrooms, showers and communal kitchen.

Don’t have two trees? That’s fine, the Blue Ridge Camping hammock doubles as a tent, making it exactly what a traveler needs, VERSATILE. At just over four pounds, the BRCH is ideal for full time dirt bums or weekend warriors. If that isn’t enough, the Blue Ridge Camping Hammock was rated number one by both Backpacker and Outside magazine.

Mine was tragically stolen in Costa Rica, so I could use another one Uncle Ron, hint hint….

Price: $169.99

You can learn more and purchase here.

VIRB XE action camera by Garmin

Traveler Gift Guide: Four Items Everyone Needs

Traveling is all about the experience. I have never used a better device to capture those experiences. I have been putting mine to the ultimate test, “Is the VIRB Ranger proof?” So far, it is not only Ranger proof, it is Ranger friendly. I find the ease of use much simpler than any of my other action cameras. The picture and video quality is not as negatively impacted by the water proof case as the others. The transition from video to photo mode is seamless. Additionally, those brainiacs at Garmin figured out some sort of wizard magic and enabled you to overlay data on top of your video. The camera features a visual display of your speed, altitude and even your G-Force! Not only can you see the data in real time, but you can overlay it over the video so you have numerics to back up how hard you actually hacked that wave, or mountain bike turn, or the spill you took climbing!

Traveler Gift Guide: Four Items Everyone Needs

The VIRB is also fully comparable with the mounting hardware for other popular action cameras.  I have found that the surfboard hardware is actually a  lot more sturdy than ones I have used in the past. The battery life is about two hours and the unit is water proof up to 50 meters. The sound quality is significantly better than any other action camera I have used while in their water proof housing.


Traveler Gift Guide: Four Items Everyone Needs

Price: $399 for the “XE” model, or $299 for the “X” model (A few less features but still badass)

You can learn more and purchase here.