Gift ideas plentiful for the outdoors enthusiast - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

Gift ideas plentiful for the outdoors enthusiast

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Posted: Wednesday, November 30, 2005 10:49 am | Updated: 9:57 am, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

The holiday season is here. So what kind of gift are you planning to give to the outdoors enthusiast in your life? No idea? Don’t fret.

Shopping for recreation presents is easy, fun and often educational. In fact, you may find yourself buying two of everything — one for yourself.

Now, if you have money falling out of your wallet, you can become an instant hero with your favorite outdoors enthusiast by buying a big-ticket item such as a boat or jet skis or golf clubs or several other things along that line. If you’re like most of us though, and are watching your holiday spending, there are plenty of ways to make your outdoors enthusiast say, "oh, you shouldn’t have" for about the same price as a tank of gas — or much less.

Justin Walton, a supervisor at Tempe’s REI — a co-op recreation and outdoors store — recommends you begin by identifying the person’s favorite outdoors activities. You may come up with something that combines activities, such as camping and fishing.

"People are trying new things in the outdoors," Walton said, "or combining sports.

"It is different depending where you live what people do."

Golf obviously is big here year round. A spokesman for Big 5 Sporting Goods, which has stores throughout the Valley, said several golf accessories such as balls and gloves are great presents that cost less than $25.

Also, normally strong sellers during the holidays at the stores are compact binoculars, knifes, flashlights and workout apparel. Most of those types of items come in under $50.

For hikers, one of several books outlining hikes in the state would be great as would trekking poles. If your outdoors enthusiast is a camper, there are countless items for less than $50, including some tents.

A great present for any outdoors person is a hydration pack — a backpack that holds water with a hose that runs to your mouth. Cycling accessories, such as a light, would fit nicely under any holiday tree. So would a pack for day hiking.

Walton said there are several strategies for holiday shopping. He said you can start by browsing a store’s goods online. Then visit the store and talk to a store associate to get ideas of what gifts would be a perfect match.

"We don’t sell at REI, we outfit," Walton said. "We try to identify everyone’s needs. Everyone here loves the outdoors. We can even recommend trips."

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