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Eight Christmas Gift Ideas for Walkers

As we head towards Christmas, many of us are thinking about buying and giving gifts. I always like to make sure I give gifts that are useful and will be loved, as there’s nothing worse than seeing all the unwanted gifts that end up in landfill every year. I will be creating a wish list so that my closest friends and relatives have ideas of the things that will be treasured by me, making sure they don’t waste their hard-earned cash. Here’s some of the items featuring on my walking Christmas wish list…

Refillable Water Bottle

Carrying water on a walk is an absolute essential. And if you walk with a dog, you will also need to carry water for him/her too. We all know that single-use plastic bottles are the enemy of the environment, so a good refillable metal bottle is ideal. I tried a number of bottles when I first started walking regularly and soon found out that a key feature is being leak-proof! Having had my current bottle for the last ten years, this year I will be asking Santa to treat me to a nice new one. My old one will be handed down to carry water for our dog. I bought the Super Sparrow Water Bottle as a gift for another walker last year, and I’ve heard nothing but praise. As it is insulated, it keeps your water chilled in the summer and is also suitable for hot drinks in the winter. Perfect for my wish list.

Doggie Water Bowl

Dogs might be able to share the water we carry, but they have not yet developed the ability to drink directly from the bottle. For many years we carried a small metal drinking bowl (quite heavy and bulky) or a Tupperware-style shallow dish, but this year we have discovered the collapsible silicon-type Travel Dog Bowl. These are lightweight, durable and fold flat ready for storage in the rucksack. Better still, it even gets the approval of our standard poodle, who has very discerning taste! If we hadn’t already bought this, it would be firmly on my wish list this year.

Boot Holder

Walking boots are a personal choice and not something that are easy to buy as a gift. However, one of the most rewarding walking accessories I’ve invested in is ideal as a gift – a boot holder and carrier. When you remove your muddy boots at the end of the walk, what do you do with them? I used to put them into a plastic carrier bag (another enemy of the environment) which always split over time releasing all the dried mud inside the car. That was until I came across the purpose-built Boot Holder. This is the perfect way to store your boots both in the car and at home. Our holders have lasted 12+ years, making them more durable, effective and environmentally friendly than a plastic bag and the ideal gift for walkers.

Walking Snack Bars

What you choose to eat when out on a walk is also a personal thing. It might be that you are finishing your ramble at a pub ready for a hearty lunch or you might be carrying a homemade packed lunch to enjoy at a suitable viewpoint. Either way, I think there’s always room in your plans to have a tasty treat whilst on the go. My favourites are the energy bars made from a mix of dates, nuts, dried fruit and grains, such as Nakd Bars, Trek Bars and Bounce Balls. These make a perfect item for your wish list, as people can buy them individually or in multi-packs depending on the budget. With nice long shelf-lives, you can enjoy them through the year ahead. 

Decadent Footcream

It is easy to take your feet for granted, but as walkers we really put them through their paces. I’ve shared lots of tips in the past about caring for your feet (see Take Miles off Your Feet), but one of my favourite treats is a good quality footcream. I like to use a footcream that can help prevent the build-up of hard skin, can give resistance to infections and odour (with ingredients like lavender and tea tree oil) and can also help with the condition of your nails. I put on a generous amount at night and let the cream work its magic while I sleep. My current favourites are Elemis Treat Your Feet Footcream and L’Occitane Shea Butter Footcream, both of which help keep my feet in tip-top shape. One of these will be on my wish list this year.

Simple Accessories

You should never overlook simple walking accessories as great gifts for walkers. Classic winter gifts are easy to give a walking twist. If you are after a knitted hat, why not consider a nice Bright Colour Knitted Hat which will keep you warm and also help with visibility and safety when walking along country lanes. Gloves are an essential part of any winter wardrobe. As an iFootpath walker, you might want to consider having Touchscreen Gloves that allow you to still operate the touch screen of your phone whilst wearing them – these are a great walking gadget. If you don’t already have one, a Simple Compass is always a handy addition to your walking kit. You could also ask for basic medical supplies – blister plasters and small dressings are a sensible thing to carry with you.

Charity Donations

If you feel you already have all the material possessions you need, then you might want to consider asking your friends or family to make a charity donation in lieu of a gift. You may well already have a charity that is close to your heart, but if you want to include a link to walking then an environmental charity might be just the ticket. One of the proven ways to enhance nature and the environment is tree-planting, hedge planting and woodland management. Charities that are helping to do this work are also helping to ensure that there will be wonderful places to walk in the future. You could consider membership of the Woodland Trust, the RSPB or perhaps your local Wildlife Trust.

Spending Time Not Money

Martin Lewis of Money Saving Expert fame has a campaign running this year which aims to protect people from getting into unnecessary debt at Christmas. Martin is encouraging everyone to slim down your buying list by agreeing with friends to ban unnecessary Christmas presents. He carefully reminds us all that gift-giving creates an obligation on recipients to give back, whether they can afford it or not. For some, the gift of “not obliging you to buy for me" is actually better. It doesn’t have to be entirely bah-humbug though. Why not agree with friends that you don’t want a material gift from them, instead you would like them to set aside a few hours to Come Walking With You. There are plenty of iFootpath Walking Guides to help with some inspiration. Spending time with people, rather than spending money on people, might just be one of your favourite gifts this year.

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November 2018

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