Whether you're Christmas shopping for someone outdoorsy or making your own list for Santa it's the same problem every year: just what do you get the gear-mad hillwalker who has everything? If you're stuck for ideas check out our pick of goodies under £25, perfect for the Christmas stocking.
Alpkit Inigo headtorch £12.50
If in doubt, get them a torch - it's worked for generations of Christmas shoppers. Alpkit are well known for their good value headtorches, and at this price the Inigo is a steal. At only 68g it's an ideal emergency backup light to keep in your pack, chuck in the glove box, wherever, and while its 30 lumen output won't set the world on fire it's enough for general use out and about, from the campsite to the evening pub walk.
Light My Fire Mealkit 2.0 £24
The 'pimped' version of the popular messkit, this neat set of polypropylene crockery looks ideal for both backpacking and car camping. Includes small-ish plate and large capacity bowl, a couple of tupperware-style boxes, cup with measuring lines, strainer/cutting board and an original Spork. They float, they're dishwasher and microwave-safe, and they come in a selection of catchy designery colours.
Polartec Powerstretch Pro Gloves from Montane £25
If you're into winter hills then you can't have too many gloves, and these thinnies from Montane are a good versatile choice, wearable either on their own in fine conditions or as a liner beneath something thicker when things take a turn for the colder. Polartec's Power Stretch Pro fabric has a nylon outer face for toughness and weather protection and a brushed inner side for comfort. In addition to the finger-friendly pre-curved, box construction digits with roll tip for improved dexterity, Montane have added a conductive print on thumb, index and middle fingertips, so you can operate your smartphone screen without getting chilly mitts.
Exped StowAway Duffle £21
Whether you want additonal luggage capacity when off on your travels (souvenir bargains on the way home, maybe), or something to help organise the contents of your hiking rucksack, the StowAway Duffle is a neat little bag. At a featherweight 95g you'll barely notice it til needed, but it's tough enough too, with ripstop fabric and robust stitching. Two sizes available - 50l and 20l; we think the 20l is probably more versatile.
Bridgedale Summit Knee socks £20.99
If you don't get at least one pair of socks in your stocking then you should seriously think about trading in your family for a better one. These'll do nicely thanks Auntie. Knee-length 'expedition' socks designed for mountains and cold environments, they have dense cushioning throughout providing extra warmth, impact resistance and comfort. Seems a fair bit to fork out for a pair of socks, but a) it's Christmas, scrooge, and b) their mix of new wool, nylon, Lycra and something called Endurofil should be good for several seasons' hard use.
Lake District Climbs and Scrambles - Vertebrate £16.95
This neat little guidebook has been a favourite of ours this year. Local author Steve Goodwin combines the best scrambles and easy climbs in the Lake District, weaving them into longer walking loops to give twenty superb ‘mountaineering’ days out on the Cumbrian fells. Each route runs from valley floor to mountain top, with the ascent – and often descent – made via a classic scramble or climb. Popular easy scrambles such as Jack's Rake rub shoulders with more obscure gems, and rock climbs up to Severe. Something for everyone, then.
A bloody bargain at the price, and we love Steve Goodwin - legend!
See our interview with him about the book here
Nikwax Down Wash Direct £6.50
These days everyone's into water resistant down - and for good reason, in our soggy climate. It may be a highly effective insulator, weight for weight, but get it wet and down is pretty much useless. But after repeated use even treated down requires special care to restore it to its best, since dirt, oil, and other contaminants lead to the water-repellency diminishing over time. Down Wash Direct ensures optimal performance by cleaning effectively, revitalising insulation, and restoring the water-repellency of water-resistant down. It also reduces the water absorption of regular down and maintains or improves the water-repellency of the down item’s outer fabric. OK, not remotely sexy, but it could be one of the more useful prezzies you buy this Christmas.
Victorinox Hiker £24.99
A penknife - as essential to Christmas as carols, parsnips and beardy old men stuck up chimneys. Nothing new here, but this classic Victorinox Swiss Army Knife is as handy as it's ever been, with 13 basic functions including a large and small blade, a phillips screwdriver, tweezers and a highly effective wood saw for camp fires and impromptu DIY. There's also that nameless pointy thing that nobody's ever known what to do with [It's a 'reamer, punch and sewing awl'. So now you know, Ed.].
Hydrapak Stash 1L Bottle £18.50
When wild camping you may not always end up pitched right next to a water source, so you might want to fill up as much as possible before you get there. But who wants to cart bulky empty bottles around all day, just in case? A collapsible water container is a worthwhile addition to the pack, and this one looks good. Tough, flexible and lightweight - around 50% lighter than an equivalent hard bottle, they say, this nifty 1L bottle scrunches down when empty to roughly one fifth its filled size. It stands up to heat and cold, they promise, and its wide mouth makes it easy to fill from a stream or top up with snow. Off the hill, it looks useful for general travel too.
Mammut Tweak Beanie £22
What could be more Christmassy than a hat? Here's a nice one, a classic knitted beanie with a fine plain knit outer and a warm micro-fleece lining. It's a hat - there's not much more to it than that. No novelty antlers or snowflakes here, but we do like the embroidered mammoth logo: very seasonal!
Stick Up for Stanage car sticker £15
But perhaps you feel there should be more to Christmas than material goodies. Why not treat someone special to a Stanage sticker to show their support for Stanage-North Lees and receive a year of free parking at one of the Peak District’s best-loved destinations? The scheme has been set up to help pay for access improvements, bird conservation, woodland management works and visitor information at Stanage-North Lees, near Hathersage. Rebekah Newman, Stanage-North Lees property manager, says: “These stickers make a perfect present for anyone who loves Stanage. We know people are keen to help care for and protect the special landscape and this is a way for them to show their support.”
In return for a contribution of £15 you get a sticker to display in the car for 12 months free parking at Stanage car parks, and a discount at the Stanage-North Lees campsite.