While the north wind blows cold and snow blankets the trails for the season, it’s time to turn your thoughts towards finding the perfect gift for the next big adventure.
Here are our annual recommendations for 10 unique gifts that trail-lovers are sure to appreciate.
1. A gift membership to the Kansas Trails Council, Kansas Singletrack Society, or the Kansas Horse Council. As the leading organizations devoted to building and maintaining trails throughout Kansas, each of these organizations provides a great opportunity to get involved and make a difference.
2. Garmin Oregon 650t – If you want a top-line GPS unit on the trail, this should be at the top of your wish list. The GPS is highly accurate with a large display and touch screen that makes for easy navigation. The built-in camera is a great feature that allows you to instantly geo-tag your photos.
3. Wildflowers and Grasses of Kansas: A Field Guide – The best of the botanical world at your fingertips, finally you can own a usable guide full of color photos that is specific to Kansas.
4. Leatherman Squirt PS4 – Lightweight yet fully functional, the Squirt PS4 is packed with an assortment of useful tools. On the trail the pliers are particularly handy to remove all of those stubborn thorns that may have embedded themselves in your bike tires.
5. Heartland Beef Jerky – Buy local with this savory jerky made in Kansas by Del and Jenny Wyman. An impressive assortment of flavors to choose from (and you can’t go wrong with any of them!), like Siracha Teriyaki, Bacon, Orange Apricot, Cherry Maple, Caribbean Spice, Caribbean Black, and Chipotle.
6. Gayle Dowell Jewelry – First spotted during a trip to the Manhattan Flint Hills Discovery Center, Gayle Dowell’s jewelry reflects the beauty of the prairie. With earrings, pendants, rings, and more, her jewelry has imprints of real prairie wildflowers and seeds in the metal.
7. Kansas State Parks Pass – An annual pass to the state parks of Kansas is one of the best deals going. For less than $20, you can have an entire year of unlimited access to some of the best outdoor recreation in the state.
8. 8 Wonders of Kansas Guidebook – After getting off the trail, this book is the perfect guide to appreciating and experiencing the most awe-inspiring parts of Kansas. Written by a true expert on the Sunflower State, this guide is an invaluable part of every explorers library.
9. Original Buff – A bandana has infinite uses on the trail. This is even better. Sun-protection, clean-up duty, neck warmer, or even make-shift potholder, do everything in style with this Buff from REI.
10. Go Pro Camera – Document your greatest exploits on the trail in high resolution and vivid clarity. Easy to attach whether you’re on foot, on a bike, or on a horse, it’s easy to use and makes it easy to share your adventures.
GPS is a wonderful thing to have on the trail, not just to navigate (not get lost, find your way back if you do) but also to know how far you’ve hiked, when exactly the sun will go down, and even to send people maps of where you’ve been once you get home. But Garmin’s Oregon series is especially buggy and unreliable. 😦
Thanks for your feedback on the Garmin Oregon, we haven’t had any trouble with our units but it’s always good to get additional perspectives. Anything that you’ve found that works more reliably? I’ve used a Garmin Etrex Legend for years, it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles but has performed admirably in the field.
I’ve had three Oregon units that either died (supposed to be waterproof, never worked again after a hike in a North Cascades rain storm) or just seemed to work poorly. 😦
Ironically, their Edge bike GPS computer is fantastic. For hiking, I’m using a Magellan Explorist 710, which has some excellent features and has been reliable for about a year, but it’s pretty slow. One very nice thing that one does is to show all of the tracks stored on the device on the map, so if you have a favorite area to hike, you’ll see how far it is until today’s trail crosses the one you did a few weeks ago.
Good to know! We’ll have to give that Magellan unit a try, the multiple track display sounds like an awesome feature.
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