Holiday Gift Guide 2020
Starting to think about gifts this holiday season? Whether you’re a parent, trekker, or alum, check out the list below for some suggestions we love. As you are purchasing gifts this holiday season, please consider if you are able to support small businesses. You’ll notice that some of our links go directly to smaller businesses, while others simply link to a manufacturer. The items on this list are great options to support a summer trek at the Gulch (some of the items are even on the packing list!), though they can be used to get outside in the meantime as well! Many of the items on this list are not necessary to have a great time outdoors, although they have been identified by our staff as things that can contribute to the experience. Where possible, we selected items that we feel will be durable and long-lasting so that you can reduce your environmental impact by keeping gear longer than one season.
A Crazy Creek Chair is an accessory that starts out as a luxury, and quickly becomes a necessity as you love it more and more. They’re great as a chair for campfires, a pad for kneeling on while cooking on a backpacking stove, and even a secondary sleeping pad for cold nights. Bonus: Their lightweight version even rolls up nice and small for easier packing. Sitting on the cold, hard bumpy ground has never been more comfortable!
Interested in some unique small gifts? Check out this selection from Power and Light Press, located in Silver City, NM. An all-woman owned and run business, often PT and TT get a chance to visit when they are in Silver City–Sometimes they even show us the old-school printing presses! Check out their Sunprint Kit, Desert Cedar Body Wash, and On-The-Open-Trail-Candle.
We all love a nice soft, fluffy towel to dry off with at home, but that’s not what you want when you’re on the go. Faster drying (so it doesn’t mold) and smaller packing (so you don’t have to wrestle it into your backpack) a pack towel is a great option for a summer at the Gulch. Great for the bathhouse as well as the hot springs, you won’t be upset carrying this towel from the com to the top of a mountain.
Natives Outdoors was founded a few years back to highlight indigenous designs in outdoor apparel. It started as a social media project and has taken off from there–Their founder is Dine, and their organization partners with artists, tribal entities, community organizations, and individuals to increase access to the outdoors. You can support them (and rock some awesome gear!) by checking out the White Shell Mountain Beanie, their trucker hats, or awesome tee shirts, with artwork all done by native artists!
Keep your toothbrush, toothpaste, contact solution, etc. organized whether you’re on a personal backpacking trip this year or on trek at the Gulch. There are a ton of options out there, but we like this one because it’s a great size, durable, and has the handle that makes fishing it out of your bag a breeze!
Each trekker will receive a Cottonwood Gulch T-Shirt over the summer, but this beanie will keep you warm and cozy on cool days outdoors this winter and be a great addition to your summer warm layers for cold nights on trek. Is your head always too warm? Consider a trucker hat instead!
A few stuff sacks on hand can make the difference between “late for line-up” and “looking like a pro.” Use stuff sacks to separate your laundry, keep your backpacking snacks from spilling all over you pack, or stuff your sweatshirt inside and use it as a pillow. Different colors make it easy to find what you’re looking for and making packing and unpacking different items easy. Want something where you can see what’s inside? Check out a window-ed dry bag like this one from the Gulch store.
Headlamps are great because unlike flashlights, you can see while having both hands available for washing dishes, getting into bed, finding your toothbrush, etc. We especially like this one because it is both rechargeable and functions with AAA batteries. When you’re at home, you can recharge it and when you’re out on the road with the Gulch, there’s no worrying about running out of charge! It also has a red light setting so you don’t blind your friends!
Want a gag gift that’s also useful? Take a hint from Black Diamond, who a few years back released the Honnold Spatula on April 1st, custom designed by world-famous climber Alex Honnold. What is it, you ask? A spatula. Just that. But, proceeds go toward the Honnold Foundation, which supports solar installations around the world–And, specifically has done a lot of work on the Navajo Nation. Imagine how clean you could get your SS cup with one of these babies!
A lightweight, long sleeve shirt that helps keep you protected from the sun is a great layering option in the Southwest. This one also has a hood to keep sun off your neck. These are especially helpful for those of you who have a hard time remembering to put on and reapply sunscreen!
Keep track of all of your memories of the Gulch with a classic notebook. Years down the road, you’ll be glad you did! Want something a little more unique? Check out these amazing Stone Journals from Karst Stone Paper–That’s right, paper made of rocks! They also offer woodless pencils, in both black and color! They’re a certified B Corp and have a serious commitment to sustainability, so this is a gift you can give and feel good about!
A neat gift for your Gulch guitarist, this welded plastic dry bag is made from the same material as a whitewater raft–Meaning, it’s serious business! This thing will keep your instrument high and dry, regardless of what weather your trek throws at it. It’s made locally at Jack’s Plastic Welding, located in Farmington, New Mexico–And while you’re at it, pick up a Guitar Basics Zine from Power and Light Press, located in Silver City, NM.
While a travel pillow is quite a bit smaller than a pillow at home, it can still feel like an incredible luxury when in the backcountry or even at Basecamp. Travel pillows like these compress to be small enough to carry with you and provide some of the comfort of home.
Daypack (18-30 liter range)
A daypack is an essential piece of gear for the outdoors. They enable you to carry water, layers, sunscreen, and other important gear items. The most important thing is one that fits well and is comfortable even when loaded, so we listed a few options to check out. In an ideal situation, you would be able to go to a store and try some on with the help of people who are trained in pack fitting. With the pandemic, we advise following all local restrictions and guidelines in regards to going out for non-essentials. See below for a few options we like.
REI Tarn 18
REI Trail 25 (men’s)
REI Trail 25 (women’s)
Osprey Talon 33 (men’s)
Osprey Tempest 30 (women’s)
Deuter Speedlite 24 (men’s)
Deuter Speedlite 22 (women’s)
The Classic Nalgene always makes a great gift. Trekkers need at least 3 water bottles for a summer at the Gulch and we love the Nalgene because of their durability. They come in a color for every personality and will last through many adventures at the Gulch and beyond. Get a Gulch branded one here, or find one at your local outdoor gear store! Check out the link above for ones that support clean water in communities that need it.
Looking for that classic New Mexican look? You might be thinking of the Zia symbol, you know, that’s on the state flag? Well, it’s actually a sacred Sun Symbol from the Zia Pueblo, which can officially license it to select businesses. Organ Mountain Outfitters, located in Las Cruces, NM is one of their licensees and makes a great range of products with the Zia on it, in partnership with the pueblo. Check out their masks, Youth hoodies and tees, or explore the whole collection here.
Since many gyms are closed, an at-home training tool for the climber in your life is a great gift to keep them ready to hit the rocks! We especially like this one because it is wooden and made in Bend, Oregon.
P.S. If you do choose to purchase any of these items (or other holiday gifts) on Amazon, please consider going to smile.amazon.com and selecting Cottonwood Gulch. You won’t be charged anything extra and we get a small donation. Thanks for your support!