“You can never have too much gear” is a familiar adage among pretty much anyone who enjoys the outdoors, whether they like to admit it or not. So never fear buying the paddler in your life more gear for Christmas—they’re sure to love it.
This year’s best budget gifts for paddlers and outdoors enthusiasts runs the gamut from headwear to pillows, sunglasses, socks, books, sweet treats and so much more. Here’s a long list of suggestions of items under $40 for the paddler on your list.
Flite XT Trail Socks
$26.95 USD | swiftwick.com
Looking for a fail-proof present for the outdoors enthusiast in your life? You can’t go wrong with a quality pair of socks like the Swiftwick Flite XT. This moisture-wicking, temperature-regulating, three-season sock features merino wool infused with grip fibers to improve ankle support. It also comes in 10 different designs.
$28.50 CAD | leevalley.com
This classic waxed cotton ball cap sheds rain like a classic Sou’wester and provides just the right amount of wind protection on cooler days. Its low-key style matches a canoe tripping vibe and will quickly become your go-to hat for around town, in the workshop and on outdoor adventures.
Full-Guard Performance L/S Shirt
$39.99 USD | vertx.com
It’s hard to find a technical, quick-drying long-sleeve shirt for under 40 bucks these days. The Vertx Full-Guard is a welcome exception. Its hybrid polyester construction wicks moisture and dries quickly. A slight compression fit in the core blends into looser shoulders, making it perfect for paddlers looking for a UV-proof shirt or a comfortable layer to wear underneath a drysuit.
$29.95 USD | tifosioptics.com
Tifosi’s latest shades deliver a sassy grin to the notion that you have to pay a mint for quality sunglasses. The Smirk features fun, stylish and lightweight translucent frames and glare-proof polycarbonate lenses, as well as rubber nose pads that grip tighter when they’re wet. It all adds up to a fantastic budget-friendly gift for watersports enthusiasts.
Dark Chocolate Cheesecake Mix
$7.99 USD | backpackerspantry.com
You can’t go wrong with chocolate and Backcountry’s Pantry makes it even better with this just-add-water cheesecake dessert. One package delivers two modest—or one super-sized—treats after a day on the water.
$34.95 USD | exped.com
Exped’s tiny pillow packs the size of your fist yet offers all the comfort you need to get a good night’s sleep on the trail. The simple air-filled design allows you to fine tune the firmness. The fabric is soft with a low-profile microfiber finish and crinkle-free for a peaceful rest.
$40 USD | frostriver.com
It’s tough to find handcrafted quality in a $50 or less, but the Frost River map case proves that budget and bespoke can sometimes go hand in hand. This 11-inch by 11-inch weather-resistant map case is constructed of clear vinyl (two-sided to accommodate a full day’s travel) with classic brass grommets and a durable zipper closure.
Stowaway Travel Beanie
$35 USD | ibex.com
Slip this gorgeous 100-percent merino wool toque into your favorite someone’s stocking and watch it become their go-to headwear for cool days year-round. Ibex is a wool legend, and the Stowaway features the best of their itch-free designs in a warm yet compact beanie—perfect for chilly mornings on paddling trips.
$38 CAD | penguinrandomhouse.ca
The life of beloved Canadian journalist Roy MacGregor has followed a meandering course, spanning the golden days of print media and countless articles about athletes, underdogs and the great outdoors. The photo of MacGregor soloing a wood-canvas canoe on the cover is enough to attract any paddler who is looking for a storyteller’s memoir.
$15.95–$39.95 CAD | badgerpaddles.com
Winter is the best time to maintain your wooden paddles, ax handles and knife grips—and Badger’s low-odor, eco-friendly wood oil allows you to tend your favorite gear indoors. Application is easy with a clean rag. It’s available in half-pint and one-quart sizes.
Rho Neck Gaiter
$40 USD | arcteryx.com
A neck gaiter is truly a year-round outdoor accessory, adding cozy insulation for winter activities and providing insect protection on northern canoe trips, covering up neck and ear areas favored by blackflies. It can also be worn in many configurations. The Arc’Teryx Rho features stretchy microfleece construction that wicks moisture and remains odor-free.
Peak Solo Water Filter
$29.95 USD | lifestraw.com
It’s hard to find a more practical gift than the LifeStraw Solo. This water filter fits in your fist and produces clean water—perfect for outdoor enthusiasts who like to move fast and light. It’s also a great option for an emergency preparedness kit, or to keep in the glove box of the car. The Solo is remarkably fast, capable of filling a one-liter bottle in 20 seconds.
The Starship and the Canoe
$18.95 USD | mountaineers.org/books
This strange and wonderful work of nonfiction is the product of a different time, yet it remains a classic study of father (astrophysicist Freeman Dyson) and son (high school dropout, treehouse dweller and kayak designer George Dyson), set during the birthplace of recreational kayak touring in the Pacific Northwest.
BlockerLite 15L Dry Sack
$26.95 USD | seallinegear.com
You can never have too many drybags, which makes the SealLine BlockerLite an excellent gift for a paddler. It features welded seams and lightweight silicone and PU-coated nylon construction. The 15-liter size is most versatile for canoeists, sea kayakers and whitewater boaters.
No. 09 DIY Folding Knife
$32 USD | opinel-usa.com
The classic French picnic knife gets a practical facelift in the form of the No. 09 DIY. Opinel added wire cutters and a multi-head screwdriver attachment (Phillips and flat-head bits are included, but it works with all standard one-inch bits) to its slim and slicy stainless steel blade. The plastic handle is water-friendly for paddlers.
Speckled Pint Glass
$12.95 USD | silipint.com
Classic enamelware finish meets grippy silicone in this versatile 16-ounce “glass” from Silipint. A spill-proof lid makes sipping hot coffee easy, while the durable construction withstands microwaves, dishwashers and freezers, as well as high impacts and crushing.
Alpine Chef’s Knife
$19.95 USD | msrgear.com
Backcountry chefs will appreciate a true kitchen knife like the Alpine for slicing, chopping and dicing. The 6.5-inch stainless steel modified Santoku blade is sharp, durable and corrosion-free, with a secure sheath for storage.
Paddling Film Festival Gift Card
$18.50 | paddlingfilmfestival.com
Perfect for loved ones both near and far, adventure awaits at the click of a button. The Paddling Film Festival collects the best rafting, whitewater, SUP, canoeing and ocean paddling films from 2023 and years past. Seamlessly forward the gift card email or print it out to tuck into their Christmas card, bringing the joy of aquatic exploration directly to them.
Purchase a gift card today at an exclusive holiday price and get 20% off with the code: PFF2023KAPM2
Feature photo: Kaydi Pyette