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By Margie Anderson
Outdoors Editor 

Gift Ideas For Outdoor Lovers

Here Are Some Gift Ideas For Outdoor Lovers


November 1, 2023

Margie Anderson

I made this vest for my dad many years ago. The buttons are slices of deer antler. He loved it and wore it all the time. Very inexpensive!

Gift-giving season is upon us, and I don’t know about you, but with prices the way they are this year, I’m looking for every opportunity to save a few quid here and there! So this year’s gift list will include quite a few DIY gifts for your outdoor enthusiast, as well as very economical gifts they’ll love!

Homemade Trail Mix

One thing I learned early on when hiking with the granddaughters is that trail mix is the ultimate snack for the outdoors. We’d snack on it in the car as well as on the trail, and I made my own because of Emily’s deadly peanut allergy. Trail mix is super easy to make. I just take a big bowl and start putting in all kinds of little things that we all love to eat, like raisins (the yogurt-covered ones are especially yummy!), Goldfish pretzels, pecans, dried cranberries, dried bananas, M&M’s, dried strawberries – whatever! The girls absolutely LOVE it! Mix up a big batch, separate it into mason jars, and tie on a cute gift tag. Done. Great gift for hikers, fishermen, hunters, off-roaders – anyone, actually.

Diy Hiking Survival Kit For Kids

Use your imagination and come up with something inexpensive for a kid to carry on a hike. String backpacks are cheap and handy, and you might be able to find kids’ fanny packs on sale as well. If you’re handy with a needle, make a little shoulder bag with a zipper or Velcro to close it. Inside, put a LOUD whistle (you can get two LuxoGear Emergency whistles for $8 on Amazon), a big garbage bag, a bright orange bandana, a granola or energy bar, and a couple of Band Aids.

Cut a hole in the bottom of the bag for a head and one on each side at the bottom for arms – instant poncho, and can also be worn to keep warm. You can find a lot of inexpensive things at an outdoor store if you want more items: survival blankets, etc. Include instructions telling the child not to run around. Just sit down, tie the orange bandana on your head, and blow the whistle. A lot. Someone will find you!

Diy Camo Vest

Many years ago I used one of my dad’s old shirts as a pattern and made him a camo shooting vest with some inexpensive fabric I found on clearance at the fabric store. For the buttons, I used a hacksaw and sliced a deer antler, then drilled holes in each disk for sewing it on. My dad LOVED that vest and he wore it all the time for years and years. I bet it only cost me five bucks! You could stitch up a quick vest in blaze orange just as easily, and keep your hunter or hiker safe during hunting season.

Don’t Forget The Dogs!

Any dog that spends a lot of time on the trail, off-road, or in camp with you would benefit from a blaze orange bandana. Dogs can look an awful lot like javelina sometimes, and they can also be hard for you to spot in the woods. Anything blaze orange will not only make them easier to find, it will also instantly tell anyone who sees them that they are NOT game animals! You can make a bandana to slip over their collar by cutting one in half on a diagonal, then fold over the cut side a couple times, leaving a big enough fold for the collar to fit through, then stitch. Super easy. You don’t even have to have a bandana – any scrap of fabric will do, as long as it’s super bright orange or fluorescent green. Don’t use red or blue. If you need a pattern, you can get one for free at – just enter dog bandana in the search bar!

Delicious Outdoor Meals

You don’t have to be a backpacker to appreciate freeze-dried meals. John and I eat them all the time when we’re camping and off-roading, because once we stop and make camp, I really don’t feel like cooking. All you have to do to enjoy a delicious meal is boil some water, pour it in the bag, seal it up, and wait! These meals run from $10 and up, and the Backpacker’s Pantry ones are each two servings. You can see their huge variety (and purchase) at

I’m partial to Backpacker’s Pantry meals because they have a lot of vegan options, but our granddaughter Trinity recently introduced us to Peak Refuel meals ( and they are delicious! If you visit the backpacking department at any outdoor store you’ll find racks of these meals, including breakfasts and even desserts! Freeze dried ice cream, anyone? A couple of bags of these outdoor meals with a cute ustKLIPP spork is a great gift – and the sporks are 4 for under $11 on Amazon!

Lightweight Cooking Kit

Margie Anderson

I built this rod rack for John one Christmas. Homemade gifts are a great way to say I love you!

I really like the ust brand camping gear – it’s lightweight, durable, and packs super easy. They have a whole line of collapsible items – from bowls to sinks! They also have great little cookware kits with two pots and two bowls for under $30. It’s ideal for any camper or backpacker. You can find it on Amazon or check out all their stuff at They are really nice people – I met them at the SHOT Show ages ago and they are all great!


I also DIY’d a rod holder rack for John one year, but that particular woodworking project demands its own article! I’ve also traced a big fish onto wood, cut it out with a jig saw then drilled holes for dowels and made key holders! Really cheap! My point is that you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a gift that means a lot to a person. God bless you all and I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!


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