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Holiday Gift Ideas for the Hard-To Buy-For Outdoor Enthusiast

I know it sounds cliché, but I’ll be the first to admit it. As a hardcore outdoor enthusiast, finding a holiday gift for me is a difficult task.

In fact, whether you hunt, trap, fish, boat, kayak, camp, backpack, hike, bike or watch wildlife, I bet you are also in the hard-to-buy-for category. Am I right?

Your blogger, an avid deer hunter, walks to his blind during a late firearm season hunt for antlerless white-tailed deer along the Platte River in southeast Nebraska. Photo by Steve Wagner of Gretna, NE.

We are a picky lot, aren’t we? We are a detailed bunch. We know what we need and desire to have. And what the holiday gift giver in our family thinks we should add to our gear repertoire, we don’t want.

Ice fishing is a fun outdoor activity for your blogger. A few clearly defined components of ice fishing equipment are on your blogger’s holiday gift list along with new 2023 Nebraska fishing, hunting and state park permits/stamps. Photo by Rich Berggren/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Getting gifts for any of us who are avid outdoors-people can be quite challenging.

So as an active outdoor participant myself, I thought it would be a great idea to share some tips from my experiences in both giving and receiving gifts.

Here are several quick tips for you to remember when attempting to locate the perfect gift for the adventurous, outdoorsy one in your life:

  • Do some ‘recon’ (reconnaissance)! Quiz your outdoor enthusiast. Ask them questions about the outdoor activities they passionately enjoy and note all the specifics they give you.
  • Buy for their aspirations. Better gear may be what is holding your outdoor sports-person back from pursuing a higher level of the activity they love. Nearly all folks with an affinity for the outdoors prefer dependable, high-quality gear that addresses a variety of functions. Another way to think about this is that for some outdoor enthusiasts, their gear can actually mean safety or even survival.
  • Purchase for comfort. Look at purchasing a holiday gift for the outdoors-person, the recreationist in your family or friend network that is an at-home, comfort one. Choose something with the same look and a similar construction to the outdoor gear they use. Maybe it’s a blanket or sleeping bag built for camping, yet it would make a superb covering for curling up on the couch.
  • Take into account the outdoor person’s financial situation. Just because they own a certain piece of gear, doesn’t mean the outdoorsy person  wouldn’t be excited about an upgrade. Try to assess the brand, type or model, size, age and condition of the item they have now. If you can’t get a peak at it or snap a quick pic of it, pay close attention to the clothing you see them wearing when they’re outside.
  • If their extremely hardcore in a particular outdoor pursuit, don’t scrimp on the price of an item. Select expensive, technical gear for the lifestyle of your outdoor enthusiast and make sure you know it is absolutely what they need or want. The old adage “You get what you pay for” stands true with outdoor equipment. A cool trick if you shop online is to search for terms like “titanium”  or “ultralight” or perhaps “digital.” These three search terms alone at online marketplaces should give you a start on a ton of top-notch gift possibilities. Keep in mind you can always acquire a nice, hefty gift card to an established sporting goods, retail or specialty store that sells outdoor products as well.
  • Consider a good pair of binocs. A good quality pair of binoculars are an excellent outdoors-related holiday gift to consider. They are a great piece of gear to take hunting, hiking, camping, backpacking, or bird watching. At night, binoculars are a link to stargazing. During the daytime binoculars serve as a tool to scan the area terrain and look for game animals, birds and other wildlife. Binoculars are also a super gift for youngsters who are interested in nature and activities like bird watching.

  •  When in doubt, buy a permit for the new year! The 2024 Nebraska permits and stamps for outdoor pursuits are outstanding gifts for the individuals who love the great outdoors! Hunting, fishing, fur harvesting and state park entry permits with associated stamps are gifts that can be purchased for others that are reasonably priced, last all year long and contribute to conservation and outdoor recreation in Nebraska! These and other neat holiday gifts are all available at OutdoorNebraska.gov
An assortment of holiday gifts available from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and NEBRASKAland Magazine at OutdoorNebraska.gov Graphic courtesy of Kristin Carder/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Remind yourself the best gifts aren’t always the shiniest gadgets. Experience-driven presents go way beyond just material items. They are the ones that bring value to someone’s life and, more importantly, inspire memories with family and friends to be cherished forever.

Perhaps offer to take a loved one along on a hunt. This is me and my daughter, Emma Wagner-Nichols, whom I took on a recent firearm deer hunt in southeast Nebraska along the Platte River corridor. I will be offering to take her on a late season firearm deer hunt as well. Photo courtesy of Emma Wagner-Nichols of Elkhorn, NE.

Happy trails and happy holidays! GW.

Here I am on Omaha’s Big Papio Trail walking my co-worker Katie Stacey’s greyhound, Mal. Photo by Katie Stacey/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

About greg wagner

A native of Gretna, NE, a graduate of Gretna High School and Bellevue University, Greg Wagner currently serves as the Communications and Marketing Specialist and Manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission's Service Center in Omaha. On a weekly basis, Wagner can be heard on a number of radio stations, seen on local television in Omaha, and on social media channels, creatively conveying natural resource conservation messages as well as promoting outdoor activities and destinations in Nebraska. Wagner, whose career at Game and Parks began in 1979, walks, talks, lives, breathes and blogs about Nebraska’s outdoors. He grew up in rural Gretna, building forts in the woods, hunting, fishing, collecting leaves, and generally thriving on constant outdoor activity. One of the primary goals of his blog is to get people, especially young ones, to have fun and spend time outside!

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