If you're generous, a sub-$20 gift is a nice stocking stuffer. If you're a little more Scroogey, a sub-$20 accessory is a great gift for anyone except perhaps the most beloved on your Xmas list. Either way, these sweet, outdoor-related accessories will put a rosy smile on their faces.
Soto Pocket Torch
Backcountry creme brulee anyone? The Soto Pocket Torch turns your average, unreliable butane lighter into a focused beam of 2300 F heat. No more burning your thumb off while you try unsuccessfully to light a fire in 40 mph wind, just torch that sucker and let it burn. This Backpacker Editors Choice winner can even be used for soldering. A pretty unique, little lighter for $19.95.
I stumbled across these on my own holiday shopping adventure and they make a great gift. They'll look like a festive Christmas gift while serving the very practical function of marking your tent in the dark, dark wilds. String them up around your dome, wander off past dark and have no problems spotting your tent. The Eno Twilights will cost you $19.95.
To-Go Ware Repeat Bamboo Utensil Set
Utensils are always handy for backpacking, camping, or just days when you don't feel like washing your regular silverware. The To-Go Ware Repeat set includes a fork, knife, spoon and chopsticks, all made out of your favorite sustainable material: bamboo. And it all comes in a handy little pouch. It's a great gift for the trendy eco-friend or for anyone that could use a durable set of eat-ware. Just $12.95.
Hydroflask Double-Walled Bottle
This versatile bottle is made out of double-walled stainless steel and is vacuum sealed. What this means is it keeps hot beverages hot without burning your hands and cold beverages cold without numbing your thumbs. I did some testing on it during the summer, and it worked great at keeping my Powerade cold. Use it year-round no matter where your lifestyle takes you. The 12-oz. model dips just under 20 bucks and the others will cost a few dollars more.
Breaking the bank at barely over $5, the CRKT Eat'N tool is a small, 1.5-oz. multitool that gives you a screwdriver/can opener, three wrenches, a bottle opener and a spork. It has everything you need to eat your dinner in the BLM wasteland, save for the actual food and drink. And it only asks for $6.99 in return.
Grabber Magic Cool Bandana
I've been using the Magic Cool Bandana for a few months now, and I love it. The cloth is designed to cool down when wet and will help keep your core temp down during those hot summer trail runs or mountain bike rides. Not the most useful thing in December, but he'll thank you for it once July rolls around. The Magic Cool comes in a few different colors for $14.99.
UST Sparkie Firestarter
This flint-based firestarter has a spring-loaded spark bar and internal striker. Just press it down and you'll get a hellfire worth of spark. The spark bar retracts into the base for transport. This one could prove to be a best friend. You can find the Sparkie for $14.95.
Garmin Chirp Geocache Transmitter
The Chirp is a great gift for those that are serious about geocaching on both sides of the cache. Stash the Chirp in your cache and it will transmit a signal to cachers (assuming they're using ANT-enabled hardware), conveying identification information, hints, description, etc. It will also keep track of the number of people that found your cache. It adds a new dimension to 'caching for $19.95.
GSI Stainless Steel Wine Glass
Who doesn't enjoy a good glass of Merlot or Sauvignon Blanc after a long day of hiking? There's no reason you have to drink out of a red plastic cup like you're standing in the parking lot of a Queensryche concert. These stainless steel wine glasses give you the proper vessel to deliver your buzz. And they break in half to save space. With a stainless steel goblet, there's no worries about broken glass. Get the GSI wine glass for $12.95 from REI.
Snow Peak Oshobori Hand Towel
Stop wasting the earth's precious resources in the way of paper towels, and opt for this handy Oshobori towel instead. The pair of hand towels slide in and out of a sleek carrying case, giving you a quick dry or wipe whenever you need. It even has antibacterial treatment that helps prevent mildew and bacteria. If you're really creative, you might even be able to use this to dry down after a skinny dip in the lake. $19.95.