Palm Springs sportsman and hiking expert Scott Scott says use your head when it comes to Christmas gifts for that beginner or expert hiker.
“The first thing you should be sure to have is a good hat,” says Scott, who is the owner and chief trail guide for Palm Springs Hiking Tours. “A lot of people just starting out think a baseball hat is OK, but the sun here is intense. It can get hot, even in the winter months.
“If you're traveling to Palm Springs you want a wider brim that is still moderately rigid, then it can roll or fold up and be put away,” he adds.
He said new hikers — or even those with substantial expertise — “don't want to try something on race day.” Scott suggests a holiday gift of hiking shoes or even a new backpack should be tested before tackling a trail.
More Holiday Gift Ideas from Scott:
photo courtesy of black diamond
Finding your balance.
POLES: “Hiking poles are huge for more than just the first timer,” says Scott, who adds that more than 50 percent of his fellow hikers are utilizing poles. “There's lots of advantages.” There are also plenty of poles to pick from, ranging from $19.99 to more than $100 for super light, fully adjustable, and collapsible. Top rated are the Black Diamond Trail Pro Shock Trekking Poles ($100) or the Cascade Mountain Tech Carbon Fiber Quick Lock Trekking Poles ($48). Visit REI.com, L.L. Bean, Bass Pro Shops, Amazon for more information.
photo courtesy of dick's sporting goods
You can take it with you.
BACKPACKS: Camelbak or Osprey backpack with hydration/iArmour USA waterproof backpack with air flow suspension: Even in the dry Palm Springs' winters, hydration is of the utmost importance. Some of the newer backpacks this season have added a tube into the pack so water can be easily extracted without stopping to open or searching for a bottle. Another new entry is an air suspension cooling system that extends the pack away from the back to keep the hiker from perspiring too much with the added weight. (Amazon, $35-$100).
PHOTO COURTESY OF HYDRAPAK
A flask just for water.
HYDRATION: The Hydrapak soft flask is BPA free and available in 8 ounces to 25.3 ounces at REI.com ($12-25), fills easily and collapses to roll or stays flat for the lighter return to base.
photo courtesy of jetboil
Putting heat to work.
HEATING/COOKING SYSTEM: The Jetboil personal cooking system (Amazon, $89) for the longer day hikes that could end with an overnight camp, perhaps at Joshua Tree. "For those longer hikes, when you get to the top, that's something you could use,” said Scott. “Most people get a Thermos and carry that, but this is an alternative.”
photo courtesy of good to-go
Vegan on the trail.
GOOD TO-GO MEALS: To accompany that boiling water, this is new to the dehydrated food franchise. Crafted in Maine by an Iron Chef competitor, all that's needed is that hot water and in 20 minutes you have a gluten-free, gourmet, vegetarian meal to splurge for a special occasion. About $7 per meal, multi-sample gift pack available. One is Thai Curry. Visit Goodto-go.com for more information.