Every year, we try to pull together a few of our favorite things for exploring Florida’s outdoors, and we try to select the best gear available in their category.
In the interest of full disclosure, the links on the images and highlighted text will take you to Amazon, one of our favorite online stores, not just for books but for all things outdoors. We like Amazon because they offer the best prices on the internet and free shipping. And you can get your items smartly gift-wrapped and shipped wherever you choose.
We do get a modest commission from your purchase if you use our links, but no matter where you shop for these products, we vouch for them. Of course, we’d love it if you would show your support of Florida Rambler by making your purchase right here!
The Florida Rambler Outdoors Gift Guide
For the pure camping experience, leave the electronic toys at home. But let’s get real – there’s nothing like curling up with a good book when you’re out in the wild. And in today’s digital world, e-books turn out to be the ideal camping companion. They are lightweight, compact and store a lot of reading material. My wife and I both have Kindles, but neither are back-lit, so we need external lighting to read at night in the tent. With the full-color Kindle Fire, the lighting is built into the device so you won’t disturb others. And if you want to watch a movie or listen to music after the kids are asleep, just plug in headphones and the integrated stereo speakers will be silenced. (Step up to the Fire HD for Dolby Sound).
$159 at Amazon: Kindle Fire 7″, LCD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB
Eagle Creek Travel Gear
Bonnie uses and loves the Eagle Creek packing travel system — a series of zippered mesh cubes that organizes your stuff. There is a great variety with different sizes/shapes that can be combined. Bonnie finds the most useful pack is the inexpensive ($10.50) half-cube, which she keeps permanently packed with socks, underwear and PJs, staying organized for the whole trip.
$7.50 and up at Amazon: Eagle Creek Travel Gear
The Keys are a paddler’s paradise. You can launch a kayak almost anywhere. Author Bill Keogh, who lives on Big Pine Key, has paddled the Keys from top to bottom, and he knows all the best spots to launch and the best areas to explore. He describes the wildlife and eco-systems so you understand what’s around you, lists almost 70 launch points and takes you on 47 adventures of special interest, accompanied by nautical chart references, tidal alerts and previews of what you’ll encounter. In the appendix, he lists canoe outfitters where you can rent a yak and provides a seasonal bird list. The bible for the Keys paddler.
$12.26 at Amazon: Florida Keys Paddling Guide: From Key Largo to Key West
This is Florida, where your footwear collection need not go beyond boat shoes and sandals (no socks). The boat shoes not only grip the deck, but they grip the ground just as well. I wear them for biking, hiking, paddling, boating, fishing, camping, going to the store, working in the yard, and I’ve even got a “formal” pair for work, fine dining and going to church. Sperry makes the best of the best in dozens of styles, but the ultimate boat shoe is the “authentic original,” the boat shoe that sets the pace.
$57 and up at Amazon: Sperry Top-Sider Men’s Authentic Original 2 Eye Boat Shoe
And here’s a special offer direct from Sperry: Free Standard Shipping On All Orders Through 12/17
Bonnie recommends a gift of travel clothing from Royal Robbins, which specializes in well-made clothing for outdoors folks. Many items are nylon for quick drying and have extra pockets that are great for travelers. She has the Royal Robbins Discovery Skirt and can wear it anywhere — from hiking to the theater. (The comments on Amazon are all from people who took this skirt all over the world.)
$16 and up at Amazon: Royal Robbins Travel Clothing
No outdoorsman (or outdoorswoman) should venture into the wild without a multi-tool, not only for emergencies but for everyday tasks. Gerber is a legendary brand for outdoors recreation, and their equipment is designed for the toughest adventures, whether you’re paddling Spruce Creek or hiking the Everglades. Designed by a former member of the British SAS, the 11-ounce multi-tool has 12 components (pliers, scissors, screwdrivers, saw and more) with a comfortable rubberized handle. The compact (and rugged) LED flashlight is made of aluminum and will cast a beam up to 30 feet. The kit also includes a fire-starter rod, a pocket survival guide and a sturdy, compact plastic sheath to carry it all. What a great stocking stuffer!
Headlamps are essential gear for that midnight paddle, hike to the restroom or rustling around the campsite before dawn to fire up the coffeepot. I’ve gone through numerous headlamps over the years, and Petzl makes the best. This high-quality headlamp from Petzl has three lighting modes: a wide beam for close-up work, a mixed beam with focus, and a long-range beam that is highly focused on the trail ahead. And best of all, it’s waterproof in case you drop it in the drink on a night paddle. Petzl makes a variety of headlamps with more tailored uses, and you can find them all on Amazon, but the Pixa 3 may be the best all-around because it is waterproof, crushproof and covers a lot of ground. Literally.
$56 on Amazon: Petzl E78CHB PIXA 3 Headlamp
Can’t decide? Try Gift Cards from these select advertisers:
Links to our past gift guides: