2015 Holiday Gift Guide
Each year, we try to make a few suggestions to help you select a gift for the Rambler in your family or circle of friends. In the interest of full disclosure, we earn a nominal commission on sales of these products to help us cover some of the expenses of publishing Florida Rambler, but our gift suggestions are based on experience and reader recommendations.
BedandBreakfast.com Gift Card — You can share your love of the authentic Florida by giving a friend or family member a gift card for a stay at a Florida B&B. We’ve written about our favorite B&Bs in our top 10 list, and several are options through the B&B gift card — the Black Dolphin in New Smyrna Beach, the Herlong Mansion in Micanopy and others. The beauty of the gift card is that it can be used at whichever B&B appeals to the receiver of your gift at locations in Florida and around the country. Here’s how to buy your gift card now!
EZ-UP Envoy Recreational Shelter 10 x 10 — $140 — A must-have shelter for enjoying the Florida outdoors. When camping, I always bring my EZ-Up. It’s an outdoor room, or a shade over my tent on brutally hot days. My EZ-Up has also seen plenty of beach time and tailgate parties. Drive spikes through the feet, it’s sturdy enough to withstand moderate wind pressure; attach jugs of water (or sand) at each upright for added security. I usually tie mine off with tent stakes, as well. Options are available for privacy sidewalls and screen rooms. There are a lot of canopies out there, but EZ-Up is the granddaddy. Buy it now!
Kayaks, Gear and Accessories — We encourage our readers to buy from a local dealer when buying gifts for the paddler in your life, but that’s not always possible or practical, especially if you’re buying a gift for someone whose not local. Bass Pro Shops carries a hefty supply of kayaks and accessories, and the chain has multiple locations throughout the state (and the country.) If you don’t know what the receiver of your gift needs, then a gift card is the way to go. Buy a Bass Pro gift card today!
Sperry Top-Siders — Boat shoes are always in style for Florida, and Sperry Top-Siders are the best. I live, work and play in Florida, and I wear Top-Siders more than any other shoe. They are comfortable, they are smart-looking and they give you traction on a wet deck. I wear them camping, boating, to the grocery, riding my bike. I even have a pair for dress! If I could have only one shoe in my wardrobe, it would be a Sperry boat shoe, hands down. Check out the selection at Zappos.com,
Florida Atlas & Gazetteer (Delorme) — $22 — A perennial on our list over the years, and popular with our readers, is this comprehensive guide for exploring the back roads of Florida. The Florida Atlas and Gazetteer will take you to places you’ll never find on your smartphone, GPS or state road map, and the detailed large-format maps even drill down to forest service roads in Florida’s national and state parks, forests and wildlife preserves. You’ll find off-the-track campgrounds and recreation, bike trails and secret, secluded beaches. The bible for outdoor travel in the Sunshine State. Still only $22 Buy it now!
Readers: Feel free to offer your review of these gift ideas in our comments below.
Favorite gift ideas from previous gift guides:
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.
$8.95 and up at Amazon: Eagle Creek Travel Gear
Wenzel One 12 x 24 Camping Pillow. $9.99 — For travel or camping, this pillow made by Wenzel is a good choice for your next expedition, and it rolls up tight to save space (stuffs to 10″ x 6″ for backpacking). The large size and flannel cover make for a comfortable night’s sleep on an airplane or at a campground. Priced right from $7.30 to $9.99. American Recreation Products 49244 12 x 20-Inch Camp Pillow
Lifestraw Personal Water Filter. $19.99. Backpackers love this one, and it’s also a handy item for your hurricane emergency kit. This filter removes minimum 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria and 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites — without iodine, chlorine or any other chemicals. Will filter up to 1000 liters, and it weighs only 2 ounces. LifeStraw has been used around the world under extreme conditions for humanitarian relief. This filter ranks No. 2 of all outdoors products on Amazon, and our readers love it, too. Comes in a sealed bag and is reasonably priced at $19.99. LifeStraw Personal Water Filter
Energizer 3 LED Headlamp. For me, a headlamp is required camping gear for reading my Kindle or tromping around the campground at night. This popular lamp from Energizer has two light modes, a slide switch for control and a comfortable, adjustable head strap. It uses three AAA batteries and lights a path up to 15 feet in front of you. There are other brands out there, but this one is rated 4.5 stars, and it only costs $11.47. Energizer Pro 3 LED Headlamp
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.
$14.66 at Amazon: Florida Keys Paddling Guide: From Key Largo to Key West
Florida’s Wildflowers: A Comprehensive Guide will be a great resource for hikers and plant lovers. If you grew up elsewhere, the wildflowers in Florida are different. The guide has photographs, descriptions and information that helps you identify a flower or plant. Nature lovers will like having this book on their shelf or in their backpack. Florida’s Wildflowers: A Comprehensive Guide