Every year, we pull together our list of holiday gift ideas for outdoors recreation, and our 2020 list covers five categories: kayaking, camping, hiking, snorkeling and loungin’ Key West style.
Some of the links in this guide go to Amazon, an affiliate sponsor of FloridaRambler.com, and we may receive a modest commission from your purchase to help support our mission to bring you the best of the Florida Outdoors.
WooWave High Back Padded Kayak Seat.
I recently purchased one of these for my sit-on-top kayak, so it has my personal endorsement. The high back has a comfortable back rest support and gel seat cushion. Universal fit with a detachable storage bag on the seat back. Four adjustable straps with clips, making it easy to install or remove. The WooWave is the No. 1 Best Selling kayak seat on Amazon. $53 on Amazon
Yakpads Low Back Cushioned Seat Pad from Cascade Creek.
This highly rated gel seat (4.5 stars on Amazon) is designed to offer maximum comfort and lumbar support. I purchased this seat for my wife’s sit-inside Perception yak, which has a hard, molded seat. The adjustable stabilizer straps will easily fit on an existing seat. And it floats, although not a substitute for a life vest. This is the pad you want for long-duration paddles. $55 on Amazon.
Ideal lightweight anchor for kayak snorkelers and river rats. This 3-1/3 pound 4-fluke folding anchor will hold in mud, sand, gravel and rock. 25-foot long marine-grade rope. Durable nylon storage case is padded for added protection. An Amazon best seller. $30 on Amazon.
Coleman 30″ x 80″ Comfortsmart Deluxe Cot.
My brother has one of these cots, and he raved about how comfortable it is. I’ve slept on enough hard ground over the years to truly appreciate the kind of comfort this cot affords. For Florida camping, a raised cot allows air to pass above and below your body, a desirable feature on warmer nights. We get plenty of those. This foldable cot has a foam mattress, a spring coil suspension and a steel frame that will support up to 300 pounds. Obviously it’s not for backpacking or kayaking, but it’s great for car camping and should easily stash in an SUV. Total weight of the cot is under 20 pounds. $77 on Amazon
Ultra Lightweight Sleeping Bag For Warm Weather, Backpacking by Redcamp
1.5 Pounds. Ultralight and Softer: Size is 75″ x 32.5″/ 190cm x 83cm. Perfect lightweight sleeping bags for adults up to 6 feet tall. High-quality and durable fabric, stands up to years of use. This backpacking sleeping bag for camping is comfort in 68°F/20°C and fits temperature range 59 – 77 °F/15 – 25°C. Zip two together. $27 on Amazon.
The most reliable inverter generator on the market, and I can personally attest to it’s superior performance. I’ve had mine for 15 years, and it never fails to start on the first pull. Both Wirecutter and Consumer Reports rate the Honda EU2200i as the best portable generator money can buy, and purchasers rate it 5 stars on Amazon. Mine is an earlier version of the same generator, the EU2000i. It is super quiet and weighs only 47 pounds. We carry it in our RV for dry-docking and use at home when the power goes out. With 2200 watts, 15 amps and 120 volts, it can power a refrigerator, a fan and a light. For more power, buy the companion EU2200ic companion generator with a 30-amp connection that will power the A/C unit in your RV. $1,090 on Amazon.
For the trail
Thermacell Portable Mosquito Repeller.
There are a lot of mosquito-repelling gimmicks out there, but this repeller is no joke. It really works! Carry this on a hike or set it on the picnic table to create a 15-foot mosquito protection zone around you. Scent-free and DEET-free, portable and lightweight. No open flame, no smoky candles, no mess. It really works. I have one for my patio and two in my RV. You can even buy an optional holster for it to wear on a belt while hiking. $22 on Amazon.
I have one of these units and find it invaluable when wandering into the wild, either on foot or through the Everglades and wetland prairies in my kayak. It tracks your path and brings you home if you get lost. Sure, you could use your smartphone for navigation, and most new phones have built-in GPS, but will your phone bring you back to your starting point? Exactly. The eTrex uses more reliable bearings from satellites, instead of cell phone towers, with worldwide navigation capability. This rugged handheld GPS is waterproof (IPX7) and powered by two AA batteries for 20 hours of use. The 2.2-inch monochrome display is easy to read. $90 on Amazon.
I’ve lived in South Florida for 40 years and rarely wear socks. Flip flops, loafers, boat shoes. No socks. But when hiking, camping and off-road biking, you need to wear socks to keep feet dry and protected from the elements. One pair of Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew socks will do the trick. One pair. Rinse and hang to dry overnight. Made with merino wool, each stitched one at a time in Vermont, these socks are guaranteed for life. Here’s a link to the full line of Darn Tough Socks for men and women available on Amazon for $15-$26.
Easier than ever to breathe comfortably through your mouth or nose while snorkeling. A 180° viewing area — the biggest of any snorkel mask on the market today. Integrated GoPro Mount you can easily attach your GoPro camera to capture your adventure. Dry Snorkel Technology stops salt water from getting into your mouth and prevents gagging. Fog resistant. $64 on Amazon
The Supernova Dry snorkel has a unique Splash Guard at the end which greatly reduces the entrance of water during use on the surface. The special Valve on top seals the tube as you dive, almost totally preventing the entrance of water when the snorkel is submerged. The end part has a corrugated piece that is smooth on the inner side and keeps the snorkel away from the mouth during use when scuba diving.. $25 on Amazon
Key West Stylin’
In the ‘60s, a husband-and-wife team began making sandals that are now worn by people around the world. See the durable, fashionable, and comfortable shoes being handcrafted at their Old Town factory. They also make purses and the Cuban Conch Cookbook. Buy them at the factory, 107 Fitzpatrick Street, Key West, or at kinosandals.com.
Baby’s Coffee: Key West shopping for coffee lovers
Some ambitious caf-fiends ride their bicycles from Key West 15 miles up to Baby’s for a morning cup of coffee. Others just drive. The family business uses pure mountain Arabica beans roasted in the Keys. For decaf, they use a Swiss water process, which decaffeinates without chemicals. They also have a cool logo. Mile marker 15, oceanside, Saddlebunch Keys, babyscoffee.com.
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Bob Rountree is a beach bum, angler and camper who has explored Florida for decades. No adventure is complete without a scenic paddle trail or unpaved road to nowhere. Bob co-founded FloridaRambler.com with fellow journalist Bonnie Gross 12 years ago.