13 Highly-Rated Gifts For Forest Bathers and Outdoor Lovers
By Jolia Sidona Allen
The average American spends only 5% of their day outside. People who live in blue zones move more naturally, more often, because their environments nudge them to do so. This holiday season, we’re taking a cue from the longest-lived populations on Earth: Get out more!
That’s why we sought out the best gifts to inspire anyone on your list to get out more, too. Not only will getting outdoors more encourage loved ones to move more, it will also help them shed stress (or, downshift), connect to nature, increase happiness, improve their overall sense of well-being, and make memories.
Read on for thirteen fun and functional finds for an outdoor enthusiast in your life.
P.S. You may want to give yourself something off this list, as well—and that’s totally OK! Time spent outdoors does wonders for one’s well-lbeing, and you deserve the gift of whatever sparks you to get out more, too.
1. Mappinners National Parks Scratch Off Travel Print
Is there someone on your gift list who frequents national parks? (Maybe that someone is you?) Which parks have they checked off their list? Which parks are on their radar? Perhaps they’re already “dreaming a little dream” of their next national park excursion? Good for them! Science says taking vacation days could help you live longer: “According to the European Society of Cardiology 40-year study, participants who took more than three weeks of vacation had a 37 percent lower chance of dying in the follow-up period of the study than those who took less than three weeks annual vacation.”
Displaying this beautifully-illustrated, National Parks Scratch Off Travel Print in one’s home is a fantastic reminder of the trips in the rear view mirror and the adventures yet to come. Its standard size (16 X 20) makes it super easy to frame, if desired. Plus, it comes in its own decorative (and protective) gift tube for easy gifting.
“I am so happy with this scratch map!…It was super easy to scratch off with the cap of the roll it came in, and wipe away the residue with a wet paper towel. It has all 62 national parks, including the most recent White Sands in New Mexico. It’s very high quality, beautiful to look at, and makes me excited to visit every U.S. National Park!” —Jonathan G.
“Bought this as an xmas gift for my wife. Hitting all the parks in the NPS is on our bucket lists and this is the perfect, fun way to display that to anyone who walks into our house. It’s also a good reminder for us what parks we still need to see. Paper is thick and scratch offs come off easily, but not so easily that they come off on their own. My entire family loves this poster. Highly recommend if you have a NPS lover in your life.” —ukwildcat78
“I framed mine. It’s such a fun way to keep record of the parks I’ve visited and have a visual for new upcoming adventures. Would be a great gift too if you know an adventurous soul.” —Amazon Customer
Current price is $23.99
2. Brompton C Line Explore Folding Bike
People who live in blue zones use active transportation. “In the United States, we’ve engineered movement out of our daily lives. In 2016 the U.S. Census Bureau reported that 85.4 percent of the 150 million workers drove to their workplace in an automobile, while only 0.6 percent of the population biked to work. In a recent study published in the BMJ, researchers found that active transportation users had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all-cause mortality in follow-up years—whether by bike, on foot, public transportation, or a combination of the three. The cyclists, though, saw the greatest benefit with a 41 percent lower risk of all-cause mortality than those who took public transportation, or were not active at all during their commutes to work,” says Dan Buettner, National Geographic Fellow, and founder of Blue Zones.
How can you help a special someone on your list bike more? Gift them the top-rated, 6-speed Brompton C Line Explore Folding Bike, which folds smaller than any other folding bike, making it even easier to commute to work, school, or even the airport (yup, it’s so small it’ll even fit in the overhead compartment). Its compact “footprint” also makes it ideal for anyone living in a small space. “We love the popular C Line Explore model for its six-speed drivetrain and U-shaped handlebar, which puts the rider in a comfortable, upright position. The steel frame is hand-brazed and ready to ride in wet weather, thanks to full-coverage fenders. Plus, all Bromptons are assembled at the brand’s London factory,” touts Bicycling.com, who rated this model BEST OVERALL folding bike of 2022.
“I own road bikes, mt. bikes, and a commuter, but it’s so convenient to grab this little guy for my ride that includes a bus, train, or car pick-up. It’s also great to be able to take it into work and not worry about it being locked up outside. The ride quality is different from a full sized bike, but easy to get used to, and the first time you see someone fumbling with a larger folding bike on the train, you’ll be glad you went with a Brompton.” —Marcrider
“Fits practically anywhere and everywhere. Not needing a bike rack for my car makes me appreciate it even more.” —Anthony
Current price is $1,750.00
3. Slowtide Haven Quick-Dry Park Blanket
Inspire the lucky recipient of this Haven Quick-Dry Park Blank to head out to enjoy their local green spaces (impromptu picnic: yes, please!), a day at the beach, a yoga or meditation session outdoors, a concert or festival, or maybe even a little “forest bathing”, [“forest bathing” link: https://www.bluezones.com/2019/06/forest-or-nature-bathing-ancient-practices-modern-uses-and-the-science-of-relaxation/] by giving them this grab-and-go ground cover.
Reminiscent of a persian carpet, this blanket brings all the comforts of home to the outdoors. In other words, it’s as functional as it is beautiful. It’s amazingly lightweight, yet durable. It’s sizable enough for two people to lounge or three to four people to sit on. It almost magically repels both sand and water. It has smart corner pockets that can be filled with sand or stones to weigh it down with (and also loops for tent stakes). It’s surprisingly thin, which makes it unbelievably packable, and it even stuffs into a built-in stuff pouch. The top layer is made out of a quick-dry material, yet it’s decadently soft on the skin (almost silky feeling). The bottom layer is a water repellent shell and black, which makes it virtually stain-proof. What’s more? It even has a “secret” zipper pocket in the corner for your cell phone, keys, etc.
“We just got back from Hawaii and brought this blanket to use on the beaches and lava rock—it was amazing! Durable and quick drying, and not to mention lightweight! So awesome we will probably purchase another!” —Michele S.
“We love this. It is perfect for concerts or the beach or a nice day hike. We will probably be buying more for gifts.” —Michelle W.
Current price is $69.95
4. Terrain Canvas Utility Apron
Centenarians in blue zones tend to their gardens well into their golden years. Gardening not only yields fresh veggies, fruits, and herbs, but it can also provide an opportunity for daily natural movement, a routine to shed stress, a regular boost of endorphins, and a healthy dose of sunshine. We often remind the Blue Zones community to try putting their bike or running or walking shoes by the front door, where they’ll be reminded to use them. The same logic applies to this Canvas Utility Garden Apron: Hang it by your door so you can jut out to your garden or lawn with everything you need stashed inside its large pockets, sans any worry of soiling your clothing. (The “utility” fabric can simply be wiped clean with a dry cloth.) There’s even a pocket for your phone. What’s more? The flattering halter neck and flirty flare transforms this apron into what feels more like a stylish, summer-time dress.
“Best option to keep an outfit clean while cutting flowers/planting with a flexible neck and most important- breathable in a humid climate!” —JenJfC
Current price is $38.00
5. RECESS Pickleball Set
Move over tennis, there’s a new, less intimidating and friendlier-on-the body sport in town: pickleball. A mix-up of tennis, badminton and ping pong invented in 1965 as a children’s backyard game, pickleball is now the fastest growing sport in the United States—with over 4.8 million players—and for good reason: it’s fun, low-impact, and super easy-to-learn, making it especially appealing for beginner players and across all age groups.
Invite someone special on your gift list to get out and give pickleball a go by gifting them an almost too-cool-for-the-court, retro-inspired RECESS “build your own” pickleball set including paddles (your choice: 2, 4, or 8), pickleballs (3, 6, or 12), and a court bag (1 or 2). The artwork on these paddles is a real game-changer in contrast to most 90’s-looking sets on the market, but the real clincher is their quality: a strong and durable fiberglass surface; a honeycomb core; an edgeguard made to withstand the elements; and a built-to-last, sweat-proof, highly condensed grip made from foam used in the tennis and golf industry covered by faux-leather.
Current price is $180 (2 paddle set); $346 (4 paddle set); $656 (8 paddle set)
6. The North Face One Bag Sleeping Bag
Centenarians in the blue zones get about 8 hours of sleep per day. “Research has shown that when people get less than 7 hours of sleep per night, their chances of catching a cold triples, they report as much as 30% lower rates of well-being, and they have less control over their hunger urges. So setting up the proper sleep environment sets up the rest of the day.” says Buettner.
Avid campers, backpackers, or road-trippers know just how vital it is to get a good night’s rest while on any overnight excursion. But getting quality sleep (which relies a lot on sleeping within an ideal temperature range) while camping is a far cry from the comforts of your own bedroom. Or is it? Enter: the North Face One Bag Sleeping Bag, a smart 3-in-1 sleeping system with interchangeable layers for all seasons and a range of climates. Zippers make it easy to transition between layers. As if that’s not awesome enough, the middle layer converts to a shawl and the bottom layer rolls into a pillow to maximize comfort.
“Living in Calgary AB, I purchased 2 of these for my kids, daughter (16) and son (14). The versatility of having a single bag to handle real 3-season camping is great. The bags have gone through +25 C to -20 C and the kids have always been comfortable. Highly recommend it!” —Cory R.
“So warm and cozy. I love the versatility of this bag. I brought it to Joshua Tree expecting it to be cold and was able to remove a layer when it turned out to be a bit warmer.” —Angela
“It is SO versatile! From winter through summer this is the only bag I need! I highly recommend it!” —Pia
Current price is $339.95
7. Prism Designs Zenith 5 Kite
“Even people in the blue zones experience stress,” says Buettner. The solution? Regular activities to help release that stress. Gifting someone on your list this remarkably easy-to-use, single-line, “starter” kite will surely be a catalyst to get them off the couch for a jaunt to a park, the beach, or their own backyard, where they can unleash this kite (and their inner child) and watch it soar up into the open sky almost effortlessly, taking the stressors of everyday life with it and creating memories to hold on to.
What makes this kite perfect for novice flyers? You don’t need a lot of wind, or a lot of aviation skills, to get it off the ground. But if the wind does pick up, have no fear: it’s sturdy enough to weather the turbulence. Features we dig: packs down small for travel, quick-fold frame, internal bungee cords for easy assembly, replaceable snap-on tails that break free if it gets stuck in a tree, and a tangle-resistant braided polyester line.
“A fun kite for beginners. Easy to assemble, durable, quick to take flight. The spool and string are also easy to manage.” —Shell
“I bought this for my kids (and maybe myself too) because there’s a kite festival coming up. I tested it at the park yesterday. Man, is it easy to fly and the wind wasn’t too strong. Easily the best kite I have ever bought. Easy 5 stars.” —mvillena
Current price is $45.99
8. Neso 1 Beach Tent
People living in the blue zones region of Nicoya regularly take in the sunshine, which helps their bodies produce vitamin D for strong bones and healthy body function. Regular, “smart” sun exposure (about 15 minutes on the legs and arms) can help supplement your diet and make sure you are getting enough of this vital nutrient. That said, enjoying a full day at the beach under direct sun can lead to unhealthy sun exposure. Beach umbrellas can often be cumbersome to carry, inadequate at providing enough shade, and unstable with coastal winds. That’s why we love this NESO 1 Beach Tent, recommended by The Skin Cancer Foundation as an effective UV protectant. It’s made out of a Lycra/Nylon blend; it’s UPF 50+; it’s water resistant; it weighs only 4 lbs; it fits in a carry-on suitcase; and it comes with a carrying bag. Set up is a snap, with just two (rust-proof) aluminum poles and four anchor bags to fill with natural resources like sand or rocks.
“Easy to set up and take down. We spent more time at the beach than we normally do because we were in the shade the whole time!” —B.V.
“Used it the first time on windy Lake Michigan, and it worked great!” —Eileen Paull
“Great sun protection, great design for setup and SUPER compact and transportable.” —Charles Fichter
Current price is $99.99
9. Pendleton Chess and Checkers Set
Playing games such as checkers and chess is excellent for “exercising” the brain, increasing happiness, and fostering connections with a loved one, family member, friend, neighbor, or anyone who is game to join you. With this travel-friendly, roll-up Pendleton Chess and Checkers set, you can bring the fun and well-being benefits of playing board games outdoors. The set includes 32 silk-screened, wooden game pieces that do double duty as both chess and checkers when you flip them over, plus a faux leather storage bag. And, while the chess and checkers set may be a more universal (and kid-friendly) choice, if you’ve got a backgammon aficionado on your list, Pendleton makes a backgammon version, too.
“I gave this to my husband as a gift because we love to play board games and be outside. This two for one makes it easy and convenient as we spend time in the outdoors or traveling. Not to mention we LOVE the design. Excellent quality!” —Kimba
“Fantastic product. Bought it for my 7 year old son for Christmas – to take with us on our backcountry camping trips.” —Toph
Current price is $30.19
10. Air Dried Veggies + Nuts Variety Pack
Research shows nut eaters outlive non-nut eaters by an average of two to three years, according to The Adventist Health Study 2. Blue zones centenarians munch on almonds in Ikaria and Sardinia, pistachios in Nicoya, and Adventists in Loma Linda enjoy all nuts. If you are on the prowl for the perfect stocking stuffer, look no further than these Dirt Kitchen Snacks Air Dried Veggies + Nuts Variety Pack, perfect for stashing in a backpack to have on hand for anytime hunger strikes in the great outdoors.
While there are plenty of pre-portioned trail mix packs available these days, the reason we’re so nuts over these, is because the “culinary-inspired” mixes don’t just include nuts; they also feature high-quality, air dried veggies. We fell in love at first bite with the Mediterranean-inspired mix of dried zucchini, roasted chickpeas, and pistachios, sprinkled with sea salt, cracked black pepper and parsley, which we thought couldn’t be parallelled until we tried the crispy dried green beans with roasted almonds toasted in a lemony, garlicky, seasoning, which we loved equally as much. You’ll have to taste them for yourself to understand: In other words, in addition to stuffing stockings with these treats or gifting them to co-workers, neighbors, or friends, you may want to sneak some for yourself, too.
“FULL OF FLAVOR: I love the seasoning, it’s so good.” —Zach
“Soooo yummy and crunchy and satisfying! Nice to have a snack that makes me feel healthy.” —Heather Stecker
Current price is $51.99 (18 count) ($2.88 / item)
11. Mozy Softshell Lightweight Weatherproof Wrap, Outdoor Wearable Warmth
Think of the Mozy Softshell Lightweight Weatherproof Wrap as a “wearable leg jacket”. This truly unique gift will keep the outdoor enthusiast on your list cozy as they transition across temperatures, weather conditions, and activities without restricting lower body movement. It’s ideal for excursions such as campfire nights, a day on a boat, an evening with family or friends in the backyard, outdoor events like movies and concerts, sporting events, Fourth of July fireworks shows, beach outings on chilly days (or warm days that extend to sunset), etc. It simply attaches at the waist and wraps around to allow flexible movement, plus the bottom corners can be folded up and attached to the lower pockets for walking. Its fabric “face” beats any old camping blanket hands down: is breathable, water-repellent, machine-washable, and engineered to regulate body temperature. On the inside, it’s lined with a soft microfleece. When it’s time to pack up, it folds up compactly with a handy wrist strap that can be worn on your wrist or clipped to your backpack.
Current price is $50.00 – $65.00
12. LuminAID PackLite Max 2-in-1 Camping Lantern and Phone Charger
Sure—we usually escape to the great outdoors with intentions of “unplugging” from technology. It’s a time to “get off the grid” and connect to nature rather than our tablets and smartphones. A time to downshift, seek solace under the night sky, and give our eyes a rest from artificial lights and screens. That said, it’s a 100% a bright idea to bring along the right gear to “power up” when necessary, especially in an emergency situation.
With nearly five-thousand ratings on Amazon, this “As Seen on Shark Tank” 2-in-1 super bright inflatable LED solar and USB rechargeable lantern and phone charger can provide up to 50 hours of light on low mode (choose from 5 brightness settings) and can recharge your smartphone or tablet on Turbo mode. It’s extremely durable, lightweight, waterproof, dust-proof, shatterproof, and it packs down to 1-inch thick. In other words, the recipient of this gift can sit back, relax, and “recharge” in nature with the added security of knowing light and power is within reach.
What’s more? “By partnering with humanitarian organizations, LuminAID lanterns have been distributed in more than 100 countries around the world…LuminAID seeks to make safe light and energy accessible for all. Whether that’s aid workers in Nepal, backpackers in California, or refugees in Syria, we are passionate about sharing safe, sustainable light with those who need it most.”
“Loved mine so much that I bought one for my mom and all my kids, too!” —djbjcb7
“This has to be the best tent light I have ever bought…The light output is amazing and very controllable. It’s easy to charge and great that it charges a phone as well.” —Alec Barker
Current price is $49.95
13. ToyerBee Telescope, 70mm telescopes for Adults Astronomy & Kids & Beginners
Here’s a longevity lesson from the blue zones area of Loma Linda, California: “Find a sanctuary in time.” says Buettner. According to Buesttner’s research, “A weekly break from the rigors of daily life, the 24-hour Sabbath provides a time to focus on family, God, camaraderie, and nature.” Buettner also reminds us that one way to slow down is to have a religion or spiritual life: “Make time each week, and sometimes each day, to take the focus off our mortal lives and ponder something bigger.”
On that note, gifting a loved one (or yourself) this telescope designed for beginning astronomers can help turn one’s attention away from the stresses and the routine of daily life and up into the miraculous universe above. Features we love: super high magnification (which is especially great for kids,15X to 150X), large aperture (so you can see clearer and brighter images), wireless remote and phone adapter (for taking photos of on your phone), simple easy to assemble (it takes less than 10 minutes to set-up), and it’s easy to focus.
“My 11 year old set it up by himself and started using it right away. Would highly recommend as a first telescope no matter what age.” —Christopher S. Billiau
“The phone adapter allows you to take wonderful pictures of the moon.” — Adam
“My daughter is 5 and she loves space! She asked for this for Christmas but we opened it up and played with it early! Absolutely love it! Easy to use and set up,easy for her young eyes to see through the scope. Amazing family time item! Absolutely recommend this telescope!” —Kayla Giorno
Current price is $99.99