I must confess, holiday gift giving always gives me that stress knot in my stomach. I’m somehow supposed to figure out something useful and/or meaningful for this long list of friends and relatives that won’t be clutter to them, and won’t be death to my budget either. Ugh...the smell of all that pumpkin spice in the air already makes me nauseous.
That’s why I was excited to participate in this year’s Gift Guide for New Moms: Blog Hop and giveaway hosted by Chelsea Johnson of www.thejohnsonsplusdog.com . All the best holiday gift guides for new mamas, so you won’t be left scratching your head over what to get for the moms in your life. Sweet right!? (Pro tip: If you ARE a new mom, feel free to pass your favorite of this year’s guides on to your family so they won’t be lost as to what to give you. You’re welcome.) BONUS! See the end of the post to enter to win a prize package worth $80! That should jump start your holiday gift shopping nicely! Contest ends November 8th 2016!
Without further ado, 2016 gift guide for adventure loving mamas!
1. A solar powered Luci Light. These are one of the most ingenious things EVER. A powerful lantern (the clear ones provide plenty of light to read by) that provides 12 hours of illumination from 100% solar energy. Even better, the Luci collapses into a thin disc when not in use for easy backpackability. These are not only amazing for the outdoors, but can also be kept bedside for those middle of the night feedings that all new parents go through. Just set Luci on the lowest setting for mellow and effective lighting through those long nights. Bonus! Luci Also makes a color changing party light that is mesmerizing to babies and kids alike, and provides a softer glow for a camping night light for nervous littles. ( Psst! Want to WIN a Luci light? Enter the raffle at the bottom of this post!)
2. Cotton socks just do not cut it in the backcountry. Period. They get wet and cold, rub and create blisters, and simply don’t hold up to the abuse that adventurous moms throw at them. Smartwool is the absolute BEST in the industry for soft, cuddly, long lasting socks. Yes, they are pricier than discount store socks, but not only do they function better, they last much much longer. I have some Smartwool socks that are 10 years old and still going strong. I can say that about exactly zero pairs of discount store socks.
3. Hammock. A good hammock is a godsend to a new mama. They make a cozy place to hang out and nurse while at camp, and when the kiddo gets older, they will enjoy playing in it. On our most recent family camping vacation in Colorado, our hammock was the only reason we could get dinner made. Little mister mischief man was willing to sit in there swinging and reading to himself for a good 30 minutes at a time. (If you want to read about that trip, check out the three part series HERE, HERE, and HERE.) You can go for a backpacking grade hammock that also doubles as shelter with a Warbonnet Black Bird or an Eno Doublenest. Our absolute favorite for around camp though is this Amazonas Paradisio Double. This old school German made cotton beauty is comfort and relaxation deluxe. It is, however, too heavy for backpacking duty.
4. Merino Wool or Synthetic Fleece nursing sweater. One of the biggest obstacles to getting out in the woods to tromp around when my son was still nursing was the cold. Not just bundling him or me up really. That is easily done. But how to bundle up mama while still having access for the frequent nursing that little ones need. If mom bundles up in many of her pre kiddo layers, shirts and jackets will be pulled up, down, and to the side, leaving belly and chest areas with fewer layers between them and the cold air. A nursing sweater helps to solve this problem. Choose merino wool or synthetic fleece as these are the warmest and will still protect from the cold if they get a little wet from the snow. BONUS! Figure 8 Maternity also has a Merino Wool nursing tank!! This makes a PERFECT base layer under a cosy nursing sweater. I would have literally worn this every day if had one while nursing!
5. Audible or Kindle Unlimited subscription. The first year or two your new mama friend is going to have a harder time getting away for as much adventure as she used to. She’ll find her groove again, but the first months of motherhood are made for snuggling. Having a mental adventure through reading is a great way for her to dream of far flung places while she recovers. Holding a paper book and a baby can be challenging. Kindle unlimited allows her to borrow a huge library of e-books from Amazon to read on any device with the kindle app including her phone. Much easier to deal with when your hands are full. Even better, Audible allows her to download an audiobook to listen to all her favorite adventure tales. Audiobooks were literally the only way I was able to “read” at all for the first year. So in love with that format!
6. Scratch Maps. For the mama who likes a visual of the places she has been, these are a fantastic and fun novelty. This one has the countries of the world to keep track of her globe trotting fun. This one has all the US states and the National Parks for the park loving, peak bagging moms. I think I may need one of each this year!
7. Tracking Beacon. Pre-kid, I worried a lot less about what I would do if something unfortunate happening in the backcountry. I plan well, am highly trained in wilderness medicine and survival skills. I figured that if something happened while I was out in the wild alone I would figure it out. Now that I have a kiddo, I don’t want to take any chances. I DO, however, still like to adventure solo (and so does my spouse). That’s why we decided to research the best options in personal rescue beacons. Our very favorite is the Resqlink. These are a replica of the device that is standard issue for Coast Guard personnel. When activated it sends a direct signal to search and rescue satellites. One of the best things about this device is that it is bare bones. There is no monthly service fee or subscription to pay, and it works exactly as it is supposed to if needed. However, if you want something that can communicate in remote areas in a non emergency situation, I recommend the DeLorme InReach. I carry one of these for work. It too will send a rescue signal when activated, but can also be used as a basic satellite texting device. With the InReach you can send and receive text messages with any number you program in. So a simple “made it to camp tonight safe and sound” message can be sent home. The InReach does, however, require a monthly subscription to work.
8. Lenses for her cell phone camera. These days hardly anyone carries a separate camera. Our cell phones are so darn good there is little need. But even a good smartphone camera can be made even better with some upgraded lenses. Help her get the best possible photos on her phone with these lenses for iPhone or Samsung 7.
9. Dry Bags. I’m not sure you can ever have too many dry bags. For water sports (canoeing, river trips, boating), for keeping clothing and sleeping gear dry when backpacking, or for making sure that stash of diapers doesn’t get water leaked all over them in the daypack, there are no end to the uses for dry bags. We have sizes for our cellphones, medkit, food bags, everything. Bonus...The right size dry bag makes a perfect place to store wet, filthy, blowout soiled, or otherwise gross clothes until you can get it to the car, home, or the nearest trash can.
10. Saving the VERY best for last. In the end, that #1 thing any adventure loving mama wants is...ADVENTURE! So help make that happen for her. For some crazy reason, despite the fact that research continues to show that experiences enrich our lives more than stuff, we seem to struggle with implementing that idea. I don’t know if it is because we are attached to the wrapped box with a “thing” inside, or we think gifting an experience will be less fulfilling, or something else. Don’t be shy. Gift an experience. You can get that mama a gift card for Southwest Airlines (my favorite domestic carrier), United or American (both have international destinations), Air BnB or Bed and Breakfast for those trips when camping isn’t the best choice, or figure out some fun she might like to have in her local area like passes to a ski resort nearby, or a class to improve her climbing/mountain biking/kayaking/mountaineering skills. Don’t forget to include childcare for her getaway! If you are a trusted friend or family member who likes kids, offer to watch them yourself. She will appreciate getting to leave her kiddo with a loved one. If you live far away, or watching her child yourself is impractical, try finding her a sitter on Care.com. Just be sure you check that they serve her area.
Do you have a great suggestion for a gift to show that adventure loving mama in your life how much you care? Leave a comment and tell us your ideas!
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