2008 Holiday Gift Guide: Eco-Gifts

October 7, 2010, 1:32 pm

This holiday season, give an eco-gift: a gift that inspires outdoor adventure or is that is sustainably made. Here are our recommended gifts for the 2008 holiday season:

Timex® Expedition® Adventure Tech Digital Compass Watch

With the economy in the doldrums, time suddenly seems to be more valuable than money and the lightweight Timex® Expedition® Adventure Tech Digital Compass will reflect your loved one’s appreciation of the outdoors as much as it respects your appreciation of a great deal. The Expedition Adventure Tech is packed with useful features, including a 24-hour timer that we found as useful in the woods as we did in the kitchen, 15 preset occasion types to help remember birthdays and anniversaries, three time zones, a hydration alarm, INDIGLO® nightlight, and a 99-lap counter.

With our propensity to get lost—intentionally and otherwise— our favorite feature was its accurate and easy-to-use digital compass that made it simple to keep our bearings both in the city and in the back country. And while lateness will never be in fashion, you’ll always will be sporting this handsome timepiece. At $70, it’ll be a gift that will serve you well from the mountains to the sea and everywhere in between.

Kombi Bamboo Merino Wool Zip Top

Give the gift of warmth! Kombi’s new baselayers combine two natural, sustainable materials—bamboo charcoal and merino wool. The Kombi tops and bottoms are thin, warm, quick-drying, and most of all, comfortable! In addition to its moisture wicking properties, the bamboo charcoal inner layer is biodegradable, antimicrobial, and naturally protects against UV rays. The soft merino wool outer layer adds warmth without the usual itchy wool feeling. The baselayers are available in pants, long sleeve crew tops, zip tops, long sleeve v-neck tops (women’s only). The two-layer fabric is machine washable and is available in junior and adult sizes in a wide range of colors and sizes. Suggested retail ranges from $50 for an adult zip top to $30 for the junior pant. For more information visit kombisports.com.

Liquid Solution® Mountaineer Press by Pacific Cornetta

A portable French press coffee mug is a great present for the active caffeine fiend on your gift list. Whether they’re an avid hiker who doesn’t have the luxury of a coffee pot on the trail or a camper who needs a cup of coffee to start the day on the right foot, they’ll appreciate this reusable mug. In addition to providing a quick and easy way to get a fresh cup o’ joe, the reusability of the coffee mug also helps reduce waste. The 14-ounce Mountaineer Press is made of marine grade stainless steel and has a leak-proof lid. Outdoor enthusiasts will love the D-loop on the handle, which allows for easy attachment to pack clips or straps. The non-slip pad on the bottom will keep the container in place, even on rugged surfaces. If your giftee likes their coffee light or sweet and spends more time in the office than the field, consider a model with an integrated flavor opening, which makes adding milk and sugar a snap. These French press mugs also make great gifts for commuters, who can brew a quick cup for the road and save money by making coffee at home. To order the Mountaineer Press and other Liquid Solution® coffee press mugs, visit shop.liquid-solutions.com.

To-Go Ware WEAVE Reusable Utensil Set

Each year in the U.S., more than 40 billion plastic utensils are thrown into landfills. If this statistic makes you cringe, consider switching to reusable cutlery to reduce your contribution to the landfill and increase your contribution to the environment.

Regardless of what cuisine you’re dining on, you’re sure to be prepared with the To-Go Ware® WEAVE Reusable Utensil Set’s chopsticks, fork, knife and spoon. To-Go Ware’s natural utensils are made of bamboo, a highly durable resource that can be grown and harvested sustainably. Plastic cutlery, on the other hand, is full of damaging petrochemicals that, as they break down in landfills, release dioxins and other toxic chemicals harmful to the environment. It also contributes to the wasteful habits that have fed and continue to feed the landfills.

The sleek bamboo utensils are easy to use, and their smooth texture is soft to the touch and splinter-free. To clean them, all it took was a quick rinse under the tap, and they dried quickly too! If you’re in a pinch, just stick your utensils in their utensil holder and wash them later – the 100% cotton holders are easily washable, too.

The unique, authentic utensil holders are produced by Women’s Education for Advancement and Empowerment (WEAVE). WEAVE is a women’s cooperative on the Thai-Burma border that provides income generation and education for Burmese refugee women. The holders are hand woven by Karen craftswomen living in the refugee camps, and sales provide income for the women and their families. This holiday season, you can give three gifts at once with the To-Go Ware WEAVE Utensil set – one to your loved one, one to the Burmese refugee women and one to the environment! For more information visit to-goware.com.

The Annual “America the Beautiful – the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass”

With most of us in need of a winter escape, the cold winter months are a better time than ever to hop into your car and head to your nearest national park for some winter fun! The possibilities are endless - literally, if you get your hands on an annual “America the Beautiful – the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass.” This low-cost, unlimited park pass good for a year will be sure to please all those outdoor enthusiasts on your shopping list.

The pass, available for purchase beginning this month, provides unlimited access to public lands, including more than 2,000 federal recreation sites brimming with outdoor fun.

Cross-country ski at Crater Lake National Park, wildlife watch for alligators at Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, toss snowballs in Rocky Mountain National Park, view rare plants and trees in El Yunque National Forest, or bike the trails in the Cottonwood Valley in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Adventure awaits you!

Don’t pass up the Annual Park Pass, which makes a great gift this holiday season or any time of year. Order yours today by visiting parkpass.net or by calling 888-275-8747.

Jimi Wallet

Looking to find a way to cut through the clutter when you hit the trail? The innovative, eco-friendly Jimi Wallet will help simplify your life and protect your valuables while biking, hiking, kayaking, skiing or participating in any outdoor activity. This water resistant, lightweight and slim billfold flips open to hold as many as five business, credit or identification cards along with a few bills in a detachable money clip. It’s small enough to fit in your front pocket and has a loop to attach a lanyard—especially useful if you want to keep your valuables secure during rigorous activities or travel. Photographers will delight in knowing they can purchase a small memory cardholder accessory to slip into the Jimi in place of the money clip.

While the Jimi Wallet is water resistant, it’s not waterproof—fine for a jog through the rain or an easy kayaking run, but not recommended if you plan to go swimming, scuba diving or snorkeling, especially if you are using it to stow a couple memory cards.

Available in an array of colors, from grapey purple, safety orange, or red, to aqua or clear the Jimi is proudly made in the US from 100 percent recycled and recyclable materials. At $15 it’s a gift that’s as easy on your budget as it is on the earth. To learn more about and order a Jimi wallet, visit thejimi.com.

Bushnell Backtrack

Simple to use, lightweight, and water resistant, the aptly named Bushnell Backtrack is the perfect device for anyone who wants to have the benefits of GPS without breaking the bank. Whether your interested in finding your way back from trips off the beaten path to finding your car in a huge, crowded parking lo, you’ll never get lost with the Backtrack in your front pocket. Holding it in your hand, you’ll likely think of an over-sized stopwatch.

Two buttons are all you need to program locations and find your way back to them. You can store up to three locations under the icons of a house, a car and a star. And you can reset them whenever you want. For instance, if you are at a campsite, that can be your home setting; a favorite spot in a park can be your star, and the nearest shop or gas station can be your car. If you’re not in the wilderness, you can set your home coordinates at a hotel in a foreign city, your car coordinates at your car parked in any jam-packed and huge open parking lot, and your star coordinate at a restaurant or shop you’d like to return to. With a compass-like arrow icon and meter distance reading to help you hone in on your destination, the Backtrack is not only fun to use but will also open up new opportunities for exploration.* Like all GPS, however, the system only works in areas where it can receive a strong GPS signal— large, cement structures or tunnels are probably off limits. But if you are out in nature—or out of the country—and eager to venture into new territory, this useful gadget will set your mind at ease, freeing it to focus on that cool bird, hidden brook or intriguing side street.

*Always remember to pack a map, attend to landmarks and bring extra AAA batteries. To learn how to get your hands on and/or gift this little sibling of the GPS gadget family, visit uncrate.com.

Etón FR150 Microlink Solar-Powered, Self-Powered AM/FM/Weatherband Portable Radio with Flashlight and Cell Phone Charger

What if you could fit a radio, phone charger, flashlight and NOAA Weatherband, 7-channel receiver all in one 7.5 oz gadget that doesn’t require a charge or batteries and fits in the palm of your hand? Well one company has, and the result is a durable, streamlined and practical gadget that’s affordable and makes a great gift for just about anyone.

The Etón Microlink FR150 is not only compact, simple to use and eco friendly, but it’s also a good preparation tool for emergencies. Since no plugs or wires are required, the user always has access to radio, light and a source of energy for a cell phone. A built in easy-to-turn crank on the side generates energy as well as a small set of solar panels along its spine. You can also power it up from a computer or USB power source. The unit contains a rechargeable battery, which holds the power running through the USB, generated by the crank, or soaked up by the sun.

The radio stations tune easily if there is a strong signal, and the NOAA weatherband channels come in clearly as well. The speaker quality is impressive for the size of the unit, and the unit features a standard headphone jack—3.5mm socket—so you can listen to the stations privately. The flashlight is LED, so it’s durable and long-lasting as well as powerful enough to see a few feet in front of you in the pitch dark.

Note that, because so many phone models exist, the Etón Microlink FR150 doesn’t come with the cell phone tip. But it is free with purchase – you just need to follow the instructions on the card included. Or you can register the unit online at the Etón website and they’ll send you a phone tip for your particular model. To learn more about gifting this dynamic little gadget, visit etoncorp.com.

American Park Network Guide Set

This year may be the perfect time for your friends and family to plan that trip across the US so they can visit all our most famous parks and monuments. If a memorable trip to see Old Faithful or the El Capitan is not sufficient motivation, perhaps a complete set of American Park Network guides might do the trick? Covering more than 50 parks nationwide with expertly written content and tips for planning your visit, American Park Network guides have helped more people make the most of their national park trips than any other publication and are completely carbon free.*

The comprehensive guides are beautifully illustrated and feature a useful gatefold map, perfect for navigating parks both large and small and offer everything you need to make your next trip, and all the ones that follow, unforgettable. When you buy the entire set today $19.95 (less than $1 each) we’ll make a donate 10% of the purchase price to the National Park Conservation Association. To order a set, visit OhRanger.com/order-guides

The complete set includes the following editions:
* Acadia
* Alaska's National Parks
* Death Valley
* Ellis Island & Statue of Liberty
* Everglades
* Glacier
* Glen Canyon & Lake Powell
* Grand Canyon
* Grand Teton
* Great Smoky Mountains
* Hawaii Volcanoes & Haleakala
* Idaho State Parks
* Illinois State Parks
* Mount Rainier & Olympic
* Mount Rushmore &The Badlands
* Rocky Mountains
* Sequoia and Kings Canyon
* Shenandoah
* Utah's National Parks
* Utah's State Parks
* National Mall and Memorial Parks (Washington D.C.)
* Yellowstone
* Yosemite

* American Park Network is a leader in conservation and sustainability. We’ve teamed up with the National Forest Foundation to offset 100 percent of the carbon footprint of all operations, including all paper, printing and distribution of the guides.