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Holiday Gifts for Hiker Spouses and Partners

If you’re a frequent hiker or backpacker and your spouse or partner isn’t, it’s important to recognize the loneliness and feelings of abandonment that they may experience when you’re off having an adventure.

Here are some gifts that I’ve given my wife during the holidays, that I know make her happy and help her feel connected to me when I’m not there. We’ve been together for over 20 years – so consider these well-tested!

Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Pot
Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Pot

1. LeCreuset Enameled Cast Iron Pot

If your partner is a foodie, get them a really nice Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Pot or one made by Staub. These companies make high-end cookware that is the envy of every home chef and they come in gaudy colors that will serve as a constant reminder of your thoughtfulness.

Box of French Chocolate Truffles
Box of French Chocolate Truffles

2. Box of Imported French Chocolate Truffles

Get him or her a box of exquisite French artisan chocolate truffles, one for each day that you’re gone.

My In-laws
My In-laws

3. Spend a Weekend Visiting their In-laws (without objection)

I love my in-laws, but I hate driving 200 miles to visit them. Still, if it will keep the peace with my wife while I’m gone, I’m happy to go down and visit them without giving my wife grief about it.

Western Mountaineering Flash Booties
Western Mountaineering Flash Booties

4. Goose Down Booties for Wearing around the House

There is nothing better than slipping into a pair of the lightweight Western Mountaineering Flash Booties for wearing around the house. These babies are packed with warm goose down insulation to help keep your toes warm and give them some good ol’ TLC.

Gift Certificate to a Cooking School
Gift Certificate to a Cooking School

5. A Cooking Class at a Famous Cooking School

The King Arthur Baking Education Center welcomes all bakers, no matter your skill level or baking interest. Classes range from introductory demonstrations for beginners to intensive week-long courses for the professional, with a wide variety of hands-on classes for both adults and children.

Mt Washington Hotel
Mt Washington Hotel

6. Couple’s Weekend at a Luxurious Hotel

A grand masterpiece of Spanish Renaissance architecture, The Mount Washington Hotel in New Hampshire’s White Mountains was a two-year labor of love for 250 master craftsmen. Conceived by industrialist Joseph Stickney, this National Historic Landmark opened in 1902 and has been attracting generations of families ever since.


Jellycats Hedgehog
Jellycats Hedgehog

7. A Huggable Plush Animal from JellyCats

Suitable for all ages, plush animals from Jellycats are extremely huggable with mischievous personalities that will keep your significant other fully occupied and entertained while you are in your adventure!

What special things do you get for your hiking widow(er) for the holidays?

I’m always on the look out for new ideas…

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  1. Not exactly the holidays, but for our anniversary the last two years we've gone to the Woods Hole Hostel (woodsholehostel.com) outside of Pearisburg, VA. I had raved about it after hiking through last year and when I mentioned they had a couples retreat package with 90 minute massage, Julie suggested we go there for our 25th anniversary. She loved it and we went back again this year.

    It's located just off the trail in a chestnut log cabin and the hosts, Michael and Neville, are wonderful. They grow a lot of their own food and find the rest locally. It's communal eating with everybody lending a hand. We go in late August, so there are a few section hikers and the leading southbounders. Always great stories at the dining table and kitchen. For day hikes, the AT is just a half mile up the road, plus numerous other great hikes within an hour's drive. We've done Cascade Falls, Dragon's Tooth, and McAfee Knob.

    It's been a great way to bring Julie into the AT hiking experience. She was even excited to get a Flash 30 pack and OR rain hat for this last anniversary.

  2. Awesome idea for a post! The gift I have given my non hiking girlfriend is hiking. What I mean by that is I set aside time to take her on easier, yet still inspiring hikes, to help her see how much fun hiking can be. Mountains like Greylock are great for this. At the end of the day we both have a great time and we still get some hiking in.

  3. I get her a Starbucks gift card. That soothes about any wrong. :-)

  4. One thing I learned after 30 years of marriage and gift giving to my fair lady was; #1. A gift from the heart is always best, and the size or cost of the gift from the heart does not matter….#2. A gift that will make her friends oooh and ahh. Women count Coup and that is very important in their life….#3. Never give a household item that is related to housework or the kitchen unless it is specfically asked for. #4. Godiva Chocolate or from the Wisteria Candy Cottage in Boulevard California.. Check out their website on line. No I have no link to them other than buying their chocolate and making my wife smile. .Hand made small batch Chocolates, are the best. .. When I used to come back from Hiking trips in the Anza Borrego or Mojave Deserts,I always got off I-8 and drove onto old Hwy 80 to reach Boulevard Ca. and right there on the Left, (could be Right depending on which Exit you take) and don’t blink, is the Wisteria Candy Cottage. It has been there I think since the 1930’s. I would buy 4 Truffles…Which always guaranteed a nod from the wife for the next hiking trip….She would space eating those four out over a long period of time….that is a good thing…. I also found I got the same appreciative reaction from my Daughters who often came with me on my hikes until they turned in to Girly Girls,,,so I started buying them the Truffles as well.

  5. Although it’s too late for me (marriage broke up), there needs to be a list for bribing non-backpacking MALE spouses!!!

  6. Whatever your spouse loves to do. I’ve been out with a back injury most of the year, so when my spouse was backpacking without me, she made sure I had good books, cookies, and something to do with my hands. Actually, it often included hiking books and my pt exercises…

  7. I think that if a couple is not able to have adventures together, then they must havê their own adventures. It is ackward that one of them hás time and money for The adventure, AnD The other stays home eating chocolates or cooking with the new iron pot! Hilarious. Man, your spouse must have vacations of her own, Like going to another country, or make a cruise, with a friend, if even só she feels Alone.

  8. An understanding of the Five Love Languages (Gary Smalley http://www.5lovelanguages.com/) can help with this. If your spouse’s main love language is acts of service, quality time, physical touch, or words of affirmation, then hauling home gifts may not really have the effect you are looking for. At the very least, take the time to truly think about the other person’s interests when choosing a gift. I suspect I’m not the only woman/person who finds it deeply frustrating to receive pricey gifts of cut flowers, or gewgaws I really don’t care about, when I’m trying to come up with money for things I want intensely. In my case that is usually gear, but it applies just as well to a spouse’s desire for craft supplies, tickets to a concert, or a Hermes scarf.

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