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The Trail Magic Dollmaker: Arlette Laan’s Fiber Arts

The Magical World of Artist and Triple Crown Hiker Arlette Laan
The Magical World of Artist and Triple Crown Hiker Arlette Laan

Arlette Laan or ‘Apple Pie’ as she’s known in New Hampshire’s close-knit White Mountain hiking community, is one of the region’s most accomplished hikers. A triple crown hiker who’s completed the AT, CDT, and PCT, among other long trails, she’s the first woman to complete a White Mountain Direttissima, a continuous unsupported hike of New Hampshire’s 48 four thousand foot peaks. That’s no small feat.

An accomplished fiber artist, Arlette is best known for her magical hiking buddies, hand-sewn dolls, which celebrate the joy we feel when we hike and backpack on trails and in the mountains. Many of my hardcore hiking friends carry them on their backpacking journeys, both locally and across the country, as reminders of home or companions that they can share their joys and woes with. If you walk alone, you never need to “be” alone, when you have one of Arlette’s hikers, backpacking buddies, sweeties, or quirky characters aboard.

Check out Arlette’s Trail Magic Dolls (click for store) which are available in multiple styles and sizes, ranging from Christmas tree ornaments to huggable pals and are priced from $15-$40. These make original holiday presents and gift for friends and family and are a real find.


  1. I have three of these–Smileys– and they really do make me smile every time I look at them. I’m about to order one for my friend about to have surgery, and one for my 12 yo niece.

  2. Great idea! Thanks for publishing this. Can I assume you’re a customer?

  3. Very cool!
    I’m ordering four of these for Christmas. Myself, my wife, my four year old son and we’ve got a future hiker on the way.

    Thanks for posting this.

  4. Thanks for the kinds words. I’m so happy my dollies bring joy. : ) I’ll be sure to document their journey on the Florida Trail this winter.

    • Arlette,
      Are the “Sweeties” sold as a pair? Or is that for 1?

      Thank you!

      • I have the same question: The website is very limited on information. How big are the dolls? Are the two sold as one at $15, or are they $15 each? What are they stuffed with? I know it’s a soc but what is inside? How do I wash it? Can I toss ’em in the washer or just let them soak a bit with woolite?

  5. I might have a few on some packs. And my desk at work. They might need buddies.

  6. I have one too! Arlette does beautiful work!!!

  7. These are so stinking cute. I am trying to refrain from ordering them all :)

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