Still searching for an appropriate gift for the avid long-distance walker on your list? Here are eight practical ideas. None weighs more than 150 grams. None costs more than $60 Canadian (CDN).
Sea to Summit Aeros Pillow Premium, Large (117 g)
Sleeping in a rustic refugio on the Camino de Santiago? Or in a traditional Japanese inn, with those rock-hard pillows? The Aeros pillow may be a welcome luxury. At night, it blows up to a comfortable, full-size pillow with just a few breaths. While hiking, it compacts into a tiny stuff bag. And it’s super light. CDN $60 at Atmosphere.
The Robert Louis Stevenson Trail by Alan Castle, Cicerone Press (book 252 g, ebook 0 g)
The Robert Louis Stevenson Trail follows Stevenson’s walk across France, as described in his 1879 book, Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes. I picked this one out of the many guides published by Cicerone because it is a trail I’ve wanted to follow since the early 1980s. The book is too heavy to carry on the trail but the ebook version is weightless, assuming your aspiring walker carries a smartphone or tablet. £19.42 (about CDN $33) for the book/ebook package at cicerone.co.uk. Cicerone ebooks are also available through Amazon and iTunes.
Moleskine Cahier Pocket Ruled Journals (37 g)
As handy as a smartphone might be, sometimes there is no substitute for pen and paper. These handsome 3-1/2″ x 5-1/2” notepads come in a pack of three. I like them because they are slim and fit in a pant pocket, ready for use. CDN $12 at Staples.
Anker PowerPort 4 USB Charger (142 g)
This 40W 4-Port USB Wall Charger replaces four bulky, heavy chargers with one neat unit. Great for a couple of walkers toting smartphones, tablets, external batteries, MediaShares (see below) and a growing assortment of USB-powered devices. CDN $26 at Amazon.
Pocket Duct Tape (55 g)
I primarily use duct tape to prevent hotspots on my feet from becoming blisters. If I do get a blister, I apply an ointment, cover it with a bandaid and then cover that with a piece of duct tape. The duct tape sticks like glue and holds everything in place on a long-day’s walk. But a roll of duct tape is bulky. This pocket 4.5 metre package fits easily in a pocket or in a corner of my backpack. It’s available in five colours from Lee Valley Tools for $4.50.
Sea to Summit TPU Accessory Case, Small (26 g)
I use this watertight TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) case to hold camera batteries and a spare SD card. It gets attached with a carabiner to my backpack shoulder strap, always ready when I need it. CDN $22 at Atmosphere.
Smartwool PhD Outdoor Light Crew Socks (87 g)
Gail and I have worn these socks on all of our long distance walks. Enough said. The light weight PhD socks are adequate for spring, summer and fall walks. CDN $28 at Atmosphere. They have a buy one, get one at 50% till December 13, 2016.
Verbatim MediaShare Wireless Streaming Device (124 g)
Use this device and a handful of USB flash drives to back up camera SD cards while on the trail. Check out my earlier review of the MediaShare here. This a handy device for the the serious walker who is also a serious photographer. CDN $70 at many outlets (Amazon, Staples, Walmart, etc.), but it is often on sale. As of December 6, 2016, London Drugs has it on sale for CDN $50.