C&K’s Guide to Holiday Gear

Tried and true picks for all the nice paddlers on your list

Aptly named Alpine Start ($9 for 8 single-serve tubes) has mastered the fickle art of instant coffee. This premium, medium-roast brew is potent and balanced without the vile aftertaste of typical instant coffees, making it a perfect stocking stuffer for the java connoisseur on your list.

Beware, KRAVE's seven-piece Holiday Sampler ($25) may ruin your appetite for turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes. In this limited-time package, the California-based crafter of gourmet dried meats has assembled its finest beef, turkey and pork jerkies, bars and sticks for the carnivore on your list.

Fancy a camp stove in your stocking? The redesigned MSR PocketRocket2 ($45) canister stove fits in the palm of your hand yet is capable of boiling a pot of water in minutes. Weighing in at a feathery 2.6 ounces, it's an ideal choice for self-support boaters who prefer feasting on just-add-boiling-water meals.

Get a bucket hat that looks good, offers plenty of sun protection and supports a worthy cause in Crown Trail’s new line of headwear ($28), bearing the logos of nine of America’s best trails. Sales contribute to non-profit trail advocacy organizations including the Appalachian, Pacific Crest and North Country. Trucker hats and visors are also available.

There's nothing like a heavyweight, toasty jacket waiting in the takeout vehicle after a cold day on the river. The Walls Weldon Jac Shirt ($100) features a chunky fleece lining and cozy hand-warmer pockets. This plaid jacket is equally adept working the woodpile or strolling (stylishly) in the mall.

The Helinox Chair Zero ($120) proves that backcountry luxury doesn't always come with a stiff weight penalty. This comfortable chair tips the scales at barely a pound, takes up less space than a one-liter water bottle and slips easily into a canoe portage pack or sea kayak hatch, making it one of our favorite paddler gifts.

Norway's Helle crafts a gorgeous line of outdoor knives that are guaranteed to stand the test of time. The brand-new Bleja ($230) is a workhorse folder with an ergonomic curly birch handle, razor-sharp triple-laminated stainless steel blade, and a burly locking mechanism. This blend of style and functionality makes it the ideal everyday carry for paddlers.

Diehard campers may scoff at packing a pillow for a backcountry trip, but we're convinced the Thermarest Down Pillow ($30-40) will change their minds. This soft and luxurious pillow comes with a minimal weight penalty and compresses smaller than your fist.

The day you're drenched by a surprise rainstorm or blasted by searing sun you'll appreciate the insurance of packing a tarp. Weighing less than a pound, the Big Agnes Onyx UL tarp ($280) provides 72-square-feet of shelter for two, plenty of room for cooking, relaxing or minimalist sleeping--protected from the whims of the weather.

For the tech enthusiast on your holiday list, the onX Map ($30 per year, per state) app highlights a huge database river routes and hiking trails on your smartphone or Garmin GPS device, as well as the boundaries between public and private property. Critically, onX functions beyond cell service.

-- Looking for more? Browse all Gear Reviews at CanoeKayak.com, including our latest field test of camp chairs, lighting solutions and do-it-all canoe paddles.