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.