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Give the gift of outdoors: A holiday guide to fit all budgets

You don’t have to break the bank to shop for the Floridian who enjoys outdoor adventures (though we do have a couple suggestions that might not fit under the tree).
Darry Jackson, center, discusses a new Stingray paddleboard with his staff, at right, during a visit with the paddleboard's creator, Rich Allen, left, during a staff meeting at Bill Jackson's Shop for Adventure.
Darry Jackson, center, discusses a new Stingray paddleboard with his staff, at right, during a visit with the paddleboard's creator, Rich Allen, left, during a staff meeting at Bill Jackson's Shop for Adventure. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Nov. 26, 2021

The holiday season is in full swing and if you’re like most people, you have saved all of your shopping for the home stretch, starting with Black Friday.

For those outdoorsy Floridians on your gift list, we have suggestions from budget-friendly stocking stuffers to big-ticket items for a wallet as sizable as Santa’s belly.

Gifts $30 and under

goodr CIRCLE Gs polarized sunglasses

goodr CIRLCE Gs Polarized Sunglasses are sold at REI Co-Op for $25.
goodr CIRLCE Gs Polarized Sunglasses are sold at REI Co-Op for $25. [ Screenshot from REI Co-Op ]

These trendy glasses will keep your eyes fresh on those long, sunny days. Their lightweight frame and grippy nose coating keeps them on your face comfortably, too. Price: $25 at REI Co-Op

Sea to Summit dry bags

If you have someone who is constantly outside in Florida, a wet adventure (planned or not) is a given, especially with the rain patterns in the Sunshine State. Bill Jackson’s sells a variety of dry bags — from 1 to 35 liters — to keep your cell phone and other items safe when out on the water or caught in an unexpected downpour. Price: $12.95 (1 liter) to $24.95 (35 liters) at Bill Jackson’s Shop for Adventure

Nathan Race Day Cups

For the runner in your life, these collapsible cups will help keep them hydrated and on the go. Each cup holds .2 liters and even has a loop on the rim for attachment, if needed. Price: $10 at REI Co-Op

Wilderness Press Rail-Trails Florida

The perfect stocking stuffer, this book highlights more than 50 Florida trails over 192 pages and includes driving directions to trailheads, too. Price: $16.95 at Bill Jackson’s Shop for Adventure and REI Co-Op

Arcadia Trail packable dog backpack

Arcadia Trail Packable Dog Backpack can be purchased at PetSmart for $29.99.
Arcadia Trail Packable Dog Backpack can be purchased at PetSmart for $29.99. [ Screenshot from PetSmart ]

When I go hiking with my dog, Thor, I never leave my house without his backpack. It holds everything from waste bags, training treats, car keys and his water bottle with room to spare. I can’t recommend this enough. Price: $29.99 at PetSmart

Gifts between $25 and $75

Sand Cloud towels

This towel rolls right up without the bulk, making it easy to take along while hiking or kayaking. It also dries much faster than the traditional beach towel. Price: $48 at Bill Jackson’s Shop for Adventure

KAVU rope sling bag

The Kavu Rope Sling Bag can be purchased at REI Co-Op for $55.
The Kavu Rope Sling Bag can be purchased at REI Co-Op for $55. [ Screenshot from REI Co-Op ]

For the past year, every outdoor adventure I’ve gone on has included my gray and white KAVU bag. I questioned the price tag at first, but after a year of wear and tear, it’s held up great and has so many pockets for storage. I even use it as an every-day bag. Price: $55 at REI Co-Op

HyrdroFlask water bottle

Your high school or college student will thank you for gifting this stylish water bottle. The wide mouth opening is standard, but a straw lid is available. The 32 ounce is the most popular. Price: From $44.95 (same prices at Bill Jackson’s Shop for Adventure and REI Co-Op)

ENO SingleNest Hammock

This hammock is easy to carry in its pouch (which fits in the palm of your hand) and holds up to 400 pounds. If you need a heftier strap to suspend the hammock from thicker trees or posts, splurge an extra $29.95 for the Atlas strap set. Price: $49.95 at REI Co-Op

JBL Clip 4 speaker

The JBL Clip 4 speaker can be purchased at REI Co-Op for $79.95.
The JBL Clip 4 speaker can be purchased at REI Co-Op for $79.95. [ Screenshot from REI Co-Op ]

This waterproof mini speaker is wireless and weighs less than a pound (8.4 ounces) with a clip to attach to a backpack strap or belt loop. And don’t worry about it dying on you if you plan on completing your trek in less than 10 hours. Price: $79.95 at REI Co-Op

Lodge Wildlife Series cast iron skillets

For the cook in the camp, there’s no need to grease these pans because they are pre-seasoned to be non-stick. Enjoy the natural flavors without the mess. Price: $17.95 to $42.95 at Bill Jackson’s Shop for Adventure (A Bill Jackson’s recommendation)

Gifts between$75 and $150

Chaco Z/2 classic sandals

Chaco's Z/2 Classic Sandals (men's and women's) can be purchased at REI Co-Op for $95.
Chaco's Z/2 Classic Sandals (men's and women's) can be purchased at REI Co-Op for $95. [ Screenshot from REI Co-Op ]

If you’re looking for the best footwear to get you around, well, anywhere, grab a pair of Chacos. I’ve worn them for more than eight years on every kind of excursion — walking to and from classes at the University of Florida, at theme parks, while hiking and kayaking, etc. Your feet will thank you. Price: $95 at REI Co-Op

Big-ticket Items

Minelab EQUINOX 600 & 800 multi-purpose metal detectors

Looking for hidden treasures? Take this metal detector with you and you might strike gold. These machines are multi-frequency equipped and waterproof up to 10 feet. Both weigh less than 3 pounds so they are easily transportable. The big difference between the two? The audio accessories that come with each unit. Price: $649 (Equinox 600) and $949 (Equinox 800) (A Bill Jackson’s recommendation)

Stingray Sea Snake 10.6 All-Around Inflatable Paddle Board iSUP

Stingray Sea Snake 10.6 All Round Inflatable Paddle Board iSUP can be purchased at Bill Jackson's Shop for Adventure for $625.
Stingray Sea Snake 10.6 All Round Inflatable Paddle Board iSUP can be purchased at Bill Jackson's Shop for Adventure for $625. [ Screenshot from Stingray ]

The inflatable nature of this board makes it easier to transport without a roof rack on your car, and it can fit inside most vehicles. If you’re limited on storage space, it also fits inside most closets. It’s maximum recommended user weight is 300 pounds while the board itself weighs 24 pounds. Price: $625 at Bill Jackson’s Shop for Adventure (A Bill Jackson’s recommendation)

Local experiences

Rainbow Springs glass-bottom kayaking

A line of kayaks and paddle boards sit on the dock connecting to Rainbow Springs in Dunnellon.
A line of kayaks and paddle boards sit on the dock connecting to Rainbow Springs in Dunnellon. [ MARI FAIELLO | Times ]

If you’re searching for one of the best ways to explore Rainbow Springs, I suggest the glass-bottom kayak tours offered inside the state park. The two-hour excursion allows you and a partner to learn about the park and springs in a small-group setting while paddling up and down the waterway. Price: From $66 (parking not included)

Valspar Championship

Watch some of the PGA’s top golfers at the annual Valspar Championship on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook in March. General admission tickets range from $55 to $70 depending on the day and if you want to have all the extras included, you can spend between $175 and $395.

Port Richey’s Salty Dog Kayak Rentals

Ellie Petrov, center, checks in paddlers, from left: Peter Tillema, Ryan Tillema, Kathleen Autullo and Karen Tillema on March 11 at Salty Dog Kayak Rentals in Port Richey. Ellie and her husband Denny Petrov left their corporate jobs to partner with the Florida State Park system to open the paddling adventures business.
Ellie Petrov, center, checks in paddlers, from left: Peter Tillema, Ryan Tillema, Kathleen Autullo and Karen Tillema on March 11 at Salty Dog Kayak Rentals in Port Richey. Ellie and her husband Denny Petrov left their corporate jobs to partner with the Florida State Park system to open the paddling adventures business. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD ]

Check out Salty Dog Kayak Rentals in Port Richey if you’re interested in a quick getaway. Patrons can choose to go out on their own or tag along on a guided eco tour or lesson. Single or tandem kayaks as well as three-person canoes are available to rent . Your furry friends are welcome, too. Price: From $20.99

Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic

The Distance Classic offers a race for all experience levels and ages: 15K, 5K, 5K walk, 5K stroller rolls, 5K stroller roll children, half-marathon and 8K. Prices now through Nov. 30 range from $35 to $250 depending on the race package. These prices will increase Dec. 1.

Have an outdoor adventure we should try? Curious about the ins and outs of fishing seasons in Florida? Know a cool business or owner to profile? Contact Mari Faiello at mfaiello@tampabay.com. Follow @faiello_mari.