GIFT GUIDE + Give the Gift of Outdoors!

Good morning everyone!  I hope your week is off to a great start and that you get in some of your favorite things today.  I’m sharing a bunch of awesome gift ideas for runners and people in your life that love a good outdoor adventure.  This post is sponsored by Backcountry.  I have a discount code for you at the end of the post!


So many of my favorite memories happen outside—> like when Andrew proposed to me, hiking around Zion with the kids, my sub 3 marathon, runs with friends, daily runs with my own thoughts, boating, exploring our trails, really important conversations, star gazing, camping trips with my family… and the list goes on and on.  In my opinion, the best parts of life happen when we are outside:)  I love the outdoors!  It is so much fun to give gifts to my people that they can use for their outdoor adventures.

Today I want to share some of my favorite things from Backcountry for the runners in your life (or your own personal wishlist;), people that love being active outside along with my favorite gear for little ones.  Let’s keep our family and friends active year round and enjoying each season.


PS remember when I was single and I would always joke about how marrying a runner was #1 on my list?  Little did I know that I would get someone that agreed to train for an ultra with me and schedule our dates to be in the mountains running together.  Let’s just say, 99% of his gifts this year are things he can use for all of his outdoor adventures.

If you are looking for some gifts for the runners in your life, here are some of my favorite things.  I am absolutely obsessed with them!.

*Suunto 9 Watch—>  Backcountry offers so many different watches that are perfect for the runner in your life.  Fitbits, Garmin, Suunto and more.  We did our research to find the best long lasting gps watch and the Suunto 9 is perfect!  It lasts 25 hours in performance mode and 40 hours in endurance mode.  The lime color we chose is bright and gets me excited to hit up the trails now.  PS I’ll give you a full, very-detailed review of it soon!

*Salomon ADV Skin 12L Hydration Vest—>  So many of you recommended this vest for me and it fits like a glove.  I’ve started to wear it for my long runs so my body is used to carrying it for 50 miles on race day.  It fits everything I need. You can find all of the gear that you need to trail run at Backcountry.

*Nike Shield Hooded Jacket—>  The jacket I am wearing in these pictures today.  It is flexible, warm and I love how different it is compared to all of my other jackets!

*Backcountry Matilda Baselayer & 1/4 Zip—>  I’m convinced these are the two best baselayers out there. I wear each of them two times a week.  Staying warm and comfortable now that the temperatures have dropped is NECESSARY for me to get outside and play.  These items help me do that.

*Backcountry Rainjacket—>  The perfect top layer.  It keeps you warm, dry and I love the pattern.

*Sorel Out N About Plus Boot—>  These have been worn daily now that it started snowing here.  My feet are toasty and dry all day long no matter what I am out doing.  Runners need comfortable boots for the rest of the day and these are mine now.

*Electric Encelia Sunglasses—>  My favorite running sunglasses.

*The North Face Winter Warm Tights—>  I wear these on the trails the most often!  They are SO warm, the fleece lining is unreal.

*Smartwool socks—>  Necessary for winter running, I’m obsessed.


I love these products for Brooke. They are perfect for any little girls you are buying gifts for this year:

*Sorel Out N About Plus Boot Girls—>  The shoes she wears to school each day (recess happens all winter long) and for all of her outdoor activities.

*Marmot PreCip Jacket—>  I love the bright green color that we bought for her.  It is incredibly comfortable and keeps her dry and warm.

*Backcountry Nordic Pom Beanie—> My favorite beanie for her.

*Columbia Take A Hike Hoodie Girls—>  Seen in the pictures today!

*Smartwool Polar Bear Socks—>  Keeps those toes of hers warm all day.

*The North Face Osito Earband—> The softest ear band on the planet.


I adore seeing Skye in these pieces.  They help us to keep our adventures outside going strong even though she is so little:

*Patagonia Bunting —>  I die seeing Skye in this.  Doesn’t she look like a big teddy bear that you never want to let go of?  It keeps her nice and toasty when we are outside and it is so easy to get on and off!

*Patagonia Baby Furry Friends Hat—>  My favorite hat on the planet.  It’s so soft and the ears just take it to the next level.

*Bogs Elliot Whale Boot—>  Her winter boots.  They are original, bright and super warm.

*Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket—>  The jacket we have her wear the most often!

*The North Face Perrito Reversible Jacket—>  I love this one because it’s like you get two jackets in one and it gives you the option to keep their hands covered up and warm with the jacket.


If you have an adorable little boy to shop for, here are my favorite things that Knox uses:

*Marmot PreCip Jacket—>  The perfect top layer for when we are hiking or playing outside.  It keeps him dry and warm!

*Nike Flex Contact—>  He calls them his running shoes.  The other day as we were driving by the mountains he asked if we could run up to the top of that one together (just a 4000ft climb:).  I can’t wait until we can do that kind of stuff together.

*Backcountry Chase Your Goat T-shirt—> Soft, simple and spreads the message to get outside!

*VANS Pullover Fleece—>  His favorite hoodie and once it arrived, it’s pretty impossible to convince him to wear anything else!

*Smartwool Wintersport Sock—>  Our kids play in the snow a lot and for hours at a time.  Having the right socks for them while they are outside is key and I love these!


Andrew’s favorite things that the sporty guy in your life might love:

*Alo Yoga Conquer Hoodie—> The softest and thinnest hoodie for the man that overheats often but NEEDS to wear something more than a t-shirt outside.  It’s my favorite thing that he wears, I think it looks so good on him.

*Backcountry Flat Brim Hat—> The perfect hat that goes with everything.

*Backcountry Goat Logo T-Shirt—> A soft t-shirt that he loves wearing.

*Under Armor Fleece Jogger—> He wears these a few times a week because they are so comfortable.

*Nike Flex Short-Sleeve Running Jacket—>  What he is wearing in the pictures today.  He loves running in this because it isn’t constricting and it keeps him a bit covered without feeling suffocated:)

*Nike Essential Running Pant—>  His go-to winter running pant.


I think we are all a bit of gear junkies so here are a few more pieces of gear/accessories that I love:

*Hugger Mugger Yoga Mat—> My favorite yoga mat, many hours have been spent on that mat stretching and doing core work.

*Black Diamond Kids Harness for climbing—> The harness we use for the kids to climb with!

*Smartwool Neck Gaiter—> THESE THINGS ARE AMAZING.  How did I live in Utah for the past twenty years without one.  They save my face and neck on the really cold days.

*Prana Headband—>  Cute and keeps my ears ridiculously warm during the trail runs I take it on!

*The North Face Triple Cable Pom Beanie—>  My favorite beanie and the one I get the most compliments on each time I wear it!


I love giving my people the gear to get them outside and active not only because it makes them happy but it also means I get to join them on some adventures!


Backcountry makes it so easy for you to find everything you need for those that love skiing, yoga, running, climbing, biking, hiking, camping and so much more, all from the absolute best brands.  Enjoy this season with the people you love and get outside together as much as you can!


If you need to refresh your winter gear or give the people in your life some amazing gifts, use the code RUNNER15 for 15% off your first purchase at



How much of your holiday shopping have you completed so far? 

What do you have on your wishlist this year?

Tell me one of the MOST adventurous things that you have ever done!

-Skydiving is up there, a few white water rafting trips and running through a jungle in Thailand (<—never will I do that last one again though, it happened on accident)… I can’t wait to add a 50 miler to the list.

If you celebrate Christmas, do the people you share the day with open up all of the presents at once or do you take turns?

-We’ve always opened one present at a time on Christmas and the youngest goes first!  It turns present opening into something that lasts for a long time but it’s fun to really see what everyone gets!

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OMG. That outfit Skye is wearing—I CAN’T EVEN. SO adorable!!!! Love that y’all get to go on adventures together!

The only thing on my wish list this year is to be home with my family for Christmas, but sadly I won’t be able to because ticket prices are astronomical. :(


WAIT YOU WON’T!?! NATALIE… this is not okay. Can you drive? You are so right…tickets are insane right now, we have to get Brooke to California for Christmas and they are nuts! Praying that somehow it will work out for you. I’m so sorry.
I hope your week is a great one!


Thank you for the prayers!! It’s more than a 20-hour drive, so that’s not a likelihood either since I’ll be making that drive again in April. So I’ll just have to FaceTime with them this year.


I’m so sorry about this. Thank goodness for FaceTime!


We take turns…it lasts longer that way haha.

I have most of my shopping done! There’s just a few more things on my list.

I love these pictures! They make me so excited to go camping again when it warms up. Hopefully next year has more camping trips for us than this year (and this year we went way more than last year)


Hahah it really does! Way to go Jenny, that is awesome! I love that each summer you’ll just keep going more and more… your kids are so lucky. Have a beautiful day.


Love this post! You all look so great all geared up :) I agree, being outdoors is incredibly renewing and having a partner to conquer the world with is even better. I haven’t even started holiday shopping… ugh. One of my wishlist items are warm tights for running and paddling (I compete in outrigger canoe racing all year–including in subfreezing temps). My most adventurous thing so far is competing in the Queen’s race, the world’s largest outrigger canoe race in Kona, HI, 18 miles in the Pacific Ocean. My team (there are 6 of us on a boat) placed 80th out of 150ish boats, 2 hours 57 minutes of nonstop paddling.


Thanks Jules! Good luck with shopping this year, I hope it goes as smooth as possible. Okay, outrigger canoe racing year round?! TWO HOURS AND FIFTY SEVEN MINUTES OF NONSTOP PADDLING. You are incredibly adventurous. WOW! Please keep me updated on this, I can’t even imagine how strong you are. I hope you get the perfect tights to keep you warm for both running and paddling!


I’ve already forwarded your Backcountry North Face winter tights to my fiance :) I’ve been paddling as long as I’ve been running, both are my recreational loves! But for as strong as a paddler as I am, I struggle with IT issues and if I can run more than 5 miles at a stint, it’s a good day (you’ve helped with IT suggestions in prior comments). Alas, I will continue on and your blog and daily running anecdotes are awesome inspirations for me to keep at it!


Good call… you are going to love them! If you ever paddle in Utah at a lake or river, I’ll join you and you can teach me:) I really hope that your IT band pain disappears at some point. Also, if you come to Utah ever then I’ll have Josse scrape your IT… it hurts so good ha. Thank you Jules, have a beautiful day!


Ha! You’re on! Someday could be possible! My team races throughout the West (our homebase is Portland, OR) and there is a team that paddles the Great Salt Lake. SLC could very well be a chosen race. A day on the water and a run up the trails, sounds like a great day! (Scraping… yyyyeeeeaaa necessary! I’m starting PT again next week, I’m sure scraping is in my near future). Have a great day too!


HA! You’re on! My team races in the West (our homebase is Portland, OR) and there is a team that paddles the Great Salt Lake. SLC could be chosen by our coach someday! Spending a day on the water and running trails would be so fun… great day!! Scraping…. yyyeeeeaaaa… necessary and oh I can still remember the dichotomy of pain and relief. I start up PT again next week for my IT, I’m sure I’ll be meeting up with the scraper soon. Have a great day, too!


THAT WOULD BE THE BEST DAY!! I hope PT helps asap!


We always opened one present at a time too. I like to see each person’s reaction (sometimes awkward!) and the item they get.

You do a great job on these reviews, Janae. I can tell how much effort, time, and thought you put in. Really well done! You go above and beyond just listing items.

Happy Monday! :)


Oh thank you so much Amanda, that means a lot to me! Hahah the sometimes awkward presents/reactions are the best. Thank you, have a wonderful day!


Hi Janae
I’m half way done with Christmas shopping. I went to town with online shopping yesterday.
I did a bike tour in Ireland a few years ago and one day instead of biking, I hiked up St Patrick’s mountain. Most physically demanding adventure I have ever done. It took me 7 hours total, but at the top is a beautiful, old, chapel. And you can see all the small islands that surround Ireland from up top. Beautiful!
We open one present at a time. Everyone loves to see ALL the reactions. I make it fun by wrapping gifts inside random boxes. Once, I wrapped a sports watch for my son in a shoe box. His face when he saw the show box was priceless! It was a box with “dress shoes” pic on the side. He was 10, so you can imagine his first reaction. Haha.
I agree with Amanda about your reviews. You make me feel like l am right there with you and excited to take my own adventures with my family. It’s also like you’re my own personal shopper. Haha!


Hey Kate!! Your Ireland bike tour and hiking makes me want to jump on a plane right now to do the same thing, that sounds incredible! I am totally going to copy you on what you do with using different boxes for gifts.. such a good idea! Thank you so much:) I hope your Monday is a beautiful one!


Skye’s outfit is so adorable, but I CAN’T EVEN with Brooke’s turban-like ear wrap. Oh my gosh she’s adorable! Y’all are!!!

I think I am about 70% done with my holiday shopping. Tom and I need to save our pennies right now, so we are getting each other a little bit less than we have in previous years. BUT, thanks to some black Friday deals I found while online shopping early in the morning before going to my black Friday work shift…and thanks to…AND thanks to a sweet employee discount at my store making a pair of Oofps slides super inexpensive, I am *mostly* done with him. I have to finish getting his gag gift together (it’s a good one!!!), and I have to get him stocking stuffers. This past weekend Tom and I figured out my parents’ gift (we’re getting them an air fryer!), and I focused on some of my favorite smaller companies–namely Healthy Human (they’re like Hydro Flask and their colors and patterns are gorgeous and they’re based in Charleston SC and a truly independent company) and Bombas, AND being able to get some goodrs for a couple of people at a good price through my store, I have most of the gifts I am getting for friends taken care of. I may not love working retail, but the discount is super duper sweet and helpful for holiday shopping.

And for myself–I bought the pair of sunglasses I have been wanting since the Nordstrom Sale over the summer. And I treated myself to some cold weather-friendly running bottoms from Brooks, but I have to see how those are when they reach me in the mail. They might be returned–I’m not always the easiest to fit into clothes. And I have been saving the scraps from my weekly allowance and gas budget and I think instead of getting myself more ‘treats’ right now I am just saving all of it so I have an entirely brand new running outfit–new running capris, fresh sports bra, a new Essential tank from lulu, a fresh pair of Balegas, and either new goodrs or a new running hat–for my mid-January 10k. I don’t think I can quite get away with treating myself ALSO to a new pair of Launches or Ghosts just for this 10K…but I really *do* want those gorgeous new aquamarine/teal Launch 6s, so maybe? Who knows?


Oh thank you so much! I agree… that headband on Brooke is too much! I am SO glad that you were able to find so many great deals on your gifts for Tom! You’ll have to tell me his gag gift after and how he reacts! I am going to have to look up Healthy Human… I love bombas and goodr too… great companies! I am so excited for your fresh new outfit… and I think the new Launch 6s would just look amazing on you (discount.. right?). I hope you have a beautiful day, Stephanie!


Healthy Human is actually pretty great. I have the 20 oz cruiser (it’s shaped like a pint glass…and no joke it keeps my tea hot and warm for somewhere between 3-4 hours…), and one thing that impressed me is that it just came with a steel straw and a little brush for cleaning out the straw. Like–no big deal, our reasonably-priced products just come with this, we’re not going to add on extra money to sell you the latest and greatest fad that’s out there. I have a thing for supporting independent companies, especially when they’re located pretty regionally to the friends who are getting gifts from them (like: my friends getting Healthy HUman–which is based in Charleston–are all in the Atlanta and Savannah area…and my friends getting Bombas are all in the northeast since Bombas is based in NYC…).

OK so Tom’s gag gift: his friend’s wife became a Young Living Essential Oils distributor about a year and a half ago, and she and her husband (who was Tom’s best man) have been relentless about advertising the glory of essential oils on the internet (and they’re both pharmacists…). I think that essential oils can sure make a place smell nice, and I do have a thing of liking things that speak to the senses and evoke a sense of calm, but–at the end of the day–some drops of geranium oil and calendula oil mixed together in a diffuser won’t cure cancer, and Tom agrees. He gets really sassy whenever Robby and Lindsey post about how essential oils will cure everything in the world…so I got him a super inexpensive encyclopedia to essential oils and I am going to print out a filled-out-but-not-paid-for application for one of the essential oils websites like DoTerra and tell him that I have his next career in the bag. I think he will laugh hysterically. For his birthday I got him a children’s headband that had cat ears, pink rosettes, and a sparkly gold metallic unicorn horn (last year for christmas he got me a pastel-colored fleece unicorn onesie…the year before last I wrapped ALL of his Christmas gifts in pepto-bismol pink My Little Pony Christmas wrapping paper…we have a really good sense of humor that way).

We also have a tradition of giving each other socks in our stockings. Last year I got him socks with tacos all over them, and two years ago gameday socks from his university’s biggest rival football team. This year I am deciding between a pair of knee-high compression socks from Pro Compression (for his long weekend shifts at Best Buy…) and a pair of greyish-black tube socks with some red stripes near the top from the Bombas website (since it mirrors Georgia Bulldogs colors AND since it’s partnered with Product (Red)…). If you were choosing socks for Andrew, which of those two would you choose?


Your gang is so cute!
I agree with the presents. My family does it this way, and I love seeing the reaction when someone opens a gift I gave them!


Thanks Loribeth! It really is so fun to see their faces when they open your gift:) Have an amazing day!


I highly recommend Suunto products! I have the Suunto Ambit 2. It is 5 1/2 years old and still like new. The wristband is not stretched out at all and the battery life is still amazing. The GPS locks in quickly and I love being able to customize the screens for different activities.

The MOST adventurous thing that I have ever done is marrying Les!! He is such an adventurer and we have been on many. One of our first dates was hiking in Yosemite and that’s where he proposed. We’ve kayaked the Napali Coast, hiked the Grand Canyon and mountain biked on Mt. Etna.


5.5 years… that is awesome! I am loving the Suunto and the fact I don’t have to worry about it dying on me half way through a run or something. That is VERY adventurous. I love hearing the amazing things that you two do together! Come hike/bike/run in Utah and I’ll join you guys:)


I have about 90% of my Christmas shopping done! My family has always done the take turns opening presents thing.

Probably the most adventurous thing I’ve done was climbing a 4000-foot mountain in Alaska. There was no trail and at parts it was literally climbing, through trees and brush. I’ve done that mountain twice actually, and might do it a third time this summer.

My calves felt good running this morning!! My hip felt good for a while and then it did not, but it was pain I could run through. The marathon on Saturday is looking more and more likely to me…


YES YES YES YES YES YES YES!!! You’ve got this…. 5 days until you rock another marathon:) Taper like a champ!
Okay, I can’t even imagine climbing a 4,000 foot mountain without any trails… WOW!


i am obsessed with skye in that patagonia onesie ! can’t handle the cuteness. love that you guys got the kids the climbing gear – i would have loved that as a kid!!


I have almost all of my Christmas shopping left to do… So i’ll be busy trying to figure out what to get people…
We always open one gift at a time, otherwise it goes by too quickly and we love to see what everyone else got!
Some of the things on my wish list are sweaters I can wear to work since I know mostly work in an office. I used to mostly WFH and travel once a month, so I didn’t need that much clothes, but now I work in an office 4 days a week. I think I want an Instant Pot too, I’ve seen so many recipes for it and the convenience sounds great! But we also have a ton of kitchenware and wonder if we’ll get a lot of use from it.
Most adventurist things I’ve done are Skydiving here in CO, Bungee jumping in New Zealand, Paragliding in Glenwood Springs and Cage diving with Great Whites in South Africa. The scariest was probably bungee jumping!


Skye is soo cute in her snow suit!

Haha, everything is on my wish list – but let’s be honest – I have a lot of stuff and I am not actually needing anything. We put a moratorium on gifts this year, mostly because every one is an adult and we would rather do stuff than exchange gifts. I am sure I will still find a way to sneak a few things for the other half though :)

Hmmm..the most adventurous thing was actually a trip I took with my sister years ago, before families, partners and kiddos. We signed up for a 10 day tour in Costa Rica and we went white water rafting (we fell in), zip lining, horse back riding and rappelled down water falls. Still some of the best memories to date, and still friends with the people we met on that trip.

Have a great day and hope you are enjoying the holiday season so far Janae!


DONE with holiday shopping and I am so glad to check that off the list. I am really wishing for a good running watch that also looks nice enough to wear everyday. Oh sheesh I am totally not adventurous and totally just stick to what I know haha I literally can’t even think of anything even close to adventurous.

Still thinking… nope nothing. ?

We open presents one at a time with the youngest first too!


Hi Janae.
I read your column every day but am not one to comment. However, I had to share this story…Last night I was preparing to order my son his final Christmas present. He wanted a Patagonia top. With three kids myself, justifying the expense of the top was weighing heavily on my mind. I decided to wait until today to make the decision to order. And then today…your post…with a discount code good for Patagonia merchandise! I am so excited! I went ahead and ordered the top. And BackCountry is super speedy as I have already received notice that my item has shipped.
Thank you, Janae.
Thank you, BackCountry.


So jealous of you getting all those clothes free


What size is Skye in the Patagonia hat? I want some for my twins who are 13 months but can’t decide is the 12-24 month will be too big. But 6-12 seems like it would be small.


Shoutout for recommending Smartwool Gaiters! Those are so-so good! We’ve got 2x pairs at local outdoors store(husband was there to pick up his Williams gun sight for muzzleloader season and I’ve got 2x of those Gaiters and a backpack :D

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