Do Appalachian Trail hikers love Santa? You bet! Check out some of the things on the Christmas wish list for this year:
Rest for the weary hiker may top the list, with one hiker clearly specific about what they would like: “a Mont Bell U.L. Super Stretch #1 down bag.” A few indicated that durable hiking hammocks would be welcome under the tree as well. Another trekker said, “For Christmas two years ago I received and was grateful for (don’t get me wrong) a synthetic Eastern Mountain Sports Boreal 20-degree bag that was over 3 pounds by itself and packed down to about the size of an asteroid.” I wonder if that was a large or small galactic projectile.
One self-reliant backpacker said “I’m giving myself a new LightHeart gear SoLong 6 in the colors I want!!!! 2 doors, awning, oh, yeah, baby!!!”
Not far down the list are gift cards “to a local outfitter. Because the outdoors person in question can buy what they really want rather than receive what a person thinks they want.” Another says excitedly, “Easy: REI gift cards. Keep ’em coming my dear family!!”
“The last time somebody got me a backpacking gift,” one said, “it was a plastic egg carrier, 6 plastic tent stakes and a plastic hammer to pound them in, and 50′ of yellow 1/4 inch rope.” Yet another – “I received one of those yellow plastic egg containers too and thought the person just didn’t have a clue, but appreciated the thought. I gave it to someone who car camps.” Do I see a pattern here?
Young folks seem to know what to bestow upon backpacking relatives. “My niece, who’ll be 10 in February, knows I like backpacking. Over the last couple years with her money that she has earned from her grades she has gone to Walmart and bought me things that she just knows I need. I have received camping matches, and a nice safety orange match safe. A combination safety whistle, magnifying glass, compass, and thermometer. Even Mountain House meals. I’ve treasured each and everyone and happily added them to my kit. Some have forgotten the meaning of receiving a gift.”
Santa’s has also been asked for “A nice, but small camera,” and “…a Citizen’s Eco Drive Diver’s watch would be great.”
It seems Saint Nick has also been good to at least one hiker who says “Last year, Santa (in the form of my sister), got me lightweight Smartwool top and bottom plus a midweight Smartwool top. Mmmm toasty.”
Giving hints and suggestions is not uncommon: “I accidentally leave a note of what I’m looking for with the model number and where to get it! If they won’t see the note then I accidentally email it to them. Otherwise I would get what Karl got.”
Wonder what Karl got?
“My son came home on leave from the Marine Corps and gifted me one of those plastic MRE spoons. I think it was his way of reminding me that no matter how wet or cold my hikes are, he has had it worse.”
Hikes require financial investment as well, so one hiker said they wanted “My day pack full of $100.00 bills,” to which a wiser hiker replied “Go ultra-light – ask for $1000 bills instead.”
In keeping with the true spirit of the holiday season, hikers and backpackers included wishes for “Peace on Earth.”