Gift Ideas for SAR and Outdoor Adventurers
Written by Shelley Ballard-McKinlay
It’s not surprising that search and rescue members love gear. There’s always something on our wish lists that can be used for SAR and/or enjoyment in the great outdoors. If you’re a SAR member, it’s especially exciting if the item comes in orange. 🙂
Thanks to our members for making many of the below suggestions. While links may be to the brand website or major retailer, please shop local! Many of the sponsors of our annual fundraiser, the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival (VIMFF) World Tour (coming to the Broadway Theatre on April 22, 2024) are retail businesses that may carry these items. Please support them! Brainsport, Bike Doctor, Bruce’s Cycle, Escape Sports, Prairie Summit Shop – The North Face, Outter Limits, Eb’s Source for Adventure.
Stocking Stuffers / Gifts Under $20
- Hand/foot warmers
- Gear ties – various sizes, multiple uses!
- Flagging tape (biodegradable)
- Paracord or paracord bracelet
- Survival bag or emergency bivy bag
- Duct tape – especially small camping repair kit size rolls
- Items for first aid kit
- Rite in the Rain waterproof notebook
- Batteries – especially lithium for our cold winters
- Tenacious tape – comes in roll or patches
- Stuff sacks – various sizes
- Fox 40 pealess whistle – various models (Did you know the universal signal for distress is three blasts of a whistle?)
- Lighter and/or fire starting materials – e.g. TuBees fire-starter biscuits — a local Saskatoon product, firebiner carabiner, Flint stone rod fire starter
- Gift certificate for apps (there are so many great apps for SAR use! Caltopo, Lost Person Behavior, mapping apps, etc)
- Water bottle/thermos/travel mug – e.g. Hydro Flask, Yeti, and Stanley are good and popular brands. One of our members really likes this one in blaze orange.
- Socks (You know you’re adulting when you’re excited about new socks! Darn Tough is a favoured brand of many of our members.)
- Dry bags (various sizes)
- Buff neck warmer
- Silicone ring are great for an active, outdoor lifestyle – e.g., Enso and Knot Theory have a variety of colours and designs including some great outdoor designs.
- Olight safety strobe light – be seen and be found.
- Safety light for extra visibility at night and during inclement weather – e.g. Guardian Angel – wearable/mountable
- Headlamp – Hands-free operation at night or in low light is essential. There’s a huge variety of features and price ranges. For SAR, we want brightness (i.e. high lumens), brightness levels and a red light, long battery life, rechargeable but also compatible with AAA batteries. The Petzl Actik Core or similar is a great option.
- Tarp – You never know when you might need a quick shelter or an overnight bivy. A lightweight and waterproof tarp, with the right rigging, is invaluable! There’s a wide variety of sizes, colours and brands but several of our members like this Siltarp one.
- Crocs? Don’t let your feet get hot and sweaty in boots before you even hit the trail. And they’re oh so comfy to change into after a long hike.
- Bug shirt – We’re from Saskatchewan. Protect yourself from getting eaten alive by monster mosquitos!
- Heated vest – Another great way to stay warm in our frigid climate.
- Portable charger for phone and other devices – There are SO many kinds/brands out there but we suggest getting one that has built-in cables so you never have a “Duh!” moment realizing you don’t have the right connection.
- Monocular or small binoculars
- Boots – Keep your toes warm and cozy. These Sorel’s even come in orange.
- GPS and satellite communicators – There are lots of options here and will somewhat depend on activity. The brand of choice of our members is Garmin with the InReach technology. Two-way communication when outside of cell range (which can happen quickly and sometimes in the most unlikely places!) is essential for outdoor safety.
Gifts for Dog Handlers
- Garmin Astro 900 – follow your dog’s every move and be able to provide search command with exact information on where your dog searched.
Gifts of Learning and Experiences
- #nooneplanstogethurt #yourfirstaidmatters Back40 Training offers first aid courses that are as realistic as it can be outside of the real thing. We have first-hand knowledge of this as Rebecca is also SSAR’s Training Director. She also offers super fun “Trail Wise and Trip Ready” sessions for those wanting to increase their outdoor knowledge and confidence.
- “Discover the untamed beauty of Saskatchewan’s wilderness on a transformative journey” with Back2Nature Wellness and Adventures. Sauna experiences, stand-up paddle boarding, retreats, and more.
- Get out and have some fun with the whole family. Now with two locations, Grip It Climbing is a great place to spend some time.
- Meet a great group of like-minded people who love the mountains and the great outdoors. Give the gift of membership to the Alpine Club of Canada – Saskatchewan Section.
The Ultimate Gift?
- Our SSAR President was thinking big (and orange) when he suggested this one! 🙂
What to do if the SAR person in your life already has all these things? Consider making a monetary donation to their SAR team! It will definitely be appreciated and put to good use! Here’s SSAR’s donation page in case you feel inclined and in the Christmas spirit! 🙂