For most of us, the holiday season is festive, filled with good food, fun get-togethers with family and friends, and the sharing of gifts, large or small. The challenge we face is to determine how we are going to spend both our precious time and money to ensure that we make the most of the spirit of the season.
Last year this time, my own household entered into unchartered territory as we experienced the holidays in the Arizona sunshine, instead of the cool winter climate of the Pacific Northwest. This year, it is more of the same as we now call the Southwest our forever home. Even though our location has changed, one thing remains constant. In December we still don our hiking boots and sturdy socks and hike the trails, seeking solitude and respite from the business of the season.
Our own tradition is not to exchange gifts. Instead, we donate to the less fortunate via local food pantries and children’s gifting programs. What is part of our tradition is good food, a decent, but budget friendly wine, and lots of chocolate.
Your own holiday tradition may include parties, festive meals, decorations and the exchange of gifts, large and small. To assist you with the gifting tradition, and especially the small gifts, I have brought back the Prepper’s Holiday Gift Guide, newly updated and designed to help you select the perfect gift for loved ones close to you. Everything in this guide is something I own myself and is something that is part of my own preps. There are also a few DIY, almost zero cost, items as well. Along those lines, something I want you to keep in mind is that long after the clothes are worn out and the electronic gizmos discarded for something new, those homemade gifts are still there, reminding us that someone took the time to make something special, just for you.
With that prelude, I am happy to present the newest Backdoor Survival Holiday Gift Guide for Preppers.
Bring on the Stocking Stuffers and Gifts Under $15
Most of these items you have seen before. They are extremely popular, work well, and are low in cost, making them the perfect stocking stuffer or gift for a favorite neighbor, teacher, or friend.
Luci EMRG Inflatable Solar Lantern: This is the original Luci EMRG Solar lantern. I have put mine through its paces and it is one tough cookie. It has weathered both a wind storm and rain storm while hanging outdoors for a month. Lightweight, waterproof and shatterproof, Luci EMRG provides ultra-bright, reliable light to guide your way indoors and out, through blackouts or extreme weather conditions.
Nokero N233 Solar Light: Another popular solar light is the Nokero N233. These little cuties (sorry, I had to say it), are a compact and dependable source of emergency light. They even work well as night lights. I especially like how they hold a charge for 12 months, meaning your can store them fully charged and can count on them to work during an unexpected emergency.
Etekcity Portable Outdoor LED Camping Lantern – Collapsible: I admit to owning a number of these collapsible lanterns. They use 30 different LEDS and are powered by AA batteries, including rechargeables. Instead of a switch, you turn these lanterns on by extending the lantern from its collapsed condition. There are many different brands available but I have not found much difference between them. Shop by price. As of this writing, the price for 2 lanterns is $12.99 with free prime shipping. For more, choices, click here.
BYBLight TML-T6: This flashlight is extremely bright, casts wide angle and, when zoomed, a very focused beam. I swear that if there were a rattlesnake out in the desert outside my back yard this flashlight would find it. It’s a sturdy thing with an aluminum casing that is not at all heavy. It has 5 built-in modes including the standard high, medium, low plus a strobe and SOS mode. It includes a rechargeable battery and a charger plus an adapter to hold AAA batteries. There is also the OxyLED Super Bright T6 LED which is very similar. I own both and find them comparable to let the price guide you.
Note: As much as I love my inexpensive UltraFire Mini Cree Led Flashlights, they do come from China and take up to six weeks to arrive. Do not be tricked by other websites recommending them as gifts. I saw that over and over again last year and wanted to scream I was so mad.
Smith’s PP1 Pocket Pal Multifunction Sharpener: I wrote about this is in the article The Easy Way to Sharpen a Knife Without Spending a Lot of Money. It sharpens everything from pocket knives to kitchen blades. Very portable and easy to use.
Amprobe BAT-250 Battery Tester: I do not know anyone that is sorry they purchased or gifted an inexpensive battery tester. Mine sits in my desk drawer and is used 3 or 4 times a week. This newer version is an upgrade from the BT-200 and well worth the extra couple od dollars. I especially like the redesigned side cradle that holds batteries securely in place during testing – no more erratic battery readings from movement off contacts. Even if you do not want to purchase one as a gift for someone else, do get on for yourself.
Prepping and Survival Gear
LifeStraw Personal Water Filter: The LifeStraw contains no chemicals, no batteries and no moving parts to wear out. It features a high flow rate and weighs only 2oz. It works quickly, taking roughly 3-5 seconds of sucking to start the flow of water through the filter. It’s ultra-light and inexpensive but effective. There is also the LifeStraw Family that will purify up to 12 liters per hour. This is currently my number one pick for a large scale water filter.
Kershaw OSO Sweet Pocket Knife: The sky is the limit when it comes to survival knives. For the beginner, or someone on a budget, a decent quality, all purpose knife is what you need until you have a chance to use it and learn what you like and don’t like, feature-wise before you invest in something more pricey. Even then, perhaps the OSO Sweet will work out so well that it will become your #1 blade with no upgrade needed.
Morakniv Companion Fixed Blade Outdoor Knife with Carbon Steel Blade: I can not say enough good things about the Morakniv. I have a number of them including the “companion’ with a 4.1-inch blade and the “Craftline” with a 3.6″ blade. I use them in the kitchen as paring and utility knives and with the included sheath and carbon steel blades, they stay super sharp. They are also well priced and $10 and $15.
Vigilant Trails Survival Kit: There have been many times when I have been called upon to use various items in this kit. It is not going to keep you alive for days on end, but it will get you through some rough patches.
Sunferno Flintstone Portable Solar Panel with Rechargeable Battery Pack: Solar chargers are extremely popular with Backdoor Survival readers and this sturdy solar power pack is no exception. It is lightweight and small enough to be used in an EDC kit. I especially like that it has 2 USB ports.
Archeer 21W Foldable Solar Panel: This portable solar charger does a fine job of charging up phones, tablets, cameras, batteries (using a USB charger) and more. Lightweight, compact, and very sturdy, it will charge two devices at once. The Archeer does what it is supposed to do and does it well. For more information, read Review: Archeer Portable Folding Solar Charger.
Kindle Fire: It may seem odd to find a Kindle Fire on the list of prepping and survival gear but honestly? When coupled with a portable solar panel, you can have your entire library of survival books, brochures, and downloaded manuals on a single device. You will also have plenty of reading material (the fiction kind), to see you through if the power is out and other sources of entertainment are not available. This is the time of year when Kindles are a bargain. I personally own the basic 7″ Kindle Fire and use it primarily has archival storage for my eBooks and other prepper materials in digital format.
Solo Stove: I personally own four solo stoves including the large Solo Stove Campfire. They are compact yet well-built and perfect for cooking off-grid with just a bit of biomass. They come in varying sizes so you can choose the one that is right for you. For more information, read my review here.
Mighty Charger for NiCD and NiMH Batteries: I don’t know why I have not reviewed this nifty battery charger yet but I do need to do that. The Mighty Charger is a compact charger that works with both Alkaline and Ni-MH AA, AAA batteries and 9V batteries. I like it’s small form factor and the fact that it will automatically detect the type of battery and charge it up. There are no switches. The best part is the price – currently $10.99.
The Healing Gift of Essential Oils
The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, Revised and Expanded: Before getting to some suggested oils and accessories, let me recommend that if you have an essential oil lover on your gift list, you will want to get this book. This is a newly updated version of Valerie Worwood’s classic and when I say new, I mean it is hot off the presses. When my copy arrived in early November, I stayed up until the wee hours reading, learning, and enjoying the insights from the seasoned aromatherapist. The original has been my EO bible for years, and now it is even better.
Spark Natural Essential 4 Pack: This 4 pack includes some of the most popular essential oils for everyday use, including lavender, peppermint, melaleuca, and lemon. Another option is the “Health and Wellness” kit that comes packaged in a tin and includes a brochure with suggested uses for each of the oils. As kits, these oils are already discounted but as an added bonus, you get an additional 10% off with discount code BACKDOORSURVIVAL at checkout.
ZAQ Noor Diffuser: Of my three diffusers, this is my favorite and is, therefore, the one I recommend for gift giving. It puts out a strong, fragrant mist that is both soothing and healing. This is the diffuser you see in the photo above.
Just for the Fun of It
Adult Coloring Books: Adult coloring has taken the world by storm and as with many things, I appeared to get in on it right at the bleeding edge. Being fickle, my taste in coloring books varies, but here are some ideas for the beginning colorist.
Colored Pencils and Gel Pens: These are the tools of the trade. As with the coloring books themselves, I tend to get fickle. The good news is that prices are now half what they used to be. A set of Prismacolors (considered by many to be top of the line) is now under $40 compared to the $80 I paid earlier this year. When it comes to gel pens, I like this 100-pen Artists Choice set for less than $20. Finally, don’t forget a case for your goodies.
Conflicted – The Survival Card Game: If you have not sampled these card decks, you are in for a surprise. Each card poses a question similar to those giveaway questions I am always asking. They are going to foster a group discussion, whether within your family group or among friends. The end result is you will become a better prepper. as you develop a survival mindset fostering critical thinking under dire circumstances.
Ticket to Ride: When it comes to board games, this is my favorite and I feature it every year. (It helps that I usually win.) This is fun for the entire family. Warning, you and your gift recipient will become addicted and will often ask the question: Want to play train aka “ticket to ride”?
Survival, Prepping and Books on Self-Sufficiency
The Made From Scratch Life: This book by Melissa K. Norris is chock full of goodness. It teaches how to grow and preserve food, save money by being frugal where it matters, and my favorite, improving your overall health and well-being with natural cooking and cleaning methods. This is one of my favorite DIY books from an author who lives the “from scratch life” herself.
The Penny-Pinching Prepper: Save More, Spend Less and Get Prepared for Any Disaster: There is nothing not to like about this book. Written by Bernie Carr, is packed with inexpensive DIY projects for keeping your family safe in any worst-case scenario.
The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide: You can survive up to three weeks without food, but only three days without water. When catastrophe strikes, having enough water can spell the difference between life and death. This book offers a step-by-step plan with straightforward information you can easily follow. Written by my friend Daisy Luther, I recommended the book for everyone’s survival library!
Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage: This modestly priced book is about food: What to store, how to store it and best practices. It is a roadmap for showing ordinary citizens that long-term food storage is not something that will overwhelm or burden the family budget. I wrote this book and am proud of it. It will make a great gift!
Third Edition: The SURVIVAL MEDICINE Handbook: A frequent question I get on Backdoor Survival has to do with healthcare matters when there is no doctor around. Written by survival medicine experts, Joe and Amy Alton, this is the definite source of survival medical information for all Prepper’s and is my go-to bible for survival medicine.
Other Gifts Under $10
DIY Healing Salve: As far as I am concerned, a gift of a jar or two of handcrafted healing salve should be the top gift on this list. You can make it yourself using these instructions than pass along the directions so that the recipient can continue the tradition. Equally nice is a Healing Body Butter you can make for pennies (well almost) compared to the jars you purchase at the boutique or department store.
Something chocolate: I don’t know anyone who would not appreciate the gift of chocolate. Make something yourself go for something as simple as a pouch of chocolate kisses. Either way, you will be loved for it! Want to make your own? Try these from my friend Linda Loosli.
Preserved memories: Do you have a digital photo that represents a cherished moment with a special someone? Consider memorializing the event and the moment by having the photo printed. Then frame it yourself.
If All Else Fails – The Gift Card
Amazon Gift Cards are suitable for everyone on your list and come packaged in a gift box and bow at no extra cost. It does not get much better than that!
The Final Word
The commercialism fostered by the media and internet purveyors this time of year makes me uncomfortable. I will go so far as to say that producing this guide makes me feel like a hypocrite. That being said, I know that I am in the minority and furthermore, everyone is going to be out there, in a race to squeeze the very last dollar out of your wallet. Why not start with tried and true items that are guaranteed to please? It is for that reason I offer this gift guide as a convenience to you with recommendations that come from my own first-hand experience using each and every item.
As I do every year, let me remind you not to go into debt as you pursue the perfect gifts for loved ones. And second, at the end of the day, over and beyond the giving of material goods, think about the giving of yourself and the giving of your heart.
Be creative, enjoy the love and friendship that abound this time of year and have a fun, and stress-free gift giving experience.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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