The Escapism Christmas Gift Guide 2019

Christmas gifts that inspire epic adventures are the best. Fact. Here's our guide to some of the very best travel gifts this festive season

We don't know about you, but here at Escapism, we find the effort of Christmas shopping almost as fun as the big day itself. And when it comes to what’s in the stocking or what’s under the tree, the more a gift helps us hatch (or execute) epic travel plans for the year ahead, the better.

With that in mind, we’ve selected some of our favourite Christmas gift ideas for travel lovers – fun stocking fillers, gear for the great outdoors, amazing experiences and a couple of bits for the kids thrown in, too. We hope you’ll find some inspiration for your Christmas shopping.

Best travel stocking fillers

Foragers' Playing Cards

Christmas Gift Guide: Forager's Playing Card

Playing cards is a timeless leisure activity, but have you ever thought of purchasing a pack of cards with more than one function? Snap up this set of cards and you'll get a standard deck of cards complete with pretty illustrations and interesting facts about forageable food like fungi, wild plants, nuts and berries. While playing cards, you can brush up on your knowledge of edible delights, learning how easy they are to find in the wilderness, and how you're supposed to differentiate between poisonous mushrooms and gut-friendly berries whilst foraging. £9.99.

L.L. Bean patch

As part of their partnership with the USA's National Park Foundation, legendary American outdoor brand L.L. Bean is offering a limited-edition range of patches commemorating some of the country's finest parks. As an organisation, L.L. Bean helps protect more than 400 national park sites across the USA, including Acadia, Rocky Mountain and Arches, which are all available in the brand's range of sew-on patches. Grab one and stick it on your rucksack, stat. From £8.

Light My Fire Bio Firelighting Kit

Christmas Gift Guide: Light My Fire Bio Firelighting Kit
Christmas Gift Guide: Light My Fire Bio Firelighting Kit

Starting a fire with Nordic Outdoor's firelighting equipment is the foolproof way to warm your fingers and melt marshmallows on your next camping trip. Light My Fire's Bio Firelighting Kit is comprised of a durable magnesium firestell that can last up to 3,000 strikes, a tinderstick made of sustainably sourced Caribbean pine and a stainless steel spring that makes a mean skewer for 'mallows when attached to a stick. Cosy as you like. £18.95.

Bambaw Cutlery Kit

Christmas Gift Guide: Bambaw cutlery set

Multi-use cutlery is the most handy way to eat food while you're out and about. If you bring your own Bambaw cutlery set to any occasion, you can dine alfresco without making your camping feast an environmental mishap. Using the fold-up fabric case, you can roll your cutlery into your bag and have it on you 24/7. This will minimise the chances of you using single-use plastic, the product that the Ocean Conservancy ranks as the second-most dangerous form of plastic rubbish after fishing nets. £10.23.

Be More Japan book

Be More Japan by DK Eyewitness
Be More Japan by DK Eyewitness

Obsessed with J-pop superstars, Shinto scholars or street-food stall merchants? Be More Japan is the book for you. Immerse yourself in the technically fascinating world of Japanese living. The book mixes the architecture and artistry of modern Japanese lifestyle through the lens of different cultures, spaces and places - all the while providing a whistlestop tour of one of the modern world's most advanced and innovative civilisations. Printed with breathtaking landscapes and fabulous picture collages, this book is for anyone who wants to dip into various aspects of Japanese culture including entertainment, literature, fashion and food. £16.99.

Travel gifts for him

Philips BeardTrimmer Series 7000

Philips Christmas Gift Guide

Know a certain someone with a hairy hangover from Movember? Don't fret. The Philips BeardTrimmer series 7000 lets users trim and style moustaches, beards or sideburns without the unnecessary mess. The shaver's integrated vacuum system can capture up to 90% of cut hair, getting rid of facial flyaways. Double-sharpened stainless steel blades also allow for faster trimming, cleverly sharpening themselves by lightly brushing against each other as you trim, so you can look effortlessly stylish without any fuss. £48.

Filson Rugged Twill Ranger backpack

Filson Ranger Backpack

This backpack from legendary Seattle outdoor brand Filson is perfect for those seeking out a steely workhorse appropriate for the great outdoors as well as everyday use on the commute. Woven with the brand's much-loved, 100% cotton Rugged Twill, it's designed for long-lasting use and extreme durability. Features include a padded back, easily-adjustable shoulder straps and a good old-fashioned water-resistant oil finish. There's also a pocket tucked inside the bag that can hold laptops up to 15", so you can keep computers, tablets and more dry no matter how harsh the weather gets. £250.

Tentree Kurt beanie

Tentree kurt beanie

Soft, chic and cosy, Tentree's Kurt beanie is guaranteed to complete any look. Ethically made in Canada, this winter warmer comes in seven different colours, offering sustainability and style wrapped into one product. Sustainability, you say? Yep, Tentree plants ten trees for every item sold, with the tally currently sitting around 34 million. By purchasing a beanie this Christmas, you could help Tentree reach their aim of planting one billion trees by 2030. Nice. £34.95.

Smartwool Merino Sport 150 Tee

New for 2019 and great for both sport and travel, this Smartwool t-shirt is perfect for those who want to be comfortable in what they're wearing but still feel on-point. Produced using the New England-based brand's core spun thread – silky merino meshed with a nylon core – you can expect a super-comfortable tee that's both durable and lightweight. The Sport 150 shirt can also be worn multiple times without washing, wicking sweat during exercise to allow for a breathable, odour-free tee for travel, adventures and more. £54.99.

Travel gifts for her

Fjallraven Övik Knit sweater

Fjallraven Ovik knit sweater: Christmas Gift Guide

Little known fact for you: it's not officially Christmas unless someone in the family gets a jazzy jumper. And here at Escapism, we're less about the oblique Home Alone references and Bah Humbug! fairisles, and more about well-made knits that you might just want to wear outside of the festive season, too. That's why we reckon the loved one in your life might just fancy giving Swedish outdoor brand Fjallraven's old-school Övik Knit sweater a spin this Christmas. It's goes big on cosy without being a yuletide exclusive and it's made of responsibly sourced wool from real Swedish sheep. Not bah'd. £135.

Dr Sebagh Sun & City protection SPF 50+

Dr Sebagh Sun & City protection

Lightly tanned skin: good; burnt skin: very, very bad. And you know what they say – you've got your skin for life, so you'd better look after it. Now it's even easier to protect your skin from harsh UVA and UVB rays with this face lotion from the experts at Dr Sebagh. It filters out pollution and light from the sun, smart phones and computers, and will leave your skin with a perfect matte finish – and even fits inside the tiniest of travel bags. Job done. £60 for 50ml.

Lefrik bum bag

If you're the type of person who likes carrying essentials while on-the-go, but you still want your hands free, then this Lefrik bumbag might be the perfect fit. Strung together with an adjustable hip strap and fitting in one large compartment, this bumbag is practical and fuss free. It's also made from eco-friendly fabric using recycled polyester from PET bottles, making it waterproof and vegan – an all-round winner for anyone who's channelling environmentally friendly vibes this Christmas.

El Camino jewellery

El Camino bracelet

Personalised gifts that are tasteful and high quality can be hard to come by, which is why it's well worth checking out El Camino's bespoke range of jewelry this festive season. With tons of different charms and beads to choose from you can personalise your necklace or bracelet with the names of destinations you've visited, meaning your favourite travel memories are always, er, close to hand. All necklaces and bracelets are made using fine materials including surgical-grade stainless steel, high-strength cord and sustainably sourced woods and coconut. From £21.99.

Travel gifts for them

S'well x BBC Earth reusable water bottle

S'well x BBC Earth

Big Attenborough fan? Yeah, we thought so. You'll probably like this, then: BBC Earth (the good folk behind Planet Earth II, Blue Planet II and new series Seven Worlds, One Planet) and S'well have teamed up to make a series of four limited-edition water bottles emblazoned with some of the most iconic shots of the natural world. There are penguins, there are Northern Lights, there are Aussie sea turtles and there are most definitely underwater scenes from some of the Beeb's very best natural history TV. It's a must in any nature lover's stocking this year. £35.

Horizn studios M5 carry-on

Horizn Studios luggage

This German-engineered, super-tough cabin bag (pictured centre-right) is the perfect partner for any regular traveller: a zip pouch on the front lets you easily stow laptops (up to 15"), tablets, phone chargers and travel documents, while a removable powerbank under the handle means you'll never run out of juice on the go. Inside, there are plenty of zippable compartments for fuss-free storage, as well as a bag to separate your dirty shoes. Oh, and the wheels? They're crafted in Japan to help you slide through the airport with ease. £320.

The Wave surf voucher

Located just outside Bristol, The Wave is England's first inland surfing lagoon, serving punters of all abilities with more than 1,000 safe, rideable and consistent waves an hour. Vouchers can be put towards a one-off surf lesson or a series of sessions, so that your lucky recipient can make some fab memories and gain some great skills without the disappoint of a bad surf day on the coast. Whether you know a seasoned surfer, or want to give someone a running jump into the sport, a Wave voucher is a great gift for all. £10-£100.

Canopy & Stars gift card

Know someone who needs a weekend away from the city? Easy: grab them a Canopy & Stars gift card. With more than 700 locations to choose from across the UK and Europe, customers can stay in some seriously beautiful destinations. Whether you're into glamping and UK short stays, or just want to experience a more rustic way of life for a couple of days, there's tons to choose from. From the majestic Lake District to destinations located in the wilderness of the Jurassic coast and Devon, you're sure to find somewhere rugged and restful. Choose your own price.

Vertical Chill ice climbing experience

Vertical Chill, London

Give the gift of thrill-seeking this Christmas with a Vertical Chill ice climbing experience in Manchester or London. Vertical Chill is an exciting and immersive experience that anyone can enjoy, offering customers the chance to try real ice climbing without the whole frozen waterfall thing. Sessions are run by fully qualified instructors, with the cost including rental of all of the necessary outerwear and equipment. It's perfect for the intrepid explorer that wants to experience the thrill of mountaineering, without having to trek far and wide to do so. £75.

Snow Peak Pack & Carry Fireplace

Snow Peak fireplace

Camping outdoors in cold winter conditions can be an icy experience, but you can enjoy snowflakes and pine trees without the frostbite with Snow Peak's Pack & Carry Fireplace. Made from thick chrome-coated steel and built at Snow Peak HQ in Japan, this portable and condensed fireplace is one for the outdoors lover in your life. And – if you're feeling funky, you add a fireplace grill for a fully fledged wood-fired barbecue experience. Just in time for watching the fireworks on NYE. £179 for Fireplace, from £54 for Fireplace Grill.

Scratch Map X Edition

Scratch Maps are perfect for budding travellers who want to mark which destinations they've traveled to in a unique and personalised way. Scrape away at the map's removable foilin and you'll can unearth a glinting underlay, displaying destinations, fact and more on a world map. The X Edition has added languages, creatures and food, so you can keep tabs on which countries you've visited and how many cultures you've had the chance to experience so far. £23.95.

Marine Conservation Society Hamper

The Oxford Dictionary's 2019 word of the year is "climate emergency" – and a large part of the emergency is to do with our inordinate use of plastic. That's why the Marine Conservation Society is offering a plastic-free hamper this Christmas. Packed with citrusy soap bars, a reusable coffee cup made from bamboo, and a coconut scouring pad, this hamper is made for customers who are eco-conscious. The gift box is also filled with environmentally friendly packing nuts, so you don't need to worry about harmful packaging, either. £50.

Travel gifts for the kids

Dinoski winterwear

Organizing a whole-family snow vacation can be stressful enough as it is, let alone worrying about practical and comfortable winterwear for the kids, too. But have no fear, Dinoski is the sustainable clothing brand that's got you covered: with twelve mini ski suits and hats to choose from, you can purchase fun and colourful winterwear for children. The clothes are also made using faux fur and eco friendly dyes. Oh, and Dinoski is now recycling old plastic bottles to make their fabric, with an aim to clean the planet of almost 100,000 bottles next year – sold yet? We thought so. From £15.

Kids Colouring Map

If you're on the hunt for a beautifully illustrated colouring book for the kids, look no further than this fun-filled map from OMY. Packed with an intricate international cities map and gift boxed so you don't even have to wrap it, this product is a great way to pass the time when travelling with kids. You can also purchase a sturdy box of 16 washable felt tips for a tenner if you want some jazzy pens to colour your way through the world map. The ink can be washed out with a little water and soap, too, so there's no faffing around with stained clothes or furniture. From £7.

Everest: The Remarkable Story of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay

Give wannabe adventurers a kickstart with the kid-friendly account of the two explorers who fought through biting weather and extreme exposure to climb the highest mountain in the world. Written by Alexandra Stewart and illustrated by Joe Todd-Stanton, this book brings together triumph, tragedy and adventure as it tells the story of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, the first two climbers confirmed to have reached the summit of Mount Everest. Complete with a moving foreword by hailed explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, this multi-coloured story book will not disappoint. From £7.