2023 Holiday Gift Guide for the Canoe Paddler in your Life

People, Recreation

Welcome to another year of our annual Holiday Gift Guide!

If you’re here, there’s probably a paddler or Boundary Waters enthusiast on your list. Which makes holiday shopping a challenge.

Paddlers don’t need much: A nice tailwind, a bit of sunshine, a little extra sugar on their oatmeal. If a paddler has just one of these, they’ll be more content than the richest person in the world. Simplicity is the heart of every Boundary Waters experience. It’s one of the reasons so many of us keep returning to this unique ecosystem.

This leads to a problem: What to get the paddler in your life for the holidays?

In past years, you should already know about some stellar Natalie Salminen Rude art, great Magic art books, incredibly beautiful paddles by Josh Rude and more. This year, we’re going to hyper focus on approachably priced items, must-have stocking stuffers, and the coolest gift giver options at your holiday gift exchange.

Hopefully, you find something on this list that is perfect for your paddling family member — or yourself!

1. BWCA Playing cards – $10

A rainy day staple in the Boundary Waters, playing cards are as essential to a BWCA trip as a stove or a tent! This deck is unique because every card is unique. The face cards? Each animal is in a particular season. They are beautifully made by Bemidji based artist Kaitlyn Sapone. Our good friends at Ursa Minor Outfitters have them available!

2. Silky Saw – Pocketboy – $45-50

The saws that the Friends’ volunteers use to clear portage trails and keep the BWCAW pristine are always Silky Saws. While a giant Katanaboy may not be super practical for everyday use, a Pocketboy absolutely is. From pruning dead branches on trees, to bringing on a boundary waters trip, they fold down small and are incredibly resilient.

3. Blueberry Borealis – $12-14

The only can you can bring to the holiday parties with a Fisher Map on it is perfect for any canoe enthusiast! Minneapolis Cider Company donates a portion of every purchase to the Friends. The best part? Cidermaker Rob Fisk spent years making a cider that is both flavorful but not too sweet. If you want a cider at your holiday get together, this is the perfect option! Check the map on their website to see where to get it in the Twin Cities.

Friends of the Boudary Waters logo

4. One Year of Protection for the Boundary Waters – $30

For only $30, you can invest in the protection of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness with a year-long membership with the Friends of the Boundary Waters. Recipients will receive our stellar quarterly printed newsletters, up to the minute updates, and that warm glow you get from directly helping your favorite wilderness. It’s a fantastic gift for all ages.

5. BWCA Merch and Swag

We’ve partnered with our Ursa Minor Outfitting to create some truly unique merch that creatively showcases the Boundary Waters! You’ll find elegantly designed hats, tumblers, insulated beer growlers, playing cards, journals and so much more. These are unique gifts featuring unique art the paddler in your life is sure to appreciate! Best of all: Proceeds go to protect the Boundary Waters!

6. A gift card to Repair Lair – $X – $XXX

If you have been paddling for any amount of time, you will find that a pair of pants will get caught on a branch or your waxed canvas will need a little patch. The Repair Lair in South Minneapolis is by far the best place in the Twin Cities to get any paddling gear repaired. Owned by Nancy Ford, formerly of Midwest Mountaineering, she knows gear and can repair nearly anything you have that can fit through their door!

7. Whopper Plopper – $13.64 – $17.84

Our executive director Chris Knopf swears by the Whopper Plopper for fishing in the Boundary Waters. The Friends receives no incentive to talk about them, we just really think it’s a good lure for fishing.

8. Iron Lake by William Kent Krueger – $16-23

William Kent Kruger is a phenomenal local author who has gained a following for his novels that follow the adventures of P.I. Cork O’Connor, former sheriff of Aurora, Minnesota. This is the first book in the series that is deeply tied to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. If you want a BWCA book, a smart pickup is starting with Iron Lake. With over 1.5 million copies sold, it’s definitely worth picking up for that reader in your life.

9. SK Coffee Subscription – $22/month

Minnesota winters can get … long. Sometimes a nice cup of coffee is the jolt you need to start those cold, crisp days. With a gift subscription from SK Coffee your friend or loved-one will get coffee delivered to their door! It’s hard to think of a better way to start the day. With a subscription to this premium coffee, they’ll be hooked!

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Hennessy racing in a snowy tree-filled scene in the boundary waters in a sled behind a team of dogs during the brief hours of winter sunlight.
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