11 Gifts for Fans of the Boundary Waters

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Looking for a unique gift for that Boundary Waters loving someone in your life?

We have some ideas!

From hand-crafted soap to world-class paddles, the following artists and businesses not only make one-of-a-kind products, but over the past year, have chosen to support our mission to protect, preserve and restore the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.

If you’re in the market for a gift that is both wonderfully thematic, and also supports your favorite Wilderness Area, check out these goods! You’re bound to find something unexpected and perfect for the wilderness traveler on your list.

For the coffee lover – SK Coffee box

The dynamic duo of SK Coffee are both obsessed with brewing the perfect cup of coffee and gung-ho about protecting the Boundary Waters. As we go through a fair amount of coffee in the office (to say the least) this was a natural partnership. We started brainstorming better ways to brew camp coffee (because instant just isn’t very good) and from that conversation came the perfect coffee box: A gift that includes a hand grinder, three bags of perfectly roasted coffee, a carrying case and more. A portion of all proceeds benefit our No Boundaries to the Boundary Waters programming to send kids into the Boundary Waters. They are selling fast!

There’s no such thing as too many paddles — Sanborn Canoe Co.

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We love these paddles. Hands down. Light weight but tough enough to withstand the abuse of a week-long trip into the BWCA — or beyond — year after year. The guys at Sanborn make about every kind of paddle humans have conceived, including decorative paddles. Right now they have several limited edition custom paddles they are selling to benifit the Boundary Waters. And that’s only part of their beautiful collection:

For the stinky wilderness warrior —The Merry Little Bath

Merry Little Bath

Owner Jan Orange has a passion for making eco-friendly bath products that are entirely natural, including packaging that can be reused or recycled. Her soaps contain Tussah Silk, which makes them lather a more than other varieties and leave you with a silky smooth feel. She has been supporting the Friends for a number of years, with a percentage of sales going to support our advocacy efforts. If you need a perfect stocking stuffer, click below:

Evoke the wilderness — John Forester essential oils

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A forester by trade, John travels to forests across the country, distills a variety of trees down to their essential oils that he blends to create an evocative scent of the environment. A drop in the shower or the distiller reconnects you with those long days of cold water and loon calls of the wilderness.

Be fashion forward — Jim Morris Environmental T-Shirt Co.


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While visiting the Outdoor Retailer Show, our development director Mike stopped by Jim’s warehouse to learn of the operation. They make high quality, recycled and fully sustainable shirts for the environmental industry. After that visit, we decided to make our State Fair shirt out of a special shirt created from six water bottles. You can pick up the shirt, and a portion of the sale helps us protect the Boundary Waters and Quetico-Superior Ecosystem.

THE perfect Old Fashioned — Lost Superior

Lost+Superior+Whiskey

Lost Superior is a pre-made Old Fashioned in a bottle . As people who visit the Boundary Waters know, making a cocktail in camp can be a challenge. Sometimes you just want it already made to enjoy over your campfire that is cooking some fresh lake trout. Enter Lost Superior. They approached us and asked if they could donate a portion of proceeds with each one sold. We tried it first to see, and we immediately signed on. It’s that good. It can be found in most major liquor stores across the state and its market is expanding every month.

Bring the wilderness into your home — Ben Olson Photography

Minnesota+Owl

Photographer Ben Olson was just awarded with a grant from Arc’Teryx and if you want top-of-the-line wildlife photography in your home, he just released a new calendar for 2020. He’s a good friend and his work on documenting a changing climate and its effect on fauna and animals is groundbreaking. If you’re in need of a calendar for the year, you know he’ll have a moose in there.

For the cook, or whoever wants to spice it up — Penzeys spice

Bill Penzeys is a strong champion for justice in America. His spices are also pretty great. If you’re out of ideas for a family member, consider getting one of his box sets. The Northwoods or the Northwoods Fire are our favorites, with Fox Point coming in a close third.

Beautiful Art for your Wall — Natalie Salminen Rude

BWCA Art

Duluth mixed media artist Natalie Salminen Rude creates oil and encaustic wax mixed media creations. They are stunningly beautiful and a large painting of hers hangs in Bent Paddle. you want a print of it, Her Soliloquy: Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness  can be found on her Etsy page with standard sizes. Pick up one and a frame at Target and you have a perfect gift. She also donates a portion of proceeds to Friends of the Boundary Waters.

Pretty, pretty paddles — Glørud Design

Paddle art

This design firm is headed up by Josh Rude, an artisan and craftsman who makes stunning handmade paddles in his workshop. The inlaid wood paddles are beautiful, but he insists that they are meant to be used, scratched, chipped and loved. That being said, they also make for some beautiful wall art. A perfect gift for that uncle who has everything except a piece of art he can use.

Smoked meats are the best meats — Northern Waters Smokehaus

Northhaus Smoked Salmon

This is one of our favorite places to stop in Duluth, usually after a trip to the Boundary Waters. The unbeatable sandwiches are a welcomed treat after a few days of portaging. For a gift, consider one of their samplers. The smoked sausage sampler always sells out because it’s delicious, though any of the gift boxes make a great gift that also supports a small local business.

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