Holiday gift ideas for the traveler: Our favorite products!

We like experiences more than things. Things collect dust. We prefer to collect memories. There’s no better way than traveling.

Travel is a joyful experience. Giving a gift should be a joyful experience as well!

I’ve got some great ideas for your traveler for Christmas or any time of the year.

Minky Couture Blanket

Memories of trips with my family are what keep me warm on cold nights. But, I hate souvenir shopping while visiting a national park. I want to enjoy nature!

After years of t-shirts, Christmas ornaments, and knick-knacks, I finally found a way to preserve my memories of a special vacation, without shopping while traveling.

I buy a Minky Blanket.

I can always find one that reminds me of the trip I took. For example, I bought the blanket above after our trip to Banff Canada because the red reminded me of the Canadian flag and the red Adirondack chairs that are strategically placed in Canada’s most scenic spots so guests can sit and enjoy!

This Utah company is just starting to get discovered. The blankets are handmade, and machine washable but are as soft as mink fur (hence the name Minky) I never go on a road trip without one.

One of our viewers ordered one with our 45% off code and said “I surprised my wife and got her a minky and it came in the mail yesterday. As blanket lovers, this is the best one we own now. I picked out a Taffy Pink Hugs Grande. Thanks for the recommendation and the code. No doubt I’ll have to order my daughter one for Christmas.”

Visit Minky Couture and use our code: WEREINTHEROCKIES45 to get 45% off!

National Park Lotions and Candles

The smell is HEAVENLY

Matt discovered these AMAZING candles, lotions, and air fresheners at a store near me. They’re made by Good Well Supply Co of Seattle, and they have scents for each national park!

I kid you not, the Yellowstone candle will make you feel like you’re walking around in the forest.

National Park Posters

I love the old-timey feel!

Matt discovered these while driving around this year, and he loves the nostalgic look and the classic cars featured in them. They are designed and printed by John Clark, a photographer and artist.

Find them at his Scenic Hwys website. We already have the Grand Canyon hanging up in our office.


A MUST for the Yellowstone or Grand Teton traveler!

If you’re visiting Yellowstone or Grand Teton, I highly recommend getting a pair of binoculars. These parks are some of the best places to see wildlife in the lower 48 states, and people come from all over the world to do so.

Trust me on this, it will make your wildlife experience MUCH better.

I recommend the Vortex Diamondback binoculars. We’ve used them and they are GREAT. Find out for yourself by reading the reviews on Amazon.

Party Rocker Speaker

If you want a 100% guarantee that your gift will be the life of the party, look no further than the Ion Party Rocker speaker.

You may be wondering what you can do with something like this, but let me assure you…… there are plenty of situations to bring the party: dance parties, softball games, Halloween, New Years’ Eve Karaoke, and….. camping.

We take this on our trips and the kids love dancing around the disco ball while the music pumps. It’s a PARTY-STARTER.

Matt once loaded it in a bike trailer and got 8 kids to follow him on a 15-mile bike ride. There was NO COMPLAINING, thanks to the tunes!

Trust me on this, the Party Rocker will be an instant hit for whoever receives this gift.

Kids following me while I pump the music

Personalized Poster

No vacation is over if it leaves a memory. However, picture frames and photo books are pretty common gifts.

But, what if you ordered a customized poster of a location you know has special meaning to your special someone? 

At Just Go Travel Studios you can have a very classy, very personalized poster created exactly how you want it. The owners will respond to you immediately and even send you a proof before printing to make sure it meets your standards.

You can send your own image or use one of their old-school-looking posters and personalize your memories on it. Use our code ROCKIES640 for a 10% discount.

Travel Guide

travel guide says so much. It communicates “I love spending time with you” and “you are in my future plans.” You and your loved one can dream about the upcoming trip for months.

One special benefit of giving one of our travel guides is the peace of mind that the vacation will go great. All the details are included. You can spend time watching our YouTube videos together and seeing all the cool things you are going to do.

Our travel guides, and accompanying audio essays, are our pride and joy. Matt spends months creating each one, thinking through every detail of your travel experience, and providing the information you didn’t even know you needed.

We are adding new guides all the time and currently have guides to Yellowstone, Grand Teton, the Black Hills, Banff, Jasper, Glacier, the Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado’s Mountain towns, the Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Arches, and Canyonlands.

National Park Art

Matt discovered an amazing artist: Steph Moraca from Pittsburgh. Her nickname is The Painting Stoof. She has a YouTube channel for art and one for travel.

She’s produced so many amazing things you can buy for your home:

  • A national parks coloring book for the kids
  • Reproduction prints of national parks and other places. Order posters, mugs, shirts, phone cases, pillows, towels, bags, or face masks!
  • ORIGINAL paintings that she’s already created. When ordering, please tell her Matt at We’re in the Rockies sent you.
  • ORIGINAL commissions! Do you have a great photo you took from your trip, but it’s locked up on your cell phone? Have Steph turn it into an actual painting! Again, tell her I sent you!

Lifetime Cooler

The Yeti coolers are all the rage, but this Lifetime cooler, found on Amazon, is MUCH less expensive and cools for just as long!

We go on a lot of road trips and use a cooler to pack our picnics and snacks. We’re big fans of eating picnics in the national parks, and this 77-quart cooler stores tons of food for our family of 6.

We can go 4 whole days without having to worry about replacing the ice. What a relief. Plus, Lifetime is a local Utah company that specializes in all sorts of outdoor fun.

Super Sparrow Water Bottle

This classy water bottle has become my new go-to when I’m out and about. The Oleander by Super Sparrow is part of its Ultra-lite series, holds 750 ml, is sweat proof, pro-grade stainless steel, BPA & toxin free and never sweats. It’s as functional as it is beautiful. I love how light and easy to carry it is.

It keeps the water cold and icy for hours, lasts for years, and I rarely leave my house without it. You can purchase directly from Super Sparrow and use the code “Rockies” for a 15% discount. .


The West is DRY and HIGH. So if you’re planning on hiking, you need to pack a lot of water with you! The best way to carry that water is with a Camelbak.

We’ve owned a Camelbak our entire marriage. We recently had to buy new Camelbaks, and we decided on the Camelbak M.U.L.E. Hydration Pack found on Amazon.

It’s designed for mountain bikers but it’s perfect for hikers because it holds 3 liters — a MUST when hiking longer trails out here in the dry West.

The waist belt, chest strap, and padded shoulder straps make the pack feel light and comfortable. The water bladder comes with a wide fill spout for easy filling and cleaning.

There are 3 main pockets in the pack that are wonderful to fit all your other hiking essentials. I love that I can fit my phone, sunglasses, snacks, sunscreen and jacket in there.

Just look at the ratings on Amazon — this is a home run.

If you are traveling with children, Matt and I recommend the Camelbak M.U.L.E Mini Hydration Pack found on Amazon.

With a 50 oz water bladder and several fun designs to choose from, you child will think it’s super cool and stay hydrated- at least that has been our experience. Our 9 and 11 year old both want to wear it!

Trekking Poles

While we haven’t used these, so many people have told us they bought these trekking poles for their national park trips that we just had to include it on this list.

Trekking poles can give you some extra stability while walking or hiking on uneven trails in the Rockies. The great thing about the TrailBuddy Hiking Poles is they collapse. This makes them easy to pack and they will fit in most backpacks. Plus, they are the best value for the price.

But maybe more important, you can adjust the length for your height or for the trail conditions. Going down into the Grand Canyon? Extend them. Time to go back up? Shorten them.

Ergo Baby Carrier

We’re both wearing Ergos!

We’re beyond this stage now, but this Ergo Baby Carrier SAVED us many times! It allowed us to hike to places with our little ones where we wouldn’t have been able to go otherwise. What is amazing about these packs?

  • Padded waist and shoulder straps, plus a chest strap for even weight distribution. The child’s weight is mostly on your hips making it incredibly comfortable for child and parent.
  • 100% machine washable
  • No metal frame which save tons of space
  • Fits 7-45lbs. Yep, we used ours from when our children were 1 month-4 years old
  • Durable- Each of our packs made it through 4+ children. When our kids were older, I gave them to my sister who is still using them.
  • All carrying positions: Inward, Front Outward, Hip & Back Carry
  • Lots of colors and patterns to choose from

Do you have children who are new parents? This is PERFECT because they usually won’t spend money on a “luxury” item like this.

What they don’t realize is this is so much better than the other lousy baby carriers out there that it’s easily worth the extra cost.

So be a hero grandparent and get this for them! It’s comfortable for the parent and the baby.

National Parks Passport Book

My National Parks Passport Book!

Did you know there are over 400 national park sites?!

Want a fun way to track all the national park sites you visit? Try the Passport to Your National Parks book by Eastern National.

I’ve had one for years. When you visit a national park site, simply stop in at the visitor center and find the “cancellation station.” They have a stamp and ink pad there.

Stamp your book just like an actual passport — it will show the date you visited the park! What fun, and inexpensive, way to document your adventures.


Thomas Jefferson said, “I cannot live without my books.” I feel the same way! Here are some books Matt recommends about the West and/or the national parks.

  • Lonesome Dove. Larry McMurtry’s finest work. This fiction book is about what life was like on a cattle drive, and according to historians, is a fairly accurate representation. It’s full of drama and suspense. If you don’t want to read the book you can watch the 4-part miniseries. Both are EXCELLENT.
  • The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. This is a book and a DVD series by the famous documentary filmmaker Ken Burns. This is about the history of the national parks and the National Park Service. It’s not just images of beautiful scenery; it’s full of stories and drama, like the battle for Jackson Hole, Wyoming (which I also cover in my audio guide for Grand Teton).
  • Death in Yellowstone. This book was written by Yellowstone National Park historian Lee H. Whittlesey. It’s more academic than sensational. He covers every recorded death in Yellowstone but separates them out by category (death by geysers, by bear attacks, by drownings, etc.). Within each, he tells gripping stories that serve as a cautionary tale for today’s visitors.
  • Death in the Grand Canyon. This book is similar in tone to Death in Yellowstone. Although there are no geyser or bear attack deaths, the Grand Canyon is actually more deadly than Yellowstone. You’ll think twice before getting too close to the edge of the canyon after reading this book! Want a sneak peak? See Matt’s article How many people have died in the Grand Canyon?
  • Hard Road West. This fantastic book takes you on a historical and geological journey along the Oregon Trail. The author, Keith Meldahl, has the best way of taking a complicated topic like geology and making it accessible for most of us. If you like this, then you’ll also like his other masterpiece, Rough Hewn Land, a journey from California to the Rocky Mountains.
  • Butch Cassidy, The True Story of an American Outlaw. Famous deaths of western figures include General Custer’s Last Stand, Sheriff Pat Garrett gunning down Bill the Kid, and Wild Bill being shot in the back while holding Aces and Eights. But perhaps no death is as mysterious and controversial as Butch Cassidy. Did he die in Bolivia? Montana? Nevada?
  • The Essential West. The title of this book has a double meaning: it’s about the West, but it’s a collection of the best writings from author Elliott West. Mr. West is a professor, but don’t think this book will be too difficult to understand. He’s a gifted story teller. What I like about this book is it’s a collection of essays. It doesn’t need to be read in order — just pick one that sounds interesting. Golden Dreams recounts the less-famous Colorado Gold Rush, and Bison R Us talks about what the Bison means as a uniquely American Symbol.
  • Do Not Feed the Bears. This is the full history of bear feeding in Yellowstone – the only book covering this history that I’m aware of.
  • False Architect: The Mary Colter Hoax. For many years, we’ve been told that one woman designed all the significant buildings on the south rim of the Grand Canyon. Finally, one person looked into this incredulous claim, and believes he solved the hoax.

Want more product ideas?

If you’re looking for more great ideas, visit our Recommended Gear page. Have a great trip!


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