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

Minky Couture blankets with camping themes!

A blanket is PERFECT for those long road trips out West!

Want the last blanket you’ll ever need to own? Buy a Minky Couture. This Utah company is just starting to get discovered.

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: ROCKIES45 to get 45% off!

National Park Lotions and Candles

The smell is HEAVENLY

I 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!

I discovered these while driving around this year, and I love 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. I already have the Grand Canyon hanging up in my office.

Binoculars

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.

I once loaded it in a bike trailer and got 8 kids to follow me 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.

Trip Itinerary

trip itinerary 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 other benefit of giving the itinerary is the peace of mind that the vacation will go great. All the details are included. You can spend time watching YouTube videos together seeing all the cool things you are going to do.

These itineraries, and the accompanying audio essays, are my pride and joy. I spend months creating each one, thinking through every detail of your travel experience. I provide the information you didn’t even know you needed.

National Park Art

I 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 2022 National Parks Calendar
  • 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 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.

Yeti Tumbler

While we think Yeti coolers are overpriced, we love the Yeti Tumbler water bottles. We use them on our long road trips.

They’re easy to fill up on water at gas stations or water fountains. They keep the water cold and have a clear lid so you can see how much you have left!

Camelbak

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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!

Books!

Thomas Jefferson said, “I cannot live without my books.” I feel the same way! Here are some books I recommend 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 my 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, My Uncle. 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? Read this book to find out what a family member believes.
  • 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 authoer 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.

Want more product ideas?

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