Forget flowers and chocolates*, spring is in the air and what your mum really wants this Mothers’ Day is to skip into the Great Outdoors (believe me, after a year of homeschooling and the shortest Dry January known to womankind, she’s really keen to leave the house).
Whether your mum is a running or cycling newbie, or has fallen in lockdown love with open water swimming, here are some gorgeous gifts that will make her day on March 14!
Helly Hansen Power Air Heat Grid Jacket
I’m writing this in the warmth of spring sunshine, my mood rising with the temperature. But, just a few weeks ago, it snowed in Wales (I was obliged to have an embarrassing-mum snowball fight with my two big kids) and there’s still a mighty nip in the air when Lionel and I climb our hill first thing in the morning. Hooray, then, for my snuggly Helly Hansen Power Air Heat Grid Jacket, a clever layer using award-winning Polartec fabric.
Ready for the science bit? I’m not sure I’m ever ready for the science bit, but even I can understand that Power Air is made with a technique that encapsulates the fibres. In other words, the fabric sheds more than 80% fewer microfibres than other fleeces – resulting in less microplastic waste ending up in our oceans! How marvellous is that? It’s nearly as neat as the way in which the soft off-white colour gives great snow camouflage for sneaking up on teens! Usually retailing at £150, it’s currently priced at £105.
Hydro Flask Lightweight Trail Series
I’m a longstanding Hydro Flask fan and the brand’s Lightweight Trail Flask is its lightest option yet. At 25% lighter than its standard flasks, I suspect it will become an essential for mums who hike with kids, weighed down with kit for all manner of emergencies. Made from stainless steel and with double-wall vacuum insulation, it keeps water icy cold for up to 24 hours and hot drinks piping for 12.
The Hydro Flask Lightweight Trail comes in topaz and obsidian, a sleek bronze colour (my obsidian flask was kindly gifted). And if your mum is more of a pastel kind of person, check out Hydro Flask’s sunny spring collection, with standard flasks, tumblers, coffee cups and even wine bottles to choose from (well, we did say it’s been that kind of winter!).
Zippo Heatbank® powerbank and handwarmer
If you use navigation or geocaching apps on long hikes or, like me, take zillions of photos, your phone battery can plummet. I love my Zippo Heatbank, which gives up to nine hours of battery life AND warms my hands! Compatible with phones, tablets, cameras and Mp3 players, it fits easily into pockets and recharges your device as you go, as well as giving reliable warmth for up to six hours.
I was kindly gifted the HeatBank® 6, which is available in silver and a shimmery green. The HeatBank® 3 is an earlier model and a real bargain at £29.99, while the sleek 9s version, priced at £44.95, comes in black, silver or champagne and has six heat settings. It’s been a welcome companion on my lockdown winter walks and enabled a virtual walk with a friend in another part of Wales, boosting my phone battery while we chatted for an hour in near-freezing temperatures, both walking our own local routes.
Already rising in popularity pre-lockdown, open water swimming was one of the activities of 2020 and no wonder, with its calming sense of freedom and the immune-boosting benefits of cold water immersion. I’m something of a May to September outdoor swimmer, happy to dip in the sea in my ‘bathers’, as we call them in the Valleys, but my fellow OS Champs Bee Leask and Laura Owen Sanderson have all the gear and plenty of ideas for mums wanting year-round protection from the elements.
Bee, whose Scotland outdoor adventures are shared at BumbleBambi.com, loves Orca wetsuits for her half iron(wo)man exploits and also favours an Alpkit Silvertip thermal wetsuit for those chilly Scottish lochs. Laura co-runs the amazing non-profit We Swim Wild, protecting wild waters through adventure and education, and also recommends Orca. “This is the one I used on my Source to Sea National Park Challenge,” she said. “It has a chip in the sleeve so you can store health records and emergency contacts, while the base-cost ones are also pretty good.”
When swimming outdoors, don’t underestimate the cold temperature of water, even on a hot day. Read this guide by the RNLI to understand the very real risks of cold water shock and never jump straight into open water, instead walking in gradually and adjusting to the temperature as you go.
Dry Bag Backpack
Again for lovers of outdoor swimming and canoeing (or simply anyone who hikes in Wales), this Dry Bag Backpack from EpicTraveller is darn handy. Admittedly it’s not the prettiest gift for mums who love a bit of sparkle but, as someone whose favourite Mothers’ Day present to date was my drill, I sure do love its practicality! Fully waterproof, sturdy and durable, it has shoulder, hip and chest straps for weight distribution and a handy mesh bottle pouch. And, with a capacity of 28L, it’s ideal for longer day hikes or those mum moments where you end up carrying ALL the bathers and towels.
The Dry Bag Backpack is currently nearly half its usual price at a fantastic £20, leaving you enough cash spare to check out some of this lovely brand’s other travel accessories. After last year’s washout, I’ve optimistically booked our 2021 summer holiday – it’s in the UK, admittedly, but the thought of simply leaving the Rhondda is keeping this mum going for now!
1000 Mile Socks
A bracing 13-mile hike from home was marred last month by blisters striking around 10 miles in. My boots are a year old and well worn, so I suspect a switch in sock brands was to blame. Thankfully, I always carry blister plasters in my first aid kit (a good tip, there!) and, even better, these 1000 Mile Socks arrived in the post a few days later.
Available in three or two-season versions for all kinds of weather, they have padded toe and heel panels, combined with a flat toe seam, to give a comfortable fit and reduce friction. The new arrivals are the latest in a long line of 1000 Mile Socks that I’ve tried and tested over many years and, after a brief flirt with that other brand, I’m sticking with them from here on. They have upper venting to allow your feet to breathe, are super soft, come in happy colours and, at just £16.99 for a twin pack, are a real bargain!
About those flowers. We all love to receive them and they look pretty in a vase for a week or so, but I’ve always preferred to be given a shrub for the garden (our last house move included a number of trans’plants’, quite literally, as I couldn’t bear to leave my favourite garden gifts behind). Another lovely and lasting idea comes from Treedom, a company on a mission to make the world greener, tree by tree. You can plant and gift a tree remotely in your mum’s name and then follow its story online, tracking its growth as well as how much CO2 it absorbs!
Providing farmers in 17 countries with an income, food security and all-important sustainability, Treedom offers options such as planting a cacao tree in Cameroon or a mango tree in Kenya – all from just €14.90.
Suunto 7 GPS smartwatch
If you can afford a truly luxury Mothers’ Day gift, the Suunto 7 GPS smartwatch is one to be treasured. The watch uses Google’s Wear OS technology and comes with dozens of features including over 70 sports modes, offline maps and water resistance to 50m. It’s compatible with Android and iOS phones and, with a sandstone strap and beautiful rose gold trim, doesn’t look out of place with workwear on those increasingly rare days I leave my home study for the office.
The Suunto 7 has kindly been loaned to me and I’m looking forward to testing and reviewing it in the coming weeks. Currently on offer at £339, it’s not a budget option but certainly a worthy investment if you have the means to spoil your sporty mum.
The Great British Travel Journal
Every adventure starts here… and every mum needs one of these! Whether your mum loves a stroll in the park or is planning future adventures on far-flung peaks, the Ordnance Survey Great British Travel Journal is the place to record routes, trips, and inspirational ideas. The first pages cover outdoor safety – particularly pertinent for solo adventuresses – including equipment, skills, and information on rights of way and the Countryside Code. And the rest are blank, waiting for your mum to write her own story!
My travel journal is filling up rapidly with long lists of all the places I plan to visit just as soon as lockdown lifts, plus, of course, all the outdoor blogs I plan to pen! The journal has been printed using recycled material and is also recyclable… although I suspect, when complete, mine will be far too treasured to put anywhere near the recycling pile. The journal is currently reduced from £14.99 to £11.24, so hurry!
Map and mug
Also from the Ordnance Survey shop comes a lovely range of personalised gifts and maps. To celebrate Mothers’ Day, OS is giving away a map of your choice and the must-have orange enamel mug to one lucky reader of this blog! All you have to do is mention your mum (first name only) below or on my Instagram, Facebook or Twitter feeds. The winning mum can then enjoy her morning brew outside whilst browsing a custom-made OS map with her photo on the cover, or perhaps one of ST&G’s ‘Great British’ maps focusing on her favourite pastime. The choice is hers!
Please see competition rules below
* I was joking about forgetting the chocolates. If you’re reading this and you’re, oh, say 17 and 15, definitely don’t forget the chocolates. Unless you’ve already bought me the Suunato 7 watch, in which case I’ll let you off.
The legal bit:
- Competition closes at 6pm on Tuesday, March 9 2021.
- All entries on this blog, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will be put into my favourite walking hat and the winner chosen at random. The winner’s name and town will be posted on my social media.
- No correspondence will be entered into, prizes are as stated, are not transferable and there is no cash alternative.
- The winner will be notified shortly after the competition closing date.
- I cannot guarantee that the prize will reach your mum by Sunday, March 14.
- I comply with Data Protection and GDPR regulations and will not pass on your details to any third party other than to Ordnance Survey. These details will be used only to post the prize to you, and not for any other purpose.
- Competitions are open to readers based in the UK.
- Competitors via Twitter must follow the guidelines laid out in the initial tweet with regards to entry rules.
- Competitors via Facebook must follow the guidelines laid out in the initial post with regards to entry rules.
- Competitors via Instagram must follow the guidelines laid out in the initial post with regards to entry rules.