December 11, 2014

What We're Giving (Shh!)


Just a few of the gifts we're giving this year, TOM BIHN or otherwise. And if you'll be ordering gifts soon in the hopes of receiving them by or on December 24th, we recommend consulting the holiday shipping guide of the company from which you're ordering. If that's TOM BIHN, you have until Tuesday, December 16th to select UPS Ground for December 24th delivery. (Here's our full Holiday Shipping Schedule.)

Backcountry Espresso
Maybe it's a Seattle thing, but more than a few folks we know insist on bringing good coffee into the backcountry with them. There are lots of ways to brew deep in the wilderness (as outlined in this Washington Trails Association article) but this is one of our favorites: the 1 Cup Stainless Mini Expresso by GSI Outdoors.

And while we're on the subject of coffee . . .
Shade Grown Coffee
Tom recently read The Silence of the Songbirds and came away with lots of things we can all do to help the plight of migratory songbirds. One really easy thing is to buy and drink shade grown coffee. Look for it at your local natural food store, or check out Audubon Coffee and Birds & Beans. Costco sells Ruta Maya® as well. No excuses - the birds need us!
(Spoiler alert: this is what Tom is giving friends and family this year.)

Shop Bags
We have yet to meet anyone who couldn't use a Shop Bag. And when you gift one, you'll hear: "Wow, the handles are padded?!" and "I can turn it inside out and fit even more in the bag?!".

Bluebird Grain Farms
For the person in your life who loves food and cares about where it came from. BlueBird Grain Farms is a plow-to-package grain farm in Washington State. They specialize in heirloom grains—grains most of us haven't heard of, like farro, emmer, and einka. Whole grains are available for purchase, as are milled-to-order flours. There's even a grains CSA. Tom's favorite is their white whole wheat—he says it's "flour that wants to be bread".

These make our gift list every year. We hike. We hike rather a lot, and in all weather conditions. Kahtoola Microspikes offer the best traction of any similar products we've tried. They offer amazing grip on winter trails; they are durable, portable and easy to take on and off. Buy a few extra and keep them around for friends.

The Parental Unit Diaper Bag
It seems like all of us know at least one family that's expecting. The Parental Unit, the latest (and we and others think greatest) diaper bag might be just the perfect gift.

A favorite on our Forums and of Tom himself, Ibex makes wonderfully tailored high quality wool clothing, much of it Made in USA.

Speaking of fine wool clothing, here's one brand you probably haven't heard of: Bemidji Woolen Mills. Based in Bemidji, Minnesota, they make some of the highest quality wool clothing we've ever seen. A favorite: the Heavy Weight Hunter Shirt.

Faribault Woolen Mills
Everyone knows Pendleton wool blankets as a classic gift; there's also Faribault Woolen Mills. We'll admit we're collectors of their vintage designs; you'll often see them in the background of our photos for TOM BIHN and Skookum Dog. Their current offerings are more contemporary, but just as nicely made. And warm.

Skookum Dog Camp Mat
Of all the Skookum Dog gifts we give, we get the most thank-yous for the Camp Mat and Bungee Leash. The Camp Mat, in particular, is appreciated for its versatility: our friends and their dogs use it in the back of the car, at the office, and even take it backpacking.

Gifts to Serve as Reasons To Go
You know that friend of yours who has been talking about going on a backpacking trip for the first time in like, forever? Get them a Snowpeak Double Mug and tell them: "This is your reason to go. Every time you look at this mug it's a reminder to plan that trip and go for it." Or, how about the cousin who dreams of visiting Dublin and the Irish countryside, but never feels like they can make the time to go? Get them an Aeronaut 45 and include a card that says: "There's no time to lose: this is your dream. And I want this to be your reason to go. Make this the trip of a lifetime! All you need to do is pack."

Books we're giving this year (and buying from our local bookstore):
Animal Weapons: The Evolution of Battle by Douglas J. Emlen
(awesome for the naturalist in your life)
American Prometheus
(Tom's favorite read this year)
Young Men and Fire by Norman McClean
(for the adventurer and historian, young or old)
Ascendence by Tom's friend Tim McNulty
(for the poet or seeker of quiet)
Braids, Buns, and Twists
(for the aspiring stylist)
The Happiness of Pursuit
(for the inspired realist)

And whether we actually use them or simply gaze at the photos, cookbooks are always fun to have around. Two of our favorites to give this year:

Cooking Slow: Recipes for Slowing Down and Cooking More by Andrew Schloss
All about slowing down and taking the time to cook. After years of cookbooks about quick breads and 15 minute recipes, this one is a delight. Especially great for meat lovers. (Vegetarians and vegans: try the Molten Cauliflower recipe, vegans subbing non-dairy alternatives to milk and butter. So good.) Beautiful photography.

The Oh She Glows Cookbook: Over 100 Vegan Recipes To Glow from the Inside Out by Angela Liddon
Vegan, with many gluten-free recipes. It's a good mix of decadent, rich recipes to indulge in and then healthy detox-inspired recipes to recover with. Bonus points if you buy this as a gift and deliver it with a batch of Liddon's Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies.

E-Gifts and Last Minute Gifts

Charitable Giving
There's so many worthy causes and wonderful organizations to give to that help children, fight poverty, save the environment, or protect animals. And Charity Navigator can be a great resource to guide you to organizations that are champions of specific causes.

Etsy Gift Cards
We love Etsy around here. There's so many incredibly talented folks in this world who make things—and we love being able to support that by buying their work. And the recipient of an Etsy gift card will be able to choose from such a wide variety of cool stuff: clothing, food, paintings, sculptures, knitted crafts, jewelry... the list goes on and on.

TOM BIHN Gift Certificate
There's so many options when it comes to selecting a TOM BIHN bag for your friend or family member: briefcase, backpack, tote? And what about color? And organizational accessories? If you're unsure, or you know the recipient would rather choose for themselves, consider one of our gift certificates. Worth noting: TOM BIHN Gift Certificates can be ordered 24/7, 365 days a year with instant email delivery to your recipient.

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We're the TOM BIHN crew: we design bags, make bags, ship bags, and answer questions about bags. Oh, and we collaborate on blog posts, too.