The Dirtbag’s Valentine’s Day Gift Giving Guide

Valentine’s Day’s right around the corner and last week I was imagining if I had a girlfriend, what would I get her? Taking her out to dinner on Valentine’s Day’s too cliche. She’d want some sort of gear, no doubt about it, or maybe I’m delusional.The Dirtbag's Valentine's Day Gift Giving Guide

I mean come on, what girl wouldn’t want an ice axe, climbing helmet, trad rack, backcountry cook set, avalanche beacon…with a shovel, sleeping pad, or some other piece of gear that makes my heart start racing when I think about it. Not because of the hefty price, but because that means we can go on new adventures and explore more places together.

While I think giving a girl gear on Valentine’s Day would be a way of saying look at all the memories we get to make together, I guess I could see her thinking, or saying, it’s a little unromantic. Not to mention that it’d probably make her parents worry that I didn’t know how to properly “protect” and care for their little girl.

Google’s of no help either. I searched a couple G rated phrases and was surprised when retailers tried to convince me that every woman out there wants sexy lingerie, and shall we say sex items, for Valentine’s Day. Is this seriously what we’ve come to? A society where Valentine’s Day = sex. All of a sudden I bet that outdoor gear’s sounding more romantic and thoughtful than hey I got you this to put on to then take off within a couple minutes because you know…Valentine’s Day.

Finally I threw the question out to social media, asking the ladies about their favorite Valentine’s Day gift they’ve gotten. Responses trickled in and some of them were pretty simple and neat like: a bouquet of flowers accented with Black Diamond Stoppers and another was a burrito from her favorite burrito joint in Hueco Tanks after a long day of climbing. Then stories of travel and adventure came in: snowboarding in 14 inches of fresh powder, a surprise hike followed by a picnic in the snow, and even an engagement in Paris.

I guess Valentine’s Day gift giving isn’t as easy as it used to be in elementary school where a piece of candy affixed to an NBA Valentine’s card was totally acceptable and to my dismay, no one’s published a gift guide that lays out what’s customary for your relationship. Since there’s no gift guide because every relationship is different and special in its own way, why wouldn’t it be acceptable for me to give a girl some sort of gear?

You might give me a weird look and tell me she’s going to dump me because I decided to get her a bike rack to mount to the roof racks on her car, but deep down I’ll know she’d love it because one of our ideal dates is a day riding our mountain bikes on single track. Then again I’d probably give you a weird look if you told me you bought your significant other an expensive piece of jewelry that’s probably worth more than my car, but deep down you can’t wait to see the sparkle in her eye as she puts it on and the two of you head out to dinner.

Every relationship has their norm’s and I think that makes each relationship unique and beautiful in its own way. It’s like what my friend Jeff said:

Do what you love…and the love will follow

Bottom line–I can’t wait to give a girl some sort of gear for Valentine’s Day, her birthday, Christmas, heck or just because it’s Wednesday. Come to think of it, I’ve heard girls mention they love getting a handwritten note and flowers…

Happy Valentine’s Day…or Singles Awareness Day!

Pin It

Random Acts of Chivalry for the Adventure Couple

Dating in the city’s pretty easy right? I mean modern day chivalry has been ingrained into guys brains, at least it should have been, since we’ve contemplated the idea of dating when we were a pre-teen: hold the door for your date, open her car door, walk her to the door, never let her pay on the first date (or first few dates) even if she insists, always brings a jacket so you can give it to her if she gets cold, etc. On top of that, there’s tons of websites out there that reminds us guys of the chivalry code, if we’ve been out of the dating scene for a bit.

Chivalry couple in the outdoors under the stars

Photo: Kat Dierickx

For an adventure couple, I feel like the lines get blurred a little for the guy in the relationship. I mean there aren’t really any doors to hold open in the outdoors, no drinks to buy, and she doesn’t need another jacket on top of that puffy jacket with a hood she’s wearing. We have to get a little creative when it comes to chivalry in the outdoors and I think these are the things guys should always do for their lady on an outdoorsy adventure date.

Act Like a Camel

Water is one of the heaviest things in a pack. Pack the majority of water in your pack, so her pack’s a tad lighter, and she’s more comfortable hiking on the trail. Don’t even offer, pack the majority of the water in your pack.

Give Up Some Waves

One of the biggest rules in surfing is priority. It’s the unspoken rule that whoever’s closest to the peak of the wave has dibbs and everyone else had better back off. When the best set wave rolls through and the both of you are paddling for the wave, back off and let her take the wave. The compliment her on her style.

This should only be done once or twice a session, I mean you need to nab some waves.

Follow Her Tracks

Laying tracks through fresh powder’s invigorating for the soul, at least that’s what I’ve been told, but let her have that joy of leading. In theory, you’re the one leading the relationship, this her chance to carve out your relationship.

Break the Wind

Ew–not like that! I meant when you go on a bike ride to your favorite coffee shop or spend 50 miles in the saddle on a cool Saturday morning, take the lead. Let her hook onto the back wheel of your bike and catch your draft, so she gets to work 15%-30% less than you. Whatever you do, don’t call her a wheel sucker.

Pack Mule

It’s customary for one person to take the rope and the other takes the rack for a day of climbing. Pack the rope in your pack along with half the rack, to lighten her load. Once you get to the crag, offer to be the rope gun and set the route, unless she loves getting on the sharp end. In that case, you’ve found your belay partner for life and you better not do anything to lose her!Belay partners

Photo: Kat Dierickx

Domestic Camp god

After a day of lugging everything you need to live on your back, the both of you just want camp to be set up and dinner to cook itself. Do just that, set up camp, get dinner ready for the both of you, and do the dishes. She’ll really appreciate and I’ve been told there’s nothing sexier than a man who cooks and does the dishes.Gentleman showing chivalry by a campfire

Photo: Kat Dierickx

The next morning, get up quietly before her, get the fire going and have a warm cup of coffee ready for her to hold and warm up her cold hands.

Let Her Set the Pace and Distance

Show her how fast and far you run on your Strava app. and instead of leaving her in the dust and panting, let her choose how fast you two run together and which distance. Then again, it’s pretty hot when she talks down her speed and leaves you panting in her dust.Night sky in the snow

Photo: Kat Dierickx

I think for most guys, we want to show our special lady that chivalry’s not dead and that there’s still good guys out there. Showing chivalry in the outdoors can be a challenge, but I think it’s a challenge worth taking.

Guys: How do you show a girl chivalry’s not dead on an outdoors date?

Ladies: How’s a guy show you a random act(s) of chivalry on an outdoors date?

Pin It