It may seem early to be thinking about the holidays, but in reality they are only about two months away. So I thought I would help you jump start your gift buying by letting you know about two items I found useful this year.

During the middle of the summer, I was updating one of travel books, which meant I was not only participating in outdoor activities, but I was also meeting with tourism officials and having lunches and dinners at some pretty swanky places. Just a couple of pairs of Ex Officio (www.exofficio.com; 800-644-7303) BugaAway Ziwa pants were all I needed. With SPF 30 and Insect Shield (lasts through 70 washings) that repelled biting bugs, I was comfortable hiking, kayaking, and even horseback riding. Yet, being lightweight, wrinkle resistant nylon, I could rinse them out, put them in the sun for an hour or so, and they’d ready to go when I headed out for an evening engagement. A bit pricey at $90 a pair, but worth it when I think of the ease of care and the multiple tasks they did for me.

Here’s a neat stocking stuffer gift that is actually small enough to fit in the stocking: I discovered Rite in the Rain (www.riteintherain.com; 235-922-5000) All-Weather Writing Paper several years ago while doing field research to update one of my hiking guides. I had to walk each day to keep up with my schedule, but frequent spring storms made it just about impossible to take notes on soaking wet paper. Rite in the Rain came to the rescue and salvaged the venture. Although a regular pencil works on the coated paper, I preferred the All-Weather Pen that writes upside down in temperatures from -50F to 400F (I hope to never have to test either of its extreme limits!). This year the pen and paper enabled me to update another hiking guide; this time I was in the southern Appalachians where yearly precipitation can be 80-100 inches, so carrying the Rite in Rain products was a no brainer.

The bound books or spiral notepads that start about $4.00 in price come in different sizes from small 3”X5” notebooks to full sized journals measuring 8½”X11” and have various themes and line patterns. The full sized-pens cost about $12.00, although I have found them for less, both at outfitters and on the internet.