One of the most useful Christmas presents Jack and I ever got was from my brother who one year bought us each a Leki walking stick and a plastic water flask. Over the years we have used those sticks relentlessly so that they’re now battered and worn, and that flask accompanied us on a pre-dawn ascent of Mount Teide. Whenever we use these things, we think of John.
As the annual festive consumerism approaches, I thought it might be useful to give an idea of the sorts of things that would make great Christmas presents for anyone you know who’s planning on coming to Tenerife to enjoy some walking in 2016. It’s also an excuse to shamelessly plug our new guide.
If they don’t already have them, walking/trekking poles are a good buy for anyone coming out to Tenerife. With endless ascents and descents, there’s no doubt that having walking poles helps to cover the kilometres and makes the whole trail more comfortable. If the person you’re buying for already has one pole, two are definitely better. A good rucksack is an essential for anyone walking or hiking on Tenerife and it doubles as hand luggage on budget flights. Look for one that’s lightweight yet sturdy with plenty of adjustment scope in the straps so it can sit high on the back. It should also have side pockets for water flasks and a detachable rainproof cover.
Regardless of the time of year, not having adequate water supplies when walking on Tenerife is not just inadvisable, it’s potentially dangerous. Buying plastic bottles of water is ecologically unsound so walkers will benefit from having flasks. They help to keep the water cool too so that it’s not fit to take a tea bag by the time you’re reaching the latter stages of a long walk. Look for something light, with good capacity and easy to clean.
One of the great joys of walking on Tenerife is the sheer variety of terrain that you encounter, from volcanic crater to coastal palm groves with scented pine forests in between. But walking at altitude can be cool so it’s sensible to dress in layers. A good, lightweight fleece would make a great Christmas present for someone, as indeed would some lightweight waterproofs as there’s always a chance you could encounter rain during the winter months.
With Tenerife’s long sunshine hours, it’s worth thinking about getting a solar charger for the gadget guy in your life so smart phones and tablets can be recharged on the go. If you’re looking to push the spending boat out, a GPS device is an excellent investment. Even if someone doesn’t use it as a tracking device (we personally prefer to use route descriptors rather than GPS readings) it does give precise distance measurement which enables walkers to keep accurate pace with directions.
Now for the shameless plug…Last, but by no means least, an ideal Christmas present for anyone coming to Tenerife in 2016 would be a copy of Walk This Way Tenerife, a comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about self-guided walking on Tenerife. Packed to its covers with advice and information about where to stay for access to the best walking (including hotel recommendations); what sort of footwear you should bring; the sort of terrain you’ll encounter across the island; weather; flora; where to find toilets and where to unlace the boots for post-hike refreshment, it includes detailed directions to 34 fabulous routes of varying length and difficulty from coastal strolls to mountain hikes. There are also quick look-up tables to help you find the right routes for you by length, location, difficulty, family favourites and whether or not they’re suitable for vertigo sufferers.