Eleven great gifts for Western landowners this holiday season
Looking for the perfect gift for the land steward in your life this holiday season? The staff of Western Landowners Alliance, a growing group replete with ranchers, shepherds, farmers, hunters, guides, biologists, photographers and more, helped On Land compile this list of our top picks for gifts that are both practical and memorable. Just like westerners. We skewed toward the handmade in the West.
- Duckworth Powder Hoody
WLA’s working wild challenge coordinator Matt Collins, former range rider and backcountry guide, and all-around mountain man, has yet to be spotted from October to May wearing anything else. All Duckworth products are made of Montana-raised merino wool, and handmade in the USA. “It’s the warmest, softest, most durable hoody I’ve ever owned, and it’s a regular reminder of how important working lands and creative and passionate ranchers are to the landscape of the West,” says Collins.
- Range Revolution Journal Cover
Keep up to a 4.7” x 8” notebook safe and handy with this beautifully constructed and supple leather bifold, whether you’re noting range condition from horseback, jotting down business ideas at the local coffee shop, or composing cowboy poetry on a lonesome mountainside. All Range Revolution products are made of ecological outcome verified regenerative, vegetable-tanned full-grain leather from American ranches. More than 5 million cattle hides are currently thrown away each year from American ranches, and Range Revolution, founded by the indomitable Cate Havstad-Casad, is working to rebuild the American livestock system to eliminate that waste. Erik Kalsta, Working Wild Challenge program director and Big Hole rancher, recommends keeping a Rite-in-the-Rain notebook and a Fisher space pen tucked inside.
- Browning Game Camera (SpecOps Edge, model BTC-8E)
These cameras are our team’s go-to recommendation for those looking to determine who and what is making its way across their land, day or night. By taking high-quality still images, HD video, and decent nighttime images using an invisible infrared flash, plus audio recording and customizable trigger intervals, this camera has all the features you need at a reasonable price tag ($119 at B&H Photo Video). Pro-tips from our game camera power users in Montana: use lithium rather than standard alkaline AA batteries and at least a 32 gb SanDisk Extreme memory card. They work best at extreme temperatures.
- ORORO heated vest
Oregon outreach coordinator Ellie Gage reports that while this vest may seem like cheating, you won’t care when it is saving your butt on cold days. “My husband bought it for himself for his birthday and he has not taken it off since,” she says. A removable, rechargeable lithium-ion battery heats the vest for 3 hours on high, 6 hours on medium or 10 hours on low. Charge it using a USB cord overnight, and you’re ready for morning chores before dawn the next day. Ororo also makes heated jackets, gloves, scarves and more.
- Handcrafted silver jewelry
Western jewelry is distinctive: if there is a special person in your life who loves this look, then finding something bespoke and handmade will be sure to light her up. Take a look, for instance, at Salmon, Idaho, silversmith Mary Cerise’s shop, Hanging Moon Silver Company. She and her husband run a cattle ranch, raise hogs, goats and chickens, and have three teenage daughters. Her beautiful, wearable jewelry is designed with the busy and physically-demanding life of a rancher/mother/do-everything-er in mind. Everything in her shop is handmade to be handed down.
- Botanically dyed scarf from Rusty Sagebrush
A light scarf, silk or cotton, is a standard piece of cowboy and cowgirl equipment for a reason: it keeps the sun off your neck and the dust out of your nose, mouth and even eyes in a pinch. The ones that Kate Mannix makes for her brand Rusty Sagebrush beat the daylights out of those cheap paisley made-in-China types from the five and dime. “I hand dye all of my fibers using plant and insect dyes here on the ranch,” Kate says. “The botanical colors reflect the vibrancy of the natural world, and best of all, they don’t involve chemicals or toxic waste.” If you’re in Montana, meet Kate in person at both the Missoula and Helena handmade holiday markets in December. If not, she promises she’ll have updated inventory on her website by mid-month.
- Red Ants Pants Festival Tickets
Give the music lover in your life a one-of-a-kind experience with tickets to the Red Ants Pants Music Festival in White Sulphur Springs, Montana. (We recommend the Early Bird Weekend Pass for the most fun and best value.) Called “the Montana Event of the Year,” the 2024 festival will be held July 25-28. While the line up won’t be announced until April 6, the Festival has a history of drawing amazing talent to their stages: previous years’ lineups have included Shakey Graves, Mipso, Tanya Tucker, Colter Wall and Valerie June. Even better, the event provides funds for community grants, skills workshops and leadership programs.
- Original Work Pants
Before there was a Red Ants Pants Festival, there were Red Ants Pants. Specifically, the Original Work Pants—made to fit (women) and made to last! Using 12 ounce cotton canvas duck, they soften after just a few washes. With ample pockets and reinforced front legs and seat, they will quickly become a your go-to work pants.
This gorgeous custom-published coffee table book features the evocative photographs of longtime On Land contributor Sally Thomson (she had the cover photo in Volume 4), and the spare and powerful words of Bob Budd, Nancy Ranney and Tony Malmberg. On Land’s review notes, “By illustrating the people and the landscapes of the range in the true soil tones of the land, Thomson depicts the literal and figurative grit she has witnessed in her forays across the West.” Editor-in-chief Louis Wertz bought a signed copy to give to his parents when he ran into Thomson at a conference last month: if you appreciate On Land, you’ll love giving Homeground.
Warm, beautiful, classy and all natural: sheepskins make any living space cozier and more, well, Western. And the best part – buying sheepskins direct from sheep ranchers in the West has never been easier and is a great way to sustain rare sheep breeds. One of WLA’s newest staff members, Alex Karol, is a shepherd, a prize-winning shearer, and the co-owner of Outlaw Valley Ranch in California. He and his wife Kelsey raise unique heritage Navajo-Churro sheep, which have a notoriously long staple wool and a wide variety of coloring, making their sheepskins especially luxurious.
- The Razer Grazer from Range Ward
All the cattle grazers out there, you’ve jerry-rigged enough side-by-sides and pounded enough posts to know that a well-made and durable solution to interior electric fencing is almost certainly worth it. If you’re in the habit of giving one big gift to the ranch each holiday season, consider the Razer Grazer from Range Ward this year. For nearly ten years this slick setup was only available in Canada, but since 2022 it has been manufactured in Texas for US distribution. It has everything you need to efficiently set up and move portable electric fencing for your AMP, mob, Savory, regenerative, managed, multi-paddock or whatever you call it, grazing practice.