Thinking of the perfect gift can be a tough task during the holiday season. We surveyed our James RiverRat volunteers for their top gifts for river lovers this winter, and here are a few of their foolproof items, RiverRat style.

1. Richmond Outside Pint Glasses and Posters

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  • Coming in at #1 is the legendary James River Art Series from Richmond Outside. You can buy limited edition fine art quality prints signed by the artist, posters, pint glasses, note cards or t-shirts. The coolest part: a portion of the proceeds goes to support the James River Association and our work protecting America’s Founding River!
  • Visit their online shop to get yours!

2. Water bottle

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  • Promote conservation with a reusable water bottle.
  • The production of plastic uses around 8% of the world’s oil production.
  • Americans throw away 35 billion plastic water bottles every year
  • It takes 500-1,000 years for plastic to degrade.

3. Dry Bag

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  • Dry bags typically come in as one of the top recommended gifts for a new river lover.
  • Whether you’re hiking, biking, or paddling, keeping your gear safe and dry is more than a luxury—it’s a necessity. It is important to protect your electronics and warm clothes in case you get wet.
  • There are dozens of options, but this is a product for which it is worth spending a bit more.

4. Personal Flotation Device

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  • Although a basic orange rescue vest will do the trick, some accouterments on advanced Personal Flotation Devices can make river adventuring that much more comfortable. There are dozens of options, but we recommend trying them on in person to fit your body type.
  • Head to Appomattox River Company to find yours! (Gift cards work too!)

5. Marine Radio

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6. Wool socks

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  • Nothing is better than a fresh pair of “sacred socks” after a long day adventuring. Wool insulates even when wet. No cotton when it’s cold!

7. Glassbaby hand-blown candle votive

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  • 10% from the sale of each ‘Chesapeake’ will be donated to Waterkeepers Chesapeake to support the restoration and protection of Chesapeake Bay.

8. Support local river businesses!

  • Riverside Outfitters (Richmond) – Riverside Outfitter’s mission is to significantly and responsibly increase recreational use of Richmond’s natural landscape by guiding outdoor experiences and inspiring a return to natural fun.
  • James River Runners (Scottsville) – James River Runners was started in 1979 by Jeff and Christie Schmick and continues the tradition of offering the self-proclaimed best float on the James River!
  • Rivanna River Company (Charlottesville) – Rivanna River Company started in 2015 as Charlottesville’s first paddlesports outfitting service. They started the company to share our love of playing in the outdoors and to help connect Charlottesville with its beautiful river. They are dedicated to making adventures on the water inviting and accessible to people from all backgrounds.
  • Twin River Outfitters (Buchanan) – Twin River Outfitters rents canoes, kayaks, rafts, and river tubes and runs trips on the Upper James, Cowpasture, Jackson, and the Maury Rivers. They offer their customers fun and safe river trips that range from lazy river to whitewater paddling experiences with true mountain views.

9. The James River