The Best National Parks Products to Celebrate the Service’s Centennial
You go to the national parks for the experience, of course. But it would be almost un-American to leave without a product of some sort. Naturally, nearly every location in the park system has a gift shop or five full of stuff you can buy to remember your visit: hand-carved bear statues at Great Smoky Mountains, turquoise at Grand Canyon, coffee mugs and key chains everywhere. Go ahead, buy one of those tchotchkes when you’re at your park. It’s part of the experience. But there are also many other great brands and individuals turning out unique and inspired parks-related art, souvenirs, and memorabilia. Some have been at it for a while; others are doing special editions of product lines timed to this centennial year. From blankets and pillows to postcards and posters, here are some of our favorites.
Pendleton National Parks Blankets
The single brand most associated with the park system is the venerable Portland, Oregon–based garment maker Pendleton, which has been designing national-parks-themed products since 1916, when it created a blanket for the lodges at Montana’s Glacier National Park. Now it has an entire National Park Collection that includes luggage, apparel, candles, dog leashes, and more sporting unique patterns for 10 of the most popular parks. And you can still get the original Glacier blanket—it’s a truly timeless classic. pendleton-usa.com; from $199.
Orvis National Parks Atlases
These handsome leather-bound editions offer detailed maps and tons of information about the country’s parks, forests, and other historic places. You can even customize the cover with your initials. orvis.com; $59.
Catstudio Hand-Embroidered National Parks Pillows
This northern California company known for its whimsical, travel-related designs offers a geography collection, which includes products related to seven national parks, from Acadia to Yellowstone. There are glasses and dish towels, but the most impressive items are the pillows, each of which is entirely hand-embroidered and takes more than 40 hours to complete. catstudio.com; $168.
Anderson Design Group National Parks Prints
The artists at this Nashville-based design firm spent five years developing the beautiful prints representing each of the 59 national parks. You’ll find multiple sizes and framing options available. Pick your favorite artist and start a collection. andersondesigngroupstore.com; from $39.
SmartWool National Parks Socks
If you’re familiar with the posters the National Park Service commissioned from Charley Harper in the 1980s and 90s, you’ll instantly recognize the design of these socks. Each pair features an iconic Harper graphic and comes in no-stink, breathable merino wool, making them a perfect choice to wear while visiting a national park. smartwool.com; from $15.95.
National Parks Patches
Boy Scouts and punk rockers aren’t the only ones who get to wear patches. Travelers have long used them to brag about where they’ve been. Make sure to pick one up after every park you visit—the park service offers hundreds of options. eparks.com; from $4.95.
Ranger Doug’s Enterprises National Parks Postcards and Posters
Doug Leen, the man behind Seattle-based Ranger Doug’s Enterprises, spent years tracking down the original designs for 12 of the 14 National Parks posters created by artists of the Works Progress Administration. Now, you can collect the historic images as well as the company’s own contemporary designs, which mimic the WPA style of the 1930s. rangerdoug.com; from $9.95.
Midnight Jo National Parks Coin Rings
Choose from any of the images that appear on the America the Beautiful quarters, produced by the United States Mint since 2010 to pay tribute to national parks and other national sites, and this Golden, Colorado-based jeweler will use it to create a custom ring. Each is made from circulated coins, so a few nicks or scratches are to be expected. midnightjo.com; $24.
UV Buff National Parks Hats
The tubular headwear product known as a Buff can be worn in many different ways—including as a cap, a neck gaiter, a hair tie, or a sweatband—making it an especially valuable outdoors accessory. Appropriately enough, this year the company has designed national-parks-themed Buffs, with options including the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, and more. buffusa.com; $25.
National Park Forever Stamps
In celebration of the NPS centennial, the United States Postal Service is creating 16 new Forever stamps. Each stamp features iconic national parks like Arches, Glacier Bay, and Acadia. They will make their debut at the World Stamp Show and will begin circulating in June. usps.com; $7.52 for a set of 16.
The National Parks Coloring Book
Adult coloring books have a hot trend and they’re great to pack in your carry-on. This one, by Sophie Tivona, features some of the most iconic landscapes as well as native plants and animals from all 59 national parks. harpercollins.com; $14.99.
Airstream Pendelton Limited Edition RV
This limited-edition Airstream, designed in partnership with Pendleton, is intended to celebrate the pleasures of a national parks road trip. It sleeps up to six people, has an interior featuring a map of Yellowstone, and is fully stocked with products from Pendleton’s National Parks collection. Only 100 were built, so snag yours and hit the road before it’s too late. airstream.com; from $114,600.