Christmas is the season for giving. It is also the season for lots of really good competitions for outdoor clothing and equipment. Just as the shops put out their Christmas wears come December, so a range of shops, magazines and forums put on generous competitions for the sorts of goodies that outdoor enthusiasts would love to have in their Christmas stockings. It’s a fairly blatant attempt to boast sales during a peak buying period, but I don’t care, as I like entering competitions so much. Here is my run-down of the competitions I will be entering religiously over the next couple of weeks.
Advent calendar competitions
This is nice idea – online advent calendars with a new, one-day only competition to enter behind each virtual door.
The best such competition is run by the Outdoor Magic forum. This involves 24, often quite expensive, prizes over as many days. The prizes in the competitions are varied and so far this year have included an Elliott Brown watch, a Rab down jacket and a personalised OS map.
The advent calendar competition run by the shop Ellis Brigham is less generous but still includes some really good prizes. Competitions are only run on some of the days in December, with a few of the windows having nothing behind them but an advert. On those days it’s a bit like opening your advent calendar window and finding that someone has already eaten the chocolate and left you a note telling you where you can buy another one.
Climbing equipment DMM also runs an advent calendar competition. The prizes being some of their great equipment they make, such as nuts, an ice axe and quickdraws. If you share the link to a competition after you’ve entered it, you get an extra entry into the competition for each friend who enters from your referral.
Lastly, the Hathersage based Outside shop has an advent calendar competition in which the prizes have so far included a guidebook, hat, headtorch and rucksack.
The disadvantage of these competitions is that if you don’t know about them on the 1st December, then you may miss out on entering some of the competitions. I admit that I haven’t helped in this because I’m not posting this on 1st December. Sorry, but I’ve been busy.
These are the competitions that have as prizes either one high value item or else lots of items that are won by one lucky participant. The annual king of these competitions is the Win Your Ultimate Christmas competition run by Country Walking magazine and Trail magazine. This year’s prize has a total value of £2,600 and includes a pair of Salewa Firetail Evo Mid GTX shoes, a Leatherman Style PS, Mammut wash bag, Helinox Chair One, Jetboil Zip, Leki poles, Mountain Hardwear Hueco Hooded Jacket and lots of other things.
The Rab game
Rab ran its first online Christmas game three years ago with a prize of a complete outfit of Rab clothing. It was a memory game that involved clicking on tiles to reveal a photo of an item of Rab gear that you then had to match with the same photo by clicking on the appropriate tile. The more quickly you completed the game, the higher the score. It was fun, but challenging and, after a certain point, seemingly impossible to get above a certain score.
Rab easily surpassed this competition the following year when it introduced its Ridge Runner game. This was essentially a basic platform game in which a mountaineer ran along a snowy ridge. Your task was to hit the space bar at the right times so that the mountaineer would jump over gaps in the ridge and not fall to his death. If your mountaineer ran into a snowman, tree, marmot or owl he would slow down, if he ran into a bird he would speed up. The score was essentially a representation of how many metres the mountaineer had supposedly run with the highest score by Christmas winning a Rab outfit. It was amazingly addictive and I’ve probably spent far too much of my Decembers over the last couple of years glued to my laptop tapping the space bar. My chances of winning were pretty slight as whoever was getting the top scores must have spent so much time playing video games that I wonder how much they actually got up mountains.
The second year of the Ridge Runner competition felt like it had been downgraded a bit. It only had a down jacket as a prize (a good prize, but less than a full outfit) and was launched relatively late in December. I’m now waiting for the third year of Ridge Runner to start and am looking hopefully each day at the Rab website. I’ll update this post when it begins.
This is the best time of the year for outdoor gear competitions. So season’s greetings and happy competition entering!
UPDATE: 25 December 2014
Well, I haven’t won anything, but it was fun trying. It’s a shame that Rab didn’t bring back it’s Ridge Runner game this year. Here’s hoping that things will be different next year.