37 Adventurous Gifts for Any Budget
Stuff their stockings with seasonal energy bars or affordable sunglasses. Give your favorite bike commuter a messenger bag that glows in the dark. Keep your honey warm with an electrically-heated vest. Whoever is on your list, we've found the perfect outdoor gear gifts, shown from least expensive to most. —Stephen Regenold / www.gearjunkie.com
Gifts Under $30 - Holiday-Themed Energy Food
Photograph courtesy GU Energy Labs (l), Clif Bar (r)
Forget fruitcake. Each year Clif Bar & Company and GU Energy Labs unveil seasonal energy food products like pumpkin pie bars and peppermint gels. Look for the holiday fare at REI or your local outdoor retailer, starting after Halloween.
GSI Lexan Flask
Photograph courtesy GSI
A flask of hooch and playing in the snow go together like pine trees and Christmas lights. This ten-ounce container has a wide-mouth design and a cap that unscrews and doubles as a shot glass. Its hip-hugging shape is perfect for pocketing the goods before heading out into the snow.
Get It: $7.95; www.gsioutdoors.com
Kuat Dirtbag Bike Rack
Photograph courtesty Kuat
The "cheapest bike rack on the planet" bolts anywhere—from a pickup truck bed to the roof of an old car. Made of stainless steel, the mounts work with all standard 9mm bike forks and are perfect for the DIYers on your holiday list.
Get It: $13; http://kuatracks.com
Hydrapak Wooly Mammoth Water Bottle
Photograph courtesy Hydrapak
Jackets use PrimaLoft insulation to help retain heat. Why not a water bottle? The temp-regulating Wooly Mammoth has plastic walls stuffed with a puffy and fibrous synthetic down that keeps hot drinks hot and cold beverages cool.
Get It: $14.99; www.hydrapak.com
Rome Industries Pie Irons
Photograph courtesy Rome Industries
Cast-iron cookers are the ultimate culinary tools for the campfire chef. Make pizzas, shepherd pies, and bubbling desserts with the aid of simple ingredients and hot coals.
Get It: $20 and up; www.romeindustries.com
Therm-A-Rest Down Pillow
Photograph courtesy Cascade Designs
A drawcord squeezes this down-stuffed pillow into a small ball for travel. Let it open and fluff up for a comfy support—be it on a backpacking trip or an overnight transatlantic flight.
Get It: $20; http://cascadedesigns.com
SmartWool PhD Outdoor Heavy Crew Socks
Photograph courtesy Smart Wool
Heel-cushioning, wool-embellished, foot-wrapping delight … meet the PhD crew, one of the best outdoor socks ever built. A merino wool plus 12 percent nylon blend gives comfort and durability for summer or winter hikes.
Get It: $22.95; www.smartwool.com
Photograph courtesy Ryder
With prices starting at just $25, these sport-oriented shades won't crush the wallet. A sharp, outdoorsy aesthetic plus polycarbonate lenses that block harmful UV rays on most models make Ryders glasses a go-to quality gift.
Get It: $25 and up; http://ryderseyewear.com
Victorinox Swiss Army Knife
Photograph courtesy Victorinox Swiss Army
The Sportsman knife is a classic Swiss Army model, including a blade, file, screwdriver, tweezers, corkscrew, and the requisite toothpick. A can't-go-wrong gift for outdoorsy folks on your list.
Get It: $26; www.victorinox.com
Black Diamond Cosmo Headlamp
Photograph courtesy Black Diamond
Tiny but bright. This mini LED headlamp weighs mere ounces but pumps 55 lumens of light for hiking or trail running at night. Comes with its required AAA batteries to power it up immediately upon unwrapping.
Get It: $29; www.blackdiamondequipment.com
Yurbuds Inspire Earphones
Photograph courtesy Yurbuds
These standard audio earbuds have special silicone tips that are made to be sweatproof. They stick gently in the ear and do not fall out, no matter the level of exertion.
Get It: $29.99; www.yurbuds.com
Yaktrax Pro Traction
Photograph courtesy Yaktrax
Get a grip! Steel coils offer traction on snow, and the Yaktrax's rubber harness stretches to fit over any boot or shoe. The spike-less design means a hiker can't misstep and snag his snow pants while on the move.
Get It: $30; www.yaktrax.com
TNF Better Than Naked T-Shirt
Photograph courtesy The North Face
Moisture-wicking, quick-drying, and with mesh panels and reflective swaths, these T-shirts come in men's and women's models and are perfect for activity in the outdoors.
Get It: $55; www.thenorthface.com
Rab MeCo 120 T-Shirt
Photograph courtesy Rab
Wear it for a week straight. This ultimate travel shirt uses a blend of merino wool and recycled polyester with a treatment by Cocona that embeds "activated carbon particles" to nearly eliminate stink.
Get It: $60; http://us.rab.uk.com
Outdoor Research Transcendent Hat
Photograph courtesy Outdoor Research
A stout bill, a down-insulated beanie, and an under-the-neck strap make the Transcendent an ultimate winter-weather hat.
Get It: $62; www.outdoorresearch.com
Photograph courtesy Timberland
For travel and wilderness trips, these fold-in-half shoes take up almost no space in a pack. But they unzip to offer a full shoe that has the added benefit of looking nice in camp or on the trail.
Get It: $65; http://shop.timberland.com
Gifts Under $100 - Gerber Steady Multitool
Photograph courtesy Gerber
It's common for a multitool to include a knife blade, drivers, and can opener, but this one also has a hidden camera adapter and fold-out arms. The result is a portable tripod for ad hoc group pictures or time-exposure shots where you need a stable platform at night.
Get It: $64; www.gerbergear.com
Teva Illum Sandals
Photograph courtesy Teva
Lights on your feet? Yep. Tiny LED bulbs are embedded in each sandal strap, letting a wearer walk and illuminate a darkened path as they go.
Get It: $65; www.teva.com
LifeProof iPhone Case
Photograph courtesy LifeProof
Water. Dirt. Snow. Shock. These cases are made to stand up to it all. A thin polycarbonate shell plus a shock-absorbing wrap offers a complete outdoors armor package for the iPhone.
Get It: $79; www.lifeproof.com
SteriPEN Adventurer Opti Water Purifier
Photograph courtesy SteriPEN
Zap your water to purify. A great gift for backpackers or world travelers, this small device puts out UV light that destroys bacteria, viruses, and protozoan cysts—such as giardia—that can make you sick.
Get It: $79; www.steripen.com
Gifts Under $200 - Keen Harvest III Backpack
Photograph courtesy KEEN
Made out of discarded (unused) auto airbag material, the Harvest pack is functionally solid, waterproof, and durable, as well as a good eco move. The "upcycled" look is noteworthy, too.
Get It: $120; www.keenfootwear.com
Rickshaw Bagworks Reflective Medium Zero Messenger Bag
Photograph courtesy Rickshaw Bags
Make your loved one more visible biking at night with this "glowing" bag. It uses a material that embeds millions of microscopic glass beads that intensely glow when car headlights bounce off its surface.
Get It: $120; www.rickshawbags.com
Photograph courtesy BioLite
For power, just add wood. A unique design, this stove can boil a pot of water set on top and it doubles as a power station to recharge iPhones or GPS devices in the wild via a thermo-electric module and a USB plug on the side.
Get It: $135; http://shop.biolitestove.com
Eddie Bauer First Ascent Alchemist 30L Backpack
Photograph courtesy First Ascent
Get a burly pack for the climber on your list. Durable outer fabric resists weather and wear. A modular design is compatible with day climbs to weekend-long ascents.
Get It: $139; www.eddiebauer.com
Salomon Women's Uma Trois Boots
Photograph courtesy Salomon
Sexy, sleek, and warm. The high-performing and great looking Uma boots have a fast, shoe-like sole and Thinsulate insulation for warmth on the feet and lower legs.
Get It: $145; www.backcountry.com
Ruffwear Omnijore Dog Harness System
Photograph courtesy Ruffwear & Simone Paddock
Hook up a dog and go! Most pooches love to pull, be it on snow or land (try inline skates for a wild ride!). This "joring" kit provides an adjustable dog harness, a belt for the human, and a stretchy cord to connect the two in between.
Get It: $150; www.ruffwear.com
Petzl NAO Headlamp
Photograph courtesy Petzl
Optical sensors in this headlamp auto-adjust brightness output depending on what you're looking at. (Bright for far away, dim up close.) Saves on the batteries and the eyes. Perfect for a tech wonk on your gift list.
Get It: $175; www.petzl.com
Outlier Minimal Backpack
Photograph courtesy Outlier & Emiliano Granado
Made of high-end Dyneema fabric, this pack is sleek, durable, and ultralightweight. It has a minimalist design and a stealth aesthetic. The waterproof fabric is durable enough that it's also used in sails and ballistic vests.
Get It: $152; http://shop.outlier.cc
Trigger Point Ultimate 6 Kit
Photograph courtesy Triggerpoint
Foam rollers, a block, massage balls, and a guide to using it all are included in this fitness-oriented, self-massage kit. It was made to mirror the feeling and results of a professional massage.
Get It: $154.99; http://tptherapy.com
Patagonia Down Sweater
Photograph courtesy Patagonia
"Ultralight, windproof, and toasty warm." That's the company line on this classic jacket/sweater, which offers warmth with synthetic insulation and a 100-percent recycled polyester shell. Comes in styles for men, women, and kids.
Get It: $200; www.patagonia.com
Gifts Over $300 - Easton Mountain Products Kilo 1P Tent
Photograph courtesy Easton Mountain Products
This tent is so light a hiker will hardly notice it in his pack. At just 2.1 pounds, the Kilo 1P offers a three-season solo shelter with about 20 square feet of space held aloft with airy carbon fiber poles.
Get It: $350; www.eastonmountainproducts.com
Wenger Commando Watch
Photograph courtesy Wenger
This is a tough, outdoors-oriented watch from the makers of the Swiss army knife. It features an analog face, hands, and dial with Swiss quartz movement and a stainless steel case. Waterproof to 330 feet.
Get It: $359; www.wengerna.com
Mountain Hardwear Quasar Pullover
Photograph courtesy Mountain Hardwear & Lance Shows
This minimalist winter shell jacket weighs just nine ounces but protects from snow, wind, and rain. It has a hood, a small pocket, a half-zip front, and nothing extra for moving fast and light outdoors.
Get It: $375; www.mountainhardwear.com
Zeal iON HD Camera Goggles
Photograph courtesy Zeal Optics
High-quality video shot point-of-view from a tiny lens between the eyes. That's the premise of these goggles, which record 1080P video and take eight-megapixel stills. Anti-fog, UV-battling, top-notch lens for slope sessions to boot.
Get It: $399; www.zealoptics.com
GoPro Camera + Wireless Kit
Photograph courtesy GoPro
Take a GoPro HERO 2 camera ($299) and add the Wi-Fi BacPac Combo Kit ($99) to make an ultimate action-camera setup. Control your camera with a remote or via Wi-Fi to view live video on your smartphone.
Get It: $400 for package; http://gopro.com
Columbia Electro Amp Vest
Photograph courtesy Columbia
For the outdoors person who has it all. This electrically heated vest offers on-demand temp regulation via warmth-emitting modules and a button on the chest. Multiple heat modes depending on the temperature and weather outside for the day.
Get It: $400; www.columbia.com
Photograph courtesy Apple
Add a tough case, download a GPS or travel app, maybe throw on some music and books. The iPad is a traveler's friend, and more and more a bona fide outdoors tool.
Get It: $499 and up; www.apple.com