Man isn’t meant to stay indoors — our weekly “Trekking” column can attest to that. It’s a column dedicated to the adventurer inside of all of us, the one pining to ditch the office humdrum for a quick surf session or seven-week jaunt in the Grand Tetons. One day we may highlight an ultra-light stove and the next a set of handmade canoe paddles. Life doesn’t just happen inside the workplace, so get outside and live it.
We get it — gift giving can be a stressful. However, it doesn’t have to be if you know what you’re doing and who you’re buying for. The outdoor industry is currently bursting with fantastic apparel and equipment, spanning everything from breathable jackets and crushable hats to intuitive lighting systems and versatile axe heads, all of which are perfectly poised to become your go-to pieces on the dusted slopes or backcountry trails.
And given the holidays often provide some much needed time off, there’s rarely a better time to bestow your friend or family member with something they’ll actually use. Doing so will make your next family gathering more enjoyable because, after all, a fruit cake and pair of striped socks only get you so far in today’s world of gadgets and gizmos.
Rumpl Deepwater Puffy ($65+)
There’s no reason you can’t bring a piece of outdoor apparel inside your home. Rumpl’s lightweight blankets utilize the same kind of technical materials found in sleeping bags and puffy jackets — i.e. synthetic insulation and 20D ripstop nylon with DWR — allowing you to stay warm and pack light without unwanted odor. The basic line stitching even takes a cue from patterns found in nature.
Both Tenkara Rod Co. and Colorado’s Topo Designs are company’s that pride themselves when it comes to simplicity. Their collaborative kit houses everything your casual fisherman needs within a compact package, including a 12-foot rod, a selection of traditional flies, line, and a wallet to organize it all in a single place. The handmade, limited-edition pack just gives you an easy way to tote it.
Airblaster Merino Ninja Suit ($170)
Merino wool is an absolute godsend to any adventurer keen on staying warm in the great outdoors, particularly when you consider the material’s natural ability to resist odor and retain heat even under the wettest of circumstances. Airblaster’s latest onesie blends takes said fabric and blends it with Lycra, too, resulting in a soft base layer that dries twice as fast as older models.
Hydrapak Stash ($18)
Everyone knows that an empty water bottle takes up a substantial amount of space without real warrant. Thankfully, Hydrapak’s aptly-titled Stash bottles collapse when not in use, allowing for easy transport when you’re not busy stowing 750 milliliters of water or your favorite liquid. The stackable design and assortment of available colors add more to the appeal (and not the price).
CamelBak Phantom 20 LR ($135)
Not only is the Phantom 20 LR the ideal day pack for your next slackcountry endeavor, but it’s also one that doesn’t break the bank. It’s specifically designed with a barrage of pockets for holding everything from goggles and wet gear to avalanche tools and a 100-ounce lumbar hydration bladder, the latter of which helps keeps water weight low and retain stability on and off the mountain.
Palladium Pampa Cuff WP Lux ($150)
Palladium is no stranger when it comes to performance wear — and the Pampa Cuff WP Lux is a case-in-point if there ever was one. The versatile, waterproof boot utilizes oiled nubuck uppers and sealed seams to keep your feet dry and warm, along with lace-up closures and a padded tongue to help optimize fit and comfort out on the trail or while you wait your turn at the nearest watering hole.
Corkcicle Arctican ($20)
Corkcicle might be best known for, well, the Corckcicle, but the company makes more than just a line of bottle centric products geared to winos. The Arctican is essentially your basic koozie outfitted with a freezer-backed cooling core, one that ensures your post-hike drinks remain cool and composed for up three hours, regardless of the temperature outside or your lukewarm surroundings.
Marmot Nano AS Jacket ($290)
A proper shell is, arguably, the most crucial piece of gear in your arsenal. The Marmot Nano AS is also currently one of the best available, built with breathable Gore-Tex that’s light enough to pack in a bag of any size. The minimalist design and fabric helps you stay dry during bad weather, while the moldable brim on the attached hood ensures you can still wear a helmet underneath if need be.
BioLite NanoGrid ($100)
Power isn’t the easiest thing to come by when you’re aimlessly wandering in the backcountry, at least when you’re forced to go without a BioLite NanoGrid. The portable setup functions as a four-in-one lighting system, providing your campsite with a lantern, torch, powerbank, and convenient method for quickly stringing together multiple lights and illuminating everything for up to 22 hours at a time.
Norquay Artisan Paddles ($325)
High-quality outdoor gear doesn’t have to look technical, whether you’re talking premium down or artisan canoe paddles sourced directly from the deep forests of northern Ontario. Norquay’s line of handmade paddles look as fantastic on the wall as they do on the water, and revel in a swath of symmetrical patterns and attributes that draw inspiration the region and Native American heritage.
Off the Road ($45)
Camping in a tent certainly has its perks, especially when you’re looking to get off the grid, but it’s hard not to gawk at the ultimate adventure mobile. Off the Road is a vivid tabletop book that chronicles the endless skies and isolated terrain just outside our fingertips, as well as the converted vehicles, gear, and lifestyles of those who seek who call the outdoors home (albeit temporarily).
Long gone are the days when you used an axe solely for chopping wood. The Multi-Mission Axe, which is available in either a 15 or 19-inch configuration, conveniently doubles as a modular hammer and seatbelt cutter thanks to intuitive steel construction. Built-in hex-nut tools also reside in the head and pry feature at the bottom, letting you make the most of what’s available.