Ah, tis the season once again. It’s getting colder, the Holidays are sneaking up on us, and people scramble to find their yearly sacrifice to those they love. Luckily, I’m here to help with a fine selection of relatively unknown but highly useful gifts for those who love the outdoors. I’ll include some useful links to check them out.
Luci Candle Light
All the inviting flickers and glow of a real candle, without actually burning your house down. This tiny rechargeable light provides an appropriately soothing illumination that is not only great aesthetically, but also handy in an emergency situation. It’s rechargeable via the on board solar panel, and weighs next to nothing. It’s cheap too, you can use them as stocking stuffers, or for people you don’t really like but feel obligated to gift. They’ll never know. Pick up one as a gift, but don’t forget to check out the give option to send a little love to those who need it the most. The Luci Candle can be found here.
Kelty Bestie Blanket
It’s cold here (In the Northern Hemisphere at least), and the best way to fight that off the scaly claws of old man winter is with some cuddly goodness. Undeniably useful, the Bestie Blanket from Kelty is perfectly sized to be thrown over the shoulders, or draped across the entire body, be it by the campfire with friends or in a ham fueled stupor on the recliner. It’s fairly pet proof, feels great, and provides a good amount of warmth at an exceptional price. $22.95 and can be found here.
Serac Sequoia XL Double Hammock
It’s hard to go wrong when it comes to gifting a hammock. If you’re looking for something a little more original (and affordable), Serac produces a nice double hammock that includes straps for a bit less than most of the competition. The best part about this is, they’re also rather well made. They’re made from a rather unique ripstop nylon as opposed to polyester, which gives them extra strength while also providing a softer feel. The straps are reinforced nylon paired with lightweight aluminum carbiners, and the whole kit comes in at just under $60 bucks including the straps (usually a separate purchase ) as you can usually catch them on sale, and the single comes in at around $40. You can find Serac and their gear here.
Yaktrax ICEtrekkers Diamond Grip
Ice is tricky, but not so much when you’re wearing these studly crampons. Adorned with hardened steel “diamond” “beads”, the provide a huge boost in icy or otherwise unstable conditions. They’re easy to use as they simple pull over practically any boots (waterproof is recommended if you’re dealing with snow) and they’re also relatively lightweight at about 12 ounces, depending on the size. They’re great for the trail and are good to have around for emergency situations, like a car bringing down in the snow. Just make sure to rinse them off after city use as salt can damage the materials. $41.95 at REI.
Seirus Magnemask Balaclava
This is a unique idea that I really ended up liking. Simply put, it’s a balaclava which has a peel back face mask. This allows for some quick, on the fly venting without having to pull of the entire hood, which can be a pain to put back on with gloves. The mask can be tucked out of the way under the neck fold too. It snaps gently and effortlessly back into place via magnetic strips that guide it back. Plus, you get to feel like a ninja while you wear it. $49.99 here.
Talkabout T280 Walkie Talkies
Some of the lightest walkies I’ve used and nearly as powerful as their larger brothers, these two-way radios are a great solution for families who like to stay in touch outdoors, or simply have a convenient emergency contact solution around the house. They now come in a preparedness edition which includes a handy carry case, charger, two walkies, and has enough room to stash a few other emergency supplies (chocolate) inside. The battery life could be a little better, but for the cost and weight, they’re certainly worth keeping around. $65 bundle can be found here.
L.L.Bean Hatchet and Hudson Axe
Chances are, even the person with everything doesn’t have a gorgeously finished shred hammer. The L.L.Bean Hatchet and Hudson Axe are built with a durable hickory handle and stainless steel head, primed for destruction. It also includes a conditioned and dried leather case, for gentlemen. It can be wall mounted as a decoration or used to provide countless evenings of wood for the fire. They’re $79 for the hatchet, good for chopping smaller pieces of wood, and $139 for the axe if splitting logs is the main goal. They can be found here and here.
Flowfold’s Denizen Tote 18L Backpack
One part tote one part backpack, the 18 L Denizen pulls multiple shifts as a hiking pack, grocery getter, commute bag, and daily carry. It’s laptop compatible, has a spacious center compartment, and a smaller external pocket for those who appreciate organization. Being water resistant and exceptionally durable thanks to it’s Cordura construction, it’s a pack that can be used in a huge variety of conditions. It also has a great modern/minimal design that works for both male and female figures. It’s made in the USA and comes with a lifetime warranty. My only complaint? No chest straps. $109 at FlowFold.
Montbell Thermawrap Vest
Finding an excellent balance between weight and warmth, Montbell never disappoints. This carries over to their excellent vests. Weighing just over 7 ounces, they pack tiny, layer great, and are exceptionally comfortable. They’re also synthetic, so working up a sweat while wearing it isn’t going to be a problem as it will retain its insulating properties even when wet. They’re handily water resistant too, so they’ll shrug off a light shower without issue. They’re available in Men and Women’s variants and are built similar to the jacket I raved about in my review. I have used it daily for a year or so, and now have added the vest to my quiver. $139.
Montbell Down Hugger 650 Sleeping Bags
Another pick from Montbell, because they deserve the attention, the Down Hugger 650 #3 is an excellent balance of price, performance and weight, even if their naming scheme is a bit complex. Using elasticized thread and baffles that are sewn at a 45 degree angle, this sleeping bag twists and contorts with the user, making for a wonderfully comfortable sleeping bag. Like a fresh baked churro, it’s absolutely toasty too, staying true to the advertised comfort limit of 39 degrees F. They come in a wide variety of warmths and weights, but the one mentioned here weighs just over 2 lbs and costs only $229. Full review of a similar model coming soon (spoilers, they’re great), but you can pick them up here now.
Sierra Designs Convert 2 4 Season Tent
Currently in testing, I’m really enjoying the Convert 2 tent from Sierra Designs. Previous models have always had some questionable design choices, but they’ve stepped up their game with the 2017 model. Light, strong, and easy to set up, I’m very impressed with the quality of their latest build. The vestibule can be removed to shed around a pound of weight, and the entire package, including the large vestibule, comes in at less than 6 lbs. It’s not what I would call an expedition tent as it uses lighter materials that typically seen in 4 season shelters, but for windy, cold or snowy conditions, it’s more than perfect for a typical winter weekend. Full review coming soon. $499.95
About this list
I hand chose all of the products for their price, performance and in part uniqueness. Tested personally, I can attest to their quality and think, personally, they would make fabulous gifts. If you have any questions, I’m happy to answer them below. Some of these products have been provided from companies for testing in the past or to be reviewed in the future, but I thought they were good enough to mention in my gift guide and had no obligation to include them.
For information on our rating system and our testing procedures, check out our About us/ Contact us page.
I want to extend a huge thanks to all the companies who have provided these products for testing and review. We couldn’t do it without their help. Our full disclosure can be found here.
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