It’s that time of year again. The Christmas lights are going up, the sun is going down, and fresh new outdoor gear is going under the tree. These are my picks for gifts for 2019.
Per usual, I tried to choose products that are both unique, of exceptional quality and strewn along a wide range of prices where I could. I’ve also included some Amazon links (these help me out but feel free to not use them). It’s also worth noting that everything here I’ve tested personally and have either reviewed them already or have a pending review coming up, so I can attest to their quality. Let me know your thoughts!
Who doesn’t like food? Mountain Standard has a wide array of products that the weight conscious backpacker can appreciate, with a special nod given to their scrambles and bean salsas. They provide quick, easy to prepare conveniences that make dinner after a hard hike even more enjoyable. They also offer some gluten free options for those who have sensitives, but some aren’t as convinced with those offerings (I liked them). Prices range from $9-15$.
Tailwind nutrition has been offering what essentially amounts to trail fuel for a while now. Chock full of calories, salts and vitamins, they provide a real boost of energy on tough climbs and long excursions. Most are designed for energy, but some target recovery. They range from tea and fruit flavors for during the workout, to chocolate and vanilla shake style mixes for after. My personal favorites are their recovery drinks, especially the chocolate recovery options. Their energy drinks come across a little salty for me, but sometimes that’s exactly what I need when I’m really sweating out there.
My favorite socks for the year, Lorpen has proved that they know how to create innovative, comfortable, reliable socks. Snug in all the right places with extra padding in high abrasion zones, I’m yet to have any real issues with their gear. Ranging from lightweight hikers to heavyweight trekkers, they make something to fit every scenario.
Not actually something I would recommend for backpacking, but absolutely something I would recommend for the avid traveler. The Mountain Khakis overnight kit is designed to house shave kits, toiletries, or really just about anything else you want to stuff inside. It looks fabulous, is built great, and is hugely convenient for anyone who likes to be organized on the road.
The Allett Slim RFID blocking wallet straddles the lines between necessity and luxury. With identity theft becoming more common than ever, it’s an accessory that helps protect while also providing necessary functionality that anyone can appreciate. It can hold up to 24 cards, cash and even some paperwork, while still maintaining an exceptionally flat and thin profile. Mine has found a permanent spot in my pocket for the convenience and safety it provides, as well as the disappearing act it makes in my pocket (less felt and visible than a thick wallet). It weighs just 1.2 ounces (the original is even lighter) and retails for $55.
Warm and dexterous, the Outdoor Research Lost Coast Fingerless Mittens are built for rough conditions. When it is cold but tasks require full use of the fingers, these really start to shine. Constructed nearly entirely out of wool with a synthetic palm, these gloves perform in the rain or sunshine. A handy magnetic clip holds the mits out of the way when not needed, or they slip over the fingers when the temperatures really fall for added warmth. These are my favorite gloves and have been for some time. They weigh 5.3 ounces and retail for around $55.
For the camper who has just about everything, Hydrapak has you covered. With their Seeker Soft Bottles and range of accessories, these bottles can act as reservoirs, drink dispensers, dish washing stations, hydration systems, drinking bottles or even as a shower. As unique and useful as they are, they’re likely to fill a void campers don’t even realize they have in their gear kit. They come in a variety of sizes and uses, but generally range from $10-$60.
I mean, it’s kind of in the name. The L.L. Bean Wicked Good Moccasins are just that. Built from premium sheepskin and shearling (sheep wool) these little things provide exceptionally flexibility, comfort and warmth. They wick moisture, dry quickly, and resist odors along the way. The thick sole grips exceptionally well and provides ample insulation from the ground. Plus, they have a very traditional styling that should suit most any mountain man.
The Kelty Cosmic 40 is a solid introduction to backpacking grade sleeping bags. It’s fairly light weight at just 1 pound 10 ounces, and it is rated at 40 degrees which is what I consider the perfect introductory temperature rating as this is what most new backpackers seem to be comfortable with. The best part? It doesn’t cost a fortune at just under $130. It’s extremely comfortable, performs great, and will last a decade if properly taken care of.
The Rumple Nanoloft Puffy blanket is fully synthetic, but you wouldn’t guess it from the exceptionally light weight construction. This 100% recycled material is lighter and warmer than traditional synthetics, and it packs down smaller too. Great for warmer weather minimalist camping or simply lounging around the house, the Nanoloft Puffy is perfect for those who are allergic to down, want a more environmentally friendly option, or those who just want to stay warm year round. They retail for $149.
My new favorite value tent, nothing about the Kelty All-Inn 2 comes across as budget. It’s lightweight, packed with features, and is more durable than most tents that cost double or even triple its asking price. It has a unique awning, front and side doors, but is limited to one vestibule. Still, it’s hard to beat the combination of quality and price, making this one of my easiest recommendations.
The best of the best, the Copper Spur HV2 is the new and improved version of my all time favorite tent. With an increased interior volume, sturdier build and no weight penalty, the HV2 provies two doors, plenty of sleeping space and an undeniably comfortable carry weight of just 3 lbs. 1 oz. It is expensive but has always found its way back into my backpack, year after year. It goes for around $350 currently.
So, there are some recommendations. Feel free to ask me any questions referring to them or other ideas you might have for gifts. I’m happy to provide my thoughts! Anything on your Christmas list? Let me know!