Forget video games. Don’t even think about a fruit basket. This year get your family and friends gear they can use on the snow, in the woods or anywhere else outside and under the blue sky.
Cool outdoor gear can excite and motivate even the most lethargic loved one.
Here are a few suggestions:
It weighs 5 ounces and is smaller than a can of Red Bull, but the Raptor camp stove can boil a liter of water in less than five minutes. Runs on disposable butane canisters and has a built-in ignition system to set the stove ablaze with the push of a button. No priming necessary. Retractable-arm supports handle pots up to 12-inches wide. Includes nylon case. Price: $40.
Contact: Brunton, (800) 443-4871, http://www.brunton.com.
GPS technology has finally made it to the wristwatch. This do-all timepiece includes an electronic compass, barometer, thermometer, altimeter and basic
GPS-navigation features. Save GPS routes and download data to a PC for analyzing at home. Don’t expect the detailed, onscreen maps and the other niceties that now come standard on full-size GPS devices. But if your special someone would like to be the first kid on the block whose wristwatch connects with a satellite, this pricey little toy is the only thing on the market to do the trick. Price: $725.
Contact: Suunto, (800) 543-9124, http://www.suuntousa.com.
Metolius Wood Grips Training Board
Aesthetics meets athletics with this polished alder wood hangboard. Made for climbers and other athletes looking to strengthen their arms and upper body, this glorified pull-up bar looks nice enough to hang in a living room.
Three different depths of grippy finger pockets and larger holds vary the pull-up workout regimen and strengthen fingers, forearms, biceps and abdominal muscles. Price: $89.
Contact: Metolius, (541) 382-7585, http://www.metoliusclimbing.com.
OtterBox oPod case
The Apple iPod may be the most popular digital-music player on the market, but it’s far from optimized for outdoor athletes. OtterBox provides protection from the elements in a polycarbonate resin oPod case.
The water-and-dust -resistant, crushproof box fits snugly around an iPod and provides full control of song selection, volume and other functions through a flexible clear membrane. Available in white, yellow, green, pink and blue. Price: $50.
Contact: OtterBox, (888) 695-8820, http://www.otterbox.com.
Buck Knives Short Revolution
Simple, elegant design allows the knife to be clipped to a belt loop or backpack strap like a carabiner and then easily locked open with the flip of the handle. Weighs 2.6 ounces and has a 2.5-inch blade available with a non-serrated or partially-serrated edge. Lifetime warranty offered. Price: $72.
Contact: Buck Knives, (800) 326-2825, http://www.buckknives.com.
Moonstone Mountain Equipment Lucid jacket
The cozy Lucid jacket is surprisingly warm for weighing only 10 ounces. Its quilted panels are stuffed with premium 800-plus goose-down fill. Comes with a stuff sack squishes the jacket to the size of a softball.
Available in men’s and women’s models. Price: $160.
Contact: Moonstone Mountain Equipment, (800) 390-3312, http://www.moonstone.com.
Deuter Hydro Lite 3.0
A hydration pack with few bells and whistles, the Hydro Lite 3.0 keeps water accessible at all times with a three-liter bladder, a hose and bite valve.
Reflective foil insulates the pack to help steady the liquid temperature. Shoulder straps and frame area are made of airy mesh material to keep it feeling light and breathable during heavy workouts. Price: $49.
Contact: Deuter Inc., (303) 652-3102, http://www.deuterusa.com.
Outdoor Research Backpacker Kitchen Kit
Kit comes with all the containers, utensils and tools to cook a gourmet meal far from civilization. The 15-ounce package includes Lexan forks, knives and spoons; a selection of small containers to carry spices and liquid condiments; plus a spatula, a wire whisk and a small cutting board.
Everything fits in a nylon pouch that can be hung from a tree for easy access while preparing dinner. Price: $38.
Contact: Outdoor Research, (888) 467-4327, http://www.orgear.com.
Pacific Cornetta Chugg Press
Caffeine can come camping too with the Chugg Press. This mini French press brews coffee in a couple minutes and doubles as the mug for partaking the steamy delight. Made of double-walled stainless steel for insulation and holds 16 ounces of hot coffee. Price: $22.
Contact: Pacific Cornetta, http://www.liquid-solutions.com.
Mt. Hardware Poodle Hat and Hoodie
Cushy, cuddly outerwear for that special lady on your list. The Poodle cap borrows style from ragtime days with a nod toward modern outdoor functionality, as it’s made of super-warm Polartec Thermal. The Butter Hoody top is made of bunny-soft microfilament polyester with a touch of lycra. Price: Poodle Cap, $20; Butter Hoody, $60.
Contact: Mountain Hardware, (800) 953-8375, http://www.mountainhardwear.com.
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