You know who they are: the person who is happiest climbing to the top of a mountain or speeding their way down it. The one who, when a long weekend rolls around, spends it sleeping outside. The diehard who sees a new sport, like foil surfing or squirt boating, as a new skill to master. Adventurers like this don’t want to unwrap a box of socks for the holidays (unless they’re Merino wool ski socks). From $20 to a few hundred dollars, here are the ultimate gifts for the outdoor adventurers in your life.
We hope you love the gifts for outdoor adventurers we recommend! Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to make a purchase. Listed prices are accurate as of the time of publication.
1. The Adventurist Classic and The Weekender, Adventurist Backpack Co. ($65-$85)
We love a backpack that can get us through the day, any day, worry-free. But peruse an outdoor catalog and it’s clear that, while there are a lot of backpacks out there, few producers take the time to actually innovate. What’s more, most backpacks are so specialized that you’d need a different one for every activity you do. Adventurist Backpack Co. is different. Its Classic and Weekender packs are durable enough for a day in the wilderness and practical enough to bring to work, under the seat on a plane, or to serve as your cargo pouch on a bicycle trip to the market.
At a price point ranging from $65 (Classic) to $85 (Weekender), these are the ultimate daypacks, with a secure laptop pouch, two drink holders, a large main compartment for gear, clothes, or what have you, and added padding to keep your belongings dry and safe. Straps are made of leather and both button and strap for adjustment and security. And your purchase does good. For each backpack sold, this upstart pack-maker out of Denver, Colorado, donates 25 meals to those in need.
2. Surf Shacks Vol. 2 ($60)
Sometimes a bit of inspiration is as needed as a new piece of adventure gear. Surf Shacks Vol. 2 is the follow-up to the popular 2017 coffee table book that peers into the homes of surfers around the world. Some are typical seaside cabins while others are urban dwellings, apartments, and even mountain houses that keep the spirit of surfing alive at altitude. Featured are the homes of everyday surfers, dwellings of iconic surf personalities like Geoff McFetridge and Hayden Cox, and the beach pads of many well-known people whom you probably had no idea were also surfers.
3. Patagonia Black Hole Duffel
It’s no secret that Patagonia makes top-notch apparel and gear. It’s also no secret that it isn’t cheap. Hence the Patagonia Black Hole Duffel, the best duffel on the market for outdoors expedition travel as well as general global vagabonding. This 40-liter duffel fits literally everything you could need for most trips (save for your skis or surfboard). It also looks good, and you’ll feel like a badass carrying it with you.
Plus, the environmental impact of buying well-made gear is next to nil when compared to buying something made cheaply that you will have to replace every couple years. So you’re not only getting a great deal but also helping preserve resources at the same time. The company says that a used piece of gear kept in circulation for 2.2 years reduces its footprint by 73 percent. And you’ll get a lot more than two years out of this Black Hole Duffel.
4. Danner Mountain Light GTX Hiking Boot
Danner has outdone itself with the new Mountain Light GTX hiking boot. No other boot company produces a winterized boot that’s as stylish as it is functional in adverse conditions. GORE-TEX lining and thick padding keep your feet warm while the winterized sole and specialized grip keep you upright and stable even on the iciest of sidewalks. The Mountain Light’s waterproof lining means you don’t have to worry about an accidental misstep into a pool of slush ruining an evening out. The entirety of the boot is comfortable enough to ride the gas pedal on mountain pass roads and hardy enough to be stuck into a snowshoe once you get to the trailhead. To top it off, the Mountain Light GTX is available from REI and counts toward your dividend.
5. WNDR Alpine Intention 110 skis, Vital 100 skis, and backcountry touring gear ($699)
WNDR Alpine is doing its part to address one of the major environmental impact points of skiing: the skis themselves. Most are built with ample amounts of traditional plastics, but this Utah ski brand has swapped out the petroleum-based plastics for bioplastics and plant-based oils made of algae (nerd out on this video to see how these skis are made). The backcountry-centric Intention 110 ($699) is its first model, which the company claims eliminates two pounds of waste per ski from traditional production methods. Look for WNDR Alpine to continue innovation on other ski products, starting with the Vital 100 ski and backcountry touring gear.
6. Osmo Active Hydration ($20)
Osmo Active Hydration is a quick and easy stocking stuffer that every outdoor athlete can benefit from. Built from electrolytes and carbs that help the body recover from physical exertion, each tub contains 40 servings. Mix in water before heading out to keep powered up while on the go, or after concluding exercise to replenish hydration and body water levels to normal amounts, allowing for quicker recovery and an easier transition to the resting period. The brand also offers hydration mixes tailored specifically to women along with portable drink powders that can be added to an athlete’s water bottle while camping, flying, or otherwise unable to access the full-size tub.
7. A subscription to the revamped Mountain Gazette ($60)
Hosting long-form essays from top adventurists and being the perennial home to legendary outdoors-inclined voices like M. John Fayhee, Mountain Gazette was the premier dirtbag diary for most of four decades beginning in 1966. Committed followers in the outdoor community snapped up the monthly issues at newsstands in mountain towns across the American West. Yet though the magazine embodied the heart of adventure and never let mainstream opinion sway its voice, it also never made much money. It was free, after all. After changing ownership numerous times, the magazine shut down in 2012.
But, following its purchase by a Tahoe-based entrepreneur and adventurer earlier this year, it’s getting a revamp — in the form of a twice-annual coffee-table diary sent directly to subscribers’ doors. And readers have to pay this time around. The first issue ships before the holidays. So you’d better get on it to help keep the rag’s mantra of “When in doubt, go higher” alive and well.
8. Helinox Cot One ($299)
Casual camping shouldn’t lead to casual backaches. The Cot One from Helinox ensures it won’t by keeping you elevated and on a flat sleeping surface, no matter where you set up camp. The cot sets up and breaks down quick and easy, and it packs down for storage in your vehicle or garage without taking up space that you’d otherwise need. What separates the Cot One is that you’re getting the firm sleeping pad you’d expect from a cot, without arm braces cramming into your back. The result is an overnight experience that combines the best of cot sleeping with the smoothness of an air mattress, and you don’t even have to spend 20 minutes inflating it.
9. Selk’Bag Nomad ($249)
Imagine a night of winter camping without having to carry a sleeping bag in your backpack or strapped to the outside of it. Selk’bag, a Chilean company that has pioneered the “wearable sleeping bag” concept, just released its latest version, the Nomad. This sleeping bag is stuffed with post-consumer recycled PrimaLoft® Black Insulation made from 65 discarded plastic bottles, the first such product to be made of fully recycled material. Even the zippers are made of recycled plastic. The Nomad can be worn while trekking to the campsite in frigid conditions or put on upon arrival to keep warm inside and outside the tent. The attached balaclava keeps your face toasty with the added bonus of completing a setup that gives you the ability to walk around the campsite posing as a yeti. Bring on those scary campfire stories.