Elevation Outdoors | Chill Essentials: 12 Winter Hiking Gift Ideas for 2023-2024

Vermont Glove's Uphill Skiier glove; PHOTO BY Colin Arisman
Vermont Glove's Uphill Skiier glove; PHOTO BY Colin Arisman

This article originally appeared in Elevation Outdoors Magazine’s blog, Dec. 19 2023

Step into the frosty season with this Winter Gift Guide. As the hot summer and balmy fall fade into memory, it’s time to gear up for winter with these items that offer warmth, comfort, and reliability. Here’s my latest curated selection of cozy layers, camping tools, and high-tech storytelling accessories—to endure the chill and elevate your adventures.

Insulation and Layering
1. Uphill Skier Glove ($150, pictured above, photo by Colin Arisman) and the Jefflo Mitt ($130) from Vermont Glove are made from leather and waxed canvas shells, and are equally strong and warm for outdoor work or adventure. The Jefflo Mitt, has a recycled polyester liner and cinch-down cuffs. Vermont Glove also recently launched a “Single Glove and Repair Program,” in case you lose or damage a single glove, they’ll make you complete.

2. BOGS Bozeman Tall Yulex Boots ($165) are fully waterproof rubber, stretch-insulated for extreeme subzero temperatures, and have a GlacialGrip outsole for traction on icy paths. I said goodbye to my splayed-out, fuzzy-lined winter galoshes years ago and now only go for these super-insulated style of boots. They’re equally effective on recess duty at school, winter hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park, or mucking out the horse stalls.

3. Cyrox 2L Down Jacket ($419) is a burly, breathable, and windproof insulated jacket two unique blown-in synthetic insulations that deliver down-comparable lightweight, warmth, softness, and compressibility in a water-resistant package. It has 700-fill, RDS-certified HyperDry down in areas of the body with the most heat (arms, chest, stomach, and back) and Primaloft Black Rise in the armpits, shoulders, and sleeve cuffs (these small, silky tufts of fiber plumes deliver an equivalent of 550-fill down).

4. Alpspitze Wool Pants and Alpspitze Wool Long Sleeve Half-Zip ($83.99) make a great base layer from Jack Wolfskin. Both pants and top are made with merino wool that is breathable, fast-drying, antibacterial and odor-resistant. I really like that the pants are 3/4 length, eliminating the wrinkling under the ski boot issue, and keeping a reasonable, not-too-hot temperature at all times. The top is a long sleeve half zip, which allows you to wear the collar open or closed, depending on how much heat you need to vent.

5. Coalatree’s trailhead pants ($99) are my new favorite year-round pants (especially effective in winter when paired with the above base layer). These pants are waterproof, tear-resistant, antimicrobial, and stretchy. They pack down into the front pocket for storage or for use as a small pillow, and they incorporate recycled coffee grounds and other eco-friendly materials in the production process. The introduction of the rust color in September adds a stylish touch to the collection of seven colors and two pant widths, for a unisex and size-inclusive range.

Camping and Hiking Gear

6. Ascent Sleeping Bags ($499 for the zero degree, or $279.30 with this link) from Sea to Summit provide excellent warmth for colder outdoor temperatures, boasting a zero-degree rating and high-quality down insulation. One of the things that sets these bags apart is the innovative triple-zipper “Free-Flow Zip system,” designed to facilitate ventilation during milder months, ensuring versatility and comfort throughout the changing seasons. (At press time, the zero degree bag was sold out, but they also have an Ascent 15F ($314.30) and Ascent 25F ($279.30), on sale through 12/27/23.)

7. AlpenGlow Mini ($39.95) is the perfect stocking stuffer—a lightweight, small lantern with a range of color modes. It can attach to anything with its built-in bungee cord and fastener; hang it off your pack, from the ceiling of your tent, or around a tree branch at camp. It packs 150 lumens on high beam (which lasts 5 hours on a charge) and 5 lumens on low (you’ll get up to 40 hours). It can operate in a temperature range of -4°F to 140°F (-20°C to 60°C).

8. HeadLamp 800Pro ($99.95) packs even more lumens and power; this is BioLite’s pro-level headlamp, crafted for mountain athletes, explorers, guides, and trail runners navigating challenging terrains in dark conditions. It has pass-thru plus charging, which means constant connectivity to an external power source, such as the battery below (if you need more than the 150 hours on low beam that it normally can run on one charge!). The bulb is super bright (800 lumens on full beam); when that’s too bright (i.e. almost always) press and hold a button to dim the lumens, another very useful tool. There are five modes of operation, plus some other features explained in this video.

9. Charge 80 PD ($79.95), also by BioLite, is a portable powerhouse. This 20,000-mAh portable battery can charge cell phones, tablets, a 13″ laptops, and other devices on the go, including in cold, windy conditions like on a ski lift or in a backcountry snow quinzee (or in your carry-on bag for that matter).

10. Lume Cube Mobile Creator Kit ($199.99) is a game-changer for capturing and sharing outdoor adventures and creating stories. Packed with features like a light and tripod stand, built-in Bluetooth remote, cardioid mic, and rotating smartphone mount, it’s a complete package for content creators on the move. With precise color temperature control, impressive brightness on the light (210 lumens), and a wide frequency response (20 Hz–20K Hz), this kit ensures that every detail of your winter escapades is brilliantly illuminated and crisply recorded. At just under $200, it’s a solid gift for storytellers looking to elevate their narrative in the chilly season and beyond. Check out their product video for more.

11. Gateway Dry Bag ($50) is a 20L roll-top dry bag with plenty of space, plus a small, external water-resistant pocket for handheld items. Made from 600D waterproof Nylon, which will keep everything inside completely dry. The shoulder strap is handy if this is your one bag, or stuff the whole thing into a larger day pack—or clip it onto a snowmobile or ski-sled.

12. Quick Feather Knife ($44.95) is a smooth-opening flip blade that is super lightweight (only 3 oz.) and sparks fire (90-degree edge on the spine casts sparks against the ferro rod striker). Crafted from premium VG-10 steel, this everyday carry folding pocket knife boasts a sealed ball-bearing VG-10 steel flipper and a custom-designed tri-serrated section for enhanced sharpening.

— Joshua Berman is the author of Moon Colorado Camping and Moon Colorado Hiking (Moon Outdoor Travel Guides, April 2024)

More from Joshua Berman
Colorado road tripping: hot pools and buff burgers in Idaho Springs
A few days ago, a particularly fierce Rocky Mountain summer storm landed...
Read More