This article was originally published (in a shorter form) on the Elevation Outdoors magazine gear blog.
Time for another tranquilo gift guide for humans who like to camp and hike. From smart lanterns to heavy hoodies to cold weather running gear, here are a few ideas for your people this holiday season. Or whenever. There are stocking stuffers for under $20 and a few big ticket items, like that ski bib and the solar generator. Here’s a chance to treat yourself or someone else, and to gear up for another season of outdoor adventures.
Titan Deep Freeze 14 oz. Stainless Steel Mug ($15.99, pictured above) is the safest gift of them all, like socks. This BPA-free mug is condensation free, double insulated, and has a pressure fit lid with silicone gasket for a good seal, even on bumpy rides. Pair it with one of Titan’s 20 oz. bottles or 20/30 oz. insulated tumblers (also pictured above).
Cascade ($50) is a durable, portable, cordless, and waterproof power bank from Lander that straps to your phone. It packs 6000 mAh battery, Qi wireless charging and a built-in strap to go around your device as you hike or hang.
Boulder Lantern ($100) takes your camp lighting game up a few notches, though this is more of a frontcountry or canoe camping device as it’s a little large and heavy for backpacking. It’s a waterproof smart lantern and power hub with proximity lighting (light intensity adjusts to your proximity to the lantern) and can charge up to three devices via a secret popup cable hub. It has a one-button control, or adjust it through the Lander app on your phone, where you can scroll through a full spectrum of colors and control the light level.
CamelBak filtration bottles ($70 for a 32 oz. vacuum stainless steel bottle) now feature in-line Lifestraw water filtration, which is a big deal, especially for backpackers (they make a 2L reservoir version of this which I’ll try out next summer). Just dip it in a lake or creek and let the Lifestraw do the rest: “the Hollow Fiber Filter removes bacteria, parasites, and microplastics. Next, the Ion Exchange Filter reduces lead, taste and odor, chlorine, and other chemicals….” Use it for potable water during your next backcountry trip.
Helinox x Finisterre Chair One ($169) is a welcome collaboration between Helinox, a lightweight collapsible camp furniture company, and Finisterre, an outdoor apparel brand “born from a love of cold water surfing.” This just-under-1kg camp chair comes in a classic Finisterre blue and orange (bonus for Broncos fans) and is made from 100% recycled seat fabric.
IT500 500W Portable Power Station ($499.99) is a badass addition to your car-camping setup, and a comforting backup power source to have around the house or RV. Made by ITEHIL, this solar generator uses the LiFePo4 battery to store power, which they call “the safest lithium battery on the market.” The IT500 500W hooks up to a solar panel (sold separately), giving you quiet, odorless, eco-friendly energy. Its 500W capacity and peak power up to 750W will power most appliances and it has eight different output ports which should cover most devices. It’s also relatively portable and lightweight.
Hybrid Card Wallet ($44) is an ultra-slim, compact Nylon card holder and wallet in a sleek vertical design that will carry a few ID/credit cards and some cash. It has RFID blocking technology, weatherproof, ripstop nylon, and is recommended as a front-pocket slider. I like the clear plastic sleeve for my driver’s license which I can easily flash. Definitely digging this over my old bulky brown leather job.
Unicorn Dust Climbing Chalk ($10) is another stocking stuffer for the climber or gymnast in your life (also useful for archery, baseball, billiards, golf, weightlifting, and racket sports). Friction Labs is a Denver-based company, makes chalk in both powder and liquid forms, and is designed to be skin-friendly and mess free. They also make a “Secret Stuff” liquid chalk that prolongs your sweat-free grip. You spread it on your hands and it dries in a protective layer.
Cool Weather Apparel
Jack Wolfskin Atmos Jacket ($199.95) is a midweight, softshell, appropriate for everyday use but also for climbing, skiing, or winter running. It’s thicker than just a shell and less cumbersome than a puffy, making it a nice shoulder season jacket. It’s water-resistant and windproof, designed with recycled, synthetic fiber insulation (61% recycled polyester and 25% Tencel) and is 100% PFC Free. The Atmos is available in men’s and women’s styles, and in a few colors including a vibrant “lemon curry” (shown above).
Ibex Tencel Tee ($85) blends tencel and merino natural fibers into a material they call “the ultimate hot weather performance top.” Tencel comes from sustainably grown eucalyptus trees; they weave it with the merino wool for moisture wicking, temperature regulating, and antimicrobial properties. Ibex HQ is in Nederland, CO, in a 100% VOC-free, solar-powered home built from beetle-kill pine. Also in the sustainability realm, their manufacturing partners produce fiber in a closed-loop system, recycling over 99% of water and solvents that extract fibers from the wood pulp.
Mountain Hardwear Stretchdown Pant ($250) is designed to be worn over base layers and around the campsite. I tried them out during a cold, 3-day backpacking trip last month and wore them all morning long, until the sun warmed the forest, which was pretty late in the day. It has 700-fill RDS-certified down insulation and weighs 12 oz (340 grams). Boundary Ridge Gore-Tex Bib ($400, on sale for $300 at time of publication), also from Mountain Hardwear, is perfect for the slopes or backcountry. It has a waterproof, breathable 3L Gore-Tex shell, pockets galore, zippered fly, articulated knees, reinforced cuffs, and reflectors.
Polarized Running Sunglasses ($50) from Nathan are no-slip shades designed with sweaty athletes and adventurers in mind. Their thermoplastic TR90 frame is lightweight, impact resistant, and heat resistant, and super grippy inserts on the nose and temple keep them in place when you pick up the pace. These glasses are made with injection-molded polycarbonate lenses, which means the polarization is embedded in the lens as opposed to an easily-scratchable film on top. I can’t wait to try them out in the snow, where the polarization should ease strain on the eyes.
Woolies Tech Base Layers ($225), also from Ibex, are a warm, woolen foundation all winter long, whether I’m on recess duty at school or snowshoeing through the backcountry. The longsleeve crew ($105) and bottoms ($115) make a cozy mid-weight base that’s dry, warm, and smooth and they come in a range of earthy colors.
Darian Longsleeve Tee ($36.99) is a camouflage—the pattern is “mossy oak obsession”—all-around outdoor shirt, not just for hunting. It’s lightweight, breathable, snag-resistant, and is treated with scent-free Insect Shield Permethrin Technology against mosquitoes, ticks, and other bugs. Made from 100% polyester with 50+ UPF and an antimicrobial finish to reduce body odor, this shirt is a base in the winter, or a primary backcountry shirt for the summer.
CrossKix Foam Shoes ($59.99, pictured above) are a nice, comfortable, unisex slip-on shoe for those who like the soft, pliable foam but are too embarrassed to wear Crocs. These are partly open, with holes for breathability and fully water submersible and drainable, but you can also wear dark socks to give the illusion of a real shoe (but do not have any woodcutting accidents–you can’t fool an axe). For the winter, these are perfect apres-ski shoes for happy hour, but also good around the campground in the summer.
Swiftwick National Parks Collection Socks ($19.99) adds five new designs: Arches, Denali, Grand Teton, Joshua Tree and Rocky Mountain National Parks. They’re made from a soft, wicking blend to keep feet dry and give medium compression in the lower calves. These are excellent hikers and great for photo ops if you happen to be in the actual park.
PCH Hoodie from California Cowboy ($148) is like comfort food for your torso–a heavy cotton (465 gram French Terry) full zip sweatshirt with ample hood and pockets. It also has some bells and whistles like an insulated beverage pocket, a zippered dry tech pocket, and sunglasses loop. California Cowboy has a fun line of functional party shirts too and this hoodie feels like the cold weather extension of that.
Threads Triple-Layer X-STATIC Mask ($37) comes from a tights company whose production facility in Italy pivoted to making high quality masks last year. They use a nylon and elastane blend, for a soft, stretchy material, plus they have a layer of antimicrobial and antiviral silver yarn. The X-STATIC Mask has three-layers, including one layer of removable polyester customizable to your face shape. They also sell less expensive standard masks and kids’ masks.
TrailHeads Men’s Convertible Running Gloves ($35) are just the right midweight layer to keep the icy air off your hands. They switch easily between gloves and mittens and the mitten shell is made from waterproof, reflective material. The thumb is made from grid fabric so you can wipe the sweat from your brow and stay comfortable during winter workouts. Extended cuffs are long enough to tuck into a jacket sleeve so that none of your skin is exposed. The thumb and forefinger are touchscreen friendly, made from conductive fabric.
Food & Beverage
Weekend Warrior Spice Set ($34.99) is a Colorado celebration of meat rubs from Savory Spice; it includes Longs Peak Pork Chop Spice, Mt. Elbert All-Purpose Seasoning, Pikes Peak Butcher’s Rub, and Red Rocks Hickory Smoke Seasoning. Should be enough to get your spicy BBQ lover through the winter. This is a nice size for a gift set and you can pair it with a few cuts of meat or tools for the grill.
Get Supr ($14.99 for 10 sticks) is a decent single-origin Arabica instant coffee brand, also comes in a hemp-infused version which, for some, adds a calming effect to their caffeine buzz.
High Camp 750 flask ($125) is the highest quality, insulated vacuum bottle solution to the problem of how to carry hot drinks and/or spirits into the backcountry. Fill with coffee, cider, or other liquids. It keeps the hot hot, the cold cold, and will warm your belly one way or another. Comes with two tumblers with magnetic clips for the full service. Much classier than the empty Gatorade bottle flask trick.
1800 Añejo Tequila ($43) is a darker expression of tequila that thinks it’s whiskey. Perfect for either sipping round the campfire or for cocktails. Pair it with the High Camp Flask (above).
Apex Protein Sticks ($24.99 for 12 sticks) are like gourmet beef jerky for anyone who likes to travel, hunt, and hike. Comes in bars, bites, biltong, or sticks, in flavors like Kansas City BBQ, Jalapeno, and Teriyaki. It has zero sugar and is keto friendly. You must have at least one good beef jerky friend who will dig getting a box of these, or better yet—give them out as protein stocking stuffers.
Vitafusion Melatonin Max Strength Gummy Vitamins ($10.89) come in 10 mg doses of melatonin and can be really helpful as a natural sleep aid, whether home or camping. I often have sleep issues when traveling to elevation, and have found that staying hydrated plus one of these gummies can help keep things regular, especially on that first night or two in the mountains.
Soothi Journals ($38) are classy leather notebooks embossed with a selection of quotes, zodiac signs, initials, and interesting patterns. For every journal purchased, they plant a tree in partnership with One Tree Planted.
MOST PHOTOS BY Noah J Katz Photography