We truly love the romantic notion of searching high and low and exercising all the creative muscles to dream up the perfect gift that they never would have thought to get themselves. This is oftentimes where the independent makers and small business owners come in—if this is what feels right for friends and family on your list, we highly recommend taking some time to find the creators you believe in and support their craft. Around here, we particularly love Vancrafted Studio, Studio Chenoweth, Wolf Ceramics, Bri Bol, Gianna Andrews Art, and Teddi Joelle (formerly Hustle & Hide Co.), just to name a few.
On the other side of the coin, there’s the utilitarian gift—we’re big fans of this one as well. Gifting them apparel that they’ll bring along on adventures for years to come is a double win: They feel safer, more comfortable, warmer, and/or more prepared, and you get to experience more adventures with them!
Because we’re simply ecstatic that the snow has started to fall, most of these categories will trend toward winter activities. Where we can, though, we’ve included pieces that can easily transition from cool to warmer-weather excursions. We’ve also—where we can—included companies and products that have made it their mission to produce ethically and sustainably. Finally, here’s our advice, take it or leave it: It’s better to ask for sizing before you buy instead of gambling.
Though it’s not a super glamorous gift, the difference between a nice, hardworking baselayer and a threadbare or (gasp) cotton option is astronomical. Plus, the recent advent of merino wool ninja suits is proof that the industry is completely rethinking this critical layer. Here are a few of our favorites that have made a serious difference in the length and quality of our adventures.
To be honest, we’re not sure if there can ever be too much fleece or too many mid-layers in a closet. The versatility of these pieces speak to our inability to pass them on a shelf or hanger without touching the sleeve and wondering aloud: Do they need this? Now that the holidays are here, that question becomes more and more rhetorical.
A pair of stretchy, good-looking pants that is at home on the bike commute and the status meeting and the boulder gym is an unspeakable treat. Thankfully, this seems to be a rising trend, and the options are diversifying exponentially by the season.
The coveted puffy: Thank you a million, Eddie Bauer, for blessing us with this can’t-do-without-it cold-weather staple. There are nearly endless options to choose from, and truly, it’s hard to go wrong. Because they’re so coveted and it’s such a competitive market, nearly every performance puffy out there is a decent purchase.
If you have a year’s-end bonus burning a hole in your pocket and your ski buddy’s pants are held together with duct tape, blow their socks off with shiny, new, fully-snowproof ski getup.
As far as utility goes (if you live on the verdant East Coast or in the misty Pacific Northwest), a rain shell is tops. Choosing one that’s hardworking, durable, and good looking enough to accompany them to work every day, that’s a major win.
Oversized sweaters, cozy fleece, and a wood stove are quintessential holiday season staples for us (after a deep powder day, of course). These crowd pleasers will keep them snuggly and warm no matter how low the thermometer dips.
Socks are truly the classic gift that never gets old. Mega bonus points if you knit them yourself, but if you don’t happen to have that talent, there are plenty of options for a wide range of prices and styles that will fit just right.