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Elle Ossello | 11.19.2018

We’re convinced: Less is more. The holidays can put so much pressure on us to get everyone on our list a Santa-sack full of things so there’s a more impressive under-the-tree spread. But how many gifts truly stand out in your mind? How many do you still use today? We’ve compiled the best gifts that will not only better equip your best adventure buddies, but will also last for years—possibly decades—of adventures. Quality always wins out in our books. 

No matter if they’re dipping toes into the activities below or have been seasoned pros for years, these picks are the best of the best. Where we could be, we were considerate of price. Finally, because we’re simply ecstatic that snow season is approaching, you’ll find that many of the gifts are best used as the temperature falls. Here’s to thoughtful gifts, Ullr’s snowy blessing, and time spent with the ones we love!

For the backpacker 

MSR PocketRocket® 2 Stove 

Wind resistant, super consistent, and incredibly light, it’s an absolute necessity for a backpacker. Ideal for boiling water and cooking veggies, it’s got everything we love about the original and a little more. Price: $33.95. Learn more and buy here.

Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter System

No complicated assembly, no pumping bicep workout, no unnecessary carrying case, and water you can unquestioningly trust. It makes other water filtration systems look like they’re from the stone age. Price: $28.44. Learn more and buy here.

Kindle Paperwhite E-Reader

While we’d never thought we’d be recommending an e-reader over the tactile experience of a book, the Kindle is admittedly superior for backpacking. It’s super light, packable, and they can read in the tent with the soft white light without disturbing their tent mate. Plus, the Paperwhite is now also waterproof! Price: $129.99. Learn more and buy here.

For the hiker

Garmin inReach® Mini Satellite Communicator

The best memories are made outside of cell service—in our world, that’s simply a fact. But having a way to check in with their loved ones and keep emergency help accessible can lend peace of mind that makes a difference. Price: $348.40. Learn more and buy here.

America the Beautiful Pass 

Cover their entrance fees at national park and national wildlife refuges for the entire year. This pass also covers standard amenity/day use fees at national forests and grasslands, on BLM land, Bureau of Reclamation, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land. Price: $80. Learn more and buy here.

Eno DoubleNest® Hammock

Is there anything better than kicking your feet up with a view at the trail’s end? That’s a rhetorical question by the way. Why not gift them one that fits you both? Price: $52.46. Learn more and buy here.

For the snowshoer 

MSR Lightning™ Ascent Snowshoes

Although the price tag is a bit steep, these are consistently rated the very best all-around, lightweight snowshoes. They fit boots super well, resist snow buildup, and stay on top of the powder for mile after glorious, snowy mile. Price: $229.95. Learn more and buy here.

Montem Ultra Strong Trekking Poles

More durable than carbon fiber, these poles are designed to be a simple, hardworking, non-pretentious option. The snow baskets make them great for snowshoeing, but they’ll easily traverse the seasons. Price: $59.99. Learn more and buy here.

Zojirushi Stainless Steel Food Jar

It might not be the most attractive name brand thermos, but where it lacks in aesthetics, it makes up for in durability and utility. How could you possibly top the gift of hot, homemade soup at a snowy lookout? Price: $24.79. Learn more and buy here.

For the kayaker/canoer/rafter

Watershed Ocoee™ Drybag

The Ocoee™ is what put Watershed on the map. Although there are myriad companies producing top-quality dry bags, Watersheds are truly the best of the best. Think professional-camera-equipment-stuck-in-a-pourover-for-three-days good. Price: $100.80. Learn more and buy here.

Astral Brewer 2.0/Brewess 2.0 Shoe ($110.00)

Ask a river rat, and they’ll most likely tell you that the Brewer/Brewess outpaces 300+ days on the river no question. The durable materials, grippy soles, and excellent customer service that comes from Astral makes these shoes winners. Price: $60-110, based on size and color. Learn more and buy here.

Sweet Protection Rocker Helmet 

Consistently rated at the very top of the charts, the Rocker is simply the gold standard for whitewater head protection. Period. Price: $212.46. Learn more and buy here.

For the roadtripper

NRS 1-inch Tie-down Straps 

While tie-down straps might not feel like the most glamorous gift, they are nearly universally useful, extremely easy to use, totally overkill when it comes to weight-bearing, and they can double as a dog leash in a pinch! Price: $4 to $48, depending on length. Learn more and buy here.

Fujifilm instax SQ20

Revered as the Polaroid of the future, the instax immediately prints pictures as you take them, externalizing all the memories on the go. Price: $199.95. Learn more and buy here.

Weego Jump Starter 22s

This is the safest and simplest jump starter we know of, completely erasing the panic of a dead battery in the middle of nowhere. Again, not a super glamorous gift, but they’ll be incessantly thanking you when it saves the day. Price: $61.99. Learn more and buy here.

For the biker

Dakine Bike Roller Bag

Though the price is a bit steep, this is among the very best in bike bags. It makes traveling with a bike simple and much less stressful—Dakine has built this bag to stand up to the tribulations of air travel. Price: $399.95. Learn more and buy here.

Silca Pista Floor Pump

The consistently top-rated Pista pump is a staple of mountain bikers, road riders, commuters, and everything in between. Buy them the Pista and you’ll be seeing it in their garage for decades to come. Price: $99. Learn more and buy here.

Osprey Raptor 14 Hydration Pack

Perfectly built for first aid, a small repair kit, your phone, and a light jacket, this is the best pack for a long day on dirt or pavement. Price: $98. Learn more and buy here.

For the dog parent

Astral BirdDog Life Jacket 

Astral is one of the most revered names in the whitewater community, so it goes without saying that this is the best PFD for your furry adventure buddy. Keep them safe through flat and whitewater with this comfortable jacket. Price: $37 to $80, depending on size and color options. Learn more and buy here.

Canine Field Medicine: First Aid for Your Active Dog

Informed preventive and emergency care out in the field can make all the difference. This book is packable and features color images and straightforward, thorough directions and instructions on administering care to your pup with supplies that are already in your first-aid kit. Price: $14.95. Learn more and buy here.

For the skier/snowboarder

Scott LCG Goggle

Top rated in visibility, fog resistance, fit, helmet compliance, and durability, these goggles are choice for your snowsport buddy. Though the price is a bit steep, we’d say it’s well worth the all-around added benefits. Price: $112 to $200. Learn more and buy here.

Dakine Heli Pro 20L Backpack

For touring or a day on the lifts, the Heli Pro has all the pockets, compartments, extra features, and room to comfortably carry everything they’ll need. This is a design that has been around—and periodically improved upon—for nearly a decade. Price: $80. Learn more and buy here.

Hestra Army Leather Heli Ski Gloves

With a tough, super waterproof outer shell and an interchangeable lining, they can wear these gloves for the entire season feeling comfortable and warm. Price: $144. Learn more and buy here.

For the surfer

Rip Curl Wet As Hooded Towel

Cozy, packable, and shin-length, this roomy poncho is ideal for squeezing out of a wetsuit after a long, happily exhausting day playing on the waves. Price: $60.91. Learn more and buy here.

Freestyle Classic Tide Watch 

While the design remains largely unchanged for the last 25 years, the capabilities just keep getting better. This waterproof and scratch-resistant watch features tide, sunrise and sunset data for 150 beaches worldwide. Price: $100. Learn more and buy here.

Dakine Cyclone II Dry Pack 36L Backpack

This bombproof, surfboard-toting, completely waterproof roll-top backpack is packed full of features and is ideal for withstanding the sand, sun, and wear of the long surfing summers. Price: $149.95. Learn more and buy here.



For more gift ideas for the outdoor adventurer in your life, check out our other gift guides for the 2018 holiday season:


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