Gear Junkie's Holiday Gift Guide

Gear Junkie’s Holiday Gift Guide
By STEPHEN REGENOLD

Forget video games. Don’t even think about a fruit basket. This year get your family and friends gear they can use on the snow, in the woods or anywhere else outside and under the blue sky. Here are a dozen outdoors-oriented gift suggestions. Pick your gifts wisely. The skis, backpacks, camp stoves, multi-tools and headlamps you give are gateways to adventure. Lifestyle changes may result.

Lippi USA Selk Sleep Wear System — Winter campers rejoice, the world finally has a sleeping bag that you can wear. Lippi USA’s Selk Sleep Wear System was made for comfort, warmth and mobility, allowing wearers to walk around camp, prepare food, and use a restroom — all possible without ever stepping outside of the cozy cocoon. You can lie down to sleep wherever you choose, in a tent or under the stars, though a pad is recommended. Constructed with polyester or duck down insulation and a nylon face fabric with reinforced feet. $149 to $349, depending on model; www.lippioutdoor.com

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Blackbird Rider guitar — This compact acoustic guitar was designed for travel — be it a wilderness trek or a backpacking trip through Europe. Its carbon fiber construction and proprietary hollow neck design make for a light weight, durable and resonant instrument that the company touts can “nearly match the tonal quality of a high-quality, full-size instrument.” Comes in a nylon- and steel-string version. Dimensions are 37 × 12 × 4.5 inches, and it weighs 3.25 pounds. $1,600 and up, http://blackbirdguitars.com

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Wenger EvoGrip S54 Swiss Army Knife — If you’re going to give a Swiss Army knife away this holiday season, why not go a bit over the top? Wenger’s EvoGrip S54 Swiss Army Knife has 18 implements and 31 functions — from a 2.5-inch locking blade and a wood saw to pliers and a fold-out mineral-crystal magnifier. A fish scaler, hook disgorger, metal file, metal saw and integrated compass are other tricks. The 7.7-ounce knife is 3.25 inches long and has an ergonomic handle with rubber swaths for good grip on the blade. $152.95, www.wengerna.com

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Dakine Fall Line Double ski bag — Travel with style, convenience and maximum capacity. The Fall Line Double bag fits boots, poles and two pairs of skis in a primo wheeled case that’s easy to roll along the concourse. Padded throughout to protect your skis. Measures 12 × 6.5 × 67 inches and weighs 8 pounds when empty. $110, www.dakine.com

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Operator Tactical Apparel — These outdoorsy cargo pants, made by L.A. Police Gear Inc., sell for a mere $25 per pair. For that price you get the preshrunk and 10-pocketed cotton/polyester pants to “hold a multitude of accessories for work and for adventure,” as the company says. But in my test these inexpensive pants did not seem cheap. The fabric feels durable and the fit was great for casual activity like hiking. Available in khaki, black and army green. $24.99, www.lapolicegear.com

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53 × 11 coffee — Founded by cyclists, 53 × 11 coffee offers four fair-trade organic coffee varieties, including The Early Break, a medium roast, and The Big Ring Sumatran blend. The company’s Chain Breaker, made for espresso machines or drip coffee makers, is a “secret blend roasted darker for a big bold cup without the bitterness.” Monthly “coffee club” subscription packages deliver a 12-ounce bag of whole beans once a month all year long for the cycling coffee-drinker on your holiday gift list. Prices: $10.99 to $11.49 per bag, www.53×11coffee.com

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Maui Jim Kaimana Sunglasses — Inspired by surfers, and now seen on ski slopes around the country, Maui Jim’s sunglasses tout UV protection and polarization for safety and better visibility on the mountain. Models like the Kaimana (pictured) have a lightweight frame and wrap-around coverage. The lens is a thin glass that’s polarized to cut out all superfluous glare, making moguls pop and flat light dissipate into the air. $200, www.mauijim.com

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Blue Ridge Camping Hammock — Pitch your sleeping quarters high off the ground with the Blue Ridge Camping Hammock from the Lawson Hammock Company, a one-person sleep system that’s lightweight, comfortable and weatherproof. Essentially a tent that hovers between two trees, the hammock has no-see-um mesh, poles to prop its nylon fabric taut, and a fly to enclose a camper 100 percent from the rain. The system allows campers to sleep in places not suitable for traditional tent camping, including wet ground and steep terrain. But if you want to sleep on the ground the hammock can be staked out as a bivy tent, too. 36 inches wide x 90 inches long; maximum weight is 250 pounds. Comes in green, blue or camouflage motifs. $139.99, www.lawsonhammock.com

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MSR Reactor Stove System — Touting maximum efficiency and an unrivaled boil time, the Reactor employs proprietary and patent-pending burner features for two modes of heat transfer (convective and radiant) to generate maximum heat output. Then an integrated heat exchanger fused to the included 1.7-liter pot encloses the burner, increasing surface area of the flame and furthering efficiency, according to the company. Runs on propane and isobutene fuel canisters. Weight is just under 20 ounces for the whole kit, making it more than manageable on a backpacking trip. $139.95, http://msrgear.com

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Iomega eGo Camo Hard Drive — Outdoorsy types need data storage, too. So why not a hard drive dressed up in camouflage? The Iomega eGo Camo Portable Hard Drive has a rubber guard that helps protects the drive during drops up to 60 inches high. With 250GB of storage capacity, it can save hundreds of thousands of scenic photos, digital maps, and other computer content. $104, www.iomega.com

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The Jimi Wallet — Small and translucent, rigid and smooth, the Jimi is “the wallet for people who hate wallets.” That’s according to Mike O’Neill, the San Francisco cyclist and entrepreneur who created this plastic money holder. O’Neill’s creation — a slim and unobtrusive case that holds credit cards, your driver’s license and some cash — measures 4.25 inches high by 2.6 inches wide. The case folds on plastic hinges, which the company says will hold up to one million opens and closes. Inside, there is a slot for four credit cards on one half and a money clip on the other half — the essentials and nothing more. Available in nine colors, from clear to a deep ruby red, the Jimi costs $14.95. www.thejimi.com

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The Collective’s Four Seasons DVD — Seven of the world’s top mountain bikers pedal through four seasons and a shotgun of steep mtb venues around the continent. The film explores what it means to be a fulltime rider as told through the lives of these downhill racers, slopestyle competitors, and big mountain freeriders. 60 minute feature. $28, www.thecollectivefilm.com

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Suunto Lumi — Touted as the first advanced outdoors watch made for women, the Lumi has features like an altimeter, activity log, digital compass, and a weather trend indicator — all packed in an elegant watch wearable on an expedition or everyday. The Lumi “speaks” four languages — English, French, Spanish, German — and can be set to beep when a storm is oncoming by monitoring barometric pressure. Scrolling text guides and minimal buttons make operation intuitive and easy. Four color choices. Retail price is $329 (street price is about $270), www.suunto.com

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(Stephen Regenold writes The Gear Junkie column for eleven U.S. newspapers; see www.THEGEARJUNKIE.com for video gear reviews, a daily blog, and an archive of Regenold’s work.)

Posted by Stephen - 06/25/2013 11:50 AM

Holiday gift? Ray-Ban Sunglasses!

http://www.rayban.com

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