Gift Ideas From Outdoor Athletes

We spoke with some of the world’s top outdoor athletes about their favorite gear for both sport and life. Here are a few of their top picks. —Yoon Kim

Ryan Sandes, Ultra Runner

What’s your favorite piece of running as well as non-running gear?

I would have to go with my mountain bike or a slack-line as the non-running gear, and for runners either a Salomon Advanced Hydration Pack or my new custom S-Lab shoes. Also, the Suunto Ambit2 S watch is awesome.

Dean Karnazes, Ultra Runner

What’s your favorite piece of running gear?

To me, the perfect gear is one that you don’t even know you’ve got on. I have to say my Oakley Flak Jacket sunglasses fit the bill — they’re super comfortable, optically brilliant, and they automatically adjust to variations in lighting and contrast. I can use them during a 24-hour race and forget they’re even there.

What’s your favorite piece of non-running gear?

I’m a big believer in the benefits of cross-training and I’ve been using this crazy contraption called an ElliptiGO. When I first saw one I was skeptical, but from the moment I stepped on it I was hooked. Great workout, and great fun to ride!

ElliptiGO

What would you recommend to those who have a runner in their lives for gifts?

The North Face makes a jacket called the Apex Lite. It’s probably the most versatile running jacket I’ve ever worn. Can’t go wrong there. Of course, a copy of one of my books wouldn’t be a bad gift idea, either!

The North Face Apex Lite

Ted Ligety, Olympic Skier

What’s your favorite piece of non-ski gear?

My GoPro. I take lots of action shots and video but I also use it to capture a bunch of non-ski stuff, too.

You are the president of Shred, a ski gear brand. What are some of your favorite products from your company?

Everyone could use a pair of Shred goggles. My favs are the Stupefy model because they are super comfy, have a huge field of view, and they look awesome.

Shred Stupefy

Justin Simone, Biker

What’s your favorite piece of non-cycling gear?

It’s something I’ve had most all of my life: My first and only pair of rock shoes. I bought my first pair of La Sportivas when I was about 16 at Prime Climb in Bristol, Ct. I remember completing 5.11c routes as a precocious, gangly kid, and I still use them now to free solo routes around Boulder’s Flatirons 16 years later. I took them to get resoled at Rock and Resole, also in Boulder, when a few spots on the sole seemed to be getting thin. Now they’re good as new and fit me just as well as they did way back when, which is important when you have not-so-tiny feet.

La Sportiva Cliff

What’s your favorite piece of cycling gear?

My Surly Crosscheck was one of the first bike frames I’ve ever bought and was the centerpiece for the first bike build I did myself. Being almost indestructible, it’s allowed me to explore the roads and trails right outside of my home, as well as being my companion on multi-month, multi-country bike tours through the years. It’s been used as a commuter, a touring rig, and raced as a fixed-geared bike in cyclocross. It’s won 50-mile “Ultra Cross” races (geared as a single-speed!), gone up and down 13,000 foot passes, summited 14,000 foot mountains. It’s been ridden over 225 miles in one day.

Surly Crosscheck

I finally cracked the frame while training for the Tour Divide — somewhere on route between Del Norte and Frisco, Colo. I only realized the problem when I rode back to Denver and brought it to my local bike shop (Salvagetti) because of some “funny noises.” Salvagetti helped me replace the frame — same make, model and color, as my original. Still my go-to bike to do everything.

What gear makes a great holiday gift for cyclists?

Being warm in the winter equates to being very happy when outside doing the things we love. I’ve fleshed out my cold-weather gear with an absolute amazing assortment of wool products from Icebreaker. It’s un-stinky, wicks away moisture, doesn’t itch, fits nice and tight, and it looks pretty darn good when worn out on the town, or curled up next to a fire.

All my bike bags I’ve used on the Tour Divide, Arizona Trail Race, and the Colorado Trail Race are made by Greg at Bolder Bikepacking. Greg’s a wonderful person to work with, listens attentively to what I’m looking to get made, and he is a wizard at the sewing machine. If Greg’s custom bags can survive my punishment, they’ll survive anything. Since bike frames are so different, Greg makes every frame bag custom and also has gas tanks, and saddle bags in a variety of sizes.

Bolder Bikepacking

Jay Petervary, Biker

What’s your favorite piece of non-cycling gear?

Did you say you wanted to play hacky sack? Maybe you’re looking for something more along the lines of The Buff. Truly a multi-functional, fashionable accessory for any sport. Oh, and I also love coffee.

The Buff

What’s your favorite piece of cycling gear?

Tough one…can I include bikes here? Because my Salsa Fargo “do-it-all” adventure bike has really proved to me that maybe it’s possible for someone to have a one-quiver stable.

Salsa Fargo

What would you recommend as a gift?

Anything above and also every cyclist needs to have a wind jacket of sorts. I recommend the Montbell Tachyon jacket. I never leave home without it and find myself wearing it often. When I am not wearing it I don’t even know I have it since it packs down so small and weights close to nothing. It’s a staple!

Montbell Tachyon Jacket

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By
Editor-in-Chief Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in GearJunkie's Denver office, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.
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