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The Gear Junkie: Holiday Season Gear

Of all seasons, the holidays are the easiest time of year to drop cash on gear and goodies for the great outdoors. Here’s a quick look at eight Gear-Junkie-approved items, all under $55, to consider for someone special on your list.

Adventure Medical Kits S.O.L. Survival Pak—Made for wilderness survival in a time of emergency, you better pray your friend or family member never employs this gift. The S.O.L. Pak puts several survival items in an ultralight waterproof bag. In total, the 4.6-ounce kit includes a mirror; a whistle; matches; tinder; a space blanket; bilingual survival and first aid instructions; a fishing kit; duct tape; and a compass. $25, www.adventuremedicalkits.com

SUGOi Subzero Skull Cap—This bike-helmet-compatible beanie has a low drop in the back to cover your neck completely to the collar. A waterproof/breathable laminate finish eschews precipitation but lets your head still have air. $20, www.sugoi.com

Big Agnes Mountain Booty—Technical slippers are a reality. If you’ve ever winter camped, you know the pain of cold feet in a tent or snow cave. These PrimaLoft-insulated booties have an ankle drawstring to cinch securely on your feet. They pack down small to become all but unnoticeable in a pack. $40, www.bigagnes.com

Keen Hawthorne—Breed a backpack with a messenger bag and you get this unique shoulder “sling” bag, which sits secure with a single wide strap across your chest. It’s made of recycled polyester and has a rubber bottom for durability and water resistance. Best for city bike trips, errands or tromping around town. $55, www.keenfootwear.com

180s Puffy Quilt—Insert stereo headphones into a cozy set of earmuffs and you have the Puffy Quilt, a behind-the-head design ear-warming unit compatible with MP3 players like the iPod. Its cord is removable for times when warmth is still needed, but your music is not. $40, www.180s.com

Shred Alert Lambgirl—Yes, this is an acrylic/lambsuede cowboy hat made for winter sports. It has a bendable brim and a cozy, fuzzy interior to keep your noggin warm. Statement or style? You can decide. $48, www.shredalert.com

Spork XM—The spork is a mainstay of camping culture. This update of an old design fashions the spork out of a durable polycarbonate that brings its weight down to a half-ounce. Its features include a spoon, fork tines and a small serrated knife-like edge. $4, www.light-my-fire.com

Tarma Designs Jewelry—The outdoors-themed jewelry in Tarma’s line, most of which is made from recycled stainless steel, is designed for women and men, including pendants, bracelets and earrings. Most pieces are low-profile and can be worn during activities ranging from running to yoga. Prices start at $20, www.tarmadesigns.com

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

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