16 must-buy Christmas gifts for adventurers
© Red Bull
Not sure what you buy the outdoorsy type in your life this year? Or simply looking for a present for yourself? This wish list has you covered...
Adventures come in all shapes and sizes – as do adventure-worthy Christmas presents. If you’re not sure what to buy the explorer in your life – or if you’re simply looking for something adventurous to add to your own Christmas wish list – look no further.
From technical footwear to must-have gadgets, here’s some inspiration to help you find the perfect present, with ideas to suit all budgets.
1. Kathmandu Styper Jacket; £199
Waterproof, warm and colourful, the Styper is everything you need when carving through the powder off-piste in the Alps this winter. And with Kathmandu you don’t have to fret about where your clothing comes from and what it’s made of – the company is one of the most ethical and sustainably-focused out there, scoring an ‘A’ in the Ethical Fashion Report two years running and recycling millions of bottles into their clothing. Available in men’s and women’s versions, it’s perfect for red runs, exploring deep powder, sledging, snow-shoeing or a long weekend exploring the Lake District.
2. Patagonia 55L Black Hole Duffel; £110
A head-turning bag if ever there was one, Patagonia's 55L duffel of your dreams is super rugged and highly functional. A large mesh zip pocket is present on the inside for your delicates, there's an ever smaller zipped pocket for easy access to smaller items, while a cushy padded bottom panel to ensure your belongings won't get obliterated on a weekend trip away. Best of all, Patagonia's Black Hole collection is fully recycled, making use of 10 million plastic bottles in the best way possible.
3. 'Remote Places to Stay: the Most Unique Hotels at the End of the World'; £35
This bulky coffee table book may test the limits of a Christmas stocking, but when it comes to fuelling wanderlust in 2020 you won't find anything better. Authors Debbie Pappyn and David De Vleeschauwer have combed the ends of the earth to find the most eclectically isolated and downright different places to stay as a traveller. Featuring everything from Bond-like lairs on the ice to luxury desert retreats yearning to be explored, you can be sure that whoever receives this gift will be off the grid in no time.
Buy it: Waterstones
4. Finisterre Pendower Beanie; £30
If you give this hat as a gift you will win instant plaudits for the colour – bright, bold and perfect for being rescued from an avalanche. But when the giftee feels the hat and puts it on their head, you will witness true delight, for this beanie is made from a tactile combo of lamb and alpaca wool for a level of softness that’s rarely seen in a hat. Watch as they then refuse to take the headwear off until the clocks go back in March.
Buy it: Finisterre.com
5. Coros Vertix GPS Adventure Watch; £519
Although a relatively new player on the GPS watch scene, Coros is fast building a reputation for its watches’ super-long battery life. The Vertix claims a frankly inconceivable 150 hours on its power-saving mode, and 60 hours in regular mode. By any standards, that will cover most adventures. But this premium watch, which operates down to -30C(!), has some unreal features: waterproof to 150m, a scratchproof screen, superlight weight and acclimatisation evaluation that tells you when it’s safe for you to climb higher by monitoring your blood oxygen levels. It also tells the time...
By it now: Coros.com
6. BioLite CampStove 2, £130
A stove to save the planet *and* impress your fellow campers? Yep, BioLite specialises in solar and wood-fuelled power, and this gadget uses sticks to heat your dinner with a smokeless flame while also charging your phone via USB. All you need to do is gather some bits of wood lying on the floor around you. The latest version features an integrated battery, plus LEDs so you can see exactly how much juice is left in the system and control the fan speed to assist your flame-grilling.
Buy it: Bioliteenergy.com
7. Hoka One One Sky Toa; £160
For those who like to get a shift on when they’re hiking, these light hiking/running hybrid shoes from Hoka One One will elevate any thru-hikes to speedier affairs with added levels of luxe comfort. At just 420g, the Sky Toas are exceptionally light for a pair of hiking kicks, and Hoka One One’s trademark cushioning makes them the spongy soft feet dream for tackling challenging multi-day hikes. They are fully waterproof thanks to an ‘eVent’ bootie that seals your foot into the shoe, the upper lets your feet breathe so things don’t get too sweaty, and the sole features a grippy Vibram outer layer for added traction.
8. Snow Peak Titanium Single Wall 450 Colour Mug; £30
Japanese outdoor brand Snow Peak has just announced its first store in Europe and chosen London as the flagship location. Its gear is super high-end, durable and finely crafted, meaning each item is a thing of beauty. The camping equipment is extensive (and expensive), but for the cash you’re investing in a piece of kit that will last you a lifetime. If you’re looking for a stocking filler, the colour mugs are the perfect entry point – the single-wall ones can be heated on a stove, and turn rainbow-coloured as the titanium anodises it.
Buy it: Snowpeak.co.uk
9. Urbanista Athens Headphones; £119
Want to enjoy a podcast on a nice solo hike? Or keen to train for your next ultra with a carefully curated Spotify playlist. The latest in Urbanista’s headphone range is aimed directly at adventurers – the Athens wireless ’phones are fully waterproof, so basically perfect whether you're taking to the trails or scaling a mountain. Inspired by the birthplace of the Olympic Games, the wireless buds charge in their case, connect via Bluetooth 5.0 and will operate for eight hours on one charge, with another three full charges via the pocket-sized carry case.
Buy it: Urbanista.com
10. Sandqvist Ruben 18L backpack; £149
If ever there were a reason to head out on a big mazy hike (aside from incredible scenery and the multiple benefits to your mental health), it’s this: the Ruben. Looking every bit as delicious as it sounds, it's also water-resistant and comes with YKK AquaGuard zippers to ensure all your belongings will stay safe and dry on a big ramble through the hills. Moreover, with a 13" laptop compartment you may want to hand your current work bag its P45.
Buy it: Sandqvist.com
11. Icebreaker Bodyfitzone 260 Zone Hood Base Layer; £130
You don't need to be Ernest Shackleton to appreciate a good base layer in the winter. Icebreaker makes some of the best out there, largely thanks to its pioneering use of merino wool and commitment to sourcing the best quality materials with the highest animal welfare standards. The Bodyfitzone is designed to help you be active in the very coldest of conditions – whether that’s a trail run in the snow or snowboarding in whiteout conditions. It’s also breathable and has a tight-fitting hood in case the temperature drops even further.
Buy it: Icebreaker.com
12. Leatherman Free P2; £145
If you live your weekends in the outdoors, you’ll be familiar with Leatherman multitools. The Portland toolmaker leads the way in easily transportable gadgets that contain all you need for fixing and adjusting things on your trips into the wild. This year, the company added an even more essential range – the Free tools are more technologically advanced, smaller and utilise a new magnetic lock system so you can open and close it using just one hand with a satisfying click.
Buy it: Leatherman.co.uk
13. Peak Performance Argon Light Jacket; £210
If you haven’t got one already, now’s the time to sort an insulated jacket for winter. Luckily, Swedish brand Peak Performance knows freezing temperatures better than most. It's planning a pop-up shop in Guildford until next spring, and if you require a padded jacket, the Argon Light should be top of your list. Made only from recycled materials, the understated design means it will work equally well on the slopes of Courchevel or the wavy garmed streets of east London.
14. 'The Impossible Climb: Alex Honnold, El Capitan and The Climbing Life'; £14
Perfect for that person who loved Free Solo so much that free soloing was all they talked about for the subsequent six months, this book by climber Mark Synnott is partly a memoir of his life and climbing, and partly a history of climbing in general, with a focus on Yosemite. Interweaved within the story are more details about Alex Honnold’s historic climb of El Cap. Synnott is an old friend and climbing partner of Honnold, and the exploration of Honnold’s mindset – in particular a chapter examining how his brain is differently wired to everyone else's – is both gripping (apt) and inspiring.
Buy it: Amazon.co.uk
15. Zippo Heatbank Handwarmer & Powerbank, £39.95
The Zippo Handwarmer has always been a stalwart of winter-based adventures, helping folk head outside to get fit and explore when most others are hunkering down under a warm duvet. Now Zippo has made it even more desirable by making it rechargeable – simply boost it via USB before you head out and as soon as you feel cold, switch the pebble-shaped device on and get some feeling back into your fingers instantly. It can also be used as a handy power bank to charge other devices too. In short, it's the ultimate winter multitasker.
Buy it: Zippo.com
16. Darn Tough Micro Cushion Hiking Socks, £22
These are unlike any other socks you’ve hiked in before. They are 63 percent merino wool, which will keep your feet warm on the very coldest of snow days, but more importantly, let them breathe so they don’t get sweaty and cause blisters. Another plus point is the luxurious fit – tight around the mid-foot, they don’t bunch in your shoes, meaning no painful blister-based hobbling halfway up Helvellyn. Then, there’s the design – the Vermont company’s socks stand out from the crowd with their bright, outdoors-based graphics. And the company offers a lifetime guarantee, so if your toe ever pokes through they will fix or replace them for free.