Trek-worthy gifts for outdoor adventurers

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Hit the outdoors with these gift ideas. Photo: Christian Arballo
Hit the outdoors with these gift ideas. Photo: Christian Arballo/Flickr CC

Going gear-shopping for your favorite outdoors-loving friend or family member can be harder than trekking up Mount St. Helens as she’s about to blow. There are so many options, but so much crap.

To help you out with your holiday shopping, Cult of Mac waded through the endless lists of camping and hiking gear and gadgets to find the stuff your special someone will love.

Whether you’re looking for something for an adventuring buddy, or picking a present for someone you’d never want to be trapped in a tent with, we’ve found gifts for everyone. From hiking clothes to campsite gadgets, we’ve got you covered.

BioLite KettleCharge

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Boil your gadgets back to life with the KettleCharge’s 10 watts of power. Photo: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac


BioLite’s gadget-powering stoves have been a blessing for techies in the outdoors, and the KettleCharge is the most useful off-grid tool in the lineup.

The BioLite KettleCharge uses water and heat to generate 10 watts of delicious electricity to recharge any power-hungry gadgets you can plug into its USB port. Great for camping, but also handy in the city if you’re ever in a power outage or natural disaster, it can even recharge your iPad.

It works with a backpacking stove, hot plate or even a gas grill. Just fill it up with water, wait for it to boil, and watch your power meter fill up in minutes. Now you can get reckless with your battery without worrying about when you’ll see a power outlet again.

BioLite KettleCharge – $149.99

Osprey Exos 58

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Exos 58: an ultralight pack that can swallow gear and take punishment. Photo: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac

Osprey’s Exos 58 backpack is an ultralight bag, but don’t let the name fool you — this baby can handle some serious weight. Whether you’re taking it on an overnighter or a four-day excursion, the Exos 58 is up for the challenge, making it one of the most versatile packs I’ve ever hiked with. It offers the best of both worlds, with an airy suspension that’s lightweight, balanced and ridiculously comfortable.

The redesigned pack features an improved harness and hip belt to go with its breathable back-panel and ventilated shoulder harness, so you’re not drowning in sweat while huffing it up the side of a mountain. With 61 liters of space, it can swallow all the gear you throw at it. Plus it comes with detachable loops so you can strap a sleeping bag to the bottom. If you’re going ultralight, the top compartment comes off to minimize bulk.

Osprey Exos 58 – $156.95

GoTenna

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No signal is no problem when you’re in the wild with GoTenna. Photo: GoTenna
Photo: GoTenna

Keeping in touch with your buddies in the wilderness is tough. If you have a cellphone signal you’re not trying hard enough, and if you don’t, well, good luck finding each other if you split up. With GoTenna, your iPhone becomes a useful communication tool in the outdoors again, by allowing you to send and receive texts and share GPS locations on offline maps.

The wandlike device uses Bluetooth LE to connect to your iPhone and then broadcasts to other GoTenna users over low-frequency radio waves. It boasts a range of up to 9 miles when hiking or camping, and messages can be set to self-destruct once your recipient reads them. Best of all, the GoTenna lasts up to a year and a half on a single charge when on standby. You won’t be able to connect to Twitter or Facebook, but at least you can get an emergency text out if things go wrong.

GoTenna – $149.99

Olloclip for iPhone 6

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Olloclip is ready to pump out extra performance from your iPhone camera. Photo: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac

The iPhone is pretty much everyone’s No. 1 camera now, so if you’ve got one of those hiker/Instagrammer types on your list this year, give them the gift of better photos. There are tons of different lens you can toss on your iPhone to eke out better performance, but none are more convenient, portable or practical than the Olloclip.

The Olloclip for iPhone 6 has been completely redesigned, with a pendant-style clipping system that’s small enough to throw on a keychain but feels more substantial than previous versions. The pocket-size package carries four optic lenses — wide angle, fisheye, 10x macro and 15x macro — so you can capture scenes that aren’t possible with a naked iPhone lens.

Olloclip – $79.99

Flashlight 2 UL tent

Sierra Designs Flashlight 2 UL Tent
Compact, light and waterproof, the Flashlight 2 UL is an ultralight hiker’s dream. Photo: Sierra Designs

If you’re shopping for an outdoorsman this year, it’s hard to go wrong with Sierra Designs’ Flashlight 2 UL tent. Devout ultralight hikers will love the lightweight 3-pound, 6-ounce package that doesn’t skimp on comfort. Its design is a bit unconventional, but it’s super-easy to pitch. With a peak height of 46 inches, it’s roomy enough for your tallest friends, and it features waterproof awnings and walls to keep them dry at night.

Sierra Designs Flashlight 2 UL Tent – $251.96

MiiR 64-ounce insulated growler

MiiR growler. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Delicious draft beer goes from the bar to your campsite with MiiR’s growler. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

There is nothing more enjoyable than pouring some cold golden delicious down your gullet after a long day of adventuring. Getting cold beer to your remote campsite used to mean carrying in a six pack or weird beer concentrates, but now you can enjoy your favorite draft beer in the wild without sacrificing quality. MiiR’s stainless steel growler lets you bring the party with you, thanks to its double-wall vacuum insulation that promises to keep all hoppy liquids cool for 24 hours, no fridge required. It’s got a threadless closure on the clamping lid, keeping your beer carbonated much longer, and it’s easier to clean than regular glass and plastic growlers.

MiiR 64oz Growler – $46.32

Switch 10 Multi-Tool

Goal Zero Switch 10 Multi-Tool Kit. Photo: Goal Zero
Switch 10 recharges your iPhone by tapping into the power of the sun. Photo: Goal Zero

My friends and I like to play a little game called “whose iPhone has the lowest battery” as soon as we make camp. Usually I win thanks to all the music-listening and picture-taking I do on the trail. Thanks to Goal Zero, though, that game is pretty much dead. The new Switch 10 multi-tool kit is one of the most useful tools in my pack now, with its flashlight that also doubles as an iPhone charger.

Fuel up the Switch 10 before hitting the trails and you’ve got an extra battery recharge whenever you need it. What really sets it apart from other USB flashlights, though, is its Nomad solar panel. As long as you have some sun you’ll never have to worry about hitting 0 percent battery, no matter how many days you’re out in the woods.

Switch 10 Multi-Tool – $119.95

Home Is Where You Park It

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Take a ride into the van life with Foster Huntington’s new book. Photo: A Restless Transplant

Someday I will ditch my nine-to-five job, pack my belongings into a van, and become a wandering hermit vagabond. Until that day comes, I’ll have to settle with living vicariously through Foster Huntington and his incredible coffee-table book, Home Is Where You Park It. Foster’s been living in his VW Vanagon ever since he quit his job in New York City two years ago, and he’s documented his journey around the globe with hundreds of awesome pictures of camping vans and other travelers, painting a beautiful mosaic of surfing and camping culture.

Home Is Where You Park It$65.00

Patagonia Gratio jacket

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Fashion and function come together for the Gratio jacket. Photo: Buster Hein/Cult of Mac

Patagonia jackets are super-trendy among the outdoor crowd, and it’s easy to see why. Their build quality is second to none. Plus, they’re light, warm and look cool at the same time.

The Patagonia men’s Gratio jacket is perfect for the rainy and cold winter days in the city or the mountains. It’s fully reversible, featuring quilted polyester on one side and flannel on the other. Patagonia’s Thermogreen insulation is stuffed in between so you’ll stay toasty no matter which way you wear it.

Gratio jacket – $199.99