18 Awesome Gifts for Adventurers

Get your loved ones out exploring in comfort, safety, and the utmost fabulosity

By Katie O'Reilly

December 14, 2019


Photo courtesy of Katie O'Reilly

The best gift an outdoorsy, adventuresome type could hope for? More reasons to scale that mountain, thru-hike that trail, or camp farther off the grid, of course! We’ve rounded up some holiday presents so rad that they just might inspire you to join your outdoor-loving pals on their next adventure. 

“If we’re all hanging out in trees, they can’t cut them down.” So reasons Alex Shirley-Smith, the architect behind Tentsile—those oh-so-Instagrammable tents that you can suspend over the ground, Ewok tree-village-style. For backpackers, cyclists, or leisure enthusiasts who like lounging around gardens and parks alongside a pal, Tentsile offers the four-pound T-Mini Double Hammock ($90) for two. Its three-sided design offers each hammocker a pocket of their own (no smashing together required) and includes a ratcheting system to connect the hammock to trees. It backs into a small bag and, paired with Tentsile tents, makes for an easy extra storage area.

This fall, the insulation experts at Mountain Hardwear took a bite out of textile waste by creating a breathable puffy winter jacket out of trash. The Ghost Shadow Hoody ($150 and available in both men's and women's sizes) was crafted with recycled insulation, shells, lining, and even zippers. Further reducing this outerwear's footprint, the company employs environmentally friendly dying techniques. What’s more, this adventure accoutrement layers well and compresses into its own pocket for easy storage. The best gifts, after all, come with cool talking points.

Canine adventure buddies need to stay toasty out there once temps drop too! And obviously, good dogs deserve fabulous holiday presents. Enter the cozy fleece Climate Changer Pullover ($50) from Ruffwear. A stretchy lower panel captures warmth and sheds moisture, and open cap-sleeves make it easy for hard-to-fit dogs (those with broad shoulders and thick chests) to squeeze into. The pullover comes in three jaunty prints, and our tester pup (sporting "Blossom" in the above cover image) enjoys this comfy outerwear so much she actually stretches her arms overhead when it’s time to go out, helping her human to get it on. Good dog, Maeve! 

In 2012, MPowerd created an inflatable solar light called the Luci. They made it for outdoor campers and backyard partiers, yes, but most crucially for people living without reliable access to electricity. The company’s newest unveiling, Luci Explore ($75), is a Bluetooth-connected, fully rechargeable solar-powered light, speaker, and alarm clock, all rolled into one. So go on and help loved ones schedule a circadian-rhythm-based wake-up alarm that’ll have them rising naturally. It lasts up to 24 hours and shines up to 220 lumens, and the best part is, for an added $10, you can donate a Luci Explore to someone lacking electricity.

Sweden’s Light My Fire uses three different types of biobased plastic—Terralene, Ecozen, and Dryflex Green—to produce its outdoor products. Help your favorite campers generate their own warmth and roast their own grub with the gift of this BPA-free firelighting kit ($20), which comes with handy “tinder-on-a-rope,” stainless steel roasting prongs, a firefork, and a scout. The kit starts fire at all altitudes and in the coldest of climes.

For centuries, Himalayan nomads have been insulating themselves in yak wool, which is soft like cashmere, warm and breathable like merino, and naturally moisture-wicking and odor-resistant. But Kora is the first brand to buy this fiber directly from Tibetan communities and create high-performance base layers for outdoor adventurers. The women’s Shola Crew ($145) will adapt to your giftee’s body’s needs, keeping her warm in cold weather but dry and cool under a hot sun.

Help your outdoorsiest friends laissez les bon temps rouler on the trail and at the campsite with the gift of insulated stainless steel wine and whiskey tumblers ($20 each) from EcoVessel. Available in seven colors, these durable 10-ounce vessels come equipped with BPA-free lids and handy grippy bottoms. Salud!


Consider pairing those tumblers with the gift of a handy LifeProof Backpack Cooler ($49). Perfect for family picnics, beach adventures, and bon vivants on day hikes, this insulated pack holds up to 24 cans or a few bottles of wine and keeps ice up to 48 hours. A forward flip lid makes contents easy to access, and we’re not mad about its built-in bottle opener either.

Don’t forget about adventurers’ other fave beverage! Snow Peak’s Field Barista Set ($260) makes it possible to make a delicious cup of joe anywhere, thanks to its stainless steel kettle, grinder, and coffee drip. The aesthetic is so fetching, we like to use it at home, but it all packs up nicely into little cotton storage sacks. Oh, the places your coffee-buzzed loved ones will go!


Cozy, affordable, and lightweight as it is, fleece has been giving environmentalists a chill, due to its tendency to shed tiny plastic fibers in the washing machine—which ultimately go on to become ocean pollution. It creates something of a conundrum for outdoor lovers, which is why Houdini Sports Wear and Polartec teamed up to create the Power Air Houdi ($250) out of Bluesign-certified and recycled fabrics that encapsulate insulation fibers in small pockets. You won’t get fleeced with this outerwear, which purports to shed up to 80 percent fewer microfibers than your average fleece. 

Help backpackers and bikepackers keep their devices juiced on the go with the Nomad 7 Plus Solar Panel Kit ($120). Its compact and lightweight panel folds and packs neatly into, or hangs securely from, a backpack. The kit comes with batteries and a built-in flashlight.
We don’t like to use the word epic too lightly, but Lonely Planet’s new Epic Bike Rides of the Americas ($24) earns it. This beautifully illustrated hardback collection of 50 engaging first-person essays about memorable bike routes of North, Central, and South America also comes with stunning photography, maps, and handy details about how to pursue some 200 rides yourself—from family-friendly routes in Canadian parks to Colorado beer rides, and from mountain escapades in Moab and Patagonia to Cuba’s “Southern Rollercoaster.” The cycling enthusiasts (and armchair adventurers) in your world will love having this compendium of bucket-list-worthy pursuits right at their fingertips.

Speaking of your favorite cyclists, how about a great twofer gift? They’ll dig the new Bluetooth-enabled cycling backpack from RoadwareZ ($249)—which comes equipped with directional headlights, visual digital turn signals and brake lights, and GPS routing that automatically broadcasts directional signals to surrounding traffic—and their enhanced safety makes for a nice gift for yourself! The accompanying app offers navigation to lead them through the safest routes, and they’ll also be able to save and share routes and set up specific meeting points along the way. And in the event an accident occurs, the app will detect as much through motion sensors and blast SMS alerts to cyclists’ pre-programmed contacts, providing their exact location. This nifty, first-of-its-kind pack comes in four colors and aims to make carbon-free bike travel safer for everyone on the road.

Bone conduction technology works by transmitting audio waves to the inner ears through the skull, bypassing the eardrums completely, leaving ear canals open—and thus allows you to stay vigilant about traffic, passersby, and other ambient sounds. Which means that when you give music- and podcast-loving runners and hikers the gift of lightweight and waterproof Aeropex headphones ($160) from AfterShokz, you give them the simultaneous gift of enhanced safety and awareness on the trails. With Bluetooth connectivity, they wrap around the back of users' heads and sit comfortably, just in front of the ears, providing crystal-clear sound for adventures and workouts lasting up to eight hours.

Ideal for ambitious outdoor photographers, Jack Wolfskin’s ACS Photo Pack Pro ($210) helps aspiring and pro landscape and astrophotographers to trek deep into the backcountry or high up into the hills so they can optimally capture those quintessential vistas. Roomy, padded compartments make it easy to stow and retrieve cameras, tripods, lenses, laptops, and flash and SD cards, and a cleverly designed base compartment comes with a long zip, affording a comprehensive equipment overview. This 30-liter pack comes with a tripod attachment, gear loops, an integrated rain cover, side compression straps, and ergonomic and load-balancing shoulder straps. Made from water-resistant ripstop, its only contact point with wearers’ backs is its air-permeable mesh, which offers effective ventilation. Balancing the pack on one shoulder, photogs can switch lenses quickly and simply—helping them make their magic happen.
The designers behind Sea Bags craft durable totes, bags, and accessories out of discarded sails collected from the working waterfront of Portland, Maine. Sea-loving travelers on your list will dig their maritime-chic and roomy-yet-carry-on-friendly Chebeague Duffel ($225), which comes with an industrial zipper, detachable shoulder strap, and leather handles. They'll also love that Sea Bags has helped to keep 700 tons of sail cloth out of landfills.

Did you hear that fanny packs and shoulder slings are back in style? Created from fabrics woven from upcycled ocean plastic, the Solar Sling ($55) from Solgaard comes with a power bank and solar charger, allowing urban and wild adventurers who like to travel light to carry a few things that won’t fit in their pockets, keep their phones charged, and still remain hands-free. And for every product purchased, Solgaard removes five more pounds of plastic waste from the oceans.

Help keep loved ones' hands, sleeping bags, and devices warm and working optimally with the gift of Air Activated Warmers (starting at $20) from Ignik. With just a few shakes, these 98 percent biodegradable devices provide safe, comfortable heat that’ll last all day. Best of all, they can be composted after use. Is there any better adventure than the waste-free kind?!