Thanksgiving has come and gone, along with the feeding frenzy of buying... unless you're like me, and prefer to do your shopping after the crazy has died down some. I have been getting a lot of questions from friends and family about what shiny new gear gifts to get for the outdoorspeople in their life. To save us all some time, I went ahead and curated a list of some of my favorites - gear that I have personally used and can recommend. If you have any more suggestions - especially ladies gear - please comment below. Let the Gear Gift List 2015 begin!
To start us out, most of my questions from friends have been about rod and reel selections for the aspiring fly fisher. These rods find a good balance of quality and price for someone who wants to get into the sport.
TFO Bug Launcher - $159.95** Temple Fork Outfitters has gained a strong following within the fly fishing community (including myself), because they offer quality rods at an affordable price. The TFO Bug Launcher is intended for younger anglers, but I have heard positive things from many female flyfishers as well due to the light design and smaller diameter cork handle to fit a smaller hand. A great rod for small waters and delicate presentations, or your local farm pond. This kit comes ready to fish with reel, line, backing and leader.
Redington Path 5-weight Fly Rod Outfit - $152.99**
The Redington Path is a great entry level rod and reel for those looking for something to get started with. This combo comes with rod, reel, line and backing to get started. Just add a leader and some flies, and you're ready to go.
Now, for keeping warm and dry. Waders, rain gear, layers and socks and sleeping bags.
LL Bean Fly Weight waders (men's) - $99.00** One of the hardest decisions for me to make when I was headed up to Wyoming this summer was which waders to purchase. I needed to find some that hit the sweet spot between price, durability, and most especially, packability. I intended to stuff these waders in a backpack and take off into the mountains. It turns out that LL Bean makes great waders (I know, I was surprised too), that are backed by an excellent warranty. The Fly Weight stockingfoot model, paired with my now beloved Five Ten Water Tennies, was the perfect combo for my trip.
Marmot rain gear (men's) - $70.00** Hardcore outdoorspeople know that a high quality piece of rain gear that stows neatly somewhere handy (in a pack or under the back seat of the adventure mobile) can literally save the day when the skies open up and the wind blows cold. However, it's deceptively difficult to find good rain gear. The jacket above comes in a myriad of colors and sizes for men. Ladies, don't despair - Marmot has heard your cries and also has some great rain gear options for you as well.
Sea Level Technical Shirts - $45.00** I knew that the temperature swings would be intense as I moved up and down the mountains and that I would need a variety of layer options that didn't increase my overall pack weight by much. I needed shirts that could help keep me warm when I was cold, and cool when I was sweating. Enter the fully synthetic technical shirts from Sea Level. Designed for fishermen, these shirts wick moisture and insulate as a base layer while providing a great quickdry option when the sun is high and the hiking is tough. I've had mine for a couple years now and haven't been able to break them - that tells you everything you need to know. Designed and printed in Texas, y'all.
Darn Tough Bootsocks - $23.50** Austin, you might be saying, are you going crazy? $23 for a pair of socks?! Well, let me tell you, these merino-synthetic wool socks are Totally worth the money. Anyone who has hiked for more than a mile or two knows that blisters can flat ruin a trip, and these socks are fantastic at blister prevention. Plus, there's those two little words - Lifetime Warranty. That's right. If you manage to put a hole in them through normal wear, they'll send you a new pair. The warranty got me to buy, but the socks themselves sealed the deal the moment they went on my feet. These are THE most comfortable pair of socks I own. Trust me, you're going to want a pair or three. Made in the USA (Vermont), these make a great gift for the outdoorsman who has everything. You can't have too much comfort, after all.
North Face Dolomite Double sleeping bag - $171.99** When you're looking for a great sleeping bag to share with a partner, you need look no farther than the North Face Dolomite Double. It's bulkier than most backpackers would like, but you can zip it apart and split the top and bottom halves between two packs. Overall, a great bag for couples who want to share everything about the outdoors experience... including body heat. A great gift to surprise that certain someone with, even if it's just for snuggling on the back deck.
Five Ten Water Tennies - varies, size 10 $98.06** - I found these shoes earlier this year prior to my Wyoming trip. They're well-known in the whitewater kayaking and canyoneering community for the 'stickiness' of the Stealth rubber sole. This proprietary rubber gives the wearer grip on everything from dry granite to slick streambed rocks. Along with my Darn Tough socks, these boots are one of my favorite new gear discoveries. Give Five Ten a look, you won't be disappointed. These make a great internet buy gift because the Five Ten return policy is rock solid. I forced them to pull double duty as hikers and as wading boots - they performed admirably.
JetBoil Carbon - $99.95** Jetboil is one of the best known camping stove companies out there for good reason. They make great gear that's intelligently designed to help you get the most out of it. Fast boiling time, easy cleanup and a stack-inside-of-itself design - this is a product that speaks for itself. From coffee on the riverbank to that blessedly hot meal at the end of a long hike in, any Jetboil is a great gift idea.
Mountain House Meals - varies, pictured is $6.00** per pouch - Mountain House is the most well-known name in pre-made, ready to go dehydrated meals. They are well-known for two reasons - they're delicious, and they're expensive. In recent years the cost has been trending downwards as technology improves, putting these convenient meals within reach of more hikers and outdoorspeople. Easy to make with boiling water from your Jetboil or other favorite cooking system.
Sawyer Squeeze Water Filtration System - $39.75** The Sawyer Squeeze filter was my exclusive drinking system when I was out cruising through the highways and mountains of Wyoming this summer. I loved getting to drink out of all the rivers, lakes and streams that I was fishing and hiking along. Simple to use, super light, and the filter is good to a million gallons. Just add water.
Anker Astro External Battery - $19.99** For those intrepid explorers who might want to have rechargeable devices around during a walkabout, I can highly recommend the Anker Astro which served me well on my hiking trips in the mountains to keep the power going for my iPhone 6. I kept my phone alive for over a week (on airplane mode) with this battery, recharging a total of 4 times with power to spare still on the Anker when we got back to the truck.
Anker Lightning Cable (3 ft) -$7.99** Those looking for a tough, reliable and Apple Certified lightning cable should think about picking up an Anker brand cable. I've carried one around with my in my backpack for a while now, and it's still going strong. They come in a variety of colors and lengths - need a red ten footer? They got it. Gifts for all the Applers in your life.
** All prices are at time of publishing, and of course subject to change. Just wanted to give you an idea of the price range on the gear gifts I was talking about 🙂 Clicking the link will take you to Amazon, and should you choose to buy the item I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Just one small way I can try to make this crazy hobby pay for itself - I appreciate your support.