Q:

I need gift ideas for my girlfriend!

Help! I need some advice on what to buy my outdoors-loving girlfriend.

Dec 19, 2011
Outside
Outside Magazine
Canada Goose HyBridge Lite jacket

Canada Goose HyBridge Lite jacket    Photo:Courtesy Canada Goose

Switch Boreal sunglasses

Switch Boreal sunglasses

Ruffwear's Ominjore Jouring System

Ruffwear's Ominjore Jouring System

Fjallraven Luhkka Cape

Fjallraven Luhkka Cape

Salomon S-Lab skate boot

Salomon S-Lab skate boot

A:

That’s a loaded question, but I'll do my best. Here's a list of ideas ranging from super-affordable ($8) to pricey ($520).

1. Naked Organix's Neem Body Butter ($8) is fragrance free, gluten free and paraben free, but because it's made from a tree with soothing properties, it'll help anyone take the edge off. 

2. Handmade gifts, even if your hands didn’t make them, are always appreciated. The Abrazo Style Emiliano Scarf ($32) is woven from 100 percent cotton by Emiliano, a third-generation Zapotec master weaver based in Oaxaca, Mexico. Slightly smaller than a Pashmina, the Emiliano is my favorite way to wrap up and dodge chills on a drafty flight.

3. Sure, it's easier to snap an iPhone photo when you're capturing memories on vacation, but creative types might enjoy painting their favorite scene from the array of colors—Cadmium Yellow Light, Rose Madder Lake, Hooker’s Green, and Cobalt Blue—in the Sennelier Water Color 14 Half-Pan Travel Set ($52).

4. For a woman who spends a lot of time working or playing outside, the Switch Boreal Sunglasses ($119 to $189) allow for easy, on-the-fly lens swapping in variable light conditions. I’ve been wearing a pair of polarized Boreals since last summer for running and watersports, and the magnetic lens attachments—Switch says they're the first company to use that technology—easily release when they're supposed to and never pop out when they’re not. The lenses also come in non-polarized and RX-able versions.

5. If there's a dog lover in your life, Ruffwear's Ominjore Jouring System ($150) is more safe and more comfortable than a regular leash, plus it lets you take your dog ski-jouring, mountainboard-jouring, or canicross running. It comes with an easy-to-use harness, human hipbelt, and towline.

6. Elegant enough for ice-skating at Rockefeller Center and warm enough for dogsledding in the Swedish Arctic, the Luhkka Cape ($219), made from Fjallraven’s super-durable G-1000 fabric, is a nice aesthetic upgrade to the average technical shell. Built like a kåta, or teepee, the Luhkka gathers and holds your body heat. It even provides a little extra protection around the face with its luxurious faux-fur-lined hood.

7. The Canada Goose HyBridge Lite jacket ($450) is a game changer for down sweaters. With an ultra-sleek design, 850-fill Hutterite goose down, a lightweight DWR finish, and Polartec Power Shield on the sides, the Hybridge Lite is flexible and breathable enough for cold-weather aerobic pursuits.

8. There is no better sport than Nordic skiing for cardiovascular fitness—and no better way to enjoy the woods on a winter day. Salomon's S-Lab Vitane Skate boot ($400 to $450) is surprisingly comfortable for a competition-ready skate boot with a stiff carbon chassis. It may seem a little over the top for a woman who isn’t an elite skier, but the better boot you buy, the easier skating will be—and you need all the help you can get in a sport with such a steep learning curve.

9. Of course, if you give her high-performance boots you might want to look into skis, too. Fischer's RCS line of skate skis ($390 to $520) was once the brand’s flagship and still offers some of the best skis for hard-core enthusiasts, including those who might enter the occasional ski marathon. Should the RCS feel too advanced, check out Fischer’s vast array of recreational skis.

10. If your girlfriend is feeling overwhelmed by the season's consumer-focused elements—and who could blame her if she is—consider making a donation in her name to a worthwhile charity. Check out our Giving Guide for a list of 30 great non-profits, or consult a charity evaluation website like givewell.org.

—Stephanie Pearson
@OutsideGearGirl

Filed To: Gear Girl, Ski Gear

More at Outside

Not Now

Need a Gear Fix?

Open email. Get latest gear. Repeat.

Thank you!