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The Best Gear Splurges

Don’t blow your money on just any old vanity purchase. Get one of these justifiable toys to celebrate the restlessness of your middle years.

Ali Carr Troxell
(Chazz Lane/FLickr)

Mid-Life Crisis Averted

Don’t blow your money on just any old vanity purchase. Get one of these justifiable toys to celebrate the restlessness of your middle years.

Ali Carr Troxell

SOG Fixed Gunny Blade Knife

The business end of SOG’s limited-edition Gunny Fixed Blade knife ($750) is made from Japanese stainless steel, and the -handle is cocobolo hardwood inlaid with (we’re not making this up) stingray hide. But don’t mistake finery for fragility. This ultra-durable knife was -designed with the help of R. Lee “What Is Your Major Malfunction, Numbnuts?” Ermey of Full Metal Jacket fame.

sog gunny fixed blade knife gifts 50
(Courtesy of SOG)

R.L Winston Bamboo Fly Rod

It takes the folks at R. L. Winston a year to craft a single bamboo fly rod (from $2,750). The result, as with its four-weight, is a singular piece of functional art: a hand-sanded seven-and-a-half-footer with a cork grip, a medium action, and titanium-plated guides. It fishes just as beautifully as it looks. Go ahead, you deserve it.

rl winston r.l. winston bamboo fly rod fishing gear gifts best
(Courtesy of R.L. Winston)

Danny Hess Custom Surfboard

Wooden surfboards are gorgeous. They’re also extremely heavy and difficult to ride. Which is why San Francisco shaper Danny Hess’s custom surfboards (from $1,295) are made from a mix of salvaged and certified wood wrapped around a foam core, for a board that’s lighter, stronger, and more flexible. The six-foot rocket-fish design pictured here is ideal for everything from two-foot breakers to overhead barrels.

danny hess custom surf boards
(Courtesy of Danny Hess)

Sportsmobile Custom Camper Van

Forget the sports car. A V-10, a winch, a 46-gallon gas tank—the list of features that make the Sportsmobile custom camper van (from $60,000) the ultimate adventure rig is long. It also has an exterior heated shower, a beer fridge, and a 45-square-foot roof rack that’s big enough for kayaks, surfboards, and luggage (or a few sleeping pads for open-air z’s)—in other words, everything to make you feel young again.

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Fischer Ranger 12 Ski Boots

Most custom ski boots make use of foam injections or heat-adjustable liners to achieve a snug fit. With Fischer’s Ranger 12 ($849), the entire shell is heat-molded to your foot. Adjustments are then made for stance, forward lean, and knee alignment. The process takes an hour (look for a shop equipped with a Fischer Vacuum Fit station), and the end result is the most comfortable boot we’ve ever skied in.

fischer ranger 12 ski boots
(Courtesy of Fischer)

Salsa Cycles Beargrease Carbon XX1

You don’t need a bike designed to ride in snow or sand. But at this point in your life, you can afford to have a quiver—and that quiver will be way more fun with a fatty like Salsa’s Beargrease Carbon XX1 ($5,500) in it. The Beargrease comes with through-axle front and rear hubs—usually found only on downhill racing bikes—for more precise steering, internally routed cables that are sealed to keep mud and grime at bay, and a carbon frame that shaves the bike’s weight to 24 pounds, the lightest in its class.

salsa beargrease carbon xx1 bikes biking cyclist cycling best bikes gift gifts
(Courtesy of Salsa)

Old Town Guide 16

Old Town has been making wood-and-canvas canoes for over a hundred years. The Guide 16 (from $7,600) features red cedar planks along the hull, strips of cherry on the gunwales, and cane seats that add strength and style. It’s a stunning piece of craftsmanship that you can pass on to your kids—and it paddles like a dream, with a wind-shedding low profile and plenty of cargo space.

old town guide 16 canoe gifts
(Courtesy of Old Town)

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