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What Are the Best Winter Essentials Under $40?

Four reliable tools that won't put a dent in your adventure savings

Alite's Cub Daypack is light and durable in nylon, with a wide exterior pocket for easy access to essentials. (Kirby Stenger/Courtesy of Alite )
Photo: Kirby Stenger/Courtesy of Alite alite cub daypack gear backpacks mug camelbak under 40 cheap budget socks gloves

Four reliable tools that won't put a dent in your adventure savings

Adventure women aren't primadonnas when it comes to gear. We know that some of the best, most reliable tools won't put a serious dent in our fun fund. Here are four low-cost secret weapons that belong in every winter quiver. Stocking stuffers, anyone?

Camelbak Forge Mug ($30)


Have you ever had total strangers stop you on the street and compliment you on your travel mug? If not, you've clearly never rocked the 16-ounce Forge. Camelbak's ingenious new thermos is double-walled and vacuum-sealed to keep your triple-shot latte hot for nearly five hours. The self-sealing, leak-proof cap depresses with a push of a button, which translates to easy—and safe—sipping on the go. And because it reseals on its own, you can chuck it in your pack like a water bottle without worrying about spills. But what makes it so eye-catching is the sleek and stylish vessel, dressed in winter white with a sharp pink piping.

SmartWool Liner Gloves ($24)


On a recent Thanksgiving camping trip to the canyons of southern Utah, these unassuming gloves made the difference between permanently frozen digits and happy fingers. SmartWool's merino glove liners strike the perfect balance between too much and too little: nimble enough for writing, tying tiny shoelaces, and typing on an iPhone (yes, the thumb and index finger are touchscreen-ready), yet cozy enough to make 30-degree breakfast duty doable. As the name suggests, they're intended to layer beneath ski mitts for bomber insulation, but smart women will slide these into their daypack for all-day warmth.

Fits Socks (From $16)


Socks aren’t sexy, but now that flip-flop season is over, they're the non-negotiable workhorses of your winter kit. Big mountain skier (and the brains behind this year's pioneering all-women's ski flick, Pretty Faces) Lynsey Dyer swears by Fit's snug, form-fitting socks for epic days in the backcountry and long airport layovers. Made from ultra-fine merino wool and a nylon-polyester blend, with a deep heel cup and toe box, styles like the stripy Ultra Light Casual Crew and the Pro Ski mold right to your feet, no matter how fussy or mangled they may be. Slip them on and they'll keep your feet warm, comfy, and chafe-free, enough to forget about them altogether—which may be the highest compliment you can pay a pair of socks. Bonus: Tennessee-made in the oldest hosiery factory in the U.S.

Alite Cub Daypack (from $40)

(Alite Designs)

A retro, pared-down nylon backpack dressed up in bright colors, the Cub offers the best of both worlds: a light bag you can sling over your shoulder for strength sessions at the gym, afternoon bicycle commutes, and fast-and-light hikes. The wide, mesh-lined straps don't buckle or bend, and one wide exterior pocket wraps around the front for easy access to keys, pens, headphones, and iPhone. The interior sleeve keeps your tablet or paperback out of the fray, and the Southwestern hues call to mind bluebird days in red rock canyons. Don't be surprised if your kid tries to swipe it from you.

Filed To: Women’s / Tools