What Outside Editors Are Buying This Holiday Season

Need some advice on what to buy the adventurer in your circle? We have you covered.

All the best gifts for work and play. (Jakob Schiller)

Here at Outside, we get to see and test a lot of gear, so we know exactly what to gift our friends and family members who play outdoors. To help you wrap up your shopping, we had some of the staff list their top holiday gifts below.


Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Headphones ($350, pictured above)

Bose is the master of headphone noise-cancelation technology. The QC35s nix the ambient noise as well as the low hum you often get with lesser cups, and leave you feeling like you’re in a quite, empty corner of the woods. And the audio is just as crisp and full as what you'd get from top-end phones that don’t quash noise. Bose got the details right, too: the headphones connect seamlessly to your phone, but also come with an audio cable in case you want to plug in for a movie on a long flight. They have 20 hours, at least, of battery life, fit comfortably around your ears, and are gorgeous to boot. Nick Kelley—associate editor

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Beastmaker 1000 Hangboard ($170)

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(Beastmaker)

A few months ago, I moved into a new office at Outside. There were a few perks about this upgraded spot—more sunlight, additional shelf space, second-story views—but my favorite thing was the Beastmaker 1000 hangboard above my doorway. This wooden hangboard, which features at least a dozen different-size finger pockets, two jugs, and a few sloping grips, allows me to replicate almost any climbing hold and the smooth wood forces me to really work on finger strength. The best part about it, though, is its location: every time I leave my office for a meeting, bathroom break, or coffee run, I crank out a few reps. While I get a few strange looks from coworkers who come down the hall and see me dangling from the doorway, I tolerate the weirdness to ensure I’m ready for climbing season come spring. Wes Judd—assistant editor

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Ducks Unlimited One Year Membership ($35)

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(Ducks Unlimited)

A century ago, well-meaning Americans effectively drained the swamps across the country because they were impossible to farm, tough to travel through, and not much to look at. Unfortunately, they were also critical to healthy ecosystems, serving as biodiversity factories from Florida to Alaska and Texas to Minnesota. Nobody does as much to restore, defend, and expand wetlands as Ducks Unlimited. Yes, they're focused on making sure that waterfowl have healthy habitat, but what's good for the goose, as they say, is also good for the gander, which in this case means countless insects, amphibians, fish, and mammals, and an almost inconceivable number of flora. Using a combination of research, conservation easements, and working with private landowners, the organization has restored 13 million acres of wetland (nearly the size of West Virginia) in the past 80 years. Your membership gets you a subscription to the quarterly magazine, a decal for the car, and the knowledge that every wood duck or mallard or loon you see overhead has a place to land. Jonah Ogles—article editor

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Lululemon Fly Away Tamer Headband II ($12)

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(Lululemon)

When I bought my first Lululemon headband seven-plus years ago, leggings hadn't yet become the default outfit of fit twenty-somethings and tiger moms nation-wide. The brand was new to me, but I was shopping with a "friend," and the purple color way matched my Northwestern University bike racing team kit. In short, I couldn't resist. Fast forward nearly a decade later, and the now very grungy headband is still my go-to for cold weather rides. It's thin enough to fit under any helmet but miraculously manages to keep my ears warm in even the coldest weather—largely because it's the rare headband wide enough to cover the entirety of my altogether too large ears. Scott Rosenfield—digital editorial director

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Spotify Premium Subscription ($10 per month)

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(Spotify)

Do you think that running without music is a travesty? Are you the obnoxious friend who says Discover Weekly changed your life? Are you a bad person who waits until the last minute to buy gifts? If you answered yes to any of those questions, give a year of Spotify Premium, which allows the user to stream add-free and download Spotify songs onto their phone for offline use on their run, in the car, and up on the hill. It’s also a great gift for anyone who wants to find new music but doesn't know where to look. Erin Berger—associate editor

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Maxtrax MK II ($300)

Maxtrax
(Maxtrax)

If you regularly drive in the snow, you need a set of these in your car or truck—even if you own an all-wheel-drive Subaru or four-wheel-drive Tacoma. At some point, you’re going to accidentally drift off into a snowbank and your tires won’t be able to find traction, even in the lowest gear. When that happens, you can pull the Maxtrax out—they come in a set of two—put them under your front or rear tires, and slowly pull forward, allowing the tires to grip onto the raised plastic teeth that cover the surface of these plastic boards. You might not get unstuck immediately, but if you’re patient, and keep moving the boards and your car forward, you should be able to get back on the road. Bonus: They come in a variety of colors to match your ride. Jakob Schiller—associate editor

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Hydro Flask 12 Ounce Wide Mouth ($22)

Hydro Flask
(Hydro Flask)

I used to think all insulated mugs were created equal. The best ones are built around basically the same technology (double-walled vacuum insulated stainless steel) and claim to keep drinks hot anywhere from four to eight hours. But while there are indeed dozens of great options, it's this little guy that makes it into my Subaru every morning. I credit the great size (it holds just enough coffee to get me through my morning meetings and is easy to toss in a commuter bag), great colors (nine), powder-coated exterior (which sounds like a marketing gimmick but actually feels great. Hey, it matters!), and durability (I drop mine at least several times a week but after a year of use, it still looks new-ish). To friends and family reading this: Expect one of these mugs in your stocking. Axie Navas—executive editor 

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Filed To: Christmas / Gift Guide
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