Just because you—like me—waited until the last minute to get a Valentine’s Day gift for your significant other doesn’t mean it can’t be excellent. The goal here is to be thoughtful. Anyone can buy a giant bouquet of expensive flowers, but I feel like romance can be strongly shown in practicality; after all, a gift that’s used by your partner dozens (or hundreds) of times will give them many opportunities to think of you fondly. Here are a handful of great gear items that will do just that.
Black Diamond Cosmo Headlamp ($30)
The most capable outdoorsfolks don’t upgrade their headlamps; instead they just trudge along for years with the same simple light because it still works OK and was cheap. The Cosmo hits the practicality sweet spot: it’s feature rich without being overbuilt and is relatively inexpensive. With a stormproof (IPX4) housing, three LEDs, and a red-light mode, this will be a nice improvement for your partner. It also locks, which means they won’t have worry about it turning on inside their pack and draining the three AAA batteries inside.
Bogs Bozeman Tall Boot ($150)
It sucks to gunk up your favorite running shoes with a messy yard project, so a solid pair of mud boots like the Bozeman Talls is one of the most thoughtful things you can gift a significant other who’s into gardening or landscaping. Burly but nimble, which lowers the chances of spearing a toe with a shovel tip, these can be hosed off and thrown in the garage when you’re done. Plus: dry feet are happy feet, making for a happy partner.
Mystery Ranch Traditional Face Mask ($16)
If you’re like my family, you have a drawer full of masks, but they always seem to be dirty. How many times have you reached for your favorite one before a trail run only to find that it’s sweaty because your partner just used it? Solve that by getting them a new, dedicated mask that you promise will be only theirs. We love this one from Mystery Ranch, based in Bozeman, Montana, because it’s comfortable and functional: the bendable nosepiece means it doesn’t slip, and the filter sleeve and breathable outer offer solid performance and protection.
Dermatone SPF 23 Original Tin Face Balm ($7)
Every time your significant other puts on this face balm, it will be like you’re delivering them a little kiss on the cheek. It’s incredible how much comfort a nongreasy SPF moisturizer adds to your exposed skin on a cold ski day. This tidy little tin can live in their ski pocket all season—reminding your partner how much you care about them and their face again and again.
Opinel No. 9 Knife ($18)
Early in our relationship, when my wife asked me if I wanted to go “check out the knives” as we were shopping for a camping trip, I knew she was the one. I have tested hundreds of blades for my job here at Outside, which is a perk she enjoys, too. But her favorite, the one that lives in her desk year-round, is the inexpensive No. 9 from Opinel. The hardy handle and simple lock give her enough confidence to whittle, but it’s also aesthetically pleasing enough to complement a cheese board.