The 2015 Holiday Wish List
Six items the Outside editors covet
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We combed through dozens of press releases and tested several hundred products to come up with the final 113 items in our 2015 Holiday Gift Guide. But these are the six picks that our editors really, really want this year.
Mountain Boy Sledworks Classic Flyer Sled ($190)
Winters back in my New York hometown can be brutal, unlike the brief, icy affairs here in Santa Fe. To be sure, spending snow days shoveling the car out from under three feet of fresh got old fast. But it was still my favorite season, partly for the one weekend every January that my family headed upstate to a campground with the best sledding hill I’ve ever careened down. A snow bank stood at the end of the 200-foot tree-lined run, giving riders some air before they skidded onto a frozen lake. Looking back I would have gladly traded the camp’s patched-up tube for a Mountain Boy Sledworks Classic Flyer sled ($190). Its birch body and coated steel runners are built to endure years of downhill action, and instead of merely hopping off that jump, I would have flown. —Will Egensteiner
Yeti Colster ($30)
Last summer I hiked three warm miles up Colorado’s Gunnison River in search of the bread-loaf-size trout that feed each June on the salmonfly, a bug so massive it most closely resembles a CIA drone. This was to be fishing at its best: big bait, big quarry, big fun. Except the river was high, and the water spilled over the banks into the grass. Many hours of diligent casting into the brown muck resulted in zero biters and a healthy thirst for something ice cold. The Tecate I pulled from my pack, however, was a balmy 70 degrees. My friend Kara, meanwhile, had stowed her beer in a Yeti Colster—a coozy that keeps beverages frigid even after six hours in a pack in the summer sun. She gave me a sip, and the stainless-steel insulator has been on my Christmas list ever since. —Jonah Ogles
686 Original Snow Toolbelt ($45)
I despise loose snowboard bindings, but I refuse to hassle the lifties with my gear woes. That’s why I want the 686 Original Snow Toolbelt. It holds your pants up like a good belt should, the buckle’s two prongs disguise Phillips and flathead screwdrivers, and the detachable keeper has three sockets for wiggly bolts. Most important, there’s a bottle opener notched into the attractive brushed metal, so if you can’t fix your equipment troubles, at least you can crack open a cold one and forget about them. —Jon Gugala
Shimano XTR Di2 M9050 Electronic Drivetrain ($2,825)
Bikes have gotten pretty damn complicated lately. Internal cable routing and disc brakes for the road, a growing range of wheel sizes for mountain bikes, and even purpose-built frames for gravel and bikepacking have resulted in a flood of specialized machines. And I love it. My favorite innovation to date: Shimano’s XTR Di2 M9050 electronic drivetrain. This fast, accurate, programmable mountain-bike system has a brain of its own that selects gears better than you ever could, automatically and flawlessly moving both the front and rear derailleurs. Sure, it costs more than a lot of complete bikes, but game-changing tech rarely comes cheap. And a girl has to have her standards. —Axie Navas
Swix Race Hat ($30)
Not long ago, I visited one of my closest college friends in Salt Lake City, where he’d landed for graduate school. Noah taught me to nordic ski, and we’d spent countless hours on groomed Vermont trails in our early twenties. Which is why, as soon as I arrived, we immediately headed up the hill to where he coached a team of junior Olympians. It was freezing, so Noah handed me his Swix Race hat, a black beanie with a vented top designed for high output in negative temperatures. I instantly felt faster, chasing the team on highway-size tracks, kicking and gliding until my face turned pink. At the end of practice, Noah and I made one last lap together. Technical caps like the Swix—with its mesh panel and warm ear bands—remind me of that day and of our years of effortless friendship. At least that’s what I told him when I tried to steal his. —Meaghen Brown
Bose QuietComfort 25 Noise-Canceling Headphones ($300)
I’ve had a strong fear of flying my entire life. This is particularly inconvenient for a travel editor. My coping strategy has always been to lose myself in a movie the moment I get above 10,000 feet. Which is why I want a pair of Bose QuietComfort 25 noise-canceling headphones. Bose more or less invented the category, and the QuietComfort 25s are still the best option. For feet-on-the-ground listening, I’m partial to the packability and unobtrusiveness of cheap earbuds that I can afford to lose. But when I’m trying to forget that I’m sitting six miles up in a claustrophobic aluminum tube, sophisticated tuning out is in order. —Chris Cohen