Maybe mom and dad are gearheads like you; maybe they don’t know the difference between down and synthetic insulation.
Maybe mom and dad are gearheads like you; maybe they don’t know the difference between down and synthetic insulation.

The Gear Our Parents Want for the Holidays

Gifts with stamps of approval from all the 'Outside' moms and dads

Maybe mom and dad are gearheads like you; maybe they don’t know the difference between down and synthetic insulation.

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Buying for yourself is one thing, but choosing gear for someone else—especially when that someone else is a parent—is another level of pressure. So we asked our moms and dads what they covet most for the holidays, then recorded their responses here, along with specific items we’d recommend in each category. 

A Sleeping Bag

(Courtesy The North Face)

“Because it can be used in so many ways: camping, as a comforter, even keeping warm on the couch.” —Paul Egensteiner, father of senior gear editor Will Egensteiner

Our recommendation: The North Face One bag (from $290). Those who want their gear to pull double or triple duty will love this three-in-one, synthetic-insulated sleep system, which comes with two zip-off top panels that run the length of the bag. When both are attached, the One has a temperature rating of five degrees; on their own, each panel brings the rating up to 20 or 40 degrees, making it a versatile year-round bag. As a bonus, you can use each panel as a blanket around the campfire (or on the couch).

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Skis That Rip

(Courtesy Salomon)

“I want a pair of skis that aren’t afraid of really steep, gnarly terrain and narrow chutes. The ones I ski on now are wussy skis… or maybe it’s the skier.” —Alan Barronian, father of assistant fitness editor Abbie Barronian

Our recommendation: Salomon QST 106 ($700). These all-mountain planks have the versatility you need in technical terrain—damp in chunder, stable at speed, responsive for tight turns and airs. The rockered tip and tail make slashing surfy powder turns a dream.

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Wireless Headphones

(Courtesy Jaybird)

“So I don’t get all tangled up in wires at the gym!” —K. Earnest, mother of social media manager Jenny Earnest

Our recommendation: Jaybird Run ($180). These rechargeable earbuds connect to your phone and to one another via Bluetooth, so there are no cords dangling under your arm or behind your head. The Run’s surprisingly good sound quality, quick connectivity, and slim design earned it a spot in the 2018 Summer Buyer’s Guide. Both buds nest in a rechargeable case that juices them for up to eight hours. 

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Traction Devices

(Courtesy Kahtoola)

“We want modified crampons [read: cleats] to wear over regular boots so we can hike when the trail is iced over.” —Alan Gintzler, father of assistant gear editor Ariella Gintzler

Our recommendation: Kahtoola Microspikes ($70). When we think of winter traction, these rubber and metal mini crampons come to mind. They stretch over the top of any running shoe or hiking boot and pack down into a stuffsack for easy transport after the trail dries out. Stainless-steel spikes on the bottom grip ice and crusty snow for confidence in all conditions.

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Everyday Shoes

(Courtesy Superfeet)

“I want plain comfy sneakers that will be good for my back.” —Lita Rellosa, mother of assistant gear editor Jeremy Rellosa

Our recommendation: Superfeet Addy ($110). Best known for its arch-support inserts, Superfeet also makes a line of surprisingly stylish (yet still comfortable) street shoes, including these summery, boat-style kicks. Cork and EVA-foam footbeds mold to your feet, offering relief from your feet up to your spine. Synthetic-rubber outsoles offer supreme grip.

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A Handheld Adventure Camera

(Courtesy GoPro)

“After the drone crash at Vail’s infamous Fang ice-climbing route, where both the UAV and the camera were lost (it was windy, OK!), I’ve been wanting a new point-of-view camera to capture alpine skiing and water-skiing.” —Jorge Navas, father of digital editorial director Axie Navas

Our recommendation: GoPro Hero7 Black ($400). The latest addition to GoPro’s action-cam collection launched early this fall. It retains many of the same features as its predecessor, including 4K video at 60 frames per second and 1080p HD video at 240 frames per second, but with drastically improved stabilization and a new auto feature that adjusts settings based on the lighting.

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