Gear Guy

What are the best stocking stuffers under $25?

My family has a rule that stocking stuffers must to be sub-$25 and fit inside a stocking. Help!


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Agreed; stocking stuffers should be small and relatively inexpensive. You’re likely to find some stuffable items in our Holiday Gift Guide for the gadget geek, weekend warrior, adrenaline junkie, adventure traveler, and lady in your life. Additionally, here are seven of my favorites.

ECase iPod/iPhone Case by ECase.
Olympus Lite Crew Socks by Keen.
MSR Reactor. Reactor Coffee Press by MSR.
Seasonal Bars by Clif Bar.
Salted Caramel Energy Gel by Gu.
Ski cards. Ski Guide Cards by Brooks Range.
Titan Skull Cap by Bomber Gear.

iPod/iPhone Case by ECase ($40) 
Apologies for breaking the $25 limit on this gift suggestion right off the bat, but this little waterproof iPhone case is worth the extra dough. I tested this case while racing the California 100 kayak race last May. The case kept my phone safe from the elements, I was able to text my wife through the cover, and the sealing zipper was easy to use with tired hands.

Olympus Lite Crew Socks by Keen ($19)
I sifted through dozens of sock options before I decided on these (which are available in both men’s and women’s sizes). The reason: the heavy duty merino-nylon-polyethylene-polyester-Lycra-spandex blend socks are guaranteed for life. Seriously. I asked for the fine print, and Keen sent the following: “If Keen Olympus Socks wear through, we will replace them with the same style, or product of comparable value, at Keen’s discretion.”

Reactor Coffee Press by MSR ($20)
You’ll be hard pressed to find a lighter, more packable way to brew a liter of really good coffee while you are in the backcountry. On top of having a simple, intuitive design, the Reactor has an extra-strong mesh strainer, which other backcountry presses often lack.

Seasonal Bars by Clif Bar ($1.39 per bar)
Pecan pie, iced gingerbread, and spiced pumpkin pie are three limited-release flavors from Clif Bar that will provide post-holiday dessert bliss in the backcountry and beyond. Plus, Clif gives back one percent of seasonal net sales to Protect Our Winters, a non-profit that combats climate change.

Salted Caramel Energy Gel by Gu ($11.60 for eight)
This savory sweet combo is my go-to for quick calories during long runs. They taste rich and decadent, but don’t sit heavy on the stomach after they go down. The winter release gel has vitamin C and E to help boost your immune system while you play in the cold. The Yeti on the wrapper dresses this gel up and makes it look more like a gift than GUs other flavors.

Ski Guide Cards by Brooks Range ($25)
Designed to be carried in the field, these small, water-resistant cards contain vital information for the backcountry skier in your life. Well-known mountain guides and avalanche experts contributed to these cards, which offer tips on everything from weather observation to rescue missions.

Titan Skull Cap by Bomber Gear ($18)
Help the kayakers in your life eliminate brain freeze. They will love you forever—or at least think of you fondly every time they roll in a freezing river. I like this particular cap because it’s built from a hearty, heat-reflective  titanium neoprene.

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