For the adventurous folks that eat, sleep and live in the outdoors, there's no better gift than a new gadget or gizmo designed to make life outside a little more fun and functional. But what to buy? Here's a number of fun products that will appeal to a variety of outdoor enthusiasts. Make their 2014 more exhilerating than ever.
Just as the hydration pack made drinking water more convenient than ever before, Camelbak's line of hydration clothing takes convenience to the next level. Designed as sport-specific, functional clothing for snow sports and biking, these tops integrate 72 ounces of hydration inside, so there's no need for an extra water bottle or pack. The ShredBak is a vest designed for use in skiing, snowboarding and other winter sports, and the RaceBak and VeloBak are designed for cycling/biking. Hydration is universal, though, and there's no reason that these wouldn't work for other sports like hiking. Get more information at Camelbak's Wearable Hydration page or check them out at Amazon.
This simple, inexpensive GPS is designed for one purpose: to get you back to where you started. The perfect gift for the hapless hiker that has a tendency to get all turned around once the pavement gives way to the trees, the Backtrack will get him back to the car without any overly technical operation. Best of all, you can find it for less than 50 bucks at Amazon. The Backtrack's utility isn't limited to the outdoors, and it can help anyone who tends to get lost--in a large parking lot while Christmas shopping, for instance.
For extended camping trips, the traditional cooler can be a lot of trouble, what with ice melting all the time. Engle Fridge Coolers bag the ice in favor of 12 V power from your vehicle. Keep your meat fresh, your beers cold and your ice frozen with one of these handy portable refrigerators. This one makes the perfect gift for campers, boaters, hunters and fisherman. A less expensive version is also available from Wytner with many of the same features.
Tubbs latest release in the snowshoe market may prove to be one of its best ever. The Flex Series of Snowshoes, which come in three levels (Alp, NRG, Trek), are composite snowshoes that provide more natural performance in the snow. The flexible design allows the snowshoe to flex as you walk, making for a more natural heel to toe transfer. These snowshoes are an excellent gift for experienced snowshoers and hikers/backpackers who are looking for an excuse to get outside in the winter. Here's the Alp at Amazon for $220.
Even the prepared adventurer who recites the 10 essentials in his sleep may end up in a situation where self-rescue isn't an option. Unfortunately, cell phones don't usually get service in the wilderness. Satellites, however, have a much better shot. The SPOT beacon uses satellites to convey GPS location information in case of emergency. It can also be used to send trip updates and communicate with friends and family in non-emergency situations. You can find SPOT for around $100 at Amazon (subscription required for service).