The outdoorsman on your list is easily identifiable: he’s rarely home and smells faintly of man sweat and wood smoke when you do catch him between excursions. His particular passion falls within an extensive of range possible pursuits (noodling for catfish, anyone?), but one thing is for certain — he does them outside. His look is wind-chapped and sun-kissed, with a three-day scruff and dirt under the fingernails. There’s always a rack on the SUV for a quick weekend escape or getting a short ride/paddle/hike/cast in between work and other inconvenient commitments. Bear Grylls probably has him on speed dial.
This guy is going to survive whatever man or Mother Earth throws at him, but hey, we’re not talking about atavism here. Some specific gift ideas to make his journeys a little more pleasant, after the break.
Looking for more men’s gift guides? Check out all our gift guides for men this way.
1. Petzl NAO Headlamp
A moonless night is priceless for star gazing, but just try to find that pair of dry socks at the bottom of a backpack by starlight. More than just a flashlight attached to your head, the Petzl NAO headlamp is like having a faithful manservant who aims and adjusts the lighting to suit your task: wide and diffuse for reading or close work, a narrow intense beam for highlighting distant objects.
Buy Now: $163
2. Oru Folding Kayak
Your adventurer loves the water, but lives in a 750-square foot 4th story walk-up, so watercraft are out of the question, right? Maybe not. The Oru Folding Kayak is still a Kickstarter project (a very successful one, at that), but offers an ideal craft for the ultra-mobile or storage-challenged waterman. Portable as a portfolio and storable under a bed, this origami kayak will turn even the most land-locked landlubber into a proficient paddler — and make the classical rower embrace an entirely different kind of stowing away.
Buy Now: $800
3. Whiskeyjack Paddles
Communing with nature and water can be a religious experience, whether one prays seated, kneeling or standing. Whiskeyjack Paddles hand-crafted kayak, canoe and SUP paddles display the genius and divinity of nature, and perform as well as they look. These hand-crafted blades are will bring the most hard-bitten pastoral atheist to happily rowed supplication.
Buy Now: $145+
4. GSI Personal Java Press
Thoreau’s blissful solitude is all the more rich with fresh-brewed coffee to stave off the early morning chill. GSI’s Personal Java Press includes a separate mug and is perfect for great coffee anywhere. Sure, your ranging friend could get by with instant mud. However, like you, he savors the good things in life, just in a different (read: not your recliner) setting.
Buy Now: $24
5. Kanz Field Power Desk
For those days when he can’t get away from the office, the Kanz Field Power Desk lets him take the office along. The solar-charged powerpack adds three hours of longevity to a laptop or other sundry electronics, and sun power can be augmented with a vehicle’s 12V cigarette lighter outlet to keep business chugging in the bush. The whole free-standing desk comes in an attractive yet rugged container that secures for even the roughest transport. Sure, it has a steep price tag, but seeing returns on getting your outdoorsman out of the rat race? Priceless.
Buy Now: $1,750
6. The Wave Cave
A trip down the remote Baja California peninsula or African West Coast in search of untapped, uncrowded surf requires bringing shelter. The Wave Cave covers two essentials: protection for two short boards during transport over the Mexican/African/Jersey dirt roads; on arrival, the padded carrier becomes a two-person tent. Pitching a tent on the beach ideally sets your surfing compadre up for dawn patrol. Remember, there’s room for two boards, and he’s bound to be plenty grateful.
Buy Now: $260
7. Oakley Airwave Goggles
Now, your buddy will know exactly how out of bounds he actually is with Oakley Airwave Goggles. The included accelerometer, gyroscope, GPS and Bluetooth connectivity give your favorite ski bum access with a glance to a suite of useful metrics including altitude, speed, and vertical descent. More importantly, jump-related stats regarding distance traveled, height, and hang-time are no longer up for debate and extreme exaggeration.
Buy Now: $599
8. Swedish Fire Steel
A sure method for fire-starting can save a life or a barbeque. Swedish Fire Steel strikes a 5400-degrees-Fahrenheit spark — hot enough for the most extreme conditions a wandering soul might wander into, or to appropriately punctuate the Doors’ “Light My Fire”.
Buy Now: $16
9. Patagonia Stormfront Pack
Any trip into the great outdoors runs the risk of a close encounter of the wettest kind. The waterproof Patagonia Stormfront Pack, with 840-denier double polyurethane-coated nylon fabric and waterproof zipper system, protects clothes, camera equipment and other sensitives by keeping wet stuff on the outside. The real gift? No more stressful replacement cell phones to replace drowned ones.
Buy Now: $299
10. Camp G Comp Wind Gloves
Frostbite means no more social faux pas, like testing the frosting of a just-baked cake or cleaning ones teeth in public, but it does make texting difficult. Ensure your outdoor pal stays in “touch” with a pair of Camp G Comp Wind Gloves. The gloves add stowable ripstop nylon over-mitts for extra protection from rain and wind, giving the dexterity of gloves and the warmth of mittens.
Buy Now: $85
11. Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter
In the backcountry, water is life, but bad water brings the misery of intestinal distress. Backpacker Magazine Editor’s Choice, the Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter removes protozoa and bacteria down to .01 micron, eliminating nasties like E. coli, Giradia, Vibrio cholerae and Salmonella typhi with no pumping or chemicals. That will keep your outdoor enthusiast hydrated and trotting — but in a good way.
Buy Now: $59
12. Icebreaker Teton Long Sleeve Hood
Icebreaker’s Teton Long Sleeve Hood goes from city to countryside smoothly. The clean lines, warm merino wool, water-resistant exterior and windproof layer are equally at home on a game reservation or while making dinner reservations. There’s only two color options, but one of them is black — and every guy looks good in black.
Buy Now: $400