Don't Hibernate

The 14 Best Gifts for the Winter Explorer


November 5, 2019 Buying Guides By


Just like summer, winter can be for exploring. While the colder season presents new opportunities for getting outside through skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and more, the snow and ice don’t have to prevent you from maintaining your favorite summer activities. Camping, hiking, running and cycling are all manageable during winter, with the right gear. So rally your crew, kit them up to take on the colder temps, and plan your next winter adventure.

Powder Keg III Jacket

Price: $350
From: columbia.com

This waterproof shell from Columbia gives you the best of both worlds. While completely waterproof, the jacket still allows hot air and moisture to escape — but don’t worry, you won’t get chilly either. The Omni-Heat 3D thermal-reflective lining retains heat while the shell keeps the weather out.


1. SnoWander PoleClinometer Sticker

Price: $15
From: garagegrowngear.com

An essential skill in assessing avalanche danger is identifying the angle of a slope. This handy sticker slaps onto ski poles to take away any of that guesswork.

2. Skratch Labs Hot Apple Cider Hydration Mix

Price: $20
From: amazon.com

When you need an electrolyte boost, but you want a toasty warm beverage, stock up on Skratch’s new Hot Apple Cider flavor of its Sport Hydration Mix.

3. Hand Warmers

Price: $29 (40 pair)
From: amazon.com

They’re cheap enough to stuff in everyone’s stockings — including your own.

4. Skida Alpine Hat

Price: $36
From: backcountry.com

Your noggin vents a lot of your body’s heat, and when you cover it up with a beanie during a run or hike, it’s easy to get sweaty. Skida’s minimalist Alpine Hat is breathable and wicks moisture so you can keep it on even as you’re getting active.

5. Snowline Chainsen Pro Crampon

Price: $50
From: backcountry.com

Winterize hiking boots, running shoes or everyday sneakers with Snowline’s affordable Chainsen Pro Crampon. They’re small enough to fit in a pack or coat pocket and deploy when needed.

Gear Patrol Magazine Subscription

Price: $39
From: store.gearpatrol.com

Gear Patrol Magazine is a deep dive into product culture. Inside each issue, you’ll find seasonal buying guides, rich maker profiles and long-form dispatches from the front lines of product design. Get four print magazines — delivered quarterly — with an annual subscription.

6. Stanley Master Series Unbreakable Thermal Bottle

Price: $55
From: backcountry.com

Coffee, cocoa, toddy — whatever your hot drink of choice is, it won’t get to a mountain summit or off-grid cabin without going cold. Unless you have a nigh unbreakable double-wall container, like this 25-ounce one from Stanley, that is.

7. Ruffwear Vert Jacket

Price: $80
From: amazon.com

If you’re going to ask your furry companion to accompany you out into the cold, you’d better get him a fleece-lined, wind- and waterproof shell as nice as yours.

8. Outdoor Research Tundra Aerogel Booties

Price: $89
From: rei.com

Aerogel insulation was initially made to keep astronauts warm in space (rumor has it that it’s quite chilly up there). The geniuses at Outdoor Research used it to create an ultra-warm bootie that’s a perfect winter camp shoe or parking lot après ski piece.

9. Smartwool Intraknit 200 Base Layer Bottoms

Price: $120
From: rei.com

Smartwool’s new Intraknit collection ditches seams with a 3D-knit pattern, making the next-to-skin layer as comfortable as possible.

10. Big Agnes Insulated AXL Trail Boss

Price: $200
From: moosejaw.com

One of the secrets to comfortable winter camping is placing an unyielding barrier between you and the ground. Big Agnes’s Insulated AXL Trail Boss may be inflatable, but it also has reflective radiation technology to keep the warm in and the cold out. As a bonus, it also packs down very small to fit inside a backpack.

11. Holden Down Short

Price: $200
From: holdenouterwear.com

If you’re familiar with the warm comfort of throwing on a down jacket after a chilly morning hike, ride, surf — whatever — then you can imagine what it’d be like to do the same to your body’s lower half. Or you can lounge around the house in them, that’s fine too.

12. Lowa Renegade Evo Ice GTX Boot

Price: $300
From: backcountry.com

Lowa’s Renegade Evo Ice GTX Boot features a Gore-Tex barrier that’s impenetrable to snow and slush in a sleek form that doesn’t scream “snow boot.” Lowa equipped its outsole with Vibram Arctic Grip rubber, which, somewhat amazingly, prevents slipping on ice, too.

13. Backcountry Cottonwoods Gore-Tex Bib

Price: $350
From: backcountry.com

Backcountry’s Cottonwoods is a gateway to the bib life. It’s fully weatherproof and has plenty of pockets for stashing mountain gear. The top segment zips off to present an overall-free option, too.

14. Outdoor Research Capstone Heated Sensor Gloves

Price: $500
From: backcountry.com

Cold fingers are no joke. They can mean the unhappy end to an otherwise excellent ski day or the reason outdoor activities get shelved until spring. Outdoor Research’s heated gloves provide a battery-powered hand-heating solution that’s removable for the milder days.

Sunski Volante Sunglasses

Price: $89
From: store.gearpatrol.com

The Volante is a modern take on mountain sunglasses. With removable Sidekick shades, a polycarbonate frame made of recycled plastic and polarized lenses, the Volante is a lightweight companion for all your outdoor adventures. The classic 1940s-inspired frame shape in tortoise lets you go from the mountain to après with ease.

The 14 Best Camping Gifts

Our roundup of the best camping gear from Backcountry that outdoors enthusiasts are actually going to use. Read the Story

Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.

Newsletter Sign-Up
Get the best new products, deals,
and stories in your inbox daily.

By submitting your email, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy to receive email correspondence from us.