2020 has been the year of spending time outdoors. From summer picnics to Hot Toddies in the park, for many it’s been the only way to meet up with loved ones, exercise or, really, do anything other than watch Netflix. So if you, or a lucky recipient, has discovered a new love for the great outdoors this year, we’ve compiled a selection of the best gear to suit everyone. Whether it’s hiking, running, cycling or drinking coffee, these investment pieces will keep on giving.
For the intrepid: Danner Mountain Light Boots
Portland-based Danner has been turning out high quality boots since 1932, and this iconic hiking boot will get better and better with age. The upper is constructed from a single piece of quality full-grain leather, so the elements have the least chance of finding a weakness. They have a Gore-Tex liner too, making them waterproof and breathable, a Vibram Kletterlift outsole, so they’re very sturdy underfoot, plus they’re fully resoleable so will go on and on.
Danner Mountain Light Boots
For form and function: On Running Pants
When the mercury plummets, even the most stubborn runner will find themselves reaching for some leg wear, and Swiss brand On’s Running Pants are a top class choice. The front panels of these relaxed fitting joggers are made from water repellent fabric and the rest is a very comfortable and performance four-way stretch fabric. Two hand pockets and ankle-zippers round off these feature-packed trousers.
On Running Pants
For the tech adventurer: Garmin fēnix 6 Pro Solar Edition
This is quite probably the best all rounder multi-sport watch out there. Garmin has now rolled out integrated solar charging to its top range models, so there’s even more to love about the fēnix 6, its flagship sports watch. It has a huge battery life of up to 14 days if you’re in sunnier climes, nine days indoors as well as a heart rate monitor, maps for easy navigation, and you can store up to 2,000 songs from the integrated Spotify app to play motivating tunes via your headphones using bluetooth. As well as tracking all of your activities – from running to surfing to skiing – it monitors sleep, calories and steps so you can keep tabs on your daily stats too, plus it comes in three face sizes; 42mm, 47mm and 51mm, so will fit every wrist.
Garmin fēnix 6 Pro Solar Edition
For the trail runner: Saucony Peregrine 10
The next generation of this bonafide trail running shoe has just been released and it’ll be a trusty companion to eat up those muddy winter miles. Keeping you surefooted are the generous sized lugs and soles made from a grippy rubber, plus a rockplate will prevent any sharper stones or angular rocks from getting to your foot. The upper offers just the right amount of protection while the shape keeps your foot held securely in place, plus with just a 4mm drop, they encourage a more natural forefoot running style.
Saucony Peregrine 10
For the prepared: Montane Fleet Waterproof Jacket
If you’re looking for a versatile jacket to use in foul weather for hiking, running, or walks round the park, this is just the job. British brand Montane produces high quality and seriously capable gear at very reasonable prices – and this item is no exception. Using the premium Gore-Tex Active fabric, it’s highly breathable, super waterproof and windproof, and coming in at under 350g, it’s pretty lightweight too. It has a snug hood that fits nicely around the neck (almost up to your chin) – with three point adjustment – and is complete with a felty soft panel on the inside chin to stop rubbing. Fitted with high-end waterproof YKK zippers, three handy pockets, adjustable toggle around the hem and velcro tabs on the wrists, it’s also well cut and proportioned with room for a base layer or two.
Montane Fleet Waterproof Jacket
For the winter walker: Patagonia Micro Puff Jacket
A choice for the environmentally and socially conscientious, this is an exceptionally lightweight puffer, ideal to use as a mid layer below a windproof shell. Filled with synthetic down, it performs well in active scenarios, and with a water repellant finish and polyester fabric, you don’t have to worry about getting caught in the rain. With an elasticated hem, cuffs and two zippered hand pockets, it also packs away into almost nothing.
Patagonia Micro Puff Jacket
For the sweater lover: Fjällräven Ovik Nordic Sweater
This Swedish outdoor brand produces the best quality gear made to stand up to the harshest winter, and this classic wool knitted sweater – inspired by traditional fisherman’s sweaters – is seriously warm too. With reinforced elbow patches, it’ll withstand hard use, and the wool is 100% traceable and ethically produced too.
Fjällräven Ovik Nordic Sweater
For the impulsive adventurer: Oru Inlet Portable Folding Lightweight Recreational Kayak
This ingenious piece of product design makes kayaking a viable pastime even for those who aren’t fortunate enough to have access to loads of storage space or a way to transport a 10ft kayak. Weighing just 9kg, it folds down into a carrier that’s only a metre long and 45cm tall – so easily fits in a boot or stashes under a desk – and it takes just five minutes to assemble. When erected, it’s the perfect companion for fun on the water: very stable even for beginners with a wide cockpit for a dog or child. Other features, such as an adjustable backrest and seat pad, make this an all round winning craft.
Oru Inlet Portable Folding Lightweight Recreational Kayak
For the observer: Swarovski Pocket CL 10x25 binoculars
One should never venture into the great outdoors without a good pair of binoculars to hand. The optical clarity delivered by these Swarovskis is simply remarkable, plus they weigh just 345g and are around the size of your palm so you can have them around your neck or in a jacket pocket without any trouble. With a staggering 10x magnification and good field of vision, you’ll be able to seem for miles with these.
Swarovski Pocket CL 10x25 binoculars
For the coffee lover: Hydroflask 16oz Coffee Flask
This travel coffee mug will be a trusty winter companion, keeping your hot drinks warm all day with its double-wall vacuum-insulation. Simply twist the leak proof and easy to clean lid and your hot drink will flow while its large rubber strap is designed to attach securely to backpacks. A lifetime guarantee finishes off this premium and nicely sized coffee flask.
Hydroflask 16oz Coffee Flask
For the comfort seeker: Helinox Chair Zero
Perhaps the ultimate lightweight and packable chair, when stowed it’s an impressively small 35cm long and weighs an impossibly light 480g, so you won’t even notice you’re carrying it, yet it will comfortably seat someone up to 120kg. This is possible by using a high grade aluminium with a sturdy ripstop nylon material and some ingenious design.
Helinox Chair Zero
For the after dark explorer: Biolite HeadLamp 750 Head Torch
Just launched, this head torch comes packed with features. The front light has dimmable red, flood and spot lights, plus the rear mounted battery pack is also equipped with a rear facing red visibility light – great from a safety perspective. The front light tilts so you can find the right angle for your needs, and the USB rechargeable battery will give up to seven hours on the 500 Lumen setting or an impressive six days on the low 5 Lumen setting. It’s highly water resistant – up to 30 minutes in 1m of water – with a sweat wicking headband that sits comfortably and securely on your head.
Biolite HeadLamp 750 Head Torch
For the minimalist: AC ATTO Monaco Foldable Bike
British folding bike specialist Austin Cycles has produced a covetable ultra-light foldable bike. Its top range Monaco weighs a mere 7.49kg by using only top end components, combined with a carbon frame, forks and seatpost. Covered disc brakes and belt drive system avoid getting oil on your trouser legs, making this the perfect city companion. If this budget is a stretch, the AC ATTO is only a smidge heavier and will set you back just £2,500.
AC ATTO Monaco Foldable Bike
Looking for something a little more luxurious? These are the best gifts for men (that you’ll also want)…
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