In our modern quarantine world, holiday buying – largely online – is occurring earlier than ever before. With that in mind, we offer this Holiday Gift Guide for Early Buyers. The gear listed below is available now and will surely be appreciated by anyone on your gift list.
Pentax VM 6×21 WP Kit
Bird watchers and wilderness lovers will appreciate the new Pentax VM 6×21 WP kit from Ricoh. This new super-compact monocular is a great pocket tool for bird watchers, but the add-ons triple its performance.
The Smart Phone mount lets you turn it into a telephoto lens for your phone camera. The universal mount works with every phone we could find, from an old iPhone 4s and early Androids to the latest iPhone 12. You can also use that phone mount along with the macro mount to make the VM an 18X microscope camera. An integrated LED light provides excellent illumination. This tool is ideal for earth-science and biology students during this time of home-based learning.
The Pentax VM 6×21 WP won’t replace your regular bird-watching binoculars, but it makes a great addition to any adventure’s gear kit. The compact size means it can be slipped into a pocket for easy access on ad hoc outings, and the versatility offered by the kit puts the monocular into a unique class of usefulness. $199. Buy now.
Smart watches are everywhere these days, but only one has served the outdoor community for decades: Suunto. In the 1990s Suunto offered award-winning barometric altimeter watches and in the early 2000s, they introduced their wrist-based GPS receiver (the Suunto X9).
Today, the Suunto 7 offers an unmatched collection of features for the tech-savvy outdoor adventurer. The Suunto 7 pairs via Bluetooth with iOS and Android devices using the Wear OS by Google app. But the Suunto 7 is more than a portal for Wear OS. The watch features include GPS navigation and tracking, a barometric altimeter, and an integrated heart-rate monitor. The Suunto 7 is a full-function Smart Watch as well as a stand-alone training and adventure tool. $499. Buy now.
Bogs Casual Chelsea boot
They may be called ‘casual’ but the Bog Chelseas are all business. These slip-on boots feature waterproof leather uppers backed with a thin-but-warm layer of synthetic insulation. That combination makes them well-suited to wet winter conditions, and a durable wave-patterned outsole provides good traction without collecting mud or snow in the lugs. The Casual Chelsea wears like a boot but looks good enough for casual outings and travel. We found them ideal for use as daily wear when working around the orchard and running into town. The slip-on style makes it easy to get them on and off, helping cut the risk of tracking grime into your home between outdoor tasks.
The Chelseas look great, and perform better, making them an ideal daily boot for winter conditions. $130. Buy now.
Neft Vodka barrel
In this age of craft distillers, it seems vodka producers can be found in nearly every mountain town. And while there are many good distillers, there aren’t a lot of great ones. One of the best we’ve found recently, though, is Neft. This Austrian brand uses four varieties of rye in their processes and oxygen-rich spring water from the Alps to produce a clear, ultra-smooth vodka.
But the brand doesn’t stop with just a great beverage. Neft uses renewable energy for its primary power needs – and soon will be using 100-percent renewable energy. And when it comes to packaging their product, Neft ships their vodka not in glass bottles but easily recyclable cans, uniquely shaped like 55-gallon drums. Available in individual-sized 100 ml drums – perfect stocking-stuffer gifts – and large 750 ml drums, Neft Vodka sports a unique look and a premium taste. $31.95 (750 ml), $7.95 (100ml). Buy now.
Smith 4D Mag Goggles
Ski goggles have two core requirements: Good fit and good visibility. Without a good fit, you’ll either take them off and not use them, or they fog/frost over immediately. Without good visibility, you’ll either take them off and not use them or you’ll struggle to see the terrain in front of you.
The new Smith 4D conquer both requirements with ease. The wide band fits securely around every helmet we could find to test them on – even some old full-faced paragliding helmets. A sleek ventilation system, though, lets in just enough discrete airflow to keep the lenses fog-free.
The 4D Mags come with two lenses – we tested a set of ChromaPop Sun Green and ChromaPop Storm Rose. ChromaPop technology enhances definition and color. And the curved lenses allow great peripheral vision, increasing your safety when carving down crowded slopes.
The Smith MAG lens change system makes it easy to quickly and efficiently pop out one lens and click in the other. Strong magnets help hold the lens securely in place. $300. Buy now.
Someone Somewhere Dia de Muertos Mask
Face masks are the new must-have accessory with which you can express your individuality while meeting social norms. All the masks offered by Someone Somewhere provide great look and performance, but their Dia de Muertos mask is truly distinctive. Someone Somewhere is a brand that works with 180+ independent artisans (98 percent of whom are women) in the poorest regions of Mexico to help provide them with an income while sharing their remarkable crafts.
The Dia de Muertos mask features the ancient Aztec dog, Xolo, in a woven glow-in-the-dark “Day of the Dead” pattern. The cotton mask itself is soft and fits comfortably on faces of all sizes. And for those what prefer a behind-the-head band instead of standard ear straps, Someone Somewhere includes a matching head-panel that can be clipped to the ear straps. $19. Buy now.
Stanley Legacy Quadvac Thermal Bottle, 1.5qt
The new Stanley Legacy series pay homage to the brand’s classic insulated bottles from the 1950s. The Legacy 1.5qt bottle closely resembles those vintage thermal bottles, but inside, the Legacy is all new. Stanley’s QuadVac vacuum technology works better and longer than any other insulated bottle system we’ve found.
Another update on the classic style is the addition of soft but durable easy-grip wrap encircling the center third of the bottle. Finally, the Legacy Series carries Stanley’s lifetime guarantee. Available in three colors – purists will want the classic Hammertone Green, while minimalists may opt for the black, and modernists may prefer the Nightfall Blue. $50. Buy now.