While chatting with Gear Institute readers, conversations frequently focus on the outdoor industry and this time of a year, the conversation often focuses on holiday gifts. While noting that the people who work day-in and day-out with the latest and greatest gear should have easy access to a wide variety of products, many readers ask what gifts would make those gear professionals jump for joy? And what do they like to give others?

We put those questions to a number of industry insiders. Here’s what they said.

Nate Simmons
Managing Partner, Backbone Media

Gear Institute: What would you most like to receive this holiday season?
Simmons: First up would be Nordic gear for my kids—aged 7 and 5—because I want them to learn to Nordic ski early (in addition to alpine).

Thule-Easy fit SUV chains

For myself, I’d love some Thule Easy Fit SUV for my sprinter van. And I already gave myself one gift—I bought the Snow Peak IGT kitchen system  for car camping. I’m super stoked on this. 

SnowPeak-IGT

Gear Institute: What do you like to give to other outdoors enthusiasts on your lists?
Simmons: My go-to gifts include Smart Wool socks and accessories. You can’t go wrong with socks and a bit of warm luxury. You also can’t go wrong with down. I like to give down coats, especially from Stio or Eddie Bauer.

Finally, Maven Binoculars make great gifts. These can be customized for the recipient, so it’s a useful, and personal, gift.

Maven fullsize

Casey Sherman
Merchandising Manager for Outdoor Electronics, 
REI

Gear Institute: What would you most like to receive this holiday season?
Sherman: I would love a new GoPro Hero 4—it is an awesome camera. I love doing all kinds of outdoors adventures, and putting that down on video and creating a little movie is a great way to remember the adventure. The camera offers incredible resolution, and the accessories available for GoPros would allow me to capture the show from a multitude of angles. Plus sometimes you see that things you didn’t even notice in real time, like the yeti hiding behind the tree!

Gopro-hero4-black

A great add-on gift to the GoPro would be the Xsories Pico projector. After I shoot that cool adventure I want someway to watch it at the campsite. Plus I have kids, and watching a movie on the side of the tent will make the experience much more fun for them when the luster of the fire dies down. The Pico measures less than 6-inches square and just 1.2 inches thick.

Pico-Projector2

Gear Institute: What do you like to give to other outdoors enthusiasts on your lists?
Sherman: Headlamps are always on the top of my list. Everyone can use a few extra headlamps and I can always find something that fits a great price-point for my budget. Top of my list for my best friends would be the Black Diamond Storm. The $50 price fits into the “nice gift” category, and, because it is waterproof, this super-bright lamp works well for friends and family that live in the Northwest. 

Storm-Headlamp

Mac McKeever
Senior Public Relations, 
LL Bean

Gear Institute: What would you most like to receive this holiday season?
McKeever: I always appreciate products that represent functional innovation. New, unique and innovative products are cool, for a product to really ring the bell for me; it needs to combine innovation with real-world applicability and functionality—something that solves a problem. A great example of this is the L.L.Bean Ultralight 850 Down Jacket, which incorporate DownTek. This preserves down’s best qualities by keeping it dry, so it enable folks to stay more comfortable while engaging in outdoor pursuits, thus improving their overall enjoyment of the activity.

Gear Institute: What do you like to give to other outdoors enthusiasts on your lists?
McKeever: You also can’t go wrong giving a pair of snowshoes or other products designed to help folks get out and enjoy winter more. But I also like to give gadgets that I know they can use on the trail as well as at home. A few good examples of some gifts I really like to give are L.L.Bean’s Stowaway Collapsible Lantern , as well as L.L.Bean’s Pathfinder LED Cap.  

llbean cap

Steve Bendzak
VP of Sales, 
Simms Fishing Products

Recurve

Gear Institute: What would you most like to receive this holiday season?
Bendzak: I would love a new recurve bow. It is the ultimate extension of body, soul, and instinct as a harvesting tool.

ExOfficio Briefs

Gear Institute: What do you like to give to other outdoors enthusiasts on your lists?

Bendzak: I love to give gifts like Princeton Tec or Black Diamond headlamps, Simms socks & Hats, Ex Officio underwear, Orvis gift certificates,  a Simms Flask  full of 40 Creek whiskey, fishing gear, lift tickets for Bridger Mountain Bowl, or Leatherman multitools

Simms-flask

Jessica Clayton
PR manager, 
Patagonia

Gear Institute: What would you most like to receive this holiday season? 
Clayton: I would love to receive some gear from Snow Peak. They have great, elegant designs. I would love super lightweight cook set from Snow Peak. And who doesn’t need a Titanium French Press? 

Snow-Peak-French-Press

Gear Institute: What do you like to give to other outdoors enthusiasts on your lists?
Clayton: I can’t tell you how many Patagonia Capilene 4 Zip-Necks I have given out as Christmas gifts over the years. The price is right ($99), and everyone who puts that thing on falls in love immediately. 

Patagonia-Capilene4

Tom Rosenbauer
Marketing Manager, 
Orvis Rod & Tackle

Gear Institute: What would you most like to receive this holiday season? 
Rosenbauer: The gift I most like to receive is the one my wife jokingly gives me every Christmas—a one-week get-out-of-jail-card-free to spend 7 days in the Bahamas with a good friend who is another crazy fisherman, chasing bonefish for about 14 hours a day, tying flies for a couple hours each night, and then getting up the next morning and doing it all over again.  I think time is the most precious commodity all of us have. 

Gear Institute: What do you like to give to other outdoors enthusiasts on your lists?
Rosenbauer: The thing I would most like to give would be some flies I have tied myself. Fly fishers can always use flies, and I think the gift means more to both the recipient and myself because I made them myself.  Note I said I would like to give friends some of my flies, but I always procrastinate on tying flies and never seem to get to it.  So in case you are one of my friends reading this, wondering why you never got flies from me, blame it on my laziness. 

 royal-wulff

Kelly Maggs
Merchandising Manager for snow sports, 
REI

Gear Institute: What would you most like to receive this holiday season?
Maggs: I would like to receive a Pieps Tour Pro 34 Jetforce Avalanche Airbag Pack. The pack offers game-changing technology that would make me feel safer riding. Because the airbag can be easily repacked, I could practice deploying the airbag as much as needed to become familiar with the process until it becomes instinctive in an emergency.

Pieps-avy-pack

Gear Institute: What do you like to give to other outdoors enthusiasts on your lists? 
Maggs: I give the Anon M2 Goggles to good friends. These have the fastest lens changing system on the market—the lenses connect to the frames magnetically. The system works and it’s easy, but best of all, they make anyone look like Bad Ass!

anon-googles

Penn Newhard
Founding/Managing Partner, Backbone Media

Gear Institute: What would you most like to receive this holiday season? 
Newhard:  I like to get outside a lot. But a big part of maintaining volume— skiing, cycling and running—is staying healthy and protecting your joints. My friend Brian Cousins initially told me about Opedix. Like many of our colleagues we have knee and back pain from (over)use and logging many days in the mountains. At Brian’s urging I tried Opedix products, which maintain kinetic alignment in your hips and knees while providing compression and warmth. Whoa, these things work! Seriously, whether negating back pain from running or maintaining energy and support while alpine skiing or skinning, I no longer wear a knee specific brace. I would love the new Opedix Dual-Tec 2.0 3/4-length Tight as it is ideal for skiing. I’m a big fan of 3/4 length base layers since they mitigate the bunching up of too many layers around your ankle and boot. 

Gear Institute: What do you like to give to other outdoors enthusiasts on your lists? 
Newhard: I like to give people knowledge. Perhaps the biggest deterrent to people getting outside is a lack of education. A great specific example is with the rise in popularity of backcountry skiing and avalanche education. Good partners make for good experiences and good partners are knowledgeable.

Basic avalanche knowledge in terms of evaluating hazard, planning safe BC travel (uphill and down) and particularly the heuristics around group dynamics and risk tolerance/acceptance is super important. More and more manufacturers are making great gear that makes BC skiing or split-boarding lighter, more enjoyable and easier to aspire to. AvaLungs and airbags can help get you out of trouble should an accident happen. But what is most important is education—as knowledge is a big part of not getting into a bad situation in the first place. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center (CAIC), the Northwest Avalanche Center (NWAC) and the Utah Avalanche Center (UAC) all offer great level courses, as do the American Avalanche Association and AAIRE. Check with a local guide service.

Knowledge is power and good partners always get invited to go play in the snow.