For the outdoorsy man in your life, we’ve pulled together some of our favorite products, including hike and camp gear to footwear and ways to keep warm this winter. Have a look at our list of best holiday gift ideas sure to make him smile this holiday season.
Also check out our Gift Ideas for Her, our activity-specific gift guides from Active Junky, or gift ideas from our sister site, Tom’s Guide, with over 250 techy gift ideas. But don’t forget to sign up for Active Junky for the best deals and cash back on your gear and gift purchases for him.
Gifts for Him
Photo Credit: Warren Wong/Unsplash
|Basin and Range||Gore-Tex||Osprey||Sweet Protection|
|Black Diamond||Hoka One One||Outdoor Research||Teva|
Osprey Volt 75 Backpack
In the backcountry, this Osprey workhorse was a top performer. On the march, Osprey’s attention to design details was obvious when travelling for multiple days with a full pack (including heavy camera gear) across technical desert terrain. Only after returning home did testers discover Volt’s reasonable pricing. But he won't need to know how much you spent; he'll love this backpack as a gift either way.
Best for: Beginners to experienced backpackers alike, thanks to Osprey’s intuitive design, simple features and comfortable harness
Travis Rice Natural Gore-Tex Gloves
When testers first tried on these gloves motoring up to the mountains, they felt like getaway drivers on their way to a heist. Riveted studs (think miniature ice scrapers), a zipped cuff and a Travis Rice logo accent the black leather. While we wouldn’t recommend these gloves on a sizzling spring day, when Colorado snowstorms struck, this Quiksilver and Gore-Tex collaboration delivered. Pair the supple grip, comfort and durability of leather with the Gore-Tex outer and these gloves are Active Junky approved – hands down.
Sweet Protection TE Grimnir Helmet
We know you want to keep your loved ones safe, and this gift will protect him as he hits the slopes (and not his head) this winter. Terje Haakonsen linked up with the Norwegian gear company to develop the Grimnir TE—a MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System) equipped carbon fiber helmet designed to take on the toughest terrain. The award-winning helmet is tested for use with action cameras, a fact that many of Sweet Protection’s competitors often ignore (using an action cam can drastically alter the way a helmet protects your cranium in a crash). If you can spring for this ultra-expensive piece of gear, at the very least you should have some peace of mind.
POC Fovea Goggle
We’re big fans of POC goggles in general, and we couldn’t be more hyped on Jeremy Jones’ blacked-out pro model. The Fovea possesses a slightly oversized style, highlighted by the Uranium Black Zeiss spherical lens—which supplies noteworthy optical clarity. It’s also remarkably resistant to scratches and never seems to fog up (unless you’re hiking and huffing uphill, in which case check out the Jones Did Glacier Glasses). The soft-flexing frame shape is comfortable against the face (both with and without a helmet), thanks in part to the triple-layer foam. All in all, the Fovea is a frills-free, high-performance goggle—exactly the kind of design that a freeride legend like Jeremy Jones needs on his high-alpine missions.
Outdoor Research Realm Jacket
In the top tier for performance and light weight, 10.9oz Realm proved to be the ruler of all it beheld with intense field sessions in coastal North Carolina as well as the Colorado Rockies. Bringing above-average wind protection to breezes and major blows, the jacket stood up to precip ranging from sea spray to destructive downpours. With higher pocket placement for easy access when worn with waistbelts, the lightweight jacket’s ability to stretch and move made it a delight to wear as much as a delight to gift to your favorite guy.
Best for: Three- and four-season wear across the full spectrum of weather conditions and activities, adventure travel and expeditions
Black Diamond First Light Hoody
At home in colder alpine environments, the First Light Hoody from Black Diamond is an homage to dawn patrollers everywhere. Whether that means early morning winter runs, pre-work ski-touring, or waking up on a portaledge a few thousand feet off the deck, the First Light Hoody is built for you. Lightweight at only 18 ounces attributed to water resistant PrimaLoft insulation, which also allows it to be packable without losing loft or become compact like natural down. If he spends a lot of time in the cold at altitude, he'll be thanking you for this one.
Best for: Alpinism and Ice Climbing, light and fast backpacking in cold temperatures
Royal Robbins MerinoLux Polo
A travel shirt ought to look good. It also ought to remain stink-free after 24-hour, multi-plane marathons across time zones, sweaty hikes through the jungle, and frenzied dance parties at humid beach clubs—plus everything in between. The Royal Robbins MerinoLux Polo earned top marks after a thorough testing in the tropics: the soft, stretchy, quick-drying, anti-wrinkle blend of 68% polyester, 32% merino wool is ultra-comfortable, doesn’t seem to pill up like many more expensive pure merino fabrics, and can be machine-washed. We wore the UPF 50+ fabric in a light gray, and the fabric regulated heat well from stifling Sri Lankan public buses to perspiration-inducing Indonesian jungle treks. If you need a low-profile yet sharp polo that can handle the sweat and spontaneity of international travel, look no further.
Best for: Squeezing the most out of life while doing the least amount of laundry
Royal Robbins MerinoLux Go Everywhere 1/4 Zip
Royal Robbins is the classic adventure travel brand that will make him feel just a little bit more grown up. The brand made a renewed push into the performance world with the MerinoLux Go Everywhere quarter-zip base layer; and they’re working the blended angle in a big way. The Go Everywhere is Merino wool blended with environmentally friendly Sorona brand fibers, a renewably sourced biopolymer, lending a soft hand and added durability to the tried and true fine wool. This men’s wool shirt is lightweight, wrinkle-resistant like so many of Royal’s other products, and features UPF 50 protection. Like all wool next-to-skin garments, it’s naturally temperature regulating, odor resistant and dries quickly both on and off the body.
Smartwool NTS Mid 250 Pattern Crew
Pioneers in the development and modernization of Merino wool for outdoor use, we will never turn down the chance to test new product from Smartwool even after 20 years. It’s a timeless brand with reliable quality and devotion to its customers and craft. While technical base layers is something they’ve always done well, not to mention their mid-layer and fashion-forward outerwear developments in recent years, Smartwool has a few new base layer options to add to the mix. The Smartwool Men’s NTS Mid 250 Pattern Crew is a form-fitting piece featuring interlock knit with set-in sleeves. Classically styled and made with 100-percent merino wool, The Smartwool Men’s NTS Mid 250 Pattern Bottom is built for comfort and performance with an outstandingly awesome chafe-free waistband.
Best for: Snowboarding powder in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, Smartwool’s headquaters
Ibex Shak Hoodoo Hoody
Ibex is a leader in Merino wool gear and creating styles with it that are so versatile you’ll make them everyday wardrobe staples. With its soft hand feel, the Ibex Shak Hoodoo Hoody is one of those pieces you’ll want to wear on all your workouts, and you can because the superfine Merino fibers are naturally resistant to the growth of odor-causing bacteria. With premium tailoring, the Shak Hoodoo fits like a glove while regulating body temperature for superior comfort in all conditions. Stellar at maintaining a comfortable temperature in cooler degrees while on the move, he'll be stoked to unwrap this gift.
ExOfficio Dylan Jeans
Travel jeans—perfected. Seriously. The Dylan Jeans from ExOfficio have rapidly become our itinerant tester’s favorite pair of pants. The fabric itself plays a huge role in that accolade: the 72% cotton, 27% polyester, 1% elastane cone denim with Sorbtek is, according to ExOfficio, “a wicking, quick-drying, stretch denim that’s three times stronger than all-cotton jeans.” Multiple wash cycles, coffee spills, and wet Northern California surf trips have proven this claim true, time and time again. But what solidified this pair of pants as a go-to traveling essential are the three clever pockets that provide peace of mind while traveling internationally: one passport-sized compartment on the right quad, one zippered back pocket, and a hidden zippered stash on the inner lining. For your own sake, it’s time to ditch the uncomfortable, awkward money belt, time to forget the fanny pack—these pockets are stealthier and these pants more stylish. The recipe for jeans is a classic one that’s, generally, not to be tampered with—but ExOfficio’s actually improved on the past by adding their forward-thinking traveler’s twist. There’s not a single negative in sight here; we reckon even Levi’s loyalists will nod ruefully and change their stripes.
Basin and Range Current Quick Dry Pant
These pants from Basin and Range are simple but well thought out to create a go-to hiking and travel pant. A stretchy quick drying material gives you all day comfort. The built-in adjustable belt keeps the pants where they need to be to keep you on the move. Testers’ favorite feature was the elastic draw cord at the ankle to keep the legs from slipping over sandals while lounging around camp. The Current Pants give you the styling to go straight from the trail to the bar without missing a beat. These pants are quickly becoming a favorite and are finding their way into our bag no matter the occasion, so we're sure they'll be a favorite gift for him, too.
Hoka One One Tor Ultra Hiking Boot
Sleek styling, irrefutable ankle support and a signature rockered sole took this one to extremes, conditions-wise. Testing across varied terrain included a spontaneous morning run up a slick rock canyon. Carry heavy, push hard as you pack for days or scramble for a few hours in desert environments and beyond. These are a great all-around pair of trail boots, from trail running to hiking, and a great gift idea for the mountain man in your life.
Best for: Dedicated trail runners, thru hikers and fastpackers
Teva Arrowood Waterproof Hiking Shoe
Just because shoes are so comfortable that you don’t notice them doesn’t mean other people won’t. A regular conversation starter, the Teva Arrowood Waterproof Hiking Shoe is our ideal casual low-top, as it combines a capable and comfortable build with a classically casual full-grain leather exterior and a funky yet tasteful style: futuristic, lightweight, and speckled FloatLite Outsole (which supplies decent but not ground-breaking traction); hooked metal eyelets set into a sleek upper; and p-cord, outdoor-inspired laces. But the kicks don’t just look good: the shoe is functional and waterproof, although the leather exterior doesn’t make for the most breathable membrane. Our tester didn’t find breathability an issue hiking in the Rockies, but after testing these Tevas all over Southeast Asia, they definitely got steamy in the tropics.
Best for: Everyday use, casual wear, day hikes in moderate weather, spring-through-fall use in the mountains
Or keep going as long as the full-rubber, Vibram outsole keeps digging in. And the full-grain leather continues to wear even better than Kilometer’s rugged finish hints. Testers wore this one a size down from normal footwear (due to narrower feet) and recommend a half-size drop to take full advantage of the 6” tall, five eyelet and two loop design. Lacing here is sure and holds well with the classic foundation of a Goodyear Welt down below. While unlined, Active Junky relished the ability to select socks based upon the setting, whether casual Merino blend or bushwacking-ready yarn alchemy. Fabricated in the U.S., Kilometer is another reason to give Wolverine leather boots a wear as the weather turns more turbulent.
Built for escapades with the free spirited in mind, the Astral Filipe never failed testers on the path from a casita south of Sayulita, Mexico through the nearby jungle. We weaved through palm fronds, explored paths through sprouting coconut trees, and waded through a shallow river with ease with Astral’s waterproof and moisture wicking materials that dried quickly while offering support and sure-footed steps.
Leatherman Tread Multi-Tool Bracelet
Together in one hardcore bracelet, Active Junky wore the TSA-passable Tread at the ready for fishing reel repair, camp stove adjustment, on-trail mountain bike tuning and, yes, powering through cold, capped beverages. Complete with 29 tools made from durable stainless steel, this Leatherman wearable multi-tool is completely adjustable and customizable by removing individual links, keeping only those that suit his needs.
Best for: Single- or multi-sport equipment adjustment and repair and worst-case scenario rescue
POC Fornix Backcountry MIPS Helmet
MIPS stands for “Multi-directional Impact Protection System.” The tech consists of a low-friction layer between the helmet’s shell and liner, allowing the liner to move independently during impact and reducing trauma to the brain. In addition to this cutting-edge technology, the Fornix Backcountry Helmet is also incredibly light. Plus, it has an intuitive adjustable fit system and six adjustable vents. Comfort and warmth make the Fornix something you look to forward to putting on instead of dreading when it’s time to rip skins and prep for the downhill.
Work Sharp Electric Knife and Tool Sharpener
Cabela’s got a collab going with an Active Junky favorite brand to build a system that goes from fine to course with the six included abrasive belts. While the sharpener takes some practice (trust us), the results come fast and consistently when the three included sharpening guides are employed. The full spectrum of knives meet their match with this Cabela’s kit, and many scissors can be sharpened as well. Try it on fast-dulling or long-ignored lawn and garden tools to get even more from this shop-in-a-box that comes complete with a hard-wearing nylon carry case.
Casio Protrek Triple Sensor Digital Watch
Active Junky loved this Casio digital watch complete with the ProTrek. Convenience features intelligently packaged in a big-buttoned, gloves-on model put testers on the hunt for important data within moments. At about 3oz and packing a 6-month battery life in a wrist-friendly design, the most central functions are a quick press away: altimeter, compass, thermometer, alarm, barometer and stopwatch. Testers favored the bottom-center light activation, workable display size and flexible band. For the majority of life’s activities, this highly water-resistant watch should more than suffice his watch and digital tracking needs.
Best for: All outdoor activities down to its 14-degree rating in water, elevation or sunshine