This site requires javascript please enable javascript to avoid problems.

Father’s Day Gift Guide: Outdoor Favorites “Fast Five”

June 08, 2016

  • by
  • Peter Reese

Some people need to be pried off the couch or have the mouse pad forcibly removed from their reach.  Others are ready to get outside with the mere mention of trees, trails and topo maps.  Here are five products to accelerate their adrenaline fix.

Showers Pass Syncline Jacket:  Fast exit

Showers Pass Syncline Jacket

Sprint from office to trail head.  Or pedal hard across single-track surprises even if wind and wet hit you head-on.  To its great credit, Syncline avoids collisions in town or on the road with generous 3M Reflective trim coverage, even as the full-rotation raglan shoulders mean the freedom to go hard.  Torso-wise, the jacket is shaped to avoid puffing in the wind without restricting movement.  Zippered hand pockets and dual hem toggles up the game as does a right-sized hood.  Active Junky is wild over the Showers Pass build that includes easy-adjusting cuffs, faultless zippers and a storm flap topped by mouse-soft fleece.  Know that other pieces from the brand are more dialed for road, mountain and commuting cycling if on-bike is your world. A 2.5 layer, cross-core vented jacket at this price makes for an even wiser purchase as water-fighting Syncline is more multi-sport than most.  Drawing its moniker from a popular Columbia River Gorge MTB trail, Artex Hardshell Syncline coasts across life’s finish lines ready to look good, season after season.

Best For: Three-season ride and run, ambitious hikes in turbulent weather

LEMS Boulder Boot Buckeye:  Hold your ground, fold your boot

The brand calls this style “ultra-minimalist,” but Active Junky testers call it “right-built” for most easy-going and lifestyle pursuits.  Yet the folding boot claws it way across loose gravel, moderate trails and urban wastelands with a sense of mission even long-term brands struggle to maintain in the face of new technology.  The boot’s last fits most feet well, relying upon a robust seven-eyelet lacing system to maintain form in the leather and heavy nylon (1200 denier) upper.  After only three testing sessions, team members envisioned Boulder Boot as the ideal travel companion with enough style to slurp oysters or carve into Brazilian barbecue parties with aplomb.  At only 9.9oz for an EU size 43, the “bipper” (our mash-up of “boot” and “slipper”) kicks back on air and rail trips without getting soggy thanks to a 100% cotton lining.  Think you’ve worn them all?  Not a chance with a brand and model that startled, delighted and performed from tavern to trail.

Best For: Everyday casual, adventure travel (non-technical pursuits) and weekend strolling

Check out the LEM Boulder Boot Buckeye >

SofSole Gel Support Stability Insole:  Walking tall(er)

The universe of aftermarket shoe and boot insoles keeps expanding.  Unfortunately, most hunts for the right model lead to a Black Hole where the options suck the very life out of your desire for comfort and stability.  With this model, SofSole’s got an easy-going approach to taking on a rough-and-tumble world. Much like outerwear has “zones” to balance freedom of movement with weather resistance, Gel Support varies from toe to heel.  Active Junky appreciated the dual heel pads in particular along with the perforated, airflow-promoting forefoot zone.  Trimmed to fit and recommended for flat to medium arch heights, this model is rated as a medium for cushioning.  Before exploring more expensive, custom orthotics, give this one a chance to improve your energy level.  On the trail and tarmac alike.

Best For: Carrying light to moderate loads around town, during travel and on established trails

Check out SofSole Insoles >

Stanley Cleanable Steel Canteen:  Retro refreshment

Few products shine forth like a beacon at chaotic outdoor industry trade shows.  Particularly when they stand less than a foot tall and are surrounded by killer classics in the storied Stanley family.  This 1L canteen is stainless but has a magnetism all its own despite a non-insulated build.  Active Junky grabbed and glugged water and alchemist-inspired sports drinks with gusto thanks to the two-stage lid.  Fill from the bigger, drink from the smaller.  Done, with dehydration-fighting efficiency even as the adjustable nylon strap makes it easy to drop Canteen down into raging rivers for fast recharging.  Naturally BPA free and a gleaming example of 18/8 artistry, this one is glorious.  While testers gravitate toward the retro enamel green Stanley products, this one takes a gleaming path of its own.

Best For: Life on your terms, satisfying some of the common envy attached to Airstream ownership (by others, that is)

Check out the Stanley Steel Canteen >

EnerPlex Kickr IV:  Unfold the future

Enerplex Kickr IV Starting at: $95.00

Really.  This kind of reliable (even wall outlet-like) power from an under-11oz, four-panel solar charger with regulated output?  Active Junky testers put one into action under clear, late afternoon skies and went on with their activities.  Rated for regenerating a phone in under 2 hours, Kickr finds chargeable light in conditions others veto – even inside a car or building.  Voila as the 6.0 watt, 5-volt system pumps 1.2 amps reliably with superior results.  Complete with a USB charging cable, the challenge here is to keep the phone, table, camera or other device in a cool place when the panels are doing their magic.  Despite being flexible, the unit easily props up at an advantageous angle to catch rays – and can be secured against buffeting winds using the four beefy corner grommets.  Those new to solar – or who had a bad previous experience with lower output, rigid panels – deserve a second chance with EnerPlex.

Best For: Basecamp and backcountry including bikepacking where sunlight is prevalent and civilization is a dim memory

Share this Article

Products Featured in this Article