Looking for gifts ideas this year for the outdoors-lover in your life? We’ve got you covered.
Smartwool Women’s PhD Hunt Heavy Crew $27.95
Nothing ruins a winter outdoor adventure as quick as cold feet. These socks not only cradle heels and toes in extra-soft wool, they’re also thick and reinforced in all the right places. Designed to provide extra comfort for long days, they kept my feet toasty walking through frozen reeds and cattails and icy cold water. They’re also created specifically for women’s feet with a narrower profile. And in case you’re still undecided – they’re made in the U.S.A., with an American flag stitched into the inside cuff as a reminder.
Patagonia R1 Pullover, $129
If you’re not sure what to get her, you can’t go wrong with an R1 pullover. It is the perfect blend of lightweight and warm. Cut to fit an active woman, it holds in place through skiing, climbing and hunting. It’s my go-to base layer for all cold-weather activity. And because it’s an R1, it will hold up, guaranteeing she remembers the gift, and you, for years.
Mountain Hardwear Women’s StretchDown HD Hooded Jacket, $290
The biggest selling point on this jacket is its unique ability to perform in the field while still looking stylish on the town. Mountain Hardwear used Q.Sheild DOWN in the vest portion of the coat to keep your core warm. Lighter sleeves keep your arms comfortable. It’s a practical pairing offering warmth on the core and flexibility. The cut is flattering – tailored in the waist and chest – and extends slightly lower in the back to keep that gap covered when skiing or stretching. It’s kept me warm as a mid-layer while hunting and provided just enough protection on chilly hikes.
Walls Ditchdigger Pants $44.99
The name makes these pants sound like they’re ready for work, and they are. With reinforced knees and durable, water-resistant cotton duck, they hold up in the field while still providing serious comfort. We took them hunting and they stayed dry and kept our tester’s legs protected while walking through thick brush and sharp reeds. They’re heavy, so you wouldn’t want them for a hot summer day, but are perfect for colder-weather hunting or work.
Smartwool Men's Merino 250 Base Layer 1/4 Zip, $100
This isn’t your grandpa’s wool. Smartwool has been in the soft-wool game for a long time now, and they don’t disappoint with their Merino 250 base layer. Expect the perfect winter baselayer that wicks when you sweat and feels a lot like cashmere. It’s light weight yet warm, is functional in the field and looks good when getting drinks around town. The added quarter-zipper gives flexibility to let heat escape, or trap it in.
Vasque Men’s Snowburban II $159.99
Is the man in your life looking for a boot to wear ice fishing or working in the cold? Does he need the dexterity of a hiking boot with the warmth of a snow boot? Look no further. Vasque claims the boots are ready for frigid temps, and they aren't lying. The Snowburban stood up to treks through snow, ice and freezing water. The traction gripped on rocks and felt good from day one. If you need an alpine hiking boot, this fits the bill.
Bonus - for him or her
Le Chameau Men’s Condor LCX Hunting Boot, $399
Sometimes, you get what you pay for. This is one of those times. While $400 is steep for a hiking boot, you won’t regret the investment. Le Chameau recently started selling its products in the U.S., and while the boot says it’s for men, its unique construction means it immediately forms to each individual foot and so also works for women.
The company says the boots don’t require breaking in, which is a tall claim. After days spent pheasant hunting with a 22-pound toddler on my back, I had zero hot spots and no slippage. We trudged through swamps and snow and clambered over rocks, and my feet stayed warm, comfortable and dry. I didn’t have to break them in or use moleskin on sensitive areas.
And as an added bonus, Le Chameau paired with Michelin – yes, the tire company – to create soles made for gripping any surface you choose to walk on. Are they an investment? Definitely. Are they worth it? Absolutely.