Great gifts for the outdoors

— StatePointDecember 3, 2013 

There's no better time than the holiday season to help your favorite outdoor thrill seekers gear up for all their upcoming adventures.

Even if the hiker, backpacker or climber you know already has their favorite gear, new innovations in outdoor products are helping both new and seasoned adventurers go further and higher.

Here are a few ways to find the ideal holiday gift for the outdoor enthusiast in your life:

Give back: Help protect the environment that your gift recipient so passionately enjoys with eco-friendly gear. For example, you can buy hats, jackets and even boots made from recycled material.

Even if you don't go the recycled route, you can shop with sustainability in mind by opting for durable gear will last a lifetime. The less often a jacket, tent or sleeping bag needs replacing, the better for the environment.

Warm up: Gone are the days where a simple down coat is the be-all and end-all of staying warm during an outdoor adventure. Now, technically advanced outdoor apparel, equipment and footwear are designed to fit the versatile needs of outdoor enthusiasts, offering lightweight options that offer warmth in varying weather conditions.

For example, the ThermoBall Jacket, recently unveiled by The North Face and awarded Editors' Choice by Backpacker Magazine, is made of a synthetic insulation that mimics the loft and warmth of a down cluster, with the added benefit of insulation retention when wet.

"This technology is inspired by the needs of our athletes," says Joe Vernachio, vice president at the North Face of global products. "And this insulation has been tested and approved by our climbing team in the Himalayas."   

Washable and durable, it's a good jacket for packing too, as it compresses neatly into its hand pocket.

Get inspired: While your gift recipient may wish to be in the great outdoors all the time, that's not usually possible. Give him or her something to do between adventures with a good book or eBook. There are plenty of great outdoor adventure and travel memoirs that offer inspiration, even for someone who is curled up in bed. Or, consider purchasing a subscription to an outdoor adventure magazine.

This holiday season, keep your backpacker happy, warm and inspired.

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