4 Pricey But Worth-It Outdoor Gifts To Buy Yourself
Forget the guilt! Now’s a time to reflect on those moments when you’re out shopping for everyone else, but get attracted to a piece of apparel or gear that will compel you to go outside and have fun. Outdoor gifts to buy yourself? Yes, A gift for you, not for friends, family, the neighbors, or the office pool. A self-gift that will keep you lively and self-satisfied for years to come, not to mention a paragon of fitness at your next medical appointment. Aaah, pricey but practical and perfect.
Here are some Muddy Boots’ favorites for outdoor gifts to buy yourself:
#1 Trekking poles
Trekking poles come first on the list for good reason. They’ll help you stay safer, walk (or snowshoe) further, and zoom right along. If you can only afford one extravagant gift for yourself, get a high quality pair of trekking poles.
Top companies? Leki, far and away, for ergonomics and manufacturing quality. Komperdell, like Leki, is a European high-end brand. Helpful hint about Komperdells? Major outdoor stores such as REI and LL Bean sell Komperdells under their own brand names. Just take a close look at the pole and look for Komperdell in tiny print. A store name usually translates to “more affordable”
A third brand—very popular in the US—is Black Diamond. FYI, for folks with any arthritis at all, BD’s can be difficult to clamp: IMBHO, this is a non-starter for active seniors, since you’ll be needing those poles long after finger-stiffness sets in. Try before you buy.
High quality trekking poles either come with snow baskets or you can buy them separately. Snow baskets are needed for snowshoeing.
#2 Packable down or Primaloft vest
The key here is a lightweight, packable garment that you can stuff easily into your pack and pull out when the chill sets in. It is versatile enough to use in winter-summer-spring-fall, and can even look presentable when you’re visiting in-laws. Great for travel, too.
Primaloft is a synthetic fill that packs well and has a feel-good drape. The higher the fill number on down apparel, the lighter and more packable it is. Look for down that is water-resistant, especially if you live in a wetter climate.
Make sure the zippers are easy to connect and zip. Just sayin’.
Speaking of zippers, look at the pockets of the vest. If there’s a zipper pull on the inside of a pocket as well as the outside, it means the pocket can be turned inside out and stuffed with the jacket. A nice tidy package!
#3 Real Goretex rain jacket
Of the outdoor gifts to buy yourself on this list, this one may be a lifesaver.
If going out in the rain gussied up in your current raingear leaves you feeling clammy-damp-wettish, treat yourself to a rainjacket made out of genuine Goretex. Although many companies make waterproof-breathable garments, Goretex is about as waterproof and as breathable as you can get. Compared with the $100 jacket variety, you can also expect it to last much longer before it delaminates, making it cost-effective on a budget.
How you will know…
Real Goretex garments are easy to pick out in an outdoor store, since they’re required to bear a large, black, square tag with the Goretex logo. Manufacturers using Goretex must have styles approved by the Gore company, too. And, since Gore favors designs that have clean lines and superior workmanship, you won’t see tricked-out creations, just practical, no-fuss waterproofedness.
Marmot makes the Minimalist Goretex rain jacket for men and women. It’s often on sale.
As with all raingear, be sure to wash and treat the outside of your Goretex jacket once a year. Read the instructions carefully!
These are purpose-built for active outdoor activities. They are generally (but not always) fitted exactly to your body to the inch. Most people don’t know this even if they own one!
Technical packs are not book bags, which will weigh you down, hinder your movement, feel like a lump, and generally slop around. A correctly-fitting technical pack will move with your body, allow your arms to swing, and let you walk in a full upright position.
If your new pack doesn’t come with a raincover—and you’re feeling extra flush—treat yourself to one of those, too.
Muddy Boots recommends that a technical pack have at least a 32 liter capacity if you’ll be using it all-seasons. When it’s colder, you need to take a few extra items to mitigate the potential for hypothermia.
A few brands
Look for Deuter, Osprey, Arcteryx, and Gregory. Some high-end store brands will work well, too. Ignore reviews (there’s a vast amount of crowd-think out there when it comes to certain brands) and get one that fits YOU. A top-notch outdoor store will have a fitter on hand to get this right.
Get a good deal!
This scarcely needs a mention for savvy 62 plussers, but gather your coupons, rewards, flash sales. Perhaps look for last year’s colors. And enjoy your new accoutrements.
This article mentions outdoor brands. This is not intended to be construed as an advertisement.
Outdoor gifts to buy yourself photo credits. Featured image, Gift: CC BY 2.0 by Praveen via Flickr. Top…Leki trekking poles at The Pogue, Woodstock VT, ©DustyCarMuddyBoots.com, All Rights Reserved. Vest panel, screen shots, left to right, Outdoor Research Transcendent, Patagonia Sweater Vest, Eastern Mountain Sports Women’s Feather Pack Down Vest, The North Face Thermoball Vest. Marmot Minimalist Goretex rain jacket and Goretex tag: screen shots. Osprey Talon 33: CC BY-SA 2.0 by Nick Bramhall via Flickr. Deuter on hiker with blue jacket, Ballachulish, UK: CC0 Public Domain by Danka and Peter via Unsplash.