Published on December 14th, 2012 | by Greg0
TrulyOutdoors Gift Guide: Camp, Hike, Bike!
Welcome to the third of our holiday gift guides- be sure to check out the other ones, like the first from TrulyKitchen and the second from TrulyIndoors. We’ve checked out hundreds of products in 2012, and our staff has camped, hiked, survived hurricanes, and fallen down mountains (in the name of journalism). Here are some of the best items we checked out this year, that kept us coming back and have proven useful since we originally wrote. We’ve selected the top overall product in a few categories- from timepieces to shoes to jackets.
We’ll start with outerwear, and specifically a jacket we reviewed eleven months ago! We found it warm and comfortable, and it’s held up well. The color is lovely, and the cut gets compliments. Pearl iZUMi’s Brendle has our vote. Under $200.
Back in March, we checked out the VEHO Muvi HD10+ action sports camera, along with a lot of other gear from the British firm. We’ve continued to use it, and it’s many mounting options- suction cups and headbands and helmet brackets- to great success. It’s solid, includes a screen, and offers impressive battery life. $200 or so, a stand out in a fairly crowded field.
Last Spring, we also tried out the Adidas Climacool Fresh Ride men’s shoes, the leader in our footwear category. They’ve held up well and keep looking sharp, on the tennis court and jogging track. Plus, they’re still springy, and offer great ventilation. That particular pair is no longer available, it appears, but others from the line are, for both men and women. $70-$135.
We love timepieces- even though a watch isn’t an absolute necessity for most people anymore. But when you’re out hiking for more than a couple of days, it’s important to be able to count on a watch, and the Casio Pathfinder PAG240-1CR offers solar recharging, a super bright backlight, and a digital compass, altimeter, barometer, and thermometer. $200 or so, with a few sister models that offer varying feature sets and prices.
The Prince EXO3 Blue 110 is our pick for the tennis racquet of the year- a great all-around slugger that balances power and control, and offers a pretty large sweet spot. It’s great for mid-level players, and can spark your game. It isn’t light, and it’s not the best for speed or curves or base hitters, but for those who want a more general-purpose tool, we’d grab it the next time you head to the court. $185 or less.
When thinking about what we’ve been using most over the last year, one piece of gear stood out: the Timbuk2 Commute 2012. We designed it ourselves, and had it built to our color desires and specifications, customized using their online tools. It’s the best messenger we’ve seen- big, bold, and packed with so many pockets and places to hide things that we’re still finding new ones. $120+.
Before Sandy hit, we spent some of the fall camping. And the best tent we tried recently was the Big Agnes Wyoming Trail CAMP. It’s made for two people, but expands to fit five, or offers a sizeable vestibule. It’s not the best tent for wind or rain or snow, nor is a backpacking model. But it sets up quickly and is built well. $290 or so. It fits a niche, and hits it solidly.
Finally, this winter we’ve been hitting the slopes a bit. And though we’ve tried out everything from snowshoes to coats, one of the most essential items is a helmet. Our favorite, for value, style, and overall protection is the Smith Variant Brim. It’s got some neat features, pairs well with their signature goggles, and is extremely comfortable. $170