Outdoors outdoors-gift-guide

Published on December 17th, 2013 | by Greg


Truly Outdoors Gift Guide: Protect And Serve!

With less than two weeks remaining in the shopping season, we’ve finally finished putting together our list of the nicest, choicest, tastiest, funnest, hippest, sleekest items. This year- 2013- was TrulyNet’s biggest yet, with more reviews of more great stuff than ever before. Today, we have narrowed our favorites down in a few categories, trying to find something for most every budget. Here are the Outdoors favorites, gear that has passed our tests and endured repeated use.

Let’s start with the wearables- a device that has done wonders for our workouts this year. From a dark horse contender, a little guy swimming in a pond filled with companies like Nike, this gadget impressed us from top to bottom, with not just the hardware but the software as well. Most fitness gadgets are a lot of fun the first time, but get a bit tiring after a few tries, so you end up with them in your drawer (or broken). The Misfit Shine has proven reliable, and more importantly, relatable. It’s cute, fun, and easy. $120.

Less “quantified self” and more “I need something to keep me warm and dry”, the Chrome Storm Field has proven to be a force field against… well, storms. Jackets shouldn’t be rocket science, but it’s tough to find one that is breathable, comfortable, with handy pockets and a hood that actually protects you and keep you looking good at the same time. Long in all the right places, and holding up nicely to some spills (of both liquids onto the jacket, and of our bodies onto the pavement). $250.

One of the best values in solar right now, we haven’t had the chance to take the Fenix ReadySet Solar Kit to Africa, where it was built to be used. But it’s worked great in our perhaps less harsh environments, with a solid, simple solar panel and sizable battery pack that can charge most any small device thanks to a smart universal clip charger. $225.

Even if you’re not traveling to another continent, you should pack like you might. The Eagle Creek Switchback 26 takes the cake- it’s complicated, feature-full, with wheels and straps and a backpack and handles and pretty much everything else. Roller bag plus backpack while in transit, or daypack to go plus suitcase to leave at the hotel. Not for everyone, it’s nonetheless helped ease our longer journeys immensely. $340 or so.

The coolest new thing in camping has to be the Kelty Mach 4 tent: it’s full of hot air, literally. Granted, inflatable tentpoles sound a bit awkward, the tent is quite hefty to pack, and can be harder to setup than normal ones in some cases. We wished for automatic pumps and a built-in air mattress, but we still get a ton of jealous looks and have grown quite fond of this oddball tent. It’s fun, comfortable, and just plain awesome. $400.

Finally, we’d be remiss not to include the Tern Eclipse P9. It completely changed the way we felt about folding bicycles, and convinced more than one staffer that they could really be useful. The price is high, but you get what you pay for- one of the best on the market, well-built, fairly light, and truly portable. Around $1000.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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