Five Top Gifts for Campers and Hikers
The holidays are the perfect time to outfit your family and friends with new camping and hiking gear, as these are the kinds of gifts that keep giving long after you take the lights and ornaments down.
Here are some the top rated products we tested for camping and hiking this year. (…)
The Osprey Argon 85 backpack is a good choice for those wanting a comfortable backpack that is large enough for an expedition but isn’t overbuilt or unnecessarily heavy. Compared with other packs in the heavy load category, the Argon 85 performed at the top of the class, especially in terms of comfort, stability and storage.
Holiday Gear Guide 2012
The Big List: 59 gifts to fit any gear closet (and budget)
A wise man once said (in a non-holiday context), “it’s all about the money.” And when you come right down to it, he was right, even around the holidays. You’ve got lots of people to make happy, and finite resources with which to do it, and that’s a challenge right there.
So we decided to take those two things, happiness and price, and organize a selection of the very best active lifestyle kit we could lay our hands on—road test it, bench test it, even smell test it. Then we spread it out in ascending price order from $0 to $700—from free, DIY lanyard bracelets to mountain packs with air bags that inflate, James Bond-style, in an avalanche.
If that method seems a little mercantile for such a generous-spirited time of year, just think of it as our gift to you—the very best stuff, arranged in the most practical and efficient way, so that rather than stress out puzzling through the money side, you can concentrate on making exactly the right selections, and on how stoked your giftees will be to receive. (…)
Osprey Farpoint 40, $149
Globetrotters will love this lightweight travel pack transformer that can be shouldered like a full-featured backcountry bag, but morphs into a structured, carry-on-compliant duffel. With zip-away shoulder straps and hip belt, and inner and outer compression straps for stabilizing your load, this is the pack of choice for fast, light travel. Just stuff, smoosh secure and go.
Traveling light when it comes to needing a jet-liner to get around isn’t just nice these days, it’s strategic. Not only will a carry-on help you avoid baggage fees, but a tough, well-designed carry-on will protect your stuff from all the other carry-ons people try to shove into the overhead.
And Osprey likely has a bag for you.
Planning a weekend getaway? Then the company’s line of Ozone Ultra-Light luggage is something to consider. These heavy duty, wheeled bags obviously were influenced by the company’s backpacks: There are ample pockets for stowing big and small items, a mix of tough ballistic and heavy duty nylon went into the bag’s construction, and a 6001 T6 aluminum frame supports it.
How big should you go?
The Ozone 22 offers 2,807 cubic inches of storage and weighs 4 pounds, 8 ounces, while the Ozone 28 offers nearly 5,000 cubic inches of space and weighs 5 pounds. There’s even an Ozone 18, which holds 2,197 cubic inches and weighs an even 4 pounds, a size great for youngsters.
While the Ozone 22 (MSRP $229) is perfect for two or three days on the road, going beyond that could be pushing things unless you will have laundry facilities. It also might be a bit small if you need to take extra shoes with you, unless you have another carry-on.
As we made our way uphill, kids trickled out of mud-brick houses and fell in behind us, scarves wound around their wind-burned cheeks, thick wool socks under their flimsy plastic shoes. Before long there were two dozen of them, ages 10 to 15: Afghan boys carrying homemade skis—wooden planks with rubber foot straps on top and scrap aluminum nailed to the underside. I kicked the toes of my boots into the frozen mud beneath the snow, making stairs on the slippery ridge. To my left rose a gently sloping alpine face called Kasa Dugh, or the Yogurt Bowl. Across the valley, I could make out a crevice flanked by two steep snowfields. Locals call this the Open Book, for its resemblance to a Koran on a reading stand. Towering above the ridge to our south was the 15,500-foot summit of Mir Shah Khoja.
How can we say with certainty that the new Osprey Comet ($89) backpack is built to last? Three years ago one of our wear testers was a seventh grader. He started using a Comet as his school backpack.
He’s now a high school freshman who — like many his age — is concerned with style and looks. If the Osprey looked beat up or out-of-style, he wouldn’t be using it. Hard to imagine a tougher testing environment than the lockers and hallways of schools, not to mention the rigors of summer camp and every family outing in between.
The Comet is part of Osprey’s 24/7 line, all of which received minor updates in styling this year. The six packs in the line are intended to be everyday backpacks that are able to be used on commutes to work as well as weekend hikes or trips.
2012 Gear Guide: Kids, Pets & Fun Stuff
Great gear gifts for the holidays isn’t just jackets, tents and packs. There’s fun stuff too—from guidebooks and activity gear, to family games and accessories for your four-legged companions. Treat the ones you know to some outdoor fun of a different sort this season with one of these select items. (…)
When taking off for those road trips or far-off adventures, they’ll need reliable luggage to get their gear there. That’s where Osprey’s Ozone Luggage comes in. Lightweight and rugged with smart organization features, these compact rollers will make getaways a breeze. (…)
With each purchase made through WTA’s holiday gear gift guide, 7-10 percent of sales is returned directly to WTA’s programs thanks to our retail affiliates, helping to keep the trails you love open and accessible for you and for hikers across the state. (*Items marked with an asterisk excepted.)