11 Brilliant Gifts for Outdoorsy People

iStock
iStock

Research suggests that exposure to nature has a number of health benefits—and at this time of year, your friends and family could probably use all they can get. Make their journey into the great outdoors fun and fuss-free with these gear picks, suitable for a variety of skill levels—from urban glamper to backcountry expert.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

1. FJÄLLRÄVEN Keb Touring Down Jacket

These lightweight, intensely squishable down jackets for men and women will keep your camping buddies extra-warm. The outer layer of recycled polyamide features reinforced panels on the shoulders, lower sleeves, and back, while the insulation of 95 percent ethically produced goose down and 5 percent feathers has a toasty 800 fill power. The whole jacket weighs only 150 grams (5.3 ounces)—perfect for ultralight backpacking as well as roasting marshmallows around the campfire.

Find It at Amazon for $450 and also at these other retailers:

2. Goal Zero Lighthouse 400 Lantern And USB Power Hub

This compact lantern emits 400 lumens of LED light for spotlight-level brightness, while the dimmable directional lighting feature saves power for extended use. It also recharges fast using USB, solar, or hand-cranked energy. The built-in USB port can juice up phones and other small devices so your pals never miss an Instagram post.

Find It at Amazon for $70 and also these other retailers:

3. Bike-mounted Bottle Carrier

Handmade in Boulder, Colorado from upcycled bike inner tubes and tent fabric, this convenient six-bottle carrier mounts over a bike frame and safely transports craft brews from fridge to frontier. The insulated sleeves cushion each bottle separately and the carrier includes a handle for toting on foot. Creator Davidson Lewis makes each carrier by hand, so colors and patterns vary.

Find It at Uncommon Goods for $40.

4. REI CO-OP FLASH 22 DAY PACK

Ideal for camping or commuting, this 22-liter lightweight pack features a roomy top-loading main compartment with an inner sleeve for hydration reservoir (or laptop or folders), zippered exterior pockets for small items, and two deep side pockets for bottles. The padded mesh back panel, detachable waist and sternum straps, and stretch-mesh shoulder straps offer breathable comfort even when the pack is fully stuffed.

Find It at Rei for $38 and up.

5. Hestra Sport Classic Deerskin Primaloft Rib Gloves

Inspired by nature's materials, these durable gloves are hand-sewn from North American white-tailed deer skin and insulated with Primaloft polyester for weather-resistant warmth. Hestra's attention to detail is obvious in the super-soft pair's elasticized knitted cuff—which helps the gloves stay on while keeping heat in—and pre-curved fit.

Find It at Amazon for $110 and up.

6. Yeti Hopper Flip 18 Cooler

There are many reasons why Yetis are the coolers du jour: They keep food and drinks ice-cold for days, thanks to their superior insulation, even when the outside temp climbs. They're extremely durable and packed with convenient field-tested features. And, let's be honest, they have elevated the utilitarian fishing cooler to an object of desire. The Hopper Flip 18, measuring about 10 by 13 by 16 inches, can stash 20 cans of beer with plenty of ice for bonfires on the beach, kicking back post-trek, or a weekend off the grid.

Find It at Amazon for $300.

7. Biolite Holiday Bundle

BioLite CampStove2 limited edition holiday bundle
BioLite

A one-and-done gift for adventurers who want to travel compactly, BioLite's limited-edition bundle contains everything necessary for a meal in the wilderness. BioLite's wood-burning CampStove 2 generates electricity for the attached battery and USB charger as well as heat for cooking. The bundle includes two accessories: the KettlePot, a grab-and-go cook pot; and the lightweight Portable Grill, a tabletop model that can fit four burgers at once. The included FlexLight shines a light on your next culinary masterpiece. Save $40 when purchasing these three items as a bundle.

Find It at Biolite Energy for $200 and also at these other retailers:

8. Lifestraw Universal Water Filter And Adaptor Kit

Your giftee can turn her fave water bottle into a powerful filtration system with the Lifestraw Universal. The two-stage filter first removes water-borne bacteria and protozoa (in up to 1000 liters), then improves water quality and taste with a replaceable activated charcoal capsule (up to 100 liters), meeting EPA drinking water standards. In addition to the filter and carry bag, the adaptor kit includes two cap sizes and two mouthpieces that are compatible with most Nalgene, Camelbak, Klean Kanteen, Hydro Flask, and other standard bottles.

Find It: Amazon for $30.

9. Kicker EB400 Waterproof Bluetooth Earbuds

Let your friends rock out to Taylor Swift in the great outdoors without preventing anyone else from enjoying peace and quiet. Kicker's earbuds are both waterproof and wireless, and they won't fall out of one's ears during strenuous activity in any climate. Their 8-hour battery life means users will be able to complete a day hike without needing to power up in the middle. The earbuds come with anti-skip Bluetooth technology to connect to phones and tablets, a microphone for calls, and three pairs of color-coded silicone tips for a custom fit.

Find It at Amazon for $98 and also at these other retailers:

10. Tentsile Vista Tree Tent

A mashup of a traditional tent and impressive treehouse, the Vista is a triangular three-person tent that connects hammock-style to anchor trees at three points, letting campers sleep suspended above wet, rocky or uneven terrain. This three-season model features open sides and a central floor hatch for entry, plus a removable insect net. The rain fly/roof can also be removed so users can lie directly under the stars. (The above photo shows an un-roofed Vista mounted below a roofed Vista.) The ingenious design can be put up by a single person in about 15 minutes and packed down into its carry bag for easy transport.

Find It at Tentsile for $550.

11. Pendleton Three-Notebook Set

Three Pendleton notebooks

Great for jotting down field notes, this set of three 6-by-8-inch notebooks features Pendleton Woolen Mills's heritage blanket patterns on the covers. Each center-stitched book contains 64 pages of lined, uncoated paper for a slim profile that will fit in your giftee's pocket or pack without adding too much weight or bulk.

Find It at Pendleton for $13.

Microwave Your Food Safely With This Soft Silicone Lunch Box

ParentDiary
ParentDiary

Even if the contents of your lunch are healthy, the container you pack it in may pose a threat to your health. Heating up some plastic food storage containers can release harmful chemicals, which is why the American Academy of Pediatrics warns families to avoid putting such products in the microwave or dishwasher. (And there's still some debate as to what constitutes a microwave-safe plastic.) But the All-Silicone Lunch Box, a storage product currently raising money on Kickstarter, is strong enough to stand up to a range of temperatures, allowing you to safely put it in the freezer, the microwave, and the dishwasher.

This lunch container is made from silicone instead of plastic, making it a safer choice for kids and adults. The flexible box is easy to seal, open, and wash (either by hand or in the dishwasher). And whether you're using it to store leftovers in the freezer or heat up your lunch in the office kitchen, the All-Silicone Lunch Box is designed to maintain its shape and not leech anything unsavory into your food.

After originally releasing a single-compartment box, ParentDiary has now developed a lunch box with dividers, too. The container is now available with three compartments (perfect for snacks or bento boxes), or two compartments (with each side just big enough to fit half a sandwich).

The All-Silicone Lunch Box has over a month left to reach its $4000 funding goal and has raised $1000 so far.

Pledge $12 or more on Kickstarter by May 19 to reserve your own lunch box, with shipping set for June. For more packed lunch inspiration (including some other great silicone options), check out these products.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

13 Products to Keep You Dry on Rainy Days

Alexander Mueller, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Alexander Mueller, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

April showers bring May flowers … plus soggy shoes, wet hair, and dripping, broken umbrellas. If you’re looking to stay dry this rainy season, consider picking up some of this gear.

1. Bogs Auburn Boot

These are a rare find: Rain boots that are both functional and cute. Bogs gave us a pair to test out, and we’ve been tempted to wear them even when it isn’t raining. The Chelsea-style ankle-high boots have a slight heel and a zipper so you don’t have to awkwardly try to stuff your feet into them. They’re 100 percent waterproof, equipped with moisture wicking technology to keep feet dry (and stink-free!), and have a slip-resistant outsole. And thanks to gel cushioning in the footbed, they’re super comfortable. (The men’s version, available for $70, is also waterproof and is available in three colors.)

Buy it on Bogs for $120 or from one of the retailers below:

2. Levi’s Women’s Faux Leather Anorak Jacket

A woman in a maroon rain jacket

Levi's, Amazon

This hooded, rubber faux leather anorak jacket comes in 11 colors; it has zipper and button closure, plus adjustable cuffs, to keep the rain out. One reviewer described the coat as “practical yet stylish.” The best part? It’s machine washable.

Buy it on Amazon from $39 or at one of the retailers below:

3. Levi’s Men’s Rubberized Parka

A man in a black faux-rubber jacket

Levi's, Amazon

Levi’s also makes a rubberized parka for men that comes in three colors.

Buy it on Amazon from $72.

4. Sharpty Inverted Umbrella

An open green Sharpty umbrella next to the same umbrella as it looks folded up

Sharpty, Amazon

This highly rated umbrella opens in reverse—so when you close it, water stays firmly inside and doesn’t get all over you or the floor—and it's designed to withstand bursts of wind up to 60 mph. Made with carbon fiber and equipped with a C-shaped handle that makes holding and storage easy, it’s available in a staggering 26 patterns/colors, ranging from plain old black to the New York City skyline. And it’s big enough to fit two people underneath.

Buy it on Amazon starting at $16.

5. Drybrella

Two Drybrella bags next to a backpack and a purse with umbrellas wrapped in Drybrellas inside

Drybrella, Amazon

These polyester pouches—which accommodate umbrellas up to 12 inches long—are lined with microfiber so you can stash wet umbrellas in your bag or backpack without getting everything else wet.

Buy it on Amazon for $10 for two or at Walmart for $9.

6. Waterproof Elastic Gardening Headwear

A woman wears a hands-free umbrella on her head

MAGIFIRE, Amazon

Perhaps you hate when the wind blows your hood off, or maybe you want a moisture-free perimeter to keep the stuff in your hands dry. We’re not here to judge, merely to provide you with a product that could help solve your problems. This 36-inch-diameter hat has an adjustable headband and folds down to 10 inches for easy stowing. Its top layer is also reflective, which means you can wear it when you’re working in the sun, too.

Buy it on Amazon for $13.

7. Columbia Men’s Watertight Cap

A waterproof black cap

Columbia, Amazon

If elaborate headwear isn’t your thing, this nylon hat—which comes in three colors—will also work.

Buy it on Amazon or at Columbia Sportswear for $25.

8. Lightspeed Outdoors Sport Shelter

A blue and gray pop-up shelter

Lightspeed Outdoors, Amazon

If you find yourself at many of rain-or-shine events, considering picking up this pop-up shelter. At nearly 9 feet wide and almost 5 feet tall, it has enough space to fit four friends, and it’s equipped with sun protection and a PU coating, so it’s appropriate for both sun and rain. And it packs down small (49 inches by 5 inches) for easy storage.

Buy it on Amazon for $80.

9. Harry Potter Crests Color Changing Umbrella

A black-and-white and a colored version of the Harry Potter umbrella

Bioworld, Amazon

This officially licensed Harry Potter umbrella features Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff house crests and changes color when wet. The company also sells a Marauder’s Map-themed umbrella as well as a Hogwarts-themed one and one decorated with magical creatures from the world of Harry Potter.

Buy it on Amazon or Walmart for $17.

10. CloudTen Helmet-Shaped Umbrella

A woman peeks out from under a CloudTen umbrella

CloudTen, Amazon

In addition to looking a bit like Darth Vader’s helmet, this umbrella’s design makes it virtually impossible to blow inside out, even in the windiest weather. It’s also a good option for city dwellers—you’re less likely to take another pedestrian’s eyes out!

Buy it at Amazon for $23.

11. Mini Umbrella

A diagram of the size of the pocket umbrella open and folded up

Fidus, Amazon

There’s nothing worse than being caught in the rain without an umbrella—so pick up one of these ultra-small (just 6.6 inches) umbrellas and carry it with you at all times.

Buy it on Amazon for $15.

12. Alex Carseon Multi-Purpose Tray

Four images of the Alex Carseon multi-purpose tray being used to store boots, gardening tools, a bucket, and cat food

Alex Carseon, Amazon

Keep muddy boots and shoes contained with this polypropylene tray, which measures 30 inches long and 15 inches wide.

Buy it on Amazon for $17.

13. Osprey Ultralight Rain Cover

An Osprey rain cover folded up

Osprey, Amazon

Available in three sizes, this cover wraps around packs and equipment to keep them dry. It's equipped with reflective elements (which is especially helpful if you're biking), a cinch attachment, a hipbelt, and harness attachments—plus, it packs down small, so you can easily fold it back into your bag when the rain clears up.

Buy it on Amazon from $30 or at one of the retailers below:

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

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