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11 Brilliant Gifts for the Explorer in Your Life

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UncommonGoods

Got a friend or family member on your list who’s always traveling to adventurous locales or going off the grid in the great outdoors? Whether they’re into mountain biking day trips or through-hiking excursions that last months, your favorite wilderness enthusiast likely requires quite a bit of gear for their activities. Take a look at some of the latest, greatest gadgets out there.

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. SONY SRSXB3 PORTABLE WIRELESS SPEAKER WITH BLUETOOTH; $118 - $148

This small speaker is made for your outdoor-loving friend who likes to stop and smell the roses—or listen to some tunes, as it were. It boasts a 24-hour battery life, extra bass for a rich sound, and Bluetooth, to easily connect to a phone or tablet. Bonus: It’s water-resistant, so they won’t have to worry about it getting damaged if there’s rain at their campsite or the speaker gets wet on a float trip.

Find It: Amazon

2. ISLE BOX STARTER BOX; $200

Know someone who’s new to outdoor adventures and they need everything? Get them this kit, from a company that hand-selects great gear and rounds it up in convenient packs perfect for gifting. This starter package includes all they need to get going—from a sleeping pad and head lamp to a stove, water filtration system, and a few freeze-dried meals.

Find It: Isle Box

3. STERIPEN CLASSIC 3 UV WATER PURIFIER; $50

For the person who hikes or camps for days: This portable, battery-powered gadget will guarantee they’ve got clean H2O on their trip. With ultraviolet light, it purifies 1 liter of water in just 90 seconds, killing more than 99.9 percent of bacteria, viruses, and protozoa—so they can sip safely.

Find It: Amazon

4. THE CHART OF COSMIC EXPLORATION; $38

The great outdoors isn't the only place worth exploring. Pop Chart Lap's color-coded map shows the entire solar system and traces the path of every spacecraft and instrument that’s ever completed a mission out in space.

Find It: Pop Chart Lab 

5. THERM-A-REST SLACKER SINGLE HAMMOCK; $40 - $53

Even the most adventurous outdoorsman likes to kick up their feet after a long day in the wild. This portable hammock is made of ultra-durable rip-stop polyester. Plus, it folds up to store in an attached pocket and weighs just over a pound—so it’s easy to pack and take on the go.

Find It: Amazon

6. BAREBONES EXPLORER COOLER; $130

This rugged canvas cooler has a bottle opener on the zipper pull and can hold up to 36 cans—but it boasts an adjustable shoulder strap, so it’s comfy to carry as your outdoorsy friend ventures into the wilderness. Plus, it’s got a removable lining, making clean-up when they get home easier.

Find It: Amazon

7. BIOLITE POWERLIGHT MINI; $45

Ensure your nature-loving buddy is never left in the dark with this lightweight lantern. Its USB rechargeable battery stays strong for 52 hours and can serve as a backup power source for their phone. It can be easily clipped to a backpack or jacket during hikes or camping trips, or mounted to their bike for safety on an early-morning or nighttime ride.

Find It: Amazon

8. GOPRO HERO 5 SESSION; $300

This compact new camera from GoPro captures super-clear 4K video and 10 MP photos during any activity. It’s waterproof up to 33 feet, and has voice control so your friends can start filming even when their hands are full—or busy holding a fishing pole or climbing a rock wall. Afterward, it automatically uploads footage to a connected GoPro Plus cloud account.

Find It: Amazon

9. AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL PASS; $80

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It's not too late to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. The pass grants your nature-loving friend entrance to national parks and national wildlife refuges, from Yellowstone in Wyoming to Acadia in Maine, for an entire year. Plus, it covers amenity fees at national forests and grasslands.

Find It: National Park Service

10. GO TENNA OFF-GRID TEXT & GP; $200

Stay connected to your friends or family members who venture into the backcountry or otherwise go off-grid. The waterproof device connects with a phone or tablet via Bluetooth and generates its own radio signal so they can send texts or GPS locations to others with a goTenna, or download a map—even when they’re somewhere remote and without cell service or wifi.

Find It: Amazon 

11. SCRATCH MAP; $26 - $40

Uncommon Goods's Scratch Map begins in a basic brown hue but gets more colorful as your travel-loving pal treks around the globe: They can use a coin to scratch off the cities or countries they’ve visited, revealing bright pops of color underneath.

Find It: UncommonGoods

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Amazon
15 Smart Gifts for Administrative Professionals’ Day
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Amazon

Without the tireless work of administrative professionals, offices would surely fall apart. This holiday, formerly known as Secretaries Day, is all about showing thanks for their great contributions. It falls on Wednesday, April 26 this year, so there's still time to pick out a thoughtful gift for the people in your office who make life easier for everyone.

1. NESSIE TEA INFUSER; $13

Steeping loose tea is a lot more fun when you can create a cryptid sighting right in your mug. This dishwasher-safe, silicone tea infuser looks just like a baby Loch Ness monster that stores tea leaves in its belly.

Find it: Amazon

2. KNIGHT PEN HOLDER; $30

With this regal display, a good pen will always be close at hand. The resin knight statuette comes with its own refillable black ink pen and works as a nice reminder that the pen is mightier than the sword.

Find it: ThinkGeek

3. MIRA WATER BOTTLE; $19

Give the gift of hydration: These 17-ounce bottles are perfect for carrying water, coffee, or tea. The insulation will keep drinks cold for 24 hours or hot for 12 hours, and its leak-proof top makes it a mess-free travel companion.

Find it: Amazon

4. CAFFEINE SOAP; $7

Morning showers can be a lot more energized with bars of soap charged with caffeine. The peppermint-scented soap is infused with caffeine, which can be absorbed through the skin (at roughly 200 milligrams per washing) to give a little pre-latte jolt before work. 

Find it: ThinkGeek

5. HANDICORN; $8

Downtime at the office can now mean a visit from a friendly unicorn. The five piece set comes with four hoofed feet and a unicorn head that fit neatly over most fingers.

Find it: Amazon

6. SOLITAIRE CARDS; $18

It's just like the computer game, but in real life! This deck of cards from Areaware uses the original artwork of Susan Kare from the Windows 3.0 Solitaire game. Kare even designed joker cards just for the physical set of cards.

Find it: Amazon

7. RETRO PENS; $7

Note taking is about to go old school with these cute, retro-styled pens. The set of five click-top pens come in satisfying muted colors that would dazzle any '60s corporate employee.

Find it: Amazon

8. PICTURE HANGERS; $11

These paper clips are topped with the recognizable Facebook icon, letting owners give a thumbs up or thumbs down to pictures in real life. Each pack comes with seven clips and a string for hanging up all the best pictures, and perhaps the worst reminders on deadlines.

Find it: Amazon

9. SHEEP PUSH PIN HOLDER; $14

At first glance, this is just a sheep with a lovely wool coat. In reality, this sheep is covered in white push pins that can be easily removed and replaced. The clever pin holder is great for any animal lover with a constant need for thumbtacks.

Find it: Amazon

10. CAT POST-IT HOLDER; $6

Here's another helpful animal office product: A cat that dispenses sticky notes. The whiskered feline comes with one pack of Post-Its and can be refilled with any 3-by-3-inch notepads.

Find it: Amazon

11. 30 DAY CHALLENGE; $12

This charming little note dispenser spits out encouraging words and advice. Geared toward self-care, each note suggests one thing the reader can do to slow down and enjoy each day.

Find it: Urban Outfitters

12. SPACE NOTEBOOK; $4

Jot down notes that are out of this world! This astrological notebook has a nice matte cover and an elastic band to keep it shut. The notebook comes with 256 lined pages for plenty of thoughts on the cosmos, extraterrestrials, or conference call numbers.

Find it: ModCloth

13. CACTUS CANDLES; $12

For the coworker who just can't seem to keep a desktop plant alive, these cactus-shaped candles are almost too cute to light. Each box comes with six candles in three different styles.

Find it: Amazon

14. HEAT SENSITIVE PAC-MAN MUG; $11

Pouring hot liquid into this mug is a lot like turning on an arcade game. As the mug heats up, a Pac-Man game emerges—cherries, ghost, and all.

Find it: Amazon

15. SCRATCH OFF BOOK POSTER; $35

This helpful chart recommends 100 different classic books, dating back to 1605. Each book is illustrated and coated with a gold foil design, which proud readers can scratch off to keep track of—or show off—how many tomes they've tackled.

Find it: ThinkGeek

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Uncommon Goods / Amazon
11 Brilliant Gifts for the Hostess
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Uncommon Goods / Amazon

Sure, you could just buy another bottle of vino. But if you really want to impress that friend known for their Pinterest-worthy fetes, scan this list for a unique gift they’ll want to put on display.

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. NEIGHBORWOODS MAP COASTER; $36

Help your pal raise a glass to their beloved hometown or adopted ‘hood! Representing 14 major cities across the U.S. (plus a few in Europe), each cedar coaster in the set of four is etched with a different section of town and serves as a great conversation starter.

Find It: Uncommon Goods

2. BARREL AGED VERMONT MAPLE SYRUP; $20

Consider it a head start on the morning after breakfast. The organic syrup is aged in barrels normally used for rum or bourbon. And while it likely won’t work in a hair-of-the-dog situation, it does make for a delicious pancake topper.

Find It: Uncommon Goods 

3. SUGARFINA 3-PIECE BENTO BOX; $25

A photo posted by Sugarfina (@sugarfina) on

Fill the three slots of this decorative box with a mix of your BFF’s preferred candies—anything from champagne-infused gummy bears to chocolate bacon toffee.

Find It: Sugarfina

4. POETRY MATCH STRIKER; $25

 

They’ll need a way to fire up all the gingerbread- and Christmas tree-scented candles they’re sure to receive. Help them find the light with this glass, apothecary-style jar filled with 120 four-inch matches (there’s a piece of flint on the side for striking) and printed with an inspiring phrase.

Find it: Uncommon Goods

5. ALTER ECO SEA SALT TRUFFLES; $7

Give ‘em a treat they won’t feel compelled to share with their guests. Made with Ecuadorian dark chocolate and a sprinkle of sea salt, these truffles are the perfect salty-sweet combo.

Find It: Thrive Market

6. JANE BAKES COOKIE JARS; $10

Slaving over homemade Christmas cookies not your thing? Save yourself some time and snag a mason jar of these whole grain, high fiber confections. (Read: They’re slightly healthier.) Choose from flavors such as vanilla bean or coconut and caramel.

Find It: Jane Bakes

7. EVERY PERSON IN NEW YORK; $16

Your bestie will make room for this one on the coffee table. The 408-page tome is packed with thousands of artworks Jason Polan sketched during his mission to draw every person in New York. Former Saturday Night Live cast member Kristen Wiig provides the foreword.

Find It: Amazon

8. HOMESICK CANDLES; $30

Provide a scent-sational reminder of their hometown. These soy wax candles (burn time: 60-80 hours) are packed with fragrances reminiscent of each state. New York’s candle has hints of the Adirondack forest, apple orchards, and pumpkin, while Michigan’s has notes of cherries and chocolate.

Find It: Homesick Candles

9. VEGA COFFEE HOLIDAY GIFT BOX; $30

A great buzz: This java is roasted, packaged and shipped from Nicaragua, where climate conditions are ideal for coffee growing. The direct-from-the-farm-to-your-cup setup keeps costs down and helps farmers earn more.

Find It: Vega Coffee

10. STATE SLATE CHEESE BOARDS; $20

Let them serve up that triple crème brie with a side of state pride. You can buy these slate boards—naturally cool to keep the fromage fresh—in the shape of any state or Washington D.C. Or take a stab at unity and buy one shaped like the whole U.S.

Find It: Uncommon Goods

11. VINTAGE BOOKSHELF SCRABBLE; $35

Perfect for your book club host—or just your most verbose pal—this vintage Scrabble game board folds to be stored inside a linen-wrapped book.

Find It: Amazon

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