2014 Holiday Gear Guide: For Him
FOR THE LUCKY GUYS ON YOUR HOLIDAY LIST
Our favorite high-end products of the year — tested, approved, and ready to wrap.
NEW BALANCE FRESH FOAM 980 TRAIL SHOE
It’s the kind of trail running shoe just about everyone can agree on. New Balance’s Fresh Foam 980 Trail can play light, energetic and spry, or amply cushioned and cruisey, depending on your mood. It’s not our top pick for mountain running or rocky, rooty trails, but it’s one of the top shoes of the year for the miles on dirt roads and groomed trails that most guys grind out. $110.
OUTDOOR TECH TUIS HEADPHONES
Not only is the Tuis’s sleek design completely dialed, so are the features. These headphones rock Bluetooth 4.0, letting you take phone calls hands-free up to 30 feet away from your phone. Throw in the crystal clear audio, a 3.5-mm audio jack, and hinges for folding them away into a pocket-size case, and you’ve got Dr. Dre on his heels. $150.
ISAORA 3L TECH UX PARKA SHELL
A reboot of the original M-51 US Military Parka, Isaora elevates a military standard into a foul weather, urban stunner through clean, angular lines, a trim fit and exquisite detailing. The Isaora 3L Tech UX Parka Shell will make you look forward to getting outside on the dreariest of days. Constructed using a 3-layer, waterproof, breathable, 2-way stretch nylon, the garment is precision laser cut, fully seam taped throughout and comes outfitted with an internal phone pocket, double entry main pockets and adjustable velcro tabs at the cuff and back waist. $485.
GOPRO HERO 3+ BLACK EDITION HELMET CAMERA
There’s no longer much debate. In our own head to head test of POV cams, GoPro still leads the pack. The latest—the Hero 3+—delivers the highest resolution of any helmet camera out there. The Black Edition of features a wide-angle Super View setting so capturing more up close action than ever. $400.
CRAGHOPPERS CLEVELAND VEST
Spruce up his wardrobe with the water-resistant, breathable Cleveland Vest from UK-based Craghoppers. Not only does this vest look smart in the city, its cozy flannel outer fabric is packed with almost 700 grams of insulation, making it toasty for chopping wood or kicking it around the campsite in the shoulder season. $80.
BLACK DIAMOND ANTHEM AVALUNG BACKPACK
Unless you’re prepared to drop a grand on an airbag, Black Diamond’s snorkel-like Avalung is still the best backcountry backup plan you can buy (after an avy class and a beacon, of course). And the 28-liter Anthem is the reigning chief among day touring packs, having aced our 2014 test thanks to its efficiency of ski carry and smart organizational pockets for other snow safety tools. As for snowboards— splitboards only. $270.
MSR BETA SNOW SCIENCE SAW
Got a snow geek on your list? MSR’s stainless steel, 7-ounce Beta Snow Science Saw is an all-in-one tool that lets pit diggers quickly analyze the day’s layers—with 1- and 3mm crystal grids, a 30cm indicator for creating the ideal snow column, and super sharp snow- and wood-cutting teeth. No other saw out there lets you gather so much data without a whole handful of tools. $50.
HELLY HANSEN RAPIDE MID HTXP LEATHER BOOTS
Upgrade his trail footwear with the Helly Hansen Rapide Mid HTXP Leather Boots. After several 8-milers into the mountains in a variety of temperatures—cool and wet to hot and dry—our tester was impressed with the protection and support under moderate pack loads. The soft EVA foam give these sturdy leather boots a dose of comfort that will be welcome unless you’re really schlepping some weight. $110.
PATAGONIA NANO-AIR HOODY
Every now and then a jacket comes along makes us stand up and start preaching. This is one. Patagonia’s newly-released Nano-Air Hoody is a shoulder season jacket or winter midlayer with the perfect stretch and breathability for real activity—like skinning up a ski resort or hiking in the early morning chill—and just enough insulation to take the bite off crisp nights. Several on our team have said they now simply live in this jacket. And it just looks good, too. $300.
LULULEMON STUDIO BOXER
Sorry for the full frontal junk shot, guys—but that's what you get for peeking at this list. While you're here, you drop your S.O. a hint about Lululemon’s Studio Boxers, our new favorites. We love them for everyday wear, but they don’t bunch or become swampy during activities—even in steamy environments like Washington’s Cascades or the CrossFit gym. That’s thanks to strategically-placed, four-way stretch and odor-fighting panels right where it counts. Sure, they’re practical—but he’ll love them. $32.
NORDICA HELL AND BACK SKI
The Hell and Backs may have the bones of racing sticks—they excelled in big, GS-style turns—but they’re not uptight. Almost anyone will have fun on these. In our test, they excelled on most types of snow, ripping groomers and plowing through wild snow equally well. For those seeking the mythical one-ski quiver—these come pretty darn close. $800.