2014 Holiday Gear Guide: For Tight Budgets
FOR THE BUDGET-MINDED HOLIDAY SHOPPER THIS YEAR
Our favorite high-end products of the year — tested, approved, and ready to wrap.
Thinking about a town bike? How about one that won’t grease up your fancy pants, won’t rust in the rain, and features a beautifully-designed frame? Priority makes maintenance- and rust-free bikes that are gorgeous to look at and cost half as much as competitors. Their design also includes a chain that doesn’t require lube. The company’s runaway Kickstarter success (their projected $30,000 skyrocketed to $550,000 in its 30-day window) is worth getting in on. And at this price? You'd be crazy not to. $400.
GERBER SUSPENSION MULTI-PLIER
Scouts, weekend warriors, and tinkerer types will love the Gerber Suspension Multi-Plier for its versatility and value. With 13 attachments, including two knives, a saw, three screwdrivers and more, it earned its impressive 81 Gear Institute Rating for being so compact, durable, and useful at such a ridiculously low price point. $50.
CHACO DOG COLLARS AND LEASHES
Everyone loves a gift for the dog. And for you Chaco fans, you can now accessorize to match your favorite river sandals. Made from the same durable webbing, these machine washable collars and leashes feature a variety of patterns from Chaco’s current sandal line. $15 (collar) $20 (leash).
SILIPINT FILL-UP-AND-GO GIFT PACK
There is nothing like a cold brew waiting at your truck after a long day on the hill. Silipint’s Fill-Up-And-Go Gift Pack comes with a 64-ounce insulated growler from Hydroflask and four food-grade silicone pints, which won’t freeze your fingers like steel or shatter pint number three makes you a klutz. And the growler really works—it kept ice solid for more than 24 hours. $68.
MSR HUBBA HUBBA NX TENT
Without even knowing the camper on your list, we’re confident they’ll love the MSR Hubba Hubba NXT. Why? We could roll out the numbers—like the fact it’s a two-person tent with a sprawling 29 feet weighing in at a mere 3 pounds, 7 ounces, and comes in about $150 less than comparable tents. The point is it’s an incredibly livable, versatile tent—one that can slim down to just a bit over 2 pounds in ultralight mode, and features two giant gear vestibules to accommodate stormy gear stashing. Even if you don’t know a thing about tents, you can’t go wrong with this under the tree. $390.
KOVEA POWER NANO STOVE
You may not have heard of Kovea, but this Korean company makes stoves for one of the biggest U.S. stove brands, so we weren’t surprised when one of its own performed so well. With a super-fast boil time (2:28), excellent performance in windy conditions, and an affordable price tag, the Nano won the 2014 Best Value award in compact stove test, leading us to believe we'll all be hearing a lot more from this brand soon. $35.
BLACK DIAMOND ION HEADLAMP
Simple, bright, affordable, Black Diamond’s Ion Headlamp is a can’t-miss stocking stuffer. This 80-lumen, waterproof light is nicely compact for emergency use or fast-and-light outings, and hosts five light settings, including strobe, dimming, red night vision, spot beam and wide. $25.
LL BEAN NEOSHELL BOUNDER JACKET
With solid weatherproofing, great breathability, a little bit of stretch, and a simple design (no hand pockets), the Bounder would be an impressive jacket just based on how well it performed during our test on Vancouver Island. What makes it stand out is the price. At $250, it’s hard to find a jacket with this level of material and design. $250.
CAMELBAK RELAY WATER PITCHER
Sure, a pitcher is not the sexiest gift ever. But of all the practical household items you could buy, this one will quickly prove its worth. From the founders of modern portable hydration, CamelBak’s Relay water pitcher, similar to a Brita, simply works faster and filters twice as many times as current ones on the market. And, unlike competitors, the lid has side-locking hatches meaning it never falls off when you are trying to pour. $37.
JANSPORT SINDER 15 PACK
For day hikes when you don’t need to stash more than, say, a lightweight rain shell, a PB&J, and a couple layers, the JanSport Sinder 15 takes the cake. This simple day pack (it’s basically a sack with airy mesh straps and a cinch closure) might not have a lot of frills, fancy materials, or lots of organization, but it does the job nicely, and at a price tag that will let you get to the end of your gift list. $30.