A Holiday Shopping Guide for Outdoor Athletes

apple airpods

Yesterday I posted a holiday shopping guide for hikers and backpackers, sharing my picks for the best gifts for those groups of outdoor enthusiasts. Today I’m back with a selection of items for the outdoor athlete in your life. Whether they are a cyclists, mountain biker, or trail runner, we have some some suggestions on what they want this year. Here are my favorite gear items for the active outdoorsman and woman.

Apple AirPods ($159)
For listening to music, podcasts, or audiobooks during a run or ride, Apple’s iPods are quite simply the best true-wireless earbuds I’ve come across so far. Lightweight and offering great sound, the AirPods have excellent battery life (5 hours), are a breeze to set-up, and come with a handy charging case that extends their life to more than 24 hours. They also fit comfortably in your ears and have yet to fall out on any of my workouts.

Osprey Duro 6 Trail Running Pack ($110)
Every trail runner needs a good pack to take with them on their workouts. That pack not only allows them to carry extra gear and supplies without hindering motion, but it should play a vital role in keeping them hydrated too. The Osprey Duro 6 is  vest-style running pack that is comfortable to wear, offers plenty of capacity, and won’t slow you down when things start to get intense.

CamelBak Palos 4 LR Hydration Pack ($75)
Staying hydrated on a mountain bike ride can be a real challenge, and while some riders like to carry bottles on their bikes, a hydration pack is often a better option. CamelBak’s Palos 4 LR is a lumbar pack that offers plenty of capacity, the ability to carry 1.5 liters of water, and even comes with an integrated tool organizer. And since it sits low on the back, it leaves the riders shoulders and arms free to control the bike.

Altra Lone Peak 3.5 Running Shoes ($120)
Altra’s zero-drop, natural-fit running shoes have become a favorite with nearly anyone who has tired them. One of the company’s flagship models is its Lone Peak 3.5, which is a wonderful option for trail runners looking for good traction, plenty of support, durability, and agility in a single package. Put them on once and you’ll wonder what took you so long to try Altra’s to begin with.

vibe pro 1

Light & Motion Vibe Pro Bike Light ($60)
Staying safe out on a bike ride means staying visible, and few lights help you to do that better than the Light & Motion Vibe Pro. This light quickly and easily connects to any bike, offers 100 lumens of light, and comes with onboard sensors that detect motion and automatically turn on when placed in the mount. Battery life is a solid three hours of runtime between charges and at $60 it is an affordable piece of mind for any cyclist.

Buffs ($20-$45)
I’ve been touting the usefulness of Buffs for years now, and I continue to stand by those sentiments. The most versatile headwear on the planet, Buffs are a must-have for any outdoor athlete. They can be worn as headbands, bandanas, kerchiefs, balaclava, and many other items, making them indispensable in both the heat and cold. Made from high-tech fabrics designed to wick moisture and keep sweat and dirt from getting in our eyes, I rarely ever leave home without one in my pack.

G-Form Elbow and Knee Pads ($70)
Lets face it, crashes are a part of mountain biking. They happen to everyone from time to time. But, you can limit the damage by wearing protective gear from G-Form. The company has been making compressions shorts, tops, and knee and elbow pads for years, and they remain a must have for any rider. The Pro-X Elbow Pads and Knee Pads are my recommendation, although adding a pair of Pro-X Compression Shorts is a good idea too.

Powerdot Smart Muscle Stimulator ($249)
After an intense workout, even the most well conditioned outdoor athletes need to go into recovery mode. But now days, we’re a lot smarter about focusing on that recovery and we have a slew of tools to help us get back to training and competing more quickly. Take for example the Powerdot, a muscle stimulator that connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth and allows athletes to target their recovery process more intelligently. Simply attach the Powerdot to the muscle group you want to work, select that same group from the smartphone app, and let it do the rest.

Kraig Becker