This year's collection of high-tech, attractive outdoor apparel is a closet-full of gift ideas for adventure travelers and outdoor lovers seeking holiday gifts. The outerwear choices provide more wearable crossovers than ever before between outdoors in the wild and in the city.
Some of these jacket are great for skiing, snowboarding and other outdoor activities, but also look chic on city streets. Others fit the "sidecountry" definition because they can be used on the ski slopes but have the technical touches that backcountry skiers and snowboarders want.
These choices combine high-tech fabrics to ensure warmth and breathability, fit comfortably and have lots of pockets and places to stash your smart phone to sun glasses.
Looking for great accessories? Here are gloves you don't have to take off to use smart phones or other touch-screen devices, ear warmers with headphones and high-tech merino wool hiking socks you toss in the dryer.
This full-zip jacket has a hybrid design that gives the wearer freedom of movement. Hikers and climbers will like this jacket, which has Thermal R insulation sewn into the front panels for warmth, but Polartec Power Stretch on the back and side panels. Zip pockets in the front, so nothing will drop out. Comes in sizes for men
, and in several colors.
You'll find Helly Hansen outerwear on the tallest mountains and the most extreme cold regions of the earth.
The Enigma jacket may not qualify for those extremes, but the hexagonal down pillows in this jacket provide warmth, while venting channels between the pillows let excess heat and moisture escape. The design helps give the wearer a comfortable temperature during a wider range of activities. Everything is tucked behind a smooth but stretchy, waterproof and breathable shell. The jacket has hand gaiters, a zip-out balaclava and a snow skirt that slides in and out of its own back pocket.
Available in various sizes for men and women.
Women will love Icebreaker's sleekly shaped, comfortable and casual Cascade jacket. Made of Merino wool from New Zealand, it's a mid-weight jacket that can be worn alone or slid under a ski- or other heavy jacket when an extra layer is needed on really cold days. When it gets dirty, just toss it in the washing machine. The Cascade models include a pullover with a half-zip, a full-zip jacket and a jacket with a hood.
All of 180s gloves, from light ones you'd wear in the city to gloves for skiing and snowboarding have Tec Touch technology. The material that conducts your touch to smart phones and other touch screen devices is on the forefinger and thumb.
This company also has colorful ear warmers, with built-in head phones and a microphone, that wrap around the back of your neck and cover your ears.
Quite simply: The Point 6 merino wool hiking socks are extremely comfortable. Light cushioning under the foot does seem to add a little spring to one's step. Novel mesh ventilation panels act as vents when your feet get too hot. These socks are odor-resistant, and you can toss them in the washing machine then the dryer on the correct cycle without worrying about shrinkage. The hiking socks come in different heights, from mid-calf to crew, and in different colors and designs.
Point6 has a good line of socks for skiing and snowboarding, too.
A stylish choice for women who like to dress in layers but want to look chic on the slopes and when wandering around town. When it's cold, wear both jackets and use the hood, which tucks into a pocket. The outer jacket is made of a waterproof, breathable 360-degree stretch nylon Spandex and has ThermaWeb insulation for warmth. The inner jacket is a stretch soft shell with a fleece backing.
(c) Lois Friedland
SmartWool's gaiter mask, a blend of merino wool and nylon, helps protect your face from wind and brutal cold. It covers more than neck gaiters, which you pull up to protect your face and is more comfortable. It's compact so fits in a pocket, and is easy to put on.