This winter, Boulder gear stores are predicting that even the most outdoorsy among us will be getting outdoors more.
“Especially with the pandemic that we’re living in, I think now more than ever getting outside is taking a whole new spin, and especially for Boulderites that have always been active outside, I think as we’re getting into fall and winter it’s going to be on a whole other level,” Kate King, manager of Boulder’s Go Far shop, told Travel Boulder.
“Everything’s going to be centered on getting outside and doing things of that nature,” according to King. “[It’ll] probably be more important to our sanity than ever.”
So when it comes to giving gifts to your favorite gearhead (or yourself), think outdoors activities — not just skiing, snowboarding and cross country skiing, but also hiking and snowshoeing, running, camping and ice climbing.
Stores like Boulder’s Sea to Summit recommend cross-functional gear and gifts that can encourage trying new hobbies, because we’re all likely to be looking for multiple ways to stay outside.
“The pandemic has encouraged people to pick up new outdoor sports and hobbies, as spending time together outdoors is one of the best ways to gather responsibly with friends,” said Josh Simpson, the general manager of Sea to Summit North America. “When investing in new gear it’s important for it to be versatile: to be able to use the same equipment from season to season and across sport categories.”
Here are some recommendations from Boulder stores to help you pick the best gifts this season.
Skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing
Go Far recommends the Smartwool Merino 250 Base Layer 1/4 zip top ($115). “It’s literally the No. 1 rated base layer in, I want to say the country,” said King, who also pointed out that Smartwool is now a Colorado company. “They’re 100 percent wool and they’re great for any cold weather activity.”
REI recommends the Co-op Powderbound Jackets and Pants collection, which includes insulated jackets and snow pants for men and women under the $200 range. This gear includes pit zips — a must — and extended sizing options for maximum comfort when playing in the snow.
Neptune Mountaineering recommends the Outdoor Research Trailbreaker Pant, a breathable, stretch-woven soft shell with waterproof lower legs “to protect you where you’re most exposed to snow.” No Colorado skier likes a soggy ankle.
Patagonia recommends the Descensionist Ski Packs, which come in 32 ($179) and 40 liter ($199). These are designed to be lightweight but carry everything you need in the backcountry. Don’t get caught without your necessities.
Neptune Mountaineering recommends the Oboz Sapphire 8″ Insulated Boot ($175), for its long-lasting leather, waterproof insulation and good traction — exactly what’s needed for these winter activities.
Go Far recommends the Hoka Kaha Hiking Shoe ($220). There are three shoes in the series, but King recommends this one because it’s ultralight and waterproof for winter activities. “I call it the moon shoe … it definitely feels like you’re walking on clouds,” said King.
Patagonia recommends their Nano Puff jacket, which is produced using technology with reduced emissions. This material is also available as a scarf, mitts and earflap cap ranging from $59 to $279. The iconic puff silhouette not only fits in well during Boulder winters, it will keep you from being literally too cool.
Go Far recommends the On Cloudventure Trail Shoe ($150) for winter trail running. It’s “unique in the fact that it has this kind of cool pod system on the bottom of the shoes [for] shock absorption and great grip on rocky terrains,” according to King. “It’s pods that basically compress when you’re running really hard.”
Neptune Mountaineering recommends the Vuori Women’s Daydream Crew ($58) or Vuori Men’s Long Sleeve Tradewind Performance Crew ($58). These are made with recycled materials with built-in sun protection and quick-drying fabric. Layers that will wick sweat away while keeping you warm are key for winter workouts.
Patagonia recommends their R1 Air line, including a full-zip hood, crew and zip-neck styles for both men and women ranging from $99 to $159. These items are “lightweight, breathable and quick-drying technical fleece for high-exertion activities in cold conditions.” This relatively new line has been getting raves from outdoor experts.
Sea to Summit recommends the Ascent Sleeping Bag ($469) or Altitude Sleeping Bag ($439). Both are rated down to zero degrees. The Altitude is specifically contoured to women’s sleeping shapes — leaving more room from the waist through the knees for side sleeping — and (thankfully) designed for women who are cold sleepers.
Patagonia recommends the Macro Puff Quilt ($249). It’s light enough to pack down easily for travel, stays warm even when wet and is “ideal for curling up after a cold day.” This warm quilt will make the tent feel like home away from home.
Neptune recommends the Primus Firestick ($89.95), a sweet little lightweight and packable stove with a built-in lighter and potholder. Neptune says it can boil a liter of water in four and a half minutes, or can be lowered to simmer a delicate (or hearty — whatever you’re feeling) sauce.
Sea to Summit also recommends their Lightweight Dry Bag ($14.95 to $29.95 depending on size) to keep your clothes dry while traveling or adventuring. Every winter adventurer needs a reliable way to keep their things dry. The smaller sizes make perfect, thoughtful stocking stuffers.
Neptune Mountaineering says the Patagonia R1 Techface hoody ($179) is a staff favorite as the ultimate layering piece. It has a helmet-compatible hood: non-negotiable during the winter.
Patagonia recommends the DAS Parka/DAS Light Hoody ( $449/$329) “for days when the wind is unrelenting and spindrift swirls around the belay ledge.” DAS stands for Dead Air Space, “a heat-trapping design that holds warm air in place to shield against the elements.”
Neptune Mountaineering also recommends the Blue Ice Choucas Pro Harness ($99.95) for ice climbing. This is an ultralight, three-buckle climbing harness “for alpine-style missions into high mountains or multi-pitch alpine climbs.” The experts at Neptune also noted the leg loops are open “so you can put this on while wearing crampons.”
Neptune Mountaineering recommends the Western Mountaineering Standard Down Booties ($100) for those winter days when you’re hanging out under a patio heater or around a backyard fire. Staying outside shouldn’t mean cold toes.
Go Far recommends this cute Moore Collection sweatshirt ($48). This fleece-lined sweatshirt from a local Denver company is screen-printed with “take me to the trees.” This is the kind of motto most Boulderites can get behind.
Sea to Summit recommends this year’s ultimate accessory, their Barrier Face Mask ($9.95). It has three layers of fabric and it’s comfortably seamless and machine washable. It comes in a variety of sizes — so long as you get the right size it will definitely stay on your nose — and looks pretty hardcore when wearing.