Posts Tagged stocking stuffers
Here’s a nice little travel tool you can buy for yourself, buy for a friend, and buy for a Secret Santa gift and still be out less than $40 after tax.
Gerber is best known for seriously gnarly survival and hunting knives, but they also put out pocket multi-tools that fold out to be pliers, saws, screwdrivers, and more. These GDC pocket tools aren’t as serious as either of those, but they won’t get you stopped at security and they’re super-light.
I took that photo at the top to show how the two I’ve been using size up to some other items you probably have in your daypack or work messenger bag. The GDC Zip Light is something like you’ve seen before: you press a button and the LED flashlight guides you on your way to the bathroom or helps you find the light switch. But it’s double-duty gear because it also has our favorite accessory built in: a beer bottle opener. As you may have noticed, we like items with beer bottle openers built into them.
Little LED lights like this usually last for years before the power runs out, but if it does before you lose it, the batteries can be replaced. You probably won’t lose it though because it’ll attach to your bag. You don’t have to wrestle to remove it though: there’s a quick-release connector with all these Gerber GDC items. Get it direct from Gerber or at Amazon for $12 or less.
The Gerber Zip Driver is there for you when you need some tightening or fixing along the way in your travels. Like the light it’ll clip to your bag or daypack, which is good since the four screwdrivers just rotate around—they don’t tuck away. You get two sizes of flat screwdrivers and two sizes of Phillips ones. They’re made of strong stainless steel and the small one is small enough to work on some precision things like eyeglasses or the damned battery cover on my Franklin Spanish translator that I otherwise love.
There’s another version that has hex wrench tools rotating around and one that has a small blade that folds in. These would be great stocking stuffers because they fit the original intent of stocking stuffers: small and inexpensive.
Find out about deep discounts and coupon codes through our Insider Travel Gear Deals newsletter and get a free report: “10 Travel Gear Gifts for $20 or Less.”
Hands down, Smartwool’s action bras are the most comfortable I’ve ever worn. They’re designed for action–hiking, running, and other work outs–but I’ve been wearing my Seamless Strappy Bra every day it’s clean. It certainly always makes the traveling team, finding its way into my bag every time I leave town. What makes it great? It’s seamless, which means I skip any pinching or rubbing against my skin. It’s made of Merino wool throughout, which wicks away moisture like a boss and is equally comfortable in cold or hot weather. Pick between the Racerback model or the Strappy; both are comfortable enough to sleep in. They come in sizes S-XL in three colors for $60 at Smartwool or a few bucks less on Amazon. It’s also stocked at Backcountry.com. For a tougher bra with harder core control, upgrade to the PhD Racerback for $70, also at Backcountry.
Photo from left to right: Give and Go lacy bikini underwear, PhD Seamless Strappy bra, Gore Essential brief.
ExOfficio is a known authority on travel-ready clothes, so it only makes sense to trust them with your base layers, too. Let’s get real: underwear and bras need to last the distance while on the road more than any other item of clothing, right? Any frequent traveler would vote them ‘most likely to end up rinsed out and drying on a hotel bathroom sink’. ExOfficio is here to tell you those days are over, however. Their Give and Go underwear line is treated with a microbe shield which helps maintain freshness. In other words, they don’t smell. (Really.) They’re also extremely quick-drying, which means less sink-drying time, and highly breathable. I have it on good authority that river rafting guides the world over swear by Give and Go underwear, because they dry much faster than swim suit bottoms. The best news? They’re not ugly: travelers pick between no fewer than nine colors and nine styles, from boy shorts to lacy bikinis to full coverage. Not to over share, but I have the lacy bikini style and am a very satisfied customer. Pick up a pair for $22 at ExOfficio (I know, but they’ll last you!) or shave a few dollars off the price on Amazon.
If your travels include serious exercise, like all-day hiking or biking, Gore’s Base Layer Briefs will be your new best friend. These briefs are extremely lightweight (they’re described as ‘barely there’ and very breathable (made from polypropylene). Seams are present, but minimized, and the waist sports a soft elastic band. They stay put on your body and take up very little space in your bag. The cut is fairly high, without quite being bikini level. Pick up a pair in black or white for $29.99 or do yourself a favor and get them for as little as $17 on Amazon.
Want to get into the holiday spirit without junking up your body? CLIF BARS can come to the rescue with Peppermint Stick, Spiced Pumpkin Pie, and Iced Gingerbread flavors.
Obtaining enough calories to get you through your workouts and outdoor adventures is seldom a problem in December. Everywhere you turn you’re probably avoiding Christmas cookies, chocolates, candy, holiday drinks, and special desserts. You can easily pound down enough sugar and fat to get you through a marathon.
These CLIF BARS are a better thing to grab though if you’re going to huff and puff up a hill or down a mountain. You’ll get carbs, fiber, vitamins, and protein, but not a ton of sugar and fat. Good ingredients for your body (fruit, nuts, oats) and not a lot of bad stuff (like trans fats, corn syrup, or chemical sweeteners).
We don’t write about food much on this travel gear blog, but that doesn’t mean we’re not packing these things for our own adventures. I always look forward to checking out the CLIF booth when I go to the Outdoor Retailer show to see all the different snacks and bars. I usually throw something of theirs in my bag when I’m headed to the airport, the ski slopes, or on a multi-day bike ride.
After a while I get kind of tired of the standard flavors though, so I was happy when a few samples of their seasonal holiday ones arrived in the mail. My daughter tried them and said, “Yum!” I tried them and said, “Yum indeed!”
Which one comes out as your favorite probably depends on how you feel about gingerbread, pumpkin, or peppermint, but all three let that ingredient shine and all definitely made me feel like it was sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I liked the Peppermint Stick one best, partly because the flavor was so different than anything else they have out and also because the pieces of candy cane added some crunchy texture.
You can find CLIF bars all over the place, from Whole Foods to Target, and I’ve seen these seasonal flavors in the grocery store as well. Here’s a list of retailers that carry them. If you need to order them online, act fast. They’re already showing as sold out on Amazon, but they’re still in stock at REI for $1.50 each.
If you’re a real bargain hunter, watch for the leftovers to go on sale after the holidays. They’ll taste just as good, but what hasn’t sold will get cleared out.
How have I not known about Chaos Hats? I spend most of my winter with a beanie on my head (mostly so I don’t have to brush my hair). My favorites are colorful, fun, and cozy…exactly what Chaos delivers. If you’re a winter hat wearer, or have one on your holiday gift list, you’re going to want to bookmark this page: all of these offerings from Chaos would fit nicely in a holiday stocking. And they’re competitively priced, too.
The Spindel doesn’t mess around: it’s thick and bulky, with chunky braided knit and a full fleece lining. It fits over the ears, and includes cute pom tassels and a pom on top. It’s 100% acrylic, and will keep your head warm in serious snow conditions. The Spindel might be over-doing it for a night out on the town or other casual wear, but for a day sledding, tubing, ice skating–you get the idea–it packs some serious warmth. It’s available at Chaos for $26, and comes in three colors (shown is Isis).
Similar to the Spindel in thickness, the Joses hat is styled after your traditional winter stocking cap: you get a folded hem and a big fat pom on top. Also like the Spindel, it’s 100% acrylic but with only a partial fleece lining (in a band around the forehead area). It comes in three colors, including Real Red, which sounds like it would be obnoxiously bright, but is instead a really pretty reddish-coralish color. $29 at Chaos.
This one’s my favorite. The Actier is a knit beanie bonnet style. What, you say? It looks like a stocking cap, but because of the placement of the dangling poms, once on, it hugs the face like a bonnet, allowing the top of the stocking to sit back a bit on the head. It’s cute as could be, trust me. The Actier is hand knit mixed yarn that’s very soft and quite light. It’s not nearly as chunky as the Joses or Spindel, and there’s no lining. It comes in five colors, including Silex, shown here, which is a soft heather gray. It sells on the Chaos site for $29.
This one’s for the kids. It reminded my boys of Angry Birds, but really, it comes in five different colors, each depicting a different birdlike face. It has cute tassels and knit eyes, nose, beak, etc. At $29 on the Chaos site, the Angries is a little steep for a kids’ hat, but totally worth it in the cuteness department. One size fits all: ours fits our seven-year-old and 11-year-old easily.
It took me a while to get to this NikWax review, because I was waiting for natural opportunities to test out their variety of waterproofing and washing products. If you’re unfamiliar, Nikwax makes wash-ins and applicants for tech synthetic materials such as winter wear, backpacking and camping gear, and tents and shelters. Their products are environmentally friendly and help protect your expensive gear and wear by prolonging their life.
NikWax Basewash is a product designed for cleaning synthetic base-layers. I used it all last winter as I washed and rewashed our ski base-layers. You can pour the wash right into your washing machine soap dispenser, or you can use it as a hand wash in a sink or tub. You’ll want to use one full cap per load. After an entire winter of washing base-layers, ours are usually a bit loose and pilly; this wasn’t the case last year. For less than $12 a bottle at Amazon, BaseWash is a worthy investment for taking care of those expensive base-layer garments.
You don’t want to use BaseWash on waterproof clothing items, however. For those, you’ll want TX Direct, also available at Nikwax. I used their TX Direct Wash-in, which works similarly to the BaseWash…just add it to your wash. The TX Direct adds water repellency to clothing as well as renews it. I tossed two of my sons’ lightweight LL Bean windbreakers into the wash with it, hoping to add to the water resistant material before an early summer trip to Canada. (The coats showed no sign of cosmetic damage.) We tested out the result during a rainy bike ride along Vancouver’s Sea Wall, and the kids had no complaints. I watched the water bead up on the coats and roll off. TX Direct is water based, so it’s eco-friendly, too. Use it on GoreTex, Sympatex, and other microfiber fabrics, and you’ll want to reapply after 6-8 regular washes. (Nikwax recommends using their Tech Wash in-between TX Direct washes, but we did alight with regular detergent for these not-so-technical clothing items.) I’ve tried spray-on waterproofing clothing, and wash-in is much easier! Plus, it doesn’t fill the air with chemicals. It’s $13 at REI or CampMor.
Lastly, I tried NitWax’s Tent and Gear Solarproof Concentrate. This stuff is cool: you apply it to tents, awnings, and other synthetic shelters and gear and it both aids water repellency and doubles as a UV protector to give the material a longer life from sun damage. It’s a concentrate, so you’ll want to dilute it with 2 parts product to 5 parts water. Erect your tent and apply with a sponge or spray bottle. I used a spray bottle to treat our 3 person backpacking tent, and though it will take more time to know how it worked against sun damage, we turned the sprinklers on in the backyard to test the water proofing. The water beaded on the fabric nicely, and NikWax’s claim that treated tent material dries faster seems to be true. Within minutes in the sun, our erected tent was dry again. Try it for only $14 at Amazon.