Your outdoor gift guide

November 27, 2012

Sometimes buying sport-specific gifts can be a little intimidating if you don’t share the same passion for the activity. There’s so many variables; maybe they already have it, maybe they don’t need it or maybe they don’t want it.

While there are some items you shouldn’t pick out on your own — bikes and backpacks often need to be sized and people can be very particular about their skis and flyrods — there are some universal gifts you can surprise your outdoor enthusiast with this year.

Kelsey Dayton

We’ve asked experts from Wyoming’s outdoor retailers for suggestions on accessories and clothing to go with your loved one’s favorite sport. After perusing the guide, if you still feel a little skeptical buying a device you don’t totally understand, almost every expert enthusiastically endorsed socks. And no, not a bulk pack of white cotton tube socks. Think nice sport-specific socks that can cost $15 and up for a pair; the kind that will cushion your feet for miles on the trail or in your ski boots and are as stylish as functional.

Still feeling a little uncertain after reading this gift guide? A major perk of shopping locally is having a chance to ask the experts (often your friends and neighbors) for additional advice.

The store: Wild Iris http://www.wildirisclimbing.com/
The town: Lander
The sport: Climbing
The expert: Emily Tilden, hardgoods buyer and assistant manager
Clothing: The Patagonia R1 Hoody is the perfect insulated base layer. It comes with a helmet compatible hood and runs extra-long to easily tuck under a harness. In men’s and womens. $149.
Gear: Quick draws; a piece of climbing equipment that secures the rope to the bolt when sport climbing and creates a system to protect the climber if he or she takes a fall. Some people are meticulous about their climbing racks (the gear they use while climbing), but if you stick with climbing its almost inevitable that you’ll have some mismatched quickdraws, Tilden said. That means gift seekers don’t have to know the specifics of a person’s climbing equipment to add a few quickdraws. $12 to $23.

The store: Bicycle Station http://bicyclestation.com
The town: Cheyenne
The sport: Biking (all varieties)
The expert: Patrick Collins, owner
Clothing: University of Wyoming Jersey — support UW even while out riding. $79.
Gear: Purist water bottle. The water bottle looks and feels like a normal water bottle and fits easily into bike cages. However, the inside of the bottles are lined with glass that allows dishwasher washing and avoids the old plastic taste. $12.

The store: Cross Country Connection http://www.crosscountryconnection.com/
The town: Laramie
The sport: Cross country skiing- Nordic and skate skiing
The expert: Ken Cramer, store owner
Clothing: The secret to Swix and Pearl Izumi’s tights? They are wind proof, not just wind resistant; a must for Wyoming winters. “They are so worth it,” Cramer said. Even if your skier already has a pair of tights, additional pairs won’t go unused, Cramer said. They also are great for cold weather running, biking and camping. Oh and yes, when it comes to winter recreating, men do wear tights. $100.
Gear: Tuning supplies. Avid skiers will already have supplies, but they’ll always need more of the staples, Cramer said. Even specialized waxes might not be used immediately, but if the person gets out regularly, it will eventually be needed, he said. $10 to $20.

The store: Ugly Bug Fly Shop
The town: Casper
The sport: Fly fishing
The expert: Bob Fischer, manager
Clothing: “If you are dressed correctly, you can fish year round here,” Fischer said. He recommends the Bulkley jacket from Simms fishing. The Gortex keeps you dry and it’s well insulated to keep you warm. $279.
Gear: Fly boxes. Most fishermen will agree you can never have too many flies and that means additional fly boxes. Fly boxes also make great stocking stuffers. $6.95 to $49.95.

The store: The Sports Lure, http://www.sportslure.com/
The town: Buffalo
The sport: Camping
The expert: Luke Todd, manager
Clothing: “What’s new is old,” when it comes to camping clothing, Todd said. Merino wool is overtaking synthetics for clothing choice. It’s warmer and doesn’t get the funky smell synthetics adopt when wicking away moisture. Smart Wool and Minus 33 make base layer bottoms guaranteed to get regular use, Todd said. $55.
Gear: The Jetboil stove has been on the market for several years, but has become the stove on every camper’s wish list, Todd said. The heat exchanger allows for campers to boil a pint of water in 90 seconds. A variety of sizes and features allow for luxury car camping and extra amenities. Starts at $100.

The store: Sunlight Sports, http://www.sunlightsports.com/
The town: Cody
The sport: Hiking and backpacking
The expert: Melissa Allen, owner
Clothing: Long underwear. Before you groan, understand long underwear has come a long ways in recent years. Material is softer making it comfortable under clothes or even for loungewear around the house, and instead of solid neutral colors it comes in bold hues and beautiful prints, Allen said. Essential for warmth in the mountains at night, it also allows for late- and early-season hiking and even for getting around town. In Cody it’s not uncommon for people to wear it underneath their clothing to work in the winter, Allen said. Some pieces are so stylish staff at the store wear the base layers as regular shirts. “You don’t have to hide it,” Allen said. High school kids seem to love Under Armor, while adults are usually drawn to Patagonia. Pieces start at $50 and go up to $100.
Gear: Jetboil stove. Sound familiar? Yes, it is the same gift-to-give and get recommended by the Sports Lure. A backpacking titanium version is ultralight and still makes backcountry cooking easy, Allen said. $160. Looking for something a little different (or less expensive)? Get cooking and eating utensils. Always used and often lost, they start at 75 cents.

Kelsey Dayton

Kelsey Dayton is a freelancer and the editor of Outdoors Unlimited, the magazine of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. She has worked as a reporter for the Gillette News-Record, Jackson Hole News&Guide...

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