Find great gear for almost any outdoor sport or activity — that’s what this guide is all about!
All items listed here are things we’ve personally tested or brands that we love. From a tent to hiking boots, cycling, travel, or just being out around town, we’ve got you covered. In this guide, you’ll find gear to combat the elements and make life a little easier during an adventure.
We include apparel, tech, footwear, packs, and good old-fashioned classic gear.
Check out this waterproof yet stylish shoe that lets you cruise through slush and snow. Don’t let the office-casual looks of this leather sneaker detract from the trail-ready outsole, EVA midsole, and memory footbed for custom cushioning. Lastly, its gusseted tongue helps keep out water while the wicking mesh lining is treated to fight odors.
Fill it, chill it, and never leave home without it. The Pelican Dayventure Backpack Cooler is a rugged, lightweight, and comfortable backpack that features dual-insulated compartments. The bottom is a dedicated cooler, complete with a leak-resistant zipper and enough room for a six-pack.
The insulated upper compartment provides excellent storage for dry goods, supplies, and more, and features a wide roll-top opening for easy access. Regardless of what you carry, you can rest assured knowing it will be safe in this durable, waterproof, tear-resistant pack.
“Darn-near perfect” — that’s how our reviewer described these pants, and it’s the consensus among most all of our editors as well. The Ecotrek pants have many of the utility features that made the brand’s Flex Canvas debut pant one of our favorites, but with the glorious addition of stretch!
They’re great for travel, but are built for activity — like, say, crag or gym climbing (or, roll up the pant leg and take ’em on the bike).
The key details that make these great: Blue Ocean Nylon makes the pants moisture- and abrasion-resistant, and quick-drying; gusseted crotch, articulated knees, and spandex accommodate a host of sports and adventure.
These pants also have zippered back pockets and a hidden zippered front security pocket; EDC pockets along each thigh; button-up cuffs with a reflective strip for cyclists — and we could go on.
For the price, these pants are as utilitarian, comfortable, and stylish as any we’ve ever hopped into. And though the Ecotrek is largely marketed at men, some of our female testers also appreciated the build and fit.
If there’s one thing that’s been missing from the world of smokeless fire pits — the latest and greatest trend in camping and tailgating alike — it’s their overall lack of portability.
No more! Breeo introduced the Y Series to make its fire pits and outdoor cooking accouterments easier to carry and assemble. The Y Series gets its name from its three retractable legs, so it can stand elevated off the ground.
But the real magic is in the single folding handle along its side. Weighing 31 pounds, the Breeo Y Series carries like a piece of luggage — just collapse the legs, lift, and go.
We’ve tested it and approve. You can snag the fire pit alone for $495. But if you want to go all out, you can get the full Fire Master Bundle, which includes a cooking grate, fire pit cover, cast iron kettle, and hanging kettle hook, for $1,164.
There’s a whole lot to love about SheFly Go There Pants. One: they allow everyone to answer nature’s call without taking off their pants, harness, or anything else. Two: they are comfortable, packed full of pockets and features, and truly are game-changing thanks to a patented hidden zipper.
We had two of our editors test these pants and they both love them. Looking for a gift that is durable, functional, and ready for an array of adventures outside? Look no further than the SheFly pants, available in sizes 00-22 (plus the newly added Cascade Granite color).
Want to get in on what might be the next big brand? Appalachian Gear Company (AGC) uses 100% alpaca fiber with “no harsh chemical processing,” no synthetic fibers, and all U.S. manufacturing. The result: AGC’s trademark All-Paca material — a warm, soft, stretchy alternative to merino.
We’ve worn these hoodies through fall and winter and can attest to their comfort, whether on a chilly walk, in a drafty gear cave, or snuggling up at home at the end of an epic day. This Charlotte, North Carolina-based brand launched on Kickstarter late last year and is just now making a name for itself.
A Leatherman is never a bad gift, but this year the brand gave gear lovers something to really lust for. The FREE series, released in 2019, uses magnets to rethink how we use multitools. Most notably, the pliers-based FREE P2 sports one-handed operation — flick your wrist, and the tool butterflies open with a flourish.
Plus, DIYers can access all the implements with a simple thumbroll, sure to save more than a few fingernails. We reviewed the FREE P2 and the FREE K Series pocket knife. We love them. Maybe buy two — you’re sure to want one for yourself.
This duffel is undeniably cool. It doesn’t just look rugged, it is rugged. We took it across the U.S.-Mexico border last year for a multiday bikepacking trip. Not only that, but since then we’ve dropped it, kicked it, strapped it down, and stuffed it in overhead bins, and it shows zero signs of fatigue.
And now, REI makes this bomber duffel from 100% post-consumer recycled polyester and nylon!
With some cleverly designed carry options — backpack straps, shoulder sling, and suitcase carry — and not too many features, the REI Big Haul Recycled Duffel 40L wins our praise. Compression straps, ballistic nylon construction, and daisy chains make this a versatile and durable bag.
And at 40 L, it’s small enough to bring almost anywhere but big enough to bring almost anything.
It’s a koozie when you want it, a cup when you need it. Hydro Flask’s unassuming Cooler Cup has an ingenious design: The silicone lid that holds a can in place doubles as a nonslip base for the 12-ounce vessel. We’ve tried it and love it — it’s easy to use, insulated, and very packable. Great for frequent and year-round campers.
Mountainsmith’s Zerk 40 pack is short for “Berzerk,” and that’s exactly who the brand tapped to help design it. With design input and testing by the one and only Real Hiking Viking (aka thru-hiker Tom Gathman), Mountainsmith developed a pack built for fast and long pursuits on trail.
And this thru-hiker-designed pack hasn’t changed since Gathman gave it an overhaul in 2021. We’ve tried this pack and love it.
Add or remove bungees and straps as you see fit on this semi-customizable pack, all to add comfort and carry options, or drop weight. The primary concept behind the pack, Gathman told us, is to make all hiking essentials stowable and accessible on the go.
Doubt that drawcord sunglasses are more comfortable? We did too — until we tried them.
Ombraz sunglasses offer a whole new look on shades, and we’re here for them. The armless sunglasses are easy to put on and take off, provide surprising comfort, and resist falling off your head like traditional frames. Still not sure? Check out our review.
Undeniably comfortable, the Merrell Moab 2 is among our favorite hiking boots out there. Not only does it win for on-foot comfort, but the Moab 2 has also proven durable in all conditions, adroit on trails both hard and loose, and both warm when you need it and breathable when you want it.
Best of all, these are our top budget selection among Best Hiking Boots, now available under $102. The Moab 2 has exceptional support for those of us with high arches, weighs 32 ounces per pair, and has waterproof protection.
Had it with the city life? BioLite’s SolarHome 620 kit turns any dwelling into an off-grid sanctuary. Be it your campsite, cabin, or car, the SolarHome 620 adds illumination and entertainment — powered by the sun.
The kit includes a 6W solar panel, MP3/FM radio, and three hanging lights — each putting out 100 lumens. This makes a great gift for car campers, van lifers, and doomsday preppers.
What were our favorite sleeping bags this year? Sea to Summit swept the top spots for both men and women. The unisex Ascent 15-degree was the male tester’s favorite, while the ultralight women’s Flame bag won over our female tester.
The Ascent scored big for cushy warmth, strong construction, and an ability to accommodate numerous sleep positions. As for the Flame, it provides great loft, high packability, and simple but comfortable construction.
Want to learn more about our favorite sleeping bags? Check out GearJunkie’s “Best Sleeping Bags.”
Anyone who travels often will appreciate this versatile carry-on. It’s sleek, durable, able to fit an incredible amount of stuff in a small space, and won the top spot in our article “The Best Travel Backpacks of 2019.”
You can completely tuck away the backpack straps and carry it like a briefcase. Or wear it comfortably as a backpack. We’ve stuffed this pack to the gills countless times and have never had a problem with the zippers.
The hammock craze is here to stay, and all-in-one hammock systems could be the next big thing. Kammok’s Mantis Recycled All-in-One Hammock Tent offers a lightweight base, bug net, and rainfly tarp. So with the Mantis, you can hang in virtually any element — rain, bugs, or a clear, starry night.
The whole shebang weighs under 3 pounds, uses recycled ripstop, and comes with a lifetime Kammok warranty. Plus, our tester tried it out and loved it. And if you’re looking for an ultralight version, check out the Mantis UL ($259), the same setup in a 2-pound 3-ounce package.
Trust us, if you spend any time around a campfire, a pair of welding mitts will change the whole experience. They’re dirt cheap, but infinitely valuable if you find yourself the “fire tender.”
Don’t mess around with poking sticks to move white-hot logs around. Don your welding mitts and move them around by hand — you’ll feel like a superhero and keep that fire burning hotter for longer.
You’ll get a few funny looks — that is until other folks try in vain to keep the campfire going. Trust us, the best 20 bucks you’ll ever spend.
If there’s one splurge-worthy gift on this whole list, the Filson Mackinaw Cruiser Jacket is it. Filson is known for its handmade, classically designed outerwear, but it comes at a price.
Is it a little bougie? Yes. But we also are fond of the “buy once, cry once” approach to gear. Meaning, if it’s expensive and will last a lifetime, that’s a better value than the discounted doodads that fall apart after a few seasons.
The heavyweight wool Mackinaw Cruiser is not a fall-apart piece; it’s an old-school, bomber wool overcoat. Wearing it makes you want to work in a lighthouse — and though we can’t be certain, we’re pretty sure it makes your beard grow a little faster.
The coat has four front cargo pockets in addition to two side hand pockets. It’s 100% wool and can absorb up to 30% of its weight in moisture without leaving you feeling damp or cold.
It is, in a word, awesome.
Maybe the most versatile bike helmet out there now, the Bell Spherical XR Mips checks all the boxes for a skull bucket.
Its Mips Spherical integration offers an extra layer of protection, with its “ball and socket design.” This is Bell’s first-ever gravel helmet, but the brand went big by targeting a helmet that was as airy and light as a road helmet, but offered the coverage and protection of an MTB helmet.
The result is not the very best in either category, but probably the best mix of both we’ve tried. The Bell Spherical XR is plenty light, at 285 g, and we trust the full Spherical protection embedded within.
This helmet has been through extensive testing on our end and has proven both good-looking and very well-ventilated. It’s a great option for almost any discipline.
Nothing lasts forever but adidas’ solar-charging wireless headphones come pretty damn close. We wore these out of the box for a full month before these sun-guzzling audio phones needed a top-off.
They won’t replace in-ear buds for high-output activity, like serious trail running or difficult climbing. But for moderate outdoor activity — around your neighborhood or out in the wild — the adidas RPT-02 SOL allows you to stay away from outlets and enjoy personal, unobtrusive audio for weeks.
The solar-charging “PowerFoyle” lives on the headband and keeps the rechargeable batteries juiced while you’re out and about. When needed, the headphones can recharge from grid power via USB-C.
The RPT-02 SOL stores 80 hours of runtime (that’s power available without sunlight), uses 51% recycled plastic, and is sweat- and dustproof. The audio is great, and we highly recommend these for anyone who likes to take their playlist or audiobooks out into the wild.
There’s just no denying what Nike can do when it decides to do something well. Every tester to a T on our staff loved the Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 8 trail running shoe. And it’s easy to see why.
Nike employs two technologies between the heel and forefoot that result in a springy, fast shoe: Nike React Foam in the midfoot and heel — where all the stack is — and tapers down into Air Zoom in the forefoot. The result is a delightful, precise, and above all, fun experience.
There’s also a rock plate, abrasion-resistant toe skin, and deep lugs. It’s not waterproof, but it is plenty breathable and is a blast to take on trail. Buy a few pairs before they fix something that ain’t broke!
Power stations are all the rage right now — and you have plenty of options! We’re putting the Generac GB1000 in here because it’s competitively priced for the power it offers — and it’s the first portable power station from a brand that has specialized in industrial power products for 60 years.
We’ve tested this and others, and there are plenty of similarities among major brands. The Generac has a few nifty features, though: It has a power reset breaker, a wireless phone-charging pad, and parallel ports to link up another Generac for extra power.
Like many power stations, it has multiple AC outlets, USB-A and -C ports, and a DC car port. And it can accept power via standard home (AC) or connected solar panels (DC). Perhaps the big selling point is that this brand has a long and proven history in the power space, and it seems it has taken note of what portable power can — and should — do.
For the money, you might not find a better pair of sport-specific sunglasses than the Tifosi Rail. These shades are almost entirely rimless, with only the hardware being a nose pad and temple arms — all of which snap on and off.
The lenses themselves are as close to true, unobstructed coverage and barely-there feel as we’ve come across. At just 32 g, they’re ideal for cycling or running. And with a price tag of just under $80, they’re a darned steal.
The Tifosi Rail is available in a swappable lens option (which we prefer — changing lenses is a literal snap), or with a photochromic, tint-changing lens. Read our full review for more details.