Apparel gifts for the active, outdoorsy type
Clothing for enjoying nature, or just looking good while walking around.
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Plenty of hiking and backpacking gear is specialized—a tent or a fuel-burning stove is perfect for the trail, but belongs stashed in your closet when you’re not on a trip. Other items, though, are hybrid. They could work in the woods, but are also wearable around town or the city. Consider this gear for the person in your life who likes the woods, or at least wearing high-tech garments that makes walking outside comfortable. We’ve listed it here from toe to head.
These Danners, with their red laces and brown leather, and very good-looking. Since they’re waterproof and have both a Vibram midsole and outsole, you could take them hiking—or you could wear them around over the course of a regular day and keep your feet cozy, even if it’s wet or slushy. $160.
Knit in Vermont, Darn Tough Socks come with a lifetime guarantee. They’ve made the Retro Crew Light socks from Merino wool, nylon, and Lycra—meaning they’ll keep feet warm. If your toes get damp, these socks will wick moisture away, keeping your feet from getting clammy and popsicle-like. Plus, these have a lightweight build, meaning that they’re not going to be thick and bulky like those rumpled ski socks you used to wear. $20.
Prana specializes in pants and gear you could take hiking or rock climbing, but the clothing brand also makes jeans. The slim-fit Bridger jeans are 75 percent cotton, so you wouldn’t want to bring them on a backpacking trip—”cotton kills” is a common saying about outdoor gear, as it get clingy and chilling when it’s wet—but they’re perfect for everyday wear or just ambling on a light walk in the woods. Since they’re also 2 percent Spandex, that means they have a comfortable stretch to them, too. Plus: they look nice. $89.
You wouldn’t wear jeans on a hike, but you could wear these pants. In fact, the Vuori pants I own are my favorite clothing item. These Ponto Performance pants are a combination of polyester and Spandex, and sure, you could do something very athletic in them—or you could just wear them on a long plane flight. $84.
This garment by Wyoming-based company Stio makes a good base layer (that is, the layer closest to your skin) for a cold, early spring hike. It also comes in handy when being active in urban environs—I like to put this on after going for a pool swim, when I’m chilly and damp. Since it’s made of Merino wool and polyester, it moves moisture away from your skin and keeps you warm. $119.
American Giant is known for its robust cotton hoodies, but if you’re going to be outdoors, you want clothing that is synthetic, not cotton. This cold-weather hoodie is all nylon and polyester. Plus, the exterior repels water and breaks the wind, too. The company advertises that it can keep you toasty even if it’s just 23 degrees outside and you’re just standing around. It’s not the kind of item that you’d want to climb Mt. Everest in, but it’s an option for ambling outside on a brisk day. $198.
Mom was right: you need to keep your head warm. Smartwool’s merino wool hat keeps body heat heat from escaping out your scalp, and feels soft and cozy as it insulates you. Plus, it comes in several colors. When you’re not using it, stash it in your jacket pocket. $28.
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