Gifts for people who look like they spend a lot of time outside (but are actually just from Brooklyn)

The "outdoorsy" type

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Some of your friends like to do stuff outside: Hiking, climbing, skiing, camping. Some of them just like to look like they do that stuff. Here’s what to buy for that friend or family member who “loves the great outdoors”—as long as they can get a good Instagram out of it.

Hiking Boots That Are Kinda Cute

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Your friend wants to be ready for adventure—but not so ready for adventure that they can’t also, like, walk into a Starbucks. Ahnu’s hiking boots are great for combining utility with wearability: They’ll hold up during glacier hikes in Iceland and look reasonably cute trudging through city slush. From $108 on Amazon.

Touchscreen Gloves

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Let she who has not bought touchscreen gloves as a last-minute holiday present cast the first stone. Now your cousin can take pristine pictures of her snowy hiking adventures without freezing her fingers off. Grab some for $17 on Amazon or follow our guide to make your own.

The Only Outdoor Gear They Really Need

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Your wannabe-outdoorsman-hipster friend does actually spend a lot of time outside—if you count the cycling they do on their commute. The Giro Sutton is widely regarded as best-in-show for commuter helmets. It’ll keep your loved one looking cool. And more importantly, it’ll protect their adorable little noggin as they zip across the BQE at rush hour. From $37 on Amazon.

A Classy-Ass Pocket Knife

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So your roommate can whittle a figurine to bring home for you while he gazes out into the night sky above Joshua Tree. $150 via James.

A Damn Good Pocket Knife

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So your roommate can whittle a stick on your fire escape. $16 on Amazon.

A Backpack That Could Handle Some Hiking

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Let’s be real: Your brother will probably never go on that backpacking trip he keeps talking about. But if you get him a study knapsack—like this one from Fjallraven, which can be waxed for added durability—he’ll at least have the option of going on a day-long or overnight hike without investing in a new bag. And he’ll look super rugged on the L train. From $117 on Amazon.

simul alpine

Your best friend has a travel bucket list that will have her scrambling up rocky cliffs and slipping down snowy slopes. Get her a pair of pants that can handle any kind of activity or weather—without making her look like a dork. Patagonia’s Simul Alpine Pants go for $139 and are available for both men and women. They’re shockingly flattering and surprisingly stretchy. They’ll keep snow and rain off, and with a thermal layer or two underneath they can handle pretty much any climate.

A Journal That's Just A Little Bit Pretentious

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Okay, okay, these notebooks are gorgeous. Even if all of your field research takes place over coffee. In Brooklyn. $10 for a pack of three on Amazon.

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Rachel Feltman


Rachel Feltman is Editor-at-Large at Popular Science. She hosts and oversees the hit podcast The Weirdest Thing I Learned This Week, and helps to fill the magazine’s digital pages with thrilling features. She lives in Jersey City with her surprisingly tall husband and surprisingly old cat.