Gadling Gift Guide: Gear For The Adventure Traveler And Outdoor Enthusiast

Gadling Gift Guide: Eureka's Tetragon TentsFew people appreciate great gear as much as adventure travelers and outdoor enthusiasts. They demand good performance, often under the harshest of conditions, and they’re usually willing to pay top dollar for the best equipment. Their exacting standards can often make it a challenge to find them the right gift, particularly when they already have a closet full of gear.

If you have someone on your holiday shopping list that fits the description above, then take heart. Here are some excellent suggestions for gifts that are sure to delight the adventurer in your life.

Eureka Tetragon Tents ($95-$370)
The key to any great camping outing begins and ends with a quality tent. After all, if you’re not able to get a good night’s sleep, you’re probably not going to enjoy the rest of the experience either. The new Tetragon series of tents from Eureka has everything you need to sleep comfortably in the great outdoors. They are spacious, lightweight, provide plenty of ventilation, and will keep campers dry when that unexpected rainstorm rolls in at 2 a.m. These freestanding shelters are tough and durable, which makes them the perfect option for backcountry escapes. Available in six sizes, ranging from a small two-person option up to a palatial version that sleeps ten, the Tetragon is a classic camping tent at an affordable price.

Brooks Range Mojave Down Jacket ($299)
When it comes to cold weather adventures, nothing beats a good down jacket for keeping us warm when the mercury begins to plummet. The problem is that traditional down doesn’t perform well in wet conditions, becoming a clumpy, cold mess that is virtually useless. That isn’t the case with the new Brooks Range Mojave jacket, however, as it is one of the first products on the market that uses a new water-resistant down from a company called DownTek. This revolutionary new jacket performs incredibly well, even in the worst of conditions, keeping the wearer warm and dry when traditional down gear would have failed. This is the future of cold weather gear and your favorite mountaineer, winter backpacker or skier will undoubtedly love this amazing product.Gadling Gift Guide: GPS Watch for runners.Pyle GPS Watch with Wireless Heart Rate Monitor ($150)
Designed for the runner or cyclists who obsesses over their performance, this watch is a high-tech marvel that will give them everything they need to track progress over time. The included wireless heart monitor makes it easy for outdoor athletes to pace themselves while working out and the built in GPS accurately tracks distance, route and speed. This timepiece allows for five different profiles for use in different activities and the screen can even be customized to display just the information that is important for the current workout. Water resistant to 100 feet, the watch includes an electronic compass, interval timer and much more. Pyle managed to deliver all of that functionality in a package that is far more affordable than similar offerings from the competition.

Guerrilla Tags ID Systems ($30-$35)
Outdoor enthusiasts and adventure travelers don’t seem to mind taking a few risks to pursue the activities they love, but unfortunately those activities can sometimes lead to untimely accidents. Guerrilla Tags offer a bit of insurance during those unfortunate incidences by providing the name of the person involved as well as their emergency contact numbers, known allergies, blood type and so on. That information is engraved by hand on a metal tag that is then worn either as a bracelet around the wrist or as dog tags around the neck. This is one of those pieces of gear that you hope you never need, but you’re glad you have it nonetheless. They even make great gifts for loved ones who never travel abroad or participate in risky outdoor sports as it never hurts to have this information close at hand.

Gadling Gift Guide: Hydrapack TamarackHydrapack Tamarack ($110)
Compact and comfortable, the Tamarack hydration pack makes a great travel companion for everything from day hikes on local trails to excursions to the far corners of the globe. It features thickly padded shoulder straps and back panel, plenty of storage capacity for essential gear and a host of pockets to keep it all organized. Durable and tough, this little pack is capable of carrying up to thee liters of water in its included hydration bladder, ensuring the wearer always has plenty of liquids close at hand. That same bladder seals up tight to prevent leakage, is resistant to punctures and is surprisingly easy to keep clean.

Liberty Sport Trailblazer Sunglasses ($139)
A great pair of sunglasses should be essential gear for any outdoor adventure and Liberty Sport makes good looking and functional frames for nearly every kind of activity. But the Trailblazer is an especially good choice because they are versatile enough to be used while running, cycling, hiking or just about any other active endeavor. The large, wrap-around lenses provide plenty of coverage and protection from the bright sun and the fit is snug enough that you don’t have to worry about them falling off at an in opportune time. They even come with a set of cleverly designed magnetic eye cups that when installed seal off the outside world, keeping dust, snow and other debris out of the eyes. This is an especially great option for travelers who may routinely find themselves in demanding environments.

Schwinn Quick Release Collapsible Basket ($20)
Here’s one for the not-so-serious cyclist who enjoys riding their bike everywhere but could use a convenient and safe way to haul more stuff with them when they go. This collapsible basket securely attaches to any set of handlebars while riding, but quickly detaches upon arrival at your destination. Made out of durable polyester fabrics the basket is tough enough to survive exposure to the elements while providing plenty of protecting for the contents inside. A drawstring top extends that protection even further while ensuring that the precious cargo never accidentally pops out.

Gadling Gift Guide: GoPro Hero 3 Action CameraGoPro Hero 3 Action Camera Black Edition ($200-$400)
A few years ago a little company called GoPro released a lightweight and rugged video camera that was perfect for capturing or favorite moments while mountain biking, snowboarding and rock climbing. They didn’t know it at the time, but the company had launched an industry and inadvertently created a market for the extreme sports viral video all in one fell swoop. Today, the GoPro Hero 3 remains the top action camera on the marketing, capturing video in full 1080P and 12 megapixel still photos. The device can even pair with a smartphone via Wi-Fi for remote control functionality and for instant sharing of videos on social media. GoPro even managed to greatly improve low light performance for capturing the best shots no matter the time of day. All of that comes in a package that weighs just 2.6 ounces, giving aspiring filmmakers a powerful tool that easily attaches to helmets and handlebars to capture all of their spectacular adventures.

Click here for other Gift Guides.

[Photo Credits:Eureka, Hydrapak, GoPro]

First ever Shopping on the Rails event will take place aboard the Orient-Express’ British Pullman train this holiday

shopping on the rails Instead of fighting your way through crowded department stores and chaotic shopping centers this holiday, why not do your shopping aboard a luxurious, festively decorated train? On December 1, 2011, the first ever Shopping on the Rails event will take place on board the Orient-Express’ British Pullman train.

A few of the fine British retailers that have been invited to participate in the event include:

  • Harrods- iconic British landmark store with 330 departments of top quality merchandise
  • Brora- fine Scottish cashmere and beautiful clothing
  • Ettinger- handcrafted luxury leather goods and accessories
  • Holland and Holland- known for their artistic and well-crafted guns, they offer clothing, accessories, and technical products
  • Elemis- the leading luxury British spa and skincare brand since 1989

The price for the Shopping on the Rails holiday event is $470 and includes round trip transfer to and from Victoria Station in London, a 4-course lunch with Champagne and half a bottle of wine per person, and the chance to peruse and purchase luxury goods from top retailers. The dress code is “smart daywear” and passengers are asked not to wear jeans and sneakers.

For more information or to make a reservation, click here.

The Holiday Shops in Bryant Park, New York, open this weekend

bryant park holiday shops in new yorkThe Holiday Shops in Bryant Park bring holiday cheer to New York City for their 10th season beginning this weekend. From October 27, 2011, through January 8, 2012, visitors can experience this European-inspired open-air market that features artisans selling unique gifts, handicrafts, jewelry, bath and body products, toys, culinary enhancements, and more. An ice skating rink, a giant Christmas tree, and booths selling holiday pastries and hot chocolate add to the merry ambiance.

Some of the vendors (but, not even close to all of them) include:

  • Molton Brown- luxury bath, body, and hair products
  • Max Brenner- unique and fine chocolates by “the bald man”
  • Ooh La La Boutiques- women’s fashion, accessories, and jewelry
  • Momo Glassworks- glass canvas paintings and jewelry
  • Northern Tribe New York- women/men’s fashion and gifts
  • Organic Wares- products such as scarves and string lights made of organic materials

The Holiday Shops are open daily, Monday-Friday 11AM-8PM, Saturday 10AM-9PM, Sunday 10AM-6PM.

¡Feliz Navidad! More Christmas traditions from Spain

Christmas, christmas, Navidad, navidad, Spain, MadridMerry Christmas from Madrid! Last year I covered some of the big Spanish Christmas traditions. This year I’d like to talk on a more personal level about how I and my in-laws celebrate. I’m married to a Spaniard. A Castilian to be precise, as regional identity is important here. Living in Madrid we have a very Castilian Christmas. My five-year-old son is pretty much Castilian too, although he’s got a Canadian dad and speaks English as fluently as his public school English teacher.

Being a good little Spanish kid, he’s written out his letter to the Three Kings about what he wants: The Lego Tech crane, a parking garage for his cars, “everything about Real Madrid” (the city football team), and “La Casa de los Gormitis”. The Gormitis don’t seem to have made it across the Atlantic but they’re the big thing for European boys right now. It’s a cartoon where children have a secret base under their parents’ house and turn into monsters to fight the bad monsters in the fantasy world of the Gormitis. Yeah, it hits all the buttons.

Of course the Three Kings came to visit his school, but my son wasn’t fooled. He immediately recognized that the African king Baltasar was played by his English teacher, a black guy from London. Reminds me of that Jesse James story I wrote about earlier today. Since the Kings don’t show up at our home to put gifts in our shoes until January 6, we still haven’t done our shopping. It always feels like the Spanish Christmas gives you more time to shop, even though it’s still exactly a year between gift-giving.

The season is in full swing, however. Everyone has been buying tickets for El Gordo, the national lottery. Personally I think gambling is a stupid waste of money, but I’ll be checking out the numbers this year because my optometrist gave me two tickets! This is a common way for businesses to reward regular customers.

This week my family set up two Bethlehem scenes. My mother-in-law has an old one of lead figures that goes on a side table in the dining room. It has the Kings, buildings, stream, bridge, the manger, and lots of villagers. Over it all Herod looks down from his castle with a rather grumpy expression. This diorama is far bigger and more elaborate than the diminutive Christmas tree we put in the hall. We also have a Playmobil Bethlehem scene (called Los Clicks in Spanish) that my son sets up in his room.

Last night we chowed down on lombarda (red cabbage with pine nuts), langostinos (king prawns), and heaps of nuts, candies, polvorones, and turrón. Polvorón is my favorite. These are crumbly little shortbreads made with flour, nuts, sugar, and milk. Like with Oreos, there’s more than one way to eat them. Some people just bite down and let the whole thing crumble in a tasty, dusty mess. Others squeeze them into a compact bit of tidy sweetness. I’m more of a crumbler than a squeezer. Turrón is an Arabic confection made of almonds, sugar, honey, and egg white. Other ingredients such as chocolate are added to create an endless variety of flavors.

Just before dinner we heard King Juan Carlos I’s annual Christmas Eve speech. Keeping with tradition, my family completely ignored him, even though they made sure the TV was on. I watched it more for the sake of this article than to actually hear what he had to say. Sitting in his palace with a Nativity scene to one side and a photo of Spain’s victorious football team to the other, El Rey talked about the economic crisis, the threat of terrorism, and the drug problem. Pretty much the same issues as last year. There was also a Christmas message from Spanish soldiers serving in overseas operations such as the Indian Ocean, Antarctica, Lebanon, and Afghanistan.

Got to run. Soon my 99 year-old neighbor will show up. She’s become my son’s de facto great-grandmother. It’s nice to see someone born in 1911 interacting with someone born in 2005. Meanwhile, my mother-in-law is cooking up a giant Christmas lunch. Yeah, I lucked out in the mother-in-law department.

Do you have any special Christmas traditions? Share them with us in the comments section!

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The Gadling gift guide for the outdoor traveler

outdoor travel

In our third gift guide this season, we’ll show off some of the best gear for the traveler who loves the great outdoors, or at least for those travelers that pretend they do, because most of these gadgets will work just as well for someone who thinks of a Holiday Inn as “camping”.

Other guides in our 2010 lineup: gifts for iPhone/iPad owners and gifts for the business traveler


T-Mobile Motorola Defy

outdoor travel

The Motorola Defy (on T-Mobile) is the first rugged 3G Android phone. This smartphone will actually survive a swim, or a drop on the ground. Its Gorillaglass screen means it won’t shatter when impacted.

Price: $99.99

Product page: T-Mobile

Gadling review

Scottevest Pack Windbreaker

outdoor travel

Imagine a lightweight and waterproof windbreaker that folds into a package compact enough to also act as a small pillow. Now imagine that jacket with handwarmer pockets, an integrated cable management system and 17 different pockets. That is, in a nutshell, the Scottevest Pack Windbreaker.

Price: $75

Product page: Pack Windbreaker

SteriPEN Traveler

outdoor travel

Only able to find “questionable” water? Once passed through a filter to remove particulate matter, stick the SteriPEN in your container, and lets its UV light purify it to drinkable quality.

Price: $59.95

Product page: SteriPEN

Pelican i1015 rugged Phone case

outdoor travel

Who says enjoying the great outdoors means you can’t travel with some music? The Pelican i1015 iPhone case will let your device survive just about anything your throw at it. A pass-through headphone jack means it can stay in its case, while you enjoy your tunes.

Price:$26

Product page: Pelican

Otterbox cases

outdoor travel

Otterbox cases provide protection in several levels – their basic case will protect against scratches, and their top of the line cases will handle water, drops and more. Best of all, the cases look great and are reasonably priced.

Price: from $19.95

Product page: Otterbox

Cannondale Jekyll bike

outdoor travel

If you are looking for the ultimate bike for outdoors, then you won’t find anything better than the Cannondale Jekyll. This bike also has the honor of being the most expensive product in all of our gift guides, and at $4,249 it may not suit those that usually settle for the $200 bike at the local mega-mart. Its dual shocks, torsion control and carbon or alloy frame make it the ultimate in outdoor pedal power. Other models in this range start at $2,999, up to $7,999

Price: $4,249

Product page: Cannondale bikes

Gorillatorch Switchback lantern/headlamp

outdoor travel

Gorillapod made a name for themselves with their neat flexible camera tripods, but this year they expanded their assortment with flashlights. One of the most impressive additions is the Switchback. This ultra-bright headlamp turns into a powerful lantern. Its five different LED’s can switch from a red night vision lamp to a 130 lumen floodlight.

Price: $59.95

Product page: Gorillatorch

ContourGPS

outdoor travel

The new ContourGPS HD camera is at home in outside – but it really gets in its element when you strap it to your helmet and take it downhill, or when you try to record a really stupid stunt to show off on Youtube. But best of all, the camera also records your location, making it easy to plot your trip on a map.

Price: $349.99

Product page: ContourGPS

Goal O solar panel

outdoor travel

Need some REAL power on the road? There are plenty of small solar power kits that promise to recharge your phone when they get a day or two of sunshine, but the Goal 0 Nomad 7m delivers 7 watts of power in 5 volts (USB) or 12 volts (DC plug). This will charge your phone just as fast as a wall outlet, assuming you get enough sun.

Price: $99.99

Product page: Goal 0