Gift Guide for Warm Weather Adventurers

Gadling Gift Guide: Hiking BootsAs December approaches and the holiday season draws near, those warm summer days that we enjoyed just a few months back are already a distant memory. But no matter what the calendar says, I guarantee the adventurer on your shopping list is already plotting his or her next warm weather escape. Considering summer really is just a short plane ride away, here are some suggestions for what to buy them for their next adventure.

Keen Voyageur Hiking Boots
A good pair of shoes are essential for any adventure and the Keen Voyageur hiking boots are a great option for any summer escape. Both comfortable and durable, these shoes are well ventilated, keeping your feet cool and dry, while also preventing unwanted moisture from getting in. Amazon has them starting at $87.21, making them a bargain for trail shoes of this quality.

Gadling Gear Girl Pam Mandel is a fan of Keen shoes too, recommending the McKenzie as a versatile warm weather shoe for a variety of activities. ($85)

ExOfficio Sol Tech Tee
Staying cool and dry is one of the most important aspects of enjoying any outdoor activity in warmer weather. The ExOfficio Sol tech tee not only wicks moisture away from the body, it is also highly breathable, and provides UPF 50+ sun protection as well. All of that is marketing speak for “it’s comfortable to wear when it’s warm outside.” Available in a variety of colors, the Sol is perfect for hiking a local trail or traveling to the far side of the planet, and is a perfect addition to any adventurers closet. ($25)

Pam also recommends the BugsAway line of shirts from ExOfficio as well. The shirts earned high marks in her review of a variety of mosquito repelling gear. ($40)

Columbia Silver Ridge Cargo Shorts
A good pair of cargo shorts are a necessity for any warm weather adventure, and Columbia delivers a comfortable, durable product with the Silver Ridge. Super lightweight and breathable, these shorts are quick drying and include large pockets, as well as an adjustable waistband. With a UPF rating of 30, they also provide solid protection from the sun, and look as good around town as they do on the trail. ($20)Gadling Gift Guide: Marmot PreClip Safari HatMarmot PreClip Safari Hat
Staying protected from the suns rays is an important aspect of any warm weather adventure and a good hat helps considerably. I’m a big fan of Marmot’s PreClip Safari Hat, as it has a wide brim, is comfortable and cool to wear, and is highly packable. It is also waterproof and so lightweight that it actually floats. I’ve carried mine with me on six different continents and it remains one of my favorite pieces of gear. ($35)

Sierra Designs Meteor Light 2 Tent
The summer months are tailor made for camping and a good tent is an essential part of enjoying evenings in the backcountry. The Meteor Light 2 from Sierra Designs is a perfect 3-Season option that stays warm on cooler nights, but provides plenty of ventilation when it gets warm. It sets up in just minutes and sleeps two comfortably. ($210)

Kelty Cosmic Down 20º Sleeping Bag
While a tent is important for any camping trip, when it comes to getting a good nights sleep, it is only part of the equation. A good sleeping bag is essential as well, and the Cosmic Down 20º is a great choice for warm weather outings. Kelty has managed to make a comfortable, lightweight, down sleeping bag that won’t break the bank. ($75)

Osprey Stratos 24 Backpack
Nothing inspires adventure like a good backpack and Osprey makes some of the best. Their Stratos 24 daypack provides plenty of storage for a long day (or even overnight) on the trail. Its size makes it perfect for peak bagging or other short, yet gear intensive, adventures. The Stratos’ integrated suspension system helps you to stay cool on the move and the pack is hydration ready, keeping water close at hand at all times. ($89)

If you’re looking for something a bit smaller, Gadling gear reviewer Mike Barish recommends the Raptor 14, also from Osprey. He found it to be the perfect options for day hikes in warm weather destinations such as Zion Natoinal Park. Read his review here. ($81)

Polar Bottle Insulated Water Bottle
Staying hydrated on our warm weather adventures is vitally important, but that doesn’t mean we have to settle for drinking warm water while on the trail. The Polar Bottle uses an insulating foil to reflect back the heat of the sun, keeping the liquids inside cooler for a lot longer. These bottles make fantastic and affordable gifts for the hiker, trail runner, or cyclist on your list this year. ($11.25)

Packing for a Camping Safari: What’s in My Bag?

600 dollars for vaccinations, that’s what I spent in preparation for an upcoming trip to Tanzania. A pile. Still, it’s better than the alternative: getting a near fatal or certainly trip ruining illness. Now that the sticker shock has eased and I’ve got full use of my arm again, I’ve turned to gathering my belongings for an upcoming safari trip.

Here’s a round up of what’s in my bag.

A cotton sleep sack from Cocoon. I’m doing a camping trip; most of the time I’ll be sleeping in a tent. I’m packing my old down bag because it’s lightweight and warm, but I’ve added a sleep sack permeated with insect repellent. It’s good for warmer nights that don’t need a sleeping bag, the few hotels I’ll be in, and I’m all about not getting bitten. Speaking of which…

Serious DEET packed bug repellent. The travel clinic I use recommends Ultrathon from 3M. I’ve got some cream to pack and spray for my clothes — I’ll do that before I pack. My sprayed clothing will be protected for more washings than they’ll get on this trip. The cream is 34% DEET — that’s a lot of DEET, but it works, it really works. I used this same system for Southeast Asia and I did not get bitten once.

Packing cubes: I’m not usually a system packer, but I’d like to keep the dust out of my things just this once. The cubes I’m trying out are from Innate. (I’ve stuffed them inside the bag I reviewed here.) I’m hoping they’ll convert me into an organized packer, if nothing else, they’ll keep my clothes fairly clean, and whoa, is my luggage neatly organized. Sure, my things are crazy wrinkled, but whatever.

A cute sun protection cap. It’s tempting to go all pith helmet on this trip, but I’m a baseball cap wearing kind of girl. Mine comes from Sunday Afternoons. It’s vented, has a drawstring to hold it on in the wind, got 50 UPF (ultraviolet protection) in the fabric, and a little pocket on the inside for holding… um, your hotel card key? Your beer money and ID?It’s also got a split bill which means it packs down flat.A lightweight, mostly second hand wardrobe. There’s a reason you see travelers dressed in khaki and pale green colors. The biting bugs (it’s all about the biting bugs) like dark colors. Pale earth tones? They’re not so interested in those. I have long sleeved shirts — to keep the sun off — and very lightweight pants. The pants are from Ex Officio, I reviewed a few of their products here, but I’m also trying out their BugsAway line.

Running shoes and sandals. I’m always stumped by shoes when I pack. Luckily, there are a bunch of cute new mary-jane styles that come on sturdy hiking type soles nowadays; they’re good enough for dress up in most cases. On this trip, I’m not doing any huge hikes or anything that requires nice footwear. I’m looking at a running shoe/hiker hybrid from LOWA and a pair of Chaco sandals with Vibram soles. I don’t need anything else. Hmm, maybe flip-flops for the shower?

A windstop fleece jacket: Word has it that nights get cold in the bush and the mornings can be a chilly too. I may pack the pocket loaded Valkyrie from Triple Aught Design that I reviewed here, but it’s equally likely that I’ll pack the corporate branded by an out of business start up fleece and just leave it behind.

Still on my wish list? A pair of really good binoculars. New noise cancelling headphones; I’ve got 20 hours of flying each way and mine developed “issues” on my last long haul flight. A rain shell that packs down to almost nothing, just in case. My mom keeps trying to send me one of those vests with all the pockets, I think I’ll let her. A “Swahili for beginners” audio book. I need to pick up some sunscreen and some airplane snacks and all those last minute odds and ends that you end up stuffing in the outside pockets on your pack.

Have you been on safari? Anything you wish you’d packed but didn’t? Besides, you know, a much better camera lens and a past that allows for more luxurious travel in the present?

Photo: Selous River Camp by Willem vdh, Creative Commons/Flickr.