This article is the final installment of a three part holiday gift guide for outdoor lovers. Yesterday's guide featured gifts between $50 and $100, and Monday's guide had gifts priced at $50 and under. Today we focus on gifts priced over $100.
Georgetown Dry Pannier
This is Bike City, baby! If we packed it in and hopped into our cars every time the forecast called for a little liquid sunshine, we’d be dethroned quicker than you can say “Temperate Rainforest.” Just gear up and go. The Georgetown Dry Pannier from Detours should come standard with any bike purchase in Portland. The four-point attached pannier holds up to 22 lbs and houses two seam-sealed and completely waterproof compartments. And it just looks slick. $105
Amari Pass Solo
Bang for the buck. The folks at Eureka have been putting that consumer dream into hard practice with regularity for a few years now. The Amari Pass Solo is yet another prime example. The three-season tent is designed for novice and intermediate backpackers. Does that mean it’s for people that aren’t serious about backpacking? On the contrary. It means that you get a very good tent that weighs slightly more and shouldn’t be used on a glacier in 80 mph winds - for $100’s less than you would spend on a high-end tent. You would be very hard-pressed to find a better tent for the money. $129.90
Ahnu Hiking Shoes/Boots
Arguably the most important thing a hiker puts on before hitting the trail is a good set of hiking shoes or boots. It’s where the rubber meets the road, literally. And they can be the difference between an epic outing and a miserable mishap. Because of that, I can’t recommend a pair of shoes from Ahnu enough. The Tamarack for men is a great winter boot. It’s warm, waterproof, and good looking enough to keep wearing into town after the hike. The women’s Sugarpine is a waterproof hiker that comes in shoe or boot style, and remains my girlfriend’s go to boot for any significant hiking or backpacking trip. Tamarack, $145 – Sugarpine Low, $130
Sierra Designs Capiz Jacket
Part 3 of the gift guide is always where people start to focus a bit more. If you’re going to shell out over $100 for gear, you want to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth. And perhaps more importantly, that it’s going to do the job you bought it to do. Sierra Designs produces some of most highly recommended pieces of outerwear that I’ve ever had the privilege of reviewing. The new Capiz Jacket falls right in line with everything else I’ve tried from Sierra Designs. The jacket is super lightweight and warm. It’s stuffed with 600-fill DriDown, the company’s innovative insulation that stays dry longer, lofts better, and dries out faster than regular down. A nylon/spandex stretch knit gusset on the sides and under the arms makes it very comfortable and easy to move around in. The hybrid jacket can serve many purposes, including around town jacket or cold-weather mid-layer. $199
Country Squire Sleeping Bag
A good sleeping bag is one of those investments you hope to make rather infrequently – like a bed or a car. You’d like to get it right and just not have to worry about it for the next decade. The Country Squire Sleeping Bag from Slumberjack fits the bill nicely. The Country Squire comes in 20, 0, and -20 degree options, all stuffed with Slumberloft synthetic insulation. Pick your favorite. The bag has two-layer offset construction, a poly-cotton liner, and a draft tube. The shell is mega-durable, and the bag handles folks up to 6 ft 6 in tall. I’m 6’ 3” and I’m swimming in it! It’s also able to zip together with similar -sized rectangular bags and comes with a matching duffel. It’s a heck of a bag! $224.95 for 0 degree bag
The foundation of Kelty’s new Ascender series of bags, the Ascender 22 is a gift from the Travel Gods for those of us that value versatility when we explore. Expandable and modular, the Ascender 22 comes with a detachable chassis and expands from a 40-liter carry-on size to a 55- and 70-liter checked bag size, which is all I’ll ever need. But you can combine the Ascender 22 with the Ascender WR Duffel and Ascender Trunk bags for more storage than you can shake a stick at. The Ascender 22 also comes with a single-extension handle, inline skate wheels, and hideaway shoulder straps that turn the thing into a backpack. Now that’s versatile! $349.95
For more of Adam's writing, reviews, and photography, visit AdamSawyer.com or follow him on Facebook. His forthcoming guidebook, Hiking Waterfalls in Oregon, published by Falcon Guides, will be available spring 2014.