Nothing is more satisfying than finding the perfect gift for loved ones.
But when shopping for outdoor lovers and gear heads, finding just the right gift — i.e., something they don't already have — can be more challenging than navigating the hoards of shoppers on Black Friday.
The toys for outdoor enthusiasts are better than ever this year, and the Deseret News has compiled a list of some of our favorites.
Some might think of the outdoors as the place where one goes to escape technology.
But in the last decade, technological innovations have proved to enhance outdoor experiences from running to hiking to skiing.
Here's the list, in no particular order:
The Nike Element Shield Tight. I have never been a fan of running tights, but this pair might convert me. The built-in windshield panel is just part of the reason to choose tights over sweats.
What's the advantage of running tights over thermal sweats? They keep the heat closer to the body, which means they're warmer, regardless of the activity. Available at Wasatch Running for $90.
Mizuno breathable thermal stretch crew. The favorite base of many runners, it combines the best of wool with other fabrics to form a light-weight but surprisingly warm layer next to the skin. "When you get sweat on it, it actually gets warmer," said Brad Phippen of WRC.
At Wasatch Running, they demonstrated the ability of the fabric with a little water test. They hand you a handful of the soft breathable fabric and then drop water on it. It instantly heats up, but more so with movement. Available at Wasatch Running for $60.
Patigonia Packable Nano Puff Jacket. Super lightweight and surprisingly warm, the real attraction is how beautiful this jacket looks! It packs into a small bag you could hook on a belt or put in a backpack. Perfect for any outdoor exercise in the ever-changing weather of the Wasatch Mountains. Available at Wasatch Running for $179.
The Edge 800 cycling computer. That GPS touchscreen that you love in your car, well, now it's available on your bike! It provides maps for cities when you're away from home and is ideal for touring, commuting, competitive cycling and mountain biking. Available at Salt Lake City Bicycle Company for $50-$650, depending on the bells and whistles.
Bags, bags and more bags. Can you have too many? Noelle O designs and Velo City Bags are both made in Utah and available at Salt Lake City Bicycle Company anywhere from $100-$145.
Saucony DryLete Headband. Keeps your ears warm, your hair out of your eyes and it looks great. There is even a hole for the pony tail. Available at Wasatch Running for $15.
Sugoi Mid-zero Wind Boxer Brief. This is for men who love to run in cold weather, but do not like the way that icy breeze cuts through their clothing. There is a wind-proof panel right where one needs it most. Available at Wasatch Running for $40.
Ice Trekkers with the diamond grip. Made for runners and walkers who shun the treadmill when it gets cold, but this winter it might come in handy just shoveling the walk. Available at Wasatch Running for $40.
Speaking of running on the snow or ice, for those who just can't resist the temptation, try a pair of running snow shoes. There is a race model and one for joggers ($299 and $299, respectively), and Wasatch Running rents them for the weekend for $10.
"They're a sleeker fit, and it's easier to run in them," said manager Darrell Phippen.
Wool has been a featured item in outdoor wear for the last couple of years, as manufacturers make it more attractive and mix it with fabrics that are softer.
"It's even more (a story) this year," said Wasatch Running Center owner Glen Gerner. "People are kind of going old school. It worked for centuries, and its natural. You're not using petroleum to make it, and thanks to the sheep, it's renewable."
Needless to say, there are a lot of great winter clothing items available in wool.
Salomon Falcon ski sock. Quick dry fabrication combined with Merino wool, silk, and 200-needle knitting technology provides the highest thread count sock available, with ankle and arch support, shin protection and warmth with optimum ventilation. Available for $90 at www.salomon.com.
Nike wool-dryfit half-zip. Warm and cute in awesome colors. Great under ski clothes or as a base layer for running or hiking. Available at Wasatch Running Center for $75.
The Cold Avenger facemask. If the icy air keeps you from enjoying the great outdoors, you might want to invest in this innovative mask. The ventilator is made of medical grade biocompatible plastic selected for its safety, microbial resistance, and overall cold weather endurance. The polyurethane ventilator mixes inhaled cold air with exhaled warm air which creates a balance of warmth and humidity to protect the airways from the damaging cold, all while keeping moisture off the face. The mask keeps air inside 40-60-degrees higher than outside air. Available at www.coldavenger.com and REI stores in Salt Lake City.
Gibbon Slacklines. If you're looking for a unique workout this winter, this is it. Slacklining, which is something like a tightrope, is an excellent way to build core strength and balance. It is suitable for all ages and is a great group activity. The lines are easy to set up and learn on. Whether a beginner looking to build balance and core strength, or an advanced user doing "yoga" slacklining and "jibbing," they will provide hours of engaging fun. Available at the Front Climbing Pro Shop in Ogden starting at $74.
Petzl Elia Helmet. Protects the head while looking stylish. It comes in great colors and has a pony-tail slot. Available at The Front Climbing Pro Shop in Ogden for $65.95.
Bouldering Pads. The Front Climbing Gym's Pro Shop has a huge selection of crash pads. They carry locally made Revolution and Pusher pads, as well as Metolius crash pads. Crash pads smake great gifts for both beginner and advanced climbers alike. As bouldering is a less expensive form of climbing, it can be appealing to those on a budget. Available at the Front's Pro Shop starting at $140.
Salomon RX Snow Moc. Billed as "everything a ski boot isn't," the Snow Moc has a breathable upper shell with a super cushioned midsole. It is a reward for your feet after a day on the slopes. Available for $90 at www.salomon.com.
Limited Edition Gu Roctane. It's only available for a few weeks in the special holiday flavor of Island Nectars. Roctane is no ordinary Gu with amino acids to speed recovery and a double dose of caffeine. Available, while it lasts, at Wasatch Running Center for $15 per six pack.
Timex Ironman Watch. It's the newest model of GPS watch from Timex. It ranges in price from $300 without the heart monitor to $360 with heart monitor. There is a $50 rebate right now.
Black Diamond Spotlight. Made by a local company it offers a lot of light for a small price. Available at Wasatch Running Center for $40.
If your outdoor enthusiast has all the gear he/she needs, then consider taking him/her to a place where they can use it.
If you're looking for a great deal on everything from winter wear to tents, check out www.rei-outlet.com. It has the most recent deals and allows you to avoid the lines at a retail store. REI stores also offer rentals on most outdoor gear that allows you to try it before you buy it.
Backcountry Skiing Trip in British Columbia with BlueBird Guides. Starting at $275 for a weekend hut trip. An affordable option for a ski getaway, BlueBird Guides offers education and experience-building on-the-go. Most of BlueBird Guide's trips are in the interior ranges of British Columbia, including the Selkirk and Purcell mountains for their consistent snow and easy access. The Monashee and Cariboo mountains are also a zone they cover for hut trips or traverses.
More information is available at www.bluebirdguides.com.