It’s gift season – and list season — so here are a few gift ideas for those who love to hit the road.
1. This Briggs & Riley model is hands-down my favorite carry-on bag. The Explore 19 measures 14 x 9 X 19, weighs less than seven pounds, and has heavy duty wheels. The telescopic handle has been sensibly located on the outside, leaving you more room inside. Mine has passed muster from eagle-eyed airline employees at gates from Mexico City to Zurich to JFK. I can pack for a week in this bag, which is handsome, durable, and at $260 retail, competitively priced for a top luggage brand.
2. You can spend a fortune on a travel fly rod and reel or you can come to your senses and take a look at LL Bean’s new Streamlight Outfit. The two piece 9′ rod (which comes in 6-7wt) is medium action and can handle most light fresh water fishing situations. It also comes with a handy case that allows you to disassemble it quickly but leave the reel on – ideal if you’re moving from place to place along a river. It’s versatile and well balanced — and with a $175-$179 price tag that includes the two piece rod, reel, line, backing and rod case, one of the best deals around. Four –piece rod outfits, suited for carry on, range from $199 – $219.
3. Leaving behind your smart phone when you head off on an aquatic adventure may seem unthinkable. So what do kayakers, canoeists and boaters do? Get Hummingbird’s E-Case, an ultra lightweight waterproof case – think of an envelope – that’s remarkable durable, thanks to RF-welded seams and a SealLock zipper. Because the face is clear plastic, you can use all of your smart phone’s functions. So when you see that whale off Baja while floating in a sea kayak? Twitpic to your tribe without getting your device wet. It retails for $19.95
4. Water aside, if you want your MP3 player to withstand shocks and crashes, consider the i1010 Pelican Case. Water resistant, dustproof and crushproof, these heavy duty cases are ideal for mountain bikers and hard core skiers and snowboarders. So go ahead and crash, your iPod or iPod Shuffle will still be playing Lady Gaga or Mozart as you dig yourself out Pelican has it for $22.77 The slightly larger i1015 handles iPhones and costs the same.
5. Sure, your phone has a GPS and a camera, but it can’t replace a serious handheld GPS like the Magellan eXplorist 710. Built like a small brick, this handheld GPS is waterproof, and has a camera, electronic sensors, as well as topographic and vehicle navigation maps. Use it for turn-by-turn city navigation, head into the deep woods with confidence thanks to its USA Topographic Mapping, and be happy that inside are a 3-Axis Electronic Compass & Barometric Altimeter Sensors when you head into deep powder in the backcountry. At $549.99, it’s not cheap, but it just might save your bacon.
6. The Helium Jacket from Outdoor Research gives fresh meaning to the concept of lightweight. It weighs so little that it can be folded up and put into the side pocket of a jacket or a backpack but provides amazing rain protection. It’s made from waterproof and breathable 2.5-layer 20D Pertex Shield DS ripstop fabric and is fully seam taped for 100% waterproof protection. There is a single-pull hood and draw cord hem adjustment and elastic cuffs, a front zipper with inner storm flap and water resistant zippers, and a front zippered napoleon pocket for safe and secure storage of your items. All of this in a jacket that weighs a few ounces. Pack it for a hike in the Cascades or for museum-going in Paris in the rain. Amazon has it for $109.
7. I’ve been a fan of Mountain Khakis for years, perhaps because they combine the khaki gene of my New England background with wider yearnings to be a ranch hand who gets to wear Carhart’s. Whatever the reason, they are rugged yet handsome and perfect for cooler climes. A single pair should last you for years. They retail for $82.95, but shop around and you can find them on sale.
Everett Potter is editor and publisher of Everett Potter’s Travel Report.