This is part of the L.A. Times 2021 gift guide. See the full guide here. If you make a purchase off one of our links, the L.A. Times may be compensated.
Not everyone on your list wants sun gloves or a handlebar bike bag, but those who do will treasure your gift all year long. Here are items to make life outdoors a little more comfy.
Keymaster Games’ Trails board game
There are good reasons to take a hike on the new board game Trails from Keymaster Games. First, it’s visually stunning. The art for the board (seven double-sided panels) and game cards are from Fifty-Nine Parks artist portraits of national parks. Second, it’s engaging. As the sun moves across the board, day turns into night (you flip the panels) as your hiker token gathers acorns, leaves and rocks along the way. The game, 4 ¾ by 6 ¾ inches, fits nicely in a backpack. Good for two to four players, ages 10 and older.
$19.99 | 👉 Purchase here
Wild Zora camping meals
Looking for backpacking meals that suit your diet and taste good? Colorado-based Wild Zora makes meals to go that are gluten free, paleo friendly, grain free, dairy free, soy free and have no added sugars. Mountain Beef Stew and Summit Savory Chicken follow the strict autoimmune protocol diet, which may help people with allergies and eating restrictions.
$10.95 and up | 👉 Purchase here
LuminAid Packlite Max 2-in-1 Power Lantern
Let there be light — without batteries. We liked this square of light that’s solar powered, easy to use and charges your phone. Let it soak up the sun’s rays, pop it open and you’re good to go. Good for your backpack or backyard, and something to keep in your earthquake go-bag too.
$50 | 👉 Purchase here
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Pacerpole trekking poles
Ever come home from a hike with sore hands from your trekking poles? We have. Pacerpoles may help. These poles are the only ones we’ve found with a comfy, ergonomic grip. Made in Britain, they are designed to improve your walking ability, not just to get you up and down mountains. They come in alloy or carbon fiber, good for trekking, hiking, power walking, and snow-shoeing and ski-touring.
$109-$147 (plus postage) | 👉 Purchase here
Outdoor Research ActiveIce Sun Gloves
Spend enough time in the sun and your hands will show it. ActiveIce fingerless sun gloves cover the backs of your hands to protect them from sunburn, good for those who use trekking poles. They are rated 50+ SPF, designed to wick sweat (your hands may get sweaty on a hot day) and come in light gray and other colors.
$25 | 👉 Purchase here
Henschel Wrangler Outdoor Explorer Hat
The Wrangler Outdoor Explorer Hat has a lot going on: It’s leather, has 50+ UPF sun protection, lightweight — and is made in the U.S. The ventilation keeps you cool, and the style provides enough shade for your face and neck without blowing off in a wind. Our user said it held up well after 18 months of hiking from the Eastern Sierra to Death Valley to Anza-Borrego and beyond.
$94.99 | 👉 Purchase here
Nomadix national park towels
Go ahead and pick your favorite national park. Nomadix makes a series of big towels (72 ½ by 30 inches) printed with stylized images of Joshua Tree (a namesake tree), Sequoia (a huge redwood), Yellowstone (with buffalo) and other parks. Towels are made from post-consumer recycled plastic. Good for hot yoga, the beach, a trip to a national park (duh!) or anywhere you need a durable towel.
$44.95 | 👉 Purchase here
Dirty Girl gaiters
Who doesn’t want gaiters tough enough to hit the dirt and look good? We wore dowdy black nylon gaiters for years before we bought our first pair of Dirty Girls. The lightweight ankle cuffs, which keep debris out of your trail-running shoes or low-cut boots (they aren’t for snow or thick brush) come in a ridiculous number of solid colors and cool patterns, including flames, paisley, swirls, skulls and more. Almost two decades ago, ultra-marathoner Xy Weiss started the company whose products are “made in America by goddesses from their Empire of Dirt in Tucson, Ariz.”
$17 to $23 | 👉 Purchase here
REI Flexlite chairs
Last summer, we saw enough of these chairs at backcountry campsites to start getting serious seat envy. The Flexlite Camp Chair’s lightweight frame and nylon seat (1 pound, 11 ounces) make it easy for campers and backpackers. The pricier Flexlite Air Chair lightens the load to just 1 pound. Are they comfy? Yes. Have we carried one in our backpack? Not yet.
$59.95-$99.95 | 👉 Purchase here
Hydro Flask 21-ounce water bottle
What to get the gear-head friend who has everything? A performance water bottle to fall in love with. Hydro Flask makes 21-ounce bottles that keep cold stuff cold and hot stuff hot, with handle tops. Our user said these water bottles keep their cool even during a heat wave. Lots of sizes and colors to choose from.
$32.95 | 👉 Purchase here
Yeti Daytrip Lunch Bag
Why use a lunch bag when you’ve got a daypack? Because an insulated lunch bag can keep your food hot or cold for hours. Yeti’s sturdy lunch bag (use it on or off the trail) is insulated, rolls up and comes in four colors. It’s pricey, but don’t you want to keep your hot turkey sandwich hot when you’re out in the wilds?
$79.99 | 👉 Purchase here
Ornot Handlebar Bag Mini
Here’s a place to stash your tools (or cookies or sunglasses) in style that’s good for road or gravel. Ornot’s mini handlebar bag measures 7 ¼ by 3 ½ inches, enough room for even big phones. The water-resistant zipper and “weatherproof” liner adds some protection from the rain.
$44| 👉 Purchase here
The Wild Insulated Water Bottle
Allow us to humble-brag about The Wild water bottle with the cool logo of the L.A. Times newsletter about the outdoors in Southern California. It’s insulated, holds 22 ounces and is fashionable enough for trail or town.
$35 | 👉 Purchase here
Thousand Heritage Bike & Skate Helmet
Thousand is a Boyle Heights-based company with the “goal of helping to save 1,000 lives by making helmets people actually want to wear,” says founder Gloria Hwang, an avid cyclist who never wore a helmet until she lost a good friend to a bike accident. The brand’s Heritage Bike & Skate Helmets for adults live up to expectations, with a flattering, easy-to-adjust fit, 12 super-cool colors and a smart design that lets you lock your helmet to your bike. Bonus for plant eaters: The straps are microfiber vegan leather.
$89 | 👉 Purchase here
Ben Muessig, Steven Banks, Louisa Frahm, Jeanette Marantos and Stuart Leavenworth contributed to this gift guide.