2019 Winter Gift Guide
We strongly believe in spending money in accordance with our values. For us, that means supporting small, women-led and sustainable businesses. We believe in responsible sourcing, recycled materials and smart design. If a product can help people get outside while adhering to those guidelines, we’re all about it.
We love putting together our yearly gift guide because it’s an opportunity to share brands and companies that align with those values. We hope that you will find some fun, functional items to gift to loved ones or enjoy yourself. Happy Holidays, Winter Solstice or regular old December.
If you’ve been on a group hike or scrolled Instagram recently, you’ve probably spotted one of these colorful cloths hanging off a backpack. The Kula Cloth is a technical pee rag that will elevate your bandana game in a hot second.
The outer layer is a waterproof fabric that prevents wet hands while the inside is anti-microbial and infused with silver to fight bacteria. There is a small line of stitching on the exterior that features reflective thread for easy night-time use. Hang the cloth from a backpack or belt loop with the handy hypo-allergenic snaps to close the wet side and keep everything sanitary.
The material dries quickly and needs only occasional handwashing, or you can snap everything together and toss it in the washing machine before your next trip. We recently tested a Kula at a hunting shack Northern Minnesota, where we wanted to see how it would dry in the cold. We hung it up with the handy snaps by the wood fire, and it never smelled or made anyone feel awkward. Check out this video of founder Anastasia Allison sharing the awesome features of this highly engineered piece of gear. You may have heard her speak about her awesome group, Musical Mountaineers, on She Explores Episode 80 in 2018.
Anian Melton Wool Shirt
When Anian asked if they could send us a wool shirt, we were stoked. Their motto is “Dress Responsibly,” and they follow through in every way. The Women’s Dark Grey 14oz Modern Melton Wool Shirt pictured here is made in Canada out of 80 percent recycled wool and 20 percent nylon. The thick, structured wool keeps you warm, and it’s wind- and water-resistant because of the unique tight weave. We love the buttons, a beautiful marbled dark grey and white, and don this elevated workwear for casual use. The wool is a little scratchy, so the company recommends wearing it over a long sleeve shirt if you don’t love the texture. They also suggested putting it on a dog and letting them soften it – give Fido a chance!
Anian – which means a “mythical passage meant to connect the West to the East” – sources their materials locally and makes their garments in Canada. They focus on being transparent about the manufacturing process in the hopes that the garment industry will one day all share the same value and form together to promote positive change. By nixing fast fashion in favor of items that are recycled and meant to last, they hope to reduce the 80-90 pounds of textiles each person throws away annually.
Fantastic Female Adventures
by Lily Dyu
“Fantastic Female Adventurers: The amazing tales of women exploring the world” features 14 tales of women adventurers following their outdoor passions. From Ann Daniels skiing to the North Pole to Sarah Outen kayaking on the ring of fire, this 131-page book features beautiful illustrations by Chellie Carroll showing the women, their gear and the places and animals they encountered on their incredible journeys.
While the book is great for kids ages 8-10, we love it as adults. It might be the perfect gift for that adventurous gal in your life to learn more about other awesome ladies and to garner inspiration for their next trip. We recommend ordering a copy from your favorite small, local bookstore.
Skida Alpine Neck Warmer
“Hey, Sam. Do you have anything from Skida?” We asked our pal who lives in Maine. “Uh… I’m pretty sure they kick you out of New England if you don’t…”
Skida was founded in Vermont in 2008 when skier Corrine Prevot began making colorful hats for friends and teammates. Today, the company values supporting the local community and features sewists (neutral gender form of seamstresses – you learn something new everyday, ya’ll!) throughout the area who create their fun, functional head and neckwear at home.
We went back and forth about grabbing a fleece-lined alpine neck warmer versus a tour style made of 92 percent spandex and 8 percent polyester. After polling various friends (including dogsled musher and Iditarod finisher Blair Braverman), we went with the fleece. And we love it. It’s the perfect solution to unwieldy scarves and too-long Buffs. Skida has tons of fun styles, including a new Air and Space line, and we are stoked to add more Skida products to our collection soon.
Silver Rider Stitchworks Bike Bag
Whitney of Silver Rider Stitchworks sews every bag in her home studio in Marquette, Michigan. Her products include bike bags, snack packs, fanny packs and backpacks – all in fun colors with accent straps, drawstrings, clips and zipper pulls.
The Big Salad Bike Bag above is perfect for commuting and features a drawstring with a long flap cover to keep your stuff water and debris free. Plus, you can choose the colors you want for a customized gift. Bags take between 1 and 3 weeks for construction, but you can get in contact about needing a piece by a specific date, and she’ll work with you.
Kind Apparel Fjord Dress
We’re a little bit obsessed with Kind Apparel. Creator Mallory Ottariano started sewing fun projects in college and had no idea her passion project would grow into the recycled womenswear company it is today. Kind uses fabrics made from plastic bottles to create comfortable, colorful gear for #galswhogetafterit.
They recently released the Fjord Dress, a winter dress made out of Polartec grid fleece and RE-PET lycra, which contains 80 percent recycled plastic. This hooded cutie has thumb holes and flat seams and is perfect for wearing over leggings to yoga, staying cozy while taking on a shotski, or heading out on an alpine track. We love the beautiful yellow of the goldenrod dress, but there are three other colors available. They all feature side panels and sleeve extenders made with beautiful proprietary patterns. Mallory creates the designs based on nature, so you’ll feel right at home in any of their eco-conscious clothing.
CampRents Gift Card
Whether you need a Jetboil for the local weekend adventure or a tent for a cross-country road trip, CampRents has everything you need. Our friend Jenny (who recently wrote “Unexplored Territory: Female Solopreneurship in the Outdoor Industry” for us) is the founder of this awesome Ohio-based company.
To use CampRents, you’ll first share where you’re going, when and how long you’ll be out. Then, they’ll custom fit a pre-packed backpack and send it your way full of all the gear you’ll need to get out there. This is an excellent gift for people who want to get active but don’t have all the equipment or aren’t sure if they want to invest in big purchases like a pack quite yet. Grab a gift card to get your loved one started on the way to gear rentals for their next adventure.
Stay-at-home moms in the Asheville, North Carolina, area make SoulKu jewelry from home on their own time. The company founders wanted to empower women to make money while connecting with other women through business.
SoulKu offers simple, beautiful earrings, necklaces and bracelets made with crystals, semi-precious and luxe gemstones and are said to give the wearer courage, self-love and healing – depending on which piece you choose. We’ve been wearing the courage amazonite necklace for a year now, and it’s held up through many river trips, Lake Michigan SUP adventures and everyday wear.
AL’s Tailoring Hip Bag
Al’s Tailoring founder Allison Glasoe designs and makes every one-of-a-kind fanny pack in Northeast Minneapolis. Allison uses fabric scraps to ensure every lining, strap and pocket are unique. The talented sewer also makes handkerchiefs, wallets and clothing.
Allison also does tailoring like hemming, taking in sides, mending and shortening straps. She’s a great go-to resource for making over that vintage piece you bought that doesn’t quite fit. Get in touch via her website to talk over your dream design or alterations and she’ll get back to you with info on how to make it happen!
run wild and be by Sydney Zester
Our friend Sydney’s poetry has resonated with runners and non-runners on her Instagram account Run Wild and Be. Her first book is a gem that will bring to mind the feelings of freedom and clarity that often come in nature.
Syd shared some poetry with us this year, so check it out for a preview. She also recently started sharing paintings on her Instagram that evoke emotion and movement like her poetry. Every time we read her work, we have to sit and digest for a moment because it resonates so well. We can’t wait for Syd’s next book to come out!