1. Patagonia Nano Puff Vest
This may be one of the most versatile articles of clothing on the planet. It offers surprising warmth and wind protection—given that it’s so lightweight and compressible—whether you’re cross-country skiing on a snowy day in Montana, hiking on a foggy morning on California’s Channel Islands, or strolling through New York City’s windy canyons. Cool fact: The shell and lining are made from 100 percent recycled polyester, the insulation from 50 percent recycled polyester.
2. Footwear Frenzy
Oboz Yellowstone II hiking boots, for men and women, are comfy right out of the box and waterproof and breathable for those soggy days spent seeking that next bird on your list or conquering your next mountain. Oboz, a carbon-neutral company based in Bozeman, Montana, plants one tree through Trees for the Future for every pair of shoes it sells. When it’s time to ditch the hikers at the end of the day, slip into a pair of Flippees, also for men and women, made by Simple Shoes out of recyclable PET. Buy up these durable, extremely comfortable flip-flops fast, though. Soon they’ll be available only through Zappos and other online retailers (parent company Decker decided to close the doors on Simple Shoes).
Price: $145 for Oboz; $30 for Flippees
3. K-Light Solar Lantern
The K-Light Solar Lantern is a small gadget with big potential. The detachable, shatterproof solar panel, which can be charged even when it’s snowing or cloudy, provides up to 10 hours at full LED brightness (or twice that long at half brightness). Either strength shines a high beam, especially when you screw off the top to convert the lantern—about the size and weight of a soda can—into a flashlight. PiSAT Solar, the manufacturer, donates a portion of its proceeds to solar projects and helps provide lights to African villagers, thus allowing them to replace dangerous and toxic kerosene lanterns.
Price: From $59.95
4. National Park Pass
The gift of nature can enrich someone’s life forever. Give someone a national parks pass, and she’ll be able to experience some of the most breathtaking and important wild places in the United States. For the cardholder plus three adults, the America the Beautiful annual pass covers the entrance fee to all national parks and federal recreational lands. For the person who likes to explore locally, try a state park pass. Search by state to find the one appropriate for your recipient.
Price: $80 for America the Beautiful pass; varies for state parks
5. Bobble Water Bottle
The concept is one outdoors enthusiasts have used forever: Filter the water you find in nature to make it safe to drink. Bobble Bottle, well, bottled that concept, incorporating a filter into its BPA-free, recyclable jugs and bottles (the latter come in 13, 18.5, and 34 ounces, though the same filter fits each). And with a rainbow of color options, there’s something for every drinker out there. Besides, who wouldn’t have fun saying, “bobble bottle” over and over? Filters need replacing every two months or 40 gallons of use.
Price: $8.99–$12.99 for bottles; $29.99 for jug; $6.99 for bottle filters