If you’re still searching for a great gift for a traveler or outdoorsy adventurer, here are my picks this holiday season. I’ve road tested every item and, in some cases, are always in my bag. I’m sharing my pics for travel fashion, bags and cool go gear. Most things you can find on Amazon or directly from brand websites. For stocking stuffers, you can find these at the drugstore. Price points range from under $10 for stocking stuffers to $11.99-$319. Bet you’ll want some of these items for yourself too!
This scarf has quickly turned into one of my cold weather favorites. It’s made from non-mulesed Merino wool, so it is naturally odor fighting and provides lightweight warmth. That’s the technical stuff – being honest I really love it because it’s so dang cute. You can wear it as a poncho or a scarf. It can be styled six ways or more. It’s ultra-versatile and has already gone on a road trip in Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina and a hiking adventure in Big Bend National Park in Texas. This scarf has quickly become a staple in my fall and winter travel bag. Order from Royal Robbins.
I fell in love with Royal Robbins on a hike in Yosemite in August. It was the perfect place to gear test the clothing line since that’s where the brand started. Hands down my favorite hiking clothes ever. I wrote blog post I Fell in Love with Royal Robbins in One Hike sharing why. This outfit was also the perfect outfit for hiker role I played filming in the Narrows of Zion National Park for a potential NatGeo show. They’re not only for hiking, they’re great travel clothes too. The ¾ sleeve shirt can easy be paired with a black skirt or pants and topped with jewelry and a scarf or poncho and you’ve got a great dinner outfit while traveling. It’s a great layering piece too over a tank or a tee. As much as I travel, I love things that are multi-purpose. These clothes fit that bill and price points are great. They have great clothing for men too. Order from Royal Robbins.
Lo & Son’s Waverly 2 Purse ($169 but on sale for $118)
I gear tested this purse you can wear 4-ways while traveling for two weeks in Switzerland and Paris. I fell in love with it and wrote blog post Travel Purse You Can Wear 4 Ways. My favorite way to wear it is cross body. There are two sizes – small and large. I have the small. I love this purse so much I got The Leather Wallet and the Hanover Deluxe 2 backpack shortly after returning to the United States. The wallet is now my everyday wallet and fits inside the Waverly 2. I had been searching for a nondescript, sleek black backpack for travel and this one is perfect. Order online at loandsons.com
SOLE Laguna Flips ($75)
The flips are made with recycled cork. Great idea for a wine lover, vegan or environmentally conscious person. The footbed has arch support and the sole is rugged. These are perfect for the beach vacation or a camping trip. They are super versatile and ultra-comfy. They were a summer staple for me and perfect if you’re heading somewhere tropical this holiday like I am! Check out my blog post My Favorite Flips this Summer have SOLE. They have men’s laguna flips too. Order from SOLE, on Amazon or at REI.
Merrell Gridway Mocs ($120)
These are my go-to travel shoes. They are ultra-light, ultra-packable, easy to slip on and off and made from recycled materials. They are perfect for exploring a city. I’ve even worn them on short easy hikes. They even double for slippers if you’re like me and don’t like to walk around barefoot. I wrote about them in my blog The Scoop on my Travel Shoes. I have them in black. They make mocs for men too. Order from Merrell or find them on Amazon, Zappos or Nordstrom.
My cousin Kelsey created this jewelry line and I’m a huge fan, and not just because she’s family! I bought these simple earrings and then bought several more pairs to give as birthday gifts to several friends this year. They are always in my travel jewelry pouch. I wear them often as they add a touch of class to a t-shirt and are the perfect shine for an evening out. Order online at telabellajewelry.com.
This squishable toiletry bag with 7 organizer slip pockets and 2 zippered pockets is my new favorite. I found it at Outdoor Retailer in early November. It’s replaced what I was using because it’s ultra-light, water repellent, and washable. Plus, I love the red color! It’s even got a hook if you want to hang it. You can order from Eagle Creek, on Amazon or find in stores like Container Store and REI.
Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Tech Compression Cube Set S/M – ($39.95 but on sale $27.97)
I don’t travel without at least one of the space savers in my bag. They’re on my travel all-star list. They’re my secret to get more in bag and staying organized while traveling. They’re water-resistant and super durable. Trust me I’ve stuffed them to max at times. They’re also great for stashing your dirty clothes while traveling. You can order from Eagle Creek, on Amazon, or find in stores like Container Store and REI.
Matador Freefly16 Packable Daypack ($54.99)
This 16-liter daypack fits into the palm of your hand. I first tested in on a 7-day trip to Taiwan and Vancouver. Here’s what I love about it – compact, waterproof, and ultra-durable. I’ve had other packable daypacks, but not one that’s waterproof. It’s always in my carry-on. I’ve taken it snowshoeing, on short hikes under five miles and on urban exploring days. It’s the perfect extra travel bag too if you buy souvenirs and next an extra bag. My favorite features are how well the side pockets hold water bottles and how big the front pocket is to stash the things you may need to get to quickly on the trail or while wandering around a city. This company is based in Boulder. Can order from Matador or find in stores like Colorado Bag ‘n Baggage.
I don’t check a bag often, but if I do, this became my go-to bag this year. I really wanted a roller with 4-wheels and found this one. I took it on a 2-week trip to Switzerland and Paris. I went for the arctic blue color, so it stands out in baggage claim. The bag is lightweight and super roomy. I had plenty of space to bring back some souvenirs and clothes. I traveled by train to 3 cities in Switzerland then another train to Paris. This bag was so easy to get on and off trains. I love the straps on the side to compress bag. It also has a zipper to expand it, which I used on way home from Paris. Use the Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Tech Compression Cubes for perfect packing of this bag! You can order from Eagle Creek or eBags, find on Amazon or in stores like REI.
Cool Go Gear:
Nextbase 522GW Dash Cam ($259.99 but on sale for $159.99)
I had been wanting a dash camera for a while, so when I got a chance to test one out, I jumped on it. This camera is Bluetooth capable, has a polarizing filter built in, is HD resolution and super easy to put in your car and use. I tried it out on a drive from Telluride, then leaf peeping on Independence Pass and through snowy and windy conditions. It’s a great gift for a weather geek too! You can find it on Amazon or at Best Buy.
I thought this was so cool when I saw it at Outdoor Retailer in June. All you have to do is open and turn the air valve for this cooler to self-inflate. The interior has a removeable, leak proof liner treated with Microban and the exterior is water resistance. There’s a zippered pocket on front for small extras like a bottle or wine opener. The bag can hold up to 30 cans. It’s perfect for a road trip, day at the lake, raft trip or camping trip. It has high performance air and foam insulation, so items stay cold for up to 2.5 days. Order from Arctic Zone or find it on Amazon or at Walmart.
Stasher Sandwich Bag ($11.99)
I first saw these at Outdoor Retailer in June. I’ve been using my free sample bag ever since! It’s always in my carry-on filled with travel snacks. I also gave these as gifts this year to help some friends be a little more sustainable since the bags are reusable. They can be used in the freezer, microwave, put in boiling water and in the dishwasher. I’d suggest the sandwich bag for a starter Stashers. Mint is my favorite color to give at Christmas. You can order from Stasher website, on Amazon or find in stores from Wiliiams Sonoma to Target to REI.
Here’s the short list of items always in my toiletries bag. Guess you could call this my travel emergency kit list. All of these you can find at Walgreens.
*Neutrogena Individual Face Wipes
*Burt’s Bee’s Lip Shimmers and Pomegranate Oil Lip Balm
*Emergen-C – First choice is Immune+ Super Orange
*Ricola Cough Suppressant/Throat Drops – Honey Lemon with Echinacea (the pink bag) is my favorite
Present I Bought Myself:
I bought myself an early Christmas present last week when it was dumping snow in Breckenridge last week and I had to get back to Denver in the bad weather. I have a Subaru Forester which is great in snow, but I wanted to turn it into a snow crusher. Thinking I would get some chains, I stopped at NAPA Auto Parts in Frisco and the guy helping me was uber knowledgeable. After looking at my owner’s manual and seeing tire chains were not a option, he went through the pros and cons of spring chains and AutoSock. I decided on AutoSock because they are much easier to install and take off the tires. For my car, I only need two. So after purchasing a set, off I went to try them out on the snow covered roads. Two things with AutoSock – you have to go under 30mph and roads need to be snow-packed. If you can see the asphalt, you can shred the socks. I put the socks on the front tires in under 5 minutes and off I went. I was amazed! Glad I’ve got a new pair of socks in my auto emergency kit.
Author Jennifer Broome is always searching for the most space saving, multi-purpose, ultra versatile, and cool go gear for the trail, road trips and jetsetting around the world.