Trust me, you may think your outdoor ethusiat has all the gear they need but there's always something new to get them excited. Or hooked to a new outdoor sport! Whether you're looking for a stocking stuffer or a huge splurge, your outdoor enthusist will be over the moon with any of these Christmas gear gifts.
1. Tenacious Tape™ by Gear Aid®
I always have a roll of duct tape in my backpack for gear mishaps when out on the trails (I've even fixed the bumper of a Porsche at a trailhead parking. Seriously. I'm not kidding.) but it definitely doesn't win any fashion points when patching up a rip on a jacket. However, the Tenacious Tape™ gear patches by Gear Aid® do! They come in these fun image shapes & colors and are useful to fix (and personalize) jackets, packs, tents and other gear. Just peel and stick; no sewing, ironing or heat-setting required.
2. The Deuce of Spades™ by The TentLab
Minimising our impact when out trekking is high on the priority list of most outdoor enthusiasts. And this should include leaving no trace when nature calls! To help achieve that goal, a potty trowel can come in mighty handy! The Deuce of Spades™ by The TentLab weighs in under 17 grams; is made of made of 7075-T6 Aluminum ensuring it's durability; and, you've got to admit, is kind a cute with its colourful shades.
3. Lifestraw Steel® by Vestergaard
This might just be the most convenient way to ensure you can continue to have clean drinking water while exploring the outdoors. The Lifestraw Steel® is a personal water filter system which cleans and purifies liquids while you’re sipping directly from any water source. It's made up of a two-stage filtration system that removes pathogens and reduces chlorine in any water you sip through its barrel - muddy puddles, a still pond, a murky stream... The carbon capsule will filter up to 1000 liters and is replaceable (they recommend chaning it after 3 months). You may get some funny stare if you're seen slurping up some muddy water but it can literally be a life saver!
* Note it will not remove salt.
4. H7R.2 Headlamp by Ledlenser®
I SERIOUSLY love this headlamp. The H7R.2 by Ledlenser is light to wear (165g), easy to manipulate -- even with gloves on -- and has the most amazing 300 lumen of light. The light beam is so intense, I've even used it to light up subjects for night photography. You can easily switch between an intensely focused long-distance beam (maximum up to 160m) and a circular wide beam by rotating the wheel at the back of the head strap. It uses a rechargeable battery which you can recharge by using a USB port. Nothing but love for this one from me!
5. Chair One by Helinox
Good things come in small packages. And this foldable chair is no exception. The Chair One is so compact and light (960 grams) you can even take it in your backpack for a day hike. There are two parts to the chair, the mesh seat and the single shock corded pole structure (similar to many tent poles) that allows you to assemble or take it apart quickly. Comfortable & sturdy (it will accomodate up to 145 kg) there's really nothing not to like about it!
6. Fold 4.2 Kayak by Nortik
Love to kayak or love the idea of kayaking but storage space is an issue? Consider Nortik's foldable kayak Fold 4.2. When fodled it fits in a 90x70x30cm pouch and weighs only 19kg. Made of polypropelyne, it's rigid and resistant to cold as well as UV rays. And you won't be trading off on performance with this enginuous kayak. It's sharp v-shape hull allows it to cut through the water making it effective at tracking in straight lines but can be a little tipsy for beginners as it offers more secondary than primary stability that a u-shaped hull would. After a full season of use, I've found mine to be very watertight, enjoyble to paddle even in waves, easy to put together (about 10 minutes and I'm on the water) and store it easily... well, almost easy between my bikes, skis, snownboards, tents, bords, snowshoes...
7. Flite Tree Tent by Tentsile
Ever put up your tent, get in, lie down expecting a peaceful slumber to sadly find out youre lying on some hard, wet, uneven ground? No more with this tree tent! The Flite by Tentsile is designed for 2 people and will easily fit their gear as well (max load of 220 kg). As long as you have trees (!) you can easily put up this. The tent kit comes with a small ratchet and the entire unit is compact so it’s easy to carry on your adventure (weighs 3.5 kg). It's made with a lightweight polyester and nylon composite and is fully breathable. A 3-season tent that will let you get real creative!
What would you add to the list? Share with us below.
When approaching Decathlon's Mountain Store, what strikes you beyond it's shear size (over 10'000m²) is the beauty of the location. Built with natural coloured wood and glass, the height of the building was kept low enough to benefit from the backdrop the Aravis mountain chain provides. That attention to the building's natural surroundings doesn't stop with the beauty of the mountain views; care & thought was given to maintaining (I'd even stretch that to say aiding) the local flore & fauna. The landscaping around the building obviously includes a sizeable parking lot but they have also greened the space and included sitting and picnic areas by the Arve river which is adjacent to the building. Rocking up to the Mountain Store is more reminiscent of approaching a natural park reserve Welcome Center than a commercial shopping mall!
The Mountain Store probably is what I've come across here in Europe that resemble the most to a "flagship" outdoors sport store as you'll find REI or MEC having in North America. The particularity of the Mountain Store is that the location actually houses both the company's design center (actually, the company's design headquarter) and a store specialising in offering mountain sport gear. Why is that interesting for us as clients? The proximity between designers and visitors means there are more opportunities for exchanges and discussions on ideas & needs which will influence design as well as properties of their products (Quechua, Simond and Wed'ze). This isn't just left to chance, as they regularly house exhibitions and workshops to create these exchanges. When we dropped in, they were hosting a Trocothon in their dedicated events space and this Saturday they are holding a roundtable debate on accidents in the mountains.
What about what's in the store?
Like most Decathlon's, a great majority of the products stocked at the Mountain Store are their own brand products though you will come across TSL snowshoes, Salomon trail shoes, Sea to Summit collapsible cup, etc. If you are looking for a particular item from a specific brand, I'd definitely check their website or call them before heading over to the store. However, their own brand products are cost efficient and an especially great option for growing kids that need to renew their gear every season. That's not to say adults should abstain but like anything else, knowing what properties are most important to you in a piece of gear will help you make the decision. I personally have invested in a top-end outer shell not from their brand but have been please by the performance of my insulating layer, one of their Quechua down jacket, and it's lower price tag.
Because the store is dedicated to all things mountain, you'll find hiking, climbing, mountain biking, camping, skiing, snowshoeing gear and more. If you can do it on a mountain, they probably have it! It also means they will stock a generous amount of out-of-season gear as long as it is mountain relevant. At the time of our visit their was still an extensive choice of camping gear even though the first snow was only a week away.
On site you'll also find a climbing block and slack-line, the regional tourist office and two restaurants (self-service or with table-service). It's totally worth grabbing a warm drink or a cold one -- depending on the day you pop in -- and enjoy the nature surrounding on their terrasse...
NOTE: I am in no way affiliate to Decathlon or the Mountain Store. This is an independent review. All pictures copyright of Charlaine Jannerfeldt.