For the adventurer in your life (or for inspiration for your own wish list!), here is a run down of the best products for the happy hiker, biker or camper. Any of these pieces of kit will be a valuable addition to your gear for the 2018 adventure season. The Adventurers Christmas Gift Guide 2017 is compiled of items I either have, or want, and can recommend (or have had them recommended to me). Also, buy a gift through one of the links on the gift guide, and you’ll also be buying me a gift too – in the form of a commission for advertising on the site. So it’s all a win-win!
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Whether you’re a touring cyclist, a commuter or prefer a day ride, there’s some pieces of kit which are great for all riders.
Cycle computers are a must for recording your time, speed, distance and all sorts of other data – calories burned, C02 emissions saved, that kind of thing. While some of this data is just nice to know, a lot of it – such as distance and speed – are really useful for keeping track of how you’re doing (and how much further/faster you have to go to get to the nearest tea shop!)
You’ll be spending a long time in the saddle, so bottom comfort is paramount! Brooks saddles are used by cyclists worldwide, especially those on extended trips. Brooks saddles are made of leather and mould to your buttocks, providing personalised comfort. I have a Brooks B17 and love it so much, when I bought my new bike in Australia I had to have my saddle shipped out to me from the UK!
This was recommended to me by Chris and Tim at Hunters Cycles in Kerikeri. It is AMAZING stuff! They told me about a race which took place on New Zealand’s 90 Mile Beach. All but three contestants used standard lube on their bikes. All but three contestants had to get new chains fitted at the end. The other three – they used this chain wax and carried on riding. I cannot rave about it enough. One application lasts ages and is wonderful stuff! Even if beach riding isn’t your thing – for any riding – road, dirt, trails – this is a great investment for your bikes well-being.
The Quadlock is a great way to attach your phone (and easily detach it when you need to) to your bike so you can use map apps and other functions handsfree whilst riding. Super simple to use and easy to attach, the Quadlock is an invaluable piece of kit which until you have one you don’t think you need – then you get one and you can’t live without it1 Another bonus is it works brilliantly with the Lifeproof FRE Phone case, for the ultimate in bike touring adventure gear. These two products combined have me pedalling all over the world, safe in the knowledge that my technology is secure.
Even f you’re only doing an overnight trip, panniers are a must. They are essential for carrying all your gear – camping equipment, cooking kit, spare clothes, etc. I use Ortliebs as they have an easy click system to attach to the bike and are fully waterproof. I’ll admit I was dubious about buying them at first as they are expensive – but having tried and tested several other brands of panniers which are not fully waterproof I would not go back to anything else.The only downside with Ortliebs is they lack pockets. External pockets can be added, but with a this isn’t necessary.
Hiking boots are key to preventing injury and fatigue on the trail, and boots that are as lightweight as possible whilst still retaining support are ideal. These Salomon boots tick all the right boxes and come both in women’s and men’s versions. (If you’re a male, click the link and search for the men’s version). My last pair of Solomon’s have been through everything – caves, rivers, oceans, trails, horses, bikes, building sites…and they are only now, after 3 years of almost daily abuse, falling apart. Get boots from a company you can trust – Solomon get my vote!
For day hikes, it’s hard to beat a Camelbak bag. With a built in 3 litre hydration system and drink tube, this pack makes hikes on the trail as hands free as it gets. You can concentrate on the hike ahead instead of faffing around searching for unruly water bottles in your bag. Whenever you’re thirsty, just sip on the tube et voila! Fresh water. The bag also has ample room for those other essentials – snacks, waterproofs, camera etc – and is padded and comfortable.
Expect the unexpected when it comes to weather. Always pack rain gear as this is the land where you’ll have 4 seasons in one day – on repeat. I was lucky enough to arrive in Auckland when Marmot were doing a sale, so treated myself to a new waterproof for my journey through the Land of the Long White Cloud. I haven’t been disappointed in this ridiculously lightweight, uber obvious (mine is a lurid colour of yellow) jacket which has been mountain-tested by guides. It’s so light (6oz!) I hardly notice I’m carrying it. Click here for my full review of the Marmot Essence Jacket. For alternatives, consider the Marmot PreCip Jacket. I’m not a Marmot ambassador, I just think they have the edge when it comes to rain wear!
It might be winter in much of the world, but getting your gear in early is a good idea if you’ve got trips planned for 2018.
The Vango Banshee 300 is a 3 man tent, which I purposefully bought as for one person and kit it is delightfully roomy, and for two it is still plentiful. It keeps out the elements (and Australian leeches, which was an unknown but brilliant design feature!), and weighs in at just under 3kg. It’s a stealthy green so good for wild camping, and has sheltered me on many trips. Well worth the incredibly cheap price, considering most tents in this range command hundreds of £/$. Vango also do Vango Banshee 200 (2 man, 2.14kg).
While certainly not the cheapest roll mat on the market, the Exped down mat is great as it packs down small, is lightweight and extremely comfortable. Using down feathers for insulation, this roll mat has kept me warm and cosy for camping trips over the past 5 years. Using a simple inflatable pump (included), the mat is ready to use within just a couple of minutes and packing it away is just as simple. I’ve not had a single puncture since getting it so I can confirm it’s super durable! I never go camping without it!