Your 2023 Outdoor Gear Gift List for a Solid Start to Your 2024 Adventures

Nov 4, 2023

It’s that time of year again when the mad scramble of gift shopping ensues and we all hope we’re doing right by our loved ones in giving them exactly what they want this holiday season.

This year, though, what if we took the guess work out of giving and receiving and stopped waffling when we’re asked what we want?  What if we employed a plan around building a gift list that will keep on giving?

Here’s the strategy I’m proposing: Approach this gift giving/receiving season with your 2024 bucket list of outdoor adventures as your guiding head lamp of light. Build your list around outfitting those trips with everything you’ll need to get you started on the most epic year of travel yet. 

Don’t know where to start?  No worries, I’ve got you covered, starting with the basics you’ll need to pull off the majority of those outdoor adventures waiting for you in 2024!

1. Shoes: La Sportiva Ultra Raptors II All-Terrain Mountain Running Shoes

A good pair of hiking shoes are THE foundation for every outdoor adventure, and La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II all-terrain mountain running shoes are my absolute go-to choice as I’m headed out the door to hit the trail, wherever it may take me next.

The proprietary full-length rock guard protects my feet from feeling tenderized after a long day of cross-country trekking and the ultra-sticky, aggressive lug soles provide the ultimate in grip protection no matter the environment – and I do mean, no matter the environment. These shoes have taken me up sketchy, steep sandstone faces of Sedona, scree-filled slopes of Pacific Northwest volcanoes, icy paths to the top of Colorado’s Fourteeners, and even a 5.6 rock climb when I forgot my actual rock climbing shoes.

Insider info: I wear these shoes on 90% of my adventures and they have never failed me.

2. Boots: La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX Boots

For those soggy, muddy days, I trust my feet to stay dry and my footing to stay sure in my La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX boots. These shoes are a continuation of all the best features of the La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II mountain running shoes, but with an added Comfort Collar upper that won’t pinch and bruise no matter how wide your calves are and breathable Gore-Tex to keep your fun at a steady Type One. 

I used my La Sportiva Ultra Raptor II Mid GTX Boots on an absolute mud slog of a hike in Bryce Canyon National Park after we decided to take a horse trail to avoid the crushing crowds.  Miles upon miles later of uphill climbing in deep, thick mud, my feet were happy and dry, though my boots were unrecognizable.  No matter, I hosed them off and they were good as new.  That’s La Sportiva for you.

Insider info: I wear these boots for the other 10% of my time when adventures get wet, muddy and/or snowy.

3. Jacket: Outdoor Research SuperStrand LT Hooded Jacket

It took a bad backcountry experience before I realized that not all warm jackets are built the same and I had chosen the absolute wrong one when I donned my down-filled jacket, a 40 plus pound backpack and hiked 10 miles to my camp for the night.  When I took my backpack off, I realized that the down filling of my jacket was limp, sweat logged and would not be drying out or providing warmth anytime soon.

Upon returning from that backpacking trip, I immediately started my hunt for a synthetic jacket.  Here’s why: Synthetic jackets have the comfort of down with that classic feel of a lightweight, lofty fill but can withstand hours of wicking away your sweaty efforts while you toil toward that towering peak.

The jacket I settled on was the Outdoor Research SuperStrand LT Hooded Jacket. It comes in a highly sought after color that is incredibly hard to find in women’s active apparel: Larch – that beautiful golden yellow color found on those mysterious pine trees that actually change colors in the fall at high altitude.  A wicking, warm win all the way around.

Insider info: My active adventures became that much more comfortable when I switched from down to synthetic.

4. Pants: North Face Women’s Aphrodite 2. 0 Pants

If ever there was a set uniform for my adventure travel life, it starts with North Face’s Women’s Aphrodite 2.0 Pants.  They are the foundation to my trusted capsule of constantly used apparel.  I own five pairs of them and not a single pair has met an adventure that it could not handle.

These classic, stretchy pants have gone with me up rock climbs and mountains, down into deep canyons, into the backcountry on backpacking trips, tearing up trails while mountain biking, or taking an unexpected dunk into a lake while paddle boarding. Through all of that, their epic stretch has not found its limits and abrasion-resistant performance has gone head to head with the gnarliest of situations.

As for the FlashDry XD fabric construction, I have found that even the most brutal summer heat or thunderstorms are no match for the wick-away moisture capabilities and its ability to dry quickly while I’m actively adventuring. The ribbed waistband with a stretchy draw cord is the ultimate in comfort and multiple deep pockets allow me to stow my large iPhone and keys inside with no threat of either one falling out.

My personal favorites are the black version of these pants, which have never shown any evidence of the hardcore adventures I just completed before strolling into a restaurant that night for a well deserved meal.

Insider info: You will find me in these pants 99% of the time.  The other one percent? I wore thick softshell pants for a very cold and snowy mountain summit push and then promptly shucked them to wear my North Face Aphrodite 2. 0 Pants ASAP.

5. Rain Jacket: Columbia Arcadia II Rain Jacket – Women’s

It’s hard to put money into a piece of gear that you’re not going to use too often…until you really need it to show up and do its job well.  Firsthand experience made me a believer that there is nothing worse than a rain jacket that leaks or all out fails to keep you dry.

Lightweight and easily packable, the Columbia Arcadia II Rain Jacket provides on-the-go weather protection whether it be on your daily commute or during a hike. The Omni-Tech membrane works with a soft mesh lining to deliver comfortable breathability, while hook-and-loop cuffs and a draw cord hem helps seal out the elements.

Insider info: I buy my rain jackets just a bit bigger so that I can fit a synthetic jacket underneath for the ultimate in cozy, dry warmth.

6. Backpack: Osprey Tempest 20L Women’s Backpack

When setting out on a day (or even multiple days) of adventuring, Osprey backpacks have always been a first choice. My own Osprey day pack has been with me for 13 years and the only problem I’ve ever had with this piece of equipment is my need to max out its capacity with all my snacks.  The only solution is a bigger pack because leaving snacks behind is obviously non-negotiable.

Luckily, the Osprey Tempest has 20 litres of space can be stuffed full of not only a wide variety of snacks but your rain gear, synthetic jacket and your Ten Essentials Kit.  

The Osprey Tempest 20L is specifically made for women and has an adaptable harness system and hip belt to ensure your pack and all its contents remain secure yet allows for unhindered movement, no matter if it’s uneven terrain, steep downhills or breathtaking inclines. The ventilated back panel and spacer-mesh fabric provide excellent airflow, keeping you comfortably cool as you adventure on.

Insider info: This pack is loaded with features for gear that I didn’t even know I needed and when that gear needed to be stowed away, Osprey always had me covered with a well-thought out design that hasn’t let me down yet.

7. Socks: Darn Tough Light Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Sock

Darn Tough merino wool socks have kept my feet in top shape and ready to cheerfully conquer mile after mile of tough all-terrain hiking. This experience has come through years of trial and error with other brands and the unfortunate blistered bi-products of wrongly trusting my feet, and the fate of my entire trip, to the wrong socks.

The beauty of Darn Tough socks are the quality materials they use. Darn Tough uses merino wool which wicks away sweat and provides quality cushion – both of which are crucial in preventing blisters. I’ve used these socks for daily hikes, multi-day backpacking trips and conquered a Fourteener all across Rocky Mountain National Park and my feet remained happy throughout each and every journey.

Insider info: After my feet healed from horrendous blisters, I swear I could hear them heave a sigh of relief when I put these socks on for the first time. I haven’t considered any other brand of adventuring socks since.

A Wanderfull Life may receive compensation for directing traffic and generating business for companies which may include Amazon and Backcountry. That being said, A Wanderfull Life only endorses products that this business wholeheartedly believes in. Period.

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