Looking for stocking stuffers and other inexpensive gifts for the holidays? Here's a quick round-up of my favorite gear gifts under $30.
First up is the Leatherman Micra ($26), the original miniature multi-tool. You can buy a newer version of it (the Squirt S4), which is slightly smaller and features the knife, files, etc. on the outside of the tool, but is more expensive ($40) and has smaller scissor blades. Perfect keychain or pack accessory—I gave several 9 years ago and most are still in use by their recipients.
Next is a pair of Smartwool Mountaineer Socks ($23). These are the Cadillacs of socks: ultra-cushy, ultra-warm, and ultra-durable. A great gift, because how many people do you know that will spend more than $20 on a pair of socks for themselves? I give these almost every year.
Another great clothing accessory is a quality pair of liner gloves, such as the Black Diamond Midweight Glove ($23). Made from Polartec Power Stretch, these are the most durable pair of liners I've ever owned—and the only pair that's survived more than one season of regular use.
Also consider a lightweight liner balaclava. Available from several manufacturers, these are great for cool nights in your sleeping bag (unlike hats they never fall off during the night). Think of them as long underwear for your head and neck—they add substantial warmth for only a few ounces ($15-$30). If possible, try on several styles; they vary considerably in fit, especially the face opening.
For map junkies, definitely get a paper Raven wall map of their home (or other favorite) state ($30). I profiled these in my September 10 post.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention an AMC gift membership. Though it's slightly above the $30 mark ($50 for an individual membership), it's a gift that lasts all year and helps conserve and protect wildlands in the Northeast.
Finally, I of course have to put in a plug for my most recent guidebook, AMC's Best Backpacking in New England, which—in my totally unbiased opinion—is the best guidebook ever written about anything anywhere :-). Plus, AMC members get double discount (20% off) on this and other titles if purchased through the AMC web store.
“Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.