Colorado Outdoor Adventure Gift Guide: Gears, Gadgets, and More

The snow is falling in Colorado’s mountains, and you know what that means: Winter and the holiday season is coming soon. If you are looking for a present for a friend or significant other who is in love with Colorado’s 14ers, you have come to the right place. In this article, I’ve assembled some of the best gift ideas for peak baggers and 14er fanatics, including hiking and climbing gear, books and movies, and 14er-related gadgets they’ll love.

Let’s start with some hiking gear and gadgets.

Table of Contents

Hiking Gear

These hiking gift ideas are ideal for anyone who enjoys hitting the trail to hike, backpack, or climb 14ers. If you are shopping for any kind of hiker, you can’t go wrong by picking something on this list. When in doubt, I suggest going with hiking socks. Everyone needs them, they always wear out, and you never seem to have enough of them no matter how many you buy. Check out all my ideas below.

Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Socks

Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion socks provide miles of comfort and durability. They’re ideal for everything from day hikes and 14ers to multi-day backpacking treks, and worth every penny in blisters prevented.

Osprey Talon 22 Backpack

Osprey is a Colorado-based company known for the quality of their backpacks, and the Talon 22 is no exception. It is one of the top rated items on REI.com, ideal for peak bagging and day hikes in the mountains. It’s my pack of choice. 

Black Diamond Astro 300 Headlamp

This simple yet versatile, 1-lens, 1-switch Black Diamond Astro 300 headlamp throws 300 lumens and can run on alkaline batteries (included) or a rechargeable lithium-ion battery (not included). It’s a great option for casual hikers and climbers.

REI Co-op Traverse Trek Poles

All Colorado hikers should have a good pair of Trek Poles like the Traverse from REI. Take on rocky traverses, snowy slopes and mossy logs more confidently with the light, strong REI Co-op Traverse trekking poles. They adjust easily to fit the terrain.

Kahtoola Microspikes Winter Traction System

Hiking on snow and ice is difficult, slippery, and extremely hazardous on steep mountain slopes. Kahtoola’s microspikes are the best traction device available for hikers and peak baggers aiming for non-technical objectives. They’re lighter than full mountaineering crampons and do not require any specialized boots (they work with most hiking shoes and boots).

Mountain Series Explorer Medical Kit

Both comprehensive and compact, the Adventure Medical Kits Mountain Series Explorer medical kit is tailored to smaller groups on extended camping trips or trail adventures. It’s ideal for backcountry trips, and is another of the ten essentials for backcountry safety.

Camping Gear

Whether you are dispersed camping, backpacking, or staying in developed campgrounds and RVs, you will probably find the things on this list useful for your next trip. Starting with the essentials, I picked a few of the best camping gifts to give this season for those getting started or experienced.

Goal Zero Lighthouse 600 Lantern & USB Power Hub

This award-winning lantern provides 600 lumens of multidirectional/adjustable light while charging your smartphone, GPS unit, or SPOT device. You can recharge the unit when you’re done via USB, solar (panels not included) or a built-in hand crank on the top. The batter lasts 2.5 hours on high, 180 hours on low, and it folds up to stash away using minimal space when you aren’t using it.

YETI Roadie 24 Cooler

The updated Roadie 24 Cooler an even better version of the popular original. It is now 10% lighter, holds 20% more and offers 30% more insulating power that keeps ice frozen for days at a time – ideal for your camping and outdoor trips in the backcountry where the nearest gas station or grocery store is a significant distance away. YETI coolers are expensive, but worth it for what you get.

Coleman Cascade Classic Camp Stove

This classic piece of gear is a great entry-level camping stove for developed campgrounds and car camping. With two burners, simple setup, and no-frills, it will last a long time if you take care of it.

Therm-a-Rest Compressible Pillow

You can’t put a price on sleep, but you can put a price on this camping pillow. For what it provides, it’s more than worth it. Designed to pack small weight nearly nothing, this Therm-a-Rest pillow delivers big comfort away from home.

REI Co-op Skyward Chair

Camp chairs are an important and undervalued piece of camping equipment that everyone should have. However, they often get forgotten when it comes to buying camping gear. The Skyward is an affordable chair that provides great value, comfort, and durability for car camping with family or friends.

Mountaineering Gear

Someone who climbs 14ers all year-round requires specialized gear and equipment to stay safe and reach their objective successfully. For those in need of a gift for an aspiring mountaineer, here are a few different options to consider based on my own experience getting started with the sport.

Black Diamond Vapor Climbing Helmet

This is not the world’s cheapest climbing helmet, but it might be one of the world’s most super-light option. Weighing just 155 grams, it’s less than half the weight of the entry-level Half Dome model. The updated Vapor helmet’s two-piece construction contains a layer of super-light ALUULA composite under the polycarbonate crown for added protection and reduced weight. 

Black Diamond Raven Ice Axe

The Raven Ice Axe is among the most popular and top rated ice axes on the American market, especially among beginners. It’s a straight-shaft axe, which means it is best for non-technical use, but great for using as a cane for walking long distances over snow and ice. If you want something slightly more versatile and a little lighter, upgrade to the Raven Pro model for an extra $30-$40.

Black Diamond Contact Strap Crampons with ABS Plates

These entry-level crampons are good for general-purpose mountaineering (don’t use them for technical terrain). They work with most boots, with a flexible straps, but won’t be as secure as crampons with a heel lock attached to mountaineering boots. For beginners, it’s a great option. 

SOL Escape Escape Bivy

One of the ten essentials for backcountry travel is an emergency shelter, yet most people don’t have one with them in the mountains. This heat-reflective emergency bivy from SOL helps trap up to 70% of your body heat to prevent hypothermia in an emergency situation to ensure you survive until help arrives. It is an important item to keep in your pack at all times.

Rocky Talkie Radios

Communication is essential when climbing. Rocky Talkie radios were designed by a team of climbers in Colorado to meet the unique needs of mountaineers, backcountry skiers, and other outdoor adventurers. It is a durable two-way radio that is still affordable and easy for anyone to learn to use. Use my promo code “THENEXTSUMMIT” to get 10% off your entire order.

Books for Outdoor Lovers

The mountains create epic stories of tragedy and triumph. If your family and friends plan to spend the winter indoors, consider getting them a book or movie to enjoy by the fire. From documentaries and climbing textbooks, to climber biographies and gripping dramas, there is something for everyone.

Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills, 9th Edition

If there were a Mountaineering Bible, this would be it. Originally published in 1960, the 9th edition provides comprehensive, up-to-date instruction on rock, snow, and ice climbing, risk management, gear and equipment, avalanche awareness, and essential techniques. There are few better gifts for an aspiring climber.

Colorado's Fourteeners: From Hikes to Climbs, 4th Edition

When it comes to 14ers specifically, the closest thing to a bible is a “Colorado’s Fourteeners” by accomplished mountaineer and climber, Gerry Roach. The new edition includes nearly 100 routes, with GPS coordinates, maps, photos, and more from one of Colorado’s most experienced and renowned climbers and peak baggers.

Dirty Gourmet: Food For Your Outdoor Adventures

When it comes to 14ers specifically, the closest thing to a bible is a “Colorado’s Fourteeners” by accomplished mountaineer and climber, Gerry Roach. The new edition includes nearly 100 routes, with GPS coordinates, maps, photos, and more from one of Colorado’s most experienced and renowned climbers and peak baggers.

How to Suffer Outside: A Beginner's Guide to Hiking and Backpacking

Part critique of modern hiking culture and part how-to guide, How to Suffer Outside is for anyone who wants to hit the trail without breaking the bank. Perfect for that friend or family member who always talks about wanting to do more outdoor recreation but never seems to actually start doing it.

Movies for Outdoor Lovers

Meru (2015)

A gripping documentary that follows renowned climbers Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, and Renan Ozturk as they tackle the Shark’s Fin on Mount Meru, one of the hardest mountaineering challenges in the Himalayas.

Wild (2014)

Based on Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, this film depicts one woman’s solo hike along the Pacific Crest Trail as she seeks self-discovery and healing in the wake of personal tragedy, echoing the transformative power of nature.

Free Solo (2018)

This stunning documentary follows rock climber Alex Honnold’s quest to perform a free solo climb of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park—a feat that speaks to the heart of climbers and mountain enthusiasts.

Into the Wild (2007)

Directed by Sean Penn and based on the true story of Christopher McCandless, this film captures the spirit of adventure and the longing for a life immersed in the natural world as McCandless ventures into the Alaskan wilderness.

Outdoor Clothing

Wearing the right layers and clothing is essential to stay warm and wick away sweat. Whether you hike, climb, camp, hunt, or something else entirely, you’ll need the right clothing if it will take place outdoors. Here are some base layers, jackets, fleece, and other outdoor clothing I use myself.

Arc'teryx Atom Insulated Hoodie

Known for their quality and price, Arc’teryx makes the best jackets and coats money can buy. Alpine-proven as a mid layer or standalone jacket, their Arc’teryx Atom insulated hoodie is a fanrastic companion for backcountry skiing, climbing, snowshoeing or commuting. It’s not cheap, but it will last you many years and keep your loved ones warm.

Smartwool Classic Thermal Merino Base Layer Bottoms

Updated with a better fit and reliable, resilient merino wool, the men’s Smartwool Classic Thermal Merino base layer bottoms keep you comfortably warm through winter and all year long. They’re great for winter hikes, trips to ski resorts, snowshoing, and other winter mountain adventures outside.

Smartwool Classic Thermal Merino Crew Base Layer Top

Made from premium merino wool, the Smartwool Classic Thermal Merino Crew base layer top helps regulate your temperature with improved performance functionality while hiking or skiing in cold weather. It’s light enough to wear on its own during warmer weather adventures.

REI Co-op Trailsmith Fleece Jacket

This REI fleece-jacket uses 80% recycled insulation to keep you warm as a stand-alone jacket for cool weather, or as an excellent mid-layer for cold winter days in the mountains skiing, hiking, or climbing.

Black Diamond Midweight Screentap Fleece Gloves

Digits can be dialed and texts can be sent in the cold with the Black Diamond Midweight Screentap fleece gloves, which provide stretchy warmth with touch-screen compatibility as you go. These flexible gloves work for almost any type of winter sport or outdoor recreation.

REI Co-op Rainier Rain Jacket

There are a few universal truths in the outdoors, including the fact that everyone needs a rain jacket. The Rainier Rain Jacket from REI is a great entry-level option that won’t break the bank. The Peak 2.5-layer recycled ripstop nylon shell can resist up to 60mph while remaining breathable in wet environments.

Stocking Stuffers

This little gifts and gadgets are all under $30 and small enough to fill a stocking (if that’s your thing). They cover a wide range of categories but would all be of value to someone who enjoys the Colorado outdoors.

Vargo Titanium Dig Dig Tool

When you have to go, you have to go. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a Vargo Dig Dig tool with you, to quickly dig a cathole and fill it in after you are finished. This multi-use, titanium tool can also be used as a tent stake to secure an emergency shelter, and weighs only 1.2 ounces to avoid taking up any unnecessary weight.

SOL Fire Lite Reflective Tinder Cord - Utility Grade

This clever utility cord from SOL functions as both a construction material for emergency shelters, a tool to hang bear bags, and can also be used to start fires as a flammable emergency fuel.

UCO Titan Stormproof Match Kit

A fire-starting kit is one of the ten essentials, but most lighters and matches are worthless when wet, which is when you are most likely to need warmth. These matches are water and windproof, burning even in the middle of storm, and come stored in a lightweight waterproof case to keep in your backpack.

Snow Peak Titanium Lightweight Colored Spork

Choose your favorite color and chow down! Capable of twirling pasta and scooping hot soup, the 0.6-oz. Snow Peak Titanium Spork is the ultimate eating utensil for lightweight adventures.

Nocs Provisions Zoom Tube 8 x 32 Monocular Telescope

Ultracompact, weather-resistant and ready for any journey, the Nocs Provisions Zoom Tube 8 x 32 monocular telescope brings nature closer with its wide field of view and fully multicoated optics. It’s not just for fun; use the scope for route-finding, checking for avalanche activity, and more.

Swiss Army Camper Knife

A knife or multi-tool is one of the ten essentials for backcountry safety. This classic pocket knife, with tools for just about any camping situation, measures just over 3.5 inches, allowing it to slide easily into a pocket. It’s a great option for day hikes, 14er ascents, or overnight camping trips and solves a variety of problems and tasks with its tools.

Gifts for Peak Baggers: What Did We Miss?

There you have it: my 30 favorite suggestions for my 2023 peak bagger gift guide. if there’s a piece of gear, clothing, a gadget or book you think I missed, leave a comment below and I might add it in a future update! Good luck with your holiday shopping, and if you do get something from this list, reach out and let us know how it ended up going.

Alex Derr, Founder of The Next Summit

Alex Derr is an Eagle Scout, climber, and environmental policy expert located in Denver, Colorado. He created The Next Summit to help others stay safe exploring the mountains and advocate to preserve the peaks for the future. Follow him on Linkedin or Twitter or click here to contact him.

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Hi, I'm Alex!

In 2018, I watched in disbelief as dozens of people hiked into a storm on Longs Peak, unaware of the extreme danger. Soon after, I started The Next Summit to educate and empower the public to safely and responsibly explore America's mountains.

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