It’s natural to think that outdoor gear is best enjoyed in the great outdoors. Heck, that’s what it’s designed for! But urban living sometimes demands rugged goods with innovative capabilities. You’d be surprised how handsome yet practical they can be, too.
These goods also make great gifts. I’m not saying city dwellers should zip themselves into down sleeping bags at night. Your loved ones in urban jungles will appreciate the thoughtfulness of a truly useful gift, though. From a pocket-knife that will replace a whole junk drawer to a trail-ready backpack you can take to business meetings, you could be a hero this holiday season with well-designed equipment that works in all kinds of scenarios.
As a backpack enthusiast, I’m not exaggerating when I say this is the perfect backpack for day-to-day use. It’s big enough to hold what you need, and small enough to wear well when it’s not very full. The Klettersack’s design is also about as classic as it gets. It’s $169 and comes in a variety of colors.
Speaking of classic, there’s nothing like a Case pocket knife. Even if you don’t carry it every day, it’s always handy to have a good blade around the apartment.
Mountain Hardwear married its technology with Cole Haan’s uptown design. The results are, kind of surprisingly, rather downtown. This glossy down jacket weighs almost nothing, keeps you warm anywhere, and looks like a nightclub, all for $475.
Snow Peak is a half-century old Japanese gear company, and its aesthetic appeal reflects that. I’d be equally happy sitting in the Take bamboo chair ($215.95) in my apartment, in the park, or in the woods.
Icebreaker is known for making amazing apparel out of merino wool. Since it’s so versatile and comfortable, the Men’s Everyday will work not only as long underwear on bitter winter days but also as a good lounging around shirt any other time.
You’ve gotta love companies that still make great products in America, and Portland-based Danner is one of the best. The Mountain Pass will make you feel like a Swiss climber, but you’re wearing your patriotism on your feet when you walk around town in these beautiful boots.
Junk drawers are a big problem when you live in the city and don’t have many drawers. I’m guessing you can clear yours out, however, and replace it with this Leatherman multitool. It will even open wine!
Apparently “Commuter” is a popular name for city-friendly outdoor gear. Arc’Teryx is famous for its high quality and clean design. While you could spend upwards of a grand on a shell, this Gore-Tex jacket ($400) is great for cyclists and more reasonably priced. There’s also a hood hiding in that collar.
Indefinitely Wild founder Wes Siler appropriately referred to the Quark Click as “the Toyota Camry of flashlights.” It’s not necessarily the best one you can buy, but it’s the best for about 99% of the things most people might want to do with it.
BioLite’s sort of wacky BaseCamp Stove will charge your phone, but that’s not what makes it neat. The wood-powered campfire-to-go is terrifically portable and can even act as an improvised fire pit if you like. And it can charge your phone, of course.
Everyone needs to drink water. This delightful little Nalgene is a great way to do it.