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Saturday, November 24, 2018

The Adventure Otaku Gift Guide 2018 - 5th Edition

It's that time of year again, The music is playing, the fire is cozy, and it is time to buy some gifts for the adventurer in your life.

A few changes this year. With the switch to Adventure Otaku (from Paddling Otaku) I can now talk about gift ideas for people besides paddlers! Doesn't everyone know an Adventurer? Also, this years list will include Amazon Affiliate links. Maybe you could help me make a few pennies, but still no ads. So that's a positive right?

With just a few exceptions these are all items I have used and truly love. Whether you are just starting out in the outdoors or are a seasoned professional, there are things here for everyone. This year the list ranges from $24 dollars to $1000, depending on your budget, But fully half of them are under $200.

So put on some Christmas music, get some cocoa, and check out this years list!

Lodge Cast Iron Skillet  ($24.95) - Obviously you aren’t taking this backpacking, but for car camping or vanlifing there is nothing better. Easy to maintain, and naturally non-stick, these pans are versatile, durable and with a little care will literally last for generations.

Black Diamond Spot ($39.95)- This headlamp is on the list most years, and with good reason. In the brightness vs dollars category, this is the hands down winner, a great headlamp particularly at the price, and every year they make it just a little better. No affiliate link for this one, if you order it, make sure you are getting the 325 lumen version. Amazon only seems to carry last years model at 300 lumens. 

Patagonia R0 Sun Long Sleeve Shirt ($49.00) - This year I replaced the shirt I paddle in. I took 14 shirts to the fitting room,  to find the one that fit my needs. It had to be comfortable, wick efficiently and offer UPF 50 protection with long sleeves. The Patagonia came out the winner. As I was trying them on I was hoping some underdog like NRS would offer the best shirt, and a lot of shirts offered the features I needed, but none fit like the Patagonia. 

Jetboil Mighty Mo ($49.95) - The most underrated backpacking stove out there. Slightly bigger than the revered Pocket Rocket it adds a push button igniter and a pressure regulator for better performance in cold weather and altitude. Well worth the $5 more than the MSR. 

Snow Peak Pack and Carry Fire Place ($89.25 for the small) - I bought this mainly because it would look cool in photographs, but it is amazing. I use it most often when I am teaching on a cold day so students can warm up, even though it is fairly small it is great for physical warmth and psychological warmth. I set it up at a party a while back and it immediately became the focal point. Best of all it folds flat. I have the smallest, it is only about a foot across, they get much bigger. 



Patagonia Nano Puff  ($199) - My go to winter insulation piece. Because I often adventure in wet weather I try and stay away from down. This packs small and keeps me warm. What else do you need. 

ACR Personal Locator Beacon ($289.95) -  I don’t want the level of communication that most people want in the backcountry. I want a rugged reliable device that has one feature. When the pooh hits the fan, and my life is in jeopardy, get me the hell out of here. This is that device. Built to a much higher level of durability than a spot or Inreach, it has one button, one use, and no service fee. 

Goal zero Sherpa 100 ac ($299.95) - I used the Sherpa 50 for the last Alaska expedition - actually two of them - and they were awesome. This updated version with a lithium ion battery is a fraction of the weight with a lot more power. It has more power than the Yeti 400 I use in my van. This will power just about anything, from your GoPro to a laptop. 

GoPro Hero black 7 ($400) - Mark my words, this camera will be looked back on as the camera that saved GoPro. For two reasons. First is the image stabilization. Nearly gimbal good. Second, is the TimeWarp - I really prefer to call it hyper lapse, which is what it is - which combines a traditional time lapse with the above mentioned image stability. Both are amazing. Additionally, an unsung feature is the new user interface which is so much better than the last version. 

iPad Pro ($799) - I am writing this post in a tiny house on my iPad Pro. I do everything but final book layout on my iPad Pro and I absolutely love it. It has replaced laptops for me, easily. I use it extensively planning classes as well as for media consumption. It is smaller, lighter and frankly better than any piece of portable computing gear I have used. I absolutely love it. To have access to satellite imagery, detailed weather and communication anywhere is impressive, If only it were waterproof. 

Mustang Survival EP 6.5 Ocean Racing Jacket ($999) - Okay, as I am just delving into sailing, I have no need of this product. Yet. But this is the coolest looking jacket I have ever seen. Mustang survival makes some great gear. This looks like it belongs in a sci-fi movie. *This is the only product on this list I haven’t used. 

So that is this years list. Let me know what you think. In about a week there will be a second list of Stocking stuffer ideas, with nothing over $50. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and maybe it is evens snowing where you live. Happy Holidays!