He shows up at Christmas dinner with new scars and less digits from his latest cage dives and winter Alpine ascents. His tales, most of them true, scare Aunt Betty to tears and enchant the kids. And while the adventurer’s gifts for you usually amount to a carved tribal trinket or a rock from a distant summit, getting him the right present might just score you that coveted guest pass to the Explorers’ Club.
But what do you get a guy whose basement looks like a mountaineering outfitter? We’ve got you covered — from the affordable to the bank-breaking, the sensible to the outrageous. And if this guy happens to be you, well then, go ahead and spoil yourself.
Looking for more men’s gift guides? Check out all our gift guides for men this way.
1. Mechanix Covert Gloves
Gloves are a traditional Christmas gift, right alongside that hand-knit scarf from Grandma. Here’s a pair your adventurer will actually wear. Mechanix Covert Gloves are overbuilt while still providing extra grip. Heavy synthetic leather, a stretch spandex back and rubber cuffs are made to take any abuse their wearer can get into, making these the perfect bang-for-your-buck stocking stuffers.
Buy Now: $25
2. Alpine Ascents Mount Everest Guided Expedition
For the man who doesn’t want toys, but “experiences”, gift the ultimate one: a six-week, fully-supported climb of the world’s highest mountain. Alpine Ascents provides all food and base camp support, oxygen supplies and one-to-one Sherpa guiding on summit day. Excellent professional guides and a rest day at High Camp have translated to near-perfect success rates for the Everest outfitter. Spare toes not included.
Buy Now: $65,000
3. Suunto Ambit Black
What good is an adventure if you can’t brag about it back home? The Suunto Ambit Black, a wrist-top tool from the company that invented the wristwatch computer niche, packs all the usual goodies: altitude, barometer and temperature sensors, chronograph functions, a digital compass and waypoint GPS, all in addition to useful fitness features like heart rate and cool-down times. Back home, your boastful buddy can download his data via USB and back up his gloating graphically — forgetting all too easily that his watch also helped him navigate safely.
Buy Now: $500
4. GoPole Bundle
Tired of seeing your bro’s shaky headmount GoPro footage? Drop him a hint that there are other angles possible with the GoPole Bundle, which makes nearly any shot attainable. The Bundle provides two- and three-foot poles, a “Bobber” that keeps a dropped camera afloat and a Grenade Grip handle for versatile, steady-handed filming. Now he just needs to improve his soundtracks.
Buy Now: $100
5. Nautilus Lifeline
Liveaboard dive charters now offer people tired of the same old Caribbean trips access to remote paradises like Coiba, Cocos or the Revillagigedos. But while these dive spots mean more adventure, they also present the real danger of re-enacting the movie Open Water. The Nautilus Lifeline, a waterproof emergency two-way radio and emergency beacon, was created by a dive boat captain. It allows a diver to communicate with his boat should he surface where they don’t expect him; if he finds himself adrift, he can activate the emergency beacon and pray that a plane spots him before the sharks do.
Buy Now: $279
6. DPx Hostile Environment Survival Tool Knife (HEST II)
Nothing imparts “be careful” more than a forged carbon steel knife designed for use in the world’s most dangerous places. And who better to design this knife than conflict journalist Robert Young Pelton, a man who’s been held hostage more times than most people have had their passports stamped? The DPx HEST II is made in Northern Italy, using specially hardened steel that cuts better but resists chipping, and features a prybar, wire stripper and hex wrench. The handle is hollow, so it can hold pills, a fire starter or a rolled up Christmas list.
Buy Now: $281
7. The North Face Patrol 24 Avalanche Airbag System
Got a friend who eschews the lifts and goes off-piste in search of epic powder? Subtly show you want him around at the bar after the run with a backpack that could save his life. The North Face’s Patrol 24 looks (and acts) like a perfectly capable backcountry ski or climbing pack. But its real magic lies in the hidden airbag system that can be inflated via compressed CO2 when an avalanche strikes. The airbag is meant to keep a person “afloat” on top of the sliding snow rather than buried underneath. It’s about as expensive as a St. Bernard, but also doesn’t slobber as much.
Buy Now: $1,179
8. Breitling Emergency
If Bear Grylls were Santa Claus, this is the watch he would put under all adventurers’ trees. Brimming with useful complications like a countdown timer, extra-loud alarms, stopwatch and second time zone, and powered by Breitling’s highly accurate analog-digital thermocompensated SuperQuartz movement, the Emergency’s piece de resistance is the emergency transmitter housed inside a bulbous tumor at the bottom of the case. Sure, it’s a $6,000 watch, but what price can you put on bringing your loved ones home from their adventures?
Buy Now: $6,000
9. Velocity Infinity Harness and Container System
After Felix Baumgartner’s epic skydive from the edge of space, how much do you want to bet 2013 is the year skydiving goes viral? A harness/container system from the company that outfitted Baumgartner is perfect for the thrill seeker in your life who’s not afraid of heights. The Velocity was designed with safety and performance in mind, which seem important when jumping out of a plane. The spacesuit and helium balloon (along with a pair of enormous balls) are up to him.
Buy Now: $1,799
10. Filson Original Tin Cloth Hat
Every adventurer needs to look the part, and no one has been outfitting them longer and more authentically than Filson. The brand’s venerable Tin Cloth Hat is crushable, nigh indestructible and made of heavy gauge cotton canvas that retains its shape no matter how many times it’s sat on. The water repellent hat will age better than its wearer and can make even your uncle from Iowa look like Indiana Jones.
Buy Now: $42
11. Fletcher Chouinard Designs Triditional Surfboard
Gifts for the waterman are tricky. Board shorts are too personal; he probably already has a speargun; and that traditional Hawaiian outrigger is a little out of your price range. But a guy can never have too many surfboards. The Triditional is a new design from Fletcher Chouinard, the respected board shaper and son of Mr. Adventure himself, Yvon Chouinard. It blends an old school shape with the speed and maneuverability that comes with a three-fin — as Fletcher puts it, a “sports car feel” on a longboard. Now that’s a gift.
Buy Now: $770
12. Triton Submersible 1000/3 Personal Submarine
For the man who already has the sports car, the fishing boat and the Cessna 172, the Triton Submersible is sure to please, though it doesn’t fit under the Christmas tree very well. The Triton is a legitimate submarine, able to descend to depths down to 1,000 feet while taking along two
crew members friends in relative comfort and maximum safety. Because captaining a sub is kind of a big deal, Triton offers a top notch pilot/maintenance training program. And yes, it’s yellow.
Buy Now: Price upon request