In honor of Black Friday, here’s a bunch of cool hiking gear I’d give myself for Christmas if I had someplace to put it. I went searching among my favorite boutique gear retailers because I know the stuff is built in somebody’s garage, far from the reaches of OSHA regulations and other bureaucratic annoyances.
- Hiking sticks from Broken Bone Art. I’m especially fond of the one which looks as if Osama bin Laden might have modeled for the carving. $70-$85.
- Dirty Girl Gaiters. Sassy, jazzy way to keep crud out of your footwear. More patterns than you can shake a Montrail at. $13.
- Freezerbag Cooking Volume 1. “Approximately 160+ recipes, 95% of which are all new and found no where else,” Sarah Kirkconnell says. $13.95.
- Mountain Laurel Design eVent Rain Mitts. Just 25 to 27 grams. Preferred choice of mega-hikers Andrew Skurka and Francis Tapon, the site says. $35.
- Six Moon Designs Lunar Solo. Some day I’ll give all my other tents and tarps to charity and buy this one: room for one person, with bug netting, a mere 23 ounces, sets up with a hiking pole. $235.
- Any Tom Harrison Map. Tom lives in Marin and has walked every mile of his maps, which are the class of the industry. New for 2008: Pinnacles National Monument . Bay Area maps start at $4.95; others, $8.95 to $18.95 for John Muir Trail Map-Pack: Shaded Relief Topo Maps pack. Tons more of his work at my list of the best Bay Area maps.
- TrailDesigns Caldera Cone Stove. Ultra-efficient, super-lightweight alcohol-stove system designed by Silicon Valley engineers. $30-$40.
- ULA Equipment Helix Potty Trowel. You know how Outside flogs those $900 shoes you’d never buy? This kinda like that: the otherwise sane ULA, maker of rave-reviewed hand-built backpacks, crafts this ice-ax-looking thing marketed as a cat-hole digger (mostly to hush nit-picking mountaineers). Weighs only 4.5 to 5.4 ounces. $130-$150.
Feel free to add whatever gear’s giving you the tingles this year.