Christmas Gift Guide 2016
The gifts that keep on giving….
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose. Yultetide carols being sung by a choir, and folks dressed up………..in a selection of top quality outdoor clothing and using the latest outdoor equipment!
You can’t beat Christmas as a time to indulge that significant outdoor enthusiast in your life, and yet sometimes the ideas don’t flow as freely as you would hope. Should it be that latest technical garment or a smart new stove? Do they really need that pair of high tech socks or would a smart new t-shirt make their face glow on Christmas day?
There are a lot of tricky decisions and you might also question the environmental impact of all this rampant consumerism. How can we celebrate the festive period, equip our adventure partners for coming epics and still look to protect the planet we live and play on?
Don’t worry - we have your back. The 2016 Peak Mountaineering Gift Guide is here. It features a range of 15 tried and tested products at varying price points and all from our favourite environmentally responsible manufacturers. You really don’t need to look any further.
Aku Bellamont Plus Shoes
Like all Aku footwear we have used, the Bellamont's are a beautifully crafted shoe which in this case have been designed for urban or spare time activities. Even better, Aku are fully committed to seeking design solutions which reduce environmental impact; the leather has undergone chrome-free tanning, the outsole and midsole contain recycled material and the laces are natural cotton. It is also superb that 99% of the materials used to make the shoe are from Europe. We will have a full review of these beauties live soon but take our word that these are a special gift that would be very well received. We reviewed the Bellamont Plus here. RRP £159.95.
Mammut T Shirt
The famous Mammut logo T-shirt can be seen in mountain areas worldwide. It features typical Mammut quality and functionality and is now available in bioRe® organic cotton. BioRe® products are produced according to organic criteria, feature high-quality materials and workmanship, use no harmful substances or heavy metals in their production, have transparency over all production stages and ensure humane production conditions. A brilliant product and fantastic production ethos - well done Mammut. RRP £20.00.
Primus Lite+ Stove
Our favourite compact all in one gas stove. We reviewed the Lite+ some time ago and found it to be both beautifully constructed and a superb performer. It is ideal for all seasons and will serve you well for many years of adventures. It fits the criteria of a gift that keeps on giving because it is so efficient - the built in heat exchanger ensures low gas consumption and efficient burning. We can easily cook for a full weekend of adventures off one gas 100 gram Primus Power Gas canister which is very impressive. A link to our review of the Lite+ is here. RRP £95.00.
Primus Winter Gas
If your significant others have aspirations on winter adventures then Primus Winter Gas should be your go to fuel. The big innovation behind its cold weather performance is Vapour Mesh, a highly absorbent paper inside the cartridge that keeps the pressure higher and makes the stove run better. The mesh increases the surface on which the liquid fuel can evaporate and so makes it work in conditions where it was previously hard to use gas. Better performance and lower fuel consumption make this environmentally responsible fuel worthy of a ‘gift that keeps on giving’ entry. For full details on this innovative product please check out the Primus Gas Know How Guide here. RRP £7.50 (230 grams) £11.50 (450 grams).
Socks are a traditional Christmas gift and it wouldn’t really be a gift guide without including some fluffy bundles of foot love. Earlier this year we tested some lovely socks from family producer Wigwam, an ethical manufacturer based in Wisconsin, USA. Wigwam focus on producing high quality and sustainable products which are also, conveniently, available in some very Christmassy designs and colours. Our review of Wigwam is available here and they really do tick all the Christmas gift criteria. A link to our Wigwam sock review is here. RRP varies according to model but around £10 per pair.
Salewa Polartec Alpha Pedroc Softshell
We have used a number of Polartec Alpha products and believe this high tech insulation material, which keeps users comfortable in a wide range of conditions, is a real game changer. There is a lot that is special about Alpha but, put in a nutshell, Polartec have created a way of placing low density fibres between air permeable woven layers to better regulate warmth and transfer moisture. We have used alpha in all conditions and all seasons and it really does perform as promised. There are a number of products featuring Alpha but one I’ve been using recently is the Salewa Pedroc PTC which is a well featured multi purpose jacket. RRP £150.
Patagonia Capilene Lightweight Baselayer
On my first visit to America in 1990 (yes, really!) I treated myself to a Patagonia Capilene base layer and, although it had it’s limitations, that top served me well for many years. Capilene technology has come a long way since then and now features everything a ‘gift that keeps on giving’ should have - 100% recycled polyester fabric, Polygiene permanent odor control treatment, Fair Trade Certified sewing and Bluesign approved production. The Polygiene treatment has been a game changer for these products because the original products tended to get a bit pongy but that’s no issue now and, if less smell means less washing, that’s another enviro tick in the box too. RRP £40.00.
We were offered the chance to try Yumpa Bars some time ago - and must admit that we didn't realise the full innovative nature of these nutritional snacks until they arrived at Peak HQ. It is worth reading our review here, but the use of environmentally sustainable cricket flour and all natural ingredients makes these little power houses a true gift that keeps on giving. Our review of Yumpa Bars is here. RRP £19.00 for 9 bars.
Lifedge Ultimate Charging Cable
A gift that keeps on giving could be something that is environmentally sustainable because it will last a long time. So, because of this, and because everyone needs a durable and reliable iPhone charger, we have included our favourite charging lead. With burly cable, reinforced connectors, a usefully long 2 metre lead and high speed performance, everything about this lead is designed to last well and work well. Our review of the Ultimate Charging Lead is here. RRP £19.99.
Lifesystems Reusable Handwarmers
There are times, for any cold weather activity, when it feels really good to have some means of warming your chilly digits. No problem, it is certainly easy to carry some of those little disposable handwarmers but that means a lot of chemical and packaging waste. Surely better to use this reuseable option which, while being at least as efficient, is also much much kinder to the environment. Whether for climbing, fishing, cycling, hillwalking, kayaking, skiing or just about any other cold weather activity, these will make the perfect stocking fillers. RRP £3.99
These insulated beauties have been our top choice since we first tried one 18 months ago. They are everything you need in a flask for outdoor use - they are light, a compact size, they efficiently keep drinks either hot or cold and they are durable enough to last for years and never let you down. Any bottle that can be used over and over again has to be better than using disposables, but we've also chosen them because, for every flask purchased, Hydroflask will contribute 5% to multiple charities and non profits focussed on improving people's lives or the environment - a fantastic gift that really does keep in giving. RRP varies according to size but around £30.
Nikwax Techwash and TX Direct
No outdoor person should be without some Nikwax products in their life, and these are two that we use all the time. Looking after shell garments has never been simpler and they also perform faultlessly - all we do is throw our garments and some Techwash in the washing machine and then do wash another cycle with some TX Direct added. The shells are good to go and with Nikwax you can rest a little easier about using chemical compounds because they are strongly committed to using CFC free formulations in all their products. RRP around £8 for 300ml size.
Rab Merino+ Boxers
Christmas gifts and underwear kind of go hand in hand and so we've deliberately added a few to this list - but not just any underwear! Along with the socks and baselayer tops we wanted to add a high performance natural fibre product to the list. Merino wool has made a big comeback as a high performance fabric that is also sustainable in recent years and it really does perform incredibly well. Rab's Merino+ 120 Boxers are one of the best we've used. RRP £30.00
Lifestraw Go Water Filter
This is a product that has changed the way we operate in the mountains because it makes staying hydrated safely so easy. You fill the container, screw on the lid, and drink. The inbuilt filter takes care of making the water safe and you get more time to play. They are genius. From an environmental perspective using a manual filtration system obviously tops chemicals, but that isn't the only reason we've included this in the guide. Lifestraw also pledge to supply, for every filter purchased, to provide safe drinking water for one year to a school child in a developing country (this has currently helped well over a quarter of a million children). A humbling challenge and thanks Lifestraw. Our review of the Go is here. RRP £35.00.
Peak Mountaineering Gift Vouchers
After all those product ideas it may be that you want to add the opportunity for your loved one to learn some skills or have an adventure. We can very easily help with that. One of of our famous gift vouchers is the key to a world of adventure and they are available in any amounts to cover everything from the cost of a course through to a contribution towards an overseas trip or private guiding. The ultimate gift that keeps on giving.
Wishing you a very happy and adventure packed Christmas from everyone at Peak Mountaineering