Christmas Gift Guide 2019

13th Dec 2019

It’s that time of year again.  The mince pies, the warm fires as the icy winds blow outside, the chubby red fella climbing down the chimney and the prospect of many exciting snowy adventures ahead.  You’ve gotta love Christmas and yet, at the same time, you also need to consider what to buy for that adrenaline loving significant other.  

Have no fear.  The Peak Mountaineering team have rounded up the latest and greatest options that are sure to bring a smile to any recipient.  Some are expensive, some are mid price range and we’ve been sure to include some that should hopefully fit even the tightest budget.  The common thread, though, is that they are all suited to snowy adventures.  We hope you find it useful - we’ve loved putting it together......

Patagonia Beanie £35.00

Patagonia Beanie

Every snowy adventure needs a good hat and we love this new take on an iconic cranium insulator from Patagonia.  They describe it as a low volume clean lines 100% polyester beanie and that sums it up perfectly - the material makes it non itchy, it insulates well and offers a snug fit to ensure it will stay firmly anchored even when the northerlies blow.  The other big bonus, as if you need more incentive, is that they are made from 100% recycled content.  The beanies come in a selection of styles but we are particularly loving the Fitzroy Stripe version pictured.

Giro Jackson MIPS Snowsports Helmet £150

Giro Jackson Helmet

Giro need little introduction as a manufacturer of premium head protection and their latest version of the Jackson is packed with all the features you need for optimum performance and maximum protection.  The Jackson has the well regarded Multi-Directional Impact Protection System (MIPS) which, in simple terms, uses a low friction inner liner that rotates to allow your head to move inside the helmet on impact.  This has been proven to minimise the rotational forces that your head can be subjected too in an impact.  Besides that, the Jackson has clean lines, a very efficient ventilation system and typical Giro quality.  It also features a high performance Polartec Power Grid fabric liner. We have one of these on review, so look out for the full run down soon.   

Darn Tough ‘Rumble Over The Calf’ Socks £26.00

Darn Tough Rumble in the Jungle Socks

We love these socks almost as much as we love what they are called - which marketing genius came up with such a cool name?! Anyway, as the name suggests, Darn Tough’s Rumble Over The Calf are an over the calf sock ideally suited for use as a ski sock, inside wellies sock or as a keep the lower legs warm on chilly days winter sock.  As with all Darn Tough products, they are beautifully made from Merino Wool and the jazzy design will perfectly match your cheery warm feet during all your snowy outings. 

Oboz Bridger 8” Insulated Winter Boots  £165

Oboz Bridger Insulated Boots

Take yourself to Montana in winter and you’ll soon know what footwear works to keep your tootsies warm and dry.... and what doesn’t.  Great news then, when a company from that part of the world produce a dedicated insulated boot that will be your perfect companion for all winter activities.  The Bridger is a stylish and high performance boot and Paul has just released his detailed review here - please check out what he has said is the best winter boots he has ever used.   

Black Diamond Ultralight Ice Screw £65.00 (price varies according to length)

Black Diamond Ultralight Ice Screw

We have used the Black Diamond Express Ice Screws for many years and they remain a great choice for general use, but having extensively tested the new Ultralight model all last winter we felt compelled to switch - we now use the Ultralights for everything.  Yes, a lightweight model also means a slight drop in durability, but with careful use these are proving to be more than up to the job.  By combining a main alloy tube with a durable steel tip, Black Diamond have achieved an almost 50% weight saving whilst matching, or maybe even improving, on the steel equivalent’s performance.  From ski tours to ice climbing, we reckon these are the current state of the art choice.

Leki Helicon Lite Poles £65.00

Leki Poles

We’ve tested a broad range of Leki trekking and ski poles over many years and the constants have always been there - great design, superb quality and stylish looks.  Infact, fair to say that Leki are always our first port of call for poles.  Their excellent value Helicon lights tick all those boxes. They are built from high strength aluminium with Leki’s superb Speedlock Plus adjustment system, the Evocon hand grip allows for a comfortable and secure hold and the adjustable nylon security strap will keep them comfortably attached to your wrist.  We also love the cleverly designed snow baskets which allow for easy adjustment of touring bindings and they have a broad edge that makes it simple to clear snow from skins.  The Helicon is a lot of pole for the money and another superb offering from Leki.

Elliot Brown Holton Professional Watch £450

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When prestigious watchmaker Elliot Brown was asked to design and produce the first British service watch for well over a decade, they were delighted.  They are a company dedicated to producing top quality products designed to stand up to the rigours of outdoor life and so producing a time piece for an elite unit from the British forces was just their sort of challenge.  Paul has just reviewed the Holton Professional and you can find it here, but just to say that any active outdoor person would simply love this as a Christmas Gift - with the added advantage that, with the reknowned EB reliability and service, in many years to come they will be passing it down to their own children.   

Osprey Kamber 16 Rucksack £80.00

Osprey Kamber 16 Rucksack

Having a dedicated snowsports pack is well worth the investment.  Snowsport rucksack require specific features and the Kamber 16 is our current top choice.  With a snow shedding back panel, ski and snowboard carry system, microfleece lined goggle pocket and internal organisation pockets, integrated helmet storage and hydration system compatibility - the Kamber ticks every box.  Added to that is a very comfortable harness and Osprey’s legendary design flair and build quality.  The Kamber 16 will keep your organised for day tours and lift accessed skiing in all conditions.

Peak Mountaineering Buff £12.50

Peak Mountaineering Buffs

This is a Buff, but not as you know it! Produced in top quality fabric and with the famous Peak Mountaineering logo printed in vivid pin sharp detail.  They will protect from dust, wind, snow and cold and, of course, you’ll look the coolest cat on the mountain.  We can supply these direct for the bargain price of £12.50 including P&P. 

Give’r 4 Season Gloves £85.00

Giver Gloves

We had heard about Give’r gloves for quite some time from other instructor colleagues before recently getting hold of some for testing (the review will be live mid January).  Although our current usage is limited to early winter weather, we are already impressed enough to include them in this year’s guide. They are produced by a small Vermont company with a design emphasis totally focussed on top notch performance and durability.  They have an all leather construction, a liner membrane to offer 100% waterproofing and 40gm Thinsulate insulation.  They are perfect for a range of winter activities and will cope with very hard use.

Montane Prism Jacket £125.00

Montane Prism

The Prism has been a very popular jacket for Montane for some time but, as a company that doesn’t like to stand still, they have recently given it an overhaul.  The new Prism features high performance Primaloft insulation and intelligent features such as a stash pocket, insulated helmet compatible hood and harness friendly pockets.  It also looks very stylish in a two tone colour scheme with detail stitching.  The Prism is the perfect keep in the pack option and offers a surprising amount of warmth for it’s weight.  A great multi activity and multi purpose piece.

Smith 4D Mag Goggles £250.00

Smith 4D Goggles

Well, our gift guide is always about tried and tested products and yet we must admit that we haven’t actually seen these in the flesh yet.  But, after careful consideration, we decided to include them because we have now used several models of Smith goggles and really can’t fault their innovations and quality. The 4D Mag’s also look like a genuine development on what is currently available.  By using a new state of the art lens technology, Smith have increased the goggles field of vision by 25%.  In addition, improvements in the legendary MAG interchangeable lens fit technology allows easy switching between lenses.  We will be testing some of these as soon as samples become available. 

Adventure Medical Kits SOL Emergency Bivvy £18.00

AMK Heatsheets Emergency Bivvy

Unfortunately things don’t always got to plan and, as that old adage goes, ‘Luck Favours the Well Prepared’.  Fortunately, when the worst happens, Adventure Medical Kits have your back.  To this end, we’ve included a couple of our favourite get out of jail free items which we are sure will be appreciated by that adventurer in your life.  Firstly, having some form of shelter is critical, and the SOL emergency bivvy is a great choice.  Made from high strength silverised plastic and with plenty of space to house a casualty, this is the bivvy we demonstrate on all our first aid courses.  Oh, and as it folds to the size of a small apple and weighs under 100gms, there is no reason not to have one on board for every adventure.

Adventure Medical Kits Ultralight .9 First Aid Kit £40.00

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The second mountain essential is a first aid kit, and while for snow sports it pays to have something waterproof, you also want it to be durable and lightweight.  Adventure Medical Kits are designed for remote environments and, while there are several great models in their range, we’ve selected the .9 model as the one that ticks the right boxes for winter use.  It offers a good range of wound care products and essential tools and equipment for dealing with emergencies.  We also love that they have included the all time favourite Duct tape which, as well as being great for repairs, can be used to secure a dressings or improvise a splint.  A great choice that will handle snowy first aid emergencies without overloading the pack.

Aquapac Phone Case £24.99

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We are sure, like us, you carry your phone on all your snowy adventures and so, if so, it is essential to keep it dry. No problem - the 100% waterproof Aquapac Phone case will protect your device from any weather and yet still allows full functionality.  It is also durable, lightweight and great value.  It ticks every box.  But, infact, that is only half the reason we love this for snow sports use.  In winter we use our phone as a camera and so inevitably are often taking it out of our pocket on steep slopes, at mid route climbing belays or on ski lifts.  What if we dropped it?  Simple, the Aquapac has a cord that allows it to be fastened inside a jacket or to a rucksack strap - a simple and efficient way to avoid a very expensive cold finger fumble. 

Hydroflask Insulated 12oz Coffee Mug £25.00

Hydroflask Insulated Mug

When we climb into the frosty car and set off for the trailhead, it is great to have a steaming mug of coffee to hand. Infact, coffee is a constant around which all our winter activities revolve!  The problem in winter, of course, is that hot beverage will soon become a cold beverage if your drink vessel can’t keep the heat in.  For all thingswintry, we love the Hydroflask Insulated 12oz Coffee Mug.  It willkeep your drink hot (or will keep cold things cold), it is a great size to provide a decent size cuppa and has a well fitting lid that keeps the liquid in.  Lastly,  Hydroflask have shaped the mug to prevent it easily being knocked over while still sitting comfortably in the hand.  This is the perfect snowy adventure mug.  

Mammut Alugator Pro Snow Shovel £89.00

Mammut Alugator Pro Snow Shovel

A snow shovel needs to move snow efficiently and quickly - that may sound obvious but, believe us, we’ve used some pups over the years and they are NOT all created the same!  The Alugator Pro has been a test model for us recently and we think it is has everything required of a great snow shovel.  Namely, a sturdy construction, a large blade with sharp cutting edge and intelligently designed shape, comfortable handle, extendable shaft, compact folded size and reasonable carry weight. It is a complete and superbly designed and constructed package. Oh, but there is another game changing feature for us. By inserting the shovel shaft at 90 degrees to the blade, the Alugator Pro can be changed from a shovel tool to a hoe tool.  This is a genius move as a hoe is such an efficient tool for scraping snow away from, for one of many examples, the entrance to snow shelters.  Paul’s full review if the Alugator Pro is available here. 

Nikwax Polar Proof and Down Wash Direct Various prices depending on product type and size

Nikwax Polar Proof

If you look after your gear, your gear will look after you.  Fortunately, Nikwax products tend to make that very easy.  They are simple to use, perform superbly and, for the 40 plus years the company has been in business, they have been 100% committed to protecting the natural environment.  We’ve selected a couple of options for the gift guide and yet Nikwax have cleaning and proofing products to look after all your outdoor gear, clothing and footwear.  Everyone wears fleece and Polar Proof is a wash in proofer which will revitalise the Durable Water Repellency of your fleece garments - a very important element to allow good performance from fleece products.  Down is a perfect winter insulator but again it needs to be cared for.  Down Wash Direct is an easy to use technical cleaner for hydrophobic and regular down filled clothing and gear - stick your jacket or sleeping bag in the washing machine and, providing you dry it carefully, your beloved insulation will be performing well in no time.    

Reusable Handwarmers £4.99

Lifesystems reusable handwarmers

Anyone who has been there and done that will agree that cold fingers can ruin your winter day - suddenly you can’t focus on anything else and ever task feels 10x harder. Reusable handwarmers offer a reliable and safe solution.  Why suffer?  We much prefer reusables to minimise waste and our current favourites are the Lifesystems duo pack.  They can be easily recharged in boiling water, stay warm for around 90 minutes and are a reasonable size to carry in your pack.  They will make a great stocking filler - and stocking warmer! 

Peak Mountaineering Gift Vouchers Priceless!

Is there anything better then the gift of adventure? We don’t think so and we can help.  Our ever popular Peak Mountaineering gift vouchers can be purchased for any amount - you might choose to cover the full cost of a course or pay an amount towards the full price.  We can send out a lovely printed card and even, once the posting dates for Christmas are passed, send out an email version right up to Christmas Day.  The choices are all yours, but the gift of adventure will shine through in every purchase. 

Posted by Cal