The outdoor enthusiast in your life probably has the basics, but it’s fun to add gadgets, conveniences and comforts they didn’t know they needed. We’ve got a few brands for you to check out while putting together your gift-giving list.
Koala super-grip phone harness
Pick up a smartphone harness that keeps the phone close and protected while experiencing the wilderness. Available in four color options, over 1,200 reviewers have landed it an average five-star review. Materials include heavy-duty silicone, polycarbonate, aluminum and stainless steel. The company uses packaging made from 100% recycled content that is fully recyclable.
Review of Koala smartphone harness
I received a sample of the phone harness in orange. It arrived quickly, packed in a simple cardboard package with no unnecessary waste. The silicone is stretchy and easy to install over the phone, even a plus-sized screen with a case on it. If in doubt, the company provides a list of models it will fit. I love that it fits tightly and offers both a lanyard and clip for attaching to clothing, a backpack, climbing gear, etc.
Additionally, I’m excited to use this on my next backpacking trip, where I often struggle to have access to my phone. This gadget makes it easy to keep it readily available for pictures or trail info without removing or working around my pack.
Based out of Crested Butte, Colorado, this is an adventure company that provides an outdoor essential: coffee. In both whole bean and instant options, the coffee is ready while planning the trip or when on the trail. The instant coffee is lightweight, compact and, most importantly, handcrafted for flavor. A small team roasts, tastes and packages the coffees in its warehouse. The fresh roast options are roasted in small batches two times weekly and shipped for freshness the next day. The instant coffee is roasted, brewed and freeze dried in the same location for freshness. It’s been mentioned by notable publications like Backpacker, Forbes and Outside Magazine.
A combination of products at Baffin means there’s a gift for everyone on your list. Work boots, leisurewear, hiking, hunting or fishing boots come in a range of options. The company’s newest release is a hybrid slipper for indoor and/or outdoor wear.
The foundation of this company is built on extensive testing for durability. Products are taken to, and used in, extreme outdoor environments, including the North and South Poles. Each product is then given a performance rating to best align with your situation. Ratings include elemental, northern, arctic, tundra and polar. Each of which offers varying levels of protection from the cold and wet conditions.
Earlier this year, Baffin unveiled its newest initiative: the Citizenship Boot Project. The initial drive produced 1,300 boots made from a 50% mix of in-house recycled materials. Employees volunteered their time to manufacture and package the boots to be donated to multiple North American organizations who provide them to those in need.
The company delivered a pair of the Cush Booty Slippers for my consideration. I haven’t taken them off since they arrived. At first, the insulation on the bottom felt lumpy, even making me feel a little unstable. However, after breaking it in, it now offers an ultra-cushioned support. I love the drawstring top and gathering around the ankle for warmth. They are very cozy, but appear to be breathable at the same time. I have zero complaints about the product.
On the other hand, I would like to see improvements on the sustainability side of things. While I expect to be wearing these for many winters to come, the material selections of nylon and polywool means they contain plastic, rather than fully natural materials. It’s not a new struggle within the outdoor community to find materials that balance performance with sustainability, so I’ll take the durability aspects as a win and hope for iterations in the future. The box the slippers were shipped in was also ridiculously large, meaning inefficiencies in freight packing, etc. However, the boxes were both cardboard with no additional waste in the packaging.
Arcade belts are a purpose-driven brand aimed at making durable, quality belts. All belts are made using REPREVE, a post-consumer recycled performance yarn. The Save the Waves belt created by Erik Abel is their most recent release. The company will donate 10% of sales of the belt to the Save the Waves Coalition to support the ongoing conservation efforts of protecting waves and coastlines across the globe. They also have belts that donate to wildfire prevention.
This is a gift for the backpacker, hiker, boater or fisherman in your life. It’s also a thoughtful option for the environmentally-minded worker who packs their own lunch every day. The stainless steel set comes with a dinner knife, dinner spoon, dinner fork, chopsticks, cleaning brush, straight straw, bent straw and a compact carrying case.
Images via Koala, Baffin, First Ascent, Arcade and Amazon
Editor’s Note: This product review is not sponsored by Koala and Baffin. All opinions on the products and company are the author’s own.
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