Excellent Gifts for Adventurous Travelers in Your Life

Renowned backcountry snowboarder Nick Russell recommends what to get the adrenaline-seeking explorers on your list.

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We have a feeling that 2022 is going to be full of adventures, especially for anyone who loves to ski, snowboard, surf, hike, mountain bike, or just escape “real life” in search of excitement. If you have a summit-, powder-, wave-, adrenaline-seeking friend on your list, the best gift you can give them is some gear they’ll actually use.

We reached out to Red Bull backcountry snowboarder Nick Russell, “a high-speed slalom extraordinaire” who’s hiked and splitboarded his way across unexplored terrain everywhere from South America to Europe and Asia, to find out what gear he would want to unwrap this year. Want proof his recs are legit? Check out his parts in the snowboarding films All In A Dream (2019), Range Of Mystery (2018), and Aurora Boardealis (2017).

Patagonia Nano Puff Pants

Why they’re a great gift: These packable, low-bulk pants are comfy, warm, and can be worn alone or layered under rain or ski pants. “Whether it's chilling by the fire at home after a day of splitboarding, or out on a winter camping trip, I love slipping into these pants after a day of movement,” says Russell.

Smartwool Mountaineer Socks

Why they’re a great gift: You know you’re a grown-up when socks stop being the worst present ever and start being the one thing you really, really hope “Santa” tucks into your stocking. For the adventurous boys and girls on your list, splurge on Smartwool’s thickest and warmest socks, perfect for hiking long distances or just keeping toes toasty at night. “[They’re] one of my favorite Smartwool socks, simply because they are so warm. Put [them] on after a day on the mountain or at night while camping,” Russell recommends. “Your feet will thank you!”

Crocs Classic Lined Clogs

Why it's a great gift: The world is full of divisive issues, and none is more divisive than the clunky plastic clogs known as Crocs. Russell’s stance on the polarizing shoe is crystal clear, and it’s pretty obvious that any Croc-devotee in your life will agree with his sentiments. “Comfort is king! Same classic Croc style with an insulated liner that will take your relaxation to a whole new level.” 

GoPro Hero 10 Camera

Why it's a great gift: “Document all of your adventures with the most user-friendly and high-quality camera there is,” says Russell. After all, if you go on an adventure and don’t have footage to post, did you even really catch that monster wave/get those fresh tracks/summit that mountain?

Patagonia DAS Light Hoody

Why it’s a great gift: Patagonia is worth the splurge for a couple of reasons: Everything is durable, guaranteed, and produced to the highest environmental standard possible. They hope that if you buy a jacket, you’ll wear that jacket for years and years and years. Russell’s go-to? This ultralight, water-resistant hoody. “The perfect size packable puffy that can live in your backpack,” he says. (There’s a women’s version also.)

Crazy Creek Original Chair

Why it’s a great gift: Crazy Creek chairs are ultra-portable, so it’s not impractical to bring one with you when you’re camping. And, as per Russell’s experience, it’s worth it. “Having a chair to sit in while camping will help save your lower back and also make basecamp exponentially more comfortable,” he says. “Stay warm and dry off the snow when hanging outside, or bring it into your tent while you read at night before bed.”

Salt and Stone, SPF 50 Stick
Salt and Stone

Why it’s a great gift: “Sunscreen is crucial. Be it at the beach or in the mountains, I strive to take care of my exposed skin,” says Russell. “Organic and natural, I’ve field-tested Salt and Stone products in some pretty extreme environments, and it holds up!”  

Daisy Barringer is a Thrillist contributor.