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Holiday gift guide: Outdoors photographer

Colin
December 3, 2018

It’s an affliction that every photographer suffers from; we love gear. It doesn’t matter if it’s a camera lens or a headlamp, we’re like bees to honey when it comes to gadgets.

For me and a ton of other photographers, it’s not just camera gear we lust after; it’s the other stuff we use out shooting. Whether it be the 20-mile hike to that epic sunset location, or killing time during a long airport layover, there is always something that can make you more comfortable. For me, considering most of what I do takes me far from civilization here’s a few things I’d be stoked to unwrap this year.

Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody ATOM LT HOODY MEN’S

I’ve got one of these hoodies, and it is probably my favorite insulating layer. The Atom LT Hoodie tips the scales at just 415g, but it warmer than garments weighing twice as much, and the air permeable CoreLoft insulation means it breaths and hot air can escape during exertion, unlike most puffy jackets.

The face fabric on the inside is soft to the touch, and the wrist cuffs are the best design I’ve come across on similar layers for comfort and durability. It’s got big pockets and the hood will accommodate a climbing or ski helmet too.

US$299 / AU$380

Goal Zero Sherpa 100 AC + Nomad 28 Solar panels

Of all the gear I’ve used this past year traveling, the Goal Zero Sherpa 100 + Inverter and Nomad 20 solar panel have been the most useful things we brought. With phones, cameras, headlamps and even headphones needing batteries these days having a portable power pack is becoming essential. The Sherp100 can be charged with the panels, through a 12v car charger or a wall socket, and holds enough power to charge a smartphone 10x or laptop twice.

When you charge with the solar panels, it takes about 8-16 hours to top the Sherpa 100 off, and the panels can also be plugged directly into your device via USB too.

Everything is water resistant, but I wouldn’t leave things out in a deluge and weighing 5lbs total, your devices might even outlast you.

US$549.90 / AU$948

JBL Flip 4 Bluetooth Speaker

Sometimes a campsite or a day at the beach needs some tunes, and the JBL Flip 4 is a compact reachable Bluetooth speaker. It’s water resistant (IPX7) and sees and features like voice assistant integration so you can use Siri through the speaker. What’s better, it also allows you to connect multiple devices and alternate which device it’s playing from so that everybody can pick a song.

JBL Flip 4 Speaker US$99.99 / AU$128

Garmin Fenix 5

Garmin’s Fenix 3 is the ultimate Ron Swanson approved manly smartwatch. It does everything a watch does, but with built-in GPS, and ABC (alto, barro, compass)  it can record your hike, help you navigate both directionally and topographically and let you know if there’s a storm coming.

The watch is also Bluetooth enabled meaning you can export your activities to Strava wirelessly and download apps from the Connect IQ store, there’s everything from detailed weather forecasts to sunrise and sunset times, and it’s got wrist-based heart rate too. It’s like a swiss army knife for your wrist.

Garmin Fenix 5 US$599 / AU$789

Petzl – REACTIK+ 300 Lumens Headlamp

Petzl’s REACTIK headlamp, along with a space blanket and pocket knife are all things that never leave my camera bag.

Being outside you never know when you’re going to get stuck in the dark, and having a decent light source on hand has saved me more than once. This little light packs a 300-lumen punch and can be set to change its brightness based on the ambient light to maximize battery life. You can also connect it to your phone to see remaining battery life and change the light mode in real time.

Petzl’s REACTIK headlamp US$109.95 / AU$200

Smartwool Merino 150 Boxers

Bear with me when I say merino wool undies are one of the greatest things on earth. Not only does the soft material cradle your undercarriage nicely, but they also don’t chafe or smell — an especially nice feature after three or four days camping or a long haul flight from Dallas to Brisbane. They’re a little pricey but worth every penny!

Smartwool Merino 150 Boxers US$49 / AU$60

SOG Aegis Assisted Folding Knife

 

A high-quality pocket knife is something everyone should have. Once you get an EDC knife, you’ll be amazed how often you use it and wonder how you got by without it! You also don’t need to spend a fortune to get a great knife. The Sog Aegis Assisted open folding knife has a 3.5in straight edge blade and sees the brands assisted open technology.

The blade itself is made from high-quality AUS-8 steel and gets a black TiNi finish.

Patagonia Black Hole 60L Duffel Bag

Patagonia’s Black Hole duffels are nearly military grade. Whether it be remiss baggage handlers, or dogs who’re confused what’s a chew toy and what’s a bag, this duffel will keep your belongings safe, dry, and organized. I’ve got one, and after a rough life, it still looks brand new!!

Patagonia Black Hole 60L Duffel Bag US$129 / AU$169

AeroPress Coffee Maker

There are few things better in this world than crawling out of a tent and brewing a hot cup’o Joe. The AeroPress system is like a french press but way more portable and makes fantastic coffee in a couple of minutes. What’s better it’s super portable and easy to clean.

AeroPress Coffee Maker US$29 / AU$49

MSR Pocket Rocket 2


When climbing out of said tent and brewing that cup’o Joe, you’re going to need to heat some water. MSR’s Pocket Rocket is pretty much the smallest lightest stove you can buy and is claimed to boil a liter of water in 3.5min.

MSR Pocket Rocket 2 US$44 / AU$107.95

Yeti Rambler Lowball

Now you’ve got your coffee brewed, and the scenery is sorted you’re going to need a receptacle to drink from. Yeti is known for making hard-wearing functional gear, and the Rambler is no exception. It’s vacuum sealed and will keep your coffee warm (or another beverage cold) for hours, and of course, because it’s not made of plastic there’s no risk of BPA or other nasties. I’ve got a couple of these in my kitchen cupboard, and I can honestly say they are my favorite mugs.

Yeti Rambler Lowball US$19.99 / AU$24.94

Don’t forget to check out my 12 Gift ideas for photographers

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