Holiday Gear Guide: 5 Must-have Gifts for Active Travelers
It’s that time of year when it seems the whole world is blanketed in one big, fat, holiday-red-tag sale. Whether you’re buying for someone else or treatin’ yo’ self to gifts for the holidays, now is the best (read cheapest) season to buy.
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Here are five must-have gifts for the active traveler in your life (even if that active traveler is you) …
Best Gifts for Active Travelers
LG V30+ 128GB Smartphone (Unlocked)
It wasn’t long ago that I never left home without my entire DLSR camera kit — full Nikon body, several lenses, a bevy of filters … the works. Now, I’m a little more lax. Smartphone cameras (both photo and video) are lightyears ahead of where they were just a few years ago. The one camera that turned me on to the possibility of traveling “smartphone-only” was LG’s V30+.
There’s a lot to love about this smartphone. The 6-inch QHD+ OLED display is crisp, bright, and absolutely beautiful — perfect for reviewing my just-taken photos and video. The F/1.6 glass camera lens takes awesome shots in even super low light, while the wide-angle option means it’s great for landscapes.
The shell is lightweight yet ultra-durable with IP68 dust and water resistance. It’s rugged enough for even the most active travelers to take on the road (or way, way off). For all of these reasons, the V30+ was my go-to hip camera for my entire two weeks in Antarctica. I took it kayaking with me every day and it performed like a champ.
The best part? Since the release of the new LG V40, the LG V30+ is now discounted as a “previous generation” smartphone. No matter though! For travelers, I highly recommend hitting up Amazon for a deeply discounted V30+. Choose the 128GB unlocked version, and you’ll be ready to travel with it almost anywhere in the world with whatever SIM/carrier you choose.
Suunto 9 Baro Titanium Sports Watch
“Three things will be left at the end of the world … Twinkies, cockroaches, and this watch.”
— Runner’s World
Any hardcore adventure traveler (myself included) loves to keep tabs on their outdoor activity. For that, Suunto has fast become my favorite, go-to brand for sports watches. The flagship Suunto 9 Baro Titanium is their most durable multisport watch which features an almost absurd level of versatility, flexibility, and customization options.
The 9 Baro Titanium tracks your GPS coordinates, distance traveled, heart rate, barometric functions, weather alerts, and has 80 built-in sports modes. The big get for avid outdoorsmen, however, is the durability and battery life. I threw everything I could at this watch for the last three weeks and it barely blinked. The battery is good for up to 120 hours, but the watch is smart enough to throttle usage based on your activity. It’ll even provide alerts when it needs to be charged, and let you know if your next workout/activity requires more juice than the watch is currently charged with.
It’s damn pricey, but I’ve long believed that you get what you pay for and this is the single best GPS multisport watch on the market right now.
Henty CoPilot Messenger Bag
Wheels were one of the last truly “revolutionary” additions to modern luggage. Not a whole lot has changed since.
So, I was pretty excited to check out Henty’s clever line of luggage. Their CoPilot Messenger is an ingenious design that offers all the versatility and portability of a traditional backpack, but with the added capability of keeping your clothes wrinkle-free while on the road.
Once unfurled, the design allows you to lay out enough clothing for a long weekend (or even longer, depending on how much of a packing ninja you are), then “roll” it up around the single, inner, waterproof chamber in which you store 20L worth of toiletries, shoes, booze, etc. Separate exterior pockets provide for easy-to-reach storage for your passport, travel documents, and laptop. The smart, built-in hanger makes it a snap to stow in the closet once you get where you’re going.
The Henty CoPilot is also available as a backpack.
AxisGO Waterproof Housing for iPhone X
A decent waterproof housing for your DSLR camera can sometimes cost as much as the camera itself. If you’re looking to get into the underwater photography or videography game for far less and you already own an iPhone, AxisGO’s purpose-built housing is a great alternative.
To be clear, the AxisGO waterproof case/housing isn’t the first and only such underwater iPhone case on the market. But, from what I can tell, it’s one of the best designed. The feature set is incredibly solid for photographers looking for something more than just a way to waterproof their iPhone:
Functional touchscreen membrane
Interchangeable Lens port
Robust top and bottom mounting brackets
Pistol Grip kit
Professional quality accessory lenses
Anti-reflective and hydrophobic glass coatings
Tenba DNA 15 Messenger
For the last two years, Peak Design’s Everyday Messenger was my go-to carry-on. It held exactly what I needed it to — my camera gear, water bottle, reading material, electronic cables, and all the other bits and bobs that my travels require. I still love it. But, it was starting to fray. So, I figured it was a good excuse to try something new.
In my case, that something new was Tenba’s DNA 15 Messenger. It holds an ample amount of gear: a 15-inch MacBook Pro, 1 DSLR or mirrorless camera body, 2-3 lenses along with plenty of additional space for documents, cables, memory cards, my passport, and a water bottle on the side.
The zippers feature oversized pulls that are easy to grab, even with gloved hands and the Velcro uses some sort of space-age technology (my words, not Tenba’s) to make it almost completely silent when opening.
Plus, I love the dark, cobalt, denim-ish look. It’s stylish, but stealth enough not to make me feel like a mark for pickpockets while I’m traveling. I prefer the standard DNA 15 Messenger, but if you want something a bit more streamlined, the DNA 15 Slim Messenger is comparable but not quite as deep.