Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Top 5 Gear Gifts for Your Girl

If your adventuring lady is in need of some fashionably rugged gear this holiday season, look no further. Here are 5 super sweet picks that will be sure to keep her feeling warm and looking fine this winter:

1. Columbia's Powerfly Down Jacket.  Columbia's patented Omni-Heat® thermal reflective reflective lining promises body-heat-retaining technology and also features a rain-repellent exterior. A lightweight down jacket that not only deflects moisture, but also packs a powerful punch of efficiency by recycling your body heat? That's a tall order to fill, but fortunately the Powerfly Down Jacket lives up to the hype.

The 800 fill-power down insulation makes it warm enough for really cold temps with a good base layer, but it's also very easy to compress and comes with a storage pouch that's great for tucking into your pack or purse.

Runs small. Dark colors are preferred to avoid seeing the down feathers through the material. 


Flattering puffer jacket with several color options that will keep your lady warm on single digit days. 


Lighter colors allow the dark down feathers to show through, making the jacket look dirty.

Pricetag: $220 on Columbia.com.

2. Sorel Women's Slimpack Riding Boot.  Ok, known fact that I am partial to all things horses and riding. But, I am also really picky when it comes to my boots - riding or otherwise. So, I was delighted to find these equestrian inspired winter boots that many ladies are wearing to the office, to run errands, and out to social functions. The slim shaft of the boot contours nicely with jeans, leggings, or skirts and the waterproof, micro fleece and leather upper will keep those calves warm in sub-zero temps. The lower boot is constructed of waterproof rubber, which is guaranteed to repel moisture and allow your girl to spend hours trekking in the snow. 

Runs large. Best way to order is to call direct and speak with a sales representative to ensure a good fit.

Pros: Very fashionable and rugged multi-purpose boot.

Cons: Sizing issues are rampant with this brand and boot shaft may be snug.

Pricetag: $210 on Sorel.com.

3. Suncloud Colfax Polarized Lenses. The 90s are back, baby! With new and improved technology. I'm a big fan of Suncloud sunglasses in general - they are hardy polarized lenses with a comparably small pricetag for the value. Take the Colfax - lightweight polarized polycarbonate frames with subtle retro style. They're also extremely scratch-resistant and come with a lifetime warranty.

Comes in three colors. My personal favorite is the pyscho black frames with brown lenses.

Pros: Super lightweight, but durable fashion-forward shades with an affordable pricetag.

Cons: None!

Pricetag: $49.99 on Suncloudoptics.com or REI.com.

4. Darn Tough Socks.  I know, I know. No one wants socks for Christmas. Except your girlfriend. Trust me, she'll want these babies. These high quality, extremely durable and comfy socks will keep your lady toasty during those cold winters and they come in some rad patterns. Made of Merino wool and Coolmax® materials, with a performance fit, and guaranteed for life, you can't beat this toe-warming technology.

There are options for outdoor activities of every variety and plenty of color patterns to choose from.  I'm a big fan of the ski/ride and the hike/trek varieties.

Pros: Pretty AND practical! And guaranteed for life - which means she can be as tough on her footwear as she is on her feet.

Cons: None!

Pricetag: $17-27 on Darntough.com 

5. GoFit Foam Roller. Ok, this one is even more practical and less sexy than the socks. But it is one of those little luxuries we often overlook when buying for ourselves. And it does come with the caveat that you can always transition from foam rolling into a nice massage.  

The GoFit Foam Roller makes this list because it is has so many therapeutic uses after outdoor activity - rolling out your back after a few days of sleeping on the stony ground, stretching out your IT bands after a long day of biking, or massaging those calves after hours on the slopes. It's durable and you can use it together to amp up the intimacy of a good workout.

Pros: Affordable, practical gift with theraeutic uses and an intimacy payoff.

Cons: She may not appreciate this one at first.

Pricetag: $19.95 on REI.com.

And the BONUS gift!

This one is a not traditional gear, but in today's outdoor world - you'll frequently have one in your pack and it could score you some great pics in the backcountry.

Samsung Galaxy S4 Active.

The Samsung Galaxy S4 Active is designed for people who want a cutting-edge smartphone with rugged tendencies   I've had this phone for about a year now and am really enjoying some of the more outdoorsy features - including the water and dust repellent features, the bright flashlight option (great for finding things in your tent), and the camera shooting modes with quick-share functionality (great for sharing a photo update on your rafting transport).

Here's a more in-depth review for all you technophiles.

Pros: Full functionality of a smartphone with a bit of extra protection for those wet, soggy days.

Cons: Not as rugged as advertised.

Pricetag: $199.99 with 2 year committment on AT&T.com 

Wahoo! Get any of these great gifts and you are gonna have one happy trail-ready lady!



Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Winter Hiking: Chief Mountain

Hi friends,

If you happen to be in the Front Range, you might be wondering why I'm posting about hiking in these frigid temps. Or, if you're crazy like me, you're thinking hiking might be in your weekend plans. Even if it means freezing like a popsicle.

I want to share a very special hike I did about a week ago with my future in-laws on Chief Mountain in the Front Range. This is a special hike for me because it was with my new family and it was one of their first in Colorado. I always cherish the hikes when friends and family from the East Coast get to witness the splendor of Colorado for the first time. Especially when it's covered in snow.

Chief Mountain is a great hike any time of year, with sweeping 360 degree views of several 14ers, gradual elevation gain (Class 2), and close proximity to Denver, Boulder, and the surrounding burbs.

The trailhead is accessible from Squaw Pass Road (Located along Squaw Pass Road behind Echo Mountain ski lift. Visit Summit Post for directions).

The trail winds through lodgepole pine forest with constant, but gradual elevation gain. During the summer months, the trail is bogged down with tourist hikers, but on a cold winter day traffic slows to a few adventurous snowshoers and wary chipmunks.

I've done this hike in the summer and winter months - and I gotta give it up to winter. The snow transforms the dense forest into a winter wonderland. Lodgepole pines morph into ice giants, fallen logs become sparkling snow drifts, and pictures look like postcards. The craggy summit delivers views of all the snow covered Front Range 14ers and simply cannot be beat.

So, if you happen to be crazy (and have no plans this weekend), you might want to consider strapping on those snowshoes, breaking out those poles, and heading on a frosty hike.