The holiday season has arrived, and with it, the pressure to buy the perfect gift for everyone on your list. While I can’t help you shop for everyone, if you’re lucky enough to have a travel lover to buy for, I’m about to make your life a whole lot easier. Behold, my 2014 Holiday Gift Guide For Travelers.
While this list could go on and on, I’ve narrowed it down to just a few quality products that I fully endorse (and in almost every case, personally own and use). And to make sure there’s something here for every budget, items range in price from $14 to $450.
Lastly, it’s important to know that this list is just as much a buying guide for others as it is a guide to awesome gear to buy for yourself — so go ahead, treat yourself to something nice this holiday season, you deserve it.
Lanai Collection – Hooded Full-Zip Sweater
If you’re a frequent traveler, you’ve probably got your travel uniform down to a science — you know, the pants, shirt, socks, and shoes that keep you feeling comfortable yet looking good when you’re stuck at an airport or up in the air. One key component to any traveling man’s wardrobe, is a good hoodie — and not the one you never washed in college. Enter the hooded full-zip sweater from Lanai Collection. Made of cashmere and silk, the hooded full-zip sweater is lightweight yet warm and fitted yet not constricting, making it the ultimate addition to your go-to travel get up (I recently traveled from Los Angeles to London and wore mine nearly the whole time, plane ride and all).
If you haven’t heard of Lanai Collection yet, that’s because the company is brand new. The menswear brand, inspired by the Hawaiian island of Lanai and founded by David Ellison, movie producer and son of Billionaire/Lanai owner, Larry Ellison, also makes quality, comfortable essentials like t-shirts, bathing suits, sweaters, and chinos (do yourself a favor and check those out too). $445
Bush Craft 101 – A Field Guide To The Art Of Wilderness Survival
For the traveler who likes to get way off the beaten path and experience the thrill of the wild (without needing to be helicoptered out after realizing it’s harder than it looks on TV), Bushcraft 101: a Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival is a must read. This New York Time bestseller written by survivalist expert Dave Canterbury (whose survival videos have racked up more than 34 million views of YouTube), focuses on the 5 Cs of Survivability — cutting tools, covering, combustion devices, containers, and cordages (a.k.a. ropes/knots). Among other essential skills necessary to backcountry trekking and camping, you’ll learn how to build essential tools, collect and cook food, and protect yourself from the elements. On a personal note, this book is sitting on my bedside table right now, and not only does it make me appear masculine as hell, I’m learning a lot. $13
Sol Republic – Punk Wireless Speaker & Tracks Air Wireless Headphones
You know what would make packing and traveling easier, eliminating cords. Computer chargers, phone chargers, USB cords and the list goes on. So where an opportunity arises to cut the cord, you grab that opportunity by the, err, cord-less air in front of you and never look back.
Say hello to two amazing cord-less products from Sol Republic — the Punk Wireless Speaker and the Tracks Air Wireless Headphones. Just sync the compact, rugged, and water and shock resistant Punk Wireless Speaker with your phone or tablet via bluetooth and you’ll be able to play your music loudly, anywhere you want for up to eight hours — whether you’re partying in a hotel room, hiking up a mountain or hanging on a beach. For keeping your music, movies or TV shows to yourself, go for the lightweight Tracks Air Wireless Headphones, which feature a 15-hour battery life, 150-ft range, and built-in phone headset for handsfree (and wire-free) calling. Punk Wireless Speaker: $69.99. Tracks Air Wireless Headphones: $199.99
Grayl – Quest Water Bottle
Simply staying hydrated while traveling can help fight jet lag, keep your joints lubricated, and aid in digestion. But choosing the right water bottle for your travel needs can be tough (check out my list: The 8 Best Water Bottle For Traveling). If your travels bring you from exploring your own backyard to exploring developing nations, look no further than the Quest from Grayl, which features an integrated and interchangeable filter. Included with every bottle is the Tap Filter, which’ll do the job of standard household filters and knock out unwanted chemicals and metals. If you’re planning to get off the grid with the likes of a camping or fishing trip, just screw in the Trail Filter and safely fill up from most outdoor water sources. For use during international travel, go for the Travel Purifier which will filter out 99.999% of viruses like Hepatitis A, SARS, and Rotavirus, 99.9999% of disease-causing bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella, and 99.999% of protozoan cysts like Giardia. To see just how many places your Grayl would be a trip saver (and possibly a life saver), check out this infographic on countries with and without safe drinking water. $49.95 (Quest w/ Tap Filter. Trail Filter and Travel Purifier sold separately).
Surfing, snowboarding and skiing are incredible travel activities. And nowadays, those activities almost require a GoPro strapped to your body so you can capture and share all of the coolest moments. But if regular old GoPro footages just won’t cut it, then you need Trace – a tiny action sports tracker that measures performance stats and super-imposes them onto your footage. For the surfer, it’ll track your number of waves caught, length of ride (distance/speed), biggest turns and much more. For the skier or boarder, Trace will map your runs, track air time, measure vertical and the list goes on. Trace will then automatically edit down those hours of GoPro footage into a highlight reel of your most impressive moves of the day — complete with color correction and on-screen stats. All of your data can also be tracked using the Trace app, where you can monitor your personal progress and compete with friends. $199.99
You know that American road trip you’ve been planning? You should definitely still take it, but until you do, why not give your tastebuds (or the tastebuds of your co-pilot) a head start? With Mantry (The Modern Man’s Pantry), the food-loving dude on your list will get a monthly delivery filled with six full-sized artisan food products from all over America, conveniently packaged in a handmade wooden crate and accompanied by a manual detailing product stories and recipes. Think dry-cured applewood smoked bacon from Kentucky, Clam Chowder from Maine, and bourbon pecan butter from Virginia. Sign me up. $225 for a three month subscription, $450 for six months
Eddie Bauer/A First Ascent – Claim Touchscreen Gloves
You’ve been there — you’re on the mountain enjoying a day of snowboarding or skiing when you need to use your phone to make a call, take a photo or check a map. So, off come your gloves so you can control your phone with your bare (and now cold) fingers. Don’t let the same thing happen to that special skier or snowboarder on your list — give them the new Claim Touchscreen Gloves by Eddie Bauer. These waterproof and insulated gloves with a comfortable microfleece lining are designed with touch screen capability on the thumb and index finger so you can conveniently control your phone without needing to take them off. It’s the little things in life that make all the difference. I’ll be wearing these gloves all winter when I snowboard. $159.00
SAXX – Boxer Briefs
I know what you’re thinking, “Underwear, really?” Yes, really. On the surface, giving a dude underwear seems even more boring than giving a dude a tie, but hear me out. On average, most guys don’t put a lot of thought into choosing their drawers, and honestly, who want’s to think about men’s underwear anyway? But if you’re not putting some serious thought into the first thing you put on every day, you’re doing it all wrong — especially if you’re a frequent traveler. Traveling as a dude involves, well, extra baggage that needs special handling, and long plane rides, outdoor adventures and hours spend touring cities on foot in the wrong underwear is at best, simply annoying, and at worst, painful. So this holiday season, leave uncomfortable underwear behind and upgrade to Saxx, makers of the perfect boxer briefs for travelers. For the softest in the Saxx lineup, go for the Platinum, which is made of 95% Moral (a natural fibre made from a European beachwood pulp) and 5% spandex. $24-$34.95
Stephen Kenn – Travel Cocktail Kit
Have you finally set up a home bar that you’re proud to put on display? Have you mastered making a few signature cocktails? Congratulations, you’re one step closer to becoming (or at least being perceived as) a real adult. Then why is it when you travel, all of your newfound cocktail knowhow goes right out the window and it’s back to mixing a mass market liquor with Coke or ginger ale like you’re a college freshman? To solve this problem and seriously take your cocktail game to the next level, you need Stephen Kenn’s brand new, leather and canvas Travel Cocktail Kit. Inside, you’ll find nine empty bottles (which can be filled up using ingredients from your home bar), a mixing spoon, funnel, and a book of 15 travel cocktail recipes created by the guys behind NYC’s famed cocktail bar, Death & Co. And now that you’re outfitted like a true professional, go ahead a whip up a cocktail or three for yourself or your travel companions as you revel in your new status as the coolest traveler ever. $275
Disclaimer: I was gifted product by the following companies: Lanai Collection, Bushcraft 101, Sol Republic, Grayl, Eddie Bauer and Stephen Kenn. However, this has no effect on my recommendations (I never –ever– recommend gifted products that I don’t love and use myself).