The 2014 Hilltromper Gift Guide

by Traci Hukill and Molly Lautamo

Dec. 8, 2014—Got a special adventurenik on your list? Keep your sweetie or bestie safe, warm, fed, caffeinated and looking good when the wild comes calling.

Grit Nightshift

Is there any reason a bike light must have the personality of a black chunk of plastic? We say nay! The colorful silicone Grit Nightshift, designed in Santa Cruz by active people with good taste, melds playful styling with tough but simple design to house all the light a person might need on a two-wheeled adventure under dense canopy or fading daylight. Comes as a kit with a 36-lumen flashlight or alone so you can fit something brighter into its cartooney but seriously functional form. Great for kids too. And not that we would ever condone drinking and riding, but Grit’s under-seat-mounted Bottle Biter opener has kind of won our hearts. In four shades of flashy anodized aluminum. Find them at Nightshift $24 (kit) or $18 (light carrier alone); Bottle Biter $18. (TH)

Emberlit FireAnt Ultralight Stove

Know someone who’s serious about traveling light? This ingenious little device weighs 2.8 ounces, collapses down to a trifling ⅛ of an inch and runs on sticks and pine cones (or denatured alcohol or Esbit fuel pellets for adventures above the treeline). According to this rave from Backpacking Culture, you can get 2 cups of water to a full rolling boil in about 5 minutes. Dang. $70 at (TH)

GSI Outdoors Commuter Java Press

Even when out in the backcountry, you can’t expect the coffee connoisseur to settle for cowboy coffee. The Commuter Java Press is the perfect companion for car camping or gourmet backpacking. It’s extra insulated to keep your coffee warm even on the coldest of mountaintops and has a leakproof lid so you won’t dribble down the front of your fancy down sweater. In this combination coffee maker-and-mug, you’ll have two essential survival items in one space-saving package. At Outdoor World, 136 River St, Santa Cruz. $22.95. (ML)

Moved By Bikes Surf Racks & Dog Runner

Grommets, dog owners and grownup surfers living the dream will turn backflips when Santa leaves a Moved By Bikes Surf Rack or Dog Runner under the tree. Constructed of aluminum tubing with smart details, including quick-release capability, these super-stable bike-mounted racks keep surfboards close and galloping dogs from barreling across the front wheel. Stability’s the name of this game, and this Santa Cruz-grown startup has it figured out. Surf columnist and Hilltromper contributor Brooke Wright says the thief who gaffled the old racks off her bike actually did her a favor: “With [my new] MBB racks I could cruise confidently through downtown and along West Cliff knowing my board's weight would follow mine through bumps, wind, and turns.” Find it at most Santa Cruz surf shops or at Moved By Bikes. $135 (Surf Rack) and $85 (Dog Runner). (TH)

Fynd Fredum Chalk Bag

Chalk bags are to climbers as good socks are to hikers: They’re really not optional. Every indoor and outdoor climber, from beginner to master, needs one (or several), and luckily for the gift-givers, a chalk bag is affordable and easily shippable. With the wide variety of colors, patterns and materials out there it should be a cinch to find the perfect bag for any climber. One of our favorites, the SLO-based company Fynd Fredum, has handmade, eco-friendly bags made from recycled materials like old climbing rope and upholstery scraps. Throw in some chalk and you’ve got yourself a killer gift. At Pacific Edge Climbing Gym, 104 Bronson St #12, Santa Cruz. From $20 to $30. (ML)

The Leatherman X Roark Knife

Bottle opener? Check. Carabiner clip? Check. Screwdriver? You got two of ‘em. Oh yeah, and the knife part? It’s really awesome. Compact and light enough to go unnoticed in your pocket, it’ll have you constantly looking for fish to clean, ropes to cut, wood to whittle and any other excuse to use this beautiful knife. With a matte black handle and inscribed blade, this accessory is sure to impress all the ladies and gents. At Stripe Men, 117 Walnut Ave, Santa Cruz. $88. (ML)

Adventure Out Gift Certificate

You know how everybody’s all like, “This year, give the gift of experience”? And you’re like, “Hello, Italy’s out of my price range?” Adventure Out can help solve your modern conundrum with introductory to advanced classes in climbing, surfing, survival, tracking—even kayak-making. Or spring for one of the guided backpacking excursions to mind-bending locales. It’s an easy win. Peruse the Activity Calendar here. From $89. (TH)

Pine to the Pacific Rucksack

This is a rucksack for biking around the city or hiking through the forest. Made of weather-proofed wax canvas, it protects your laptop from the elements on your ride to work. Hiking up a mountain with your handy nature guides? No problem. The sack’s adjustable leather straps and foam backing insert provide all the support you need to lug the entire Jepson manual without putting your shoulders in knots. The best part? This sweet pack is constructed entirely in San Francisco and has a lifetime guarantee. Hurry, this hipster must-have sells fast! At Alite Outpost, 3376 18th St, San Francisco. $150. Or click and buy: (ML)

Black Diamond Ion LED Headlamp

This is the headlamp for tech junkies who assume everything turns on with the swipe of a finger. Swipe across the front of the flash-drive–sized lamp for red night-vision or bright white light. This headlamp is super simple and surprisingly fun, not to mention blindingly bright at its highest setting of 80 lumens. Also, small enough to stash in your pocket so you’re never caught in the dark unprepared. Comes with batteries, like every good headlamp should. Find it at Down Works, 222 River St, Santa Cruz. $25. (ML)

Pat’s Backcountry Beer Concentrate

Your favorite beer-swilling backpacker will thank you when you present him or her with this nifty lightweight solution to the terrible backcountry problem of no beer. Just fill the BPA-free container with water, carbonate it using an Activator Packet and—just like the astronauts would!—add a packet of Pat’s specially brewed concentrated Black Hops IPA or Pale Rail. And there it is: life, complete. Read about it on GarageGrownGear. At REI or Carbonator bottle $40; 4-pack of beer concentrate $10. (TH)

Hilltromper T-shirt

Obviously! The first choice for discriminating adventurers, the Hilltromper T-shirt features the ultra-cool Hilltromper logo in front and life-changing winged boot design on the back, all in spectacular woven, breathable, all-natural, once-plantlike, 100 percent cotton. Go where the winged boot takes you! Available at our office, 877 Cedar St, Santa Cruz, or by emailing me: $15.

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