When I brainstorm gift ideas for my mountaineering friends, I think of what I could use another of. Something that would be a welcome, even if they already have one — or two.
1. Voile straps are a backcountry skier’s duct tape. We find the longer lengths the most useful.
2. You can never have too many headlamps. One is necessary in your backcountry kit of course; an extra is handy on short winter days for biking, and any fumbling around in the dark. I use mine for checking the steaks on our grill after the sun sets.
Black Diamond Revolt can be charged with batteries or USB port. 130 lumens, about 4 oz and small enough to fit in your pocket or purse — city or backcountry.
3. A new pair of socks is always a treat. We recommend thin wool for skiing. Our favorite brand is Darn Tough and we wear them year round. They last. They’re expensive at $20+ per pair, but not a bad price for a high quality stocking stuffer. For maximum foot to boot responsiveness, we like seamless, over-the-calf ultra lights. Last time we looked Darn Tough sold a version specifically for skiing, with extra “padding.” Conventional wisdom in performance skiing is you get your “padding” from a well molded boot liner, not from random factory layers added to a sock. So again, stick with the ultra-light. See our Darn Tough sock reviews.
4. Ski Journal.
Ski Journal. It’s on every one of our gift lists. Yes, you only need one, but the subscription needs to be renewed again and again. (Hint, latest ish’ has the definitive profile of Glen Plake, pretty much a full biography of the most famous skier in the galaxy.)
5. Gorilla Tape — it’s almost too sticky. We stash rolls in the truck, kitchen, garage and cabin. Lou even uses it on his working man hammered hands. It’s been wrapped on my ski poles for the last few years and still works. Duct tape would have caramelized seasons ago. Hint: If you’re in the backcountry and need tape to really stick, wave a lighter flame over the glue before application. Hint 2: Be careful using Gorilla tape on bare skin as it can stick so well that removal is impossible without injury (same goes for duct tape, only not so much; assist removal of both by applying heat and solvent).
Readers — your additions to the list?