The gift of gear

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Quality outdoor gear is highly specialized, often expensive and rarely sold at department stores. That can make buying holiday treats for the adventure set a bit difficult. To make your shopping easier, here are some ideas for outdoorsmen who've been naughty and nice.

Clintonville Outfitters

2869 N. High St., Clintonville



Nice: I/O Biocompatibles wool base layers

Those who remain active in winter need clothes that maintain body heat while they're moving around and standing still. This line of separates is thin, comfortable and able to whisk away moisture. Its wool blend insulates even when damp. Women's underwear starts at $25, while a men's long-sleeve top costs $70.

Naughty: Sigg aluminum water bottle

Decrying single-use plastics is very in right now, and many have avoided them with these sleek, stylish containers. The 0.6-liter model starts at $18. Smaller kid models with cartoon prints are also available.

Mad River Outfitters

813 Bethel Rd., North Side



Nice: Orvis Clearwater Packable Jacket

This amazingly comfortable nylon windbreaker is perfect for the all-season angler - and anyone else venturing into inclement weather. It's waterproof, breathable and able to be stuffed into a larger pocket on a fly vest. With a cached hood, zippered breast pockets and patented Dry Cuff wrist straps, it's a bargain at $98.

Naughty: Simms Windstopper Foldover Mitt

Mittens are warmer, gloves more dexterous. This water-resistant fleece pair, available for $40, is the best of both worlds. A mitten flap can be worn to stave off the cold or folded back and Velcroed to reveal fingertip-less gloves perfect for handling delicate objects.

Outdoor Source

3121 Kingsdale Center, Upper Arlington



Nice: Osprey Aether 60 backpack

Experts prefer smaller, lighter bags for overnight hikes, but novice backpackers should invest in a versatile, comfortable 60-liter pack capable of storing their cheaper, bulkier gear. Osprey's model costs only $219, weighs just under four pounds and has plenty of rings and ties for on-trail accoutrements.

Naughty: Squishy Bowls by Guyot Designs

These bowls are made of flexible silicone, which means they maintain their shape even when mangled, crunched or compacted into a tight sack. A pair of bowls - one six-ounce, one 16-ounce - costs $15.

Wild Birds Unlimited

5400 Riverside Dr., North Side



Nice: Eagle Optics Triumph binoculars

You don't need binocs to watch birds, but they help. At $90, this is a great starter set from a trusted brand: waterproof, ultra-light (9.1 ounces) and small enough (about 4.5 inches square) to fit into a jacket pocket. Its field of view and magnification power are both great for spotting a range of birds and other wildlife.

Naughty: Jim's Birdacious Bark Butter

Instead of dropping cash to spot distant birds, bring them to the backyard with this simple mix of peanut butter and suet (32 ounces for $10). It's the ultimate low-maintenance birding tool - simply spread some of the concoction onto a nearby tree and wait.

For more outdoor ideas and Nature Note, click to The Riot Act blog at