For those ladies in your life who would rather sleep under the stars than under a roof, or would choose merino wool over cashmere, have a look at the outdoor gift ideas we’ve pulled together for her and all active women in your life.
Also check out our Gift Ideas for Him and activity-specific gift guides from Active Junky, or gifts from our sister site, Tom’s Guide, with over 250 techy gift ideas. And don’t forget to sign up for Active Junky for the best deals and cash back on your gear and gift purchases.
Best Gifts for Her
Photo Credit: Juan Arreguin/Unsplash
|Bolle||MSR||The North Face|
Osprey Sirrus 50
For weekend adventures, the Osprey Sirrus 50 is a go-to bag. The Airspeed system is a thing of beauty. While the torso is not incredibly easy to adjust (held tight by Velcro), every angle and point of pressure can be dialed. The hip belts are extremely comfortable, even with a fully loaded pack. Duel hip belt zippered pockets were appreciated, but testers noted their volume is less than other packs reviewed. Brain, side stuff and front stuff pockets provide quick access, and an additional zippered pocket on the front of the stuff mesh pocket was a clever addition. Our tester fell in love with this backpack, and it immediately became her backpack of choice.
Best for: Overnight and weekend warrioring; day hikes when gear and layers are needed
Pacsafe Metrosafe LS200
Pacsafe is a leader in travel security luggage, bags and backpacks, and included in their Metrosafe collection is the LS200 Crossbody Bag. Packed with security features to protect not only her physical property but also her digital assets, this messenger-style bag features slashguard material and straps, locking zippers and RFID blocking technology to prevent scanning credit cards through the bag. The 7L is plenty of room to carry basic necessities like a wallet, phone, charger, sunglasses, a book and even a light packable jacket. For a smaller model, the LS100 offers 3L and all the same technology.
MSR Lightning Explore Snowshoe
MSR Lightning Explore Snowshoes come in both men’s and women’s models that balance weight and durability for aggressive pursuits. Dual bindings are easy to tighten and release, and come with a freeze-resistant attachment for when conditions get harsh. Spikes around the base of the shoe provide traction even while stepping, and MSR Ergo Televators step ups reduce fatigue when the pitch gets steep. The women’s model is lower profile and designed specifically for smaller gaits, with the 22in model supporting up to 180lbs while only weighing in at 3lbs 9oz for the pair; the men’s 25in pair weighs 4lbs and supports up to 280lbs.
Best for: Winter hiking and gaining elevation on snowy ascents
Off the bat, these goggles have one breathtaking aspect—the price. Cylindrical lenses help keep the price low, as do double-layer face foam (as opposed to triple in some of the higher-end models). Also, the simple Scarlett comes with just one lens and it isn’t interchangeable (not surprising given the pricetag), but it is coated with a “protective armor” called Carbo Glas that minimizes scratching and maximizes the life of the lens. And if you couldn’t tell by the color scheme or the name, these trim and streamlined Bolle goggles are designed specifically for the ladies. Silicone straps, Flow-Tech venting, and an Anti-Fog layer round out a standard package at an attractive price.
Vasque Breeze III GTX
We took these Vasque women’s hiking boots to Arches National Park. The eight-mile loop around Devil’s Garden provided varying terrain to test them out: red dirt, slick rock, steep trails and sandy washes—these boots tackled them all with confidence. The toe and heel ventilation and breathable upper were great for desert hiking. Vasque claims out-of-the-box comfort, and we purposefully didn’t put these boots on until the morning of an all-day hiking adventure. At the end of the day after miles and hours, there was no foot fatigue or soreness. This gift will take her to the top of a 14er or the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
Best for: Day hikes, backpacking, mixed trails and especially rocky condition
CEP Dynamic + Run Ultralight Low-Cut Socks – Women’s
Compression technology offers a myriad of benefits from increasing blood flow to decreasing fatigue. CEP’s Dynamic + Run are high quality compression socks that are reasonably priced. They are designed for comfort with an extra-flat toe seam and wrinkle-free fit to prevent hot spots and blisters, and the close fit keeps the socks up on your ankle even with a low-cut design while a bit of cushion in the heels helps absorb shock, especially important over long distances. Filament fibers increase durability, and polypropylene material provides heat and moisture management while also being naturally order resistant. These socks are made to last and go the distance. The Dynamic + Run low cut model is also available in men’s sizes.
Patagonia Levitation Hoody
Versatile and easy to stash, this Patagonia softshell jacket is dynamic enough to move and breathe with her through any activity. The Levitation is a great piece for layering, so if she needs to adjust to conditions by adding or removing layers, this could be the perfect gift for her. Due to its relatively small packing size, as well as offering both wind and water protection with breathable construction, Patagonia Levitation provides waterproof and windproof weather protection needed without filling up too much of her bag.
Best for: Packable protection that goes the distance; minimalist backpacking trip in a tropical climate
Airblaster Merino Ninja Suit
What could be better than a cozy warm onesie? One made from high-performance Merino wool would be the answer. Airblaster has been making their men’s and women’s ninja suits for years, and added new prints and designs this season. Plenty of thought went into the women’s specific ninja suit, including fitted hood with pony tail hole, and you have to love the thumb holes. A waist drawstring keeps the suit in place on your hips, and instead of a lumberjack-style rear flap, there's a 350-degree waist circumference zipper so you don't have to take the suit off should nature call. Merino wool is soft, moisture wicking and naturally odor resistant. The ninja suit is great for layering on colder days or lounging around after a full day of playing. Or sleeping in on cold nights, which our tester may or may not do on a regular basis.
Best for: Keeping warm and comfy while hitting the trails or the slopes or even just the couch
Duluth Women’s Free Swingin’ Flannel Tunic
Fall weather now approaching winter cold means it's time to bust out the trusty flannel wardrobe, and Duluth is a leader in the flannel department. The Free Swingin’ Flannel Tunic is a comfy shirt with a simple ascetic but plenty of thoughtful design, including bi-swing underarm gussets that move and stretch with you to avoid restricting movement and a shirttail shammy at the base of the buttons for convenient cleaning of glasses or touch screen device. The collar-less design allows for release of heat in case you’re wearing this flannel shirt while being active, and you can easily roll up your sleeves for a bit of extra cooling when needed. The fit is relaxed, and our testers noted the sizing seemed to run a bit large, so consider going down a size if you tend to teeter between sizes.
Best for: Causal wear around a mountain town or working outdoors
Duluth Women’s Flapjack Flannel Shirt Jac
When you need a bit more than a basic flannel, grab the Flapjack Flannel Shirt Jac from Duluth. Weighing 8.3oz and including 60 grams of polyfill insulation, this flannel jacket will keep you warm down to 40 degrees. The nylon taffeta lining includes quilted baffles to keep insulation in place and create pockets of warmth. Inside you’ll also find two generous pockets, and outside two chest pockets and two hand pockets—all for plenty of storage room. Like other flannels from Duluth, bi-swing underarm gussets and a relaxed fit allow for easy movement and layering. Adjustable side snaps allow you to create a closer fit around your waist, though testers personally noted the small size seemed to run a bit large, so consider stepping down a size from your normal jacket if you prefer a tighter fit.
Best for: Keeping warm and layering in colder weather hovering around 40 degrees
Stio Woodson Down Vest
When it comes to necessary winter apparel, the puffy vest is high on that list. The Stio Woodson Down Vest is packed with water repellent 650-fill down held in place by large baffles to keep you surrounded in pockets of cozy warmth. Front zipper with button flaps help keep the cold out as well. Exterior pockets give your hands relief from wind or precipitation, while interior pockets can accommodate smaller items like gloves or a beanie, and the hood is also insulated with a close fit and cinching drawstring to tighten it down in case the wind picks up. The fit is roomy enough to layer with thicker baselayers, and a favorite feature is the longer back length giving you a bit more coverage below the waist. A men’s version is also available, though it lacks the hood.
Best for: Keeping your core warm while cruising around city sidewalks or mountain trails
Stio Kita Fleece Hooded Jacket
A nice midlayer can be a crucial piece of gear that is versatile as it can be worn for layering or on its own in milder weather. The Kita Fleece Hooded Jacket from Stio is a solid piece with its 100% polyester fleece material with wicking finish. The inner layer is soft to the touch, including brushed fleece chin guard. Thumbholes keep sleeves in place, and the hood is a perfect size for running around and pairing with a beanie, though it’s not large enough to accommodate a helmet. Zippered hand pockets keep items safe, and a smaller zippered pocket on the arm is perfect for items like credit card, ID or key card. While this jacket offers some weather resistance, we recommend an outer layer if you’ll be encountering windy conditions.
The North Face Apex Elevation Jacket
The PrimaLoft insulation in The North Face Apex Elevation makes this a cold climate focused softshell jacket that brings a lot to the table. It has a classic and clean styling with a bevvy of color choices for those of us who like options. This is a very approachable jacket made to last the winter. Adding to the cozy factor, the neck and cuffs are lined with a super-soft fleece, and the cuffs have an additional stretchy layer to seal in warmth. The cinch-able hood is detachable, giving you the versatility to remove some bulk when you’re just heading downtown, or zip on the hood when you need extra protection from the elements. And the hood’s zipper is protected by a small softshell flap so that your zipper isn’t your weak point in a downpour, or under a waterfall. Which is the cherry on top of the weather protection provided by the Durable Water Resistant (DWR) finish.
Best for: Chilly nights setting up camp and roasting marshmallows around the campfire
The North Face Venture ½ Zip Pant
These women’s hiking pants were made for the trail—no matter the weather. Waterproof and lightweight, these TNF pants keep legs dry with HyVent 2.5-layer fabric and fully taped seams. In addition, they’re also insanely breathable and comfortable. An elastic waist, a relaxed fit, and bottom ankle zips make them ideal for constantly changing climates (example: Active Junky’s home state of Colorado).
Craghoppers NosiLife Travel Shorts
Whether traveling internationally or gaining altitude in the backcountry, The NosiLife Travel Shorts from Craghoppers are a pair she'll want in her arsenal. These lightweight safari-like shorts are great for warmer weather with both SPF and NosiLife insect repellency built into the material to keep her comfortable and protected. The length is perfect for covering the thighs while bushwhacking without restricting movement at the knee when scrambling up hills and rocks. These travel shorts are slim fit, so consider a size up if she likes a more relaxed fit.
Best for: Hiking, camping, traveling with the protection of SPF and insect repellant