11 Brilliant Gifts for Outdoorsy People

iStock
iStock

Research suggests that exposure to nature has a number of health benefits—and at this time of year, your friends and family could probably use all they can get. Make their journey into the great outdoors fun and fuss-free with these gear picks, suitable for a variety of skill levels—from urban glamper to backcountry expert.

1. FJÄLLRÄVEN Keb Touring Down Jacket; $450

These lightweight, intensely squishable down jackets for men and women will keep your camping buddies extra-warm. The outer layer of recycled polyamide features reinforced panels on the shoulders, lower sleeves, and back, while the insulation of 95 percent ethically produced goose down and 5 percent feathers has a toasty 800 fill power. The whole jacket weighs only 150 grams (5.3 ounces)—perfect for ultralight backpacking as well as roasting marshmallows around the campfire.

Buy It: Amazon

2. Goal Zero Lighthouse 400 Lantern And USB Power Hub; $70

This compact lantern emits 400 lumens of LED light for spotlight-level brightness, while the dimmable directional lighting feature saves power for extended use. It also recharges fast using USB, solar, or hand-cranked energy. The built-in USB port can juice up phones and other small devices so your pals never miss an Instagram post.

Buy It: Amazon

3. Bike-mounted Bottle Carrier; $40

Handmade in Boulder, Colorado from upcycled bike inner tubes and tent fabric, this convenient six-bottle carrier mounts over a bike frame and safely transports craft brews from fridge to frontier. The insulated sleeves cushion each bottle separately and the carrier includes a handle for toting on foot. Creator Davidson Lewis makes each carrier by hand, so colors and patterns vary.

Buy It: Uncommon Goods

4. REI Co-op Flash 22 Print Pack; $55

REI backpack
REI

The updated version of REI's Flash 22 Day Pack, this bag is the ultimate hiking companion. It holds up to 22 liters of goods in its main compartment, exterior pockets, and has an internal hydration reservoir sleeve. The breathable, stretch-mesh straps sit comfortably on your neck and shoulders, and the back panel pad can be removed and used as a seat. The pack comes in five fashionable patterns, making it a smart-looking choice for the trail or your daily commute.

Buy It: REI

5. Hestra Sport Classic Deerskin Primaloft Rib Gloves; $95 and up

Inspired by nature's materials, these durable gloves are hand-sewn from North American white-tailed deer skin and insulated with Primaloft polyester for weather-resistant warmth. Hestra's attention to detail is obvious in the super-soft pair's elasticized knitted cuff—which helps the gloves stay on while keeping heat in—and pre-curved fit.

Buy It: Amazon

6. Yeti Hopper Flip 18 Cooler; $300

There are many reasons why Yetis are the coolers du jour: They keep food and drinks ice-cold for days, thanks to their superior insulation, even when the outside temp climbs. They're extremely durable and packed with convenient field-tested features. And, let's be honest, they have elevated the utilitarian fishing cooler to an object of desire. The Hopper Flip 18, measuring about 10 by 13 by 16 inches, can stash 20 cans of beer with plenty of ice for bonfires on the beach, kicking back post-trek, or a weekend off the grid.

Buy It: Amazon

7. Biolite Holiday Bundle; $200

BioLite CampStove2 limited edition holiday bundle
BioLite

A one-and-done gift for adventurers who want to travel compactly, BioLite's bundle contains everything necessary for a meal in the wilderness. BioLite's wood-burning CampStove 2 generates electricity for the attached battery and USB charger as well as heat for cooking. The bundle includes two accessories: the KettlePot, a grab-and-go cook pot; and the lightweight Portable Grill, a tabletop model that can fit four burgers at once. The included FlexLight shines a light on your next culinary masterpiece. Save $40 when purchasing these three items as a bundle.

Buy It: Biolite Energy

8. Lifestraw Universal Water Filter And Adaptor Kit; $30

Your giftee can turn their fave water bottle into a powerful filtration system with the Lifestraw Universal. The two-stage filter first removes water-borne bacteria and protozoa (in up to 1000 liters), then improves water quality and taste with a replaceable activated charcoal capsule (up to 100 liters), meeting EPA drinking water standards. In addition to the filter and carry bag, the adaptor kit includes two cap sizes and two mouthpieces that are compatible with most Nalgene, Camelbak, Klean Kanteen, Hydro Flask, and other standard bottles.

Buy It: Amazon

9. Kicker EB400 Waterproof Bluetooth Earbuds; $74

Let your friends rock out to Taylor Swift in the great outdoors without preventing anyone else from enjoying peace and quiet. Kicker's earbuds are both waterproof and wireless, and they won't fall out of one's ears during strenuous activity in any climate. Their eight-hour battery life means users will be able to complete a day hike without needing to power up in the middle. The earbuds come with anti-skip Bluetooth technology to connect to phones and tablets, a microphone for calls, and three pairs of color-coded silicone tips for a custom fit.

Buy It: Amazon

10. Backcountry Flannel Shirt; $99

Backcountry flannel
Backcountry

There's no reason to sacrifice style for comfort when you're outdoors. This flannel button-down shirt from Backcountry looks as good as it feels. It's made from a SeaWool: an eco-friendly material that comes from recycled oyster shells. The fabric features the warmth and softness of regular wool, plus it's sweat-wicking and odor-resistant. It's the perfect option for your next cold-weather adventure.

Buy It: Backcountry

11. Pivot Tote Bag; $80

Camelbak totebag
Camelbak

The tote is the ultimate multipurpose bag, and this version from Camelback takes the concept to the next level. It comes with a padded laptop pocket and a zippered side compartment for water bottles. If you plan on going on an impromptu hike after work, the handles can be reconfigured to transform your tote into a backpack.

Buy It: Camelbak

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University of California and McMaster University Are Offering Their Learning How to Learn Course Online for Free

Deagreez/iStock via Getty Images Plus
Deagreez/iStock via Getty Images Plus

If you've ever stayed up late cramming information the night before an exam, it probably didn't go well. Or maybe you tried doing the right thing by spending days or even months studying a subject, only to realize you weren't retaining the information. These failed attempts may have you believe you're just not cut out for the subject matter, but that's not always true. In the course Learning How to Learn from Coursera, you can understand what it takes to truly understand new information, as well as the key strategies and habits you can employ to make it all stick.

Learning How to Learn is taught by Dr. Barbara Oakley, a Ramón y Cajal Distinguished Scholar of Global Digital Learning at McMaster University, along with Dr. Terrence Sejnowski, who holds the Francis Crick Chair at the Salk Institute and is a professor at the University of California, San Diego. Throughout the weeks, they’ll teach you how to combat procrastination, how our brains process information, and the importance of breaking up new material into bite-sized chunks. You’ll also cover how taking breaks, getting sleep, and exercising are just as important as studying when it comes to learning something new.

According to Coursera, to finish the class in the typical four-week time, most students devote about three hours a week to the online videos, readings, quizzes, and coursework. There’s also no need to cram—which you’ll learn is not an effective learning tool—as this course is self-paced.

The course itself is free, but if you want a certificate of completion to share on your LinkedIn and resume, it will cost $49. Signing up for the certificate also gives you access to graded assignments, whereas the free version only allows you to read the course material.

You can also check out more free classes offered by Ivy League colleges by heading here.

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.

9 of Amazon’s Best Kitchen Knives

Wüsthof/Amazon
Wüsthof/Amazon

Whether you’re a seasoned chef or just starting to build up your home kitchen, a dependable knife set is absolutely essential. But there are a lot of choices out there when it comes to kitchen knives and chef knives. So, to make things easier for you, we looked at some of the top-selling knives on Amazon with the highest user ratings (at least 900 reviews each) and came up with a list of the best options available. You can check them out below.

1. 15-Piece Cuisinart Knife Set (4.6 Stars); $45

A Cuisinart knife set.
Cuisinart/Amazon

Cuisinart has been making quality kitchen products for decades, and this knife set offers 12 stainless-steel blades that are perfect for slicing and chopping the ingredients of any dish you happen to be cooking up. In this package, you'll also get sharpening steel, kitchen shears, and a holding block.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Home Hero Set of Seven (4.6 Stars); $27

A Home Hero knife set.
Home Hero/Amazon

Inside this versatile set, you'll find a chef knife, carving knife, bread knife, utility knife, and a paring knife. Along with the five stainless-steel blades, there's also a finger guard and sharpener, so you can keep your utensils ready to go at all times.

Buy it: Amazon

3. McCook 14-Piece Set (4.7 Stars); $53

McCook Knife set.
McCook/Amazon

Made with high-carbon stainless steel, this knife set is built to last. The knives have an easy-to-grip handle that’s comfortable to hold, while the blades are built to cut through just about anything. And when they do get dull, there’s a sharpener built into the wooden stand.

Buy it: Amazon

4. AmazonBasics Eight-Piece Steak Knife Set (4.4 Stars); $22

A set of steak knives from Amazon.
Amazon

This set of simple yet dependable knives is what you'll want to have on hand to get you through barbecue season. Each one is made from a single piece of stain-resistant steel, and according to Amazon, you won’t need to worry about sharpening the micro-serrated part of the blade.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Set of Four Dalstrong Knives (4.7 Stars); $90

A set of steak knives.
Dalstrong/Amazon

After you cook your perfect steak, make sure you have the proper tools to enjoy it with. Dalstrong’s knives are made from high-carbon German steel and will stay sharp long after their first use.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Mercer Culinary Genesis Steak Knife, Serrated Edge (4.8 Stars); $14

A knife from Mercer Culinary.
Mercer Culinary/Amazon

Mercer Culinary makes knives for professional chefs and home cooks alike. Its santoprene handle allows for a comfortable grip, while its carbon-forged steel blade is rust-resistant.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Wüsthof Eight-Inch Chef’s Knife (4.8 Stars); $165

A knife from Wüsthof.
Wüsthof/Amazon

Wüsthof has been making knives for over 200 years, and this sturdy chef's knife can be put through the wringer without worrying about quick wear and tear.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Utopia Kitchen 8-Inch Chef Knife (4.4 Stars); $9

A chef's knife from Utopia Kitchen.
Utopia Kitchen/Amazon

This rust-resistant stainless-steel knife is one you’ll want to have on hand. It's built to cut through large food items but you can also use it to mince or finely chop smaller ones. And with such a low price point, it's great to pick up if you're just looking to practice the basics before moving on to something more advanced.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Victorinox 10-Inch Swiss Classic Chef’s Knife (4.8 Stars); $40

A Victorinox knife.
Victorinox/Amazon

Victorinox has been around for over 130 years, and their versatile chef’s knife lets you put your slicing and dicing skills to the test. It has a tapered edge which allows you to get the perfect angle, while its razor-sharp blade can cut through pretty much anything a recipe might throw your way.

Buy it: Amazon

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.

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