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.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

1. FJÄLLRÄVEN Keb Touring Down Jacket

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.

Find It at Amazon for $450 and also at these other retailers:

2. Goal Zero Lighthouse 400 Lantern And USB Power Hub

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.

Find It at Amazon for $70 and also these other retailers:

3. Bike-mounted Bottle Carrier

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.

Find It at Uncommon Goods for $40.

4. REI CO-OP FLASH 22 DAY PACK

Ideal for camping or commuting, this 22-liter lightweight pack features a roomy top-loading main compartment with an inner sleeve for hydration reservoir (or laptop or folders), zippered exterior pockets for small items, and two deep side pockets for bottles. The padded mesh back panel, detachable waist and sternum straps, and stretch-mesh shoulder straps offer breathable comfort even when the pack is fully stuffed.

Find It at Rei for $38 and up.

5. Hestra Sport Classic Deerskin Primaloft Rib Gloves

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.

Find It at Amazon for $110 and up.

6. Yeti Hopper Flip 18 Cooler

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.

Find It at Amazon for $300.

7. Biolite Holiday Bundle

BioLite CampStove2 limited edition holiday bundle
BioLite

A one-and-done gift for adventurers who want to travel compactly, BioLite's limited-edition 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.

Find It at Biolite Energy for $200 and also at these other retailers:

8. Lifestraw Universal Water Filter And Adaptor Kit

Your giftee can turn her 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.

Find It: Amazon for $30.

9. Kicker EB400 Waterproof Bluetooth Earbuds

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 8-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.

Find It at Amazon for $98 and also at these other retailers:

10. Tentsile Vista Tree Tent

A mashup of a traditional tent and impressive treehouse, the Vista is a triangular three-person tent that connects hammock-style to anchor trees at three points, letting campers sleep suspended above wet, rocky or uneven terrain. This three-season model features open sides and a central floor hatch for entry, plus a removable insect net. The rain fly/roof can also be removed so users can lie directly under the stars. (The above photo shows an un-roofed Vista mounted below a roofed Vista.) The ingenious design can be put up by a single person in about 15 minutes and packed down into its carry bag for easy transport.

Find It at Tentsile for $550.

11. Pendleton Three-Notebook Set

Three Pendleton notebooks

Great for jotting down field notes, this set of three 6-by-8-inch notebooks features Pendleton Woolen Mills's heritage blanket patterns on the covers. Each center-stitched book contains 64 pages of lined, uncoated paper for a slim profile that will fit in your giftee's pocket or pack without adding too much weight or bulk.

Find It at Pendleton for $13.

The Office-Themed Ugly Christmas Sweaters Are Here to Show Off Your Dunder Mifflin Spirit

Target
Target

It's now easier than ever to gift your loved ones with Dunder Mifflin-inspired Christmas presents, thanks to Target's new The Office collection. What does it include, you ask? Ugly Christmas sweaters with Dwight Schrute's face and the paper company's logo on them.

As reported by POPSUGAR, Target is selling two different holiday sweaters—one featuring Dwight's festive face and another, more general Dunder Mifflin one—on its website, each priced at $29.99. It seems the NBC series' popularity will never die, as companies continue to sell The Office-related products, from cool artwork to construction sets.

While fans continue to binge The Office on Netflix, they know that major changes are ahead. NBCUniversal is launching its own streaming platform, Peacock, and will take the show back in January 2021. In the meantime, you can still soak up as much Dunder Mifflin insanity as you can handle via Netflix—and now you can do it decked out in a festive holiday sweater.

[h/t POPSUGAR]

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

15 Cool and Unusual Candles You Can Buy Right Now

PyroPet
PyroPet

Candles are a great way to add some ambiance to any room—especially when that candle smells like pancakes. The next time you're planning a special evening, with yourself or someone else, consider these options.

1. Avocado-Shaped Candles

Two avocado candles
Echaprey / Amazon

Your favorite fruit can now be your favorite candle, too. These surprisingly lifelike avocado-shaped candles make the perfect decoration. We can't guarantee that they smell like fresh avocados, though.

Buy it on Amazon for $15 for two.

2. 60-Hour Coiled Candles

A candle with coiled wax
Candle by the Hour, Amazon

This long-lasting candle features a coiled design that promises 60 hours of burn time—20 minutes for every inch of wax. Simply pull the candle through the clip to burn more. The candle self-extinguishes when it burns down to the clip, allowing you to use it as a timer. It comes in vertical and horizontal coil designs, and can be refilled when you reach the end.

Buy it on Amazon or The Grommet starting at $22.

3. Skunk- and B.O.-Scented Candles

An array of candle tins
Stinky Candle Co.

If fresh pine isn’t your thing, may we suggest nacho cheese? The Stinky Candle Company specializes in candles boasting unorthodox odors. Choose from off-putting scents like onion, potting soil, and body odor, or go for some more delightful scents, like clean puppy and pizza. While we don’t recommend the fart or skunk candles, the money candle definitely has some potential.

Buy it on Amazon for $12.

4. Book-Scented Candles

Perfect for curling up with a good book, these candle scents were inspired by classic literature. Pick from “Sherlock’s Study,” “Oxford Library,” or “Halfling Hills,” or channel the smell of your favorite collection with scents like “Old Books” and “Reading at the Cafe.”

Buy it on Amazon for $22.

5. PyroPet Candles

PyroPet Candles
PyroPet

These geometric cat candles—first featured on Kickstarter in 2013—hold a (slightly morbid) surprise inside. Once lit, a skeleton cat emerges, which almost makes you feel bad for setting it on fire in the first place. If the cat's not your style, the candle also comes in the form of a bird, unicorn, deer, and more.

Buy it on Amazon or The Grommet for $34.

6. Roman Candles

Fred Roman Candles
Fred, Amazon

The packaging on these punny Roman-numeral-shaped candles from Fred promises they'll help you party like it's MCMXCIX.

Buy it on Amazon for $10.

7. Cactus-Shaped Candles


ornerx, Amazon

These realistic cacti candles might fool your friends—until you light them. The wax candles come in sets of six.

Buy it on Amazon for $10.

8. Homesick Candles

Homesick candles
Uncommon Goods

Smell is connected to memory, so if you’re missing home, you’ll want to burn one of these candles. The scents of these hand-poured, soy wax candles were created with the input of locals from every state. All states are available.

Buy it on Uncommon Goods for $30. 

9. Candles With Plantable Packaging

A candle next to two boxes of plantable packaging
Uncommon Goods

These candles smell like a blooming garden filled with poppies and sunflowers. If the floral candles make you long for the real deal, simply soak the seed-infused boxes in water and plant them in the ground.

Buy it on Uncommon Goods for $28.

10. Chocolate Egg Cream-Scented Candles


Katz's Deli, Amazon

Alongside excellent food, did you know Katz’s Deli sells a scented candle, too? Made in New York City, these wax creations evoke the restaurant’s famous chocolate egg creams. Light one and be transported to the Lower East Side, no matter how far away you actually are.

Buy it on Amazon for $25 plus shipping.

11. Crackling Fire Candles

A lit candle next to two sticks of cinnamon
Uncommon Goods

The next best thing to a real fireplace? These candles, which boast wooden wicks that crackle as though you'd thrown another log on the pile. Inspired by the poem "A Visit From St. Nicholas," the candle smells like vanilla, cinnamon, and clove—the scents of a long winter's nap, according to the creators.

Buy it on Uncommon Goods for $30.

12. Edible Candles

These birthday candles are designed to both adorn your dessert and be your dessert. Available in dark or milk chocolate and five different designs, Let Them Eat Candles feature a wick that you can remove after the singing ends, allowing you to eat the delicious chocolate sticks.

Buy it on The Grommet for $12 for three.

13. Terrarium Candles

Cactus and poppy terarium candles
Uncommon Goods

Hand-made by Canadian designer Zoe Tang, these terrarium candles contain incredibly detailed plants made out of wax. The candles come in two varieties: either jasmine-scented poppy on a white-tea-scented base or pine-scented cactus on a vanilla base. They’re so beautiful, you probably won’t even want to light them.

Buy it from Uncommon Goods for $25.

14. Hatching Dinosaur Candle

Dinosaur candle
Yazan-Molandi / Amazon

This is one candle you’ll be excited to finish. The egg-shaped candle melts down to reveal a delightful surprise—a tiny porcelain raptor.

Buy it from Amazon for $45.

15. Glacier-Shaped Candles

Icelandic designer Brynjar Sigurðarson's creations have a message behind them: Global warming can only be ignored for so long. Just like real ice, these wax designs melt when they get hot—and just like real glaciers, they're increasingly rare. Since their creation in 2015, they've sold out at most retailers, but you can still get them (albeit for a higher price) from Pamono.

Buy it from Pamono for $83.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

A version of this article first ran in 2015. It has been updated to reflect current availability.

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