This Mother’s Day, we’ve got the trails on our minds more than ever. Going on adventures and getting fresh air with loved ones is the ultimate goal, but the right equipment can make that time much more enjoyable. Here are some gifts that won’t gather dust in her gear closet.
A Pair of Binoculars
A pair of binoculars is an excellent addition to any hiking kit: they allow you to spot distant peaks and zoom in on wildlife. “It’s easy to spend upward of $500 on field binoculars, but for the beginner or intermittent enthusiast, Nocs makes a solid pair at an affordable price,” wrote contributor Aleta Burchyski in her how-to guide to birdwatching. We also included Nocs (pictured above) in our 2020 Summer Buyer’s Guide: “A high-end prism enhances sharpness, and the textured grip and waterproof housing are adventure-ready,” wrote tester Stephanie Pearson.
In 2020, we interviewed our moms about their favorite gear, and the Nikon Monarch 5 made the list: “It’s a phenomenal buy for an amateur birder,” wrote former editorial assistant Claire Hyman’s mom. At $300, it’s a little more of an investment than the Nocs, but you get an enhanced zoom to spy on far-away nature.
A Camp Blanket
Camp blankets have seen major upgrades in recent years. Nowadays, some models function as both a ground tarp and quilt, while others are light enough to take backpacking. Their versatility makes them solid accessories for outdoor adventures and impromptu picnics. That’s why testers Gabriela Aoun and Joe Jackson included the Kelty Bestie blanket in their holiday gift guide roundup: “Compact enough to stow in a tote for most outings, the Bestie is durable and affordable,” they wrote. Similar to the Bestie, Nemo’s two-person Victory blanket (pictured above) is one of columnist Jakob Schiller’s favorites for family car camping. For a more plush option, consider the Rumpl’s Original Puffy, which we called “the Cadillac of backcountry quilts.”
A Smartwatch for Hikes and Workouts
Garmin fēnix® 6S Pro Solar ($849.99)
This multisport GPS watch is just like Mom: tough. The fēnix® 6S Pro Solar has a solar charging lens to remain performance-ready for weeks. Whether it’s a climb, surf, walk, or bike, now Mom can monitor her progress while tracking every kind of workout.
An Insulated Water Bottle
Having an ice-cold drink on a sweltering day hike is essential. Unlike plastic bottles, insulated ones will retain ice longer, and they won’t cause the exterior to sweat. Plus, they can keep your coffee hot. Start with the GSI Microlite, which won our Gear Guy’s test of his favorite insulated models. At 13.7 ounces, it’s relatively light considering the heavier competition, like the bombproof Yeti Rambler, but still kept his water cold after 36 hours. If you’re looking for an even more portable option, consider the Hydro Flask Trail Series (pictured above). The 32-ounce version weighs just 12.5 ounces. “This and the GSI are the only insulated water bottles I would bring on a backpacking trip or an extended ski tour,” he wrote.
Lead Photo: Steve Glass/Cavan