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Gear Test: Hello Holidays!

Our editors share their early-bird gear gift picks

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Happy Holidaze, BACKPACKERS! You probably didn’t need me to tell you this, since you probably knew as much when you saw the neighbors put the lights up exactly 2.6 seconds after Uncle Ray first sliced into your Thanksgiving turkey.

But that doesn’t change the facts: Your going to need gifts for the outdoor gearhead in your family, and fast. Our own gear editor Kristin Hostetter will return next week with an exhaustive gift guide, but until then, our editors have graciously shared their early picks for gear gifts this season. Check it:

Shannon Davis, associate editor

Gear Gift: 23-year-old Ron Zacapa Rum.

For: My wife.

Why: She likes Rum and Cokes on river trips. And this is the best rum I’ve ever tasted. It’s probably a shame to put Coke in it, but that’s just how we roll.

Gear Gift 2:Mountain Hardwear Phantom Jacket.

For: Myself

Why: This is the warmest down jacket for the weight that I‘ve ever had, and my wife constantly steals it, even though it’s too big for her. I’d like to buy myself a new one, and let her keep the old one. Isn’t that nice of me?

Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan, assistant editor

Gear Gift: A case of Bobo’s Oat Bars. Okay, I know they’re not technically gear, but I have been testing a bunch of food items for the upcoming Gear Guide. These hearty bars are still my go-to snack for alpine starts, midday hunger pangs, and yes, sometimes lunches at my desk. Why do the Bobos reign supreme? They taste like real food—think a fresh-baked pastry from your favorite coffeeshop, not a weird amalgamation of “protein blend” and maltodextrin. And with 360 calories and 14 grams of fat per three-ounce bar, they pack a serious energy punch. Plus, they’ve got a variety of delicious flavors, from coconut to peanut butter (even original is good).

For: My boyfriend.

Why: This past year, Bobos have propelled us up Colorado’s high point, across the Canadian Rockies, and through Canyonlands’s redrock paradise. They got us going for a three a.m. start up Mount Blanca. They’re his favorites. And this way, he’ll stop filching from my box of testers.

Berne Broudy, green editor

Gear Gift: Gransfors Bruks handmade axe.

For: My husband, Mike.

Why: Because it’s a utilitarian piece of art.

Jon Dorn, editor-in-chief

Gear Gift 1: I’m going to pair the Darn Tough Mountaineering Socks and the Feathered Friends Down Booties.

For: My wife, Heather.

Why: She suffers from poor circulation and perpetually cold toes.

Gear Gift 2
: GSI Outdoors Flask

For: Online Editor Anthony Cerretani.

: Because his leaked in Switzerland and he clearly needs to continue feeding his Scotch jones. I’ve used the previous version of this indestructible, pint-plus-size flask for more than five years with no leaks, no absorbed flavors, and no complaints about the size (it’s the flask to bring when you’re drinking more than a couple fingers). Bonuses: The cap doubles as a shot glass, and the updated material is now a BPA-free resin.

There you have it—great gear gift ideas to kick off your shopping season. Do you have a favorite piece of gear you’ll be sharing this holiday season? Tell us in the comments section below.

—Ted Alvarez