The Ultimate Gift Guide for Badasses

Runners, hikers, backpackers, cyclists, soccer players and climbers - they all have a gift on this list

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Let's say you've got a badass in your life. Maybe they run. Maybe they hike. Maybe they climb. Maybe they play soccer, bike, swim, do triathlons, backpack, do Crossfit, skydive, or maybe they do all these things and even more. So what do you get a badass for a holiday gift? You get them whatever makes them badass-er!

But first, a caveat: I am not going to recommend to you any highly- personalized gift items like important gear or clothes. Only your badass is going to know which shoes work for them or which clothes fit perfectly. Until the day comes when we all have the exact same body size or even the day when clothing manufacturers finally all agree on what "small" looks like I vote let your runner/hiker/climber/badass pick their own clothes and focus on the fun smaller items for gifts!

For Runners:

Body Glide!* I have sung its praises before, but in all seriousness your runner can't have enough body glide.  Trust me, after my dog ate my last stick of body glide the night before a long run I learned my lesson. I stocked up and now have sticks of body glide stashed all over the place in case of emergency. You never know when you're gonna need them.

Socks. I specifically vote Balega* or Feetures* socks. I know, I know: socks are in the top five of every “What NOT to buy as a gift” list, but if you buy a runner a couple pairs of these expensive (but so worth it!) socks you will be very much loved. Don’t be shocked by the price, yes they are worth it!

Rundies! Aka Running Undies! These underwear from Oiselle have seven different prints for your seven different workouts in a week. Granted, if socks are in the top five of “what NOT to buy as a gift” list then underwear has to have the number one spot. Underwear is the definition of “omg mom please no you did not just give me this,” but these are the exception to the rule. If somehow these ended up under the tree this year I would bust out laughing and hug the little elf who put them there.

Road ID! Because what better way to say "I care about you" than to say, "I care about you and worry about your safety so much that I want my name and contact info to be on your person so they know to call me when they find your mangled body."

Books! Here are a few ideas:

But the best gift of all for your runner? 

A race entry. Find a big race in a cool city you know your runner friend would like to check out. Bonus points if you live in different cities and you sign your runner friend up for a race in your town and invite them to stay with you. Mega bonus if you sign up your runner friend and yourself to run the race, because the friends who run together stay together.

Friends who race together stay together! Photo cred: Heather Jacobson

For Hikers/Backpackers

Socks! Yeah, yeah, I already mentioned socks under the running category, but these are different socks! I've been in love with my Darn Tough socks* recently, but I also liked my old Smartwool socks*. Most recently I'm interested in trying Farm to Feet socks* because they are locally made!

Soap. Because let's face it, even dirty hippie hikers have to wash up on occasion. Dr. Bronner's pure-castile liquid soap* is a good option for those who want to bring their soap on their backpacking trip, or you can get fancy with some french-milled lavender soap* (ooh la la!) or some good ol' trusty cheap Trader Joe's soap* that's vegan and natural. Bonus if you find some soap that's local and natural and oh so artisan!

Backpacker cologne*. Because of course once your hiker is all cleaned up they naturally want to smell like Nature again, so help them out with some Juniper Ridge backpacker cologne with scents like Big Sur* (Sea tincture, Cypress pitch, Black sage flowers, Monterey pine needle), Mojave* (Pine Resin, Creosote, Sun-baked earth, Salt cedar), and Siskiyou* (Ginger Cedar, Redwood bark, Coastal Spruce boughs, Oregon Myrtle flower).

And while you're helping your dirty hiker friend with their personal hygiene, you might get them a multitool comb - so they can manage their lumberjack beard and fix their tent all with the same tool! 😂

A mountain necklace. I'm seriously obsessed with this necklace by E K Metals:


  • A Walk in the Woods* - a backpacker classic and must-have
  • Wild* - Also classic, also must-have
  • Survive!: Essential Skills and Tactics to Get You Out of Anywhere - Alive* - Les Stroud aka "Survivorman" can help you out with any situation whether you're stranded in the wilderness hundreds of miles away from help or if you're in the middle of the zombie apocalypse (Okay, I made that up; he doesn't actually provide advice explicitly for the zombie apocalypse, but I can recommend a book to you that does if you want)
  • Backpacking North Carolina* - because where else do you think I get all my backpacking ideas? A subreddit?? Ha! 

A wool blanket. Pendleton has an assortment of wool blankets (made in USA!) for national parks like Crater Lake*, Glacier*, Grand Canyon*, and Yosemite*. Woolrich has a few blankets based on long-distance hiking trails like the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, and the Mid State Trail*. (I really really love all these blankets by the way! I'm not sure how you can choose between them all!)

But the best gift for your hiker/backpacker?

A National Parks pass and a date for a weekend hike. Opt Outside with me!


For Cyclists:

This category is tougher because my gear is so exact for what I need and I don’t have a lot of extraneous bike gear to recommend. But for your real enthusiasts here are some ideas:

A bicycle pizza cutter*! Because why not!

A bike tool repair kit*. Because it's essential.

A cheeseburger seat bag*! Because once again - why not!

Bike gloves*. I’ve got this weird obsession with obnoxious pink and neon yellow accent colors against black for my workout clothes. I think it has to do with the running shoes I had for my first half marathon: black Nikes with some crazy hot pink and neon yellow accents on the sole, laces, and swoosh (swoosh!). Ever since then I’ve had this thing for black with some crazy pink and yellow accents. Like I’m almost a ninja except BAM! - your eyes were just attacked by some pink and yellow! (It’s seriously a thing now - all my running gear is slowly transitioning to these three colors, my soccer gear is all neon, and I almost bought a ridiculous golf outfit with a hot pink skort and painfully bright yellow top - even though I only play golf a couple times a year!). So of course when I saw these bike gloves that were black with neon pink and yellow accents I HAD to have them! Seriously, get yourself some obnoxious running gear that just makes you happy. You’ll be so stoked about your next workout!

Bike tape*! Okay, so some people may be picky about their tape, but I’ve just been thinking about how I’d love some super tacky (hopefully pink!) obnoxious tape. Just like I’ve been slowly collecting neon pink and yellow in other workout gear I’ve been thinking it’s time to attack my bike with some splashes of crazy color. And who wouldn't love some fancy bike tape?! 


For the Soccer Player:

Season tickets! Oh yeah, who isn't excited about the Railhawks rebranding as North Carolina Football Club (NCFC)! Time for some season tickets!

American Outlaws membership. Are you even a USA soccer fan if you're not a member? 😉

Jerseys! Lots and lots of jerseys. Because you can never have an embarrassing number of soccer jerseys hanging in your closet!

For Climbers:

You really shouldn’t take my advice on climbing gear since I’m an idiot who doesn’t know what she’s talking about and who runs around the climbing gym clueless and who still gets stuck two feet off the ground. Even so, here are a few things I’d love to bring along on my twice-a-week trip to the rock wall:

Stuffed animal chalk bag. My friend and I saw this kid the other day with an ostrich chalk bag. The kid was probably 10 years old or something, but even so, we two adult women were like, “omg, where did you get that chalk bag?!” Yeah. 10 year olds are way cooler than us. We have no shame. My friend wants the penguin, though I think this owl is super cute. Okay, who am I kidding? I’m a nerd and I totally want the companion cube. Maybe with that I can portal my way to the top of the climbing wall??


Drawn: The Art of Ascent*: Let’s be real: outdoors and art? You don’t have to say anything more and I’m sold on it.

The alpinist's alphabet poster*. This poster is so cool, and the best part is it comes in backpacker*, skier*, and cyclist* designs too!

In Summary:

We might focus a lot about presents and finding that perfect gift, but let's not forget that the perfect gift is experiences and sharing experiences with loved ones. The absolutely best gift in my opinion would be someone saying, "Liz, let's go hiking," or "Liz, let's play soccer," or "Liz, are you free to climb in the morning?" or "Liz, let's run the Krispy Kreme Challenge together!" (Ha! You know you want to. Though I guess I can settle for the Tar Heel 10 Miler 😆🍩)

Happy holidays, and happy spending-time-with-your-badass-season!


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