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We’ve already offered you gift guides for all types of travelers. But with just a few days left before Christmas (and Chanukah already in the rear view mirror), I’m sharing a few more of my favorite pieces of gear, just in case you’ve been putting off all of your shopping until the last minute. Or, perhaps you’re anticipating a bevy of gift cards, checks, and cash stuffed in your stockings and need suggestions for how to spend them all in the new year. Whether you’re shopping for a friend, loved one, or yourself, this random assortment of great gear is sure to round out any traveler’s collection.
Tretorn Skerry Vinter Boots ($75): Tretorn is known for its rubber rain boots, which are great. However, come winter, when rain turns to sleet and snow, you need more than rubber to keep yourself warm. The Skerry Vinter boots put a winter spin on the classic, by adding a faux fur lining to these brightly colored women’s boots. They’re 100 percent waterproof, warm, and comfortable for a day wandering the city shopping for a pair of gloves to match. They’re also stylish, durable, and affordable, at $75. Read more
This holiday season, spread some cheer and goodwill to an adventure-loving lady in your life (or yourself!) with a gift that inspires travel. We’ve scoured the latest offerings (as well as pulled some tried-and-true favorites from our own stashes) to find adventure and outdoor travel gear for women (plus some gadgets) that’s sure to enhance any journey, whether it’s a simple afternoon hike, week-long trek in the backcountry, or even a slog through the security line. Happy shopping, and even happier travels!
First Ascent Alchemist 40L backpack ($189):Finally, a solution to the dilemma of choosing a pack that works as well for hardcore backcountry hauls as it does for breezy day trips. The Alchemist’s clever design features superior versatility, with a top-loading compartment that expands from 40 liter to a more ample 55 liters, and shrinks down by folding the lid into the main bag and cinching via a draw cord. I especially love the vertical dividers that eliminate the dreaded excavation deep into your pack for items. A removable foam frame called the BFF, which doubles as a sleeping pad or camp chair, is a thoughtful extra; leave it behind to make the 4-pound pack even leaner. Read more
Once again, the holidays are upon us. Mailboxes are over brimming with holiday catalogs and in-boxes are jammed with travel gift ideas. As in past years, there are too many choices. And, as in past years, bad ones outnumber the good. Therefore, our family travel gift guide committee (me) has sprung into action, weeding through the many gadget, apparel, and accessory offerings out there so you don’t have to.
Here now are my favorite products, almost all of them new for 2012. And if they’re not, they simply deserve to be recommended once again.
For years, National Geographic has inspired readers of its popular glossy magazine to journey to exotic lands, with its stunning images and first-rate travel experts. Now, in a move that’s a natural extension of its work over the years, Nat Geo has finally joined the ranks of adventure travel outfitters.
The Society has recently announced its aptly named National Geographic Adventures, which are sure to spike the adrenaline of any adventure traveler. They feature 11 unique itineraries that will combine cultural and physical activity among some of the most incredible landscapes on the planet, from hiking in Patagonia (photo above courtesy of Flickr/Rick McCharles) to horseback riding across Mongolia to kayaking into Alaska’s sea wilderness with bears, whales, and otters.
Each itinerary has been crafted with the input of an esteemed Nat Geo expert, ensuring an experience as rich in history and culture as it is in adventure. Trips are designated with an activity level rating from easy to strenuous, with an “ultimate challenge” option available. Guests will stay in accommodations ranging from quaint mountain lodges and inns to luxury tents; the maximum group size is just 16 to ensure an optimum experience. Read more
Several adventure cruise lines offer seasonal voyages to the otherwise inaccessible reaches of South America, but Cruceros Australis has specialized in sustainable scientific cruises to this region since 1980 (with a maritime history dating back nearly 100 years). To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the cruise line is launching a third vessel, the 210-passenger Stella Australis which will sail its maiden voyage through Patagonia on December 18. As the largest ship in the fleet, Stella Australis will boast three lounges, a game room, and ? for guests who can muster up enough discipline to work out on a cruise vacation ? a glass-paneled gym with sweeping views of the passing surroundings.
On four-night cruises, the Stella Australis will embark from Punta Arenas, Chile and will coast through the Beagle Channel and the Strait of Magellan. Each day, zodiac boats carry passengers to shore on guided excursions to penguin colonies, glaciers, and national parks. Guests will also visit Wulaia Bay, the area where Charles Darwin landed in 1833 during his famous world voyage aboard the HMS Beagle, prior to writing the “Origin of Species.” All excursions are included in the cost of the cruise, as well as onboard nature presentations from the ship’s expedition team (who report photographs and scientific findings to the Center of Quaternary Studies Fuego-Patagonia and Antarctica).
The Stella Australis travels as far south as Cape Horn before concluding in Ushuaia, Argentina ? the gateway to Antarctica. Unlike many cruise lines, I have to give Australis credit for keeping the Stella’s rates at the same level as the rest of its fleet – despite the vessel being fresh off the shipyard. (However, the sporadic promotional departures do not apply to the new ship.) During low season (December, late March, and April), you can snag a four-night cruise for $1,400/person. During the high-season (January through early March), rates jump to $1,770/person. Three-night cruises are also available. For more information, visit www.australis.com.
Surrounded by dazzling glaciers and snowcapped Andean peaks, pristine Patagonia is arguably one of the wildest and most scenic landscapes in the world. Located on the shores of Chile’s expansive Lake Toro, Patagonia Camp is a plush choice for outdoor lovers in search of wilderness-style lodging. Nestled among the beach trees, resort guests stay inside 17 upscale yurts – white canvas dome tents equipped with private bathrooms, terraces, and locally handcrafted furniture. Stay here and you’re only 20 minutes away from the entry point of Torres Del Paine National Park and its natural wonders. Rates for a yurt rental for three nights start at $1,410, a price that covers all meals and local reserve wine, park entry, and the services of a bilingual-speaking guide.
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