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A 2017 Holiday Gift Guide for the Outdoor Adventurer

As a brand ambassador for Sporting Life I’ve spent quite a bit of time in both of their Calgary stores (Southcentre and Market Mall) checking out their gear and clothes as the seasons change. They carry many of the best outdoor brands – favourites like Patagonia, North Face, Icebreaker and Arc’Teryx but they’re always adding and refining their merchandise. I’ve got  you covered for the holidays if you’re shopping for an outdoor adventurer like myself. Don’t forget to sign up for Lifeline so you get a gift card based on your spending. 

A 2017 Holiday Gift Guide for the Outdoor Adventurer

You’ll find a moose in the Calgary Sporting Life stores

Best base layer for any outdoor adventure

Merino wool base layers by Icebreaker for both men and women are awesome for two things – absorbing sweat and remaining odour free, even after numerous days out exercising in a row. They come in weights of 100, 200 and 260; the higher the number the warmer the garment. I tried the 260 weight layer on a strenuous hike up Prairie Mountain and not once did my top feel sweaty. I like the partial zipper too for temperature control. A variety of styles and colours are available at Sporting Life for $160. The recipient of your gift will be wearing these pieces for years.

A 2017 Holiday Gift Guide for the Outdoor Adventurer

My 260 weight Icebreaker merino wool top is perfect for strenuous activities like climbing Prairie Mountain

For the wannabe snowshoer in your life

Snowshoes grant you access to some pretty amazing mountain landscapes – many of which are less than an hour from Calgary (cue the West Bragg Creek area). Buy a pair for someone who’s been pining to go and they’ll last at least a decade, probably more. Sporting Life offers four types – all priced at $239.99

A 2017 Holiday Gift Guide for the Outdoor Adventurer

Tubbs – around since 1906 – makes lightweight snowshoes that will last you a very long time

Après adventure weekend wear

You don’t have to spend a fortune to have your partner looking good. This classic plaid shirt by Trout Run retails for $75. Sporting Life has a huge selection of shirts and sweaters for both men and women. Ladies check out the cute little skirts you can wear with a pair of tights.

A 2017 Holiday Gift Guide for the Outdoor Adventurer

This was one of my favourite shirts by Trout Run

A 2017 Holiday Gift Guide for the Outdoor Adventurer

Cute skirts ($110) that you can pair with tights

Cool things you didn’t know you needed and then can’t live without

If someone in your life has perennially sweaty feet this boot dryer is just the ticket. In an hour it can dry two pairs of boots. And they don’t have to be ski boots. The hiker, snowshoer, ice climber and skater will also thank you. It’s priced at $109.99. You’ll find it in the extensive ski section at Sporting Life.

A 2017 Holiday Gift Guide for the Outdoor Adventurer

A boot dryer isn’t just for ski boots

The lowly buff falls into the category of I can’t live without it now. Over the past year I’ve been given a few of them and now I always keep one in my backpack. If your neck is cold they’re perfect. Wearing a bike helmet and your ears get cold – throw one over your head. If it’s smoky, cover your mouth and nose. There are at least a dozen uses for them. They make a great stocking stuffer at $24. Sporting Life has a huge range of designs to choose from.

A 2017 Holiday Gift Guide for the Outdoor Adventurer

Buffs have so many purposes that I always keep one in my backpack now

You’ll never freeze your feet again

My husband has badly frozen his feet on several occasions so now, even if its above 0°C his feet go numb quickly. A few years ago I bought him a pair of heated socks by Lenz – the best investment I ever made, because they are that at $350. The socks wash well and are now going into their fourth year with no battery problems. I HIGHLY recommend them. Read my non-sponsored review below. Sporting Life should have them any day now.

Read: Best Winter Gear for Toasty Feet on Frosty Days

A 2017 Holiday Gift Guide for the Outdoor Adventurer

The heated socks by Lenz sell out every year

After the adventure

After a day outside in ski boots or hiking boots nothing beats coming home and slipping your feet into a pair of Uggs. They’re almost a necessity in my house where insulation is horsehair and newspaper – for real.  A pair of slippers start at $110.

A 2017 Holiday Gift Guide for the Outdoor Adventurer

Uggs slippers come in different styles and colours

The investment piece

I doubt any other outdoor apparel line in Canada has the star power of Canada Goose.  They’ve been making extreme outerwear since 1957! Slide into one of their long coats on a -25°C day and you’ll be as cozy as a muskox. (Their inner fur – qivit is eight times warmer than sheep’s wool.) Sporting Life has an awesome line-up of Canada Goose products from vests (I love mine) to a full range of coats for men and women. The one pictured below retails for $995.00

A 2017 Holiday Gift Guide for the Outdoor Adventurer

A full length Canada Goose coat offers maximum protection on frosty days

Brighten up your feet

Need new socks for outdoor adventures? Why not buy a pair or three (because if you buy three pairs you get the fourth one for free) in wild colours so you can always find them when they come out of the dryer. Prices are $18 and up.

A 2017 Holiday Gift Guide for the Outdoor Adventurer

Smartwool socks made with merino wool have maximum absorbance combined with excellent breathability

For the downhill skier

Sporting Life offers an incredible shopping experience for the downhill skier. They stock and professionally fit a wide range of high performance boots and skis. They offer ski tune-ups for $40 – $50. Their ski clothes are drool worthy for men and women. If you need new ski mitts or gloves they’ve got you fully covered. The bottom line – this is your one stop shop for everything related to downhill skiing. Drool away.

A 2017 Holiday Gift Guide for the Outdoor Adventurer

Sporting Life offers a huge selection of ski helmets- buy one get the second one for 50% off

A 2017 Holiday Gift Guide for the Outdoor Adventurer

Get your ski boots professionally fitted

A 2017 Holiday Gift Guide for the Outdoor Adventurer

Get your ski boots professionally fit by a pro

A 2017 Holiday Gift Guide for the Outdoor Adventurer

Want to tune your own skis? Sporting Life has you completely covered – except for the table

Styling hats and warm hands 

Sporting Life offers a stellar selection of hats – so anyone, even people like me who don’t usually look good in hats – will look amazing. Expect to pay around $100 and up.

As for mitts – I can tell you that the ones pictured below actually keep my hands warm on my morning dog walk when I’m moving at the pace of a snail with my almost 14 year old mutt. These leather mitts are made by Swany and what sets them apart are the “dryfinger” inserts. It’s basically a cozy glove inside a windproof, waterproof mitt. They are $140. My husband chose a Burton Gore-Tex leather glove that you can use with a screen though he got them primarily for snow-shoveling. His were in the same price range.

A 2017 Holiday Gift Guide for the Outdoor Adventurer

Wonderful selection of hats and mitts at Sporting Life

Cozy up with your loved one

Why not fill a thermos with a hot toddy, pick up a Hudson’s Bay fleece blanket and cozy up with your partner after a long day in the hills. Perfect for R&R.

A 2017 Holiday Gift Guide for the Outdoor Adventurer

Cozy up with quintessential Hudson’s Bay blankets and a thermos full of hot toddy

These Sorels will take you from downtown to the mountains

Throw some fur on the top of a pair of Sorels and suddenly their glam factor pops. I love these mid-calf Sorels because I can walk to downtown Calgary on a slushy day without ruining them or I can head to the mountains knowing my feet will stay warm up to -32°C. That’s not a typo. They retail for $259.99.

A 2017 Holiday Gift Guide for the Outdoor Adventurer

Sorels for everything outside

Happy shopping. Sporting Life is open from 9:30 AM – 9 PM Monday to Friday, 9 AM – 6 PM on Saturday and 10 AM – 6 PM on Sunday.

Leigh McAdam

Author of Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures
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Author Leigh

Avid world traveler. Craves adventure – & the odd wildly epic day. Gardener. Reader. Wine lover. Next big project – a book on 100 Canadian outdoor adventures.

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