Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Gift Ideas for Walkers -- Part I

When WALK! Magazine was still around, every winter I would come up with a gift-giving guide. Back then, I would get ideas from readers and I would get samples to try ... it was really fun trying and selecting items. I don't have the same input I used to have from other sources, so this year's Gift Ideas for Walkers includes either items I've received or would like to receive. Here goes:

1) Wicking sport socks. There are tons of options for wicking socks: double layer, padded, seamless, wool, thick and cushioned, thin and tight, even "toe socks". My favorites are double-layered socks (Wright Socks) because they help prevent blisters, but are not so thick they make my shoes too tight. I also like wool socks, by Smart Wool, when it is cold out. (I can't wear wool socks when it is hot.) The good thing is, even if your walker already wears wicking socks, buying the same brand he or she currently wears is still a good idea. People often forget their socks wear out!

My fleece flap mittens buttoned open.
2) Mittens with a flap. These are perfect for fast walkers who don't want to stuff mittens in their pockets after they warm up. Wear them as regular mittens when you start out, then when your hands are too hot, flip them open. The pair I have is fleece and have a button at the tip of the fingers to keep them open. They were purchased at Target a couple of years back. (I also have a great wool pair from Argentina.) You can find a variety of styles at J Crew, Land's End, K-Mart, and some heavy pairs at LL Bean.
3) Neck gaiter. Scarves are a pain in the neck. (I couldn't resist.) They are bulky, get tangled, come untied, the ends get in the way... Because I hate having a cold neck, I LOVE my gaiter! It's fleece and made by Polartec. I bought it a couple years ago, but I forget where. There are lots of style and fabric options for neck gaiters and they can be purchased at outdoor sports stores, running stores and even LL Bean and other websites. Once you have used one, you won't want to do any winter walking without it.

Headlamp attached to brim of hat.
4) Headlamp. In the winter I often do not get the chance to walk outside until after it is dark. I feel a whole lot safer walking at night wearing a headlamp. Lighting up my path is not nearly as important as being seen. When wearing a lamp, I know any cars can see me as qucikly as I can see them. I have a couple different types: one clips to the brim of a baseball-style hat and is a lot brighter than the others; another has an elastic band to go around my head and hold the light to my forehead; the third hooks over an ear. My favorite is the one with the elastic band since I can use it whether I'm wearing a hat or not.

Crash Wear reflective vest.
5) Reflective vest. This goes with the headlamp and helps cars to see you when it is dark. I have two. One is just a generic orange reflective vest. The other, made by Crashwear, is really cute! The body of mine is bright yellow and the reflective patches are in the shape of flowers. They also come in orange, pink or black. If you don't like flowers, they have a more manly version with a circle design. It has Velco-close pockets on the inside (to protect my MP3 player) and outside. Because they were originally designed for scooter riders, they offer some wind and rain protection. The newest designs include a faux fur lining! I don't feel silly wearing it. It doesn't do any good to have protective gear if it isn't worn.

That is all for now. Part II will be posted in a couple of days.

No comments: