Editors’ Picks: What We’re Gifting Our Mom-Figures for Mother’s Day
The apparel, equipment, and gear that Outside staffers and contributors are gifting to Mom
Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 8. If you’re looking for a gift and haven’t quite figured it out yet, don’t fret—hopefully this list of our top editors’ picks will get the creative juices flowing and help you pick. (We also polled outdoorsy moms and asked them what they really want.) Here’s the apparel, equipment, and gear that Outside staffers and contributors are gifting this Mother’s Day.
Theragun Mini ($199)
In the past five years, my mom had both a knee and a hip replaced, and those operations slowed her down. But last year, at 71, she made a serious investment in her fitness: she started strength training twice a week with a personal trainer and has gotten strong as hell. We worked out together last month and I found myself legitimately competing with her on battle ropes in my backyard. All of this strength is coming at the price of her being pretty sore a few days a week. Theragun products have been a key part of personally staying in the endurance sport game as I age, so I figured this Mother’s Day I would share it with my mom. I am getting her the Mini because it is easier to maneuver than Theragun’s larger offerings and she can take it with her when she visits me and puts me in the ground again. —Joe Jackson, the Gear Guy
Prana Genevieve Sun Hat ($45)
My mom loves hiking and being outdoors, but she’s very conscious about sun exposure, so she’s always wearing a wide-brimmed hat. The big floppy brim on this one by Prana will provide the sun protection she’s looking for, while a drawstring cord will secure the hat for windy beach walks. I’m hoping she also finds it cute enough to wear to summer parties and other social events too. —Gloria Liu, contributor
Teva Original Sandals ($55)
This is a nostalgia purchase. Teva hit the world big time at about the same time my wife and I met in the ‘90s, revolutionizing summer footwear (it’s a flip flop that’s a shoe!). We met at the beach and if I remember correctly, everyone was sporting Tevas that summer. Sporty sandals have gotten fancier since the mid ‘90s, but sometimes simple is better. The Original is comfortable without being over-designed, secure enough to actually handle water duty or light hiking but still good looking enough to sport around town. It’s something I know she can wear in the river when we paddle, but also to all-day outdoor festivals or pedaling around town on a hot summer day. Her original pair was a Kelly green, but I think she’ll dig one of the brand’s new, colorful patterns. –Graham Averill, gear columnist
Outdoor Research Tundra Aerogel Booties ($62; 30 Percent Off)
I think one of the greatest gifts you can give is comfort in inhospitable conditions. A good rain jacket opens up a world of drizzly adventures, and the right layers take cold weather from a no-go to an approachable hurdle. On that note, my mom is almost always cold, so on a recent backpacking trip, I had her bring along my spare pair of Outdoor Research down booties. At just nine ounces, they packed a big punch. Even in temperate conditions, having something cozy and dry to pad around camp in when we were posted up for the night made a big difference in her overall comfort and temperature regulation. They’re great for ski trips and car camping, too. —Abigail Barronian, senior editor
Miir Tomo Insulated Thermos ($60)
A day doesn’t go by without my mom drinking at least one pot of green tea. Unsurprisingly, she has a lot of very strong tea-related opinions, including the best blend (genmai-cha), the optimal vessel from which to drink it (cast iron teapot and double-walled handleless mug at home, vacuum insulated screw-top mug when she’s on the go), and the ideal temperature (piping hot). Miir’s Flip Traveler has been my go-to for years, so when I saw the brand had made a larger thermos with two screw-off cup/lids, I knew that she’d love it—and that it would meet her exacting standards. The Tomo is reminiscent of the thermoses she would fill with cocoa for our childhood sledding trips. But unlike those lesser vessels, within which our drink went tepid by lunch, Miir’s proprietary double-walled vacuum insulation will keep her tea scalding hot. Plus, the design is sleek enough to rival her favorite Japanese-engineered single-serve travel mugs. —Miyo McGinn, editorial assistant
Astral E-Linda PFD ($125)
Living in the borderline subtropical Southern Appalachians, we’re surrounded by water, whether it’s the mellow river that meanders through town or one of the massive lakes built by the TVA back in the day. Paddling as a family has become a custom, and keeping my wife alive is a top priority because I’m not smart enough to raise our kids alone. Enter the E-Linda, a PFD that hits all of the safety standards while focusing on comfort. Unlike most recreation-specific PFDs on the market, the Layla has a women-specific cut that provides room for her chest and torso. The full-zip front makes it easy to slip on and off, while a thin, vented back keeps it comfy when she’s sitting in a kayak with a seat back. Personally, I like the double stash pockets which are big enough to hold beer cans. It’s the kind of PFD designed to wear all day as we paddle mellow rivers or make our way across big, mountain lakes looking for waterfalls or rocks to jump from. –G.A.
Brooks Revel 5 Running Shoes ($100)
By mid-May, active folks of all ages are escaping from their basement treadmills, getting out on the sidewalks and parks—and thinking about new shoes. Buying any fitness apparel can be tricky, given individual preferences, with shoes particularly so. But this versatile model from Brooks fits most any woman for nearly any activity. The ride is lightly cushioned with a peppy bounce, the platform is neutral yet stable, with a fairly wide base of support and a moderate heel to toe drop leading to a quick-rolling toe. The knit upper fits a variety of feet with a comfortable, stretchy hold. I’m getting (another) pair for my wife, on her request, who says they’re her favorite walking and running shoe—one she reaches for any day, whatever the workout or surface. —Jonathan Beverly, senior running editor
Front Runner Wolf Pack Pro Storage Box ($70)
My mom taught me to love car camping and still gets out and explores each summer. She recently bought a teardrop trailer to make things a little more comfortable. I’m going to help her organize it by gifting her two of these rugged boxes. A big favorite in the overlanding community, Wolf Packs are the perfect size for storing everything from a weekend’s worth of clothing to a nature photography setup. Made from a nearly indestructible plastic, they can rattle around in a trailer or truck bed, and be just fine. Front Runner also offers a foam insert that keeps fragile gear safe inside. The new Pro version is completely waterproof and dustproof so they can spend the night outside in the rain or get strapped to a roof. New latches make the Pro version much easier to open, and they’re stackable, so she can throw two or three in a corner to save space. —Jakob Schiller, contributing writer
Hest Foamy Sleeping Pad ($299)
Our family loves car camping, but my wife hates sleeping on thin backpacking mattresses that sacrifice comfort for weight savings. We’ve tried the big air mattresses, but they always seem to slowly deflate until we’re basically sleeping on the ground. I’m hoping The Foamy will be the solution that keeps us camping. Instead of relying on air chambers like most camp mattresses, the Foamy is made from closed-cell memory foam, just like the mattress in our bed at home. And it’s 3.9 inches thick, so we shouldn’t feel any rocks or sticks I forgot to clear from the tent site. The sacrifice is obvious: the Foamy weighs 11 pounds. But if we’re just car camping, I’m willing to carry it from the truck to the tent. I’m hoping the Foamy will be so comfortable that she’ll suggest we go camping more often. It isn’t cheap, but can you put a price on a good night’s sleep? –G.A.
Wild Rye Freda 7-inch Women’s Bike Short ($109)
My mom recently started fat-tire biking to shred single track along the lip of Lake Superior in northern Minnesota. (Her goal? To take backcountry dates with my dad to the next level.) Because she’s a fearless badass at almost 60 years old, I’m shipping her a pair of these bike shorts by Wild Rye—a women-founded outdoor apparel brand where female designers hand-draw these prints, inspired by their wanderlust and gratitude for the outdoors. Breathable, UPF 50 nylon-and-spandex fabric will provide forgiving four-way stretch as my mom works on her technique, and a seven-inch inseam will make for a modest length on her summer sunset rides. No doubt, sooner rather than later, my dad will be busting his butt to keep up. —Patty Hodapp, interim digital director
NRS River Bed Sleeping Pad ($170)
My wife has a gift for puncturing sleeping pads, wrecking two per season on average. And despite my MacGyvering with patch kits and even Moleskin (which works, by the way!), the result always seems to be a slow leak that renders these pads useless by three in the morning. I’ve scoffed at the price of NRS’s fantastically durable and comfy pads for years. But now I’m realizing I could have bought two of these already for the money I’ve spent replacing inferior pads. This is the rare case of a big up front investment paying for itself over time. —Chris Keyes, editor in chief