Shred it. Send it. Sprint it. Whatever activity they do, they’re always pushing to be better, faster and stronger. We’re not just talking about your friend with regular get-fit goals – these people are driven to track their progress, tackle milestones and reach absolute peak performance.
If you know someone like this, you’re probably stumped on what to get them. Lucky for you, we checked in with MEC staffer Poonghi, who spends her professional time working on MEC hard goods and her personal time training at the gym/yoga studio/MTB trail/snowy path/bike lane… you get the idea.
1. Trusty training watch
Never underestimate the power of accountability. The Garmin Forerunner 35 learns its user’s activity level and gradually increases their daily goals to keep boosting their performance (plus a ton of other features). It doesn’t hurt that it’s nice-looking enough for everyday wear, too.
2. A solid winter base
Merino is naturally anti-microbial, so it’s excellent for next-to-skin performance in cold weather. MEC T3 base layers are warm enough for January in Canada, yet wicking enough for strenuous activity. Poonghi says, “I use the T3s for everything – they’re the best base layer I’ve ever owned. I wear them snowboarding, hiking, biking, snowshoeing and literally every winter activity.”
3. Snowshoes for winter cardio
Don’t let a little snow stunt their outdoor aerobic output. MSR Evo 22 Snowshoes give them traction on snowy trails to keep their heart rate up all winter long.
4. Super versatile bike
Want to really splurge on a gift for someone special? A great bike will boost their speed and their confidence. The Ridley X-trail C45 hits the elusive balance of nimble enough for cyclocross and stable enough for a speedy road ride. “This bike is awesome,” says Poonghi. “While I’m riding, I trust it to keep up with slick and unforgiving terrain.”
5. Continuum pants
Sweat-wicking and stretchy. The MEC Continuum Pants also have a durable water-repellent finish for walking to the gym on a drizzly day.
6. Hydrofoil jacket
An up-for-anything jacket that’s also ultra lightweight. The MEC Hydrofoil is waterproof-breathable and has handy underarm zips for when they need to vent. “I use my Hydrofoil for hiking and snowshoeing,” Poonghi let us know. “I like how easy it is to pack in my bag when I’m working hard.”
7. Yoga mat
A great base, like the Prana Henna Eco Mat, gives extra cushion and grip for holding the trickiest poses.
8. Running cap
Shield bright rays while keeping goals in sight with the Ciele Athletics GoCap.
Don’t forget the little guys. Joy-a-Toes are small, but they can make a big difference in rejuvenating feet after strenuous activities.
10. Map for future goals
Do they have a certain trail on their bucket list? This West Coast Trail map is just one of the many trail guides to get them thinking about next year’s goals (a map is one of the 10 essentials, after all). Hint from Poonghi: “I’d love to get this hiking map as a gift this year. I always bring a hard copy map on hikes, plus there’s something to be said for unplugging and holding a physical map in your hands while you’re out in the woods.”
11. Mat towel with smart details
Ask anyone with #goals, and they’ll tell you details matter. This Yogitoes Mat Towel has silicone nubs that won’t slip, even if they’re soaked in sweat.
12. Breathable rock shoes
Are they into climbing? (Or thinking about getting into climbing?) Help them hone in on their technique with Momentum Rock Shoes from Black Diamond that have impressive airflow and support.
13. Hydration pack
A backpack and hydration in one for days on the trail. And if that isn’t enough, the MEC Fountain 9 Hydration Pack is water-resistant too. “I have the Mountain Fountain, and it’s my go-to pack for MTBing or trail riding,” says Poonghi. “It’s well-designed and has the right number of compartments to fit all my gear and body armour.”
14. Race or ride series
15. Drink tabs
Give their endurance a boost with fizzy Nuun electrolyte replacement tabs. Perfect as a stocking stuffer.
16. New favourite sweats
The Adidas Linear Pant is streamlined enough to wear casually, but moisture-wicking French terry steps up when they’re on the move as well.
17. Waterproof phone case
Some protection for their devices while they’re on the move. This waterproof phone case from Aquapack mounts to their bike and keeps maps, texts and reminders in their sights.
18. Flashy headlamp
The Petzl Actik Headlamp helps your most active friends squeeze in another lap after dark. IPX4 waterproofing means they’ll even be able to go out when it’s dark and raining. Hint from Poonghi: “This is an ideal headlamp for evening or nighttime outdoor activities. I especially like that you can choose from narrow or wide beams.”
19. Cheeky mudguard
If it’s rainy or muddy, you know they’ll go out anyway. Keep them covered from the rear with the Ass Savers Mudguard.
The only thing not pictured on this list? The gift of you cheering them on as they use their new gear at their next race/comp/ride/meet.