Holiday gift ideas for runners, nature lovers and other athletes

From hammocks to hang in to wetsuits to race in, we’ve got you covered


Highlights

Check our holiday fitness gift guide for the athlete on your list.

Many of the products are made by Austin-based companies.

Athletes also like experiential gifts, like race entries.

We love presents that inspire us to get outside and move.

They’re not only fun but also good for our bodies. And what better gift than the gift of good health?

So keep your video games and fruitcakes, your fancy ties and perfume. We scoured local retailers to pick out what the athlete on your shopping list might like to find under the tree this year.

Safety first

Austin-based ¡Viva la Bicicleta! wants everybody to ride a bike. To help keep you safe when you do that, the company has unveiled a line of clothing with reflective accents to keep you visible. Our favorites? A long-sleeved henley and a lightweight jacket, both with rear pockets equipped with reflectors that can be tucked away or pulled out for the ride. A retro-themed sweater will remind you of old-school Tour de France racers. The company donates 10 percent of proceeds to the Austin-based nonprofit organization Please Be Kind to Cyclists, which works to increase tolerance between motorists and bicyclists.

DETAILS: Men’s and women’s henley, $54; men’s and women’s cycling jacket, $155; VivaLaBicicleta.com

Made by hand

Austin artist Liz Potter’s block prints remind us of adventuring in Big Bend, where we love to camp, bike and hike. Choose from nature-themed designs including a jack rabbit, tarantula, century plant, ocotillo, javelina and more, based on photographs taken by Potter. They’re hand-printed on heavyweight, acid-free watercolor paper with water-based ink, and you can feel the raised markings. Potter says she loves doing work like this that she could still do without electricity.

DETAILS: Prices range from $28 to $44. Available online at thewonderfuladventure.com, at the Cherrywood Art Fair at Maplewood Elementary School on Dec. 9 and 10 or at Blue Genie Art Bazaar through Dec. 24.

Trail decor

Want to take a little of Potter’s nature-themed artwork on the trail? Tuck a jack rabbit or javelina bandana into your pack and use it to wipe off sweat during a long hike. Or hang one up as a West Texas prayer flag, and let the wind carry good vibes of peace, protection, love of life and wild spaces over the land.

DETAILS: $20 each; available online at thewonderfuladventure.com, at the Cherrywood Art Fair at Maplewood Elementary School on Dec. 9 and 10 or at Blue Genie Art Bazaar through Dec. 24.

Recline in style

Campers, hikers and anyone who loves to take naps will appreciate a Texas-themed hammock made by Austin-based Kammok. It weighs just 10 ounces and holds up to 400 pounds, and 100 percent of proceeds go to the Red Cross to support Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.

DETAILS: Kammok’s Texas flag hammock sells for $79 at kammok.com. It’s also available at REI and Kammok Gear Shop, 1401 East Seventh St. Python straps to hang it are $29.

RELATED: Austin-based Kammok at front of hammock camping trend 

Words of support

Athletes like to support each other, especially before big events. With running-themed cards by Austin artist Tyler Guinn, you can snail mail a word of encouragement to a friend preparing for his or her first 5K race or the veteran registered for the Boston Marathon. Two versions are available — one that highlights Austin scenery and another that boasts a Boston theme.

DETAILS: The cards sell for $7 each and are available at the Loop Running Supply Company, 115 Sandra Muraida Way. For more information, go to looprunningsupply.co.

Just add water

What to wear when you’re racing cross-country, covering lakes and land in a multiple-stage competition? A two-piece wetsuit, with pockets and plenty of buoyancy, to keep you warm and positioned high in the water without limiting movement when you run or swim. Orca has designed a collection of wetsuits specifically with “swimrun” events in mind. What’s a swimrun, you ask? A type of outdoor stage race that originated in Sweden in which athletes transition multiple times from running to swimming.

DETAILS: The Orca swimrun core top ($115) and bottom ($125) are available online at orca.com.

Namaste, y’all

So, your friend’s a yogi, and she lives in Texas. She definitely needs a “Texasana” tank from the Salty Unicorn. The New Braunfels-based company specializes in apparel that focuses on moms, yoga and that larger-than-life Lone Star pride. The women’s tank features racerback styling and white lettering on a black shirt. “To me they say, ‘The Texan in me sees and honors the Texan in you,’” says head unicorn Brianna del Castillo.

DETAILS: Available online for $31 at saltyunicorn.com.

RELATED: What happens when a less-than-hardcore runner takes a ‘runcation’?

Trip of a lifetime

Cost no object? How about tucking a destination running trip into someone’s holiday stocking? Austin-based Rogue Expeditions offers “runcations” to everywhere from Bend, Ore., and Tahoe, Calif., to Patagonia, Slovenia, Morocco and Kenya. Trips vary in length from five to nine days and include most meals, daily supported runs and various activities — plus plenty of other folks who love to stretch a leg. The trips aren’t just for hardcore runners, either; even beginners fit right in.

DETAILS: Prices range from about $1,500 for five-day domestic trips to $2,500 for longer trips to Morocco, $4,400 for Slovenia or $4,650 for Kenya. Airfare is not included. For more information, go to roguexpeditions.com. 

Pooches and poses

Downward dogs are best executed on dog-themed yoga mats, we’re sure. And Dat Mat makes one just crawling with French bulldogs. The mat measures 72 inches by 24 inches and features a nonslip surface material and high-density foam to provide cushy comfort.

DETAILS: The Frenchies mat sells for $49.99 at lookatdatmat.com.

Reading material

Swimmers, surfers and paddlers know the calming and mind-clearing benefits of getting in a river, lake or stream. For the water lover on your list, get a copy of Wallace J. Nichols’ best-selling book “Blue Mind: The Surprising Science that Shows How Being Near, In, On or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected and Better at What You Do.” (littlebrown.com; $17).

RELATED: Wallace J. Nichols takes his ‘Blue Mind’ approach to Lake Austin Spa and Resort

Ready to race

Here at Fit City, we love the idea of experiential gifts. Why not pre-register your favorite running pal for a 5K, 10K, half-marathon or marathon? Our favorites include the Austin Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K on Feb. 18 ($130 for full, $110 for half, $45 for 5K); the 3M Half Marathon on Jan. 21 ($105 adult); and the Statesman Capitol 10,000 on April 8 ($35 adults, $20 ages 10 and younger).

Cozy comfort

Keep warm with soft fabric beanies or a canvas Ebbets hat featuring the Loop’s logo and the words “Austin, Texas” stitched on the back. (Not in stock now; coming before Christmas.)

DETAILS: The Ebbets hat will sell for $58 and the beanies for $28 at the Loop Running Supply Company, 115 Sandra Muraida Way. For more information, go to looprunningsupply.co.

Bye-bye, bears

For the backpacker in your circle, wrap up a can of Frontiersman bear spray to keep the grizzlies at bay. This 2 percent capsaicin spray will deliver a heavy fog up to 35 feet in 5 seconds flat, creating a buffer between you and a potentially dangerous animal without so much as a single bullet. If you’re not sure you’ll know what to do when an emergency occurs, a smaller practice spray can might help you gain muscle memory and confidence before you head into the backcountry.

DETAILS: A 9.2-ounce with holster can sells for about $30 at amazon.com.

RELATED

Check out the Austin360 Holiday Guide for gift ideas, holiday events and more

Find all the latest on fitness and fun in the Fit City blog



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