ExperiencePlus! Blog

2023 Holiday gift guide

This year’s ExperiencePlus! holiday gift guide features a handful of staff picks, a few items observed on other gift listicles, and one item in particular that comes highly recommended by a husband-wife team who joined us on our inaugural Gravel Explorer tour on the White Roads of Tuscany. May you find what you didn’t know your loved ones were looking for – or maybe something you secretly gift yourself!

32 oz wide mouth Hydro Flask

Our first gift comes recommended by travel planning specialist Nadine Dirksen, whose commitment to hydration is enviable. Stainless steel, insulated, refillable, reusable. What more do you want from an all-day 32 oz wide-mouth water bottle? Keep cold drinks cold and hot ones hot. “I take it everywhere with me,” Nadine says. “Whenever we have family members or friends visit Colorado, we gift them a bottle so they can stay hydrated on their adventures.” What a hostess!

Choose from 12 colors and customize – ahem, personalize – to your heart’s content. Best of all, the bottles are dishwasher safe and old ones can be returned to Hydro Flask for recycling.
32 oz starts at $50. Other sizes and dimensions available.

Portland Design Works – Hot Take beverage holder

Need a better way to carry your coffee on your bike? Portland Design Works created the Hot Take specifically for use with Kleen Kanteen/Miir/Hydroflask containers, but can accommodate other 12-24 oz cylindrical-shaped vessels, thanks to an adjustable bottom strap.

Three points of attachment fasten to your stem, handlebars, and steerer tube for a firm hold, providing carefree riding and sipping. Check out the PDW website for more information on sizing, construction and materials. Functional and clever, this is a perfect gift for anyone who appreciates design that . . . works.

Ostroy Resort Shirt

Ostroy resort shirt

There’s something luxurious about a loose-fitting bicycle shirt that can style your next gravel or bike packing adventure just as easily as you can wear it to dinner, or even a costume party. “The first time I saw my friend in one of these shirts I felt like my life was a little less brilliant because I didn’t have one to wear, too,” says EP marketing manager Carol Busch.

Available in several fabric designs, from edgy to fruity, the Resort shirt by New York City-based cycling apparel company Ostroy knocks it out of the park. You’ll want more than one. Women size down.
$78 (sale price while it lasts)

Ottolock Cinch lock

First Jules had one, then Nadine, next Eileen and now Carol. We love the simplicity (keyless!), weight (145 gm!), design (curls into itself), and ruggedness (3 hardened stainless-steel band layers wrapped in an aramid fiber jacket) of this little gem of a lock. It doesn’t look like much more than a zip tie for giants, but it does its job with aplomb. The combination only requires that you remember three numbers. Folks who have big fingers with minimal dexterity might find the combination number ‘interface’ more challenging to use. We recommend the 30″ option.
From $59

Smartwool thermal merino reversible neck gaiter

Looking for the perfect item to complete your winter cycling kit? Jules recommends Smartwool’s thermal merino reversible neck gaiter, which when paired with their reversible cuffed beanie, keeps her comfy when the temperature drops to the 30’s and 40’s. Double-layered, odor resistant, and reversible – with several different colors/patterns to please a wide range of tastes.

Patagonia Worn Wear – Nano-Air Jacket

When Seth, EP’s business and special projects manager, recommends a product, friends and colleagues take note. He approaches purchases large and small with his engineer’s attention to detail and a fierce proclivity for spreadsheets. It’s safe to say that everyone who skis with Seth owns a Nano-Air jacket (some of us prefer the hoody version).

Because Patagonia’s technical specifications for the jacket are lengthy, we think all you need to know is what Seth says: “Great for keeping warm but not getting too sweaty on a winter ride or ski tour.” Best of all, you can find several options on Patagonia’s Worn Wear site, or go for 100% brand new.
Used from $150; new from $329

Sena R2 Evo helmet

Ever seen your riding partner take a wrong turn ahead of you but they can’t hear you shouting at them to turn back? If only you could easily communicate with them and alleviate the stress of chasing them down. If only your helmet had an intercom! Well, it can. First-time EP customers Gloria and Phil chatted their way through the White Roads of Tuscany Gravel Explorer tour with ease and enjoyment thanks to their Sena helmet.

Sena’s Mesh Intercom™ allows riders to communicate hands-free with other Mesh users within a half-mile (900 meters). Audio is delivered through integrated speakers located above the rider’s ears, which allows for awareness of surrounding sounds such as traffic, unlike in-ear buds.
From $170

Rinne print

Cycling is a lifestyle, so if your home or office does not yet reflect this all-consuming passion, perhaps its time for some wall art. Look no further than Tokyo-based illustrator Tetsuro Ohno for a playful, yet subtle, option. His Uncle Rinne character leads many cycling lives, some that likely resonate with the cyclist in your life. Maybe, some day, Ohno will create a female equivalent. . .
From $84

Wera multi-color hex set

If you keep your Allen keys loose in a drawer for easy access, but spend just as much time looking for the correct size as you do using it, this multi-colored L-key hex set from Germany tool manufacturer Wera might be just the thing you need to increase efficiency and reduce anxiety while feverishly wrenching away in the garage. Perhaps a bit too pricey to be a stocking stuffer, this gorgeous set will put a wide smile on even the stuffiest of mechanics. Metric and Imperial available.
From $40

Stocking stuffers & secret Santa gifts

Somethings are just more fun to receive as a small gift than to purchase for yourself.