Roanoke Outside Gift Guide 2023

“Shop local” is more than a catchy phrase. For the outdoor businesses in Virginia’s Blue Ridge, it is a way of life. Did you know that for every $100 spent at a local business $68 stays in that community? That’s fueling jobs and your local economy!

This holiday season, take a minute to slow down, browse and consider locally-sourced gifts. Not sure where to start? We’ve asked local business owners and employees to share some of the things they’d love to give or receive this year.

Here are some of the top picks from the people working at outdoor businesses in Virginia’s Blue Ridge.

Blue Ridge Overland: Tote Bag Bundle or Speakeasy Bourbon Bag

General Manager Brandi Stowe says the combination of a tote and packing cubes are great for any adventure lover. The Tote Bag by itself is great for day-to-day and town-round use. But when you add the Mesh Packing Cubes that are included in the bundle, it becomes a fantastic weekend bag that keeps your clothes and other items organized and easy to find. Plus, when you get where you’re going, you can use the Tote Bag as a day bag.

“I love that you can slide large water bottles and/or umbrellas in the side pocket, and the front and back pockets are perfect for a book or tablet.”

Production Manager Cam Simms is more of a fan of the Speakeasy Bourbon Bag. When visiting family and friends over the holidays, this bag makes it easy to take along some holiday cheer. It’s padded around the bottom and sides, and the internal dividers are padded and removable. It’s nice not to worry about breaking a bottle or a bunch of clinking when you’re traveling. “Like everything we make, it’s backed by our lifetime warranty, so it’s a great gift that someone can use forever.”

Mast General Store: Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket or Darn Tough Socks

John and Mike from Mast General Store love the stay warm combination of the Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket and Darn Tough Socks for your nice list.

Primaloft insulation is incredibly warm for the weight of the Patagonia Nano Puff and it has a 100% polyester shell and lining that’s great for all weather and dries quickly!

“I can layer it with a base layer or use it as a mid-layer in more extreme weather. It’s my everyday jacket for almost everything and great for bike riding in cooler temps,” John said.

Merino wool socks are unmatched in performance! Darn Tough socks are unmatched in their durability and comfort. The socks are guaranteed for life to be the best fitting, most comfortable, and durable socks you’ve ever worn.

“I would buy them without the warranty but knowing they’re guaranteed for life is just a bonus,” Mike said.

Alleghany Highlands: Register for a Gran Fondo

Josh from the Alleghany Highlands Chamber of Commerce & Tourism recommends a registration for the Agony in the Alleghanies Gran Fondo.

One of the most scenic courses in Virginia, the Agony in the Alleghanies Gran Fondo (103 miles) includes two major mountain climbs, nearly 10,000 feet of climbing, and some of the most beautiful scenery the Alleghany Highlands has to offer. The event even features a King & Queen of the Mountain race up the vaunted Warm Springs Mountain. Can you push through the agony and conquer the mountain?

Not looking to cycle over 100 miles? No worries, this event also features a Piccolo Fondo (30 Miles), Medio Fondo (69 miles) and Medio Mountain (64 miles + Warm Springs Mountain climb). At the finish line, you’re met with a post-race party featuring multiple bands, food trucks, beverages and more!

The Agony in the Alleghanies Gran Fondo takes place on June 29, 2023 and begins in downtown Covington, passes by icons such as Falling Spring Falls & Humpback Bridge, and concludes with a finish in downtown Clifton Forge at the Historic Masonic Theatre.

Receive 15% off your registration with code HOLIDAYFONDO23. 

Trek Bikes for the Cycling Enthusiast

Jake loves the Trek Slash 8 Gen 6 because it’s a perfect blend of Enduro and slack geometry. With 170mm travel in both the front and rear, combined with the high pivot, you won’t have any issues rolling through gnarly descents or the fatigue of pedal kickback. It comes with the mullet set up to give you a ton of control and speed to make sending it even easier.

You want an enduro bike that keeps pedaling efficient on the ups and slays on the downs. The added traction from a high-pivot bike is appealing, but the stability on descents is really what takes the cake. Versatility is up your alley, and you love being able to walk the line between fast-rolling 29ers and nimble 27.5 wheels.

If gravel is more of your style, Matt recommends the Trek Checkpoint AXS, a sick gravel bike with an amazing 1x drivetrain that makes easy use of the rowdiest gravel rides. With the ability to go up to a 45mm tire, coupled with trek’s lifetime warranty on the frame, you can have all the confidence that this bike can handle whatever you throw at it.

A carbon gravel bike built for the longest days, roughest roads, and biggest adventures. It’s light, fast, comfortable, and spec’d with high-end parts that perform even in the most rugged terrain, like an advanced wireless electronic drivetrain for lightning-fast shifts (even under load) and less maintenance.

Roanoke Mountain Adventures: Kids Ride Shotgun or Kelty Chairs

The Kids Ride Shotgun bike seat allows mountain biking parents to bring kids on their ride.

“It’s my favorite thing I’ve gotten from the store this past year. I can still mountain bike when I’m alone with my daughter and don’t have to stick with just a greenway ride. And she loves it,” said Sean Bryant.

Another option that is a favorite this year are high quality and durable folding chairs in double and single seats, great for any occasion. These Kelty Chairs have are easy to carry with a comfortable strap and pack away fast with their innovative folding bag design. “It’s comfy on the beach, at concerts, camping and firepits. Anyone can use it anywhere.”

Fleet Feet: Normatec Go or Salomon Running Vest

Jaime Barcenas understands the gift of amazing recovery after a big run. “After finishing the Marine Corp Marathon in 80 degree heat I needed to jumpstart my recovery. The Normatec Go is the best portable compression tool to throw on after my big efforts. It fits easily in my gear bag and makes a big difference so I can get back to putting in the miles!” Regular price $399 and on sale for $319 through 12/2.

Kristen Jager recommends something for the run as well. “I’m a trail girl and I don’t hit a trail without my Salomon Adv Skin 5 running vest ($140). I love that it has so many pockets. I can carry everything I need from multiple nutrition packets, my phone, car key, water bottles and anything else I might need. I also don’t have to worry with it shifting or moving, it feels like I’m wearing a second skin. Plus it matches my favorite Salomon trail shoes.”

Noke Van Co: Dometic CFX3 25 or Multi-functional Flashlight

Keri VanBlaricom is a big fan of Dometic’s smallest electric portable cooler because it is designed for your toughest adventures. The small 12-volt cooler is perfect for car camping and smaller vehicles. The award-winning Dometic’s CFX3 is the best single-zone electric cooler to use as a car fridge or freezer, reaching temperatures as low as -7°F, while using less power than a 60W light bulb.

“This cooler is great because it can be powered by AC, DC, or solar and can connect to your phone to allow easy temperature monitoring and control. It comes in a variety of sizes to meet your camping needs.”

More appropriate as a stocking stuffer is the E.LUMEN 500 Multi-functional Flashlight, which is equipped with a solar panel. The Renogy E.LUMEN 500 Multi-functional Flashlight harnesses the sun’s power to light your way in the dark. A built-in rechargeable battery is at the ready to power up your mobile devices at any time and an integrated seat belt cutter, glass-shattering hammer, and magnetic attachment will have you prepared for vehicle emergencies and outdoor activities.

“This is one of the best camping essentials to have in your line-up, whether you are backpacking or glamping. But it would also be awesome just to have it stored in your vehicle for emergencies. The flashlight is extremely bright and can be charged by solar or USB.”

Roanoke Angler: Grundens Apparel or Redington “Ready to Fish” Combos

Jay Waide has got some great picks for the fisher-person in your life at the newly opened Roanoke Angler in Grandin Village.

Designed to keep you warm and dry, Grundens is functional for floating the river and stylish enough for a night on the town. Pair base layers with a Grundens Gore-Tex shell and Grundens Gore-Tex waders to create the ultimate winter fishing system.

Holt loves the Redington “Ready to Fish” Combos. Just add water. No matter where you find yourself casting a line, look no further than Redington combos. Kits include case, performance fly rod, crosswater reel, Rio mainstream line and Rio Powerflex Plus leader.

Cardinal Bicycle: Cardinal Experience Bentonville or “Fast is a Feeling” Shirt

Dan Lucas knows that experiences create long-lasting memories and an opportunity to connect with others.

Cardinal is leading an all-inclusive mountain biking trip to Bentonville, Arkansas, March 7-11, 2024. We will take care of all the logistics to make traveling with your bike as easy as possible. The trip includes three days of guided rides, 5 nights of lodging, breakfast, and dinner, skills instruction and support, bike transport from Roanoke to Bentonville, and mechanic support.

“This is a gift that someone will remember for years to come.”

Hunter Bryan thinks the Cardinal “Fast is a Feeling” hoodie or t-shirt will fit almost anyone. Fast is a Feeling t-shirts and hoodies have a fun and colorful Roanoke-themed design. These shirts were locally designed and printed right here in Roanoke.

“Anyone who rides a bike can relate to–and be inspired by–the idea that fast is a feeling. This shirt embodies the spirit of cycling being for everyone through that simple theme.”

Outdoor Trails: Snowpack from KAVU or Skybox NX 16 from Yakima

Andrea and Nugget are dreaming of a White Christmas with the Snowpack, a super warm fleece that is just as cozy on the outside as it is on the inside. It is a relaxed fit, half zip mock neck pullover with hand pockets and a high low hem with side vents. It is made with 10oz 100% certified recycled polyester double sided butta-soft sherpa fleece. Pair it with a pair of leggings and hit the trail or town running, but be prepared to be everyone’s first pick as a cuddle buddy on cold days. Andrea loves the look, feel, and functionality; while Nugget loves how soft and cuddly his Mommy is wearing this fleece.

For the traveler, John recommends the Skybox NX 16 is perfect for road trips with pets to camping with your friends who bring way too much stuff. Make more room inside your vehicle with the SkyBox NX. This do-it-all cargo box is packed with features like worry-free mounting hardware that fits most crossbars, including the Yakima StreamLine™ system, a flat bottom interior so you can take full advantage of more usable space, and the dependability and security of full metal locking handles.  John loves the versatility of carrying all of his ski equipment in the winter and larger items on backpacking trips year-round. This leaves plenty of room in his vehicle for everything else, including hiking companions.

Robert thinks you’ll be a star gift giver with the Coldfront Down Hoodie, a lightweight, water-resistant, and wind-resistant hooded down jacket. This jacket combines Responsible Down Standard (RDS) Certified down, recycled materials, and thoughtful design to deliver lightweight, packable winter insulation for the mountains or the city. “I love how much warmth this piece offers on chilly days in the backcountry and how packable it is so not to take up much room in your backpack.”

Just the Right Gear: Carvins Cove Shirt and Hat or Cycling Gloves

New owner Kristine will help you give the gift of looking cool while doing good with a super comfy t-shirt and hat with the shop’s new Carvins Cove design. Plus, Just the Right Gear will give a portion of the sales to the Roanoke City Parks and Rec Foundation to support the trails we love.

“Just the Right Gear has been on the way to the cove for 21 years. We wanted to create something awesome to celebrate our new ownership and give back to the trails that have helped make our shop a success.”

Ryan loves gloves as a stocking stuffer. This option is cool, gives you more grip, and protects your hands in the event of an unintentional dismount.

American Flyers: Giordana Roanoke Thermal Jersey and Raveman Headlight

“When I began cycling in 1985, I purchased my very first cycling jersey made by Giordana, manufactured in Italy, and I still have that high-quality jersey hanging in my shop today,” said shop owner Ron. “I work with Giordana to create my shop jerseys, clients, and my own designs, such as this Roanoke thermal long-sleeve jersey. This garment is a snug fit using a moisture-moving winter microfiber and a breathable soft brushed inner surface to retain heat, which I use from Fall through early Spring.”

Shorter days make lighting a practical gift. Sarah recommends the Raveman FR160 is a unique daytime visible bike headlight that attaches to my existing computer mount; this helps clear up real estate on my handlebars. The high-efficiency LED bulbs and the eye-catching warning flashing mode increases my visibility, especially in daytime riding. The light is compact and compatible with Garmin or Wahoo computer mounts, is heavy rain resistant, and is rechargeable.

Good Times Cycling: Outbound Lighting Self Contained USB-C Rechargeable Bike Lights or Trail Evo Wide Beam Pattern Handlebar Light

These LED lighting systems are a departure from mounting flashlights on our heads and handlebars to a true automotive quality purpose-built bicycle lighting system. While many will focus on lumen count, the true performance is found in the beam pattern, which is how the light is projected in a much more useful manner. Quality of light is the key factor here.

The Hangover “Looking” Helmet Light creates light for your entire field of vision where you look, blending perfectly with Trail Evo to create perfect beam pattern, while the Detour –  Road Edition has a finely tuned beam pattern tapering from your front wheel to where you are looking with a solid cut off to help not blind oncoming traffic

Black Bibs: Merino Socks

A good pair of merino socks is a must for riding. “I wear them year round because they wick moisture better than standard socks and do an excellent job of keeping my feet warm. These socks in particular are pretty awesome since they aren’t super thick so you can wear them without feeling like you need to wear larger shoes,” said Jack.

RunAbout: Coros Apex or Nathan Pinnacle Race Vest

Drew Nichols says the Coros Apex is a wonderful GPS watch, that has a stunning battery life. The watch is lightweight and the wristband is comfortable and and breathable. Drew loves his because as an avid trail runner the altimeter and ability to load GPX files is crucial. He also loves the data feedback provided, as well as the vast array of sport modes to chose from. It’s a fantastic every day watch, but can also perform during ultra marathons.

The Nathan Pinnacle 12L Race Vest is perfect for longer runs. This vest is one of the larger capacity hydration vests that Nathan offers. It comes equipped with many safety features including a safety whistle, and reflective striping. “As a back of the pack runner I love that I can carry everything that I may need and more in this pack. The numerous pockets allow for me to carry fuel, hydration, and additional clothing if needed,” said Charlotte Powers. “I also am able to keep a small first aid kit that has saved other runners many times. This pack feels like I am wearing a t-shirt and I often forget that I am wearing it.”

Roanoke Outside

Kait’s Pick: Tell someone you believe in them with the gift of America’s Toughest Road Races! When you treat them to this race, they’ll experience a world-class challenge with renowned Blue Ridge scenery and top-notch Roanoke hospitality. Simply register for the distance you’d like to gift and then email us at with your giftee’s name and email address and we’ll transfer it to them!

Pete’s Pick: Give the gift of the great outdoors by donating to Project Outside. Your support goes toward building new outdoor infrastructure projects (like the Roanoke River access ramp at Wayside Park), maintaining the outdoor assets we already love (like trails on Mill Mountain), and supporting outdoor businesses and programs in the region (like Humble Hustle’s PARK program). Your financial support goes straight back into the great outdoors you know and love.

Rock Outdoors

Hey Dude Wally L Stretch Get ready to roam with the Wally Stretch collection. This easy-on, easy-off moc has our tried-and-true, textile upper material which is heavier and more durable than your average, basic moc. Built on an ultralight, foam outsole, an easy-on system with elastic laces and a cushioned ankle collar. Here to make taking on any day with comfort and ease. 

Hydroflask 40oz Wide Mouth Flex Cap is the perfect hydration solution for your long adventures. It fits most backcountry hydration filters, and keeps beverages hot or cold for up to 24 hours. And with a variety of colors to choose from, it’s the perfect gift for your adventurer!

Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club

What’s the best way to look amazing while supporting the 120-mile section of Appalachian Trail that runs through our region? Snag some AT apparel from the Roanoke Appalachian Trail Club! All proceeds from these sales go to volunteer maintenance of their section of AT, including the beloved Triple Crown! The hats and water bottles would make the perfect stocking stuffer for the trail lover in your life.