goEast Approved: Top Finds in the EMS Gift Guide

Holiday shopping has officially started early(er) this year. This gave us a chance to do a deep dive into EMS.com and dig out some top tier gift ideas keeping category, price point, and activity in mind. Whether you’re shopping for a trail runner, car camper, backcountry skier, or an overall outdoor aficionado, you’ll find something for everyone on your list (and maybe a little something for yourself, too). Check out the full guide here and find a roundup of favorites below.

Top Tech

MPOWERD tops the lists of our favorite tech brands. Their Luci Lanterns use solar power and last way longer than you’d think on a single charge (some up to 24 hours). But it’s their String Lights that do it for me: Hidden inside the expandable unit, the lights pack 100 lumens into 10 nodes on an 18-foot cord. Along with mobile charging capabilities, it’s an easy take-along option for trips and a top notch gift for under $50.

The SUUNTO 9 GPS Sports Watch is our best-selling watch for good reason. It’s got up to 120 hours of continuous exercise tracking and, when paired with the Suunto App, keeps you on top of both your goals and incoming calls. A great ‘big gift’ for the multisport athlete.

PETZL’s NAO+ Performance Headlamp with Bluetooth Technology uses “reactive lighting” tech to adjust brightness depending on activity, making it an ideal companion for high-pace pursuits like trail running, alpine climbing, mountaineering and ski touring. And with the MyPetzl Light mobile app, athletes can consult in real time to check remaining burn time and adjust headlamp performance accordingly.

Under $25

The United by Blue Reusable Straw Kit checks off as both under $25 and eco-friendly. This kit comes with two stainless steel straws, a silicone tip and a bristled cleaning brush— all enclosed in a cool, recycled polyester ripstop case, which makes it perfect for gifting.  I’m personally a big fan of this brand, whose trademark is to remove one pound of trash from oceans and waterways with every product sold.

Who doesn’t love a pint glass? And maybe a pint to go with it? EMS’s new(ish) logo pint glass boasts the EMS logo on one side and the #goEast trademark on the reverse so you can represent in style. Ringing in at a whopping $12.99, it’s an easy gift choice.

It’s official, fanny packs are cool again— and have actually always been very helpful in the hiking department. A personal favorite is this 80’s inspired Mountainsmith Trippin’ Fanny Pack one, but a close second would have to be the Karrimor X Lite Waist Pack, mainly because of its lightness in weight and price ($11.99).


I’m a fan of Osprey’s travel gear—particularly of the new Arcane Pack Family, where minimal design meets utilitarian function. The Tote Pack is a win-win in the gift department as it covers a wide range of life’s needs on-the-go (and is made from 13.5 plastic bottles). Also check out the Osprey Fairview and Farpoint wheeled backpacks if you’re looking for something heftier.

The North Face Base Camp Duffel is a classic that would make anyone stoked for adventure this season. Built for the long hauls, it’s made with super durable material and offers an ample 132-liter volume.

Here’s something that someone probably wouldn’t buy themselves but would be pumped to get— The Eagle Creek Pack-It Cube Set offers up plenty of space for separating and compressing clothing so you can spend less time digging through your bags and more time adventuring. Eagle Creek also offers a Clean/Dirty Cube which is also a great gift/hint.


The Smith Mission is a great all-around helmet at a fair price point. Lightweight with 14 vents, an adjustable dial fit system, and Outdoor Tech audio capabilities, it’s a solid gift choice for someone looking to round out their kit without the bells and whistles.

The EMS Altitude 3-in-1 Gloves and Mittens are a mainstay in our winter gear collection. Featuring PrimaLoft Silver insulation, you’ve got a lightweight and packable mitt with a removable glove liner that will keep up with you when the temps go down. Notable features are the improved grip, safety leash, and reflective elements to help keep you seen in low-light conditions.


The Black Diamond Momentum Harness Package is the gift of all gifts. It’s the perfect starter kit for someone looking to get into climbing, featuring their most popular harness, an ATC-XP belay/rappel device, a rocklock screwgate locking carabiner, chalk bag, and chalk. We have 5 different styles including men’s and women’s sizing (while supplies last). Also check out the Corax Kit from Petzl.


The Salomon Men’s and Women’s Quest 4d 3 GTX Waterproof Hiking Boots are an awesome all-around shoe featuring Salomon’s signature running shoe-adapted tech, meaning it has a light and flexible feel with support sturdy enough for backpacking endeavors. Add the tall ankle and GORE-TEX outer and you’ve got a very dependable boot for any situation out there.

Speaking of dependable, Deuter is a brand that comes to mind (it’s been around since 1898). The Speed Lite 26 Technical Day Pack is the lightest in the Deuter hiking pack series. It’s small in size but doesn’t lack in the comfort department with a hip belt and padded shoulder straps, making it suitable for an array of outdoor activities.


Here’s a kickass camp gift: The MSR PocketRocket Stove Kit includes everything needed to cook and eat for two in the backcountry. The stove delivers quick boil times while the insulated dish sets (mugs, bowls, folding sporks) keep things warm at camp. Everything nests in a 2L aluminum pot for space-efficient transport.

The Big Agnes Torchlight series sleeping bags are just about as comfy as they get. There are some Ultralight options for backpackers but here we’ll focus on the Torchlight 20. This bag features 2 expandable panels from shoulders to footbox for up to 10 extra inches of sleep space and is insulated with DownTek water-repellent down with baffle construction—A great option for those seeking added comfort in a mummy bag.


EMS Feather Pack Jackets are a longtime fan favorite, and this year’s update in design puts them at the top of the list. As always you’ve got hood options, internal pocket packability, and plenty of color choices (see Golden Yellow in Men’s and Sea Moss in Women’s).

Our Expedition Pant is a new arrival worth noting. Constructed from 100% recycled polyester, this 2-layer insulated shell features 10K/10K water resistance, a DWR finish and fully seam-sealed fabric to repel water.  Sourced with 100g Hi-Loft Thermore polyfil, the Expedition is fully lined and has soft brushed tricot to keep you warm and ready for whatever Mother Nature has in store.

Top Picks

The find of the day goes to the Tubbs Xplore Snowshoe Kits. This is the ultimate gift for someone interested in snowshoeing and comes with the trio of must-haves: shoes, poles, and gaiters. They are available in two varieties for men and women and ring in at just under $200.

Not sure? An EMS Gift Card is always a good option (keep in mind that redemption is currently limited to in-store only). You can also use these at Eastern Mountain Sports Schools. What better gift is there than the gift of adventure?

Finding any other gifting favorites? Let us know below.

5 (More) Brands Doing Good You Can Find at EMS

With environmental and social issues showing up more and more in the news, public lands coming under threat, and climate change registering a bigger concern especially among the outdoor-loving public, outdoor industry brands with a conscience are also becoming more and more popular. While the prospect of affecting change or fixing big issues on a personal level may feel daunting, there are brands out there who are leading the way. Whether they are planting trees, picking up trash, or supplying light to those without it, when you buy from brands like these, not only do you get an awesome product, but you can feel a little bit better about helping a company that is actually looking a little further beyond the bottom line to improve the planet. And the best news? You can get any of these products from your local EMS. 


1. United By Blue

United by Blue’s motto reads “Conscious Goods, Cleaner Oceans” for good reason. For every product sold, a pound of trash gets removed from the world’s waterways—So far the number has surpassed 1,638,501 pounds. How? Organized cleanups have been a part of company culture since 2010. Plus, their products are made with sustainable materials like organic cotton and recycled polyester, and even their office materials are 75 percent recycled content. As a certified B-Corp, the Pennsylvania company has since expanded to 400 outlets nationally.

This is a sustainable company that pays it forward in a big way: You can feel good about your purchase from start to finish…plus their designs are pretty awesome too.


2. Oboz

Oboz’s promise to plant a tree for every pair of shoes sold has resulted in the company planting over 2 million trees. These trees help reduce pollution, repopulate reforest land, and improve the lives of families in the developing world. They do this with their partner Trees for the Future (who you can donate to even if you’re not looking for a great pair of shoes). Their One More Tree Event takes place annually at select EMS storefronts (Concord, Nashua, North Conway, West Lebanon, Portsmouth, Lake Placid, Rochester and Warrington) on May 25th, where you can plant a tree yourself for every pair of Oboz you try on! You either get a sapling to take home (while supplies last) or Oboz will do it for you.


3. Saola

This eco-fashion shoe brand has two main values: Eco-design and wildlife preservation. These innovative shoes are made from sustainable materials like recycled plastic bottles, organic cotton, cork and algae foam. The company has vowed to donate 1 percent of its sales towards supporting wildlife projects so that we can continue to enjoy wildlife like the Saola—one of the rarest animals on earth found in the mountains between Vietnam and Laos—as, according to their stats,  our planet has lost over half of its wildlife in the past 40 years.

“Disheartened? So are we. But we are also optimistic, because there are incredible people in the world who put all of their energy, experience, and skills into preserving wildlife and biodiversity,” says the brand.  This is a new-ish brand to our online and select in-store inventory that we’re especially excited about.



Founded in 2012, this Brooklyn-based company is doing big things. Built on a sustainable business model, the brand’s goal is to empower the three billion people worldwide living without reliable access to electricity.  Their namesake Luci lights are solar powered, inflatable, and collapse down to an inch for easy storage. When you buy one, you’re not only buying into sustainable energy, but also supporting a mission aimed at providing people worldwide with an affordable and reliable light source (you can also donate directly through their Give Luci program): So far they have impacted 3+ million lives!  These lights are awesome to bring along on camping and hiking trips and it feels good using it knowing you are also lighting the way for others.


5. Toad & Co.

“Choosing sustainability isn’t the easy route, it’s the only route.” 100% of Toad & Co.’s products are made with eco-friendly materials in facilities on the forefront of sustainable production. They use eco-materials such as organic cotton, hemp, tencel, lenzing modal, sustainable stretch polyester, recycled polyester, recycled cotton,  and recycled wood. This West Coast company has clearly done their homework and cares about sustainability and accountability. They’ve even been able to incorporate reusable shipping containers. In 1996, Toad & Co. partnered with Search, Inc. to co-found Planet Access Company, a warehouse that trains and employs adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Their environmental partners include the Conservation Alliance, Los Padres Forest Watch, The Environmental Defense Center, Yosemite Facelift, Portland Trails, Ventura Land Trust and Community Environmental Council.