Whether you are a day-hiker, casual camper or an outright gearhead, it’s always fun to poke around the local outfitters to see what gear is new or has been updated this season. I talked with the experts at both Great Outdoor Provision Co. in Thruway Center and Mast General Store on Trade Street, both in Winston-Salem, to get ideas for holiday gifts. (Find Great Outdoor Provision Co. at the Westover Gallery of Shops, 1410 Westover Terrace in Greensboro.)

With their bright colors, Cotopaxi brand packs are gaining in popularity. The 55-litre Taboche pack ($190) is sized for a three or four night trip in the backcountry. It’s adjustable torso makes the pack perfect for growing youth. The 20-litre Tarak day pack ($90) is part of the company’s Del Dia line (Spanish for “of the day”). Each pack in the Del Dia line is unique, because production workers use fabric remnants and have creative control on which colors are used. Available at both Mast and Great Outdoor.

Puffy jackets are all the rage this season, whether on the trail or in town. Patagonia is now offering a parka style jacket in their compressible, synthetic Nano Puff line. Kuhl’s Spyfire hooded jacket features 800-fill goose down with a Euro style for men, women and children. All are available at both Mast and Great Outdoor.

Looking for a compact flashlight for your pack, purse or car? The 2.6-inch Nebo Torchy compact LED ($29.99) offers five different modes up to a whopping 1000 lumens. It is rechargeable with either the included USB cord or wirelessly through its magnetic base. Available at both Mast and Great Outdoor Provision Company.

Powertraveller’s Falcon 12E foldable solar panel ($99) clips onto the outside of your pack with mini carabiners that are provided. The 12W panel can charge your device almost twice as fast as standard 7-watt panels. The company’s Harrier 25 6700mAh power pack ($79) permits both wireless and USB charging and comes with elastic straps to secure your device in place. Both products are available at Great Outdoor Provision Company.

Puffin beverage coolers, available at Mast General Store, are whimsical, outdoor-themed beverage koosies. The coolers come in vests ($11.95) and jackets ($12.95) to fit 12 oz. cans and sleeping bags ($15.95) for 12 oz. bottles.

Greenville, S.C.-based The Landmark Project’s line of Smokey Bear products celebrate the 75th anniversary of the U.S. Forest Service mascot. The company will donate 10% from this line to U.S. Forest Service for Wildfire Prevention Education. The Smokey Bear line and other products celebrating national and regional parks, forests and trails are available at Great Outdoor Provision Company.

Both Mast and Great Outdoor Provision Company carry an extensive line of pocket knives. Among those that stood out are Spanish-made Castillo knives, a new line of pocket knives carried by Mast General Store. The knives feature Sandvik steel blades with handles crafted from unique woods like curly birch.

Among the CRKT (Columbia River Knife & Tool) knives, available at Great Outdoor, is the Homefront model, a field-strippable knife that can be quickly disassembled for easy cleaning.

If you are looking to cut down on your use of disposable drinking straws, look to these options. Klean Kanteen offers stainless steel and silicone straws in a four pack or a lid and straw combination that fits its stainless steel bottles ($9.95/each at Mast). Light My Fire offers their ReStraw four pack of BPA-free reusable plastic straws available at Great Outdoor Provision Company. While you are at it, pickup a small brush to thoroughly clean those reusable straws.

Both Mast and Great Outdoor offer a wide variety of Yeti and Hydro Flask stainless beverage containers. Mast also carries the Klean Kanteen line which offers a new lid with this year’s line. Great Outdoor Provision Company also carries the S’well products.

Both stores have products that are co-branded with the respective store’s logos. Among those, Sherpa brand clothing and Mast have co-branded a line of fleece pullovers ($54.95) for both women and men. Women’s style comes with decorative trim.

Walt Unks is the photo editor for the Winston-Salem Journal. Contact him at wunks@wsjournal.com or 336-727-7250.

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