Below is a list of various items I bought over the past 12 months that I feel I can recommend to others. I don't like wasting money and neither should you.
I've had a couple of flights out of the country in 2016 and paired with Global Entry, this belt is a lifesaver. Its simple design has no metal parts and weighs next to nothing, making it perfect for traveling through airport security as well as being comfortable while on the flight. I went with the Midnight (all black) belt but the Green/Navy Blackwood belt also caught my eye.
If you're technically inclined and in the Apple ecosystem, go for the Apple Watch. There's also some deals on Craigslist to be had if you look. I got my Apple Watch (1st Generation) for $180 in the summer, well before they announced the new models. I talked the guy down from $250.
New Cost: $269+
Used Cost: ~$175+
But if you're a horological fan, go with the Maratac Pilot Watch from County Comm. It's a solid design with a true automatic movement, and you can easily swap the straps out for any number of nylon or leather styles. I prefer the Large size but they make a Medium if that's more your fit.
Note: I initially paid under $200 for the Maratac Pilot Watch but after checking the price for this article I realized it’s now listed a bit higher. If I were in the market again, I’d be more interested in going for the Lum-Tec Huckberry Combat B33 GMT ($498). Or go on the budget side and consider the Standard Issue Instruments Pilot Mission Timer ($134). Yes those are both quartz but they seems pretty solid to me.
This is a great gift for that outdoorsy person in your life. If they don't live near a National Park and they don't have plans to visit one, it may not be an awesome idea but it might also jumpstart search for adventure. I've been on a few trips this year where I just brought it with me and it's saved a ton of money.
Cost: $80 (annual pass)
As a bonus, or even an alternative, pick up an REI membership. It's only $20, good for life, and you get 10% back on most things in the form of an annual dividend. And that's in addition to fairly frequent member only events and discounts throughout the year.
You don't have to be a designer to appreciate good design and I'm speaking from experience. It's no surprise that I'm a fan of Field Notes and I certainly appreciate a lot of how Mr. Draplin thinks. I can't pinpoint it but for some reason, I enjoy poring over this book. Even though I don't plan to "design" anything, I'm inspired by the graphics and stories throughout. And if it's still available, I recommend getting the DDC “Everything Else” Enhancement Kit to go along with it.
"Fancy" Magazine Subscriptions
I've always had a thing for magazines and I've been stoked recently since they've made a huge comeback. But these aren't the ones you're used to with ads on every other page, these are much better. Well, to be honest, a couple of the ones I like are almost completely made up of ads but it's a much more tasteful presentation. Here's a few that I recommend:
You can buy them individually (around $15-20 per issue) or through a subscription. From the photography to the stories, you won't be disappointed. Oh and they’re more like coffee table books than anything else. The physical material is top quality.
I saw the movie first and instantly loved it so I scheduled some time to read the official book version next. You know how movies based on books can be, often never stacking up to the book version. But surprisingly enough, this audiobook pared quite well with the film. I think seeing Robert Redford and Nick Nolte in action helped me visualize the characters in the book form. I highly recommend reading or listening to this book. And watch the movie too.