The Best Outdoor Furniture, Fashion, Gear and More for Your 2021 Adventures

OUR LONG pandemic winter has meant doing without a lot of life’s pleasures—and doing so,

OUR LONG pandemic winter has meant doing without a lot of life’s pleasures—and doing so, for the most part, while trapped inside our increasingly overfamiliar homes. We at The Wall Street Journal believe it’s time to overcompensate.

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Herewith, we present this guide to 24 inspiring products for adventurers, gardeners, patio-dwellers, hikers, bikers and picnickers who want to get outside a bit grandly. Yes, grandly. You can find a bleak manual for shoestring-budget campers anywhere. Corner-cutting tips are not in short supply. Instead, although you’ll discover plenty of under-$100 ideas below, we found ourselves dreaming of mixing outdoorsiness with opulence: grilling with leather oven mitts, gazing at the stars from penthouse rooftops, having a choice of two exotic Indian patterns when we spread a blanket out in the park. What are you dreaming of?



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F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal

Invest in an Exceptional Sleeping Bag for Side Sleepers

Traditional sleeping bags doom campers to lie burrito-ed on their backs. But the new Sidewinder bag from Big Agnes will let natural side-sleepers embrace their inner odalisques (see Matisse’s paintings of nudes lying poised on one hip). Known for lifetime guarantees and waste-reducing production methods, the company engineered the stretchy Sidewinder to eliminate the mummification effect and mapped its insulation to minimize impact on pressure points. Even after a night in the dirt you can wake up refreshed. From $279, bigagnes.com



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F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal

Harvest Your Garden the Classic British Way

Now that the pandemic has made a master gardener of you, here’s the appropriate basket for the fruits of your labor. This handmade trug, a British-style gardening basket, was literally created for the job. Oregon-based Greg Barber, a former boat builder, crafts the shallow, oblong vessels using local myrtlewood and rustproof copper tacks. The basket hangs easily on your forearm and has a lovely balance. No garden? Carry it to the farmer’s market or U-pick orchard. $95 for small, $125 for large, westontable.com.



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F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal

Pull On a Picturesque Sweater

Doesn’t a seaside vacation sound good right now? While we await the “return to normal” and the ability to travel with abandon, transport yourself sartorially from your living room couch with Aimé Leon Dore’s evocative cotton sweater (above). Inspired by a coastal Greek town, this picturesque knit riffs on the region’s colorful houses and serene seafront. Maybe next summer you can visit this blissfully sunny place. Until then, this escapist sweater will suffice. Sweater, $395, aimeleondore.com



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F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal

Supercharge Your Hike With a Solar-Paneled Backpack

Are you an outdoor enthusiast who spends your entire hike texting, tweeting and googling that naggingly familiar bird you saw chirping in a tree? Take Sease’s solar-paneled backpack (right, top) on your next excursion. Produced in Italy, this roomy laminated-linen knapsack features a 7.5-watt charge panel and an internal USB port, so you can plug in your phone to live stream your trek. Plus, the whole pack is waterproof so not even a downpour will undermine your tech obsession. Sease Backpack, $357, matchesfashion.com



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F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal

Tick Off Your Accomplishments With This Adventurer’s Watch

Garmin’s

new top-of-the-line Enduro watch packs all the info you need when adventuring—like where trail runners should turn next to avoid becoming bear food and how much higher cyclists have to pedal up a looming hill—into a chic square inch and a half on your wrist, no cellular connection required. Since it automatically charges via solar energy to extend battery life, you’ll only have to juice up every 80 hours or so in GPS mode. Post-workout, the device’s VO2 max feature assesses how changing elevation is affecting your cardio then tells you whether to push it or take it easy on the next workout. $800, garmin.com



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F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal

Brew a Superior Cup of Joe, Tent-Side

For a cup of Joe at the campsite that could pass for something snooty and Parisian, pair VSSL’s new copper-colored Java grinder with the BruTrek French Press. The hand grinder operates so smoothly you won’t miss your electric version back home and cuts beans to a uniform size without pulverizing them, ensuring a better brew ($145, vsslgear.com). The precisely fitted gasket on BruTrek’s brewer, meanwhile, makes it work better than most we’ve tried and its thermos-like lid helps retain heat and prevent the sort of spills that would undermine your “tenting in the Tuileries Gardens” fantasy. From $60, planetarydesign.com



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F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal

Double Your Picnic Panache With a Two-Sided Blanket

We see a multitude of picnics in your near future, and without scope to vary them, they risk becoming as monotonous as these past months trapped at home. Instead of one blah blanket, try this padded cotton bontha mat, handmade in India using natural dyes. Each side features a different complementary pattern. Toss a foil-covered chocolate coin to decide which textile gets top billing first. Bontha Mat, $425, lesindiennes.com



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F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal

Star Gaze With Almost Unprecedented Power

Our universe has produced few things more magnificent than the Whirlpool Galaxy, but the distant star system—31 million light years from Earth—defies most average telescopes. If you equip yourself more grandly with the new eVscope from Unistellar, which can also photograph and share your view of the night sky, you can be suitably humbled by the (crisp) sight. The WiFi-enabled smart device uses the astrophotography technique of image-stacking to show stars in incredible detail, even if you’re on an urban-light-polluted penthouse rooftop with a Cosmo aptly in hand. Controlled by a smartphone app that doubles as your primary viewfinder, the eVscope adds considerable finesse to nerdiness. $2,999, unistellaroptics.com



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F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal

Grasp the Finer Points of Grilling With These Skewers

Whether you’re spearing sausage, piercing kebabs, lancing shrimp or impaling marshmallows, a top-quality skewer really sharpens your game. These approximately 20-inch carbon-steel beauties, hand-forged by blacksmith Alex Pole in Somerset, England, feel gratifyingly heavy in the hand. The pigtail handle makes them easy to grip and also slightly diffuses the heat. And unlike the bamboo kind, these will last a lifetime. $22, eatingtools.com



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F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal

Seek Oven Mitts Made out of Hide

Normally an oven mitt is awkward and bulky, but this luxe leather model fits, well, like a glove, bringing finesse to open-fire cooking. Designer Linny Kenny starts with soft and sturdy Tuscan leather, dyed, cut and stitched at her New Hampshire studio. The mitts are suitable for the kitchen, but the fire-resistant quality of the leather makes them ideal for outdoor cooking too, whether over a grill or a campfire. $145, eatingtools.com



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F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal

Make Pour Choices for Your Next Picnic

When serving drinks poolside, whether lemonade or something harder, you want a pitcher that can serve a crowd and cups that won’t break—but why settle for paper or plastic? Falcon Enamelware’s enameled steel carafe and tumblers fit the bill elegantly. They’re shatterproof and lightweight enough to tote along on a picnic or camping trip, and they come in a range of delicious colors, such as this mustard yellow, that make building a collection hard to resist. $10 for tumbler, $50 for pitcher, us.falconenamelware.com



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F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal

Significantly Broaden Your Sun Hat’s Brim

Most of us aren’t talented enough to time travel to the 1950s Italian seaside milieu of “The Talented Mr. Ripley” (if you are, please bring us back a tasty souvenir). But any woman with a generous budget for summer élan can invest in this startlingly oversize, retro straw hat from the Italian brand Missoni. Vibrantly striped (the brand’s signature) to let everyone know it’s Missoni, it will cheerfully block UV rays while radiating a rainbow of decadence. At 22 inches across, it will shield not just your head, but your shoulders and upper arms—though coverage this chic does come at the expense of peripheral vision. Hat, $605, missoni.com



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F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal

Serve an Extraordinary Aperitivi Spread

We’re gathering for drinks outdoors these days, whether on a mountain top or a porch. The Aperitivi Box from Bread and Salt Bakery in Jersey City, N.J., supplies a picnic-ready, cocktail-friendly spread, from house-baked taralli rings to excellent meat, cheese, marinated olives and vegetables sott’olio (preserved in oil). It’s the next best thing to aperitivo hour on the Amalfi Coast. And gorp pairs well with nothing. $95, breadandsaltshipping.square.site



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F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal

Prune Your Shrubs With Regal Shears

Sculpting boxwoods into bunnies, trimming your David Austin roses or nipping daisies for a pickle-jar vase? These topiary shears—endorsed by the Royal Horticultural Society—help you do it all with ease and a slightly regal air. “They’re beautiful hanging on a peg, and they function just as you would use your hand naturally,” said Gary McNatton, who imports them from English manufacturer Burgon & Ball, which began producing steel sheep shears in 1730. The mechanism-free action won’t rust or lose its spring like hardware-store snips. Topiary Trimming Shear, $75, hudsongracesf.com

Pull On Puddle Boots and Sing in the Rain

Remember the bright yellow rainboots of your childhood? This glamorous hot-pink pair from Bottega Veneta will let you prance through puddles in a happy state of regression after being locked up Rapunzel-like all winter. Their engineering is suitably serious, though: The rubber shell, which is made of a biodegradable polymer, is lined with cozy cotton so your feet will stay dry, warm and comfortable in all sorts of soppy circumstances. These candy-colored stompers will also serve you splendidly for an evening of outdoor dining, no matter the weather—you needn’t save boots this stylish for a rainy day. Puddle Boots, $650, bottegaveneta.com



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F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal

Illuminate the Night With a Crystal Lantern

The evening is warm and fair; the sky, literally stellar. Don’t crash this bliss with the glare of a camping lamp or mundane phone flashlight. Instead, illuminate the night with a crystal lantern from the oldest cristallerie in Europe, French glassmaker Saint-Louis. “It brings this poetic glow anywhere,” said interior architect Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance of the rechargeable lamp he designed. “It’s like bringing part of a chandelier outside.” Folia Portable Lamp, $2,100, saint-louis.com

Splurge on a Splashy but Chic Chaise

When we ponder this luxe lounger, our thoughts drift variously to the Italian Riviera in the 1960s and the rooftop pool of a 21st-century hotel and then back to a reckless impulse to splurge on one of these chaises for ourselves. “It’s a minimal, timeless sun bed pared down to its essence,” said Paola Lenti, who founded her Italian furniture and design studio nearly three decades ago. The chair’s rounded pads evoke undulating ocean waves, and the woven-look fabric (a super-tough performance textile) adds a rich depth of sun-splashed color. Miramar Chaise, from $6,240, paolalenti.it



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F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal

Search Out the World’s Most Awesome Campsites

A new photo book captures awesome campsites around the globe, so your mind’s eye can wander, no backpack needed. Peek out of a tent at the Isle of Skye’s rock pinnacles, hitch a ride in a Creamsicle-colored van in Cappadocia or gaze at the full moon in Pella, South Africa at 29.0341° S, 19.1530° E. GPS coordinates are included so you can visit the exact spots when in-person travel resumes. ‘You Are Here: Camping,’ Chronicle Books, $25



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F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal

Bid Adieu to the Couch With Style in a Floral Jacket

The floral jacquard print of this hybrid jacket-overshirt from Woolrich was, no kidding, inspired by a mid century fabric likely used for a sofa from the company’s archives. It’s been updated with a modern, elegant twist—and when zipped inside, you can be elegantly updated, too. Dressing for the outdoors is no longer a solely functional pursuit, said Andrea Cane, the heritage brand’s global creative director. “Before, everything was based on protection…Now, you want to go [outside] with style, with a certain kind of chic attitude.” Floral Timber Overshirt, $295, woolrich.com



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F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal

Layer in a Slick Leather Puffer Vest

A down vest can look like a rigid life preserver. Even that famous advocate, Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) in “Back to the Future,” could have been mistaken for a nervous sailor in his cherry-red puffer. But Japanese label the Real McCoy’s has evolved this routinely sporty piece into something dashing. With a French duck-feather fill and a slick black deerskin shell, this sleeveless wonder conveys urbane polish, not nautical necessity. Vest, about $1,185, therealmccoys.com



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F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal

Stalk the Rare Black Leopard

As a child growing up in Tanzania, Will Burrard-Lucas fell in love with the leopards he witnessed on safaris. The big cats “were the holy grail for me,” said the British wildlife photographer, who chronicles his quest to find the rare black leopard in a photo-filled memoir. Arresting shots capture the nocturnal African feline, its expressive eyes and glossy coat lit up against the starry night sky in Kenya—a technical feat achieved through camera traps triggered by a sensor he developed. “I set up very complex lighting, considered where to ‘pose’ the animal and waited for him to come along,” he said. ‘The Black Leopard’ by Will Burrard-Lucas. Chronicle Books, $35.



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Jetpack Aviation

Fly a Jetpack

Bond did it in “Thunderball.” Elroy Jetson did it daily on his way to school. David Mayman did it around the Statue Of Liberty. You too can take flight all on your own by signing up for a two day session at Mr. Mayman’s Jetpack Aviation training facility in Moorpark, Calif. Under free-flight conditions, the 83-pound twin turbojet powered packs can get you to an altitude of about 2,000 feet, and achieve a top speed of more than 120 mph. While you won’t reach those heights or speeds (you’ll be tethered to a zipline-like cable 35 feet overhead), you will get in at least three flights a day and a flightsuit to keep. $4,950, jetpackaviation.com

Shade Your Pet in a Wicker Pagoda Bed

Who needs more relief from sun than creatures compelled to wear a full-length fur all year? Shade your cat or canine outdoors with a wicker bed hand-woven in the shape of a pagoda—architecturally dramatic but not overly kitschy. The bed’s designer, Tina Yaraghi, said she’s drawn to styles that “blend the best of a current look with classical design.” The 32-inch-wide perch includes a choice of two washable patterned cushions, so you can coddle your backyard buddy selectively. Pagoda Pet Bed, $495, enchantedhome.com



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John Phelps

Hike from Hut-to-Hut in Colorado

“May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, and leading to the most amazing view,” bid naturalist Edward Abbey. For a less dangerous foray that’s infinitely more comfortable, set out for a five-day trek from hut to hut across Mount Sneffels Wilderness and national forests, high in Colorado’s San Juan Range. Beginning at Last Dollar Pass, these four mountain dwellings shelter hikers on a 30-mile traverse between the resort towns of Telluride and Ouray. More sensible than swanky, each one comes with wood stoves, kitchens and bunks for eight. You can arrange a food drop on the second and fourth nights to lighten your load. San Juan Huts also provides detailed navigation to keep you on course and less lonesome. From $120 per person, sanjuanhuts.com

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