Living in San Francisco, and working in the Peninsula, I commute by bike and train and carry my whole day on my back. I bring everything from my breakfast, to my rock climbing gear to ensure that I have a seamless, productive day. Here are my top 8 commuter essentials that would make a great, practical gift for the Urbanite in your life.
#1. Packable, Weather-Proof Jacket
Having a jacket that I can have in my bag at ALL TIMES that will protect me from the elements, makes this item #1 on my list.
Brands like The Northface, Cotopaxi, and Patagonia make some of the best (and ethical) gear out there and would be sure to get your money’s worth of usage.
#2. Phone Case Wallet
As a commuter, I try to have my hands free, and try to make my transition from bike, to bus, to train as seamless as possible without having to open my backpack. I almost always have my phone in my hand or pocket, as I use it to check bus times and directions; so having my phone with my Clipper Card attached makes commuter life a breeze.
Giving this as a gift, you could even go above and beyond and get a personalized case from Etsy.
#3. A Small Lunch Cooler
I use this Fiesta PackIt Personal Cooler to pack my smoothie and snacks in the morning. One Magic Bullet cup fits perfectly in this foldable pack, and it stays cold with the insulated walls. Just keep this bad boy in the freezer over night and your smoothie is guaranteed to stay fresh and icy cold. I love how small and compact it is.
I’ll admit, I received this cooler one Christmas from my mom, and my initial reaction was thinking how lame and unoriginal this gift was; but I have used this so much and quickly grew to love it!
Central Park or Dolores Park, this pack will make all your friends jealous when your the only one left with ice cold beers 😉 A six pack fits nicely inside.
Combine this gift with some fun Bento Boxes or Sistema containers, and this would make a great practical gift for anyone!
#4 Contigo Coffee Mug & Tea Strainer
I know a coffee mug is a staple household item for most people. But I am here to really boast this mug’s ability to keep things piping hot, and spill proof through out my commute. I switch between coffee and loose leaf tea, so I especially love this tea strainer accessory that snaps into the cap of the mug. This would make a great gift for the tea enthusiasts in your life. 🙂
#5 Compression Packing Cubes
I love these things. It’s better than regular packing cubes because you can really maximize the space in your bag with the compression zipper. I use this on the daily, packing my gym clothes into my backpack.
Before, I used to have my clothes loosely taking up the bulk of my bag, but now they are compressed and my bag is more organized.
For that person on the go, they will love this. It’s one of those things that people don’t think they need until they get it. They come in all sorts of sizes, some small enough for a purse; Pack a cardigan and a scarf into the smallest size and you can still have room in your tote for all the other essentials.
Pair this with other organizational pouches, and your Type A friends will LOVE YOU.
#6 A Quality Messenger Bag or Backpack
Get your commuter a true city bag by brands who really know what the urban commuter needs. My favorite brand is Timbuk2 – a San Francisco based company. I sport their Jetpack backpack, and have purchased their sling bags and messenger bags for days when I want to pack light. They are gender neutral, which I love, and have a very minimalist style. Other great brands I like are Chrome Industries, and Topo Designs.
Timbuk2 always has some sort of sale, if you sign up for their email list, it’s like Black Friday never ended. I HIGHLY recommend this as a gift for someone you love. They are lifetime guaranteed, and my first Timbuk2 bag is 8 years old and in great, vibrant condition.
#7 Portable Phone Charger
Everyone needs one of these. Am I right? Or am I right?
This makes a great stocking stuffer. There are so many fun ones out there too. I have one that looks like R2D2. Check out this avocado portable charger … so hip, so cool, so on trend.
#8 Blue Tooth Headphones
Lastly, a pair of wireless or bluetooth headphones is another one of those items I never thought I needed until I got it. I’ve always preferred these over the earbuds because they are more comfortable and make the music experience so much better.
Similar to my phone case testimonial, walking around and jumping on trains tangle free of chords makes this item a must while commuting.
If your commuter is a cyclist, I suggest a bluetooth portable speaker.
I do not support cycling with headphones on. Ride safe people!
I love listening to music or listening to the news when I ride my bike. This also comes in handy when I am biking to a new place and need to plug in Google Maps. Be sure to get one with a clip so that it can latch onto the rider, and not fall out of any pockets, causing freakish accidents – trust me, I’ve seen it happen!
I love all these items dearly because they make cruising on my bike and hopping around the city a breeze.
Are you a city slicker, train-jumper, cyclist commuter?
What’s in your bag?