The 2015 Ultiworld Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Get great last-minute gifts for the ultimate player in your life.

Disclosure: Ultiworld earns an affiliate commission if you purchase products via many of the links below.

It’s here! The Ultiworld Holiday Gift Guide is back, with just a few days until Christmas and no clear idea about when Hanukkah started or ended.1 We’re running on ultimate time, just like you.

And of course, we’ll shine the spotlight on a suite of items that could satisfy just about any plastic-chaser in your life, from the pastel and neon-obsessed party animal, to the endorphin junkie teammate who won’t let you beg out of your next track workout.

Water BottleHydro Flask Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle

It’s game three on Saturday, you’ve just hit the deck hard to snag a score over the cone, and the entire ordeal would be perfect if you could have a sip of delightfully cool water.

Ultimate players have improvised with coolers, insulated carrying sleeves, and more to keep their H2O cold throughout the day, but short of keeping your bottle packed under ice, there hasn’t been a great solution. Enter the Hydro Flask, which comes in a variety of colors and multiple sizes (wide-mouth bottles in 32oz or 40oz or a narrow-mouth bottle in 21oz). And the temperature thing? Hydro Flask’s insulated stainless steel build will keep ice cubes in solid form overnight and works just as well for warm beverages — it can double as a coffee or tea thermos. Plus, flask is in the name, so make of that what you will. I’d only add that they’re also easy to clean.

At a $25-$40 price point, this is a speciality gift for the player who has earned her right to have nice things.

Trash BagsGlad Tall Kitchen Drawstring Trash Bags

We’re not kidding about this — how many times have ultimate players not thought ahead about the weather, and then frantically grabbed someone else’s raincoat to cover their stuff in a sudden downpour?

On the opposite end of the spectrum from fancy water bottles, a solid box of garbage bags is actually something every ultimate player should have in his arsenal, especially if there isn’t one already under the sink or in the pantry. Keeping one or two fresh stashed in your tourney bag at all times will keep you prepared for surprise weather and won’t take up any storage space at all. Plus, if you carry an extra, it’s an easy way to help out a friend in need, and punish them for forgetting a raincoat. They’ll stay dry and so will your stuff, while the team has a good laugh at someone wearing a garbage bag.

Anker PowerbankAnker PowerCore Portable Power Bank

In the age of Twitter, Periscope, and relying on smartphones for just about everything in those special middle-of-nowhere field sites we find for tournaments, every ultimate player needs some extra juice.

Anker (and many other companies) makes a wide range of these portable batteries with USB ports, starting around $20 and working their way upwards. The above one is currently on sale for just $39.99 and is an absolute tank that will fully recharge an iPhone 6 seven times on one charge. While build quality is always something to consider when purchasing gadgets, the key here in milliamp hours, or mAh. Typically, the higher up the scale you go with these handy USB batteries, the larger the charging capacity.

If you’ve ever run into an Ultiworld reporter, chances are you’ve seen one of us with a USB cord running from our hand to a cargo pocket or sling bag — these batteries keep @ultiworldlive going on those days when we need to go five rounds straight.

Magnetic Phone Car MountTech Matte’s Universal Magnetic Car Mount for Your Phone

Fourteen states in the US and some territories have already banned the use of handheld-devices while driving, and let’s face it: it’s not worth the risk to text the other car about the Cook Out off the next exit while you’re driving back from the fields.

That makes this car mount a no-brainer stocking stuffer, a practical gift for the guy or gal from whom you always bum a ride to a tournament. There’s no weird pressure-fit thingamajig to fiddle with while trying to back up out of parking space, and the mount will keep directions clear and easy to read for the pilot of your ultimate shuttle. It’s a whole lot easier than reading directions from your lap, or relying on a trigger happy co-pilot. So keep a teammate safe and compliant with the rules of the road with this one.

Google ChromecastGoogle Chromecast

Last year, the HDMI-to-mini HDMI cable made the list as a go-to solution for those in need of a foolproof solution to watch game tape or live ultimate broadcasts. Since then, the amount of ultimate available for consumption online has only increased.

Were you stuck watching Ultiworld’s broadcasts from Frisco on a 13” screen or your phone? Enter Google’s Chromecast, an easy-to-use device for flinging content from a computer or mobile device onto your TV. Along with hosting your usual streaming services like Netflix and HBO Go, it’s particularly important to note that this extremely affordable device (currently just $30, and packaged with a $20 credit in the Google Play store) jives well with Ultiworld’s live and on-demand video offerings. Every piece of footage we’ve shot or will shoot and hosted online in our library will be at the fingertips of the lucky ultimate player who unwraps a Chromecast. And yes, it works with WatchESPN, so no need to worry about watching the semis or finals of a big USA Ultimate event.

Resistance BandsCayman Fitness Premium Resistance Bands

Along with consumption of more game film, our community continues to embrace training specifically for ultimate.

What hasn’t changed, however, is the fact that a gym membership is expensive. So with that in mind, I asked Seattle-based ultimate fitness guru Ren Caldwell what her top affordable fitness item would be for the player looking to get workouts in at home. Voila, a very affordable pack of resistance bands.

Caldwell launched into the variety of exercises for general strength, core stability, and balance that these bands can facilitate at home. And that versatility what’s most important about a piece of home equipment, unless the person receiving this gift has a dedicated workout space in their own home. Chops, to side plank rows, resisted lunges, and chest presses are all possible when the pack includes a door anchor, and at $25, this set is a steal for the enthusiastic ultimate player looking to train at home.

Batman Cape SocksBatman Cape Crew Socks

Some ultimate players just live to dress up in costume, and whether you see that as sullying a well-thought out uniform kit or an expression of that player’s inner beauty and snowflake-uniqueness, why not encourage the behavior?

A solid pair of wacky socks might just be the perfect, ahem, stocking stuffer. You’ll see Batman and his DC compadres linked here in a very affordable range, but the world of fashion knows no bounds when it comes to profiting off of movies, sports teams, and fan-favorite fictional characters. Socks may have been the cop out gift from an out-of-touch relative in childhood, but give these to the right ultimate player, and you’ll have just gifted someone the perfect accent to his or her already well-curated party or field kit.

Sidenote: this pair has a cape stitched on each sock. A FREAKIN’ CAPE.

Thug KitchenThug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook, Eat Like You Give a F*ck

This one’s in honor of our hardworking nutritional columnist, Kate Schlag.

Fact: The holidays are a joyous time filled with overeating and over-serving.

Fact: The holidays are also a great time to give the gift of culinary knowledge, so that when all that merriment ends in a moaning lazy heap on the couch come January 2nd, the dedicated athlete will have a playbook to get themselves back on the right foot.

In Kate’s most recent column, she rightly points out that the offseason is the best time to start developing good habits, including cooking healthy food for yourself. I selfishly included the Thug Kitchen as my cookbook of choice, since the foul-mouthed and easy-to-follow text has inspired me to work on my own kitchen repertoire since Regionals. And there’s no need to fully embrace this best-selling book’s vegan philosophy in totality — I occasionally throw some ground chorizo into the Pumpkin Chili recipe (p. 97) to keep meat eaters (including myself) happy.

It’s just a good place to start, especially for anyone who’s rightly daunted by breaking through the sometimes boring and insular world of recipe-writing. For $15, you may even want to pick up a second copy for yourself. Why the f*ck not? Cook and eat healthy starting now, so that you’ll have a great baseline heading into the season.

***

That about wraps up this year’s last-minute shopping guide. For you Amazon Prime members out there, be sure to double check for free 1-day shipping options. If you aren’t a Prime member, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial. Prime comes with free 2-day shipping along with many other benefits.

If you are buying from Amazon, consider ordering via Amazon Smile, which allows you to support a charity (for example, the USA Ultimate Foundation) at no cost to you. 0.5% of your purchase price goes to the organization of your choice.

Thank you to the staff members who helped brainstorm ideas for the list this year, and of course, we wouldn’t be here without Ultiworld readers. Wishing everyone a happy and healthy holidays.


  1. If you’ve found an accurate online calendar that notifies the user of the night that kicks off the Festival of Lights, please leave a note in the comments or tweet. My mom will appreciate knowing that I’m on top of my holidays. 

  1. Simon Pollock
    Simon Pollock

    Simon Pollock is a Contributing Editor at Ultiworld. He lives in Seattle and started writing for the site in 2014 while living in Baltimore, MD. Email him: simon@ultiworld.com or tweet at him: @_simonpollock_ .

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