Holiday Camping Gift Buyer’s Guide
Tools of the Trade
If your intended already has all the knives they can use, then a knife sharpener that’s as easy to use as the Columbia River Knife & Tool Slide Sharp will be a welcome sight. The Slide Sharp uses a unique system of injection molded nylon guides to hold the knife edge at the specific angle required for optimum sharpening. A hardwood base holds a porcelain-sharpening rod. Sharpening couldn’t be easier. If you can sharpen a pencil, you can sharpen a knife with the Slide Sharp.
Columbia River Knife & Tool: 800/891-3100
Keychain knives such as the new Buck NRG are always popular gifts. Its multifunctional capabilities make it an indispensable tool for everyday duties. The NRG features a hawk-bill shaped blade for smooth cutting and a contemporary design that will appeal to the most discriminating. It also features one-hand opening and closing with an integrated frame lock. Buck NRG highlights include anodized aluminum sides, a 11/2-inch 420J2 stainless steel blade with advanced Edge 2x technology, an integrated bottle opener, and a lanyard hole for keychain attachment. It’s offered in three colors: red, blue, and a platinum/black combination.
Buck Knives: 800/326-2825
Here’s a knife, screwdriver (Phillips and slot), file, hacksaw, can/bottle opener, wire cutter, and locking pliers all rolled into one handy tool. The Kershaw A100C Multi-Tool comes with all these features, and its 3-inch partially serrated, locking knife blade and tools are made of No. 440A stainless steel. The tool’s body is made of No. 420 stainless steel and fits snugly into its black nylon sheath. The A100C Multi-Tool weighs just 8.6 ounces. When closed, its overall size is 63/4 inches long. You can also get an accessory tool adapter for it that includes six assorted bits: No. 0 and No. 3 Phillips, 9/32-inch slot, R1 square, T-5 and T-15 Torx.
Kershaw Knives: 800/325-2891
Spyderco has really come on strong in the outdoor category, producing brilliant designs and highly functional knives for general camping, fishing and hunting purposes. The company also produces many custom-designed blades for everyday use. One of its newest blades is the Viele II CLIPIT — a perfect gift for your favorite camper. Howard Viele, a leading member of the Knifemaker’s Guild since 1976, designed the Viele II for Spyderco. Its VG-10 steel blade is hollow ground to enhance the folders’ overall tapered look.
Electronics for the Outdoors
Campground communication is a must, and these two-way radios from Motorola are a must-have. The Motorola Talkabout SX700 is a two-watt radio with a manufacturer’s claim of a 12-mile maximum range, depending on terrain and conditions. It uses both FRS and GMRS frequencies, providing 22 channels, each with 121 privacy codes for 2662 communication network combinations.
MSRP/pair: $59.99 with alkaline batteries or $69.99 with rechargeable NiMH.
Motorola/Giant International Ltd.: 888/905-3307
The first thing you’ll want to do after getting any electronic device for use in the outdoors — whether it be a set of radios, a GPS unit or a weather meter — is protect it from the elements. To that end, SealLine offers a line of waterproof electronic cases. Four sizes are available, ranging from the smallest at 6.25×5.75 inches to the largest at 7.75×13.5 inches. Each case is transparent and allows the device to be used without opening the case. The SealLock closure guarantees watertight, submersible performance.
MSRP: $13.95 to $27.95
SealLine (Cascade Designs): 800/531-9531
Why would anyone want a wind meter? To keep track of changing weather conditions in the backcountry, which is why the gear head in your family will love the WindScribe ultrasonic wind meter from Davis Instruments. It measures and displays current wind speed, maximum headwind and tailwind, and five-second average and running average. It accurately measures breezes as low as 0.4 mph to winds up to 154 mph. Lightweight (3.5 ounces), compact (5x3x3/4-inches) and powered by a lithium button-cell battery, the WindScribe comes with an adjustable wrist lanyard, standard tripod mount, and a mounting bracket with a Velcro strap to attach to a bike handlebar.
Davis Instruments: 800/678-3669
An affordable, entry-level GPS unit, the eXplorist 210 from Magellan offers PC-style file management for data organization. It features four navigation screens, a 2.3-inch grayscale display, one-touch access to key features and a full keypad with a joystick. The unit has internal memory that provides 22 MB of storage, comes pre-loaded with a U.S. base map, and is compatible with Magellan MapSend Topo 3D USA software.
The Lowrance iFINDER PhD is a waterproof, pocket-sized, highly accurate 12-parallel GPS+WAAS receiver, featuring a 3-inch diagonal, sunlight-readable Film SuperTwist LCD monochrome display that renders high-detail viewing with 240Vx180H-pixel resolution, and 16-level gray-scale definition. It’s also equipped with dual processors for higher-speed screen updates and comes with a 12-volt power accessory plug for vehicular use. It also touts a built-in background map with enhanced continental U.S. and Hawaii mapping and a searchable interstate highway exit services database. Offering a waterproof slot for digital media memory cards (MMC/SD), it runs a wide selection of higher-detail mapping options, which are pre-loaded on MMC or SD cards. The PhD offers a built-in digital stereo player that supports MP3 and Ogg Vorbis files, and includes a 1/8-inch stereo jack and headphones for listening enjoyment.
BIG Buddy, the portable propane heater from Mr. Heater that packs a punch with three heat settings of 4000, 9000 or 18,000 BTUs, provides safe (CSA-approved), temporary heat to tents, cabins and other camping structures. The BIG Buddy can supply six to 12 hours of heat from two one-pound propane cylinders, or 120 to 240 hours of heat from one or two 20-pound cylinders using optional hose attachments. BIG Buddy is the first indoor-safe heater of its kind to offer a dual heating system: radiant heat comfort and a fan-powered convection heat airflow using four, D-cell batteries. Weighing just 15 pounds, the BIG Buddy can be easily carried to the campsite.
Mr. Heater: 800/251-0001
Cabela’s Alaskan Guide Series Headlamps are nearly indestructible, totally weatherproof, and available in three models to handle any task. Three AA batteries are included in all three models: The X (MSRP: $29.99), with a high-pressure white Xenon lamp; XL Green (MSRP: $39.99), with three game-safe 5mm green LEDs surrounding a high-pressure white Zenon lamp; and the XL White (MSRP: $39.99), with three 5mm white LEDs surrounding a high-pressure white Xenon lamp. Each headlamp weighs just 8 ounces.
Tired of hubby’s shabby looking plastic cooler? Do him a favor and step up to one of the sleek steel-bodied coolers from Coleman. Available in stainless steel and green- or red-coated steel, the 45-quart coolers offer large steel handles with rubber grips, and a new latch design to securely seal in the contents. Coleman’s leak-proof, rust-resistant Channel Drain bottom design provides easy, no-tilt draining of fluids. The Coleman Steel Belted Cooler has a suggested retail price of $99.
Here’s a great item for the camper on the go: a camp table that is sturdy, good-looking and rolls up into a compact and easy-to-carry bag. The Roll-Top Table from Blue Ridge Chair Works is handcrafted from the finest, solid Ash hardwood, and then finished with Danish oil to give it a long life and keep it looking beautiful. The Roll-Top Table is easy to assemble and take apart. The legs unscrew from the top and the top rolls up, all packing nicely into its included durable stuff-sack. The Roll-Top Table offers a 28×36-inch surface that stands 291/2 inches high.
Blue Ridge Chair Works: 877/218-1731
Does one of your campers need a compact gas-powered camp lantern? Then check out the Brunton Lucy. The 4.5×2.6-inch (head size) Lucy will put out 360 degrees of illumination and is powered by high-performance isobutane. The Lucy (MSRP: $50) is perfect for overnighters or backpacking, and features a matchless piezo-electric starting. Its steel-wire mesh globe means there’s no chance of breaking a glass globe while it’s transported. The unit (without fuel) weighs just 5.8 ounces, and comes with a case and two mantles. Extra mantles come in three packs for $7.50. Bruntane canisters (8 ounces) are $7. Brunton: 800/443-4871
The Woodstock outdoor blanket by Kelty incorporates the same quality and design as the company’s tents and sleeping bags. The blanket is offered in two sizes: Medium, 48×60 inches ($35) and Large, 72×72 inches ($49). The blanket’s upper material is nylon and the bottom is water-resistant; it’s ideal for picnics, outdoor concerts and camping. You can store it in its built-in zippered storage compartment, which also serves as a seat cushion.
They may look like ski poles, but the Tracks Trek’R 3 trekking poles are the ultimate in a walking staff. Your knees and ankles will thank you when the day-hike is done. These lightweight (21 ounces each) three-section hiking poles telescope down to a convenient storage size. The length adjusts with the security of a sure-locking button to prevent accidental collapse while in use, and the adjustment holes are covered with a transparent seal to keep dirt and dust out of the mechanism. The poles feature contoured grips, adjustable wrist straps, and molded flex tips with removable rubber feet and trekking baskets.
Tracks (Cascade Designs): 800/531-9531
Here’s an accessory that’s really a camping essential: a good pair of sunglasses. Panoptx offers a variety of styles including the Raptor CV (shown) that features a removable foam eyecup to protect from wind, sweat and snow. All Panoptx lenses offer 100-percent UV protection. The Raptor CV, as with all Panoptx frames, can be ordered with a variety of lens choices, including polarized, photochromic, and with anti-fog coatings.
MSRP: $145 to $195, depending on lens choice.
A compact yet powerful binocular is a welcome companion on any camping trip and an appreciated gift for any outdoor enthusiast. Olympus offers its Outback 10×21 RC I, a diminutive, foldable binocular that offers high-index BaK-4 prisms for a clear and crisp view, multi-coated lenses to limit glare and protect against harmful UV rays, long (11mm) eye-relief and twist-down eye cups. The Outback 10×21 weighs less than 7 ounces, and carries a suggested retail price of $74.95.
Olympus America: 800/622-6372
While this isn’t exactly gear, it’s still a nice gift. If your intended is one of those types who buys what they want, when they want it, and has just about everything, a couple of nights’ worth of free camping at any KOA Kampground might be just the ticket. KOA Gift Certificates are issued with a $25 face value, and can be used to pay for campsite fees or any store purchases at all KOA campgrounds in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
Drinking coffee or water is even more enjoyable in the backcountry with the Water Bottle Parka by Outdoor Research. It’s like a technical jacket for water bottles. It has closed-cell foam insulation to help keep liquids hot or cold and a foam lid and base for durability. The Parka’s outer material is water resistant, and its zipper seals in the water bottle from outside elements. The Water Bottle Parka can be attached to any kind of pack and is available in two sizes: 3.2-ounce, .5-liter Parka ($17) and 4.3-ounce, 1-liter Parka ($20).
Outdoor Research: 800/421-2421
Silva offers a two-in-one package with its Match Case 345. This lightweight, aluminum match case holds matches and its screw-on top houses a compass, which has cardinal and bearing markings. An O-ring on top helps prevent water from wetting the matches, and a rubber cap covers the compass. The match case is 33/4×7/8×7/8 inches and weighs less than 2 ounces. The Match Case 345 is available in two types of brass finishes.
Kids can get warm and toasty at home or in front of a campfire in the wild with these Down Booties by Sierra Designs. They’re made of 100 percent down-proof nylon and 650-fill Goose Down, and they insulate without the weight. The nonslip sole is made of heavy nylon for extra support and the outer has a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish for outdoor protection. Kids can adjust the booties on the cuff for a better fit. A reinforced ankle helps keep the foot from slipping.
Sierra Designs: 800/736-8592
Users can keep a cool, and warm, head wearing a SmartWool beanie. The fabric that makes up the company’s alpine-inspired styling line, such as the Brindle Hat or Snowflake hat, has properties to help maintain heat while allowing moisture to evaporate through the fibers and away from a person’s head. The beanies feature a double-layer headband made of 100 percent SmartWool Jacquard knit, a contoured crown and a hand-braided tassel. They come in various colors with different patterns — something for everyone.
Tired campers can wind down and sleep comfortably year-round in Travel Pajamas by Cocoon by Design Salt. The two-piece set is made of 100 percent natural silk, which happens to adapt well to various temperatures. It’s also resistant to odors, making it a good set to have with you during camping trips or travels. And you can tuck it away into its own mesh stuff sack, weighing just ounces and taking up minimal space in a tote bag or backpack. The pajamas are available for men and women in sizes Small to Extra Large. Another option is Cocoon Sea Cell travel pajamas, made of a blend of seaweed and cellulose fibers with silk and cotton that makes for a health-promoting fabric.
MSRP: $50 Egyptian cotton; $65 silk; $80 Sea Cell.
Cocoon by Design Salt: 800/254-7258
From light hiking to heavy pavement walking, Teko’s EcoMerino wool light hiking socks take wearers to Point B in itch-free comfort. This pair of socks, one of six styles in Teko’s new EcoMerino Wool collection, offers the support needed and plenty of performance features for all types of outdoor activities. Lycra is strategically placed in the socks’ design to provide holding power, while other features help with reinforcement, support and a good fit all around the foot. This new collection is eco-friendly; the company uses Merino wool from Tasmania, where it is produced with minimal environmental impact.