Holiday Gift Guide
Cutting with Style
Make any man feel like a gentleman with one of three Gentlemen’s pocketknives by Buck Knives. The Colleague knife has a blade made of 440A stainless steel, and can be engraved for a more personal touch. Elegant and slim, the Colleague has an ergonomically placed finger groove for natural comfort. Its good-sized blade allows for various chores, including carving. $18. Buck Knives: 800/326-2825; /buckknives.com/.
Safe Fire Starter
Help that someone who hates to start a BBQ or campfire by giving him the Air Grill Executive blower. It’s a step up from the original model, but it works the same way – just crank the handle and a direct stream of air makes glowing coals grow quickly into a blaze. The Executive model includes a wood handle, an antique brass nozzle and a storage compartment for wood matches. Available in red and green. $30. Air Grill: 415/846-8288; /air-grill.com/.
Big Small Knife
Small and lightweight, the Benchmade Benchmite II (Model No. 10610) is a folding knife that weighs 1.6 ounces, and has a closed length of less than 3 1/2 inches. It also features a 1.92-inch Tanto drop-point blade in stainless steel, a nail nick for easy opening, and the company’s Levitator lock to secure the blade in open and closed positions. The Benchmite II can also be engraved for a personal touch. $35. Benchmade: 800/800-7427; /benchmade.com/.
The Air Core Pillow by Big Agnes will provide a good night of sleep for all your camping friends and family. Measuring 12x16x21/2 inches, the nylon blow-up pillow features the same I-beam interior construction as the company’s sleeping pads, and fits nicely into the pillow pockets of Big Agnes sleeping bags. The 3.5-ounce pillow also packs small. $22. Big Agnes: 877/554-8975; /bigagnes.com/.
Extra Cushioning for Comfort
Stuff your stockings with a comfortable pair of socks by Bridgedale. New to Bridgedale’s lineup are the men’s X-Hale Trailhead socks, which include the company’s new T2 fabric technology for anti-compression cushioning. Knit into anatomically sculpted pads placed in essential areas, the T2 fabric cushions the foot where needed. Add that to an already ultralight, high-performance sock that is highly ventilated. $17. Bridgedale: 800/943-4453; /bridgedaleusa.com/.
Eating a camp meal will be more interesting with these Flip Sticks by Brunton. These bamboo-folding chopsticks are a great stocking stuffer, and will create a conversation buzz during mealtime. The titanium handles do not rust or melt. Once folded, the Flip Sticks pack away nicely. $20. Brunton: 800/443-4871; /brunton.com/
Arch Support Heaven
For either men or women, the minimal-version Flip sandal has Chaco’s infamous BioCentric footbed – stabilizing the foot’s heel and promoting control of the foot while in motion – and a durable Vibram sole. Available with different patterned webbing, and in new styles for spring ’07. $50 ($60 and up for new styles). Chaco: 970/527-4990; /chacousa.com/.
Coffee Mug with a Cause
Give a gift that is also for a good cause. The “LIVESTRONG” message on the wristband Armstrong wore during his Tour de France races is now on a housewares line by Chantal that benefits the Lance Armstrong Foundation, dedicated to inspiring and empowering people affected by cancer. This 19-ounce, dense stoneware latte mug features the LIVESTRONG trademark on the handle to carry a message of support for the foundation. $10. Chantal: 800/365-4354; /chantal.com/.
The digital compass and LED light come together in this handy little item (made by Coast Cutlery and licensed) by Columbia Sportswear. Numbers are easy to read on this digital compass that’s approximately 3-1/2 x 2 inches. It also includes a stopwatch function, clock with alarm, thermometer and a belt clip, though it also comes with a lanyard. $79.99. Columbia Sportswear: 503/985-4000; /columbiasportswear.com/.
Gadgets on the Go
The Versa Pack by the Dakota Watch Company is a great item for technoids and gadget lovers alike. This durable nylon sheath case has a large pocket to hold a cell phone, MP3 player, camera or PDA. Users can slide the pack onto a belt for a dayhike or fit it in a side pocket of a backpack for longer adventures. The case also includes a black military dial Dakota watch with an integrated LED flashlight, a removable retrac for keys and ID, a split keyring and a collapsible ink pen. $40. Dakota Watch Company: 888/459-0404; /dakotawatch.com/.
Shed Some Light
Give the camper who always packs small, lightweight and compact the 0.5-watt LED mini lantern by eGear. The company says this water-resistant lantern – weighing in at 4 ounces – provides up to 14 hours of continuous light and produces up to 20 lumens of output power. A specially-designed conical reflector gives evenly distributed light, while the top cap has a magnifier lens to produce forwarding light. The lantern can stand or hang. $25. Essential Gear: 413/772-8984; /essentialgear.com/.
Housed in a rugged construction, the compact EyeMax self-sufficient radio by Freeplay can operate with wind-up power or solar power, and also has AC/DC rechargeabilty. Features include FM/AM tuning, a durable winder handle, and impact-resistant recessed controls. According to the company, a 30-second wind provides about 35 minutes of playtime. A fully charged battery provides about 25 hours. $59.99 (AM/FM model); $69.99 (AM/FM weatherband radio). Freeplay: 866/697-7529; /freeplayenergy.com/.
Drinking the Spirits of Adventure
A nice addition to anyone’s “essential gear list” is this Lexan flask by GSI Outdoors. This lightweight flask holds 10 ounces of merry liquids and can fit nicely in a side pocket of a backpack. The Lexan makes the flask virtually unbreakable. At such a reasonable price, you can give the flask in pairs. $7.95. GSI Outdoors: 800/704-4474; /gsioutdoors.com/.
No-Fuss Camp Wine
A no-brainer wine choice for those who love the outdoors are the aptly named wines from Happy Camper. These California wines, available in Chardonnay, Cabernet and Merlot, aim to capture the taste palettes of happy campers everywhere, and for all seasons. Best of all, the bottles come with a twist cap, eliminating the need for a corkscrew. $8.99. Happy Camper: 925/689-8922; /happycamperwines.com/.
Children’s eyes are particularly sensitive to solar radiation, and they spend a lot of time playing outdoors and in direct sunlight without any protection. Julbo’s Dino sunglasses are a good fit for kids ages 6 to 12. They come with overmolding on the temples for flexibility and comfort, and inserts allow for adaptability to all face shapes and sizes. The Dino’s SpectronX6 smoked polycarbonate lens are recommended for all types of sports. $26. Julbo: 800/651-0833; /julboinc.com/.
Leupold’s Yosemite binoculars work for the entire family because of their larger range (50-70mm) in interpupillary distance (IPD). IPD is the distance between each of a person’s eye pupils to which the binocular must be adjusted in order to provide an unobstructed and complete view. Unlike other binoculars – typically designed for the average man – the Yosemite’s wide range covers the average IPD of men, women and children. Its physical design also accommodates different sized hands; its body size is smaller, and its focus control is slightly larger. $119.99. Leupold: 503/526-1400; /leupold.com/.
Coffee, tea or milk? Whatever the preference, have your family or friends drink it out of Liquid Solution’s holiday tumbler, during the holidays and year-round. A pack includes two of these festive insulated tumblers that hold up to 14 ounces of hot or cold liquids. At such a price, you can also get a pack for yourself. $9.99. Liquid Solution: 800/753-5647; /pacific-cornetta.com/.
Magellan’s 210 GPS handheld has enough features and capabilities to satisfy beginning and veteran outdoorsmen. A major feature is the unit’s ability to download and store up to 22 MB of maps from compatible software. The 210 also comes with a DVD that has free data management software, and the ability to purchase and install newly released versions of MapSend Topo 3D USA and Canada, and DirectRoute North America. $149. Thales Navigation: 909/394-5000; /magellangps.com/.
Quick Getaway Exploring
National Geographic’s new outdoor mapping software offers popular recreation regions centered around metropolitan areas – good for weekend warriors who take short outdoor trips and travel to locations close to home. Using National Geographic’s TOPO! Software, users can view seamless USGS 1:24,000 scale maps of the Boston, Denver, Los Angeles (and others) areas; view maps in 3-D; and can transfer waypoints and routes to their GPS device. Users can also view elevation profiles and print the maps they want. $29.95. National Geographic: 800/437-5521; /nationalgeographic.com/.
Sweet Pegs – Heck Yes!
The folks at Pacific Outdoor must have enjoyed the movie “Napoleon Dynamite,” as the company pays tribute to the liger (half tiger, half lion) by offering a set of tent pegs with this “combinanimal.” The set comes with four 7000 series aluminum tent-peg legs that supports their light bodies. Placing these liger pegs around the tent helps keep people from tripping, but can also make for some interesting campfire conversation. $20. Pacific Outdoor: 406/586-5258; /pacoutdoor.com/.
Track Your Steps
Hikers, runners or other fitness gurus will appreciate the Accelerator watch by Silva, which provides information on both personal speed and distance covered. The information is measured through the watch’s accelerometer technology, which, according to the company, is more than 95 percent accurate. The Accelerator also includes a calorie and step counter. Available in three versions for men and women. $59.99. Silva: 800/572-8822; /silvacompass.com/.
Wrapped in Wool
This season, SmartWool offers merino wool in the form of scarves, hats and glove sets that are striped or two-tone solid. The Stripeuccino set has thick and thin stripes, making them complement lively or more casual outfits. The Soho set has subtle color accents, making it fit well with jeans or even semi-formal outfits. Both sets are available in three color combinations. $85. SmartWool: 800/555-WOOL; /smartwool.com/.
Swiss Nail Care
This Wenger Swiss Army Knife contains personal manicure tools. It has a full-sized, stainless steel, foldout nail clipper, and six additional tools all tucked away inside the knife’s ergonomic Evolution handle (for better comfort in the hand). The clipper also comes with a nail file, nail cleaner, tweezers, toothpick and scissors. A handy Swiss Army Knife to have when spending more than a couple of days camping. $32.95. Wenger: 800/267-3577; /wengerNA.com/.