Holiday Gift Guide 2010
December 6, 2010
Filed under Camping News
If you’re like most people, you probably still have most of your holiday shopping left to do. That’s where we can help. We know it’s often difficult to come up with new ideas, and all too easy to resort to the standard gift cop-outs. That’s why we pulled together some special finds that the outdoor types in your family or circle of friends would be happy to unwrap.
Clothing is always a big favorite when it comes to gifting and will come in handy around town, at home or on that next outdoor excursion.
So first we found some pieces of apparel that will be appreciated and go far beyond the usual socks and ties.
Socks used to be one of those “yawn” gifts, but when you consider what’s coming from the likes of Dahlgren (dahlgrenfootwear.com) these days, anyone would be excited to get a pair of its alpaca and Merino wool-blend hiking socks ($18) with a fully cushioned leg and foot. Also for those cold, damp days, keep warm in soft, quick-drying polyester, 200-weight fleece socks ($16) from L.L.Bean (www.llbean.com). Colorful and super comfortable, non-itchy Merino wool and nylon blend ski socks ($24) such as those from SmartWool (www.smartwool.com) will also thrill. TEKO’s (tekosocks.com) fun-colored Eco Lifestyle socks ($17) are perfect for active people and are made from a blend of Merino wool, nylon and spandex for maximum comfort and durability.
Check out the camp booties from Big Agnes (bigagnes.com) for post-activity lounging. Its Milner Mall Booties ($22.50) are lightweight, feature a drawstring at the ankle, and are filled with 50-percent recycled synthetic insulation. Chaco’s (www.chacousa.com) PedShed ($120) slip-ons are super-comfy casual foot coverings that offer the company’s BioCentric footbed for the ultimate in proper support. And Keen (www.keenfootwear.com) is getting into the lounging act as well, with its Howser Slipper ($60) that features a micro-fleece lining and natural rubber sole.
Mountain Khakis (mountainkhakis.com) is famous for delivering rugged cotton canvas pants that work as hard on the trail as they look good on the street, and any man or woman would be happy to unwrap these. Our favorite: the Men’s Flannel-Lined Original Mountain Pant ($90); they’re modeled after the company’s best-selling uber-khaki, but lined from belt-line to ankle in flannel.
Looking for some T-shirts? Look no further than Earth Sun Moon Trading (earthsunmoon.com) for fun styles such as the new 100-percent cotton, pre-shrunk, “S’more Tester” T-shirt ($17/adult) for the camper in your clan. There are many other styles available in kid and adult sizes, too.
Have an angler in the family? Simms (www.simmsfishing.com) has them covered. Check out the Simms No Fly Zone Bug Blocker shirts ($90) with big front pockets, built-in permethrin-based insect repellency and sun protection (UPF 50).
Hi-Tec (www.hi-tec.com), a company already well respected for its quality, affordable footwear has branched out into the crowded apparel market. And its new women’s Hanks Canyon Hooded Vest ($80) made with a polyester 40D ripstop shell and lining and a 550 Fill Power Down is a nice find.
The Men’s Westline Jacket ($189) from Woolrich (www.woolrich.com) is a blend of the old and new (a waterproof, breathable wool laminate) that takes a classic plaid look and gives it a soft-shell cut and feel. It will make a sweet surprise.
Have you considered a hat or cap? It’s hard to beat a Tilley (www.tilley.com) — they look great and are guaranteed for life. Two new hats, the Tec Wool Hat ($99) and Cap ($74), designed in conjunction with Schoeller Technologies, feature a wool blend with a laminate backing that offers “temperature control” comfort to keep you warm in cold weather and cooler in warm weather.
Food & Drink
We also found a couple of food-related items we thought noteworthy. Stanley (stanley-pmi.com) has come onto the scene with the Lunch Case ($24). The Lunch Case is just that, a 12×8-inch stainless-steel, clam-shell-style lunch case. It features a recycled plastic liner for easy cleaning and use. The case is crushproof and is good for work or in the pack for a day outdoors.
Innate (www.innate-gear.com) offers its insulated stainless-steel 12-ounce Tea Culture Vacuum Flask ($17.50), featuring a removable perforated (not wire) stainless-steel tea infuser basket and cover, and an insulated cap and directional sipping collar. The flask will keep liquids hot for up to six hours.
Adventure Medical Kits (adventuremedicalkits.com) has devised the SOL Origin ($60), or the Essential Survival Tool as they also refer to it, which when folded down fits in the palm of a hand and contains a knife and other items such as a light, compass and fire starter to make up a survival kit.
Industrial Revolution’s (lightmyfireusa.com) redesigned Swedish FireSteel 2.0 ($20, Army model) fire starter creates a 3,000-degree Celsius spark and features an improved striker with a loud emergency whistle in the handle. It shoots out an amazing shower of sparks. With the proper materials, it will start a fire, rain or shine.
The Paratool from SOG (sogknives.com) features a multiple angled plier head capability. The unique, patented way the Paratool opens allows for use at a variety of angles, indispensable in tight spots. The comfort grip handles are smooth on the outside with ventilation holes for maximum gripping.
Or check out the impressive Gerber (gerbergear.com>) Bear Grylls Survival Series Ultimate Knife ($60), with a full-tang, partially serrated stainless-steel fixed blade and integrated tools including a saw, whistle, sharpening stone, fire starter and sheath/survival guide.
Gear to Go
Lighting products may not seem like brilliant gifts, but they are presents that you can be sure will get turned on time after time. The PrimeTorch 101 ($25) from Primus (primuscamping.com) is a good choice for a small, lightweight (3-inch, 0.5-ounce) flashlight that can be worn around the neck on a lanyard, so it’s always handy. It runs on easy-to-find AAA batteries and cranks out a bright 25 lumens from its 0.5-watt Luxeon LED.
Eureka! (www.eurekatent.com) now produces lanterns and flashlights. Our two picks: The 9.4-inch-tall Warrior 400 LED Lantern ($80, 400 lumens) that can stand on its base or hang by its handle, is powered by six D-cell batteries, and offers multiple white and red LED lighting modes. The SOS 120 Flashlight ($40, 120 lumens) is a powerful flashlight with two spot modes, focus and dimmer control, with a bright SOS-signal flashing mode. The SOS 120 runs on three AAA batteries and is almost 5-inches long.
As if two-way camp radios weren’t cool enough, the Motorola (www.motorola.com) Talkabout MR350R Radios are being sold with a free customizable faceplate offered through most mass merchants and sport and outdoor retailers during the holiday season (through December 2010). They’re perfect for gifting at $80 per pair. There are many attractive faceplate styles and colors from which to choose.
These days almost every family has a runner, if not more than one; and even if yours trains indoors, something from the line of Tech4O’s (www.tech4o.com) personal feedback Accelerator watches would make a nice gift. The Accelerator Pro ($75) can do things ranging from simple speed and distance to a daily step counter schedule, stopwatch and a countdown timer.
Geocaching has taken off big-time and GPS manufacturers have responded in an equally big way by producing units that are designed specifically for the popular sport. Magellan (www.magellangps.com) offers the new eXplorist GC ($200) with a brilliant color screen, easy-to-understand graphics, a simple user interface, a rugged and waterproof design and a seamless connection to geocaching.com.
Trekking poles might make good gifts for hikers. When used correctly, they can offer better control of rugged terrain and help take stress off of knees, ankles and hips. Black Diamond (www.blackdiamondequipment.com), Mountainsmith (mountainsmith.com) and Leki (leki.com) are among the many manufacturers. Start your search with Mountainsmith’s competitively priced ($70/each) three-section adjustable, shock-absorbing carbon-wrapped 7075 aluminum Carbonlite Pro.
Optics & Video
Binoculars are always good gifts for avid bird and wildlife watchers. Designed for low-light conditions, the new Minox (minox.com) BV 8×56 BR ($499) binoculars feature a larger 56mm optical lens for greater light-gathering ability. These German-designed binoc’s are wrapped in a nonslip-rubber armored body and waterproof to 10 feet.
Does somebody you know have his head in the stars? Check this out. It’s a perfect first telescope for the entire family. The Celestron (www.celestron.com) LCM80 Computerized Telescope ($300) has a motorized system and an onboard computer with easy-to-use hand controls that can be directed to thousands of objects in the night sky at the touch of a button.
GoPro (www.goprocamera.com) compact video cameras are designed for capturing outdoor sports action in HD video, and are available in myriad forms and attachments ranging from helmet to surfboard to wrist mounts to the basic camera. Our pick is the basic beginner HD HERO Naked ($260) package, which includes the 5-megapixel camera, rechargeable battery and waterproof housing.
Looking for something to make a really big splash? What about a kayak? The Impulse ($399) is from Perception’s (www.perceptionkayaks.com) line of recreational boats and although it’s short (10 feet), it’s beamy (almost 30 inches wide) for its size. Designed to be easy to handle and very stable, the kayak is ideal for entry-level paddlers as well as for day touring, bird-watching or fishing. The Impulse can be rigged for fishing and accepts Scotty or Ram brand rod holders, and the stern tankwell accommodates a standard milk crate — a favorite fishing accessory.
They like to wheel instead of paddle? Well then, what about something like the Novara Jaunt XX women’s bike ($429) from REI (www.rei.com)? This upright-riding style bicycle is a beach-cruiser with a twist. Features include a 6061-aluminum frame design with the crank moved forward and the angle of the seat tube slackened for a more comfortable riding and pedaling position, a 50mm-travel front fork to soak up some bumps along the way, a Velo Comfort saddle, and 26-inch wheels with fat tires.
From bikes to boats to flashlights to shirts for fisherman and socks that won’t disappoint, we hope to have helped stir your imagination so you can find those special gifts you were looking for.