Stocking stuffers for outdoor junkies
January 18, 2016
'Tis the season for grown-up toys.
It might not even be Thanksgiving yet, but if you're the proactive sort you've already started ticking items off your Christmas shopping list. You probably even began in June. And, if you're also the reasonable sort, you can't (and won't) get every last person on your list that new alpine-touring setup they want.
In lieu of big-ticket items, here's a look at a few of the best and most affordable stocking stuffers for any outdoor junkie. There's a mix of winter and summer toys, plus a few for all seasons and occasions.
FOR THE CAMP HOST
Zippo 4-in-1 Woodsman
It's an axe! No, it's a saw! No, it's both of those, plus a multi-purpose hammer and tent-stake puller for the campsite! Sure, the last feature of Zippo's all-purpose axe is pretty underwhelming, but the axe as a whole is an ingenious little device that's sturdy, reliable and legitimately convenient. The saw blades are stored in the axe handle and the axe blade cover doubles as the handle. It sounds funky, but it works.
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Find it: Walmart, Cabela's, http://www.zippo.com
W.R. Case and Sons Hobo knife
On first glance, the Hobo knife from W.R. Case and Sons lives up to its name. There's a pullout knife, spoon and fork, all nestled in an attractive amber bone case. (OK, the last bit isn't very hobo-like.) But it's more than a fireside trinket. The three utensils pull apart to create a complete set, and the knife features a sturdy, stainless steel blade (4 1/8 inch) like the one on a Swiss Army knife. This will be around for years and years, which makes the un-hobo-like price tag palatable.
Find it: http://www.wrcase.com
DrinkTanks stainless steel growler
It's no wonder that crowd-funding and craft brewing have exploded at the same time. Both are about small, passionate start-ups with clever ideas, and in the days of niche everything, there's always a market for something new. Introducing the DrinkTanks stainless steel growler (64 ounces), a no-brainer update on fragile glass growlers that are bound to break at your campsite. The DrinkTanks founder, Nicholas Hill, launched the company with a carbonation-saving cap, high-grade steel and crowd-funding money.
If you prefer to rep local breweries, Broken Compass now sells stainless steel growlers for $79.
Find it: http://www.thegrommet.com/drinktanks
FOR EARLY ADOPTERS
Small Foot pocket snowshoes
Speaking of crowd-funding, the latest funky idea to take off on Kickstarter is the Small Foot pocket snowshoe from Bulgaria. It's an inflatable snowshoe (yes, inflatable) that packs into a bag slightly smaller than a Nalgene water bottle. And it actually works, with spikes and a stable footbed. The concept alone convinced roughly 100 backers to contribute more than 20,000 Euros, and now, the Bulgarian company is shipping across the world.
Find it: http://www.smallfoot.eu
"100 Deadly Skills," by Clint Emerson
If anyone knows how to escape from the trunk of a moving car, it's a Navy SEAL. Former special ops operative Clint Emerson covers trunk escapes, ambushes, knife fights and 97 other must-survive situations in his debut book, "100 Deadly Skills." It takes a page from the classic "Worst-Case Scenario" series, right down to the yellow color scheme, but adds military know-how and retro comic illustrations for each of the skills. If you've ever wanted to be a super spy — or just watch a ton of Bond flicks — this is for you.
Find it: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, http://www.100deadlyskills.com
"No Limits: The Powerful True Story of Leah Goldstein," by Leah Goldstein and Lori Friend Moger
Leah Goldstein hardly took a direct path to anything in life. In her memoir, the Canadian-born pro cyclist and kickboxer talks about moving from North America to Israel as a young child, where she fell in love with Tae Kwon Do before joining the Isreali military and undercover police force. It's a tale of overcoming odds and countless barriers while living life to its fullest — and taking home a few female Canadian cycling titles in the process.
Find it: Amazon
UAG Maverick smartphone case
A phone case is a must these days, especially if you enjoy doing anything outdoors. There are dozens of options — Otter Box from Fort Collins is slowly taking over — but not all cases are created equal: Some of breakable fashion statements and others are clunky workhorses. UAG cases (short for Urban Armor Gear) fall somewhere in the middle. The basic Maverick model is shock-proof and sexy, with a hard shell, outside skid pads, a press-on screen protector and impact-resistant core. It comes in a variety of colors and fits the latest phones from Apple, Samsung, LG, Motorola, Microsoft and HTC.
Find it: Walmart, Target, http://www.urbanarmorgear.com
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