Holiday gift guide – items every outdoor enthusiast will appreciate
BY DAVE FOLEY
This year’s gift guide is about protecting you and your equipment.
As you look at these choices, clearly the wow factor has been tamped down, but in terms of improving the quality of outdoor experiences and minimizing the possibility of calamity, these could be gifts both needed and appreciated.
Emergency whistle – In choosing one of these, you want a loud model. The better ones can be heard from a mile away. It should be bright red or orange so it can be easily seen and should have a lanyard so it can be attached to clothing. I have one attached to my personal flotation device, so if there’s a water emergency, I’ve got it handy. Whistles retail for between $2 and $7.
Cleats for running – Whether it’s Yaktrax coils, WAYPORIce Grips, or metal ridges, there’s a variety of options for meeting the challenge of running on ice. The most popular ones have the cleats mounted on rubber, enabling the wearer to easily stretch them over the bottoms of their running shoes. When the roadways are icy, pull on a set of cleats, and enjoy your winter run. Prices range from $8 to $25.
Grabber Hand and Toe Warmers – Because the “Polar Vortex” is now part of our winter weather vocabulary, Grabber hot packets in our mittens and boots effectively keep our digits warm. Those, plus a face mask allow me to cross-country ski comfortably even when the temperature is below zero. You can buy a dozen hand or toe packets for about $12.
SealLine Baja Dry Bags – When you want a tough, durable bag which will absolutely keep contents dry, this is what you need. Ranging in size from 5 to 30 liters and priced between $20 and $40, you should find something right for whatever you are transporting. Finding my camera to be totally dry after drifting downriver in a SealLine Dry Bag, proved its worth.
OtterBox and Geckobrand waterproof & float – The OtterBox is an outer covering for my phone which will protect it from being damaged by dropping or most hard knocks. When I’m heading into a wet environment, I slip my phone into a Geckobrand waterproof sleeve that floats. Unless I lose my phone, it will return unscathed from my outdoor adventures when using these two products. While the waterproof float cover sells for about $20, the OtterBox has a variety of options starting around $30.
Deerfly Patches – Each summer, hordes of deer flies take over my woodland running trails. I used to have to stay out of the woods until Labor Day. Applying a Deerfly sticky strip to the back of my baseball hat ends the problem. Now, after a run in the forest, I’ll have no bites but find dozens of the winged biters stuck to the tape. Costing less than a dollar a strip, I’d call this money well spent.
Clear glasses – Wearing some form of eye protection helps prevent eyeball collisions with bugs or dirt.While cycling, I generally wear sunglasses, but fat biking in the woods, I found it often too dark to see holes and roots on the trail. For those times, I traded my sunglasses for clear glasses. A decent pair can be bought for between $10 and $30.
303 Protectant – This is an unusual item for a gift guide, but UV rays will fade, weaken and eventually breakdown plastics over time. With the surge in sales of recreational kayaks and stand-up paddleboards, this is an item new watercraft owners probably don’t have. Applying the spray every couple of months will keep surfaces looking new longer. A spray bottle of 303will cost about $20.