Unique Gift Ideas for Outdoorsmen and Campers
Do you ever wonder what Christmas or birthday presents would be ideal for the outdoorsman (or outdoorswoman) in your life? While many givers are very well-meaning, most outdoorsmen really would prefer a wide assortment of practical gear to a fish necktie! Wives and mothers often wonder what their woodsmen might like, but really may not know where to start when looking for an interesting and unique gift. Well, here is a small compendium of fun and practical outdoor gear that outdoorsmen should love! This list covers some ideas ranging from the small and basic to the fancy and should give you a good place to start your Christmas shopping.
Rugged Shoulder Bags
Someones, enthusiasts just like to get outdoors for a little while to hike or relax. There is not a lot of equipment to carry, so they don't necessarily want to have to bother with a large backpack. Shoulder Bags are a great choice for these day hikes or short overnight camping trips, where a smaller amount of gear needs to be carried. They are more convenient than backpacks and allow for easy access to gear, without having to take off a backpack and then repack it and put it back on. The Maxpedition Versipack and Jumbo Versipack are great options for a good field bag, without being too expensive. They are similar bags – the Jumbo is just a little bigger. Both are very popular among outdoorsmen for hiking or to carry along with a backpack so that essentials are handy. Maxpedition has engineered these bags to be very tough and rugged for outdoor and tactical use. Timbuk2 also make a line of shoulder bags that do well in the outdoors. The full-size bags are awfully large for convenient carry, though, so get the x-small or small.
Want to find a fun, but still (at least somewhat) practical gift? Camping is a lot of fun, but sometimes there isn't really much to do. Give the gift of tomahawk throwing and consider the Cold Steel Trail Tomahawk! It is a piece of excellent quality at a very good price. The Trail Tomahawk is both a very useful tool for chopping or splitting small pieces of wood while on the trail or at camp, and can be used for the fun sport of tomahawk throwing. If you want something a little different, consider the Cold Steel True Flight throwing knife. While it is designed for throwing, it can also be used as a practical camp knife. With both of them, you can learn a practical skill and have a blast with it!
Don't Let Your Friend Get Lost!
No one likes getting lost in the woods! Don't believe your husband, son, brother, sister or first cousin if they tell you that they never get lost. The best of us do and it is no fun at all! The best way to make sure that you know your location is with a good map and compass. A decent quality compass can range from $8-80, but be sure to get a good one. Check out the Silva Explorer compass. It is an inexpensive, but good, orienteering compass.
A Swinging Time
For car camping, nothing beats a large, roomy tent for relaxing. If you are backpacking, though, a smaller shelter is much easier to carry and can be time-consuming to erect. There are a number of good options, including tiny backpacking tents, tarps, and just sleeping under the stars and praying it doesn't rain! One of the more novel, but very practical, options is a hammock. This is not the type of hammock that you would put in the backyard, but a hammock specifically designed for rough use on the trail, while still being light and comfortable and easy to set up. Most, but not all, backpacking hammocks come with a rain fly. Several companies make hammocks like this, but one of the most popular is the Hennessy Expedition A-Sym. This hammock is designed to sleep diagonally across the hammock instead of lengthwise, providing better sleeping.
A Thirst-Quenching Delight!
A woodsman has to have something to drink! Since backwoods water sources are very rarely clean enough from which to drink, a decent size water container is a necessity. Guyot Stainless Steel Bottles are the top of the line for multi-purpose water containers. They can carry hot and cold drinks and can be used for cooking over a fire if necessary without destroying the metal wall. Kleen Kanteens are a slightly cheaper alternative to the Guyot. Kleen Kanteens are very good quality, but should not be used for cooking because of their construction. In either case, consider a bottle holder to carry the water container and a few essential pieces of equipment, such as water purification tablets and extra matches. Maxpedition makes a very good water bottle holder at a decent price.
Cut Your Way Out Of Trouble!
Every man (or woman) needs a good pocket knife! There are always strings to be cut, fuzz sticks to be made and hot dog roasting sticks to be sharpened. There are many good brands to choose from (see my hub on choosing the best pocket knife), but Buck Knives has an excellent reputation for quality at a good price. The Buck Stockman is a great larger three-bladed pocket knife for the outdoors. The stockman pattern with its three blades (large clip blade, spey blade, and sheepsfoot blade) has been an outdoor favorite for several generations and for good reason. For a slightly smaller two-bladed model, consider the Buck Canoe.
Get Back Alive (and Safe)!
Lastly, make sure that your outdoorsman gets back from that camping trip in good condition by making sure that they learn some wilderness survival skills. A number of good outdoor survival and wilderness skills books are available and more are being written every day. However, two older books are still two of the best. “How To Stay Alive In The Woods” by Bradford Angier is a classic guide to wilderness survival and is small enough to pack for any trip and one of the best survival guides around. Another classic is "Outdoor Survival Skills" by Larry Dean Olsen. Between these two, enough can be learned to make it through almost any problems.