It will be Christmas soon, so make sure to throw those hints out for some cool camp gadgets.
Hopefully some friend or family member will know what you’re talking about and wrap it under the tree for you. If not, wrap it up for yourself. You deserve it.
Here are a few of my suggestions of gear that would make a perfect gift.
Every camper should have some type of fire-striker with them, tied to a PFD or stored in a pocket. It is an effective way to get a fire going or light a camp stove, especially in wet and cold conditions.
The MSR Strike Igniter is a good choice. I purchased one at the beginning of the year and used it throughout. The odd time I used it to get a campfire going, as if to re-enact some survival TV show. Mainly, however, I used it to light my Trangia alcohol stove or any of my butane or white gas stoves.
MSR claims it has 3,000 to 12,000 strikes. That’s a big gap between numbers, but you can be sure that the striker has enough magnesium to lasts a long time. The only thing I don’t understand is the built-in bottle opener. It’s a cool thing to have — but who opens bottles with an opener anymore, especially in the wilderness?
You have to get a pack of these fire starters. They’re amazing. The Instaflame is made of wood wool — beech and poplar shavings that are mixed in with food grade paraffin wax. They burn up to 10 minutes, but the biggest bonus is they can be lit when wet. Seriously. They work.
Wearing merino wool insoles with your winter boots to keep your feet warm is a trick I learned long ago. Having extra insulation under your feet, where it’s cold and damp, makes a huge difference, no matter how good your winter boots are.
WoolPower contain 50 per cent merino wool and 50 per cent synthetic fibres. Having the merino wool has the added feature of reducing the buildup of bacteria as well. Not only do your feet stay warm and dry, but they smell better too.
I just got this lantern a few weeks back for lighting up my tent this winter. It runs on either two AA batteries, or a single CR123 lithium cell — allowing it to work in frigid temperatures. The lantern can output up to 165 lumens and runs for up to 95 hours. There’s four brightness (anti-glare) settings and a red map light, which can be switched to a flashing SOS beacon. There’s a built-in hanging loop and magnets and it’s also waterproof.
I originally got this knife for my 10-year-old daughter. It’s a small knife — 69 mm. Problem is, I realized how useful it was for backpacking trips and winter trips. So, I keep borrowing it (without her knowing). Why I like the neck-knife idea is that you can’t wear a belt knife while wearing a backpack. The pack’s hip-belt gets in the way. The same goes for winter camping. You usually have way too many layers of clothing on to get to a belt knife quickly and easily. The neck knife is perfect. Of course, it’s also a good knife. All Helle knifes are good. The Algonquin is handmade in Norway with triple laminated stainless steel, giving it great strength and an incredibly sharp blade. The handle is made of birch, darkened oak and red leather inserts. There a slight pommel at the end, as well as a finger guard and thumb notch. It’s a beautiful knife, and it makes a perfect gift for your — or yourself.
We're all used to the iconic portage sign of a man carrying a canoe. Well, the gang at Badger Paddles changed thing up a bit and made a portage sign with a woman carrying the canoe instead, reading “Girls Portage Too.” You can even get another design that reads, “Girls Portage Better.” If you want to put something unique under the tree, this is it. While you’re at it, also check out Badger’s custom made paddles. I had them make one for my canoe buddy — Speedo Man from England — who just became a Canadian citizen. On one side there’s a Union Jack and on the other is a Canadian flag.
I’ve mentioned this product in past blogs. That’s because I use it a lot. The Escape Bivy makes a great sleeping bag liner during cold camping trips. It’s perfect if you can’t afford to buy that special someone a high quality winter sleeping bag — adding this small and compact bivy adds extra warmth to your regular bag. It reflects your body heat but also lets moisture escape. The bivy is rain, snow and wind-proof, so it can also be used on its own during an emergency situation.
There’s lots of cool-looking stainless steel drinking camp mugs out there. Kelly Kettle’s nesting set has something no others have, though: lip guards and handle guards. A silicone covering will eliminate singed fingers and lips. Sounds silly but I gotta say, it’s a huge addition. The two mugs (500 ml and 350 ml) also have inside markings to add a measuring cup to your kit.
There’s not many campers that don’t know about Outdoor Researches dry bags and compression sacs. They’re the best out there. My choice for a waterproof storage system is the backpackers kit — giving you three storage systems in one package: Dry Down or Dry Synthetic kits. There’s not a camper out there that wouldn’t want this wrapped under the Christmas tree for them.