I never wanted the same old G.I. Joe action-figure that all of my friends asked for at Christmas.
There was no mystery to it. No surprise. The gifts I loved to get were the ones that had yet to become a trend—like a Johnny West doll. He came with chaps, a horse named Thunderbolt and sidekick named Fighting Eagle. Best part, none of my friends had him, or had heard of him—and they were all jealous when they didn’t get Johnny West for Christmas too.
That’s why I’m hoping for a few unique camping items under the tree this year. It’s not going to be easy for the person buying for me; I have an attic full of camp gadgets. But here are a few I’ve written Santa for.
These top-of-the-line gaiters free your fingers, but still keep you warm. I winter-camp, snowshoe, cross-country ski and ice-fish through the entire season and this product is on the top of my wish list. Woolpower is a great Merino wool brand—my preference, actually. I practically live in my Woolpower sweater throughout the cold months. I can’t wait for someone to get me the Wrist Gaiters as well.
I saw this product at a trade show early on. Some others who were gathered around me giggled at it, some even told the sales rep it wouldn’t sell. I thought it was absolute genius. I’d welcome wearing this around the campfire, or even at the late-season backyard barbecue. The poncho doubles as a blanket and comes with a drawstring hoodie, kangaroo pouch and zippered front pocket, in which the entire poncho stuffs. Best part—it’s waterproof, breathable and extremely cozy. (Available January 2016—call it a New Year's gift.)
I’ve grown to love Frost River products ever since Bill Ostrom of Ostrom Outdoors closed his doors. They are an excellent replacement—a durable product that isn’t made overseas. I own quite a few of their canoe packs. What I don’t have is their Canoe Seat & Bag. This is definitely unique. The seat pad makes “canoe butt” a thing of the past, and the bag and slip pockets hang down to store your extras: bug juice, sunscreen, fishing tackle, etc…
Canadian Outdoor Equipment
Forget stuffing my stocking with candy canes and Irish Cream chocolates. What I want is a bunch of these Bee’s Wax Candles (produced from a Niagara Region apiary). They last longer than any other candle I've used and are fantastic to light-up inside a hot tent during those long, dark winter nights.
A stainless steel camp mug is a good gift. What makes it even better is to find one that comes with a lip protector. The problem with stainless steel camp mugs is that sipping fresh brewed coffee or hot chocolate can burn the lips at first touch. A silicone bumper removes that problem—Kelly Kettle not only adds lip protection to their mugs, they also wrap silicone around the cup-handles. That’s a great gift!
Canadian Outdoor Equipment
They’ll never see this one coming. While your kids are putting together Star Wars Lego or the latest Playmobile set, you’ll be busy making your own camp knife. Seriously. This is an awesome idea. The kit includes a triple-laminated Helle Harding blade, block of curly birch for a handle, a brass butt, leather pieces for a sheath, a sheath rivet and thread for sewing. The Byggesett kit comes complete with instructions. Any true camper will open this gift and say—“I love it!”