Get outdoors gear this holiday

By Craig Hill and Jeffrey P. Mayor, The News TribuneDecember 6, 2012 

There are pros and cons to having an outdoor recreation lover on your Christmas shopping list.

Pro: From gadgets to cutting edge gear there is such a wide array of options out there that the old "What do you get for somebody that has everything?" question simply does not apply.

Con: There is such a wide array of cool gear and gadgets, picking just one or two to put under the tree can be overwhelming.

Well, in the spirit of helping you make a good choice, here are 12 recommendations:

Korkers SnowJack, $170, Korkers.com

Korkers, a Portland-based company, has designed what it calls the OmniTrax Interchangeable Sole System to add versatility to hiking boots. The SnowJack boot comes with two interchangeable outsoles, the traditional rubber sole and a second with carbide studs designed to help prevent slipping on icy surfaces.

Washington Visions, $14.95

This 2013 calendar is the fifth one produced by the Tacoma Photographic Society. It features photos from around the state taken by local photographers. Among the scenes featured in this year's calendar are DeCoursey Park in Puyallup, Point Robinson Lighthouse on Vashon Island, the Palouse from Steptoe Butte and wildflowers at Mount Rainier National Park. Club members submitted more than 100 images for this year's calendar. It was printed by Print NW in Lakewood. Proceeds from the calender sales support club activities, including public education programs.

Excalibur 3500 Dehydrator, $199, excaliburdehydrator.com

Dehydrate meat, fish, fruit and vegetables for your next backpacking trip and maybe even save a few bucks. The manufacturer says the Excalibur 3500 has five trays, a removable door, a timer and an adjustable thermostat allowing an 85-145 degree temperature range.

Buzz One, $449, rei.com

This single-speed bike is part of the 2013 Novara line from REI. It features powder-coated rims, vintage-inspired saddle, white crank set and grips. A 4130 chromoly frame, flat handlebar and aluminum chain guard make this a fast, light ride. The gear set allows for plenty of speed in town while still capable of handling medium-size hills.

Joos Orange Portable Solar Charger, $149, SolarJoos.com

The Joos Orange uses solar power to recharge phones, tablets, MP3 players, GPS units, cameras and other USB devices any place in the backcountry. Joos claims when the internal battery, when charged, can replenish an iPhone up to 3.5 times. It also claims to be faster than most portable solar charges converting an hour in direct sunshine to two hours of power.

Bushnell H2O binoculars, $94.97, Sportco.com

These waterproof 8 x 42 mm binoculars would work well for any outdoorsmen living in the Northwest. These will work well for people who are birding, kayaking, snowmobiling, fishing and more. The multi-coated optics provide a very clear view and the binocular is quick focusing with a large center focus knob. They are a bit heavy at 1.7 pounds.

Peppermint Stick Clif Bars, $1.39, ClifBarStore.com

A good stocking stuffer for endurance athletes and backpackers, Peppermint Stick Clif Bars are a seasonal flavor worth stocking up on. The bars will be available until supplies run out, said Clif Bar spokeswoman Michelle Curran, "usually into the new year." Other holiday seasonal flavors include Iced Gingerbread and Spiced Pumpkin Pie. Clif Bar donates 1 percent of the net sales of these soy protein bars to Protect Our Winters, an anti-climate change group.

Rescue band bracelets, $9.99-$35, rescuebands.com

These braclets, made of parachute cord, would make a great stocking stuffer. They are made of 7-12 feet of cord, certified to hold 550 pounds. Each paracord has seven inner strands that can hold 50 pounds apiece. If you prefer, you can buy a kit and let a child make his or her own bracelet. Try paracord king.com/pabrki. html, which has kits on sale for $4.75.

Sof-flex bottle, $9.99-$11.99, liquid-solutions.com

The Sof-flex sleeve and bottle are made of 100 percent recyclable materials and are BPA free. The 16-ounce Sof-Flex features a thin plastic interior bottle and soft flexible Neoprene sleeve. The sports version has a pocket for keys or credit cards and a handle. The sports and standard version each come with a carabiner. The interior bottle is top rack dishwasher safe and the sleeve is machine washable. It comes in red, purple, gray and black.

Annual park pass

You might have family or friends who can't go or don't go as often as they would like to parks in the area because they can't afford the entrance fee. Getting them an annual pass can help introduce the next generation to the great outdoors in Washington and beyond. Start with the Discover Pass ($30 a year, discoverpass. wa.gov) that gets you into state parks, plus on lands managed by the state departments of Fish and Wildlife and Natural Resources.

An annual pass to Mount Rainier National Park is $30, compared to the seven-day admission fee of $15.

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