Outdoors

Stuff your outdoor adventurer’s stocking with these cheap and easy gifts

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What do you give your favorite sportsperson for Christmas that they don’t already have?

They love stuff, but some are perpetually well-prepared.

For instance, don’t buy fishing rods if unused racks of rods line the walls and ceiling of their garage. They’re covered.

Media like books, magazines or DVDs might fit the bill, but only if they spend as much time in front of a screen as they do chasing deer.

There are, however, a few essential items that your outdoor adventurer needs. This is the stuff that gets lost or worn out.

At the risk of endorsing certain products for which I receive no reimbursement, here’s a few of my favorite stocking stuffers that are mostly under $30.

Sharp things

Admittedly, I am a knife person. (Don’t worry; the only person I’ve ever stabbed is myself.)

Even for people like me who have a drawer full of knives, the Clark Fork Fillet knife by CRKT is a useful addition to the tool kit.

Its 6-inch locking blade tucks into a reinforced nylon sheath, allowing for easy access in a tackle box or safe storage in a back pocket. It’s often the first knife I reach for when it’s time to fillet a batch of eater-sized walleyes.

Sooner or later, the blade on your everyday Barlow or Old Timer, and every dull hook on your collection of Kwikfishes, Super Baits, and Wiggle Warts need attention.

The WorkSharp Guided Field Sharpener has five stages of sharpening or honing, for everything from pocket knives to hatchets and hooks.

I keep one in the kitchen drawer and transfer a second one back-and-forth between gear bags, depending on the fish of the month.

Sunny things

Polarized sunglasses should be next on your shopping list.

Sooner or later, everyone has to get new sunglasses, as eyewear ends up broken, stolen, lost, or abused.

I’ve got sunglasses in the jockey box of my boat, one each in a side pocket of several gear bags, a pair in my fly vest, and yet another hangs from the rear view mirror of my truck.

It sounds excessive, but the Boy Scout Motto is not something easily purged from your memory bank.

Do you love your fisher or hunter enough to protect them from skin cancer?

If so, sunscreen is an inexpensive stocking stuffer — SPF 40 or greater is best.

While you’re at it, look for a pair of fingerless gloves from Kastking to protect the back of their hands (it’s where “age spots” first show up). These useful gloves come in two appealing colors of breathable Spandex.

Worn things

Saving a life might also mean replacing those WWII-vintage “Mae West” preservers with a modern life vest — one that boaters might actually wear.

Cabelas’ Type-III PFD, Cool Mesh Vests are USCG-Approved and relatively inexpensive. They are constructed of lightweight nylon and have wide armholes that allow freedom of movement. Colors include mango, royal blue, pink, and camo.

I like to tell of a long ago Christmas where all I got was an orange and a pair of wool socks.

There are two points to this sad tale. First, an orange is better than a banana. Bananas turn black in confined spaces and are considered bad luck when fishing.

Second, socks make a fine present.

Don’t tell me otherwise or you will pop my bubble.

Check out the average outdoorsy sock drawer and you will find mismatched pairs, orphans, socks with holes, and socks with shot elastic.

Save those abused stockings for wiping the grease off a leaky transmission and gift your favorite sportsperson a pack of medium-weight, wool-blend socks for winter comfort.

If none of these items “hook you,” purchase a modest gift certificate to a local sporting goods store.

After all, it isn’t the gift so much as the thought that counts.

Dennis Dauble is the author of three books about fish and fishing. Read more of his writing on his website DennisDaubleBooks.com.
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