Ten gift ideas for the outdoors enthusiast

Staff writersDecember 1, 2013 

If your holiday shopping list includes an outdoor lover, we have a gift recommendation that is sure to be appreciated.

Socks.

Yes, the same gift we dreaded when we were kids.

Of course, we’re not talking about shapeless cotton tube socks or a Costco bundle of crew socks. We’re talking about nice wool socks engineered to stay in place and provide extra padding.

A trip to the sock aisle of your local sporting goods store will give you plenty of options, including socks designed for specific activities such as running, hiking or skiing. Don’t skimp ($20 or more per pair isn’t uncommon) and the outdoor lover on your list will be happy on Christmas morning.

But if you just can’t do it. Just can’t give the gift you had to fake so many smiles for when you were a kid, you might try some of these other ideas.

LIQUID IMAGE APEX HD+WI-FI GOGGLES

$399.99, liquidimageco.com

Skiers and snowboarders who think strapping a camera to their helmet looks awkward will appreciate the less conspicuous look of this goggle cam. The camera is built into the top of the goggles and is Wi-Fi compatible allowing skiers to live stream their runs to smartphones or tablets. A free app allows you to edit video and pictures shot with the goggle cam. Oh, and the lenses are 100 percent UV protected.

RAINIER BENCH MARK ORNAMENTS

$18.95, mountainclimb.com

Among other commemorative items for mountaineers, Geographic Locations International creates ornaments that look like bench marks from some the country’s most iconic peaks, including Mount Rainier. The 2-inch bench marks are cast in pewter and come mounted on a story card. While Rainier is the only ornament offered for Washington peaks, the company makes other products including full-size bench marks ($39.95) for several other Northwest peaks. Personalized bench marks ($149.95-$489.95) are available.

ETON BOOSTTURBINE

$59.95, etoncorp.com

Backcountry travelers who want to use their smartphones or tablets can have a tricky time powering their devises on longer trips. The Eton BoostTurbine claims to have a simple solution, a hand crank rechargeable lithium battery that can be used to recharge devices. A minute of cranking the 7-ounce device provides enough power for four minutes of talk time and a few text messages. A BoostTurbine with a larger battery – big enough to charge a phone twice – is available for $79.95.

EXPRESS FOAM SNOW GOOSE DECOYS

$229.95 MSRP, fabrand.com

Snow goose hunters would like the new decoys available from Final Approach. The Express Foam decoys are lightweight and collapsible for easy storage and transport. They are made from a durable, yet soft and flexible foam. The soft material makes them easy to roll up, allowing hunters to store four foam decoys in the same amount of space of one single hard body decoy. The decoys are available in 12-packs of uprights or feeders.

LAMIGLAS X11 FISHING ROD

$100, Sportco, lamiglas.com

These rods are a good choice for someone interested in fishing for salmon and steelhead in local rivers or salt water. The bait-casting models come in lengths from 7-foot-9 to 9-foot-6, with line weights from 8- to 40-pound test. The spin-cast models range from 8-foot-6 to 10-foot-6 with line weights from 6- to 20-pound test. The rod pairs well with the Aird spinning reel from Daiwa ($90, Sportco, daiwa.com). Each reel comes with an alternate-size spare spool to give anglers a choice of line weights and types. A top-of-the-line bait-casting reel choice would be the Revo STX ($200, Sportco, abugarcia.com) from Abu Garcia. Redesigned for this year, the reel weighs 29 percent less than previous models.

SEA-DOO SPARK

$4,999, sea-doo.com

The latest personal watercraft from Sea-Doo, the Spark features an on-water brake (riders stop up to 100 feet sooner than other watercraft) and reverse system, a speed-generating power-to-weight ratio, customizable paint schemes and personalized graphic kits. It is powered by a Rotax 900 ACE, one of the most fuel-efficient engine on the market. It comes in 2- and 3-person versions. Weighing around 400 pounds, they can be easily towed behind a car.

CARSON ADVENTURE PACK

$40, rei.com

Nothing helps kids get more excited about being outdoors than having their own gear. If they see a bird, they want to look now, not when some adult is done with the family binoculars. The Adventure Pack can get them started with a matching flashlight, whistle, compass and 5x30 binoculars. The whistle has two built-in thermometers – one displays the temperature in Fahrenheit and the other in Celsius. It all comes in a soft carrying case that can attach to a belt. The flashlight will need two AA batteries.

SPORTSSTUFF SPEEDSEEKER 2

$59.99, cabelas.com

This inflatable tube can handle the snowy slopes of the Paradise snowplay area, or bob about in the summer pool. Capable of handing two riders, the Speedseeker features a Swiftex bottom to run straight. It is made of heavy-duty 20-gauge PVC with a cold-crack additive, heat-sealed seams and reinforced grommets. It comes with a tote rope for easy transport. Oversize safety valve helps speed up inflation and deflation. It measures 72 inches long and 31 inches wide.

MOUNTAIN MUESLI

$5.50-$6, mountainmuesli.com

A locally made cereal could make an ideal stocking stuffer for outdoors lovers looking for an energy-packed breakfast or snack. The 2-year-old company makes the muesli with locally-sourced oats, flaxseed, dried fruit and other ingredients. Mountain Muesli claims it uses natural ingredients but doesn’t use wheat, corn, soy or dairy products. The cereal comes in five flavors, including blueberry walnut and cinnamon raison. The company also makes snack bites that come in six flavors, including chocolate almond and pineapple macadamia.

INSECT SHIELD DOUBLENEST

$84.95, eaglesnestoutfittersinc.com

They might not be bugging you during the holidays, but you can count insects to be waiting this summer when you’re ready to go backpacking or just lounge in the backyard. On its website, Insect Shield claims its permethrin-treated repellent gear can be “the difference between ‘we had a great time’ and ‘the bugs were terrible.’” The 21-ounce DoubleNest hammock is treated with Insect Shield giving you and your hiking partner plenty of privacy to enjoy this hammock with room for two. Need more room? The DoubeNest Deluxe ($84.95) has room for three as long as the combined weight doesn’t exceed 400 pounds.

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