Outdoors under the tree

If you're not sure what gift will be the right choice for the outdoors person in your life, we've got these suggestions.


What is it: The third-generation of these lightweight internal-frame backpacks, made by Osprey.

Usefulness: Available in three sizes. The men’s Aether 70, for instance, has a volume of 4,200 cubic inches of space. They have plenty of room and compartments for multi-day excursions.

Coolness: The packs come with customizable hip belts. Check to see if your local REI store has one of Osprey’s custom hip-belt molding ovens.

Bonus: The top pocket converts to a lumbar pack.

Localness: Available from Kent-based REI stores.

Cost: $229-$289 suggested price for Aether packs, $219-$279 for Aerial packs, depending on size



What is it: An arcade-style outdoor action game for up to four players on the Wii. It was released in late October.

Usefulness: Players can hunt as a party, shoot competitively as part of a team or against another individual. Players take on more than 20 birds including turkeys, ducks, grouse and pheasants with Remington shotguns that look, feel and shoot like the real things.

Coolness: There are opportunities to get a temporary boost, such as shooting a bird with an icon over its head. In some instance that will give you more ammo before reloading or special hunter goggles that help players see birds better.

The game also features Rockford, your trusty retriever, who actually flushes birds.

Localness: None, made by California-based Mastiff.

Cost: $30



What is it: A load-control system for pickups and utility trailers. It features a 10-point coated steel hook attachment system, with an anti-flap design.

Usefulness: The cover is made of military-grade 400D nylon rip stop pack cloth with a water resistant urethane coating, polypropylene webbing, reinforced cinch points, Duraflex buckles and coated steel hooks.

Coolness: After all, it is a tarp system.

Localness: It’s made by Load Control Systems Inc., which is headquartered here in the Grit City.

Bonus: According to the company, TarpX is used by the University of Washington grounds maintenance fleet and the California Conservation Corps. It also is scheduled to be featured on DIY Network’s “Cool Tools” program next spring.

Cost: $100-$120



What is it: An emergency fire starter from Coghlan’s. You use a knife to scrape some of the magnesium on to a small pile of tinder. You then light the magnesium by running your knife down the flint striker.

Usefulness: Some reviewers comment that the striker ruined their knife blade. The best response was “When was the last time you warmed yourself over a sharp knife?”

Coolness: Should we say hotness? The block of magnesium generates a flame source reaching 5,400 degrees.

Bonus: They are very small, fitting in a pocket or to a keychain if you want.

Oddity: The news releases say you can light hundreds of fires, but the packaging says dozens.

Localness: None; company is based in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Cost: $6



What is it: A reusable BPA-free soft water bottle. Available in half- and 1-liter sizes. Also comes with a regular cap or the dual-valve HyperFlow cap.

Usefulness: It fits a drink holder, a round pocket, a flat pocket or your hand. When empty, it rolls up and fits anywhere you want it to fit.

Coolness: According to the manufacturer, it weighs 80 percent less than hard hydration bottles.

Localness: Made by Cascade Designs, which is based in Seattle.

Cost: $8-$13



What is it: A wireless weather station from Bushnell that gives customized seven-day weather forecasts for more than 20,000 cities in the United States and around the world.

Usefulness: Gives you access to current weather conditions and seven-day forecasts compiled by The weather data is continuously downloaded from the Internet to your PC then transmitted wirelessly to the WeatherFXi receiver. The receiver has a 3-x-5.5-inch LCD screen.

Coolness: Helps you keep track of the weather in some of your favorite places, all in one spot.

Bonus: Users can receive the forecast for their home city and four other favorite places.

Localness: None; Bushnell is in Overland Park, Kan.

Cost: $65-$85 depending on retailer



What is it: A fly box from Scientific Anglers that features six rows of micro-slit foam on all four sides. The box measures 4.88 inches by 3.70 inches by 1.25 inches.

Usefulness: You can reduce the load in your fly vest by picking up one of these boxes. You can load a lot of flies and leave some of your larger fly boxes back at home.

Coolness: This box is capable of holding about 560 flies, in sizes 14 to 24. Just a caution: This box is meant for trout flies, not larger saltwater flies.

Localness: None; the company is based in Japan.

Cost: $37.95