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Christmas gift ideas for your Outdoor Buddy

By Gary Heffley
11/17/15 -- Shopping for today's outdoor buddy can be complicated or very easy if you have some ideas of your buddy's needs or their passion. There are also a couple of suggestions here that can be a fit for everyone providing they don't already have it.

If your buddy's passion tends toward hunting appropriate attire or logoed apparel, sweatshirts, hats and t-shirts are always a good call. Today's specialty fabrics with wicking, drying and layering factors can offer benefits to those hunting in the coldest or warmest temperatures. For a simple “thought gift” everyone can use a good pair of socks which again can offer so much more than just a foot covering with specialty fabrics and wools.

Havalon Hydra red double-bladed hunting knife, courtesy of Google
Havalon Hydra red double-bladed hunting knife

One new item that can be used by any hunter is the new Havalon Hydra knife. The Havalon Edge and Bolt skinning knives have taken the market by storm in the last few years. The replaceable scalpel blades have made the arduous skinning process of tougher hides like bear, elk and pig a simple one blade event. No pausing to sharp or changing knives for another sharp blade, one animal one blade...in fact many hunters can skin out two bear or elk with just one blade. The original skinning knives come with 13 total blades more than enough for a season of hunting. The skinning knives gave way to fillet/boning knife and bone saw which also gained popularity. Now the Hydra Knife puts all of these applications into one handle. There are blades with replacements for most that handle multiple demands for skinning and dressing game. A nylon case keeps the knife and blades at the ready.

Anglers can always use more lures, flies and accessories. Rods and reels are becoming more specialized toward specific applications so if you know of a new technique the angler wishes to explore a rod and reel combination to fit is very appropriate. Of course this allows for you to finish off the shopping list with lines and tackle to match up with the new rod and reel.

Hikers can always use hydration packs, water filtration and emergency equipment. The emergency equipment can range from small pack-able first aid kits to GPS units, Satellite phones or emergency beacons.

OnXMaps vusualize success Logo

For those hikers, hunters and anglers who already use Garmin GPS units or have those on their wish list, a great addition is the OnXmaps chip which offers 24K topographical features for individual states, a breakdown of agency land control of public lands and private property ownership. Twenty foot contour lines, detailed trail and secondary road mapping make this a valuable tool for anyone who ventures off the beaten path. Most retailers sell these state specific chips for around a hundred dollars per state, the chip for Nevada is a little more.

See! Half your shopping is already done!
Another gift for any outdoor buddy is a personal favorite, the Work Sharp Knife and Tool sharpening system. This easy-to-use, very effective sharpening system flat out works! I had used many electric knife sharpeners in the past and was always disappointed in the results; many are now door stops in my garage. With the Work Sharp I have sharpened and I mean “sharpened,” axes, hatchets, scissors, filet knives, kitchen knives, pocket knives and field knives. It will also do broad heads, gut hooks and mover blades but I haven't done those yet.

Work Sharp Ken Onion Edition Sharpener, courtesy of Google
Work Sharp Ken Onion Edition Sharpener

While I've done all those with the original edition, they also produce a Ken Onion edition that has more options including accessories to make knives, sharpen tough items like wood chisels and adjust angles to sharpen specialty knives and machetes.

And for those again looking for stocking stuffer's the pocket size manual Work Sharp Field Sharpener is a favorite. Many fishing guides I know use these to touch up their knives while out in the field keeping the knife always razor sharp. To borrow the quote: The most dangerous knife is a dull knife.”

Optics is another all-encompassing outdoor category. Perhaps an upgrade in lens quality or magnification is desired or a new harness or strap for binoculars. There are great add-ons for existing optic users as well, as universal use or specific product model matches are now offered that allow smart phone cameras to be mounted on optics to take pictures or videos.

Phone Skope Android Scope-Mounted smartphone adaptor, photo courtesy of Google
Phone Skope Android Scope-Mounted smartphone adaptor

If a gun enthusiast uses an angled spotting scope at the gun range for sport shooting or to sight in a rifle these are perfect. Most angled eye pieces can be turned so that you can look directly into the mounted phone camera from your shooting position and see where the target was struck and make adjustments without moving. By the way, if your smartphone has zoom features it will work through the optic to bring the item in even closer than the optic lens itself.

This winter looks to be severe if all of the El Nino forecasts are hopefully correct...it would be nice to see Oroville, Shasta and Trinity lakes full again. Emergency items like generators, flashlights, headlamps are also to be in demand. Practical items make good gifts too.

And like they always say at Christmas.....Don't forget the Batteries!

Gary Heffley has been a valued contributor to MyOutdoorBuddy for over seven years serving as manager, sales representative and reporter for much of Northern California. He is an avid outdoorsman and loves to fish and write about his adventures. He has long history in the Sporting Goods field and is presently managing the Gift Bar and Camping Department at Sportsman’s Warehouse in Redding.

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