Here it is, the first week of December, and now it is time to admit; ’tis the season. The tree and ornaments are up in trade of the pumpkin that has rotted and been submit to the hillside for the deer and birds to pick over. At work I hum “Mr. Grinch” to tone over one of the many irritating iterations of “Santa Baby” (in a desperate attempt to maintain the current scraps of sanity I may or may not actually have a hold of…) This time of giving is often heavily innervated with over-consumption and frivolous spending in an overall wasteful manner; and I always get a little sour watching this human behavior ripen. It doesn’t have to be that way! Practical purchases can make for just as exciting gifts, and serve more purpose than making someone’s eyes sparkle at their novelty.
Seriously there is no point in buying someone a gift that they can’t really use. Wasteful spending contributing to clutter just doesn’t make any sense. Get something that is needed, or at the very least will be put to good use! In response to prompting from some friends and family for suggestions, I’ve compiled a quick list of easy gifts for outdoor enthusiasts. These five practical products will always be put to good use helping to keep loved ones safe and well equipped on their adventures in the outdoors. For campers, backpackers, day time hikers and nighttime escapists – this is money well spent.
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This simple gadget is an incredible invention backed by and incredible company. LifeStraw is a portable water filtering system that allows you to drink any water, anywhere, with no wait time. The company meets high marks for ethical practices, commit to providing a child in developing countries clean and safe drinking water for a full school year for every product sold. The filter has to be replaced after heavy use, but according to the specs on their site, it boasts the following features for 20 bucks, with free USPS shipping
- Filters up to 1,000 liters (264 gallons) of water
- Removes 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria (>LOG 6 reduction), including E-Coli
- Removes 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites (>LOG 3 reduction), including Giardia & Cryptosporidium
- Reduces turbidity, filtering down to 0.2 microns
- Ultralight: weighs only 2oz
I’ll be using the LifeStraw as my secondary water purifying system while thru-hiking the Colorado Trail (the other a UV light system) These would be great in emergency, SOL, SHTF and prep kits or bags as well!
Headlamps come in handy in any low light scenario. Hands-free lighting is the way to go in any active situation, from setting up camp to navigating your engine compartment – everyone could use a headlamp.
This lightweight lamp would be at home on a backpacking trip, or night fishing in the gulf, with its myriad of features. It has proximity and distance settings, strobe, dimming, red light for night vision, a lock mode, and is water resistant. At fourty dollars, there are cheaper lamps out there – but few could begin to stand up to the competition. This one is my pick!
A good knife is one of the most important pieces of safety and survival equipment you can carry. Everyone should have a reliable knife. When on an adventure, you absolutely need a lightweight and capable knife for so many reasons and uses. Foldable knives with easy opening and blade lock are ideal, partially serrated blades come in handy more than strictly fine edged options.
I’ve carried a meaty Gerber for years, cutting open hay bales just as easily as it serves to protect. I’ll be picking up this lighter weight knife by the same brand that has served me and others very very well.
For the record, I didn’t pick this knife out of brand loyalty – I narrowed down all of my ideal specs and after going through many reviews, this handy little dandy came out on top.
This is the most whimsical little gift on my list, but the pocket headgehog is a genuinely useful (and delightful) little tool. At less than an once, and the size of a credit card, you can carry this super low profile comb anywhere. Use it on your ratty sleeping bag hair, or to smooth some tangles during a night out downtown. Use it on your dog! It features four wrenches, a phillips style screwdriver head, bottle oppener, and may be used as a phone stand or rigged as a money clip.
Practical can be fun too!
A pre-packaged survival kit is not a bad idea for anyone to have. For long ventures you may want to pece together your own emergency, survival, and first aid kit tailored to you and the situations you may encounter, but an easy basic kit is great to have in your day pack or car.
This SOL kit comes in a waterproof bag and contains a handful of useful short term emergency supplies. This includes a compass, survival blanket, a mini Rescue Flash signal mirror, whistl, survival fishing kit packed in a vial, waterproof fire starter and a roll of 50 in. x 2 in. duct tape. At 5.4 ounces, anyone can afford this safety precaution.
Let me know in the comments below if you have any experience with these products, or if you pick them up – review them with me!
Now, for the disclaimer – I am not a vet, adventure guide, personal trainer, doctor, nutritionist, or medical authority, this is meant to be only a source of information and inspiration, implementing these techniques into your daily life is something you do of your own free will and at your own risk.
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