(MCT) — GRAND FORKS, N.D. — We’re into December now, and that means Christmas is right around the corner.
It’s time to get serious about buying those holiday gifts.
The good news is there’s no shortage of options if your gift list includes a hunter, angler or other outdoor enthusiast.
We’re here to help.
Every year, we receive dozens of press releases and emails from retailers pitching their outdoors ware. Some of them end up in the recycling bin never to see their way online or into print.
Others catch our attention.
From books and fishing gear to useful accessories and items that aren’t really necessary — but would make great conversation pieces — here are 20 that stand out:
1. Motorola Talkabout MT350R: Motorola two-way radios have been a regular addition to the Grand Forks Herald’s outdoor Christmas gift list, and this new, weatherproof model that hit the market in June provides communication for areas out of cellphone range, whether it’s in the boat, on the trail or camping. The MT350R carries NOAA weather channels, includes an LED flashlight and has a range of up to 35 miles. Retail price $89.99; Motorola.com.
2. “Canoeing with the Cree Collector’s Edition”: This account of North Dakota native Eric Sevareid’s epic 1930 canoe journey from the Twin Cities to Hudson Bay with paddling partner Walter Port gets a new look with the addition of a multipurpose collector’s tin and an annotated map that’s suitable for framing. Published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press, the boxed set retails for $24.95; mhspress.org.
3. Catfish mailbox: Beauty’s in the eye of the beholder, as they say, and this catfish mailbox from Bass Pro Shops is bound to catch a few eyes. The mailbox mounts to any 2x4 or 4x4 post and measures 7 inches by 7½ inches by 28 inches. Suggested retail price $69.99; basspro.com.
4. Excalibur 3500 Food Dehydrator: For the successful hunter on your list (or anyone else with a penchant for drying foods), this dehydrator contains five large trays with 8 square feet of tray area. The unit has a removable door, timer and a thermostat to adjust temperatures from 85 degrees to 145 degrees. Retail price, about $200; available at outlets such as Cabela’s and amazon.com.
5. “The Bird Watching Answer Book”: From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, this book provides expert answers to questions about birdwatching, attracting birds, protecting habitat and more. About $14.95; www.birds.cornell.edu/BirdGifts.
6. T-Reign Retractable Gear Tethers: Available with tethers from 24 inches to 48 inches, this gizmo attaches to clothing to hold everything from keys and small tools to game calls and personal electronics. Retails for $15.95 to $27.95; www.t-reignoutdoor.com.
7. Streamlight Waypoint Rechargeable Spotlight: This spotlight includes a lithium ion rechargeable battery that runs five hours on high (300 lumens), 50 hours on low (25 lumens) and 35 hours in emergency signal mode. The spotlight is waterproof to a depth of about 6 feet but will float if dropped in the water. About $75 to $100 through outlets such as Cabela’s and amazon.com; streamlight.com.
8. Northland Tackle Jig Wallet: Anyone who ice fishes knows what a pain it can be to keep jigs and other small lures organized. This jig wallet with pliers from Bemidji’s Northland Tackle has a removable foam insert that holds up to 30 jigs and a zipper for easy opening and closing in all weather. Two inside pockets provide additional storage for other necessities. Includes a 4-inch needle-nose pliers. About $12.95 through most sporting goods outlets; northlandtackle.com.
9. Frabill Calibrator Line Counter Tip-Up: Setting depths when tip-up fishing was a guessing game that required one of those clip-on depth finders until Frabill came up with the Calibrator. This new tip-up features a digital LCD readout that makes setting the depth as simple as plopping the bait into the hole and watching the digital dial. The spool has a line capacity of 200 feet. Suggested retail price $39.99 and available at numerous sporting goods outlets; www.frabill.com.
10. “Classy” camo apron: Here’s something you don’t see every day: a camouflage apron complete with pink accents and ruffles. Known as “The Classy,” the apron results from a partnership between the makers of Mossy Oak camo and Lavish Aprons. About $40 to $45; lavishaprons.com.
11. Pura stainless water bottles: Eco-friendly and durable, these stainless steel water bottles don’t shatter or crack or require chemical linings like aluminum bottles. Available for both adults and babies. Retail price $15.99 to $27.99 depending on the size; www.purastainless.com.
12. Yaktrax: Walking, whether it’s on sidewalks or frozen lakes, can be treacherous this time of year, and this traction device will minimize the risk of injury. Yaktrax fit over most shoes and are available in multiple styles, ranging from the “Walk” for everyday use, the “Pro” for more rigorous activity, and the “XTR” for when the going gets treacherous. There’s also a “Runner” model for wintertime joggers. Available at more than 10,000 retail locations with styles starting at $20; yaktrax.com.
13. Swiss Army knives: You can’t go wrong with a Swiss Army Knife, and the Wenger Co.’s Spot Light 97 includes seven implements ranging from a 1¾-inch pen blade and scissors to a nail file, nail cleaner and built-in flashlight. The Spot Light 97 retails for $42.95, but other models are available, and the company also carries several other outdoor products; www.wengerna.com/wenger-swiss-army-knives.
14. “The Minnesota Book of Skills”: We featured this book as a “rainy-day read” earlier this fall, and it merits repeating with the holidays just around the corner. Written by Chris Niskanen, former outdoor writer for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, who now is communications director for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, “The Minnesota Book of Skills” features 75 how-to chapters on a variety of outdoor skills and the people who specialize in them. Available for $19.99 hardcover or $11.99 e-book from the Minnesota Historical Society Press; mhspress.org.
15. Ron Schara’s 2013 Dakotas calendar: Outdoor TV personality and celebrity Ron Schara, known for such programs as “Minnesota Bound” and “Backroads with Ron and Raven,” also publishes a line of calendars with a variety of information specific to North Dakota and South Dakota. Featuring full-color outdoors prints from renowned artists such as David Maass and Jim Hansel, the calendars also are available for Minnesota and Wisconsin. About $12.95 or buy three and get the fourth free; outdoorcalendars.com.
16. WingOne clay target thrower: Ask anyone who shoots sporting clays, trap or skeet, and they’ll say the sight of a clay target exploding in a cloud of dust is about as good as it gets. This lightweight, portable hand-held thrower from WingOne is billed as being four to five times faster than previous handheld throwers, offering shotgun enthusiasts the chance to enjoy their passion just about anywhere. And at a suggested retail price of $39.95, it won’t break the bank; order online at wingoneusa.com.
17. “The Snow Leopard’s Tale”: Grand Forks reader Lois Wilde recommended this book several weeks ago. Written by Thomas McIntyre, the book, which is slightly more than 100 pages, shows readers how they appear through the eyes of a snow leopard hunting alone on China’s Bountiful Black Mountain. Wilde, who edited McEntyre’s articles for Sports Afield for several years, says she considers him to be among the country’s best outdoor writers. Published by Bangtail Press in Montana, the book retails for $16.95 and is available through numerous booksellers, including amazon.com.
18. “HitchHiking 45,000 Miles to Alaska”: A 45,000-mile hitchhiking journey definitely qualifies as an adventure, and in this book from Chuck Wirschem, the author describes how he ended up in Alaska after a four-year journey that took him through 44 states and three countries. About $10 through amazon.com and other outlets.
19. Add-A-Cabana: Give tailgating or camping a new twist with this private enclosure that quickly attaches to the vans, SUVs or hatchback cars with roof racks. Loops along the bottom edge offer a place to anchor with stakes or weights. Comes with a tote bag and installs in less than a minute. About $79.95; addacabana.com or smallbrandnation.com.
20. Water clock: This might not be outdoor gear in the traditional sense, but the Bedol Water Clock would be a handy accessory for just about anyone. Sculpted in the shape of a water drop, the battery-free clock is powered by water. Without getting too technical, metallic plates inside the clock turn ions in the water into current that in turn power the clock and alarm. Available in five colors, the water clock retails for $26; bedolwhatsnext.com.