Buying for an outdoor person is really easyWORTHINGTON — So my mom called me the other day asking for some Christmas ideas for my wife and kids. I was supposed to get her those ideas a week ago. Shopping for gifts has never been a very troubling effort for me, although I know some people who can shop for a whole day and, on the way home, will not have a single gift purchased.
By: Scott Rall, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — So my mom called me the other day asking for some Christmas ideas for my wife and kids. I was supposed to get her those ideas a week ago. Shopping for gifts has never been a very troubling effort for me, although I know some people who can shop for a whole day and, on the way home, will not have a single gift purchased.
Everyone wants the gift to be just perfect and they expend lots of emotional capital in the hopes of achieving this goal. For the hunter and fisherman in your world, this effort is much easier. There is a long list of things every outdoorsman or outdoorswoman needs even if they are not very sexy items. Most of my ideas would not make it onto the average Christmas gift list. For the most part, every other person who watches these gifts get opened will not say, “Oh man, I really wished that I had gotten one of those.”
Just because the others present at the gift opening wouldn’t like my gift ideas, it by no means indicates how much your outdoors person might need them.
My first idea is a 12-volt mini air compressor. This is a little box about half the size of a small shoe box. In it there is a tiny air compressor that can and will save the bacon off your favorite outdoors person at some point in time. It runs on 12 volts and has a cigarette lighter plug-in for a power source.
It is capable of pumping up a car, truck, ATV or boat tire even though it will take about 15 minutes to do so. They have about 125 PSI capabilities. I have used mine many times over the years and I carry one in every mode of transportation that has an engine.
I was on the trail about 30 miles from anywhere in the Black Hills in South Dakota on an ATV and ran a huge nail into my tire. The second item on my list is a tire plug kit. You use a hand tool to insert a chunk of rubber coated with some special glue into the hole in the tire. This combination fixed the hole and inflated the tire in about 20 minutes and I was good as gold. Tire plug kits are available at any parts store. They work on cars and trucks also.
Without the mini air compressor and the tire plug kit, I would have been doomed for the day. The same thing happened when I was using my Polaris Ranger to plant some native grass. The tire went down in the middle of a field and I was lone rangering that day. Without these tools at hand I would have had a nice walk back to the truck and used up half a day getting the rig back in working condition.
More than a time or two I have gone to the storage shed in the spring to remove a boat or other trailer only to find it sitting on the rim. Get a 12-volt power source within 20 feet and you will be on your way in no time. For your kid in college one in the trunk can also come in very handy.
Regardless if you are snow shoeing or hunting roosters, most of the time you really don’t need to dress that warm. The exertion keeps you warm — and even sweating — depending on your motivation. I usually wear just a long-sleeved t-shirt and a moderate weight sweatshirt. What I cannot do without, though, is a neck gaitor. This looks just like a stocking cap with no top. I pull one on over my head and then pull the sweatshirt on over the top. It seals up the exposed skin on your neck all around. You can leave it down or pull it up to cover your ears and mouth.
I like them because they regulate heat well. If I heat up, I pull it off and cool down and then add it back if I get chilled. They come in all kinds of materials from cheap to expensive, but I would recommend two or three moderately priced ones of different weights so the recipient can carry the proper one in each coat or hunting vest they use. I lost a red one, and when I found it in Les Johnson’s truck he had used it for a grease rag. I hope he remembers to replace it (hint, hint).
The last item on my list is a great gift and you can get one for free if you know who to ask. Give your hunter/outdoorsman the most current county plat maps of the three to four counties near where they live. They send them every year to rural residents but not to city folk. I understand they can be pretty costly to buy, but landowners will usually give up the year-old one when the new ones come out. This allows your back-40 traveler access to hands-on information as to who owns this or that parcel of potential hunting ground. In addition to the owner’s name it also provides the phone numbers so proper permission can be gained long before the season starts. This sure beats driving house to house trying to find out whom to ask permission from — especially if the owner lives many states away. You can find higher-end plat books in most book stores or online.
My ideas are not fancy, but they are pretty much one-size-fits-all.
I can tell you that when it comes to hunting boots, gloves, vests and the like, I think individual hunters have preferences that make such purchases kind of difficult. I compare it to buying my wife some shoes or jewelry. I might get it right, but you never really know if they say they love it so as not to hurt your feelings or if they truly really do love it.
None of these gifts will likely elicit a big ya-hoo when opened like a new shotgun would, but there will be a day when these items will really save the day. It will be just like the high-end jumper cables I got when I was 16 and never appreciated ’til I was 35. I still have those cables yet today.