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Scott Rall: Get them an outdoors gift for Christmas


The Globe outdoors columnist

So, what do you do when somebody asks you what you want for Christmas? Do you have a long list of items you can’t wait to have someone buy for you, or do you fumble around and then say you can’t think of anything right now?

I am better at giving ideas for other people, to other people, than I am for getting a list together for myself. I remember the days when a trip to anywhere that passed a Cabela’s store was a mandatory stop.

I don’t live in that world anymore.  I no longer need six lures of every single color and size.

Every once in awhile, you do come past a few items that most every outdoor person could use. I have a short list for you to consider when shopping for the hunter and fisherman in your house or on your list.

The first is a decent knife sharpener. They come in every shape and size and many of them require the user to be pretty proficient. You need to hold the knife at exactly the right angle to the stone or device and do so over and over.

The end result of this for many attempters is a knife that is no sharper than when they started.

I recently came across a guy using a Cabela’s Work Sharp electric knife and tool sharpener. It is an electric sharpener that looks like a mini-belt sander.

There are several models that range in price from $89-$129. They work for hunting knifes, but I would challenge anyone who has ever tried to use a kitchen carving knife, or even a dull steak knife, that life in the kitchen is better with sharp knife.  

The Work Sharp knife and sharpener is an outdoor gift, but not a bad gift for anyone who has ever had to use a steak knife that acted like a butter knife.

I have had a pair of boots in this list for the past 10 years, but I got a hot tip from Scott Hain of Worthington to head on down to Worthington Footwear and Repair to check out the waterproof pull-on boots from Irish Setter. They are called Deer Trackers and run about $150. Scott said they were the best hunting boots he had ever had and they give solid support, but could still be easily pulled on and off.  

That’s a pretty nice feature when you are trying to get out of the garage and into to the house with coveralls or hunting chaps on. The laces also never come undone.

I bought a really high-end flashlight a few years back and was pretty happy with it. It cost about $100. I have this thing about regularly losing things and I figured this was going to be added to the lost list in a pretty short time.  

I was in NAPA on Oxford Street a few months back for some trailer wiring and saw a flashlight on the counter.  It cost $20.  I bought one.  I took it home and compared it to the $100 one I had and I saw no measurable difference.  I went back to NAPA and bought several more to give as Christmas gifts this season.  

A great light for a little price, and it is rechargeable. I have since lost the first one I bought on a duck hunting trip to Pine County last month, but I feel a whole lot better knowing that I only lost $20. The pain was far less.  Now I need yet another one.

The next item I bought for myself but think it would be a great gift for any outdoor person.  I have an Apple iPhone.

If I charge it, the charge will make it through most of a normal day. If it’s one of those days where the phone rings all day or the text strings get long, it will die before I want it to. You see it all the time, folks trying to beg off a few minutes on somebody else’s charger.

I bought a Morphie battery case last fall and they work great. It is a phone case that has a built-in extra battery.  When I charge my phone at night it charges the external battery in the case.

It is the equivalent of having 2.5 more phone batteries. This means that when the phone goes dead I can charge it back up with the case 2.5 more times.  I can go the whole weekend without having to worry about a charger. This is nice when you get in poor cell coverage areas and the phones attempting to find the signal can eat up a battery charge in a little as a few hours.

I could not get by without one anymore.  

They are not a great phone case for phone protection though.  If you drop the phone the battery case will most likely get wrecked.  I have dropped mine three times and the thing is ready to fall apart.  

They run from $29 to $99.  I got the $35 one and was well pleased. You can also charge a different phone from your phone then you own with a USB cable port.

Consider an outdoor gift for an indoor person.  This just might the gift that gets that person outdoors and into nature, and if that happens it’s the greatest gift of all.