Outdoor Gift Guide: Best gifts are often items the user wouldn’t buy

By Kevin Tate/Outdoors Writer

No matter what your budget, there’s a gift idea out there for the outdoor enthusiast in your life, and the best clues to what it should be may be in the gear he or she already has.
By the time an outdoor enthusiast is grown, they’ll generally already have the core elements of their gear secured. A deer hunter will have a bow, rifle and a couple of stands. A duck hunter will have a shotgun, waders and a spread of decoys. While these may be occasionally upgraded or replaced, a gift-buyer need not tread into such critical territory to succeed.
The peripheral gear we all carry or wear, from knives to socks to backpacks, flashlights to tackle boxes and more, all gets a good share of use. A great gift may always be another of these in a better grade than the recipient would be apt to buy for themselves.
That doesn’t mean the gift has to be expensive – there are plenty of categories large, medium and small that would apply – but it does mean the gift will have to be thoughtful, which is the point of the exercise in the first place.

Useful things
Look through your intended recipient’s gear and see what gets the most use. It’ll be what’s worn and weathered. Pocket knives, hunting socks, dog leads and utility items that are always in play do their duty in the field. Another of these – or, especially, a better-quality one of these than the end user would be apt to purchase for themselves – is always an excellent gift.
Flashlight technology has made lights brighter and tougher while weighing next to nothing. If the outdoorsman in your life doesn’t have one of the headlamps that attaches either by clip to the bill of a cap or by elastic strap around the cap itself, he needs one. These are the ultimate in handy items.
If the person you’re buying for follows an outdoor discipline that sees them sitting still far more than walking around, the new heated boot insoles from ThermaCell are a great idea.

Above and beyond
They’re designed to fit into any boot, or be moved among boots. They’re rechargeable, and they’re operated by way of wireless remote control, so they can be turned on or off, up or down without moving around.
Once upon a time, all ice chests were made to last. They were built with pride from parts that were tough for years and replaceable when they wore out. Sadly, the standard quality of ice chests has fallen drastically since then.
New companies specializing in the high-end market now offer coolers of the quality we once knew. If you can get past the rather aggressive price, ice chests made by companies like Yeti, K2 and others leave absolutely nothing to want in the way of functionality and durability.