When in Doubt, Stick With the Basics
November 25th, 2016 by Curtis Condon
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Family and friends appreciate having something to work from when Christmas shopping. Indulge them by preparing a wish list. Be specific. Include brand, size, color and other important details.

Kids are easy to buy for, adults not so much—especially if they are serious about their outdoor pursuits. It’s not that they don’t want or need anything. Rather, their wants and needs are very specific. They prefer a particular brand, a certain model number, or a specific color or pattern. That is why many gift givers simply throw up their hands and buy outdoor enthusiasts a gift card instead.

But wait, there’s a better way to cop out. Buy them one of the basics. These are must-have items, and having one of each is never enough.

A knife. You can never have too many knives. They come in handy for so many things, in so many places:
in the house, shop, truck, tackle box, go bag and pocket. There is a price point for every budget. A good, basic knife sells for $20 or less, or you can spend hundreds of dollars for a high-end specialty blade. Popular brands include Kershaw, Gerber, Buck, Boker, Case, Columbia River, Benchmade and Chris Reeve.

A flashlight. You need almost as many flashlights as you do knives, for many of the same reasons. When shopping for a packable flashlight, think small, durable and bright. It is also useful to have one with an adjustable beam. Don’t forget headlamps, too. In some situations, they are preferable to a regular flashlight, especially when working on a task where both hands are needed.

An insulated mug. There’s nothing quite like a cup of your favorite beverage during an outdoor excursion, so a good insulated mug is essential. The latest generation of mugs are more ergonomic, more durable and do a better job of keeping beverages hot and cold. Tried-and-true Thermos brand mugs are still among the most popular, as are mugs made by Zojirushi. There are many other good choices, too.

Of course, if none of these ideas strikes your fancy, there’s always gift cards.

20 Stocking Stuffer Ideas to Kick-Start Your Brain
Consider this a brainstorming exercise. Here are 20 stocking stuffer ideas: hook sharpener, fire starter, waterproof matches, neck gaitor, hand warmer, whistle, pocket organizer, trail bars, compass, shooting glasses, ear plugs, waterproof notepad and pen, socks, knife sharpener, outdoor magazine subscription, insect repellent, LifeStraw water filter, zipper fix-it kit, paracord. See how many others you can come up with.
The 3 Most-Popular Fishing Books Today

  • “The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway.
  • “Trout Bum” by John Gierach.
  • “A River Runs Through It” by Norman Maclean.Source: GoodReads.com

A Light in Winter
December 21 is National Flashlight Day. It is no accident this celebration falls on the first day of winter. It’s a reminder to locate your flashlights, check the batteries and replace as necessary.

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24authMany of Curtis Condon’s fondest memories involve outdoor adventures with friends and family, whether fishing with old school buddies, backpacking in the mountains of the Northwest with his sons, or bird watching along the coast with his wife. He feels fortunate having the opportunity to write about the outdoors and other subjects for more than 30 years.