Gear guru Stephen Regenold, founder of gearjunkie.com, offers these eight ideas for the active individuals on your list.
Sherpa 50 Adventure Kit
This three-piece portable power station can run or recharge almost any electronic device you may need in the backcountry, from a notebook computer to a GPS device. With the capacity to deliver 50 watts of power, the 2.2-pound unit is “equivalent to 30,000 AA batteries,” the company says. It comes with a foldable solar panel to top off the power pack in camp via sunlight.
The Light My Fire Titanium Spork offers an eat-anything spoon-fork-knife combo utensil for devouring nearly any foodstuff on the trail. There’s a spoon scoop, fork tines, and a small cutting edge to saw off bites if your backwoods steak gets overcooked. Bonus: It’s made of titanium, meaning the spork is tough and so light, at 20 grams, that you’ll never notice it in the mess kit.
Wenger Mike Horn Knife
Meld a Swiss Army Knife with a multitool and slap on the seal of approval from one of the world’s great living explorers—and you have the Mike Horn Knife, a half-pound über-tool with two blades, pliers, a stock of implements, and handles made with a plastic hybrid material containing chips of repurposed wood. It was designed by Wenger and Mike Horn, an explorer currently on a four-year, round-the-world expedition, and it’s touted as “the only knife you’ll ever need” in the outdoors.
Fenix TK35 Flashlight
Cut a bright, white beam for hundreds of feet through the night air—that’s the promise of this new super-torch from Fenix. Made of metal, the 6.5-inch-long flashlight is waterproof and built rugged to take bumps. The secret sauce is in its LED, a high-power light cannon that (with the aid of four CR123A batteries) can blast out an 820-lumen beam that will turn nighttime at your campsite into virtual day.
Release N Run Dog Collar
$33 and up, myraddog.com
A unique gift for dog-owning Scouts and Scouters, this collar has a short, retractable leash hidden inside. Made for the “mostly off-leash dog,” Rad Dog LLC’s hide-a-leash collar suits people who frequent wilderness areas where dogs don’t need to be attached. A 4-foot-long cord made of Spectra, a strong polyethylene-based fiber, serves as the leash. It retracts automatically back into a tiny compartment on the collar when you let go, a “snap” signaling to Fido that he is unleashed and can now run free.
$170 plus required annual $100 service fee, findmespot.com
Pair this small black box with your iPhone or Android device, and you’ll have a system to stay in touch almost anywhere on the planet. Your phone and the SPOT Connect, a one-way GPS communication device, can “talk” to each other via wireless Bluetooth signals. Type a message on your phone, and the SPOT links to a network of roving satellites to send the note, letting you do things like update your Facebook followers from Timbuktu (literally). Bonus: There’s also a built-in SOS function to alert the authorities in case of an outdoor emergency.
Gränsfors Bruks Hatchet
$111 and up, grandforest.us
Made old-school style by a blacksmith in Sweden, a classic camping hatchet from Gränsfors Bruks has the potential to be passed down to the next generation. They come in many styles—here, the Wildlife Hatchet is shown—but all axes and hatchets from the company have hand-pounded steel heads and hickory handles. Each one comes with a leather sheath and the initials of the Gränsfors Bruks blacksmith who made it stamped on the hatchet’s head.
It’s never too early to prepare for bug season. This small device clips onto your belt or backpack and emits an invisible, bug-eschewing cloud of U.S. EPA-approved allethrin, a synthetic repellent bugs can’t stand. The claim is that the ThermaCELL repels “up to 98 percent of mosquitoes” in a 15-by-15-foot zone.