Holiday Wish List
By Karen Berger
From practical stocking stuffers to just-for-fun gadgets, here's a pack of gift ideas for that favorite camper in your house.
The classic Tilley hat ($62-$68) has garnered fans worldwide, with a reputation for being rugged. The new Airflo model adds mesh in the crown, making it ideal for hot summer days. The hat provides UV protection, an anti-sweat band, and a dark underbrim to protect eyes from glare. Made of water-resistant nylon, it's guaranteed for life and even comes with a two-year insurance "policy" against loss. Its most original (and practical) feature: It has a not-so-secret compartment under the crown where you can stash car keys or a credit card or a bit of extra cash. www.tilley.com.
Remember when hikers used to talk about cutting the handle off the toothbrush to lighten their pack weight? Here's another idea: The handle of the new Fresh&Go toothbrush ($2.50) is actually a toothpaste dispenser, and it holds enough to brighten your whites even after two weeks' worth of macaroni and cheese and burnt marshmallows. A small snap-on cap fits over the bristles, keeping them clean from pack dirt. www.freshangousa.com.
Garmin's Geko 201 ($140) is the smallest and
lightest (3.1 ounces, including batteries) waterproof GPS unit on the market. Best of all, it is easy to use and accurate to within 10 feet. Besides keeping track of your waypoints and saving route information, the 201 includes four interactive games that teach Scouts about latitude and longitude, mapping, and basic navigating skills. The unit can also connect to a computer so you can download your trail data for posterityor for reference on your next hike. www.garmin.com.
Think of Get-A-Grip Advanced ice spikes ($24.95) as studded tires for your feet. A rubber form adjusts around your boot, holding the replaceable carbide spikes firmly in place; the spikes grip the snow and keep you upright. Get-A-Grip Advanced is ideal for icy trails, where you just need a little help to keep your footing, for ice fishing, or even for navigating your way across an icy parking lot. www.surefoot.net.
Need a trail guide for the Grand Canyon? Maybe you live in Connecticut or New Jersey but you need a guidebook for, say, Montana or California. Trails.com's Trail Finder software lets you access information about thousands of hiking trails.
Subscribe for a yearly fee of $29.95 and get 10 downloads of detailed trail descriptions taken from 10,000 trail guides. You get unlimited access to topographic maps, trail summaries, trail statistics, and reader reviews. www.trails.com.
Just how far did you hike between campsites on your last high adventure activity? Now you can be certain with the Sportline Niteview Pedometer ($22.50, BSA No. A01823). Clip it to your belt and you can accurately measure walking, hiking, and jogging distances in strides from one to six feet. A brightly lit LCD display lets you read the large, easy-to-see numbers in the dark. www.scoutstuff.org.
You can check the forecast, carry a weather receiver, even consult a meteorologist, but soon enough, you're going to be stuck in a rainy camp with kids who are bored, bored, bored. Unless, that is, you're armed with Cranium's new team-building game, Hoopla ($19.95). Rally the troops to beat the clock by sketching, acting, and crafting clever clues so that your friends can guess the people, places, and things pictured on your cards. Hoopla takes just 20 minutes to play, so it's a quick dose of high-adrenaline fun even when the sun is shining. www.playcranium.com.
Tired of smelling like DEET all summer? Here's a repellent you don't have to wear, and it's small enough to tuck inside your pack. ThermaCELL's Mosquito Repellent system ($19.99) is about the size of a television remote control.
The repellent is allethrin, a copy of pyrethrin, a natural and highly effective insecticide. When activated, the device keeps an area of about 225 square feet 98 percent bug free. It operates on a butane-filled cartridge that heats a small repellent mat (refills available) and spreads the repellent into the air. www.mosquitorepellent.com.
Everything's gone high-tech, includingare you ready?marshmallow roasting forks. Rolla Roaster's telescoping folding fork ($30) folds out from eight inches to four feet, has a thumb-turn gizmo to rotate the marshmallow in mid-roast (to give it that even, all-over tan), and a hip-holster to keep it handy. You never know when you might have an emergency need for a marshmallow. www.rollaroaster.com.
Ice Age humans undoubtedly warmed their frosty hands by cupping them in front of their mouth and blowing on them. The trick may be timeless, but today's generation has a new method. Blow into the air vent of Big Bang's 180s Gloves (Sportline models: $38-$50), and the Exhale Heating System traps the warmth of your breath, effectively raising the temperature from cold to comfortable in less than three seconds. www.180s.com.
WHAM-O is the company that brought you such summer favorites as the Hula Hoop, Slip 'N Slide, and Frisbee. Now it has a full line of winter sports sleds. The SnowBoogie XRS-PRO ($35) is a 48-inch sled with handles for steering and braking. Constructed of lightweight, shock absorbing foam, the XRS-Pro features a durable SpeedSlick bottom for increased speed and control. www.wham-o.com.
Karen Berger's latest book is More Everyday Wisdom: Trail-Tested Advice From the Experts (Mountaineers Books). Visit her at www.hikerwriter.com.
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