Stocking Stuffers

Or gifts to put a twinkle in someone’s eye…

We all know people who are hard to buy for – either because they don’t seem to ‘need’ anything, or because what they’d like is out of our price range.   Outdoor folk are no different – but there are a lot of great gifts that are useful, fun and relatively inexpensive.  I love those things that make people say ‘why didn’t I think of that?’.  I am also extremely practical/frugal/thrifty, etc…

I’ve compiled a few ideas that I wanted to share.  These are a bit random – things I’ve used or reviewed mostly.  Feel free to leave a comment telling us what you think makes a great holiday gift for an outdoor enthusiast!

Now, in no particular order.


Stabilicers by 32North
Stabilicers by 32North

Great traction devices for icy walkways.  I’ve used them to go out and feed our animals when the weather is below freezing and the snow is frozen solid.  It makes a treacherous trip out back much safer.   Many times I’ve taken them along on hikes when I wasn’t sure of the conditions – and always been happy to have them with me.  I’ve worn them out on the lakes when ice fishing and am much more sure footed than normal.  I’ve had many people ask about them – and when they find they are a Maine Made product, they like them even more. They easily hang from my pack, or stow away in the glove box of my car.  They are made in the USA.  The Stabilicers Lite start at $22 MSRP.

KT Tape- a few of the colors available.

KT Tape

KT Tape has become a favorite of mine.  I injured my ankle last summer just as I was about to fly from Boston to Salt Lake City for the Outdoor Retailer Show.  I knew walking around for 4 days on my ankle would not be easy.  Sitting all day on the plane didn’t help with the swelling either.  KT Tape to the rescue!  I was taped up and walking the next morning, with fewer problems than expected.  I loved the fact that I didn’t feel restricted in my movement as much as an Ace bandage would restrict me, but I did have some support.  I continued using the tape all week, and found my ankle recovered much more quickly than I expected.  I am sure if I had been able to stay off of it, it would have been even faster.  Check out the website – the informational videos are great!

12v Spotlight

12v Spotlight
12v Spotlight

Mini Flashlight –   I received a 12v Spotlight a year ago, and still use it quite a bit.  It stays in my car and comes in handy for many uses – checking tire pressure, finding whatever rolled under the seat, etc.  It is always with me when I go hiking or camping – charged and ready.  It slides right into the car’s power supply and charges while I drive.  It has become one of those small items, that make a big difference.  How small?  Just about 2″ believe it or not.  It puts out quite a bit of light too.  I’m amazed at how bright it is and how long a charge lasts.  I can’t tell you how long… because I never let it die completely.  They come in 12 colors, and with either a lanyard or carabiner.  There are other charging options also.  Under $20 MSRP.

Tea-Zer from Liquid Solutions
Tea-Zer from Liquid Solutions

Liquid Solutions Tea-Zer – Need a cup of tea on the run? or on the hike?  I’m thinking while snowshoeing… The Tea-Zer from Liquid Solutions is a fun, simple way to make a cup when you stop.  Just add the tea in the top, and hot water.  Wait a minute or two, and a wonderful, hot cup of tea is ready.  I’ve used this while camping and it is fantastic.  I’m not sure I’d carry it on short hikes, but if I am stopping for lunch, I’m taking it with me.  I even took it with me when I went to visit a friend who wasn’t feeling well.  I’d never been to her place and didn’t want to have to try to find her tea pot, etc.  I took the Tea-Zer and made tea to go along with the goodies we were having.  It was easy, and she loved checking it out.

Lincoln Canoe and Kayak Sleds – Ok, so the Lincoln Canoe and Kayak Sleds won’t fit in a stocking, but they are just so cool!  And beautiful!  And unique – I just had to include them.  The sleds are made by hand one at a time using 3 layers of fiberglass and a small amount of kevlar for reinforcement.  The exterior is a gel coat, the same material they use in their kayaks and canoes.  The colors and designs are eye catching, sort of reminds me of the Ribbon Candy we used to get at Christmas time as kids.  These are much more durable than most of the current sleds on the market – and will outlast them by far. After seeing them in use last winter – they really MOVE!!  Made one at a time in Maine – another product made in the USA!   From what I hear, from order to shipping is under a week!

Sleds from Lincoln Canoe and Kayak
Sleds from Lincoln Canoe and Kayak

This and That

Winter Weather

Nubble Light in Winter
Nubble Light in Winter

I keep getting distracted, looking out the window at the winter sky.  Here in Maine, we haven’t had much snow yet, but it has been cold enough for a while.  I enjoy the snow – when I am not driving anywhere.  Nothing like a nice snowshoe trek, or a hike in the woods behind my house.  I do some of my best baking during snow days.   I keep looking at the pictures from Buffalo, NY and thinking ‘I just drove through there 3 days before the snow came’.   I would not have been thrilled sitting in my car for 12 hours on the interstate with three teenagers.

It did get me thinking – what ‘should’ I have had in my car for this type of emergency? (the snowstorm, not the 3 teenagers, lol)   What do you carry?

Holiday Shopping

I tend to do some shopping online, because I live quite a distance from any major shopping areas.  I buy local what I can, but other things I order online.  Recently I’ve found a few ways to save some money, and figured I’d pass them on to you.

One is Ebates.  You receive rebates for shopping at your regular stores by using Ebates.  It is so simple – create a FREE account, log in, and then either search for the store you want, or click on a link from their featured sites.  You shop as you normally would, even using coupon codes and then your Ebates account is credited with a rebate.  Obviously, the more you shop, the more you’ll save.  I bookmarked ‘‘ so I don’t forget to go there first.

Another great savings – Timberland is giving a 40% discount for all their Facebook fans.  The code is: SOCIAL10 and is good until 12/6/10.  Guess what a few of my guys are getting for Christmas??

GoLite is offering a limited time “friends and family” coupon for 40% off anything on their website, one time use per email that will expire 12/31/10. Great time to stock up on amazing gear or give as gifts for the holidays. Use coupon code GLFF10 at

Winter Boredom

What do you do to stay active in the winter?  Are you inside more?  Do you switch from hiking to a treadmill? Watch movies?  Become a couch potato?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Leave a comment!

Stay warm!

OR Show update #3

Another exciting day at the Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City!  So many cool, useful, fun and VERY innovative things this year.    Crescent Sock Company make super comfy socks, made in Tennessee.  The shape of the sock is unusual for a sock – but just like a foot! The heal and toe box are shaped like a person’s foot. I wore them all day, and my feet cried less than usual after walking more than 17 miles!

CamelBak Antidote 70 oz
CamelBak Antidote 70 oz (photo courtesy of CamelBak)

CamelBak has some great new hydration items coming out.  Two standouts – the Antidote is the newly redesigned resevoir with some innovations that are ‘smart’ for sure.  A wide port for easy filling, its baffled for a lower profile and my favorite – integrated dryer arms that fold out from behind the fill port, opening the reservoir for a complete air dry.

The CamelBak Groove
The CamelBak Groove

The other product from CamelBak that I really liked was a new water bottle, the Groove, with a built in filter.  Easy to carry, easy to clean, and good tasting water on the go.  Great for travel or hiking!

A really innovative change, is the Kilo tent from Easton Mountain Products.  It actually weighs just under a kilo!  One of the big changes is to the poles – no more shock cords!  Instead they use the new AirLock™ connectors that replace heavier shock corded systems.

Easton Mountain Products Kilo Tent
Easton Mountain Products Kilo Tent
Kilo Tent with Rainfly
Kilo Tent with Rainfly

Watch for these, and other great outdoor items in future reviews!  We connected with some great companies, and are looking forward to sharing their products, and how they work with you!

Outdoor Retailer update

WOW!!  We are seeing some great, innovative gear this summer!  Lots of different types of charging devices – both solar and kinesthetic – great for when you need to recharge a camera, gps or smartphone while outdoors. is the source for the nPower PEG kinesthetic device (along with some great info about it, and its developer).

Active Boomer
Aging...the ultimate extreme sport

A really ‘fun’ line of shirts and hats, for us ‘Boomers’ is I loved their slogan ‘ Be Active. Stay Active. Embrace Aging’.

Fast Trail (top) and Tryon (bottom) styles

Keen has some really impressive new designs out.  Two new styles are the Fast Trail, and the Tryon.  Lighter in weight, they both will be available in men’s and women’s versions.  Keen has committed to deepening and expanding their goal of a ‘Hybrid Life’ and you can see it in their new triangular shoeboxes, and especially in the philosophy and attitudes of the company.

If you’ve read the site for long, you know I love things that do double duty.  Well, Solhuma makes a great backpacking stove called ‘Vital’  that burns wood.  No fuel to carry, just fold it up and put it in your pack.  BUT- if you are camping, or want a bit more in the way of cooking options, you can add a component to it (with more to come) that turns it into a grill.   I can’t wait to try it out.  I tasted some bacon cooked on it, and YUM!

Solhuma Stove
Stove with grill top (photo courtesy of

News from Outdoor Retailer 2010

Oh my goodness! Today was spent outdoors, on Jordanelle State Park, just outside of Salt Lake City. Susie, Dani and I spent it looking at some great paddling equipment, and other outdoor gear. We did a geocaching treasure hunt sponsored by Magellan, using their new eXplorist GC, dedicated to geocaching. Loads of fun, and super easy to use.

Dani on Stand Up board
Dani going for a paddle

Dani tried a stand up paddle board, and I got to paddle around in a newly designed Old Town Saranac canoe. It was so fun, and is priced reasonably. Loved the new Carlisle paddle – light weight, and great for those of us without a lot of upper body strength. Susie fell in love with a Dry Case for her phone. Easy to vacuum seal and still use the phone.

Bamboo Bottle
Another cool item, was a glass lined, bamboo water bottle. Holds hot or cold liquids.
Level Six paddling jacket
Level Six paddling jacket - great features, leak proof cuffs, soft insides on the upper collar area, and pretty stylish too!

All in one device – Droid Eris

I recently got a Droid Eris through Verizon and love it. I’ve had it about about a month and it does everything in one platform. Its a GPS, Map, Geocaching, hiking, workout tracker, mp3 player and picture/video machine!

I started a discussion on our forums and listed the apps I like/Use the most for the outdoors.
Droid Eris

Let me know what you think!!

Brian T