Dear Santa, Here are just a few of my favorite things . .
It’s that time of year again when you need to start thinking about gift ideas for family and friends who enjoy the outdoors, as well as what should be on your list. Here are a few of my favorite things.
Use the BackTrack
GPS to avoid getting lost
There are times when I’m in the outdoors and want a simple GPS unit, not one that has all the streets of downtown L.A. or New York on it. For example, if I want to go bushwhacking off a beaten and overpopulated trail, I just want to mark my vehicle and maybe a point or two along the way.
Five years ago, Bushnell introduced the BackTrack GPS, a simplified unit that helped getting from point A to point B. It provided users with simple distance and direction back to any location — with just two buttons and an easy-to-read display.
This year Bushnell came out with a sleek updated version that has a new ergonomic design and is 20 percent smaller. Plus, it is one of the most budget-friendly GPS units on the market. The BackTrack combines advanced GPS technology with a digital compass and simple user interface that allows users to store up to three locations. With a simple push of a button, a directional arrow will lead you to any of the three saved locations. It operates up to 16 hours on 2 AAA batteries. An LCD screen provides backlighting for use in low-light conditions.
The BackTrack retails for $69.99. For more information call 800-423-3537 or go to www.bushnell.com.
Wildcard for winter
The Wildcard IV jacket by Columbia Sportswear is my go-to jacket in cold weather. It’s sort of a combination of a warm, breathable weather-resistant hard shell and a lightweight comfortable fleece. Features include a removable, snap-back powder skirt, media and goggles pocket, and a detachable, adjustable storm hood.
The Omni-Heat thermal reflective lining provides incredible warmth while underarm venting allows you to dump excess heat quickly as conditions change. The chamois tricot lining is soft and supple for a comfortable feeling. One of the best features is the jacket’s stretch capacity. With Lycra integrated throughout and stretch panels on the lining inside the articulated elbows, the jacket follows your body’s every move for a flawless fit and maximum mobility.
The Wildcard retails for $250. To order call 800-622-6953 or go to www.columbia.com.
With the Cheese Baiter
you’ll never have to touch
Power Bait again
Besides flies and spinners, one of the best methods to catch trout is using Power Bait or one of the other popular soft baits. Although Power Bait catches lots of fish, there are some down sides to it as most anglers are aware – namely the stuff stinks, it gets under your fingernails, on your clothes, it doesn’t stay on the hook too long and it’s not cheap.
Enter the Cheese Baiter. It’s one of the most innovative fishing inventions since the rod and reel. The baiter, invented in Central Oregon, puts the bait on your hook without you ever having to touch the stuff. Load the baiters at home the night before so you’ll be set to go fishing the next day. Stick them in your pocket or tackle box. I like to keep at least three baiters full — one with chartreuse, one with rainbow and another with purple or garlic flavor. Fish can be finicky. One minute they’re hitting on one color and the next minute another.
Fish have a very strong sense of smell and can detect human scent on bait and lures. The Cheese Baiter makes sure you don’t touch the bait and get your scent on it. At about four inches long, the baiter can hold up to 25 baitings. The bait also keeps well in the airtight baiter and won’t harden. Plus it stays on the hook longer so you won’t waste bait. It’s designed for size 16 treble hooks but it can also be used for size 14, 18 and 20 treble or single hooks.
The Cheese Baiters are available at R and R Grocery and Sporting Goods in Prineville on S.E. Combs Flat Road (541-447-7231). The baiters sell for $4.99 each and make great stocking stuffers.
The TourTLS can carry all your essentials, and more
If you’re heading out for a day on the trail with hiking boots, snowshoes, or cross-country skis then here’s a pack you’re going to love. The TourTLS (Technical Lumbar System) has 488 cubic inches of storage – more than enough room to handle all the food and water for a day’s outing. Features include a zippered main compartment, an interior zippered hanging pocket for items such as keys and wallet, a zippered front panel pocket for quick-access items such as a flashlight or Leatherman and a pair of water bottle pockets.
The Tour is made from recycled material and has a removable shoulder strap with a sliding pad (great for airports) and a tuck-away waist belt. If you need to fit the pack into a cramped overhead compartment, simply cinch up the two compression straps. There’s also a back-panel airline ticket pocket. The Lumbar Control Point pad provides an increased ergonomic fit. The pack is also Strapette compatible. The Strapettes (sold separately for $25) are a handy shoulder harness that convert the Tour into a shoulder-carry daypack, great if you’re carrying a heavier load.
The pack retails for $74.95. To order call 800-551-5889 or go to www.mountainsmith.com.
Get a lot of work done with the Zilla-Tool
Many multi-tools have lots of items you’ll never use. The Zilla-Tool from Columbia River Knife and Tool focuses on what you’ll use on an everyday basis. This monster of a tool has a comfortable ergonomic handle, spring-loaded pliers with a slight needle nose taper, a 3-inch blade, two screwdriver hex bits stored in the handle, a wire cutter and wire stripper, and even a bottle opener. It also accepts other standard hex bits.
To open the knife blade quickly, just press the little “flipper,” which acts as a blade guard when the blade is open. The metallic surfaces are bead-blasted and the rugged scales are injection molded black glass filled nylon. It also comes with a stainless steel clip that holds the tool in your pocket or on your gear. The clip can be removed if you want to use the included nylon sheath with belt loop and snap closure.
The Zilla-Tool retails for $49.99. To order call 800-891-3100 or go to www.crkt.com.