Along The Trail 12-12-13

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It’s that time of year again, hustle and bustle, down to the wire.

Thanks to the calendar this year, we have one less week for Christmas shopping – and if you’re like me – each year I promise myself to be done early, to stick to a budget – but here I am, two weeks out and not even close to being finished.

If you have an outdoorsman or woman on your list and you’re fretting over what to get them, here are a few ideas that might help:

– Every hunter, fisherman, camper and hiker can use a multi-tool. Leatherman brand is probably the most popular, but other manufacturers such as Gerber and Buck make nice ones too. You can pick one up depending on size and make anywhere from $20 to $50.

– A good flashlight is on every woodsman’s list. There are tons of models on the market and the price points are all over the board, but a really good, reliable flashlight can be had for less than $30.

Trust me, when your deer hunter is tracking his or her buck late at night, they’ll thank you for the useful gift.

– Fishing lures make great stocking stuffers. It might be hard to get your mind in fishing mode when we have 5-inches of snow on the ground, but Spring will be here before you know it.

The bass fisherman on your list will appreciate it.

– Who doesn’t need or use a good pair of warm socks?

I hated getting socks as a kid, but I’ve come to value the usefulness and practicality of them as a gift. Hunting and hiking socks today aren’t the thick, heavy, sweat inducing saunas they used to be. Wool, wool-blend, and all sorts of synthetic materials make for some great socks.

You can expect to pay anywhere from $10 on the low end to $30 for the specialty, high tech, hiking variety.

– Along with socks, every hunter, outdoorsman, farmer or wood cutter needs a good pair of long underwear. Like socks, thermal underwear has evolved way beyond the old “long johns”. Today’s materials make them light weight, less bulky and more comfortable.

Tops and bottoms will set you back $30 to $50 for a middle of the road set.

– How about a gift certificate to our state parks for the camper on your Christmas list? RV’ing is hugely popular today and almost every weekend, folks load up the camper and head to any number of our state parks and reservoirs.

A gift for an all paid weekend camping trip would be a great surprise. You can purchase them online or at any of the state park offices.

– Every hunter can use another knife. Sure, most of us have our favorite knives, but it’s always good to have a backup or two. Knives are always getting misplaced and I can’t count the times that I’ve forgotten a knife and had to field dress a deer using the broadhead of my hunting arrows.

The prices on knives run from modest to “holy moly”! But a decent knife can be had for $20-$30. Oh, and don’t forget a sharpener to toss in the stocking as well.

- Maybe your outdoors person is a reader. There are tons and tons of books on almost every outdoor topic. I have always enjoyed reading and some of the best gifts I have ever received were books that I still own.

You can find them online, at any of the big box stores like Bass Pro or Cabela’s, but if you really want a deal, check out the discounters and overstock places like Ollie’s.

You can find great books there for pennies on the dollar and if you a frugal shopper like me, that’s always a good thing.

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I could go on and on, but I hope some of these suggestions help ease the stress of gift giving and gift shopping for your outdoorsman. It’s my wish for all the readers of Along the Trail that we don’t forget the true meaning of the season and I wish you all a Merry Christmas.

– David Hewitt