Annual Holiday Outdoor Gift Guide: Gear and gadgets galore

Every day, it seems, e-mails promoting the newest outdoors gadgets and gizmos find their way into the mailboxes of outdoor writers across the country.

Every day, it seems, e-mails promoting the newest outdoors gadgets and gizmos find their way into the mailboxes of outdoor writers across the country.

Here at the Herald, the trend is no exception.

Much of the stuff never sees the light of print, but with the holidays just around the corner, we sifted through some of the best for ideas in compiling our annual list of outdoors gift ideas.

Some of it's practical, some offbeat. Somewhere in this collection, though, there's bound to be something for the outdoors lover on your Christmas list.

Here, then, is the Herald's Annual Holiday Outdoor Gift Guide.


-- -- -- Hunting

-- Rifle Reel: New this fall from Wayne's Wicked Enterprises in Fayetteville, Ark., the Rifle Reel offers a safe, simple solution to raising and lowering a firearm from an elevated stand. It's as simple as pushing a button and letting the reel do the work; ($52.99; ).

-- Muzzle Magic Foam: Made for dissolving the gunk that accumulates in black powder rifles, Magic Foam comes in a 6.7-ounce bottle. Squirt the foam down one end of the barrel, wait three minutes and go to work with your cleaning brush ($6.10; ).

-- Barrel Boss Cleaning Rod Combo Kit: The Shooting Wire online outdoors news service recently compared this cleaning rod combo for 12- or 20-gauge shotguns with Luke Skywalker's light saber. Each combo contains a cleaning rod with wire brush for the nastiest residue and a fuzzy rod for finishing the job ($17.60; ).

-- Little Sure Shot Gun Rest: Anyone who totes a gun for varmints, big game or even wild turkeys knows the challenge of holding the firearm steady when the big moment arrives. The Little Sure Shot Gun Rest offers a portable, lightweight solution. Attach to a pole, post, tree limb or whatever, and the Sure Shot does the rest ($24.95; ).

Warm Stuff

-- RedHead Lifetime Hunting Socks: Bass Pro Shops says these socks are so tough they'll issue a free replacement if you wear them out. Full merino lamb's wool cushioning throughout and double-reinforced heel, ball and toe ($9.95; ).

-- FirePod HW-206 Sportsman: This muff with built-in hand warmers is powered by a rechargeable 6-volt battery to provide up to 12 hours of warmth. Battery pack easily attaches and detaches to the muff's waist strap. Available in black or camouflage, includes 110-volt charging cord (about $80; ).


-- ThermoLogic: This line of heated apparel includes hats, gloves, vests and jackets ($35-$250; ).

-- Ice Armor Extreme Weather Suit: The Clam Corp., which markets this suit, makes its living in the ice fishing business, and their Extreme Weather Suit is made for withstanding the extremes of winter. A heavier version of the popular blue Ice Armor, the two-piece Extreme suit features waterproof, windproof and breathable parka and bibs, lined with patented "Thermal Trap" insulation ($349.99; ).


-- Hunter Safety System Treestand Lifeline: The importance of this little piece of safety gear hit home recently when a Manitoba friend plummeted 30 feet from a tree stand, shattering his left heel in the process. Includes a 30-foot rope with adjustable knot mechanism to prevent falls while climbing up and down a tree ($39.99; ).

-- SPOT Satellite Messenger: This high-tech piece of equipment weighs in at a mere 7 ounces and could be a real lifesaver for those who visit remote places such as the Badlands or the Boundary Waters. Without getting too technical, SPOT uses GPS technology to let others know your whereabouts and allows you to alert authorities in case of emergency (about $150; or ).

-- Mustang Survival Rescue Stick: Lightweight inflatable flotation device quickly activates and can be tossed up to 150 feet to reach someone in trouble and keep them afloat until rescue help arrives. Fits into a backpack, boat or vehicle. To reuse, just replace the CO cylinder ($39.99; ).

Local flavor

-- Ron Schara's Minnesota Bound: Written by the longtime Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist-turned-outdoors TV host Ron Schara ("Minnesota Bound"), this glossy, full-color book is rich in photography and personality. With Schara at the helm, visit some of Minnesota's magical places, including Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge and Lake Bronson State Park in northwestern Minnesota. Or stray farther afield to destinations such as Alaska's Kodiak Island or Little Quill Lake in Saskatchewan. From sand-


hill cranes to Ted Nugent, there's something here for everyone ($19.95; ).

-- Jason Mitchell Elite Series Ice Rods: Renowned Devils Lake fishing guide Jason Mitchell developed this species-specific series of ice fishing rods. They're a bit pricier than most ice fishing rods, but the quality speaks for itself ($24.95 to $39.95; www.jasonmitch- ).

-- Sure Foot Oversized Traction Aid: This traction device from Grand Forks' very own Sure Foot Corp., makes winter a whole lot safer. Designed for oversized footwear, the slip-on traction aid features six replaceable carbide spikes and attaches to footwear without straps, snaps or buckles. Widely available in local stores and online outlets (about $20; ).

Stocking stuffers/

cool stuff

-- ShotShell LED Flashlight: Available from online outlet , this LED light resembles an oversized shotgun shell with a brass base that twists to turn the light on and off. Light has 12 LEDs and uses AAA batteries ($21.95; www.shot-


-- Optronics LED Wide Angle Fish-N-Lite: Another variation on the lighting theme - though pricier - this rechargeable fishing light has 10 ultraviolet LEDs on one side, and five red LEDs and five white LEDs on the opposite side. Comes with 12-volt and AC chargers (about $55.99; ).

-- Biodegradable poop bags: A bit unconventional, perhaps, but the pet owner on your holiday list is sure to appreciate these disposal pooper-scooper bags, which are made from biodegradable materials. Simply scoop, tie and toss ($6.99 for package of four rolls; www.Pet- ).

-- TEC Tools: Fishing fanatics always need tools, and Berkley's new "TEC Tools" line includes everything from hook sharpeners to fillet knives, digital scales and super-line shears ($9.99-$99.99; ).

-- Electronic Radio Cooler: Coleman gives new meaning to the phrase "cool tunes" with this 36-quart Electronic Radio Cooler that features a built-in AM/FM radio. Cooler also includes a weather band, clock, alarm, MP3 and headphone jack. Operates on four C batteries ($65; ).


-- Gulp! Alive!: This line of scented baits - the next generation of Berkley's popular Gulp! series - is available in nine shapes and several colors and sold in both quart and pint buckets. The bait is suspended in Gulp! liquid, and Berkley bills the product as 20 percent more effective than the original Gulp! ($8.99-$39.99; ).


-- Northland Tackle "Trick-Stick" Ice Combos: Bemidji's Northland Tackle Co., long a leader in jigs and other lures, has entered the ice fishing rod market with its affordable "species selective" rod/reel combo series. Available in ultralight, light, medium/light and medium versions, each combo comes with a 12-piece "Super Glo" jig kit ($24.99 for the "Classic Silver Series" and $34.99 for the "Pro-Angler Gold Series"; ).

-- Nature Vision

"Weed'Ez": Create your own fish-attracting structure with these reusable, artificial "weedbeds" that look just like the real thing. Just drop 'em down the hole and take them out when you're done fishing. From the makers of the Aqua-Vu line of underwater cameras, each "Weed'Ez" pack includes four plant clusters and folds into a compact mesh bag for easy transport and storage ($19.99; ).

-- Eskimo QuickFish: This lightweight line of two- and three-person ice fishing shelters is perfect for the angler who ventures off the beaten path. There's no heavy floor or plastic base to contend with, and the QuickFish easily fits into a backpack-style storage bag that's included. A reliable source who bought one of the QuickFish houses last winter says he absolutely loves it ($174.99-$179.99; available at most sporting goods outlets).

-- Giant Lures: They probably won't catch any fish, but these giant lures from Rapala still will grab the attention of anyone who visits your basement, rec room or cabin. Available in giant Shad Rap, DT, Jointed and Original versions ($59.99; ).

Reach Dokken at 780-1148, (800) 477-6572 ext. 148, or .

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