Holiday outdoors gift guide 2009

About this time every year, I start cleaning out my garage. I'm not a neat freak, but I do have to make room for all the new equipment Santa will be dropping off at my house in a few weeks. You see, looking back on the past year, I must admit that I have been a very, very good outdoors editor. I've camped, fished, surfed, paddled, sailed and hiked more than most, and I've avoided dress pants and neck ties as often as possible. As a result, much of my gear has taken a beating. It's time to upgrade, expand, get newer, fancier, lighter stuff so I can stay outdoors and out of the office even more next year. So with that in mind, here are a few things I hope Mr. Claus will add to my inventory Christmas day.

CamelBak N.V.I.S. (Next Generation Ventilated Integrated System), MULE

This is the ultimate hydration system, and it will keep you cool as well as quenched. Unlike most waterpacks, this CamelBak allows air to circulate while you are paddling, mountain biking, trail running, etc. With 100-ounce capacity, you can carry enough water for a day without refilling. Price: $110. www.camelbak.com

Grand Trunk Road Towel

The multipurpose pack towel is made with quick-drying, lightweight microfiber material, but with a twist. Added buttons and button holes that make this towel one of a kind. You can wear it like a sarong. Perfect for camping, travel or the beach. Size: 24 by 48 inches. Weight: 6 ounces. Price: $24. www.grandtrunkgoods.com

Hennessy Hammock Backpacker Hammock

Weighing 1 pound, 10 ounces, this ultralight shelter design is ideal for thru-hikers or anyone who wants to reduce the size and weight of their pack. Includes attached mosquito netting, detachable rain fly, support ropes, tree huggers to protect the bark of trees, and stuff sack. Price: $230. www.hennessy hammock.com

Hi-Tec, V-Lite Hornet HPI, hiking shoes for men

Revolutionary Ion-Mask hydrophobic technology means your shoes will stay clean, not absorb water, remain lightweight, and yet be as breathable as ever. The Ion-Mask technology, originally developed for military clothing designed to repel chemical agents, works at a molecular level, binding invisibly to the surface of products, giving them an extraordinary ability to repel most liquids. Price: $110. Hi-Tec, V-Lite Cypress WPI hiking shoes for women (bottom). Price: $115. www.hi-tec.com

Snow Peak, ZGS-100A, Giga Power Stove, starter kit

Includes the Trek 700 titanium cook pot with lid, Giga Power Stove, titanium "spork" and a mesh carry sack. Small and lightweight, this kit wastes no space. Price: $80. www.snowpeak.com

Ex Officio Amphi Short

Perhaps the best adventure short ever made, the quick-drying Amphi has a built-in brief that keeps you cool and comfortable even after a week on the trail. An added feature: The leg cinches so your shorts won't ride up while you're wading. Price: $55. www.exofficio.com

Princeton Tec Remix

A water-resistant headlamp for gear junkies, the Remix is equipped with an asymmetrical single arm bracket and large push-button switch. This simple and lightweight design will perform in any environment. Run time varies according to brightness used: 28 hours on high, 200 hours on low. Price: $40. www.princetontec.com

Intova Sport 8 Digital Camera

This 8 megapixel waterproof digital sports camera is slim, compact and waterproof to 30 feet. Shock resistant with a self timer, digital zoom and the ability to shoot video and record audio, the Intova is a good addition to any adventurer's gear bag. Price: $199. www.intova.net.

Lockable tie-downs

This system combines stainless steel reinforced webbing tie-down straps with an integrated keyed locking system to protect your boards and kayaks from thieves. The tie-downs work on any vehicle roof rack system, trailers or any fixed object that you might use to secure your gear. Price: $85. www.stickprotection.com

Therm-A-Rest NeoAir

The world's lightest and most advanced air mattress is ideal for backpackers, kayakers and world travelers. The NeoAir is three times warmer than any other uninsulated air mattress. The patent-pending R2 barrier reflects heat back to your body and cold back to the ground, but the best thing about this mattress is that it packs down as small as a 1-liter water bottle. Size: 20 by 72 inches. Weight: 14 ounces. Price: $150. www.thermarest.com

William Joseph Infrared Fishing Thermometer

Simply point and shoot at the water surface, and just seconds later it will give you an accurate temperature reading in Celsius or Fahrenheit. Price: $39. www.williamjoseph.net

Sea to Summit Trek & Travel Pocket Soaps

Each pocket soap packet contains 50 leaves of pure, dry soap so there's no risk of leakage in your luggage or pack. The easy-to-ration leaves mean you will have plenty of soap for most every trip. These handy, light, compact and biodegradable soaps also come in shaving and laundry varieties. Price: $4 each. www.seatosummit.com

Base Kit, Basic Survival Essentials

You can start a fire and signal for help with this superlight survival kit. It contains a Sparkie fire starter for one-handed use that works even when wet. The Starflash signal mirror floats and is virtually unbreakable. The Jet Scream whistle is one of the loudest personal signaling devices in the world. Price: $35. www.ultimate survival.com

Bushnell BackTrack

Never get lost again with this easy-to-use personal location finder. Just mark the location and BackTrack will help you get back. Use it in the woods or a stadium parking lot. Using GPS technology in its most basic format, BackTrack has just two buttons and stores up to three locations. At the end of the day, select your location and the BackTrack displays the direction and distance to travel. Price: $80. www.bushnell.com

Holiday outdoors gift guide 2009 12/03/09 [Last modified: Thursday, December 3, 2009 4:23pm]

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