Here are 10 gifts the special hunter in your life is guaranteed to appreciate for years to come.
1. Spartan Precision Bipod This awesome bipod is the ideal gift for a backcountry hunter. Lightweight, fast to deploy and superbly constructed, the bipod utilizes a lightning-quick magnetic system to fasten to the rifle. Available in several different models, I have personally used the Javelin Pro Hunt model during elk, mule-deer, and Coues-deer hunts. It’s superbly light at only 6.3 ounces, and compact enough to carry in your pocket, yet attaches firmly and deploys handily. It’s not cheap at $290, but believe me, it’s worth the money. MSRP: $290; javelinbipod.com.
2. Sitka Mountain Hauler 6200 Backpack This large-capacity pack from Sitka is well-built, sturdy and designed with the backpack hunter in mind. Featuring a large main compartment as well as a nice assortment of auxiliary pockets and compartments, this pack is at home everywhere from southwest Coues-deer territory to sheep country in Alaska. The suspension system is adjustable to enable a custom fit. The Mountain Hauler is available in either Open Country or Subalpine camo patterns. Cost is $595; about average for a full-sized, mountaineering-quality pack. MSRP: $595; sitkagear.com.
3. Klean Kanteen As you can see in the picture, my Klean Kanteen has been over the mountain, down the river and across the plains. It’s one of my favorite gear items when hunting or backpacking. This model holds 40 ounces, or 1.25 quarts of water, and is entirely BPA and chemical free. Other sizes and models are available. These canteens are ridiculously rugged—I often use mine to boil water right over an open fire (remove the cap first). MSRP: $28.95; kleankanteen.com.
4. Zeiss Terra ED Pocket 8x25mm Binocular Featuring SCHOTT fluoride glass with legendary Zeiss lens coating in a truly compact framework, this little pocket binocular is superb. Weighing in at only 10.2 ounces and small enough to fit nicely into a shirt pocket, the bino folds open to comfortably fit your eyes. Sporting a diopter and standard focusing wheels for perfect focus, the little optic gives a superb light transmission rate of 91 percent. This compact bino is great any time a full-sized binocular is impractical. The little darlings are not cheap at $820, but they are, after all, Zeiss binoculars. MSRP: $820; zeiss.com.
5. Black Diamond ReVolt 350 Headlamp A good headlamp is one tool I never go hunting without, and the Black Diamond ReVolt 350 is my go-to model. It’s bright, ultra-capable, rechargeable and will also run on standard AAA batteries. It’s available in a nice array of cool colors, and will shine wide-angle, spot and night-vision beams. Weight is just 3.2 ounces. Maximum brightness with alkaline batteries is 350 lumens, and max burn time on low is 200 hours. Street price is $60. MSRP: $64.95; blackdiamondequipment.com.
6. Kenetrek Mountain Extreme Boots These are the finest hunting boots I’ve ever had the pleasure of shoving my feet into. They felt awesome from the first moment I put them on. They’re available in several different insulated and non-insulated models—mine are the 10-inch un-insulated edition. I’ve hunted elk, mule deer and Coues deer in them, and I can safely say this: if the hunter in your life likes supportive boots, his feet will be in heaven when he pulls his Kenetreks on. Don’t be surprised if he tromps around the house in them all Christmas day. Weight 3.9 pounds. Made in Italy. MSRP is $460, but you might find then on a Holiday sale for as little as $375. MSRP: $430-$505; kenetrek.com.
7. Leatherman Wingman Multi-Tool Here’s another tool that I never leave home without. With my Leatherman multi-tool I can repair a firearm in the field, tune a chainsaw, repair a wire fence, pull cactus spines from my shin, open a can of beans, strip electrical wire, cut a deer tag and perform 101 other specialized, in-the-field tasks. One of my favorite models currently available is the Wingman. It sports 14 tools, weighs only 7 ounces, and is compact enough to carry comfortably. MSRP: $59.95; leatherman.com.
8. Garmin inReach Explorer+ This GPS and communication device has changed the way safety works in the backcountry. With it, a hunter can navigate, save critical information, communicate with anyone, any place in the world, check the weather and summon emergency medical assistance. I never go afield without one—my wife’s days of wondering where I was or if I was okay for ten days at a time are past. I can keep tabs on my buddies, save waypoints, watch the weather and so much more. If your favorite mountain man likes to hunt deep, where cell service is non-existent, give him an inReach for Christmas. He’ll love it and it’ll give you peace of mind. MSRP $449.95, subscription required; garmin.com.
9. OnX Hunt App Membership One of my most-used tools any time I go afield, the OnX Hunt app downloads on your phone or tablet and provides your exact location, as well as access to different information layers. These will show you National Forest Service, State and BLM and private-land boundaries, wilderness boundaries, roads, trails, springs and a multitude of other valuable information. You can view maps in satellite imagery, topographical-map form, or hybrid form. Maps and information load in real-time, so long as you have phone or internet service. If there is no service, simply use the “Offline” feature to download the information beforehand. You can also sign into your OnX Hunt account on any computer and scout remotely, create waypoints, view in 3D Beta, and so on. OnX is available by subscription, which costs $29.99 per year for Premium (one state), and $99.99 per year for Elite (50 states), but you can often find holiday-season sales offering as much as 30 percent off. MSRP: $29.99-$99.99; onxmaps.com.
10. Browning BL-22 Rimfire Rifle Any Christmas list would be incomplete without a nice rimfire rifle in the lineup. Check out this awesome little lever-action by Browning. Featuring a 33-degree lever throw (read FAST), beautiful blued steel and glowing walnut stocks, the BL-22 is an accurate, reliable, fast-shooting rifle. It’s available in multiple sizes and iterations, including a Micro Midas edition that fits kids and small-framed individuals perfectly. Trust me; a hunter or shooter that you gift with a BL-22 is going to have even more fun after Christmas than during. MSRP $640; browning.com.