A Self Reliant Christmas Idea

Upstate Outdoors
December 21, 2018 - 9:37 am

Phillip Gentry

During this time of year everyone is asking “What is the best gift for the outdoorsman in my life?” Most outdoorsmen go ahead and buy what they want or need as soon as they figure out they need it. Second is it is extremely difficult to guess what specific gear fits that person best because outdoor enthusiast gear tends to be very use-specific as well as brand conscious.

One thing that almost all outdoorsmen have in common is the desire to be self-reliant when the time comes. A guy who prides himself on how big a flat screen TV he has in his Man Cave and how comfortable the recliners are secretly yearns for the opportunity to prove that he can self- sustain when the going gets tough.

To that end, a great Christmas present idea might be one of more of the essential tools for self-reliance. Most guys have these items tucked away somewhere in a pack or if they don’t wish they did.

1. Multi Tool – Doesn’t matter how many real tools a guy has in his garage or in a tool box, it’s the one he has when he needs one that counts. Leatherman, SOG, and Gerber all make quality multi-tools at a variety of price ranges that do everything from de-hook a fish to signal the Space Shuttle.

2. Heavy Duty Tarp – A multitude of ills can be fixed with a leaky tent, camper, or even as a stand-alone structure by packing a medium to large sized tarp, some bungee cords, and a roll of duct tape on your next overnight outing. Tarps with grommets along the edges are easier to hold in place than a solid tarp.

3. Canteen – Canteens have changed from the old clunky tin container you used to carry around as a kid to sophisticated vessels for storing and in some cases even purifying water. Camelbak is one of the more popular brand names with containers made from high impact plastic and stainless steel.

4. 550 Paracord – A roll of paracord in a bug out pack has 1,000s of uses. It can be used as lashings for a makeshift blind. It is strong enough, especially when doubled or tripled to drag a game animal out of the woods. Paracord is waterproof for long periods, making it a good replacement for duck decoy line or to tether a boat.

5. Flashlight – Today’s flashlights weigh less and are 100 times brighter than the old light you keep in a drawer by the sink. In addition, many are powered by smaller, high capacity batteries that have the capability of recharging. The bulbs also last longer and burn brighter thanks to LED technology.

6. Hand Warmers – Chemical heat packs designed to treat sore muscles and strains also do a remarkable job or keeping you warm during cold weather. Place the packs on your torso and wrists to help warm blood flowing to your extremities. In other situations, the packs can be used to warm food or beverages using the pack to warm the outside container.

8. Fire Starter – A medicine bottle filled with dryer lint, a couple of “trick” birthday candles, and a half dozen strike-anywhere matches is an invaluable, waterproof fire starting kit that takes up very little space or weight in any backpack, tackle box, or field pack. Another option is a magnesium strip with flint attached so that you can generate fire under any conditions.

Throw any or all of these items is a durable tote bag or pack that can be tucked away in a vehicle or in an emergency kit and you’ll have a gift no true outdoorsman won’t be grateful for.



Phillip Gentry is the host of “Upstate Outdoors,” broadcast from noon to 2 p.m. Saturdays on 106.3 WORD FM. The show can be streamed live or by podcast at 1063word.radio.com


Photo Caption – A great last minute Christmas gift idea are tools that help outdoorsmen become more self-reliant. Photo courtesy leatherman.com

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