Cool Outdoor Gear You Really Need



Image: Shutterstock/Smith

My wife claims I am the hardest person to buy gifts for. She says it is because I already buy all the things I want, but that is simply not true. There’s always outdoor-related gadgets and other cool stuff that I want. It remains a constant, however, that I’m going to get a few gift cards to use on things that I want but don’t tell her about. That’s fine with me. There are always things I “need” to buy, and having a gift card helps make me click on the “Buy Now” button. Now that we’re into the new year, my first thoughts turn to fishing and turkey hunting along with looking for fun stuff I didn’t even know I needed yet. If you’re looking for the cool outdoor gear you really needed but didn’t receive as a gift, here are some things you may like.

1. L.L.Bean Hudson Bay Cruiser Axe

I have to admit, I’m a sucker for axes, especially when they have meaning. L.L. Bean recreated a classic axe from the days of fur trading and it is just too cool to now want. The handle is Grade A hickory  that was selected for grain orientation and density, which make it super strong. and very appealing visually. The axe head is 5160 grade alloy steel with a hardness of Rc 52-56 and a light oil coating to prevent rust. The handle is 24 inches long and the axe comes with a leather sheath. I’d be torn between using it and hanging it on my office wall as a decoration. Chances are that I’d take it out and use it, though.

Pros/Classic style and hand-made durability

Cons/Almost too pretty to use as an axe.

Bottom Line/If you like history, this is a must have axe.

2. Berkley Fishing Gift Packs

Berkley is one of the biggest names in fishing and chances are good you have at least some of their products in use for your fishing gear. I’ve always been one to pick out my own stuff, but a while ago, I got my hands on a box that had hand-picked stuff from a bass-fishing pro. It had some tackle I hadn’t thought of using before, matched to the correct line for that use. I have to say, it worked pretty well. Berkley has a box kit available for the bass, walleye and inshore angler with everything you need to get after some fish. The best part is, the value of the gear in the box outweighs the cost of the box, so you’re saving money.

Pros/Matched tackle, line and more for your species of choice

Cons/I’d like to see other target species become available

Bottom Line/A cost-effective lure, line and accessory box set

3. Avian-X Goose Decoys

If I told you how many years I have used a Christmas gift card to buy more decoys, you might be a little shocked. There’s two really solid reasons why this is a great idea. One, it’s free money that isn’t coming out of your wallet, so that is always a plus. Two, the so-called off-season is a great time to stock up on decoys, as, you may have guessed, lots of shops have them on clearance. I’ve been using Avian-X AXP goose dekes for a while and the lifelike poses and coloring gives me the most realism. Plus, I have beaten on the decoys and they still look new, which is amazing. I’ve had multiple other brands fall apart. This deal is for 6 feeder lessers and a decoy bag, for a great price.

Pros/Tough, life-like decoys and a decoy bag

Cons/It’s a big box, so it is harder to hide them from your spouse

Bottom Line/If you hunt waterfowl, you will want to grab this decoy deal!

4. Vexlar FLX-12 – Bargain Cave Find!

Didn’t find a new Vexlar ice-fishing flasher under the tree? Me either. It was a major bummer to not get one, or anything that went bang or that barked. I keep asking “Santa” but she isn’t giving in just yet. However, I did just come across a sweet deal in the Bargain Cave, so I’m getting my own! The Vexilar FLX-12 Pro Pack II with 12 Degree Ice-Ducer gives you a sweet ice-fishing flasher system with incredible value. The FLX-12 delivers acclaimed Vexilar brushless data-transfer technology, a sunlight-readable display, a built-in low-power mode, and ranges to 120′. The Pro Pack carry case easily fits in a 5-gal. bucket and offers a rod holder and tackle box, too. The included 12 Degree Ice-Ducer ice-fishing transducer completes the Vexilar FLX-12 Pro Pack II with 12 Degree Ice-Ducer as an all-inclusive bundle that instantly elevates you’re ice fishing. Saving $220 is just the icing on the cake!

Pros/High-quality ice-fishing flasher system

Cons/I didn’t already have one

Bottom Line/A sweet deal on a great flasher!

5. Nemo Dagger 3-Person Tent

I have a big tent for hauling the whole family off for a camping adventure, but I’ve always wanted a compact 2-3 person tent that backpacks well and holds up to harsh environments. I found the perfect one in the Nemo Dagger tent. The whole, packed tent is just 9.5 inches by 6.5 inches, and it weighs under 4 pounds. It has a waterproof fly and durable bottom, and is supported by a single, hubbed aluminum pole. It is rated for 3 people, plus gear. It’s size is perfect for some of the adventures I head out on, and I’m looking forward to trying one out when I go steelhead fishing this spring.

Pros/High quality and durable design

Cons/It’s pricey – not going to lie

Bottom Line/If you need a compact, durable tent, this one fits the bill

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