It’s that time of the year again. Is your Christmas shopping complete? If not, I have some great suggestions for you. These unique and practical gifts are sure to be appreciated by the outdoors person on your list. If you’re hard-pressed to find that perfect gift, look no further than below.
Element brand fire extinguisher: I was really intrigued when I first heard about this approximately a year ago. I was struck by its small and lightweight design. What’s really fascinating is how the Element operates.
Unlike traditional fire extinguishers, this doesn’t expel dry chemical under pressure. Instead, a chemical reaction creates a nontoxic fire retardant. You strike the top of the unit with its cap, and the chemical reaction discharges firefighting chemical.
The manufacturer claims this fire extinguisher will operate for up to 50 seconds, which is approximately five times that of a 5 lb. dry chemical fire extinguisher. And the chemical is nontoxic, will not remove breathable oxygen in a confined space, and won’t leave a residue on your vehicle or engine.
Each extinguisher weighs just over a half a pound and is designed to fight any type of fire.
These are small enough to mount nearly anywhere in the vehicle. Even if you have a traditional fire extinguisher, consider buying an Element extinguisher and mounting it in a convenient location. I have two: one in each of my vehicles.
Unlike conventional fire extinguishers, the Element can’t be recharged but never expires. The chemical is consumed in the process, and the unit must be replaced. At $80, the Element extinguisher is a bit pricey. But considering how effective it is, that’s a good deal.
Made in Italy, the Element fire extinguisher is being sold by more and more outlets and online.
Gas Bag fuel bladder: Don’t have a roof rack, swing arm or trailer to transport a gas can? No worries. The Gas Bag bladder offers a convenient way to carry extra fuel. Its extremely sturdy fabric shell stands up to the rigors of outdoor motor sports. Tie the Gas Bag to your spare tire, and you have extra fuel for your trip.
The Gas Bag is offered in 1- to 5-gallon sizes. The empty bag folds or rolls up for easy storage.
I own a 3-gallon and a 5-gallon, and have found them to be quite useful.
The Gas Bag starts at about $150 for a 1-gallon size. Keep in mind that they’re intended only for temporary transport of fuel, not long-term storage. And they’re not CARB (California Air Resources Board)-approved.
Made in the U.S., the Gas Bag fuel bladder is available through the manufacturer’s website and several online vendors.
Howard Leight Impact Sport ear muffs: Great for shooters. They allow you to carry on a normal conversation but still provide good hearing protection against loud noises.
It’s the electronics that do the trick. The ear muffs automatically react to gun shots (and other loud noises), providing significant noise suppression.. Yet you can still carry on a normal conversation.
They have a low profile and are pretty comfortable. The adjustable headband allows the ear muffs to fit snuggly over most any noggin. That is, unless you wear eyeglasses. I heard that the firm offers a grooved piece for the ear muffs, but I haven’t been able to find that anywhere.
At roughly $60, I feel they’re the best electronic ear muff for the money. You can always upgrade to the Pro. But I think you’ll like these.
The Howard Leight Impact Sport ear muffs are available online and at major sporting goods stores.
Ken Onion edition, Work Sharp knife and tool sharpener: Normally I’m not a fan of motorized knife sharpeners. It’s too easy to “burn” a knife and take the temper out. The Work Sharp sharpeners are different.
For starters, it offers several speeds. You control how fast the sharpening belt runs and you use a trigger to start and stop the belt for each pass. They include five sharpening belts in the package. Start with a really course one to get the shape right, then work your way to the smooth edges that you like. Choose from about a half-dozen cutting angles ranging from 15 degrees to 30 degrees. The instructions and the tool implement everything I have ever learned about knife sharpening.
Bottom line: You have a lot of control over the sharpening process (much like with manual sharpeners). The result is a properly sharpened blade.
I’ve had to change my mind about using a powered knife sharpener since I got this one.
The Ken Onion edition knife and tool sharpener runs about $130, but is a good value. You can find it in sporting goods stores, home centers and online retailers.
“Camping and Woodcraft” by Horace Kephart: Kephart was a writer for Field & Stream magazine. He wrote the first edition to this book in 1906 and released an expanded edition around 1917.
Drawing heavily on articles of his Field & Stream columns, “Camping and Woodcraft” offers a fascinating look at outdoors life in the early part of the 20th century. Long before electronic gadgets took over our lives, campers and other outdoorsfolks had to get by with basic skills. Things like how to use a compass and read a map. How to collect firewood and start a good fire. And the fundamentals of hunting, fishing and woodworking.
Yes, his information is a century old, but much of it is relevant today. Plus, it’s just fun reading. Anyone who enjoys the outdoors will relish Kephart’s tales.
Look for a reprint of “Camping and Woodcraft” online. Avoid the pricey collectors editions.
Colby replacement tire valves: These are very practical for four wheelers. Colby valve stems make quick work of changing valve stems. You don’t have to break the bead. Instead, pull out the existing valve stem and insert a Colby. The entire process takes two or three minutes. Air up, and get back on the trail.
Colby tire valves are sold in packs of two. You can find them wherever automotive parts are sold.
There you have it. Seven very useful gift ideas for this holiday season. Remember that there’s always one more person on your shopping list: you. Feel free to treat yourself to one of these fine gifts. After all, you deserve it.
I’d like to take a moment and say “thank you” to all my clients, business partners and friends. Four-wheeling wouldn’t be the same without you. It’s always a pleasure to go off road with like-minded individuals. Whether for three hours or three days, each trip was a memorable adventure. I hope you felt the same way.
May you and yours enjoy a happy holiday season and a great new year.
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Did you miss the previous articles? Here is a list of all articles in 2019
- 2019-12-12 6 Nifty Gifts for the Outdoors Person in Your Life
- 2019-11-14 Inspect Your Vehicle – 100 Times+
- 2019-10-13 Are You Keyed UP?
- 2019-09-22 Where is Your Winch Controller?
- 2019-08-30 Be a Guest-Focused Trail Leader
- 2019-07-24 Items That Don’t Belong on a 4WD Trip
- 2019-06-14 Refresh Your First-Aid Kit
- 2019-05-20 Ham Radio Use Off-Road
- 2019-04-25 Four Wheeling Fears
- 2019-03-21 Safeguard Gear, Food from Varmints, Vagrants and Weather
- 2019-02-13 Do You Have a Tire Failure Strategy?
- 2019-01-16 How to Make Great Beef Jerky
The 2020 schedule of clinics and adventures trips has been posted on the web site.
All dates are posted to our web site. You can register for any 2020 event now except Wilderness First Aid class, Easter Safari, Rubicon trip and a few others. We are taking reservations (try the online reservation) now for those events and will notify you after Jan 2, 2020 when the official registration opens up.
Following is the complete list of clinics for 2020. Be sure to check the web site for possible changes.
January 11, 2020 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
January 12, 2020 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
January 18, 2020 Winching Clinic
January 25, 2020 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
January 26, 2020 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
January 25, 2020 Sand Dune Off-Road Driving – Oceano Dunes
February 01, 2020 Tire Repair & Hi-Lift Mini Clinic
February 08, 2020 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
February 09, 2020 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
February 22, 2020 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
February 23, 2020 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
February 22, 2020 Starting Rock Crawling
March 14, 2020 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
March 15, 2020 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
March 20, 2020 Death Valley Adventure
March 21, 2020 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
March 22, 2020 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
March 28, 2020 Wilderness First Aid (WFA) Course
March 28, 2020 Self-Recovery Clinic
March 29, 2020 Winching Clinic
April 01, 2020 San Rafael Club Run
April 05, 2020 Easter Safari
April 18, 2020 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
April 19, 2020 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
April 25, 2020 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
April 26, 2020 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
June 06, 2020 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
June 07, 2020 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
June 13, 2020 Starting Rock Crawling
June 20, 2020 Tire Repair & Hi-Lift Mini Clinic
June 26, 2020 Field Day – Info coming soon
August 01, 2020 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
August 02, 2020 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
August 06, 2020 Rubicon Adventure
August 22, 2020 Sand Dune Off-Road Driving – Oceano Dunes
September 12, 2020 Tire Repair & Hi-Lift Mini Clinic
September 19, 2020 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
September 20, 2020 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
September 26, 2020 Winching Clinic
October 02, 2020 Borrego Fest – Info coming soon
October 10, 2020 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
October 11, 2020 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
October 16, 2020 Death Valley Adventure
October 24, 2020 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
October 25, 2020 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
November 14, 2020 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
November 15, 2020 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
November 21, 2020 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
November 22, 2020 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
November 28, 2020 Turkey Day Club Run
December 05, 2020 Tire Repair & Hi-Lift Mini Clinic
December 12, 2020 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
December 12, 2020 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
December 13, 2020 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – LA area
December 13, 2020 Day 2 Getting Started Off-Road – San Diego area
December 29, 2020 Saline New Years Deal
I hope to see you on the trails!
Tom Severin, President Badlands Off Road Adventures, Inc.
4-Wheel Drive School
Make it Fun. Keep it Safe.
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Copyright 2019, Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Inc.