The holiday season is always marked by the outdoor industry's attempt to separate people from their money, and they always seek the help of the region's outdoor communicators to abet their quest.
For much of November and December, newspaper email inboxes are flooded with pitches to writers asking that their product be included in holiday gift guides that are published during the pre-Christmas shopping rush.
We asked a collection of Pacific Northwest outdoors writers to recommend their favorite outdoor gifts. They each chipped in one gift idea that they know is a good product at a fair price.
These ink-stained professionals may not all be outstanding in their field, they may just spend a lot of time out standing in a field.
This has been a backcountry staple for the past three years, and it's perfect for cold driftboat anglers looking to whip up some coffee or lunch. The cup has an attached propane heater that quickly cooks what's inside the cup. The burner and the 110-gram propane canisters (sold separately) store inside the cup. The Jetboil remains the best and most compact of the in-the-field cooking devices on the market.
Nothing helps kids get more excited about being outdoors than having their own gear. If they see a bird, they want to look now, not when some adult is done with the family binoculars. The Adventure Pack can get them started with a matching flashlight, whistle, compass and 5x30 binoculars. The whistle has two built-in thermometers — one displays the temperature in Fahrenheit and the other in centigrade. It all comes in a soft carrying case that can attach to a belt. The flashlight will need two AA batteries.
Cold feet can quickly ruin an otherwise enjoyable outing. Thermacell Heated Insoles will keep them dogs toasty in the worst of conditions. The insoles run on a small wireless remote that fits into a pocket, and runs up to five hours or longer if used in intervals.
Skiers and snowboarders who think strapping a camera to their helmet looks awkward will appreciate the less conspicuous look of this goggle cam. The camera is built into the top of the goggles and is WiFi compatible, allowing skiers to live stream their runs to their smartphones or tablets. A free app allows you to edit video and pictures shot with the goggle cam. Oh, and the lenses are 100-percent UV protected.
REI's ultra-lightweight sleeping bag has synthetic insulation on the bottom and goose down on top, and is rated at 32 degrees. The waterproof, breathable fabric around the edges wicks away condensation.
Some of the best fly-fishing is in the rain and snow, and Simms has made a jacket that will keep you comfy when the weather is nasty. This Gore-Tex garment has a clean look, with two large pockets for gear and two pockets for warming your hands. The main pockets have zippers on the inside — and outside — of the jacket, making it easy to access layers under the jacket.
Hunters and marksmen who honed their early shooting skills by plinking tin cans will quickly see the appeal of the new Laser-Plinking-Can. LaserLyte, a company specializing in firearms laser technologies, has released a safe and entertaining target. When hit with a laser from any of the LaserLyte training cartridges or other laser trainer tools, the cans react by jumping up and falling over just as a real can would. This reaction is powered by a 9-volt battery and a spring-loaded plunger released by a solenoid. To reset the cans, simply stand them up and depress the plunger. The battery will last for about 8,000 shots.
$89.95, www.ibattz.com or Best Buy
Keep your iPhone powered and safely tucked away with the iBattz Mojo Refuel Armor Battery Case, a compact, rugged yet good-looking case that keeps the phone safe and extends battery life on long outdoor outings. An extra battery costs $15 and is worth the purchase.
For those of you who haven't bought a new ski jacket since the 1980s, it's time for an upgrade to Columbia's Versalite Softshell Interchange jacket.
The inside of the light-weight coat resembles aluminum foil, providing warmth akin to goose down. The jacket is light enough to wear as a liner beneath a snowboarding jacket during very cold days. The attached hood also works well for winter backpackers.
$180, Amazon.com, various retail outlets
The boots are part of Wood N' Stream ELX/LTT Series, which feature shock-absorbing gel soles combined with a molded footbed that make the boots comfortable on those first break-in outings.
What's more, the boots are waterproof and breathable.
The Wood N' Stream brand was reintroduced by the Weinbrenner Shoe Co. this year, making them the new kid on the competitive block. Yet the company is building on a line that began in 1957.