Thursday, December 16, 2010

Here are 10 Christmas gift ideas for the Idaho outdoorsy guy

Hi all,

Guys can be a tough nut to crack when it comes to buying Christmas gifts for them. Some guys just do a poor job of communicating what they want. Others can't even articulate one idea. But don't worry ... if they're an outdoorsy guy, I have some suggestions that will work. Here are 10 ideas that are bound to be winners.

1. Gloves. Guys can never have enough gloves. We need gloves for hiking, biking, running, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, paddling in cold water conditions, hunting, driving, etc. etc. I often use the same gloves for biking, cross-country skiing and raking leaves, so a lighter pair has multiple benefits. Shop around for some nice ones that will last.

2. Capiline undergarments are awesome. Zip T's, long underwear and crew neck shirts are all a necessary part of the get-up to go skiing, hiking or biking in the cold weather. They come in different weights and sizes. I like to have a mix of lightweight capiline stuff, as well as medium-weight and expedition weight stuff, so that I have the perfect set of undergarments for that day's weather and activity. Patagonia stuff is expensive, but it lasts forever. REI brand capiline is reasonably priced for the budget shopper. You can't ever have enough capiline undergarments. My favorite ones are always in the wash when I need them.

3. GoPro helmet cam video cameras are very cool. The new GoPro HD camera has unbelievable quality for such a small and surprisingly affordable camera. The GoPro HD cameras retail for $299. They are available at most Boise outdoor stores. A very nifty extra would be to also buy your man some video editing software to go with the camera, especially if he's a PC user. If your man is into water sports, he'll love the waterproof case that comes with the camera. I have been using one of these since last fall, and I've gotten some pretty cool footage on my bike and on the river. Now I'm using it for skiing.

4. A knife. Guys like knives. They are useful for many things. Some guys carry a little knife in their pocket every day, or they wear it on their belt. So give your man a knife. Try a Swiss Army knife, or a Buck knife, like the one pictured. Or, maybe he needs a river rescue knife. Whatever, you can't go wrong if you give him a knife.

5. Hats and headbands are a close second in my book to a nice pair of gloves. You just can't ever have enough of them. Especially when it comes to headbands. I tend to lose them, or my significant other steals them. Whatever, you need a bunch of them in your hat stache for the winter. Lighter-weight hats are great for cross-country skiing, backcountry skiing and to go under the helmet for biking. A really warm hat will keep the ears warm in McCall or Sun Valley when the temperatures are in single digits or below zero.

6. Maybe your man needs a ski helmet? Helmets are a great way to reduce the risk of head injury when skiing. I lost a very good friend to a ski injury several years ago, and now I wear a helmet. You can buy helmets with built-in earphones, and some helmets come paired with a perfect set of goggles to go with them. A few stickers would be helpful to go with the helmet, but you might want to leave that up to him ... unless you know that he'd like a certain sticker for sure.

7. Is your guy a river runner? Perhaps he needs a new lifejacket, a rescue rope, a dry bag, a paco pad, or a decent beer holder for the raft frame. If you know he needs some river gear, but you're not sure what to get him, consider a gift certificate to Idaho River Sports, Cascade Outfitters or Boise Army-Navy. Let him decide.

8. Cycling shoe covers for winter riding is another great gift idea. These run $40 to $60, depending on the brand and model. They're a great way to keep his feet warm when he's out night-riding or pedaling in cold weather.

9. Winter boots. Maybe your man needs a new pair of Sorels. Maybe he's never had a pair in the first place! These are deluxe winter boots with a wool interior liner, leather outer and fur-lined to boot! Look for a great selection of winter boots at D&B Supply.

10. Here's a real splurge. Buy him a steelhead fishing trip in Riggins or Orofino. Buy him a trout-fishing trip on the South Fork of the Snake, Silver Creek or the Henrys Fork. Reserve a yurt for you and your friends this winter. Think of a really cool trip that he'd like to do, or a trip that you've always wanted to do together and book it!

If none of these ideas sound good, consider buying him one of my hiking, biking or paddling books. They're available at Boise outdoor recreation stores and On my web site, you can buy a digital all-color book as a pdf, or a hard-copy. You also can buy individual hiking, biking and paddling trips for 99 cents each. You be the judge.

There you have it! If you try one of these ideas, and he still doesn like it, blame it on me. I'll take the heat :)

- SS

Steve Stuebner's outdoor tips can be heard every Friday morning on 94.9 FM The River in Boise at about 7:10 a.m. You can hear the audio from the weekly outdoor segments at