Column originally published in 12/06/15 Telegraph By: Rick Windham
Rick Windham’s 2015 Christmas Wish List
Well…it has happened again. Another year has passed by and it is time again for my Christmas Wish List. For the last 17 years I have put a collection of items together for the outdoor enthusiast on your Christmas list. Over the years, this particular column has become quite popular. I have people ask me throughout the year if I plan on doing it again…Yep, I am!
As always, these are items I have personally field tested and they have survived the punishment I can put on a piece of equipment...and I am tough on equipment As my dad, the Ol’ Marine, used to say, “Boy, you could tear up a crowbar in a sand pile.”
Before I recommend that you spend your hard earned money, especially in our current economy, I make sure the product is worth it. If a product can survive me, and works like it is supposed to, you should be able to get years of service out of it.
I don’t know if it is the economy or just the way things turned out, but there didn’t seem to be as many “real innovative” products this out there year, but I still found some good ones. There is no grade or ranking by the order in which items are placed on this list. By virtue of the fact that they are on this list it means they are good products and good values. Here we go…..
Item #1: Everyone needs a good light in the outdoors. This year I discovered the Nebo Twyster. It is the best flashlight I’ve ever tested! It is a flashlight and work light. You can light up the eyes of a raccoon or coyote at a half mile. Rotate body near the lens to focus the beam or expose a work light. It has a magnetic base for hands-free use and is powered by four standard AA batteries. The LED bulb is extremely bright and draws very little power. Battery life is long. It can survive a 15 foot fall from a tree stand, banging around on the floor of my pickup or being underwater for a couple hours (Yeah…I had to try it). It would also be a great flashlight for farmers, ranchers, emergency response personnel…anyone who has to work outside at night. You can find this light at Cohagen’s Battery Store, 320 South Dewey. Price: About $50. A great item!
Item #2: Staying with the light theme, Menards carries a small 12 LED camp light by Edge. It has a High/Low feature for the right amount you need. It is small, about 3-inches by 6-inches, but puts out a lot of light. It has a ring built into the top to use for hanging and runs of four AA batteries. A very nice item to have in a tent or a duck blind. Cost about $6.
Item #3: One more light to offer…the BlackFire ClampLight Mini. This is a great stocking stuffer. Clip it in your tent, to your jacket, collar, hat, vehicle sun visor, tackle box, small limb, etc. and you have light where you need it. It is an LED and uses three watch batteries. Battery life is said to be about 55 hours. I’m still on the first set of batteries and I’ve used it a lot! You can find this at Walmart. Cost is about $5.
Item #4: All anglers can use a set of long reach forceps. They are the best thing in the world for removing a deep set hook. Menards has an 8-inch pair that can handle most of your fishing needs. I keep a pair clipped to my fishing vest at all times. The cost is about $7.
Item #5: Need a decent pair of binoculars to carry every day in your vehicle? Check out the Barska 10x25 compact binoculars offered at Menards. They fold in on themselves to be just a little bit bigger than a large bar of soap. A great stocking stuffer with a cost of about $8.
Item #6: Every hunter or angler I know needs some tools to keep their gear in shape, but you don’t want to carry a full-size tool box into the field with you. Hyper Tough make a series of mini-tool packs that are perfect for fitting into a tackle box or gear bag. Walmart offers a 3-pak set of these tools for $10! This kit is quite an assortment of screw driver sizes, Torx bits, ratchet drivers, hex-nut sockets and more. This kit can handle most minor jobs in the field. I like them.
Item #7: If you have ever had your hands get cold while being involved in your favorite outdoor activity, have I got a good one for you. It is called the Zippo Outdoor Hand Warmer. It sort of looks like a big Zippo lighter, but is has no open flame. You fill the internal reservoir with lighter fluid and light the surface of a catalytic burner. As soon as it is lit, place the metal cover back on and put the entire unit in a fabric bad that’s provided. The unit will provide heat for up to 12 hours. Think of how much better you’d feel working construction this winter, sitting at a football game, sitting in your deer stand or duck blind. Ace carries these hand warmers and they cost $10.
Item #8: A knife is critical for use in camp or afield. I found the Coast Model FX411 Frame
Lock folding pocket knife at Home Depot back in February, and I have been abusing it ever since. The blade flips out easily with one hand and locks into place. It is a drop point style knife so it is great for field dressing and skinning. Another good stocking stuffer that would be appreciated. Cost is about $15.
Item #9: I like a good work knife around camp and Gerber is offering one I really like. It is called a parang, a miniature machete that has its roots in Southeast Asia. It is part of the Bear Grylls survival series gear. I’ve used it for multiple jobs around camp but my favorite job for it is making kindling for the fire. It splits small pieces of wood well! Menards carries this item in the tool section. Cost is $15.
Item #10: If you are need of a quick sighting system for something like a .22 rifle, the CenterPoint 32mm Reflex Sight is for you. Reflex Sights are an old concept, but have been updated through newer technologies. I clamped one on my S&W M&P15/22 back in March and have many hours of shooting with it. It holds zero and has a lighted red/green reticle with 40 different patterns to choose from. It runs on one lithium watch battery. I checked their website and Cabela’s has this on sale now for about $30.
And that is my Outdoor Enthusiast Christmas Wish List for 2015. I hope you can find something on this list that will work for you in your plans for giving this year. Remember…there are only 20 more days until Christmas.
Merry Christmas to you all!