Some of my favorite camping gear sees a lot of use around the house or on the job. Here’s ideas for practical gifts for Scouts and Scouters nearly anyone would welcome receiving;
The first time a GSI java press showed up on a camping trip I scoffed, it seemed a little over the top. After I had a cup of coffee brewed in it though I changed my mind and ordered one right away. I don’t think I am a coffee snob, but I sure do like my Java press!
I bought a GSI infinity mug a few years back when my trusty old Stanley insulated mug gave up after fifteen years of faithful service ( I couldn’t bring myself to throw it away, so it enjoys retirement on a closet shelf nearby). The Infinity mug is well-designed, simple and as become an indispensable component of my camping kit.
While climbing Mt. Marcy in the Adirondacks years ago I watched other hikers fly past me using trekking poles. I had thought of trekking poles as sort of effete, fancy, accouterments for folks who couldn’t hack it with a good old hiking stick. A few hikes later one of my old Scouts who had through-hiked the Appalachian Trail let me try his trekking poles for a few hundred yards and I was hooked.
I bought a much more expensive pair than I am showing here, but I have found the less expensive poles to be of very good quality. Since we fly to our Switzerland trips with only carry-on baggage we can’t bring our trekking poles, so I buy an inexpensive set when we arrive. and they perform just as well as my ore expensive poles.
Trekking poles will save your knees and feet some work, something I have found helpful as I have grown older,
Anti Shock Trekking Trail Poles on Amazon
Woolrich Utility Vest
I am wearing my trusty, cozy, wool utility vest as I write. Nothing brightens up a cold gray day quite so well as the warmth of wool, either at home or in the campsite. Besides the utility of a few extra pockets the vest also forms a vital part of my dashing, old guy profile.
Woolrich Utility Vest on Amazon
I’ve owned several LED headlamps, but teh Black Diamond storm is my overall favorite. The Storm is fully water proof, and sports 1 TriplePower LED and 2 SinglePower LEDs provide 100 lumens at maximum brightness. I especially like the ability to dimming feature that allows me to set the level of brightness to the task at hand. 2 SinglePower Red LEDs save night vision. The four AAA batteries last for 200 hours at maximum brightness and a led monitors the battery level. Finally the light can be locked so it does not accidentally turn on in your pack.
All these features come at a price, but I carry my Storm headlamp everywhere. It comes in handy looking under things or in dimly lit conditions like taking out the trash at night and it has been very handy during power outages.
Black Diamond Storm Headlamp on Amazon
I’ve worn out a dozen pairs of these gloves over the years. Most of the time when I am outdoors in winter I need to use my hands, and I have yet to find a full glove that keeps my hands warm and allows for the kind of dexterity required while camping or working outdoors. When the temperatures really plunge I can put a pair of mittens over my fingerless gloves. The wrist portion is long enough to cover your writs and that tends to keep your finger warmer.
Fingerless Ragg Glove on Amazon
Stormy Kromer Wool Hat
Nature makes a few perfect heads, the rest are covered with hair. Keeping my perfect head during the winter can be a challenge, but my Stormy Kromer wool hat performs admirably. An integral wool band can be slipped over my ears when the wind blows. I have a large hat size (my wife insists that it get’s bigger every year) but the Stormy Kromer hats are available up to XXL, so a good fit is assured. As I noted in describing the utility vest above this hat is crucial to my dashing old guy profile.
Stormy Kromer Wool Cap on Amazon.
Wool Watch Cap
If it’s good enough for Jack it’s good enough for me.
The design of the classic wool watch cap hasn’t changed in decades, and they are as near a perfect winter hat as you are likely to find. There are any number of stylish beanies out there (I wonder at the hipsters who wear them year round, what are they thinking?) but my favorite is the the simple wool watch cap without stripes, zig-zags, or clever sayings and corporate logos embroidered on them. They are a lot cheaper too; the one I have set me back all of ten bucks.
Wool Watch Cap On Amazon
I have a couple of full-sized Swiss Army Knives, but the Victorinox Minichamp (2.3 inches long) rides on my keychain. One of the most useful tools is the hooked ’emergency’ blade pictured on the lwer right above. It’s an excellent tool for opening that frustrating plastic clam shell packaging. Having a spare pen and led light has come in very handy on many occasions.
Midnite Minichamp Tools
- Nail file with nail cleaner
- Cuticle pusher
- Screwdriver with ruler
- Emergency blade (package and letter opener)
- Orange peeler with scraper
- Bottle opener with magnetic Phillips screwdriver
- Wire stripper
- LED mini white light (18,000 MCD)
- Retractable ballpoint pen
- Key ring
Victorinox Midnite Minichamp on Amazon
Streamlight Nano LED Key Chain Light
The best key chain light bar none, and less then ten bucks! It’s not the absolute brightest, but it is plenty bright enough (it still amazes me whenever I turn it on). Clio one on your backpack, or throw one in your emergency kit (or, at this price, do both) and you’ll have a reliable, bright, useful light when you need it most.
Streamlight Nano on Amazon