My good friend, biologist and fellow outdoor expert/writer Rick Windham of North Platte, NE takes over my blog today with his popular Christmas wish list for the great outdoors. The article and photographs are courtesy of the North Platte Telegraph newspaper.
My 2011 Christmas Wish List
By: Rick Windham
It’s that time of year again, time for my annual Christmas Wish List. This has become quite popular and I had people asking me as far back as September if I was going to do it again this year. Yep!
As in the past, this is a list of items that I have had the opportunity to field test over the last year or so. Each item has survived the abuse of my hunting or fishing trips. Bearing in mind that my father, the Ol’ Marine, used to say I could tear up a crowbar in a sand pile, the fact that any product can survive my use for more than a few of trips says something. If a product can survive a year with me, most people can get years of service out of it! Most importantly, before I recommend that you spend any of your hard earned money on a product, I want to make sure it works the way it is supposed to and that it can endure the rigors of the outdoors.
Many of the items listed here cost under $25……or as I call them, the super stocking stuffer class of gifts. These are gifts that kids can afford to get mom or dad. There are a few items listed that cost significantly more, but they would only be for someone who has really been good. Here goes:
Life Gear Flashlights– This is a set of three LED flashlights that actually comes with the batteries you need. They are rugged enough to be dropped a few times and on to relatively hard surfaces. They are very bright as a flashlight, but they can also be used as a flashing safety beacon. Where I found a great use for them was hanging them along the bank where my camp was when I was fishing Merritt Reservoir near Valentine, NE. It gets dark there! I can see the flashing red light a mile away and know where my camp is. You can find it at Menards for about $5.
Mini Line Spooler– This is a very easy to use gadget that clamps on to your rod. You attach your new spool of line to the device and the line comes off properly tensioned as you turn the handle on your reel. This make putting new line on your favorite fishing rig a snap. You can find them on-line or at places like Scheels, Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, etc. for about $5.
Lens Cleaner – If you go into the field, and carry anything that you look through, get this item! It is called the Brilliant Lenses protector kit. It has a small spray bottle of cleaner and a special cleaning cloth. The spray actually puts on a thin layer of a “scratch resistant” barrier. It works on binoculars, scopes and your personal glasses. Ace Hardware carries this item and it’s about $9.
Ace Flex-Light– When I’m cleaning weapons I like to see what is going on. This light is absolutely great for that! The flexible cable allows you to bend the light at any angle and the light is small enough to fit into the breech of any semi-auto firearm I’ve tried it on. It runs on a single AAA battery (included). You can find this at Ace Hardware for about $17.
UVPaqlite – This may be the most unique product I tested all year. Check out the website at www.uvpaqlite.com. It is a light source that requires no batteries, is waterproof, explosion-proof, gives off no heat or fumes, recharges itself from any other light source in seconds and glows for hours. While it is not a “bright” light, like a flashlight, it does give off enough light to see what you’re doing to tie on another lure or find something you dropped in your blind. It is made of natural crystal-like structures that absorb the light. They come in vacuumed sealed, flat envelopes and range in size from 4 by 6 inches to about 8 by 15 inches. The company also produces this same light source in a tube form, which is great for hanging in your tent or cabin. This product is amazing. You order them from the website. Cost ranges from $3.50 up to $24.
Saw/Pruner Combo– Hunter’s Specialties puts out this kit. It has a rugged pair of pruning shears (and they make a heck of a pair of game shears, too) and a folding saw with blades for wood and bone. This is a “must have” item for any archer on your list! The saw comes with a nylon carry case. BassPro and Cabela’s carries this, you might even get lucky and find it at Scheels or perhaps at Wal-Mart. Cost is about $25.
The 24 Greatest Flies– If you have a flyfishing enthusiast on your list, get this book. The full title is, “The 24 Greatest Flies You Don’t Want To Leave Home Without”, by Robert Sousa. It not only covers the best flies, but the book has lots of interesting information on how to select a rod, where fish hide, why they bite and don’t bite, etc. It is a great read. You can order it off the web at any of the major bookstores. Cost is about $25,
SRB Field Rests– Did you ever want to set down your shotgun, rifle or bow (SRB) but not lay it in the mud or water? The SRB rest solves that problem. It is a set of plastics “forks” that simply stick into the ground with the help of some steel spikes equipped with a thimble for holding the fork. The base unit is about 18-inches long. If you need it taller, cut some ½-inch plastic pipe to whatever length you need and make a set of “customized” racks. I do this with my coyote rifle set-up. The forearm is on a bipod and I support the butt stock with a SRB rest to minimize fatigue. Works great! You need to order these off the web at www.srbfieldrests.com. Cost is about $28.
CanCooker– Got a camp cook on your list? This will be a great present. It is a modern version of a cream can. Cream can cooking is an art by itself and the CanCooker makes it easy. It is made of heavy gauge aluminum and will take a lot of abuse! This is one rugged piece of cookware. Soups, stews and chili are a snap to make in this unit. Trust me…..any camp cook would like this item. Ace Hardware is the place to find this item. Cost is about $90.
M&P 15-22– OK….this is only for someone who has been really good this year. This is the baby brother version of the M&P 15 patrol rifle. It is chambered in .22LR. It is simply one of the most fun guns to shoot that I have found in a long time. I haven’t handed this rifle to anyone yet who hasn’t loved to shoot it and wanted to take it home. You’ll have to order this through your favorite gun dealer. Cost will be around $450.
You know, the hardest part of this may be trying to save the original packaging so you can see what it looks like in the store, but I managed. Here they are! The top picks for my 2011 Christmas Wish
List. I hope you can find something for the outdoor enthusiasts
on your list. Merry Christmas!
Have a wonderful time outdoors everyone! RW. Reach me on my website, at: www.RickWindhamOutdoors.com