It is time for my annual Christmas Wish List. This annual column 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. 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. Keep in mind that my father, the Ol’ Marine, used to say, “Boy, you could tear the horns off a goat if we gave you one.”
The very fact that any product can survive my use for more than a few of trips says something. If a product can survive a few months with me in the field, most people can get years of service out of it. 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.
There is no ranking as to where the items are placed in this list. It is arranged based on ascending cost of the item. I’ll start with the “stocking stuffers”:
TORQUESMITH Work Light – This is a very unique and handy light on a 34-inch flexible cable, stiff enough that you can bend it to any shape you want and it will stay. There is a small flashlight at each end of the cable. By bending the cable, you can put the light right where you need it. My favorite use is hanging it around my neck when fishing at night and being able to tie my knots and find lures in my tackle box. Menards carries this and it is about $4.
Big Blast Target Caps – This is just a fun item. They are bottle caps that you can use on empty plastic drink bottles. The caps have inlet valves in them like a volleyball or football. Insert needle into the cap and pump in some air with a manual bicycle tire pump. You will be surprised how much pressure you can build up in a plastic bottle. I recommend using a pump with a gauge so you don’t get too much pressure in the bottle. Pull the needle out, set the bottle down range and shoot it. There is a surprisingly big BOOM! Wal-Mart does carry this item, but you will probably have to order it via the Wal-Mart website or on-line. Price is about $13.
Camp Abahati – This is a book about a special hunting camp. Ron Richards is a Nebraska author who lives now in the western part of the state. I love showcasing Nebraskans and Nebraska based products. Camp Abahati is the name of the deer camp he has been sharing with friends and family since 1965. Three generations have hunted from this camp and the stories are fun to read. I saw myself and my hunting buddies in many of the passages in this book. There are philosophic parts, serious parts and hilarious parts. It would be a great read for upcoming winter evenings. You can order it via Amazon and it costs $13.
NEBO Flipit Light – I have become a big fan of NEBO products because they are rugged and they work. This is one of the most ingenious items on this year’s list. This looks like a wall light switch that is about ¾-inch thick. Put it wherever you need some light. Flip the switch and two rows of LED lights come on and provide an amazing amount of illumination. You can mount it to any surface with screws or double-face tape. I have them in gun vaults, in my garden shed, in my hunting blinds…use it anywhere you need light. You can order this from Amazon and it costs $15 for a two-pack. These things are great!
NEBO Poppy Light - This lantern is about 3 ½ inches wide and 5 ½ inches tall. You can pull up the top of the light’s body to extend it to 8 inches tall. Three rows of COB LED lights can light up whatever you need to see and you can dim it down when needed. It is rugged, can be configured as a lantern or a spot light and you can easily change the handle for either configuration to carry it with ease. I even weighted this light down and sank it into several lakes for some nighttime crappie fishing last summer. It is not 100 percent waterproof, but is has never failed. Order it on line. BrightGuy.com had the lowest price I found…about $16.
Bug-A-Salt Gun – This is a pump action air gun that looks like a science fiction ray gun. It fires salt like mini loads of buck shot. Whenever you have an annoying fly or bug around, wait for the critter to land, pump the action to get a blast of air ready, get the muzzle within a few inches and pull the trigger. I have killed flies, wasps and other buzzing critters with this better than a foot away. A friend of mine introduced me to the Bug-A-Salt back in June and we chased flies around his back porch for almost two hours. This thing is just plain fun. This is probably another online purchase item. Cost is about $40. As they said in the movie, The Christmas Story…Don’t Shoot Your Eye Out!
Hennessy Safari Hammock – I got into hammocks in 2016 and it carried over to 2017. The Hennessy Safari Hammock is the way to go if you are into lightweight, comfortable camping. This rig is a hammock, a totally screened-in tent with rain fly, a chair and may provide you with a better night’s sleep than you get in your own bed. This thing is big and comfortable! I use it for my canoe and kayak camping and it is a perfect addition to my gear. You can find it online or order it directly from the manufacturer at www.hennessyhammock.com. Cost is around $250.
That is it for the 2017 Christmas Wish List. I hope this helped you with a gift idea for someone on your list. Merry Christmas everyone and have a great time outdoors!