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With a bit more than a week of shopping left before Christmas, I thought I’d share my top ten gift

picks for the hiker in your life.

1.Lifestraw Filter or Bottle - I’m a huge fan of Lifestraw products. I think everyone should own at

least one of the Lifestraw products even if they don’t do outdoors.  I’ve used the straw for

several years but hands down, the Lifestraw bottle is the best water filtration system I’ve used.

Just fill it up and drink, that easy. The filter removes 99.9% of bacteria, and protozoan cysts

from water. $19.99-$39.99

2. Darn Tough Socks - I love my minimalist shoes (Vibram Five Fingers and Merrell Trail Gloves)

but some hikes require more rugged footwear. When the hiking boots come out, Darn Tough

socks go on my feet. Not only are they incredibly comfortable, Darn Tough socks are

guaranteed for life. Cut, burn, tear or just plain wear them out, Darn Tough will send you a new

pair $17-$23

3. Hill People Gear Kit Bag- This bag has become an indispensable part of my hiking/backpacking

gear. Designed to work in conjunction with your current or future backpacks, but also to stand

alone, the Kit bag is made from 500d Cordura, features a comfortable mesh backed H-harness,

three compartments, two with interior pockets. I use my HPG Kit bag to carry all my first line

survival gear (flashlight, first-aid, fire kit, knife, etc). $99

4. Petzlheadlamp - Hands down the best headlamp for the money. I normally carry several lights

but a Petzl headlamp is invaluable when setting up camp in the dark or making your way on the

trail when the stars come out $23-$70

5. Leatherman Wave multi-tool - My Leatherman has done everything from pull splinters (really big

ones), cleaned trout, to fixing broken tent poles. While I normally carry a fixed-blade knife and a

multi-tool, one could very easily get by with just the Leatherman tool for most

hiking/backpacking tasks. $79-$89

6. Adventure Medical KitsUltralight first aid kit - This is one of my “must haves.” At only 6.5 oz, the

.7 kit carries all the basic first aid ‘boo-boo’ items you will need. I have several of these so that I

can just leave them in the packs I use most (HPG Kit bag!). $25

7. aLoksak Waterproof bags - available in more than 10 sizes, the aLoksak re-sealable bags are

what I use to keep my first line gear dry. I have several different sizes in which I carry my fire kit,

a small emergency kit (signal mirror, dock line, big needle, etc) and all my more extensive first

aid and medical items. Have a larger one to hold my cell phone, wallet and other items. These

bags are tough, seal tight, and will keep your gear dry. $8-$25

8. Buff-  Up until I bought my first Buff a few years ago, I used bandanas to cover my head and

face, or wrap around my neck for temperature regulation. I now carry several Buffs with me on

extended trips and use one as a beanie at night to keep my head warm, a neck gaiter to relieve

friction from my pack or as a face mask when weather turns cool. $20-$40

9. Suunto Clipper Compass - Anyone going into the outdoors, especially when backcountry hiking

and backpacking, should carry and know how to use a map and compass. The Suunto Clipper

is a neat little compass that I carry as a backup. It clips right onto the band of my watch so it’s

always available. $20

10. REI Sit Pad- A couple years ago my buddy Scott and I stopped at REI before leaving for a

multi-day hike in South Carolina. While browsing the aisles Scott handed me a little package,

about six inches long and 2 inches in diameter. Turns out that little package is one of the best

darn things I carry in my pack. The REI Sit Pad is a small, inflatable place to park your rump

while eating lunch on the trail, kneeling on while building a fire, or as a makeshift pillow. I use

my Sit Pad more than just about any other item I carry when backpacking. Best $20 you’ll ever

spend.

11. I know I said this would be my top 10 but I just had to include the next item.  While there are

plenty of quality production knives out there, I am a huge fan of Dragon Tech Design Knives.

Custom made in Red Lion, PA, DTD knives are built to perform. I have several DTD knives,

from a little gentleman’s knife with a 1.75 inch blade, up to the DTD Bush Knife with a heavy-

duty 5 inch blade. The DTD Simple knife is, in my opinion, about the perfect hiking/backpacking

fixed-blade. Chisel-ground O1 tool steel is easy to sharpen and holds a wicked edge. I have

used my Simple for nearly every task a knife could be called for, and a few for which some

would use an axe. $90-$300

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