SEATTLE -- With Christmas a little more than two weeks away, the countdown to opening gifts has begun.
Finding presents for the outdoor lovers on your list can be daunting, but we've found some items sure to please them:
--Many are familiar with Wenger, the maker of the Genuine Swiss Army Knife. Now the company has come out with the Eiger ($159), a highly technical hiking boot that offers a durable, impact-absorbing Spydraflex system that reduces foot stress, and has a molded toe ram and heel. Plus, it is waterproof and keeps your feet protected from the elements. The Eiger is available at Woodinville Ski & Sport, www.amazon.com or www.WengerFootwear.com.
--A great way to light up the trails and campsite at night is the compact Energizer Night Strike Light ($79.99). Don't let the small size of this lightweight flashlight fool you, as it is very powerful and features multiple lighting modes. The waterproof LED provides up to 40 lumens of light output, and an 8-hour run time on maximum setting using one AA battery. Available at most Cabela's, Target, Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Lowe's stores, www.energizerlightingproducts.com.
--A decent fire starter is crucial to getting those flames going on a camping trip, and the Coghlan's Magnesium Fire Starter ($5.96) is something every outdoorsman should carry in his or her pack. It provides enough shavings to start hundreds of fires. It can be purchased at REI, Cabela's and Wal-Mart stores, www.amazon.com or www.coghlans.com.
--The Rogue 2 ICON ($47.99) is the ideal long-lasting LED flashlight, with an ergonomic design that is virtually indestructible. It produces a smooth, intense beam and provides hours of useful light with an output of 100 lumens. You can find it at most Fry's Electronics and Radio Shack or www.opticsplanet.com.
--On your next trip up the snowy hillsides, leave the inner tube or plastic sled at home, and bring along the lightweight Zipfy ($39.95). This new-wave, 3.5-pound sled provides total control and safety for the downhill rider, with legs and feet in front, and the turning capability allows the rider to maneuver easily around obstacles. The sled is available at Izilla Toys (206-322-8697) and Retro Active Kids (206-763-1665) in Seattle, www.amazon.com or www.zipfy.com.
--The go-anywhere Sherpa Chair ($29.95) has shoulder straps that allow it to be carried just like a backpack to keep hands free to hold other items, like a fishing pole or tackle box. It's the perfect lawn, camping, fishing, hunting or sporting chair. Details: www.sherpachair.com.
--The Cabela's Outdoor Adventures video game for Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2 or 3 and PC ($19.99-$39.99) is the perfect gift for a hunter or angler who can get a great simulated outdoor experience without leaving the house. It has North America's top 50 fishing and hunting destinations, and offers realistic images on big-game hunting, fishing and bird shooting. Available at GameStop, Best Buy, Target and Walmart, www.amazon.com or www.activision.com.
--The Sitka Coldfront Jacket ($529) and Pant ($449) are the new revolution of concealment for hunters looking to blend into the woods and fields. A team of experts came up with a pattern that breaks up the human body to prevent prey like deers from recognizing the hunter as a predator. The breathable water- and wind-proof fabrics give a person the ultimate comfort in the worst of elements. Details: www.sitkagear.com.
--"Fishes of the Columbia River" ($16.50), written by fisheries biologist and author Dennis Dauble, has gathered his 30-plus years of professional experience in one of the most informative books on the fish species that swim the mighty river.
The book offers historical studies, covers more than 60 fish species, and looks at current science, ecology, environmental factors and fish behavior. Sport anglers will find this book helpful. Details: 800-880-3573 or www.sandpointonline.com/catalog/.
--The REI Shuksan jacket with eVent Fabric ($299) came in very handy on a rainy summer salmon fishing day off the ocean in Westport. The jacket offered complete waterproof protection, and the fabric's unique membrane structure allowed the sweat vapor to escape easily. This jacket is also a perfect fit for other outdoor activities such as skiing, hiking and camping. Details: www.rei.com.
--Duracell's Smart Power group of Lithium Ion Rechargeable chargers ($19.99-$49.99) are the perfect solutions to keeping your cellphone, iPhone, iPod, digital camera or Blackberry charged on your next remote outdoor adventure. They are available at mass merchandisers, drug and hardware stores or www.duracell.com.
--The Sperry Top-Sider Ventus ($110-$120) is a must for the avid sailor. The shoe offers maximum breathability and water compatibly in extreme conditions. The hydrogrip rubber outsole keeps your feet firmly planted to the deck. Available at West Marine (206-292-8174) and Fisheries Supply Company (206-632-4462) in Seattle or www.sperrytopsider.com.