Best gifts for outdoor enthusiasts… We like #5 :)

Holiday gifts for silent sports enthusiasts

Dave Foley
Friday, November 01, 2013 11:38 AM

Will they like this? Do they need this? Will they use this? These questions nag at me when I’m shopping. I don’t want to give my friends stuff they won’t use so it takes me a long time to make a selection. If you choose items from this list for the silent sports enthusiasts in your life, I feel certain they will be put to good use.

 1) Thermacell Mosquito Repellent

It looks like a big cell phone and is powered by a single butane cartridge, but when it’s turned on, mosquitoes, black flies and no-see-ums vanish. The instructions say it clears them out in a 15-by-15-foot-square area, and that seems about right. It might not work on a windy day, but it sure made our campsite bug free when turned on. They are available for $25 to $30.

2) GoPro camera

Last year we were sea kayaking off the Brittany Coast and two guys in our party were wearing a GoPro cameras. Both had just purchased them, but after a few trials, they were producing great video. At night we would review the footage and relive our paddling adventures. These cameras, of which there are several variations, sell for $200 to $300, not including accessories.

3) Cycling leg warmers

Often at the start of a bike ride on cold days, your legs are covered, yet two hours later the temperature has shot up and you’re sweating. Rather than have to remove a pair of pants, with leg warmers you just pull off the sleeves covering you from your thighs to knee or a longer version that goes to your ankle. Leg warmers are small enough that you can stuff them in the pockets of your jersey or in a small fanny pack. Depending on the fabric and length, plan to spend  $20 to $70.

4) Cross Country Ski Bones

These flexible rubber or plastic  pieces fit around the edges of your skis and hold them so the bases of the skis aren’t rubbing. Using a unit of Ski Bones at each end of your skis also makes it easier to carry and store them. A unit of Ski Bones retails for about $5.

5) Crazy Creek chair

I bought my first one of these about 15 years ago and it ranks as one of my all-time best camping purchases. The wilderness may be wonderful but when all there is are logs, rocks and the ground to sit on, you really miss a soft seat. The layer of foam on this fold-up seat makes for comfortable sitting and insulates you from the cold damp ground and it slips easily into a backpack. There are several versions ranging in price from $40 to $60.

6) Lightweight snowshoes

Weighing just 2 ½ pounds per pair, these aluminum snowshoes, outfitted with titanium crampons, and only 25-inches long, are what folks that like to run through the snow choose.

You don’t have to be a racer to make good use of these, though. They’re great for just walking on packed snow trails or in the backcountry. Save your bigger snowshoes for when you’re tackling the really deep drifts. Lightweight snowshoes will handle most of what our Midwest winters serve up. Though they sell for up to $300, they will last for decades.

7) Specialized bike frame bag

I’m one of those cyclists who nearly crashes if I try to fumble with a zipper or undo Velcro straps to get a snack. But not with this bike frame bag that fits on the top tube just in front of the seat. Its magnetized flap and mesh cover allows me to eat-on-the-ride without stopping or crashing. It is totally worth the $30 price tag.

8) Spot Locator

Each year my wife and I head into the backcountry, miles out of cell phone coverage. Our only way of communicating with the outside world is through our Spot Locator. It’s a one-way connection enabling us to send an email to alert others that we are O.K. and allows them to track us using GPS. We like knowing that if we had a real emergency, we could press the red SOS/911 button and have someone come to our rescue. Spot Locators sell for about $100.

Dave Foley would rather clean outhouses than wander through shopping malls trying to decide what gifts to buy. He hopes this gift list will make the process less painful for you.  

What’s the best car-camping chair?

What’s the best car-camping chair?.

Thursday, March 15, 2012 3

Q: What’s the best car-camping chair?

I’m in the market for a new chair for car camping. I’m open to anything from a Crazy Creek to a folding frame, as long as it’s comfortable and durable.

By: Question from: The Editors, Santa Fe, New Mexico


Crazy Creek Original Chair

Crazy Creek Original Chair Photo: Courtesy of Crazy Creek
A:Ah, nothing says car camping like a good camp chair! Add in a fire and a little Maker’s Mark, and all is right with the world.For car camping, Crazy Creek has two lines of chairs that may appeal to you. The Crazy Legs Beach ($41), which is part of their family camping collection, has an aluminum frame that folds down compactly and weighs only 2 pounds 10 ounces. It sits low to the ground—the seat height is five inches high—which makes it comfortable for sitting around a fire but won’t work as well if you bring a camp table.

By comparison, Crazy Creek’s Original Chair ($48) is essentially a chair with no legs. Set it on the ground, a log, or a picnic table, and you’ll have a comfortable back and dry seat.

How to pick the right chair.

Crazy Creek Chair

HEX 2.0 LongBack Chair

You must ask yourself that simple question. How am I going to be using the chair most often?

I can think of several instances that I would not be without my chair. My favorite place to use a chair is in the backcountry on an extended camping trip deep in the mountains. Is that realistic? If I am lucky, I do manage to get a couple of good length backcountry trips in during the summer, but the way I most use my chair must be my daughter’s sporting events, concerts and school programs. I find that the chair resides in the trunk of my car, ready at a moments notice for that unexpected event when I will be the envy of the other people who forgot to bring their chair. I love my HEX 2.0 LongBack chair. I can roll it up and keep it in the trunk, it provides the back support I desire on those awful bleachers and it is ideal when I do manage to find myself hiking into that backcountry lake for a luxurious break from the rigors of day-to-day life.

When you decide it is time for a new chair, ask yourself that simple question.

I know that Crazy Creek has the right chair for you.