Last minute gift ideas for outdoor enthusiasts

Looking for, say, essential “thrifty” options for last-minute Christmas gifts for that outdoor enthusiast on your list?

Here are a trio of ideas based on years of self-inflicted and life-threatening experiences.

Threading glove(s)

Do you know someone, probably nicknamed “Lefty”, who is mortally challenged in their blade skills?

Not to mention names, but someone like an outdoor columnist who cut off the tip of his left thumb while working part-time in a leather goods factory in Santa Barbara while in college. ?

It gave a whole new meaning to the phrase “I left a little part of me at Styled Steer”.

I digress.

Before my first trip to Alaska, I was told to pack one of these cut-resistant gloves for chain filleting and fish cleaning at the lodge.

It’s basically a thick, flexible glove with interwoven metal or carbon threads that keep your fingers from getting into the vacuum-sealed bags with the salmon and halibut.

Also great for practicing your slicing and dicing skills in the kitchen.

The glove works right or left, or for terminally ill people you might want to have two.

Notes: Not foolproof for punctures, but close.


Because most have a relatively rough surface, this helps when handling slippery fish.

And although it is relatively thick, DO NOT use it as an oven mitt. These metal wires heat up quite quickly.

They are available at most sporting goods stores or online and cost between $15 and $20.

42 Gallon 3 Mil Thick Black Plastic Contractor Bags

To laugh.

I defy you.

If you have mud or grime, be it sand and seaweed on waders, clam scoops or rakes; okra mud on boots or shoes; all your soggy gear and soggy clothes after an outing or camping trip, these beauties are the answer.

There’s always one or two in my truck.

A contractor’s bag also works as a waterproof laundry bag or trash bag, as a blanket in camp for gear, even as an improvised rain poncho if you cut holes for the arms and head.

Do you have children?

When her daughter Meghan was a tiny teenager, she walked around using one as her makeshift waders, until there was a (minor) puncture.

Laugh now. You will thank me later.

Available at almost any hardware or home improvement store, or online.

Cost: $15 to $20 for a roll of 20.

magnet on a stick

Lost a wheel nut, screw, nail, fish hooks, knife or other steel tool in the snow, grass, bushes, stream or sand?

Probing with one of these extendable shaft magnetic pickup tools will grab it.

Also works in reverse!

Use a steel tool to find it if you lose the stretchy magnet in the sand or tall grass.

And you can use the commercial end to hold parts or hooks while you work on a repair or tie a fly to the light of a lantern.

One downside to magnets is that they don’t work on aluminum or other non-ferrous metals.

Available at hardware stores, home improvement stores and online, often in assortments of varying lengths and strengths.

Cost: $15 to $20, depending on how much he raises. Some are rated up to 20+ pounds (anyone need to pick up a shot put?) – and size, clip-on, pen-style, and also depending on assortment in a multipack.

Let’s move on.

ON THE FISHING FRONT: Sites near Salem that have recently been stocked with rainbow trout include: Timber Linn Lake (1,000 8+ inches) and Waverly Lake (850 keeper and about 150 giant rainbow trout), all two in Albany; and Salem’s Walling Pond, 16th and McGilchrist, 16th parking lot, (1,300 keepers and 100 spawning trout).

SHOW AND SALE: The Portland-based Oregon Bass & Panfish Club has sent out an alert to members about the annual NW Fall Fishing Show. The club will have a table in the living room to distribute information and answer questions about the largest non-competitive organization for warm water fishing enthusiasts in the Pacific Northwest. In the interest of full disclosure, I am a member of the club. The show is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Gresham Ford, 1999 Powell Blvd., Gresham. Free entry. Although something of a come-on, given the location, with vehicle test drives and a display of Nixon’s Marine fishing boats, the focus is on fishing hobbies. One of the features is a fishing gear “garage sale” where you can buy and sell used tackle and gear. Fair warning: if you’re like me, you usually come back with more than you brought. There will also be hands-on fishing seminars, raffles and a silent auction.

THOUGHTS OF THE WEEK: Thought of the week: Most dangerous words while driving in the woods: “It doesn’t look that deep.” The second most dangerous? “I’m sure it’s the turn.”

Contact Henry via email at [email protected]