Snow is on the ground. Lights are twinkling in neighborhood trees. Time to find gifts for the outdoors lovers on your holiday list. Here are a few of my favorite things from this year, a half-dozen holiday gift potentials for the gear junkies among your family and friends.
Leatherman Skeletool: Many multi-tools are chock full with functions you don't need. The Skeletool turns that on its head by offering just the basics--a stainless-steel blade, pliers, a bit driver, and a bottle opener/carabiner clip. That’s it. It is a sturdy little unit that weighs five ounces. I use it more than any other multi-tool on my shelf. $69.95, rei.com
PlatyPreserve Wine Bladder: A bit of merlot around the campfire is never a bad idea. Cascade Designs' PlatyPreserve wine bladder offers an alternative to touting glass bottles into the woods. The strong plastic vessels screw shut tightly. They preserve your white or red wine by limiting oxygen and light exposure to the liquid in tow. From $10.36, backcountry.com
AMK Travel Medic Kit: Made for one person traveling to Mexico, the Caribbean or Europe, the Travel Medic is a grab-and-go envelope with most all the meds and wound-care items you might need on a getaway. It is made to treat minor injuries and ease discomforts associated with travel. The kit includes antacid tablets, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, antihistamine pills, moleskin patches for blisters, alcohol swabs, bandages, antibiotic cream, and several other small necessities for a trip. $10, rei.com
Run for Life: This unorthodox book--subtitle: "The anti-aging, anti-injury, super fitness plan to keep you running to 100"--is a blueprint to staying healthy on the run for your whole life long. I like it's alternative approach--and varying opinions--on training advice and running techniques. Written by Roy Wallack, a colorful fitness columnist for the Los Angles Times, the book includes anecdotes that range from the Boston Marathon to the Rift Valley in Kenya. $10.17, amazon.com
Defy Bags: "Where do old billboards go when they die?" That's the tagline question at Defy Bags, a Chicago company that makes a line of custom-stitched messenger bags from used billboard material. The reinforced vinyl--procured, stitched, and designed in the United States--works for Defy's raw, artsy aesthetic. An industrial printer inks each bag with a custom motif. From $115, defybags.com
Princeton Tec Swerve: Want to guarantee your loved one will be seen almost 100 percent of the time from behind while biking at night? The Swerve, a blinker that clips on a messenger bag or mounts under a bike's saddle, employs a pair of half-watt LEDs to dance and flash while pedaling on night-time streets. I use mine every time I ride after dark. $21.91, amazon.com
--Stephen Regenold writes about outdoors gear at www.gearjunkie.com.