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December 2010 cover image The Oil Spill & Texas

Gear Up for the Holidays

The 2010 Texas Parks & Wildlife Holiday Gear Guide.

By Russell A. Graves

With a slow economy tightening holiday belts, outdoor manufacturers have rallied to refine products and develop innovations that help enhance our outdoor experience with value in mind.

Never before have so many outdoor products been available at such reasonable prices with such a high level of craftsmanship. Considering both cost and quality, we present the 2010 Texas Parks & Wildlife Gear Guide.

The following are items meant for utilitarian use by a broad stripe of outdoor enthusiasts. In this year’s guide you’ll find items that campers, hikers, bikers, hunters, photographers and anglers will all find appealing. Some are unique to a particular activity, but most are useful for a variety of purposes, making them valuable all year long.

With items starting at less than $10, this year’s guide features a variety of products with your budget in mind. So pick one for yourself and another for a gift — your wallet will thank you.

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Coleman Retro Rechargeable Full-Size Lantern

This lantern is a cool one. Made with the same styling as the original Coleman lantern, this retro lantern features a bright and cool-to-the-touch 11-watt fluorescent bulb and a rechargeable battery that lasts up to nine hours. The lantern recharges with a 120-volt AC outlet or with a 12-volt DC adapter. When it’s time to sleep, the lantern even has a built-in night light.

www.coleman.com

$39.99

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Bushnell Backtrack Point>5

Based on the popular Backtrack personal GPS system, the Point >5 is a feature-rich device that’s made to take the mystique out of global positioning technologies and simple navigation with a push of a button. Not only does the Point >5 provide an easy way to find your way in the wilderness, it also features a digital compass and latitude and longitude readings, as well as the current time, temperature and altitude. You can even store five locations so you can find your way back to your car, camp, trailhead or hotel.

www.bushnell.com

$89.99

Primos Rechargeable Spotlight

At 15 million candlepower, this is one powerful spotlight. With cord-free convenience, the light is a great accessory for the boater, camper or creative outdoor photographer. The easily replaceable halogen bulb creates a tight, powerful beam, and the battery recharges with either a 110-volt wall charger or a 12-volt in-vehicle charger. An ergonomic carrying handle makes toting easy, and the broad bezel props the light for hands-free use.

www.primos.com

$49.99

Eastman Outdoors Gourmet Grill

Do you subscribe to the notion that food tastes better when cooked outdoors? Then Eastman Outdoors has a product for you. Whether you tailgate at ballgames, cook while camping or test your culinary skills in the backyard, the Eastman Outdoors Gourmet Grills fit your needs. While several configurations exist, most grill sets consist of the Revolution Burner with a regulator hose assembly and safety shut-off that connects to a propane bottle. From there, choose from a variety of pots and woks for cooking everything from deep-fried turkeys to your favorite stir-fry.

www.eastmanoutdoors.com

From $159.99

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Sanuk Rasta Walkabout Sandals

Here’s a gift for the environmentally conscious: the Sanuk Rasta Walkabout Sandals. Handmade from 85 percent flax and 15 percent jute, these sandals use recycled and sustainable materials throughout, including a latex and cork footbed, a rubber and cork outsole that’s made from recycled material and a soft inner liner that’s also made from recycled material. Sanuk’s motto is “Helping the environment, one comfortable step at a time.” Walkabouts help you walk that mantra.

www.sanuk.com

$58

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Plano Bucket Topper Stowaway

The Plano Bucket Topper StowAway is an inexpensive little product that yields big value. Designed to fit on top of a standard 5-gallon bucket, the topper is a compartmentalized solution to provide extra storage on the lake, in the shop or in the blind. This product has 14 storage compartments and provides additional storage under the two removable trays.

www.planomolding.com

$8.99

SmartWool Socks

I know, you’re probably underwhelmed at the thought of socks under the tree, but have you ever tried SmartWool socks? Made chiefly from Merino wool and a little nylon, SmartWool socks are carefully constructed with extra wool on strategic areas of the heel and forefoot for shock and abrasion protection. These socks also feature a four-degree fit system, so your socks stay put. The best part of these socks? They do wonders to regulate body temperature, moisture and the associated odor that you find with socks made from other materials. If you hike, camp, hunt, fish or walk, you need these socks.

www.smartwool.com

From $11.99

Redhead Stretch Rainwear Jacket

Made for people who spend their time outdoors, this jacket screams comfort. Made from a 100 percent waterproof fabric, the jacket is breathable, lightweight and quite portable as it packs down to a bag about the size of a water bottle. The jacket comes with a drawstring-adjustable hood and two zippered front pockets and is made from a material that stretches four ways for freedom of movement and comfort. It comes in a variety of colors as well as popular camouflage patterns; companion pants are available separately.

www.basspro.com

$69.99

Danner Pronghorn Boots

A standard for hunters, the Danner Pronghorn boot has a new design for 2010. Made from full-grain leather, the boot features a 100 percent waterproof lining, fatigue-fighting footbeds and arch supports, an aggressive tread pattern for superior traction and durability and an 8-inch boot height for superior ankle support and protection. At only 3.5 pounds per pair, these lightweight boots are made for years of reliable use and are available in a variety of camo patterns and insulation amounts.

www.danner.com

$180.00

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Crooked Horn Outfitters Backpack Trail Light

This product falls into the “Why didn’t I think about that?” category. This ingenious little light attaches to your backpack straps, binocular straps or shirt pocket and is stabilized by your torso for steady, hands-free light whenever you need it. The Backpack Trail Light has an anti-glare shield that preserves your night vision and depth perception, and has pivoting bulbs that illuminate 180 degrees around you.

www.crookedhorn.com

$29.99

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SealLine Baja Dry Bag

Just about anyone who ventures outdoors needs a way to keep equipment dry. Whether it’s protecting a change of clothes or camera gear, hikers, campers, anglers and hunters all have the same basic need for dry gear. With SealLine’s family of Baja Dry Bags, ample, watertight storage is available in an affordable bag. The bags are made with heavy-grade vinyl sides and an even heavier bottom, and the seams are scrim-reinforced for long-lasting toughness. The dry bag seals at the top with a roll-type closure; the attached D-ring lets you secure the bag to a kayak or truck or another piece of gear. Available in sizes from 5-liter to 55-liter in black, blue, green, orange or yellow.

www.cascadedesigns.com

From $16.95

Yeti Coolers – Tundra Series

This is the gold standard in coolers. Yeti touts its coolers as tough enough to withstand a grizzly bear attack and rightfully so — the molded polyethylene body has insulation two inches thick and is made of food-grade material. The lid has three inches of insulation; a rubber gasket locks in the cold. Add no-skid rubber feet, nylon rope handles and T-latch keeper straps, and it’s plain to see why the Yeti is a durable choice to keep your food cold in the field. Available in capacities from 35 to 250 quarts.

www.yeticoolers.com

From $239.99

Day 6 Outdoors PlotWatcher Time-Lapse HD Video Camera

While game cameras have been around for a while, this little device takes the technology to a new plateau. The Day 6 Outdoors PlotWatcher Time-Lapse HD Video Camera doesn’t work on a trigger mechanism; instead, it automatically takes images every five to 10 seconds, producing a 10-minute HD video, so you can monitor the activity around an area from dawn till dusk for up to seven days. The images are recorded on a USB drive; the package comes complete with viewing software. While valuable to hunters, this product also can be used by nature watchers and wildlife photographers.

www.plot-watcher.com

$199.99

Browning Tactical Hunter Control Point Light

A tough little flashlight, the Control Point boasts all-aluminum construction and is sealed with O-rings for water resistance. Its bright, 175-lumen bulb shines a beam 150 yards. It has three brightness settings and two flashing modes (one of which strobes SOS for emergency situations), and battery life is extended thanks to advanced digital circuitry that makes efficient use of its two lithium batteries. With a deep pocket clip and lock-out switch, this flashlight is an easy carry at only 5 1/2” long.

www.browning.com

$74.99

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White River Fly Shop Lost Lake Open-Front Float Tube

Fishing from a float tube is a blast. There’s something special about being down low in the water and being able to move about slowly and quietly. The open-front float tube from White River Fly Shop is a feature-packed angling solution that includes a tough 420-denier nylon construction outer shell and rugged PVC air bladders. With built-in tackle storage pouches, quick-release seating, a casting apron, a rod holder and a passel of other features, the tube lets you stay out on the lake all day.

www.basspro.com

$89.99

Canon Underwater Camera Housing

Want to take your outdoor photographer to a new creative level? An underwater housing can open up a whole new world. Once thought to be the realm of only the most experienced adventure photographer, underwater and wet-weather photography is now available to the masses with digital photography and low-cost housings. Made with clear polycarbonite, these economical housings are made for Canon’s line of point-and-shoot cameras. The external buttons and dials allow access to all the camera’s functions. Most housings are submersible to up to 130 feet and allow for external accessories such as an underwater flash.

www.canonusa.com

From $157.00

OtterBox Defender Phone Cover

Smart phones are definitely the rage, and cell phones, as a rule, are an indispensable piece of outdoor equipment to connect you and your loved ones (as well as to provide emergency help). Because of dirt penetration and rough use, smart phones are susceptible to failure in the field. The OtterBox Defender Phone Cover fits popular smart phone models like the iPhone and Blackberry, protecting the phone from dust and the shocks associated with dropping the phone.

www.otterbox.com

$49.95