By Adam Blauert, Modesto Bee
Black Friday has come and gone, but most people still have a lot of gifts to buy. If you’re looking for a gift for an outdoors person, here are a few suggestions:
• HEADLAMP — Few $20 gadgets are as handy as a headlamp. It’s basically a small flashlight attached to an adjustable elastic strap you can wear on your forehead. Not only does it free both your hands, it automatically points exactly where you’re looking. You can find them for $15 at any store with recreation equipment or hardware. I’ve used mine for hiking in the dark, finding lost items in a dark garage, mowing the lawn after work during the winter, and performing emergency auto repairs at night.
• TREKKING POLES — It took me far too long to get over the belief that trekking poles are “for older folks.” Poles improve balance and
stability. Best of all, they allow you to transfer much of the wear and tear of steep downhill hikes from your legs and knees to your arms and upper body. Reliable brands will cost about $50 and they come in separate sizes for men and women. Leki Poles
• FIRST AID KIT — Check your first aid kit; probably most of the items inside it have expired. While on a long distance hike this summer, one of the members of our party suffered a severe headache. When we opened the first-aid kit, we found that although everything looked clean and new, the pain relief medication was few years out of date. There’s nothing worse than needing lip balm and finding it hard as a rock. I updated my kit this summer and found it far cheaper to buy a new one than to replace all the expired items.
• MAPS AND BOOKS — Maps and guidebooks provide the thrill of new adventures. Visit Footprint Press (www.footprintpress.com) for a wide selection for NY State. “200 Waterfalls” is a wildly popular guidebook.
• AUDIOBOOKS — Audiobooks, available on CD and in downloadable formats for iPods and other music devices (try www.audible.com or www.blackstoneaudio.com), allow you to read while driving, washing dishes, cooking, doing yard work or hiking a boring bit of trail. Over the past three years, I’ve reclaimed hours that would otherwise have been wasted by listening to more than 75 audio books.