Christmas outdoors art 11 29

Experts at Hunter’s Haven, in Tupelo, say top selections for outdoors enthusiasts this year include lots of warm clothes in advanced fabrics, bags for carrying each pursuit’s respective gear, new advances in fish-cleaning technology from Bubba Blade and the best treestand safety equipment found anywhere.

Wool socks, flannel blankets, high-performance camo clothing and handy tools galore top the suggested gifts list for those shopping for hunting and fishing enthusiasts this year. George Partlow, of Hunter’s Haven, in Tupelo, said this season’s most-sought items begin with warmth and comfort and extend to tools, decoys and much more.

A good base of warmth and comfort begins with effective footwear, and the Drake Wick N Warm sock and liner system may be the very best to be found. It’s constructed of Merino wool and advanced performance fabrics in a two-layer system ideal for keeping feet dry and the wearer comfortable.

Long sits in cold shooting houses are made much more comfortable when hunters add a few creature comforts of their own. Flannel blankets that are plenty warm but easily packable are just right for wrapping up against the wind.

One of the best tools relatively new on the market and continually proven effective at its job is the Bubba Blade line of filet knives. Bubba Blade knives all feature a unique gripping system that make them easy and safe to use in a way other filet knives just don’t. They feature flexible blades made of excellent steel that holds an edge like nothing else, and they come in a wide variety of sizes. While the 12-inch standard filet knife has made itself known throughout the fish-cleaning world, the company’s offerings have begun to extend to more high-volume production tools like their new electric filet knife, available in either lithium-ion rechargeable or AC-powered models.

For pursuits that require a number of smaller parts and pieces in the field, like waterfowl hunting or any outdoor adventure involving kids, blind bags from Banded are a great item. Invented years ago for hauling boxed and loose shotgun shells, calls, spare chokes and assorted other small gear from the truck to the duck blind and back, these all-terrain accessory bags have come a long way, and the latest offerings from Banded are an ideal fit for price and function.

The gift of safetyFor anyone hunting from an elevated platform, a handy safety harness has always been a must-have rather than an afterthought, but manufacturers of these harnesses continue to improve their gear for both fit and function. Offerings from companies like Hunter Safety System include features that make the harnesses easier to use and more effective in their moments of truth.

Today, hunters have the option to use garments that are made with the harness gear integrated. A wide selection of vests and pants that come with the straps sewn in place eliminate the primary objection to the gear’s use: that of sorting out a tangle of straps before every climb.

Furthermore, companies like Hunter Safety System offer a static line that is attached above the stand and anchored at the bottom of the tree prior to a stand’s use. A hunter wearing an appropriate harness or harness garment clips his life line into the static line system and is thereby secured before his feet ever leave the ground.

For any hunter, hiker, camper or other enthusiast whose pursuits involve a good bit of walking a backpack with a hydration bladder can be a real game changer. CamelBak is the best-known brand in this space and their gear is outstanding, but there are a number of similar providers as well.

This is not a backpack with a hard water bottle that tucks into a pocket, this is a backpack with a 2-liter bladder inside, with an attached hose that runs out the top of the pack then through loops along one strap, then culminates in a straw-type fitting for direct drinking. It’s a great way to make sure the user has water close at hand. Whether they’re sitting in a treestand or hiking through the woods, this is something that’ll keep them well watered since they can have a sip whenever they want it along the way.

Water near to hand

Because it fits into their pack, it doesn’t create empty bottles to crackle and drop. The user doesn’t have to stop and dig in their pack to get their water out or put it back in, so the handiness of it keeps them from ever getting thirsty and miserable.

When it comes to bug-repelling, the Thermacell is better than any sort of spray-on, wipe-on, rub-on repellent ever invented. Anyone who hunts, fishes or does much of anything outdoors, especially in the spring and fall, would love a Thermacell, or love another one, or a box of refills or all three. The Thermacell uses a little bottle of butane and a tiny ember of flame to heat a pad treated with mosquito repellent. The pads last a few hours, the bottles of fuel last several dozen hours and the device itself lasts until it’s lost it or backed over it with the truck. The whole thing is a self-contained unit that can be carried around or strap into a holster, even when it’s running, and it really does work.

Sock it to them

For those covering significant ground in their quests, real hiking socks make a world of difference. Not the $6-per-gross athletic tube socks, real hiking socks are designed for real hiking and are a game-changer on any hunt or other excursion that involves more than the minimal amount of walking. Built to keep feet cool, dry and blister-free, real hiking socks are a treat and well worth an investment.

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