As you long-time readers know, I’m the guy with the gear who actually uses it through my role as a Search and Rescue member. Throughout the year I do video reviews of gear I’ve purchased or been given to test, so watch for those here on this site. Here’s a list of gear I actually like, so if you’re looking for a gift for the gear-head on your list, let these ideas guide you.

Gerber Center-Drive

Gerber’s Centerdrive took the gear world by storm with it’s innovative bit driver design. That placed the bits in the center of the tool when deployed rather than off to one side like traditional multi tools. It has quickly become a favorite of anyone needing serious work done and only wanting one tool to do it. You also get one-hand opening full-size knife and pliers, a file, serrated blade and other essentials. Futhermore, it’s made in the USA.


SOL Traverse Survival Kit

One of the newer survival kits on the market, the SOL Traverse survival kit covers 12 to 24 hour survival needs in one compact package. You get what you need for shelter, fire signaling and water purification. The container also doubles as a digging tool. I carry SOL kits as part of my hiking kit and enjoy having essential items for an unexpected overnight or spat of bad weather all in the top pocket of my pack. The Traverse may not satisfy the hardcore outdoors person, but is ideal for someone looking for the necessities to toss into their pack for day-hikes or short hunts.


Black Rifle Coffee

If you have any sort of social media account, there’s a good chance you’ve seen some ads for the high-octane and good-humored folks at Black Rifle Coffee Company. The Veteran-owned premium roasters have a knack for creating media content with no shortage of firepower and absolutely fantastic coffee. I work an overnight shift for my regular job and I am somewhat picky about the coffee I use and how I brew it. My life changed when a coworker brought in some Black Rifle Coffee. The flavor is incredible and of course it’s as strong as you need it to be. The company also sells a variety of mugs, tumblers and brewing gear for your needs whether you’re brewing at home or camping.


Gerber Sharkbelly

I received the Sharkbelly right after my wedding and it has been a wonderful tool. Having just got married a few month ago, my house was chock-full of boxes from gifts and wedding supplies. I spent plenty of time cutting tape and cardboard in order to get everything into the recycling bins. The Sharkbelly’s sheepsfoot blade makes everyday cutting chores a breeze and the 420 HC stainless steel blade keeps a good edge without being too hard to sharpen. It’s also made in the USA, which is a big plus. The Sharkbelly is a great choice for someone needing a lightweight cutting tool for everyday carry or work on the job site.


Readyman Cards

What do you get the person who (supposedly) has everything? Chances are a Readyman card would be the perfect stocking stuffer. Readyman cards cover a variety of tools for someone’s wallet, survival kit, fishing kit, range bag or bugout bag. You can fit cards in your wallet or dissemble them and carry them in a survival tin, pouch or wherever else you want.

Whether you’re a man or a woman, if you’re reading this site we know you want the best gear out there. Valentine’s Day is coming up. Who wants a box of chocolate, I mean, really? A piece or two, maybe. But I’d much rather have a sharp new knife or a ram’s head bottle opener. Take a look at these Valentine’s Day gift ideas for your outdoor gearhead and let us know which you chose.

Vortex Ram’s Horn Bottle Opener

Vortex, the fine optics company, created a bottle opener that looks like a bighorn sheep horn. It works really well too. It looks cool and is fun to use. ($13)

Pine Tar Soap

My man has a big, full beard. It can get scratchy at times, even though I love it. There’s this soap that’s been made the same way since 1878. It’s literally made from pine tar and smells like a campfire. The soap–there’s also shampoo–conditions a man’s beard. People who use it say it doesn’t dry their skin out like other soap, it smells good and it lathers well. I’m lucky that a store near where I work stocks it, but you can order it online if you can’t find it near you. (about $4 for a 3.25-ounce soap bar; about $10 for 8 ounces of shampoo)

Rak Magnetic Wristband

I want one of these Rak Magnetic Wristbands for myself! How many times have you been trying to hang a picture or screw in a bookcase or something like that and you put the screws or nails in your pocket. Then you have to take your free hand off whatever you’re doing and dig around until you find the tiny thing. There’s a better way! This wristband is embedded with 10 strong magnets, making the entire wrist a work zone for holding small metal items. ($13)


SOG Baton

We already wrote about the SOG multi-tool that can be turned into a belt buckle. We heard about their new Baton series at SHOT Show. It’s not quite ready to be released to the general public yet, so this may be a better gift for a birthday later in the year or Christmas.  They are small multi-tools with a minimalist design. They’re meant to have all of the functionality of a full size multi-tool but in a smaller, more discreet form. They’re more travel-friendly and even work-place friendly because it’s not so obvious you’re packing a bladed tool. Shown in the photo is a Q1 Baton. This comes with a ballpoint pen, bottle opener, flat screwdriver and scissors for $54. There’s also a Q2, Q3 and Q4 with various increasingly advanced functions. The Q4 has pliers, gripper, soft wire cutter, straight blade, file, can opener, small and medium flat screwdrivers, bottle opener and magnetic ratchet driver plus magnetic 12-piece hex bit kit for $120.

If you’re anything like me, you probably enjoy having your phone around when you’re hiking or camping. I like mine for taking pictures and checking in with my family by text and checking my email if I happen to be in an area with cell service. I don’t want to have to worry about running out of battery or lugging around an extra device for charging. The solar panel chargers are great and they work, but sometimes I want to keep my packing light and simple.

This backpack does that by charging my devices right from the backpack. That’s right, a backpack that charges devices! It’s available in black, pink and gray, light blue and gray, tropical blue, gray, and white and black, it’s even fairly water proof. It’s a stylish and useful pack for a day bag and I really liked the fact that BirkSun gives you a money back refund if you’re not happy with the bag after 50 days.

The bags are TSA approved (nice for plane travel) and charge devices as fast as a wall outlet. The website says that every 3 minutes the solar panels are in sunlight they will generate 1% smartphone battery power. From wall outlets, the battery inside the back will be recharged 1% every minute. Too bad, but the bags can’t recharge laptops. however, if I just want to take a photo or check the time or whatever, my laptop being charged is not my biggest concern. Take this bag to the beach or to a festival, on a hike or just walking around campus, and never worry about whether there’s an outlet at hand or not. Wish I would have had this when I went to a big music festival and had to plan my day around what bands I didn’t mind missing so that I could hang out in the technology tent and get an outlet!

Check out the BirkSun bags and get one for your gear lover for $130, $170, or $200, depending on the style you get.

Image courtesy of

Know an outdoor enthusiast, wilderness worker or tactical pro? These items will be perfect for stuffing their stocking or putting under their tree!

For the Utilitarian

CRKT  Homefront

A problem that has plagued many users of folding knifes is that they are difficult to clean after hard use in the outdoors. The CRKT Homefront gives the user to completely strip down the knife for cleaning without any tools. A lever and wheel built into the knife allow the handle to split apart, freeing the blade and allowing access to the interior or the handle scales. The Ken Onion designed AUS 8 drop point blade gives good cutting power and edge retention for utility tasks. Rain, mud and everything in between won’t stop this blade from performing.

Mechanix Wolf Gray Fast-Fit Gloves

I’ve been using the wolf gray Fast-Fit gloves for a few months now both in Shadow Fox gear reviews and in Search and Rescue. They give good hand protection whether handling ropes, knives or kindling. My favorite thing about these gloves compared to the original Mechanix gloves is that I don’t need to move or take off watches or bracelets when wearing the gloves. Look for a full review on Shadow Fox soon!

Wild Hedgehog tactical base MED Kit

A good medical kit is essential to any kit whether you’re at the office, job site or range. The WHT BaseMED kit includes the means to treat a variety of common injuries in a watertight package. It includes the dressings and medications that make it perfect for keeping in an everyday carry bag or on your next day hike.

For the Busy Bee

Vanquest Envoy 3.0 Messenger Bag

Vanquest’s update to it’s popular messenger bag makes it perfect for someone looking needing functional load carry around town. The new bag packs collapsible water bottle pockets, a low profile webbing platform and expanded loop fields for adding hook-backed pouches and holsters. With plenty of pockets and a luggage handle pass-through, the Envoy 3.0 is a durable piece of gear that you’ll probably never leave home without.

Maxpedition ERZ Organizer Pouch

Maxpedition’s latest addition to its Advance Gear Research line is a semi-rigid organizer pouch that allows you to both sort and protect your small essentials. The outside shell has a loop field for morale and I.D. patches. Inside, there are elastic loops, a mesh pocket and a zippered pocket. Webbing on the back allows you to attach the pouch to your favorite pack or bag.


For the Vertically Inclined

Petzl Altitude Harness

Petzl’s latest harness takes aim at skiers, mountaineers and alpine climbers who are looking for a lightweight harness that doesn’t get in the way whether inside a pack or on the body. The altitude harness can be put on and off without having to step through any loops or remove crampons. Four gear loops on the waist and leg keepers allow plenty of gear organization without getting in the way of backpack waistbelts. Petzl’s WIREFRAME construction makes sure each size of the harness weighs in at a fraction of a pound.


Petzl Ride Ice Axe

Petzl’s Ride axe combines the construction of the company’s Glacier Literide and Summit axes to make a short tool with a bent shaft for ultra light mountaineers and backcountry skiers and snowboarders. The axe’s small size and shape reduce the risk of injury when carrying the tool on the outside of a backpack. The machined grip at the bottom of the aluminum shaft gives better grip on technical sections.

For the Tactician

Gerber Strongarm

Gerber’s flagship fixed blade combines new ideas as well as influences from the LMF II and Prodigy knives. What you get is a solid, affordable tactical and survival knife with an astounding sheath system. The blade comes with both fine and serrated options, something Gerber fans have been craving for a while with their tactical fixed blades. The sheath can me mounted any way imaginable on a vest, belt or pack.

Leatherman Skeletool RX

Leatherman’s Skeletool is a favorite among outdoorsmen and women. The RX edition takes the functionality to a new level with a serrated 154 CM stainless steel blade and a carbide glass breaker. An orange finish allows quick identification in an emergency. The model keeps the pliers and, wire cutters and carabiner loop/bottle opener that made the skeletool series a staple in the outdoors world.

Leatherman Skeletool

First Tactical Tactix 1-Day Plus Backpack

The market for assault packs is filled with products that don’t stand apart from each other in terms of designs and features. First Tactical’s Tactix pack shakes things up with a slick exterior and an interior organization layout that gives near infinite options to law enforcement and first responders. The outside of the pack is covered in the company’s Lynx laser cut webbing system, giving the user unlimited placement for pouches and the pack’s removable and replaceable compression straps. Inside, the pack is stacked with pockets, an interior organizer and a loop Velcro lined main compartment. The pack also comes with the ability to slide in a First Tactical rifle sleeve, all but eliminating the need for a dedicated rifle pack.

We became impressed with JHO’s Nug Knife and wrote about it a short while ago. That knife ended up selling our fairly quickly, but JHO now has a different model, the Lynx Knife, that would be a great gift.
The Lynx Knife is $90 and is available in either satin or stone-washed finish. The photos show satin finish. The Lynx is a fine quality card blade knife that fits right in your wallet at a size of 3.46 inches (88 mm) x 1.96 inches (50 mm) and a thickness of  .079 inches (2 mm). Even though it is narrow, it grips well. The Lynx blade is made with vacuum heat-treated CPM S35VN steel (HRC:58-60) used only in high-end production and custom knives. It ships worldwide for only an additional $10.

We love these kinds of knifes because they fit right in our wallets, which we always have with us. We don’t need to worry about putting it on or putting it in a backpack each day, it’s just always in the wallet in case we need it. Most people don’t think about card-sized knifes, so we don’t have to explain or show people that we are actually carrying a knife. The blade is useful for shaving, slicing or chopping, or self-defense in a pinch. Purchase the Lynx knife by JHO for $90.

Looking for gift ideas for someone that needs good gear each and every day? We’re going to be posting a lot of cool items over the next few weeks to point you in the direction of gifts that any outdoors person or survivalist would love to have. Heck, forget giving these as gifts! Get something cool for yourself!

SOG Knives MACV Tool

Pocket sized tools are all the rage, and SOG has put out a design that’s radically shaped and packs plenty of features in a travel friendly package. The tool is shaped like the MACV-SOG symbol, from which SOG Knives draws its heritage. The tool carries a big driver, three wrenches, a bottle opener, knife sharpener, cord cutter, several screw drivers and a pry edge. Few tools carry this many features (including the carbide sharpener) and look this awesome at the same time.

ITS Titanium Pocket Tool

I’m a fan of carrying a blade besides my pocket knife. My knife is for self defense first, and the edge should stay sharp for that purpose. I carry a multitool for utility tasks, but it can be clunky and heavy in my pocket. ITS Tactical’s titanium tool gives users a slim utility piece that offers essential features. The tool fits standard utility razors for easy replacement. The blade opening is also cut for 15 wrench sizes. The opposite end has a bit driver and a flathead/pry edge. The included leather sheath allows you to safely carry the tool in the change pocket on the right hand side of jeans.

Ontario RAT in D2

The RAT is a standard when it comes to EDC knifes, and the D2 version adds a new level of durability to the already heralded blade. D2 gives the user enhanced edge retention whether you’re cutting open boxes or making feather sticks for your fire. The handle design is unchanged, leaving the user with a very comfortable EDC tool.

Ontario RAT in D2
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Trayvax Summit Wallet

The Summit was one of the best pieces of gear I tested this year. It’s so simple yet effective in its purpose. It’s perfect for trimming down what you carry and is far more comfortable than shoving a thick wallet into your back pocket.

Maxpedition Riftcore Backpack

Maxpedition’s AGR Rifcore backpack has a shape similar to the Falcon line of packs but with revamped materials, features and an interior layout that gives near infinite options for organization. The pockets and elastic loops inside the pack allow the user to organize knives, tools, camping gear, electronics or anything else you could want to put in a backpack. The padded shoulder straps, back panel and hip belt means comfortable wear. The sleek exterior and webbing system allow this pack to fit right in while traveling or on the trail.

Maxpedition AGR Rifcore backpack