Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Gifts for Nature Lovers

When your little one (or spouse) would rather explore the back forty than sit on the couch playing video games, you might want to consider some of these great outdoor gifts for Christmas:
  • Field guides - Fantastic for anyone with an interest in nature, field guides are now available for birds, wildflowers, trees, reptiles, amphibians, fish, butterflies, mammals, and many, many other topics. When buying a field guide, the most important considerations are 1) the level of expertise of the user and 2) the geographical range of the guide (a guide to the birds of the southwestern United States will not be much help here in Adams County).
  • Water bottle - Consider a metal water bottle instead of plastic, (plastic bottles can leach a substance called bisphenol-A (BPA), which is suspected of messing with our hormones.
  • Pocket knife - Out on the trail, far from your house or car, a little knife can come in mighty handy sometimes.
  • Binoculars - Consider a pair that is water-resistant and durable, like Nikon's Monarch ATB model, which sell for around $270.00.
  • First aid kit - Don't bother with a "space blanket", waterproof matches, or band aides. Soak some cotton balls with Vaseline, store them in a film canister, buy a "metal match" and put it in the kit. Use the metal match to ignite the cotton balls, which will burn several minutes while you add tinder for a fire. For shelter, throw in some neon orange contractor-grade trash bags (just crawl inside to stay dry and trap body heat if you're stuck outdoors overnight - the orange color helps others find you more easily, too). Include a whistle and you're set.
  • Travel pack - Toting field guides, a water bottle, pocket knife, binoculars, and a first aid kit is made much easier with a comfortable pack that fits snugly around your waist or on your back.

Enjoy the outdoors in 2010!