outdoor gift guide
Nagy Balázs via Unsplash

You know that friend or family member who’s always outdoors, cutting up brush, and posting photos of stuff they built adorned with the hashtag #postholesofinstagram? Yeah, that person doesn’t want a phone charger or a hand blender (though hand blenders are awesome); they want doin-stuff presents. Get-dirty, get-sweaty, get-stuff-done truck-commercial gear. Growl this paragraph in a raspy voice! Put that smart light bulb back in the re-gifting pile, roll up your sleeves, and get ready to read. This is an intense gift guide! Rawr!


Protect their feet. Amazon

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Timberlands are for rappers and influencers. If this lucky person is out in the muck all day, they need high boots that look stupid when they’re clean. Lacrosse’s Alpha Lite boots feature a neoprene top-section that lets you roll them down, fireman-style, when you don’t need to-the-knee protection. They’re good for four seasons in the northeast, especially if you get a half-size up to allow for thick socks. If their tootsies are prone to cold, there’s an insulated version that’ll sweat the hooves off a reindeer.


Kleen Kanteen Amazon

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Sometimes you need to use your water bottle as a hammer, and that dainty double-walled teacup you carry won’t last an afternoon. Kleen Kanteen’s simple steel construction makes it the ultimate toss-it-in-the-wheelbarrow work buddy. You want cold water? Drink faster.


The AMES Companies, Inc Amazon

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It’s biceps day at the farm, children, where we have an old saying: “Only fools dig. Pros punish the ground.” Short of a backhoe, the IRON BAR is the greatest digging implement ever invented, capable of levering out tough rocks and turning packed earth into diggable-dust with an easy lift-and-drop motion that turns you into a human pile-driver.


A good pair of sunglasses. Amazon

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What is that bright thing that looks like your phone but is round and is making you feel all warm and human? Oh, that’s the sun, and you shouldn’t look at it. Whoa, weird: it’s so bright that it makes the whole world kinda eye-hurty. Get some shades. Sunskis are nearly indestructible, cut glare with polarized lenses, and are reasonably priced enough that you won’t feel bad when you drop ’em lens-down on a rock pile.

A hat that keeps you covered

Columbia Amazon

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That sun thing, it’ll burn you. And when you’re hunched over a brush pile for a couple hours, your neck and face take a particular pounding. Sunblock is a great start, but if you’re serious about protecting your skin, a flappy-back cap (technical term) is the good look. Columbia’s shade-bringer is made of quick-to-dry nylon that blocks UV rays all day. What do you say. Hey hey hey. Rhyming, I slay.


EGO Amazon

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Why yes, that tree was looking at you funny. GET IT! Gas-powered rigs rule, but the new crop of battery-powered chainsaws offer similar power with a lot less maintenance. EGO’s are the best, with gobs of wood-tearing torque, quick charging, and lithium-ion batteries that work across the company’s entire range of tools. (When I am king, interchangeable batteries will be law.)


John Deere 1023E John Deere

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What’s that? You’d like to buy affection and/or money means nothing to you? OK wow, you are a very special Santa. And special Santas give the gift of diesel. John Deere’s 1023E is Big Green’s smallest 4WD tractor, able to function as a loader, digger, hauler, or just super original commute-mobile (not street-legal). Its rear three-point hitch allows easy connection of a whole mess of accessories, including a brush hog (BRUSH HOG!). Plus, attaching a mower deck is as easy as driving over it.


Tanka Bites Amazon

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Lunch breaks are for clock-punchers. Enthusiasts take twice as long to finish a project, so they don’t get to stop for a midday meal. These bison bites will keep ’em fed while powering through break hour. The mix of sustainably farmed buffalo and cranberry is a traditional pre-colonial snack. And, because it’s based out of the Oglala nation, you can be confident that Tanka, the company, knows what it’s doing.

A great light

OL Life Amazon

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No, the sun won’t stick around just because it took you all day watching YouTube videos about mixing cement. For working outdoors past dark, a headlamp is a must-have, giving hands-free light anywhere you crane your neck. This waterproof and dustproof LED lamp, designed by the editors of Outdoor Life Magazine (Outdoor Life is a sister publication of Popular Science), lights up the night and is tough enough to survive even the clumsiest adventure.

A knife

Benchmade Amazon

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It’s a screwdriver. It’s a pry-bar. It’s a splinter-extractor and toothpick and lunch utensil and, of course, a cutting implement. If you want to give the gift they’ll take with them every time they leave the house, opt for a knife. Benchmade’s Griptillian is a no-frills, easy-on-the-hands, tough-as-a-nail’s-most-badass-fantasy blade. Constructed of corrosion-resistant yet high-carbon steel and an unslippy handle that sports the easiest, most secure lock you’ll find, nobody needs to baby this knife.

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