The Sportsman’s News team of professionals spends over 1,000 total man days a year in the field.  These men and women put outdoor gear to the extreme test during this time.  I have asked each of them to put together a list of some of the very best items that they wouldn’t want to leave home without.  We have taken a select number of items from that list to build a great gift ideas list for the outdoorsman or woman in your life.

SOG Jungle Canopy
As a survivalist, I am always looking for new tools to make outdoor life better. SOG Knives are usually my choice for cutting tools. The Jungle Canopy is nearly the largest knife I have ever taken into the outdoors. Not only is it long, but it is hefty. A cross between a survival knife and a machete, the SOG Jungle Canopy features a 10-inch long blade that is nearly two tenths of an inch thick. This massive cutting tool is ideal for splitting wood, cutting down small trees to make a shelter or rescue litter and just about any other use you may need in a survival situation.  While it is heavier than most knives, you will find the weight worth it and to actually be an asset rather than a liability.

The SOG Jungle Canopy is 15.5 inches long with full tang construction and a textured soft Kraton handle that gives it excellent grip in any environment. It weighs in at 19.4 ounces, giving it the heft you need to chop heavier branches with. It comes with a ballistic nylon sheath with an accessory pouch. In my pouch, I have placed another great SOG product, the Mini Sharpener. Far from just being a blade touch up tool, it includes a diamond hone, a ceramic sharpening rod and a ferrous fire starter rod all in a package barely larger than my thumb.

Having both of these tools when I head into the outdoors offers me the peace of mind knowing I could build a log cabin with this knife if I had too and I will be equipped to deal with any situation I may find myself in. That peace of mind is priceless.
Dan Kidder, Managing Editor

SwingBlaze Pak
This is an absolutely awesome knife and saw combo kit.  Outdoor Edge makes a great quality knife that is functional and won’t break the bank.  This kit will cost you less than 100 bucks and will provide you years of quality service.   The orange handle on the swing blade knife gives you a great knife that you can find when you lay it down plus the benefit of two different blades:  The drop point skinner  for all of your cutting needs and the other blade that allows you to cut under the skin and avoid dulling your knife by cutting through all the hair.  I like the saw for getting quality photos of big animals like elk.  You aren’t just going to pick up a big bull and move him out of the oak brush.  I always have this saw at the ready and can get great field photos regardless of the animal’s size.  This is an awesome kit and a piece of equipment that is always in my pack and sells for $89.99.
Mike Deming, President

VacMaster Pro 130
A.R.Y.’s  VacMaster Pro 130 combines commercial quality with advanced technology and superb design.  The Pro 130 keeps food fresh up to five times longer and is great for portion control and table-ready dishes.
The digital control panel allows you to choose automatic or manual settings or to instantly seal any bag, eliminating partial seals and wasted storage bags.  The extra-long seal bar raises and lowers during the vacuum process so the bag is heated only during that time.  And the deeper, wider vacuum chamber easily wipes clean.  In addition, the Pro 130 meets commercial-grade quality standards so it is durable enough to withstand heavy use.   We took the Pro 130 on a trip this fall to Alaska and vacuum sealed all of our catch of salmon and halibut for the trip home.  It worked like a charm and every one of our sealed bags show no signs of leakage or freezer burn.   The Pro 130 includes 30 assorted, pre-cut VacMaster storage bags, which feature their patented VacStrip technology.  MSRP is $199.99.
Kent Danjanovich, Senior Editor

DMT 3- 6″ Diamond Whetstone Sharpeners with Hardwood Box
This is one of DMT’s most popular sharpening stones, it is a great fit at home, in the shop or on the mountain offering a sharpening surface to satisfy a variety of edge care needs. This three stone set includes: Extra-Fine diamond (9 micron / 1200 mesh) to polish and refine a razor edge after sharpening with a coarser diamond; Fine (25 micron / 600 mesh) for a razor sharp edge; Coarse (45 micron / 325 mesh) to quickly restore a neglected edge. There is nothing worse than having dull knives in the field.  With this set up that will never be the case again.  The set comes in a convenient hardwood box and doesn’t take up much space in your pack. There is not a better whetstone on the market today. The set sells for under $ 100.  And, all DMT products are designed and made in the USA!
Kevin Orton, Pro-Staff

Jetboil SOL Advanced Cooking System
Designed to fuel your backcountry passion, Jetboil SOL delivers ultimate performance and reliability in extreme conditions. Trust Jetboil SOL to deliver warmth and sustenance wherever your outdoor pursuits take you. The all new, ultra-compact 10.5 ounces* SOL Advanced Cooking System is barely noticed in my pack, while assuring me I am prepared for the toughest conditions. In this true 4-season upright canister cooking system, Jetboil introduces advanced Jetboil Thermo-Regulate™ Burner Technology to deliver consistent heat output down to 20˚ F (-6˚ C).
This is absolutely one of the greatest inventions for the outdoor world since fire itself!  Get familiar with how to use your Jetboil properly and it will change the way you spend your time in the outdoors.  Every person on the earth literally should have one. The all-in-one SOL design offers all of the features and functionality of Jetboil’s trademark convenient cooking systems, including integrated burner base and 0.8 Liter FluxRing cooking cup.  It has a convenient, reliable push-button igniter, pot support and stabilizer tripod and the bottom cover doubles as a bowl and measuring cup!  MSRP $ 119.99.
Kevin Orton, Pro-Staff

Simmons Vertical Laser Rangefinder
When hunting big game, it is essential to know the exact distance between you and serious bragging rights.   The Simmons Vertical Laser Rangefinder gets the job done!  The LRF 600 is hairsplitting accuracy made simple.  An in-view LCD display provides the exact distance to your target from 10 to 600 yards with the tap of a single button (powered by a single 9-volt battery) while 4x magnification and bright, crystal-clear optics bring you nose to nose with your next trophy.  This great little rangefinder was essential in helping me harvest a great Minnesota black bear, Utah mulie and Texas whitetail this year.  Its compact design doesn’t take up much room in my pack and its weather-resistant housing makes it almost indestructible.  It’s available in two models: Black and A-TACS camouflage and the suggested retail price is $109.99.  Watch for a special coupon that will get the price down to about $90, making it the perfect stocking stuffer. Don’t get caught again trying to guess how far away that big buck was.  Pick up a Simmons Rangefinder today for the hunter in your life.
Kent Danjanovich, Senior Editor


Block Black
Without question, the BLOCK Fusion has been the most popular archery target on the market since it was introduced, and now, this revolutionary target has been redesigned and renamed the BLOCK BLACK.  Practice is essential to prepare for year-round hunting success. This state-of-the-art target now offers a new “High Contrast Design” for better visual acquisition and PolyFusion technology that allows for even easier arrow removal while maintaining its incredibly long target life.  You will love its ability to stop thousands of shots using field tips, broadheads or expandables. And, as always, the new BLOCK BLACK offers offset shooting zones for longer target life. The Sportsman’s News Team spends countless hours in the field stalking game around the world.  Practice makes perfect and the BLOCK BLACK definitely holds up under the pressure of literally hundreds of shots each week, year round.  For about a hundred bucks, you can own the best target on the market.  No other archery target can compare.
Kevin Orton, Pro-Staff

Smith Interlock Spoiler Polarized Sunglasses

The Spoiler full-frame design and sharp detailing with metal accents keep the you looking good while the underlying technology ensures that adapting to ever changing light conditions is a breeze.  A good pair of polarized sunglasses are a must when you are on the water as much as we are and this great pair of glasses even has three sets of lenses included using their Interlock technology, simply twist, remove and replace.  This patented, full-frame interchangeable lens system eliminates lens stress to provide absolutely precise optics.  With one temple twist, lenses are easily removed and replaced for changing conditions or preferences.  They have been around for over 40 years and you can count on Smith Optics to deliver, with the Spoiler available for around $140.
Kent Danjanovich, Senior Editor

Caldwell Lead Sled DFT
Getting your rifle sighted in and getting groups of sub 1/2 MOA is essential to harvesting game consistently.  The DFT is absolutely the best rest on the market for getting the most out of your gun.  Combined with a couple of weight bags filled with lead or sand, this bench will take the sting out of the most punishing calibers.  This eliminates the flinch which is usually the root of most accuracy problems.  The precision adjustments on this rest allow you to get your gun completely steady and eliminate the majority of human error in your sighting-in process.  This will allow you to get the most out of every gun.  Anyone who spends a substantial amount of time at the range will be ecstatic with this product and it sells for $199.99 at Sportsman’s Warehouse online.
Mike Deming, President

Geigerrig Hydration System
It’s not every day that something so new and innovative comes along that we in the office perk up and say “that is something I just have to get.” We test gear all of the time and have seen just about every product that hits the shelves. This year, a new product made it to my desk that I had to have and include on my Christmas List.

The Geigerrig Hydration system is so innovative and impressive that it will replace all of my other hydration packs moving forward.

What really stands out about the Geigerrig is it’s inflatable pressurized water bladder. Using a small rubber squeeze ball, air is pumped into a bladder which puts water in a separate bladder under pressure. This allows the water to be squirted out of the pack rather than sucked out as is done with other hydration bladders on the market. By allowing the water to be squirted, it permits water to be easily transferred into a pot for cooking, used to wash and cool down, easily share water with our four-footed friends and makes staying hydrated much easier on those long treks.

Another feature of the bladder is, because it is pressurized it can accommodate an inline water purification filter. Geigerrig sells optional filters that permit you to replenish your drinking water supply from any stream or pond and have purified drinking water without worrying about waterborne pathogens or micro-organisms. The entire bladder can be turned inside out for cleaning and drying.

The Geigerrig Rig 500 day pack contains a two-liter hydration bladder and is constructed of a tough grade of ballistic nylon. It includes ample space for a day’s worth of supplies and equipment on the trail. The inside face of the pack features deep padding and wide straps for comfort and air flow channels to keep your back dry. The outside has easy access compartments that includes an MP3 pouch with a pass through for your ear buds.  The pack itself is as well designed as the hydration bladder, making it roomy and comfortable. The pack comes with a Skullcandy Mountain Passport, which provides discounts on dozens of ski resorts. The pack has an MSRP of $125.
Dan Kidder, Managing Editor

Vortex Diamondback 10X42 Binocular
Superior quality, high performance hunting optics are a must when you are in the field and a great company to check out is Vortex Optics.  One of our favorite models is the 10X42 Diamondback which offers a great pair of binos for a great price of $ 229.99.  Taking its lead from the Diamondback rattlesnake, this rugged binocular is one of the best on the market in low light conditions.   Detail is enhanced through its 42mm lenses, phase corrected BaK-4 prisms and fully multi-coated optics.  One of its best features is its comfortable eyecups which enhance its huge field-of-view, the largest in its class.  It incorporates fully multi-coated optics and phase-corrected prisms while offering superior waterproof and fogproof construction.  And of course, Vortex’s VIP warranty means your pair of Diamondbacks is meant to last for generations.  Make sure you hit the hills with the best optics available and watch your success skyrocket!

Kevin Orton, Pro-Staff

CVA Accura V2
The ACCURA V2 is the latest version of the popular ACCURA model. Like its predecessor, the ACCURA V2 provides a level of accuracy performance that is unequaled by any break-action muzzleloader on the market today,  due to its premium, custom quality Bergara Barrel . These Bergara Barrels, all made of the highest quality 416 grade stainless steel, have quickly become recognized as the most accurate production muzzleloader barrels in the world.  And at an optimal 27” in length, they provide just the right combination of balance, maneuverability and efficient powder-burning capability.  But the new ACCURA V2 has even more features to help you enjoy your hunt.  It includes CVA’s patent pending QRBP “Quick-Release Breech Plug” the only such breech plug on the market that can be easily removed with your fingers and no tool after the gun has been fired numerous times. Plus, the ACCURA V2’s stock and forestock have been upgraded with a SoftTouch coating and rubber grip panels, making it comfortable and secure even in the foulest weather.
The ACCURA is very simple to operate because the breeching lever is built right into the trigger guard, making the ACCURA one of the easiest opening break-actions on the market  and the entire gun can be disassembled by removing just one screw. The ergonomically designed stock is fully ambidextrous and is available in both standard and thumbhole designs.  Plus, every ACCURA is equipped with a DuraSight DEAD ON one piece scope mount and a Quake CLAW Contour Sling.  The standard model sells for $350 and my camo model comes in at $400. My 206″ Utah mulie never knew what hit him!
Kevin Orton, Pro-Staff

Montana Kojo Coyote Decoy –
Whether you’re looking to improve those sniper skills or just looking for a rush with some up close and personal action, coyote hunting is for you.  Using Montana Coyote decoys is a way to help lure those wily coyotes into shooting distance.

Montana Coyote Decoys are constructed of a durable polyester fabric, with a spring steel band inside the body to hold the body erect. To support the decoy, fiberglass poles with steel step stakes are used. The decoy body has a high quality picture printed on both sides, giving the 2D decoy that 3D look.

The Montana “Kojo” and “Fawnzy” decoy are the most realistic coyote decoys ever produced. Its life-like size and color make it a must for any predator hunter. When you take a Montana “Kojo” Decoy and combine it with the shrill sounds of a distressed animal, you have created a scenario that will fool even the wiliest ol’ coyotes.

You can pick one up today at any Sportsman’s Warehouse for $49.99.

Collin Dalley, Pro-Staff

SportLock Double Rifle Case
SportLock’s Double Rifle Case w/Wheels makes it easy to carry your rifles or shotguns safely and securely! The SportLock rifle carry case gives you the lightest weight and toughest protection available, built with tough, durable polycarbonate materials. On the inside, the SportLock gun case features a plush foam interior (52 1/2″ x 12 3/4 total length) with four Velcro tie-down straps that keep your guns secure while traveling or in storage. Its full perimeter O-ring construction ensures a dirt and weather resistant seal.  This great gun case also features four keyed locking latches, heavy duty hinges, durable heavy duty rubber wheels and comfortable handles for pulling or carrying and is airline approved.    With all of the traveling that we do visiting lodges and outfitters in search of big game animals, a good gun case is essential.  SportLock cases are built strong and durable and perform well under extreme conditions.  Mine even made it through a dozen airports this season without getting destroyed by caring airline workers.  Now that’s impressive!  And it’s priced right at $ 109.99 at your local Sportsman’s Warehouse.
Kent Danjanovich, Senior Editor

Ascent Black Gold Sight
Bow hunting is a passion and way of life for me and this sight has allowed me the ability to practice out past 100 yards without having 7-plus pins.  This sight comes in three or five pin setups which combined with a sight tape software program will allow you to set your pins as you normally would, but the last pin works with the use of your sight tape and can get most faster bows out over 100 yards.  Practicing at long range will build confidence to take those shots that were once out of the question.  The photocromatic technology blocks out bright light on your pins which cause the halo affect at long range hindering accuracy, yet allow maximum light transmission in low light scenarios.  The Ascent is a permanent fixture on each of my bows. MSRP on this sight is around $200.00.
Mike Deming, President

The Wyoming Saw II
When I head off into the woods, I like to keep my gear size at a minimum while keeping its value at a premium. The Wyoming Saw provides me with a full sized saw in a minimal amount of space. Because the saw comes apart into a small package, I can carry a full 18-inch wood or bone saw in the space taken up by a deck of cards. While the blades don’t get any smaller, they are so thin and light that they are hardly noticed. The saw handle is made of powder coated stainless steel so it is strong and rugged. A lighter powder coated aluminum handle reduces weight and still provides needed rigidity and stability to make short work of even the largest logs. The saw comes apart and goes together in a snap, but also stays together until you want to take it apart. The blades are sharp, very sharp and easily rip through a wide variety of materials. The saws come in 12-inch and 18-inch and include an adjustable nylon fanny pack carrying case that can also be strapped to your pack for easy carrying and access. The saws are proudly made in the USA by the Wyoming Knife Company.
Dan Kidder, Managing Editor

ATV TEK Arch Series ATV Cargo Bag
Good ATV bags are hard to find, but when you find a good one, it can do a lot for your piece of mind and your hunting gear will thank you over and over. The ATV TEK Arch Series Padded Bottom Bag takes ATV bags to a whole new level!  The ATV TEK exclusive interior arched steel frame keeps the bags rigid shape no matter how much gear you stuff into it.  The arched design sheds the water, while the lids seal tightly against the edges of the arched steel frames, keeping the inside of the bag dry and dust-free!  A zipperless, fully removable lid design allows you to access the bag from either side or the lids can be completely removed for unobstructed access.  The ATV TEK bag also comes with a padded seat to add comfort to your ride!  It is available in Black and Mossy Oak Break-up and it is priced at under $ 150.  Truly a great ATV bag for a great price!  This is one of the newer lines at Sportsman’s Warehouse, so do yourself a favor and check them out on your next visit.
Kent Danjanovich, Senior Editor

Vasque Breeze GTX
As all of you outdoors men and women out there know, it takes more than one pair of boots to cover all of the different hunting and hiking conditions that you come in contact with.  I spend a lot of time in the field during the late summer/early fall season and my boot of choice is the Vasque Breeze GTX.  Its mid-height top supports my ankles very well and its Vibram Contact sole provides excellent traction on the slickest trails.  The Breeze’s frame has an excellent forward flex and limits twisting to keep my ankles stable.  It weighs in at 2 lbs. 8 oz. making this athletically inspired classis boot perfect for quick stalks over varied terrains.  A good pair of boots is worth its weight in gold and at $ 149.99, the Breeze is worth every penny!
Kevin Orton, Pro-Staff

Rivers West Outlaw Jacket
We’ve all been there with the wind howling and no matter how many layers you put on, the wind seems to cut right through your clothes.  Whether it’s sitting on a ridge top out west, glassing for elk or sitting in your tree stand waiting for that trophy whitetail to show itself, the weather can be unpleasant and plays a huge part in the success of your hunt. I recently had the opportunity to try some hunting apparel from Rivers West and was very impressed! Rivers West is known for being the ultimate gear for rain and cold weather. They have been a top name in the hunting industry for quite some time and have plenty of awards to show for it.
Sometimes hunting is all about being able to brave the elements while waiting for your game to show itself.  With Rivers West clothing, I can definitely stay out longer than the competition and hopefully get that animal everyone dreams about.

The Outlaw Jacket comes equipped with a waterproof license pocket, two magnetized cargo pockets with ‘open’ and ‘closed’ magnet stops, Sling Gripper shoulders, a Shirt-Tail hem and hand warmer pockets angled at 30 degrees for ease of entry. With a Stow-Away hood and Blaze Orange safety vest, the Outlaw Jacket is poised to continue its dominance within the hunting market. Pick one up today for $199.99 You won’t be disappointed.
Collin Dalley, Pro-Staff

Goal Zero Sherpa Kit
Some people hit the back country to get away from the world, but we spend countless days every year capturing it on film for everyone to enjoy.  Keeping our camera batteries charged is essential to our success.  The Sherpa Kit allows us to do just that.  This kit includes a solar charging unit as well as a 50 watt power pack which can be fully charged prior to hitting the back country. The whole kit weighs just a hair over two pounds. This allows us to fully charge our batteries for cell phones, camera’s or even laptops while in the field.  During our daily adventures, we plug the solar charger into the power pack back at camp and let the sunlight do its’ job.  Every evening, I have a full power pack ready to charge any of our electrical devices.  This is a great lightweight alternative to packing a generator and is something that goes in every one of our travel kits here at Sportsman’s News.  Available for $359.99 and worth every penny.
Mike Deming, President

Wise Company Outdoor Meals
Finding good tasting meals for when I am in the outdoors has gotten much easier in the past few years. Dozens of companies are now making shelf stable long term food storage solutions that are lightweight and easy to prepare.  These freeze dried or dehydrated food solutions make taking full meals with you on the trail a snap. The one drawback to many of these products is the cost. Wise Company has made these meals highly affordable and a great overall value. By offering their products in large quantity buckets, the Wise Company takes their very tasty meals and organizes them in a variety of selections for long term storage.
The meals come in a variety of dinner, lunch and breakfast entrees. They are easily cooked right in their own pouch by just adding hot water. They are vegetarian and taste fantastic.   Wise uses a nitrogen flushing system to remove almost all residual oxygen. Each meal is packed with additional oxygen absorbers to deal with any that remains. Added to that is innovative packaging and the result is 25 years of shelf stable food storage that will not need to be rotated.
The Wise Company meals are a great way to prepare for an emergency or just to take on the road for a quick and easy meal on the go. As good as these taste, you may find yourself eating them more often than just when camping or in an emergency.
Dan Kidder, Managing Editor

Volcano Cooker
The Volcano Cooker/Stove is a product that we tested several years ago and has found a way into my travel gear ever since.  It is a compact grill which uses multiple fuels, wood, charcoal and best of all propane.  Late summer travel finds us in many areas that have open fire restrictions which young children don’t always understand when they want their smores and the outdoor experience.  Hook up your propane tank and away you go.  It comes in a convenient carry case and weighs less than five pounds.  It is super quick to set up and take down and fits behind the seat of my pickup truck so needless to say, it is always there ready to cook a burger or provide me a fire if I just need to warm up.   The double wall of the stove allows you to cook on any surface without melting or overheating.  Cooking on the tailgate of the truck is ideal and the surface is just the right size of a 12” Dutch oven.  This multi-fuel unit sells for about $140.00 and if you buy it during the Christmas special, you will get a free set of flexible skewers which is a $12.99 value bonus.
Mike Deming, President.

5.11 Tactical Trainer

Having the ruggedness of a boot with the comfort of a sneaker, the 5.11 Tactical Trainers offer the ability to tackle any kind of terrain while maintaining the comfort and discrete nature of a running shoe. The Tactical Trainer provides all-the-time-wear in a good looking package without sacrificing comfort. They can be worn as an everyday shoe or used when pounding the pavement to get in shape for your next foot pursuit.

The shoes make my Christmas List because I am always looking for an everyday wear shoe that will overcome any terrain I may find myself traversing. Not only do these shoes have a rugged outsole for tough off-road wear, they stabilize your foot to allow it to handle a variety of extreme angles without risk of mechanical injury.

Inside, 5.11 Tactical has married the best support with a comfortable insole and treated the whole thing with antimicrobial materials that prevent foot odor.

Little details like sausage laces to prevent untying, tucked away pull on tabs and scuff resistant overlays on the toe and heel make the shoes tough, yet luxurious. A blend of meshes strike just the right balance between breathability and waterproofing.

For every day wear or just for training, the 5.11 Tactical Trainer will perfectly fit the bill.

Dan Kidder, Managing Editor