Growing up, the patriarchs of my family made a Christmas tradition of the “big gift." Similar to Ralphie’s father saving the Official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifle until after all the other presents were accounted for, my grandfather and father would save the biggest gift for last. Sometimes they’d tell me to open a certain gift last; other times they’d hide the gift in a distant corner of house or car, revealing it well after the other wrapping paper had been cleaned up; and other times my father would torture me with several dummy gifts before finally handing the real one over. However it was delivered, the “big gift” was always the best of the day.
Here are a few outdoor-oriented gifts that can serve as the “big gift” for the outdoor junkie on your list. Be sure to wrap these items tightly and tuck them deep behind the tree, saving some gasp-inducing wow for the very end of gift opening.
GoPro Hero3 Black Edition
GoPro recently updated its action cam line with the Hero3. The latest GoPro films in ultra high-def, includes integrated Wi-Fi and comes with a remote control - $400. For those on a tighter budget, GoPro also offers the $200 White Edition and $300 Silver Edition. GoPro.com
2012 marked the year when outdoor GPS navigation found a home on the wrist. The Garmin Fenix offers routing, backtracking and performance monitoring. It also works with wireless accessories. The retail is $400.
There’s no gift like the gift of a new hobby. A sort of kayak-body board hybrid, the Bellyak empowers the new hobby of face-forward kayaking. The craft is on sale for $499 through the end of 2012. Bellyak.com
Oakley Airwave Goggle
One of the latest in a growing market of Recon Instruments-equipped ski goggles, the Airwave goggle is the perfect gift for the nerdy ski/snowboard addict. An integrated microcomputer tracks location, speed, distance and other factors via GPS and sends the info directly to the eye. The goggle also hooks up with a smartphone via Bluetooth. $600 at Oakley.com.
Kanz Field Kitchen
The Kanz Field Kitchen helps transform any vehicle into a functional camper, organizing all the cooking gear into one rugged plywood-and-aluminum box. It comes in several packages, including empty ($675), with a dual-burner stove ($795) and fully outfitted ($1,550). Kanzoutdoors.com