Holiday Gift Guide 2004

Goodies that every sportsman can afford.

Outdoor Life Online Editor

With the holidays around the corner, the toughest opening day of all is nearly upon us: Christmas morning. Hunting for the perfect gift can make bagging that Boone and Crockett buck seem simple by contrast. You won't go wrong with any of the items mentioned here, however. And nearly all of them are well within most budgets. For those who feel like splurging, we threw in a couple of pricier items, too.

Delta Shockproof Lighter
This is a must for times when conditions are nasty and your life depends on getting a fire started. It's small, light, water-resistant and armor-coated, and it works without fail. Refillable with butane. ($60; 800-582-3861, www.essentialgear.com)

Brunton 8040G Classic Compass
Anyone can get lost in the woods. Brunton's 8040G compass is an inexpensive insurance policy against staying lost. The compact, lightweight unit has a 0- to 35-degree inclination scale, a clinometer, inch/mm scales, a lanyard and a thermometer. ($35; 800-443-4871; www.brunton.com)

Bass Pro Power Plus PP60C-TG
If you're looking for a gift for a fisherman who travels a lot, consider the Bass Pro Shops Power Plus telescoping rod (PP60C-TG). It's a 6-foot medium-action bait-caster when extended, but collapses into a package small enough to fit in a carry-on. ($15.99; 800-227-7776; www.basspro.com)

Pocket Drag and Turkey Toter
Pulling animals out of the woods is no one's idea of fun. Make the task easier with the Pocket Drag (near left) for deer and the Turkey Toter. Aluminum cables cinch around the animal's legs and the handles make hauling a snap. ($13.99 each; 941-925-8628; www .marksgambrels.com)

[pagebreak] Rapala Fishing Kids Starter Set
I hope Santa doesn't forget the little guys who want to go fishing with the grownups next spring. For just the right tackle, try the Rapala Fishing Kids Starter Set, which includes a brightly colored rod (spinning or spincast), lures and a reel loaded with line. Tackle boxes and coolers are also available. Sold only at Target stores. ($14.99-$19.99; 952-933-7060)

Do-All Buck Buster
We all love new and radical toys, so we'll be giving our hunting buds the Do-All Buck Buster tool. The 11-inch knife has a big, sharp "gut hook" for zipping open a whitetail without any mess, and the "bone buster" fork lets you use leverage to work through an animal's pelvis and brisket. Use the round cutting edge for skinning off hide and carving meat. Sheath and sharpening file included. ($39.99; 800-252-9247; www .do-alloutdoors.com)

Solarroll 14
As long as the sun is shining, your cell phone, laptop and digital camera will never run out of power with Brunton's Solarroll along. The flexible solar panel rolls into a tight 3-inch tube for easy packing and kicks out enough juice to run and recharge a host of gadgets. ($399; 800-443-4871; www.brunton.com)

Bagio Weatherproof Anglers' Travel Case
This uniquely designed anglers' travel case features puncture- resistant sides that completely drop down for easy access. The soft inside dividers protect reels (and expensive cigars). Other pluses include a hook-and-loop top latch for quick openings, 25 pockets for accessories and a watterproof zipper. ($79.99; 877-577-0600; http://fish.shimano.com)

[pagebreak] Garmin Foretrex
You'll never lose your GPS again, because it's right on your wrist. This basic hands-free unit shows the user's location on a plotter screen and navigates to waypoints. It's easy to use and frees up pocket space. ($169.99; 800-237-4444; www.cabelas.com)

Pine Ridge Reel-a-Strap
Climbing a tree with bulky gear in hand is dangerous business. But Pine Ridge Archery's Reel-a-Strap makes short, secure work of this hunting chore. The handy hauler has 30 feet of ¾-inch strap and a convenient hook and strap for clipping it to your belt or stand. ($14.95; 877-746-7434; www.pineridgearchery.com)

Seat-O-The-Pants Harness
A fall from a tree stand can be deadly. The Seat-O-The-Pants full-body harness features a shock-reducing tether that cushions the user in case of a fall. It also has buckles for a lineman's belt. The harness is available in Realtree or Fall Woods camo. ($64.99; 256-353-0634; www.summit stands.com)

** The Encyclopedia of Deer**
The Encyclopedia of Deer, by Dr. Leonard Lee Rue III, is a great addition to any hunter's library. In addition to detailing the physical characteristics and behavior of America's whitetails and mule deer, it also serves as the ultimate reference guide for all other species of deer around the world. ($35; 800-888-9653, voyageurpress.com)