Get a Grip!

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In spite of the fact that the snow is quickly melting away across most of the country, taking a walk in the early morning when yesterday's melt is frozen over the trails and sidewalks can still be treacherous.  And it seems that no matter how great your cold weather boots are, it's hard to find something that works equally on ice and snowpack, or wet rocks and concrete. 

Kahtoola MICROspikes may be the perfect answer.  They are extremely popular for both outdoorsman and urban explorers here in the upper midwest as well as cold places all over North America.  MICROspikes come in four different sizes and attach to just about any type of shoe or boot.

Buy them direct: 

Classic Style, Modern Functionality

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Being a Sophisticated Outdoorsman involves the perfect blending of form and function.  I recently wore a pair of these Ray-Ban 3362 Aviators (polarized) on my adventures through the Yucatán Peninsula and can say that for sunglasses, this is about as good as that fusion gets. 

The light weight 3362 has a strong metal frame that, although they are slim, can take a drop in the woods or a conga line incident at Señor Frog's (trust me).  They are classic aviator style, but considerably smaller than those oversized shades that the hipsters are wearing.  This keeps them light and up on your face where they belong.  Always spring for the polarized lenses as well.  Ray-Ban polorized lenses are top-notch and whether you're skiing, fishing, driving, flying, etc., you'll appreciate the anti-reflective properties of polarization. 

My only complaint is the case that Ray-Ban packs with the glasses is cheap pleather that gets hard as hell when you leave them in the car overnight in northern Minnesota in February...  and then breaks when you open them in said state...

They retail for around $190, but you can find them cheaper at Amazon: Ray-Ban RB 3362 'COCKPIT/AVIATOR' Metal-Framed Sunglasses

A Swiss for your Cubans

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This nifty little Swiss Army knife includes the basic knife blade, file, nose and ear hair trimmer scissors... But it also includes a little something to go along with your 5 Cigar Caddy.  Three laser sharpened circular cigar punches! You simply choose the size you want, press your cigar into the whole and turn the tool to make a perfect cut.  This is a great tool for camping, hiking (avoid starting the forest on fire though), boating or vacationing - just don't try to take it through airport security.

Victorinox Swiss Army Cigar Knife

The Outdoorsman's Travel Humidor

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When camping, canoeing, fly fishing, vacationing, etc., I usually enjoy bringing along a smoke or two for the occasion.  Keeping them dry, safe and well humidified is a challenge though.  Even taking a few of your favorite sticks on a weekend road trip can be tough without a good travel humidor.  The S.O. has found that this 5-cigar "caddy" works for most situations and is perfect for the outdoors.  Its water tight and shock proof construction, rugged exterior, and integrated humidifier get the job done whether in your backpack, glove box or fishing vest. 

And at this price, you can afford to lose one overboard occasionally, although it does float...

5-cigar Caddy 3400

The Orange Monster

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Seiko manufactures watches that run the gamut from cheap, unreliable and undesirable to high quality quartz and automatic pieces that rival many Swiss brands.  One Seiko that is both affordable and has established a cult following is the 21-jewel Automatic Diver, specifically in orange, commonly referred to as the "Orange Monster."  It's known for its super bright Lumibrite glow-in-the-dark hands and it's superb diving capabilities.  It has a screw down crown (essential for using a watch around the water), has been water tested to 200 meters and meets ISO standards for scuba diving.  It's extremely durable and great looking too.  In addition, the automatic movement gives it a certain appeal for a sophisticated outdoorsman. Even if you aren't a diver, this is a great piece for just about any adventure...  And at less than $200 you can buy one in black (Black Moster) too!

Seiko Men's "Orange Monster"

The Ultimate Pocket Knife Rescue Tool

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When emergency strikes, where are you?  Cowering in a corner in your skirt or front and center ready to lend a hand?  Well, Nancy, now you'll be ready to serve with the Victorinox Swiss Army Rescue Tool.  The 2007 IWA Knife of the Year Winner was:

...developed and perfected in conjunction with emergency medical and rescue services in a five-year project. All parts have been subject to stringent tests, particularly the new window breaker and disc saw tools. The Rescue Tool includes the most essential functions for freeing a person from a disabled vehicle, including a rounded belt cutter which can be used to safely cut through a seat belt. All tools that have to be available quickly can be opened wearing gloves and are suitable for both right-handed and left-handed users. The one-handed blade and strong screwdriver (crate opener) are fixed in position when open thanks to the liner lock mechanism. The look of the Rescue Tool is unique as well with its luminescent yellow grip shells and bright red and yellow nylon case.
And it can also open a beer.  See this video demonstration:

Get yours here: Victorinox Swiss Army Rescue Tool

A Perfect Carry-Everywhere Camera?

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It sure looks like it!  An unmatched 30 frames per second burst rate? Check.  HD Movie Capability?  Check.  Movie Recording at up to 1000 frames per second? Oh Yes.  How about this: Takes 25 images before you even press the shutter release button?  Indeed.

In addition, "The Exilim EX-FC100 measures only 3.9 inches wide, 2.3 inches high and .9 inches thin. It features a 5x optical zoom lens with CMOS shift anti-shake function and a 2.7-inch high-performance Super Clear LCD. This high-speed model also boasts an effective 9.1-megapixel resolution."
A small image sensor in this little Casio means that the quality of images from this little guy won't match that of your Canon EOS 5D Mark II, but you can't keep the 5D in your pant pocket on a hike, or in your jacket on a walk through town, or in your briefcase everyday.  The specs are amazing on this little guy!  However, it hasn't been released yet, so we'll have to wait to know for sure - but it's surely a big step and a good indicator of things to come in compact digital cameras. $399.

Via Uncrate

The Perfect Camera Bag

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I have a lot of camera bags, more bags than cameras in fact, from several different manufacturers.  The one I use most though is my Tamrac 5534 messenger-style bag.  It's the perfect size for a DSLR (Canon 30D in my case), 2 or 3 L-Series lenses, a flash and accessories.  Its flat and wide shape makes it easy to throw over your shoulder like a briefcase or over your chest like a messenger bag keeping it close to your body, secure and not swinging around.  This makes it an ideal camera bag for an afternoon hike or a trip to a foreign city.  Normally, if I'm just going for a drive or a photo expedition, I pack it with an extra lens or two (like my 60mm macro) and leave the camera out of the bag.  Because, as any good shutterbug knows, the easiest way to miss a good photo is to have your camera packed away in a camera bag.

Tamrac 5534 Adventure Messenger 4 Camera Bag

Dual-Fuel Fuel Maker (coffee)

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Regardless of where your travels take you, a five-star resort or a backwoods campsite, a proper cup of coffee is a must to get any day started.  The new Brunton  BrewFire Dual-Fuel Coffee Maker ensures that a decent cup of joe is never out of reach.  The BrewFire is "just like your coffee maker at home, only this one is fueled by propane or butane fuel and can be taken anywhere."  Brew eight cups of the good stuff into a stainless steel carafe in 8-10 minutes using either propane bottles or butane canisters.  Camping, tailgating, hanging out in the garage, whatever...  This and a bottle of Bushmills will keep you going day and night.

Preorder at the Brunton site now.

Via uncrate.

One thing I hate about winter coats is that so many of the best and most functional jackets are bright colors with stripes, zippers and logos everywhere.  That's why I recently picked up the Marmot Transit Jacket.  It's a great lightweight shell that is a solid color, cut slightly slim and long and is mostly void of unnecessary embellishments.  At the same time, it's waterproof (with taped seams), breathable and warm.  It has a removable hood that cinches up nicely and has a stiff brim built in.  It also has numerous internal pockets, making it a great travel jacket too.  Worn alone it's a great jacket for a cool rainy day, worn over a fleece or even a down layer, it's a great shell for the coldest of winter days.  It's nearly the perfect jacket for a sophisticated outdoorsman. 

And, if you hurry, REI has them marked down to $130 (original price $190) online or in the store.

Because You Can't Always Kill Your Own Dinner

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Unless you're buying your meat from a local butcher, it's hard to top Omaha Steaks for red meat.  The Mrs. and I keep a box or two of their 6 oz sirloins in the freezer at all times.  Omaha Steaks are direct from the heartland, finely aged and flash frozen.  They taste as good as fresh and beat the heck out of anything you can buy at your local grocery store.  Keeping a box on hand makes it easy to turn any night into steak night and is great for entertaining last minute guests. 

In addition, Omaha Steaks make great gifts for the holidays too.  Have a box of steaks sent as a Christmas gift and you'll be remembered every time they fire up the grill. 

Buy Direct from or find some great deals on Omaha Steaks at .

Tissot Men's T-Touch Titanium Black Rubber Watch

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Tissot has been manufacturing watches since 1853.  Finding high quality and stylish Swiss watches for a reasonable price is not always easy.  Finding a stylish Swiss watch with the features of Tissot's T-Touch series is nearly impossible.  These watches are rugged and at the same time stylish and trendy.  And, they feature functions that any outdoorsman can appreciate.

In addition to the Swiss movement, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, 100 foot water resistance, 43mm case and rubber strap, the T-Touch features touch screen control of:

  • Altimeter
  • Chronometer
  • Compass
  • Alarm
  • Thermometer
  • Barometer
  • Date and Time
Save over $300 and get limited time free shipping at Amazon: Tissot Men's T-Touch Titanium Black Rubber Watch #T33.7.798.51

There is something about classic styles that have gone nearly unchanged for several generations.  Something that makes you feel good about wearing them regardless of if they're a hot trend or not.  Something that makes you love them more the more worn they get. 

The Clarks Desert Boot is just that item.  Somerset, England based Clarks shoe company has been manufacturing these boots (nearly unchanged) since 1950.  The boots were originally inspired by the the crepe-soled boots worn by British officers in World War II.  They are comfortable, rugged and stylish.  Chop wood in them, wear them to work and take them out on the town. 

Some things never change and some things just work; these are the greatest things.

Get some here: Clarks Originals Men's Desert Boot

Smell Ya Later...

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Since you're a "sophisticated" outdoorsman, you probably shower...  And if you shower you probably occasionally like to smell good.  But, unless you're a gardener -- a very reputable occupation for any S.O. -- you don't want to small like flowers.

This S.O. was just in the market for some new cologne, something to drive Mrs. S.O. wild.  I settled on "The One" by Dolce & Gabbana.  I was lured in by the description stating that its "base notes are cedarwood, ambergris and tobacco." 

Well, sure enough, when I took a whiff it I was carried away to thoughts of smoking a cigar while building a fence... Wonderful.  But what exactly is this ambergris you may ask...  Wikipedia explains, "ambergris is a solid, waxy, flammable substance of a dull gray or blackish color produced in the digestive system of sperm whales."   Now that's manly!  Mrs. S.O. loves it too.

Find it here: DOLCE GABBANA THE ONE BY Dolce Gabbana For Men EDT SPRAY 3.4 OZ

Fifty Places to Fly Fish Before You Die

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We've all made those mental lists of things to do before we croak.  If you're a die-hard fly fisherman, like the S.O., then this is the perfect book for you.  Or, if you're looking for a gift for the fly fishing enthusiast in your life, this is one that they will absolutely appreciate. 

It's a beautiful hard cover book with stunning photos of the world's top fly fishing destinations.  And, not only does this book entice you with photography, but it can act as an introductory guide book for 50 unforgettable fly fishing excursions -- offering detailed descriptions by avid fisher... um... people, travel info, equipment recommendations and tips.

Get one of these today, it will make a great gift or a great addition to your own collection: Fifty Places to Fly Fish Before You Die at