A holiday gift guide for those who love the outdoors

DULUTH - With this crazy warm weather lately, Santa isn't sure his reindeer will be up to the task. So, he has his faithful Labradeer retrievers on standby in case he needs their help to deliver the goods. And, once again, retailers from across t...

Alaskan Hardgear Trigger Mitts
Alaskan Hardgear Trigger Mitts

DULUTH - With this crazy warm weather lately, Santa isn't sure his reindeer will be up to the task. So, he has his faithful Labradeer retrievers on standby in case he needs their help to deliver the goods. And, once again, retailers from across the Northland have put together plenty of ideas for outdoor giving by the Santas in your family.

Grab and go

Duluth Pack's Grab-N-Go is the perfect little bag for school supplies, or keeping smaller items in your backpack organized during travel. Dimensions: 5 inches high, 8Β½ inches wide and 4 inches deep. Suggested by Duluth Pack, the oldest canvas and leather bag and pack maker in the U.S. Suggested retail, $35.

How tough?

Trailfitters suggests a pair of Darn Tough socks, because who doesn't like getting a new pair of socks for Christmas? Darn Tough socks are made from merino wool that offer both comfort and warmth. Lifetime guarantee. Wore through your heel? No problem, stop in and exchange your worn-out old pair for a brand new pair. Suggested retail, $19.99 to $24.95.


Cruise the backcountry

Altai Hok skis and universal bindings are easy to use in the backcountry. Their short, wide dimensions make the ski incredibly maneuverable, and the integrated climbing skin gives the Hok great traction for climbing. They combine the maneuverability of snowshoes with efficiency of sliding forward. Suggested by Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply in Grand Marais, $312.95.

Tough and warm

Alaskan Hardgear Trigger Mitts, suggested by Duluth Trading Co., feature 100-gram Primaloft insulation and full waterproof-breathable construction to keep your hands warm in the extremes. The goatskin leather palm improves your grip while long gauntlets with elastic bungee lock seal out winter. Suggested retail, $149.50.

Love your Melon beanies

These are great hats for a great cause. Each sale helps fight pediatric cancer and benefits kids and families with cancer. Made in the USA, like everything in the Frost River store. Available in several colors and styles. Suggested by Frost River, $30.

Solar lanterns

The PackLite Spectra color-changing solar lantern is a family-favorite. Suggested by Continental Ski and Bike. Its features include nine light modes, including several colors. Weighs just 5 ounces; 4.65 inches wide by 4.75 inches high. Light lasts 8-12 hours at full charge. Suggested retail, $19.99.


Hitch up!

Have fun with your dog year-round with the Skijoring/Canicross Kit from Kondos Outdoors. Kit features a padded waist belt, shock-absorbing main line with quick release, and comes standard with a single-dog lead line. Works for both running and cross-country skiing. Suggested retail, $98.95.

Cuddle up

The Puffin Blanket by Nemo is perfect for life at home or in camp. A foot hideaway creates a cozy nook to tuck in your feet. Insulated with lofty synthetic down for packability and comfort. Blanket is 86 by 60 inches. Suggested by Piragis Northwoods Co. in Ely, $99.95.

Get a lift

Clam's Icearmor lift suit includes an internal "lift" lining that provides added buoyancy compared to other parkas, giving the angler an extra lift when it's needed. Suggested by Marine General Supply, it's available in three colors for men, women and children. Includes bibs and parka. Suggested retail, $509.99

Deny the wind

The Men's Expedition Shell Partial-Zip Anorak by Wintergreen Northern Wear in Ely is the wind-protection layer in Wintergreen's layering system. Made with three-ply Supplex nylon that sheds wind, moisture and is breathable. Anoraks are generously sized to accommodate layering. Features inside zip chest pockets. Suggested by Wintergreen Northern Wear, $325.


Find fish under ice

Catch more fish this winter with the Humminbird Ice Helix 5 Sonar GPS, suggested by Gander Mountain. Includes 5-inch LCD screen with internal antenna GPS, built-in flasher, dual beam, 20 and 60 degrees. Comes with a carrying case, battery and charger. Includes a micro SD card slot for optional maps or saving waypoints. Suggested retail, $449.99.

Smartwool sock sets

Smartwool's famous merino wool socks are now available in convenient assorted gift sets. Three women's and three men's styles available. Women's sets are size medium, and men's sets are size large. Suggested by Northwest Outlet, Superior, $49.99 per set.

See inside

The WHITETAIL'R SnakeEYE camera, suggested by Superior Shooters Supply, goes where you can't. View firearms barrels, muzzleloaders, home drains or any hard-to-see spot with this 6-foot waterproof camera. Check riflings or interiors of firearms. See it, photograph it and even video it from your phone or tablet. Plugs into Android phones, tablets or personal PCs. Suggested retail, $55.00

Lights, camera, action

The Cycliq Fly6 is a rear-facing camera and taillight. Action sports riders can record their rides and exploits with the 720p HD camera that records whenever the light is powered on. Suggested by Twin Ports Cyclery, $169.


Make some bugs

The Wapsi fly tying kit. Suggested by Superior Fly Angler in Superior, includes all the necessary tools and materials to tie popular fly patterns. Detailed instructions are included. Suggested retail, $79.95.

Longies rule

Minnesota Surplus and Outfitters suggests keeping warm in Minus 33 100-percent merino wool long underwear for men and women. Comes in midweight crew tops and bottoms, suggested retail $64.95; or the midweight ΒΌ-zip mock T-neck at $74.95.

Team effort

Damage Boardshop and its Lincoln Park neighbors at Frost River have designed and created the Winter Mitten. They're designed to be used on tow ropes at ski resorts or for any winter activity that requires a tough, warm and long-lasting mitt. Suggested by Damage Boardshop, $65.

Fish on a wrist

Express your zeal for fly-fishing with Sight Line Fish Bracelets, suggested by the Great Lakes Fly Shop in Duluth. One size fits most. Hand made from leather with choice of designs. Suggested retail, $35.00.


Ride in the night

The Light and Motion Urban 350 headlight is for riding dark trails or streets. Includes rechargeable battery. Suggested by the Ski Hut, $49.99.

Roll it

An ideal companion for bikers and commuters alike, the Roll-Top Scout Pack from Duluth Pack offers the option of rolling the bag down to accommodate a small load or rolled higher to pack everything you might need for a weekend. 22 inches total height, 16 inches at tightest roll. Suggested by Duluth Pack. Suggested retail, $150.

Hot hot, cold cold

The Hydroflask, suggested by Trailfitters, is an insulated bottle made from food-grade stainless steel. Features a double-wall design that ensures your hot beverages stay hot and your cold beverages stay cold. They come in many different sizes and colors. Suggested retail, $24.95 to $64.95.

Find your way

Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply in Grand Marais recommends the Cook County Winter Recreational Trail System Map for winter travelers. Includes a complete list of all ski trails, snowshoe trails and snowmobile routes in the upper Arrowhead region. Suggested retail, $14.95.


Weekender bag

The Oil Cloth Weekender Travel Bag, suggested by Duluth Trading Co., was inspired by the venerable fabric that sheltered seafarers from slashing rain and rogue waves. This bag repels moisture, resists stains and keeps a weekend's worth of gear dry. Suggested retail, $109.50.

Travel in style

The Voyageur Backpack Brief and Backpack Luggage from Frost River are built to last and provide you options for carrying gear. Contoured and stowable backpack straps make carrying this travel bag easier than ever. Lash points on the outside and snaps on the inside allow you to customize and accessorize your load. Two sizes are available, both airline carry-on compliant. Suggested retail: Backpack Brief, $250; Backpack Luggage, $280.

Glow in the snow

Everything is more fun with flashing lights. The Tubbs Snowglow, suggested by Continental Ski and Bike, is a kids' snowshoe with LEDs that light up with every step. This shoe's trusty bindings are easy to use. Suggested retail, $49.95.

Town bag

The Chapman Street Bag from Kondos Outdoors features top pockets to keep your cellphone or wallet close at hand, with a cooler hidden inside to hold cold items. Suggested retail, $69.99.

Make flame

Exotac nanoSTRIKER XL is an ultra-small and completely self-contained fire starter, suggested by Piragis Northwoods Co. in Ely. Includes all the tools you need to start hundreds of fires. The striker is ultra-sharp tungsten carbide. Suggested retail, $28.95

What's down there?

The Marcum Recon 5 and 5-Plus are compact underwater camera systems that fit in your pocket. The camera allows you to see what's going on down where the fish live. Suggested by Marine General Supply, starting at $299.99

Hold winter at bay

The Women's Wool Northwind Coat, made and suggested by Wintergreen Northern Wear in Ely, is crafted in Ely of thick, supple wool and accented with embroidered trim. The wool content is 80 percent with 20 percent nylon for durability. Length is mid-thigh. Has knit cuffs and adjustable elastic waist draw-cord. Suggested retail, $425.

See the fish

The Marcum Recon 5 is an underwater camera with a portable 5-inch LCD screen. It features internal rechargeable lithium battery (about six hours of continuous running time), battery status icon, sun shield and carrying case. Suggested by Gander Mountain, $299.99.

Here, doggie

Carhartt Dog Beds, suggested by Northwest Outlet in Superior, are made with Carhartt's heavy-duty, 12-ounce cotton duck fabric and feature removable covers for easy care. The beds are available in two sizes and three colors. Suggested retail, $49.99 to $59.99.

Keep 'em clean

Browning's Universal Cleaning Kit offers a 35-piece gun-cleaning kit featuring quality brass rods, bronze brushes and mops for every gauge and caliber. Comes in an aluminum carrying case. Suggested by Superior Shooter's Supply, $55.00

Fat-bike fun

The 2017 Raleigh Pardner fat bike, suggested by Twin Ports Cyclery, offers a whole lot of year-round fun. Enthusiasts have long praised fat bikes, but their prices have kept them out of reach for many. At a suggested retail of $799, you can get a real fat bike with a lifetime warranty from a brand you already know and trust.

Streamside warmth

Simms' new Exstream Foldover Mitts feature Polartec Powershield Pro for water resistance and high-loft insulation. When it's time to tie knots, the mitts snap to the back, giving fingers freedom. Great for all cold-weather angling. Suggested by Superior Fly Angler, Superior, $59.95.

Style a Stormy

Suggested by Minnesota Surplus and Outfitters, the Original Stormy Kromer Hat is made in the USA at Ironwood, Mich. Crafted from 80 percent wool and 20 percent nylon with a 100 percent cotton lining. Available in lots of colors and sizes 6Β½ to 8. Suggested retail, $39.95.

Classy rod tote

Fishpond Dakota Rod and Reel Case, suggested by Great Lakes Fly Co., is a carry-on that's both handsome and protective of your fly-fishing gear. Case is 45 inches long. Suggested retail, $179.95

Wax up

Make sure the skiers in your family are ready for the season with the Swix tour pack of waxes for a range of temperatures, along with a cork and scrapers. Suggested by the Ski Hut, $30.


More about the stores

Here's a list of websites for stores with products listed in this gift guide (not all stores have websites):












SKI HUT, Duluth:







Sam Cook is a freelance writer for the News Tribune. Reach him at or find his Facebook page at
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