By Mark Fike
Each year I get asked what I want for Christmas. Personally, I have a great family and really don’t care about material things. However, because I am pressed about it, I try to offer up some ideas that are things that I really need, can use and will last. This year, with that in mind, I began testing four items months ago that I wanted to offer readers for ideas.
Every outdoors person has a use for a knife. Most of us have a favorite knife that we use for everything. Because I do a little bit of everything when it comes to hunting and fishing, I use my knife a LOT. This year I ran into Karen Lutto who owns Hunter Outdoor Communications at a writers’ organization meeting in Mississippi.
Karen has clients all over the country that she represents and they are first class companies. While speaking with her I noticed an Outdoor Edge folding knife on her table. She picked it up and suggested I try it.
Up until that day, I had never owned a knife that had replaceable blades and was not sure I would like them. I am old school. However, I was intrigued. I have an Outdoor Edge SwingBlade that I love for field dressing deer. It has lasted for years. So, I decided to try the Razorlite EDC.
So far I have field dressed and processed 6 deer this season using that knife. I have used one other knife for some of the larger cuts of meat but this 3.5 inch blade has done a lot of the work. Even though it comes with 6 replacement blades, I am still on the first blade! This knife handles well, is small enough to put in your bibs or pants and it is large enough to do the caping, cutting and field dressing as well as some of the processing too.
Specs: blades change out easily (6 included), 3” or 3.5” Japanese 420J2 stainless razor blades are shaving sharp—no joke! Handles are Grivory and rubberized with TPR inserts for non slip grip even with blood on your hands or water. Stud is on both sides for one handed opening. Pocket clip (love it) is replaceable.
Colors include blaze orange, blue or gray handles. This knife is perfect as they can get for a folder for hunting and other tasks. I really like it and it goes with me every time I go hunting.
Throw some light on the subject!
I carry a flashlight just about everywhere I go. However, at the house and in my truck when I am fishing or hunting, I like to have a backup and a larger light for longer or bigger tasks. For over 6 months I have been using the Streamlight Waypoint II Lithium Ion Rechargeable spotlight. This light is not so heavy that you need to lift weights to use it like some rechargeables are.
It throws 1000 lumens of bright white light on whatever you need. Modes are high, medium and low and you can clearly light up things over 500 yards away! It is waterproof to about 6 feet and weighs only 1.5 pounds.
I have the black one with a red and green lens. The red lens is perfect for predator hunting. The green lens helps you keep your night vision. This light floats too! I love this light for hitting my yard when the animals get aroused by a marauding fox or coyote. I also like it for tracking wounded game. I wish they had a blue lens for that purpose but the light on a medium or low setting works perfect. On high it lasts 3.75 hours and a whopping 87 hours on low! This light has stood up to a lot of use so far in our house. We reach for it each time the dogs go crazy and I keep it in the boat and truck when not at home.
Keep in touch and don’t get lost!
These days we tend to spend less time regularly navigating the woods and when we do get a chance we go with all our energy and plunge into the adventure. Sometimes our land navigation skills are rusty, particularly when we are in unfamiliar terrain or areas.
I decided that for my future trips I was going to keep my wife from worrying and get a quality GPS that had a Satellite Communicator. I wanted something with TOPO mapping too so I could effectively know what I was getting into as I started over the rise or around the bend.
GARMIN’s GPSMAP® 66i has the GARMIN TOPO Mapping and Satellite Communicator in one small, handheld unit. This rugged unit easily stows in a pocket, is readable in sunlight and has the ability to trigger an interactive SOS to a GEOS 24/7 search and rescue monitoring center. Other specs include
- two-way messaging via the 100% global Iridium® satellite network (satellite subscription required)
- Preloaded Garmin TOPO mapping with direct-to-device BirdsEye Satellite Imagery downloads (no annual subscription); includes multiple Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) support and navigation sensors
- Optional inReach® weather forecast service delivers detailed updates directly to GPSMAP 66i or paired devices; use cellular connectivity to access Active Weather forecasts through the Garmin Connect™ online community
- Compatible with the Garmin Explore™ website and app to help you manage waypoints, routes, activities and collections, use tracks and review trip data from the field
- Internal, rechargeable lithium battery provides up to 35 hours of battery life in 10-minute tracking mode; 200 hours in Expedition mode with 30-minute tracking intervals
So, what does this mean and why get this unit? The inReach subscription service has a load of options to fit any person’s needs. I would heartily recommend you check it out as I cannot list all the features here. Basically, you can get help and communicate around the world if you get this plan and make sure it fits your situation.
I spoke with Mike Willis, aka Mountain Man Mike, who is our western writer from Idaho. He had this to say about the inReach service:
“When my wife and I moved to Idaho, she insisted that I have a quality GPS and satellite communicator. The inReach has allowed me to exchange essential information, countless times, about where I have an animal down or simply that I am running late.
When snowmobiling alone (not usually a good idea), I would enable the tracking feature to send my wife automatic location pings. Should something have happened, my location could have been identified by looking where the last movement was recorded. When literally riding on millions of acres of national forest land, this is very nice.
Last, when my wife floated the river in kayaks with her friend, I stuffed the inReach enabled GPS in the backpack so that I could track their progress and coordinate their pickup.”
As you can see, the GARMIN GPS with inReach is insurance for your life and peace of mind for you and your family!
I have the 66i but the 86i would be good for those navigating coastal waters too. Consider this product awesome insurance. There are a lot of great features and the topo maps are incredible!
I heartily recommend this unit. I am very pleased with it and I still am using all the features!
Last but not least…
Water bottles are a dime a dozen but a really good beverage bottle takes some looking to find. Bevanda makes a 14 ounce mug, 22 ounce water bottle and a 40 ounce water bottle and a gallon jug that are well worth looking at.
I have the 40 ounce water bottle. I like the wide mouth that I can put ice in easily and with the triple insulated design, the ice lasts days! There is no condensation, water rings or other mess to worry about either. You can get the bottle in white, navy, surf and coral colors.
I have had a number of water bottles and the stainless design on the Bevanda bottle keeps my beverages cold, which is a deal maker for me. My dad actually stole my bottle once he saw how good it was. Dad is a bit abusive to his gear and this bottle has taken the beating and keeps on doing its thing. The bottle has been in the floor of his truck, in the bed of the truck with his chainsaws and gear, in the treestand, on the boat, on his tractor etc… I keep waiting for an opportunity to steal it back. I think it will be easier to just buy another. He keeps that bottle pretty close to him at all times. A great gift idea!
For more information on the new product line and Bevanda’s full product offering, visit BevandaProducts.com.