Cameron Shook

Christmas for 2012

Cameron Shook
Christmas for 2012

By the time this month’s YC article is in your hands, Christmas shopping will be in full swing with Black Friday peering around the corner. Sometimes it’s hard to  In the past I’ve given Christmas shopping ideas and here’s some more this year.


No one that I know would be excited to get a Brita water filter on Christmas morning; I mean, seriously, that’s about the same as getting a dictionary. If you’ve got a person who heads into the woods all the time though, a Lifestraw might make them really excited. A new twist on a filter technology that’s been around for a few years, the Lifestraw is a water filter with no moving parts and is good for an astonishing 1000L of water. Basically an enormous straw, you stick it in the river or lake you want to drink from and suck the water through the filter and into your mouth.  Weighing in at less than 3oz and less than 9” long, it takes up almost no room in a backpack and is great for kayaking when you don’t want to haul a ton of water. (If you’re not going to be hiking next to a water source, another filter that allows you to fill bottles would be best for a primary filtering solution). Plus it’s only $25 so it’s not going to break the bank.

Vintage Camping Equipment

All that was old is new again. Muscle car names and designs from the 70s are coming back, fashions from the 50s/60s are returning, and hopefully hair from the 80s will stay locked in the past where it belongs. Something neat though is that a lot of Coleman gear that’s 20-30 years old is available cheaply and Coleman still makes parts to fix them up good as new. Unlike most of the gear made now, it also is built to last; my dad’s been using one of the large dual burner stoves for years.  I picked up a dual burner stove from back in the 70s at a flea market for $10 that was perfectly functioning; after a little sweat equity sanding it down and putting some new high temperature paint on it it’s as good as new and is a piece of equipment I’ll be using for years to come. If you don’t mind a little work, and want to give a gift that looks as good as it is functional, try searching eBay, Craigslist, and flea markets for lanterns and stoves.

Women Specific Gear

Finding something for the outdoors woman in your life isn’t near as hard now as it used to be. If they use gear that wasn’t made for a woman, giving them something that was designed with them in mind makes a world of difference. My lady friend has been dropping hints that she’s tired of having a kayak paddle that has a thick shaft and wants a narrower one to fit her smaller hands. The same thought can cross over into any area; backpacks, sleeping bags, etc are all women specific now and I don’t just mean they come in pink. Sleeping bags that are women specific have more insulation in the feet and are cut wider in the hips, and backpacks curve around, shall we say, anatomical differences for a better fit. Shoes and clothing is something I always stay away from for gift giving purposes because it’s the gift most prone to being returned.

Sharp Pointy Things with Multiple Purposes

Knives are always a good gift idea for a male between the ages of 8 and 130. Hatchets, tomahawks, and cutting implements that do something cool. If you have a photographer in the family, something like Gerber’s new Steady Tool might just fit the bill. It’s a knife that doubles as a tripod for both a camera and a cell phone…yeah, I know; kind of crazy but in a good way. Tomahawks and hatchets are good options too; I keep one in my car and have used it for cutting down boxes, chopping firewood, and clearing fallen trees from highways. If they’re fans of the TV series “The Walking Dead” something like the S.O.G. Tactical Tomahawk will have them ready for when Z-Day finally hits. Another option is a locally made knife; there’s a gentleman out of Concord named Randy Nance who heat treats and does all his own leatherwork.  I’ve purchased knives from him in the past and if you’re interested he can be reached at There are plenty of other local makers and websites like Etsy have any kind of custom knife you could imagine; my personal favorite on Etsy are the knives made from old railroad spikes.

An Adventure

Another option, my personal favorite, would be to give the gift of an adventure…maybe even something that you can take part in yourself. I’m not saying to send them out west, but rather do something out of the ordinary. Plan on spending a weekend camping out and doing something fun like rafting down the Nantahala or Ocoee, biking down the Virginia Creeper Trail, or having a waterfall filled weekend and hiking to as many as possible in the Upstate of SC.

Whatever you chose to buy this year, just make sure you spend time doing what you love with those you enjoy doing it with. For Thanksgiving I’ll be camping out at a State Park with the Shook clan and cooking in a picnic shelter; I hope your time together is just as good.


Amish in the sense that, at one point, my family helped others raise barns.
Now I build websites to help others build their businesses.