Hydro Flasks, Darn Tough socks and Osprey packs at Shawnee Trails Wilderness Outfitters are popular gifts this year for outdoor enthusiasts.

The signs are everywhere.

The 24-hour Christmas stations are available on satellite radio. Christmas trees have adorned retail space for nearly a month. And, you can’t scan the television guide without finding “Christmas With the Cranks” and “The Santa Clause.”

It’s that time of year when the behavior of young children can be modified simply by mentioning “Santa is watching.”

So, if you’ve already survived Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, but still need to find gifts for that outdoors person on your list, take heart. Shawnee Trails Wilderness Outfitters in Carbondale and Dunn’s Sporting Goods in Marion have plenty of ideas for the hunter, angler, camper, climber or hiker.

“Eno Hammocks and all their accessories, like quilts, have really taken a big surge,” said Rick Reeve, owner of Shawnee Trails Wilderness Outfitters. “I would say we probably sell 30 hammocks to every tent we sell. A lot of people have taken on the go-light aspect of hiking and backpacking. You’ll always find two trees in the Shawnee, but it might take a while to find a flat spot. It’s considerably a smaller package.”

And, the hammocks won’t break the bank. The hammocks start at about $60, and the rain flies start at $79.

Continuing the trend in lightweight camping equipment, Reeve said Osprey backpacks have been a popular item this season.

A new item selling well at Dunn’s Sporting Goods is the Benelli Super Black Eagle 3.

“Benelli comes out with a new model every year,” said Brandi Fox, one of the owners of Dunn’s. “This year it’s the Super Black Eagle 3. It’s a semi-automatic. They do come in different camo patterns. That would be for a waterfowl hunter.”

Sticking with the hunting theme, Fox said crossbows have been flying off the shelves.

In terms of clothing, Sitka hunting apparel is popular.

“They can do that with the waterfowl or the deer,” Fox said. “It’s a full hunters line. They have base layer, outer layer. They also have gloves. It is available in a variety of patterns.”

Drake underwear has also been a big seller.

At Shawnee Trails, Reeve said Patagonia has been the best-selling clothing line this season. He also said Darn Tough socks and Tilley hats have been a popular stocking stuffers. On the other end of the price spectrum, composite canoes are regaining popularity.

And, camping equipment also remains popular.

“Another big thing is the Hydro Flask, they make a very nice line of food-grade stainless steel, double-walled vacuum bottles,” Reeve said. “There are various shapes and sizes from a kid’s milk to put in his lunch box, up to Growler sizes. Those are super popular.”

Finally, Fox said fishing rods are a popular gift.

“They came out with a new line of the IMX Pro by G Loomis,” she said. “They have casting and spinning and spinning rods, they come in all different variations of lengths and weights.”



On Twitter: @LesWinkeler​


Sports editor

Les Winkeler is sports editor and outdoors writer for The Southern Illinoisan.

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