Try 1 month for 99¢

Popular Christmas gifts at Shawnee Trails Wilderness Outfitter this year include Smartwool socks, Hydro Flask bottles and the AeroPress coffee maker.

CARBONDALE — It can be a helpless feeling.

There is someone on your Christmas list what loves hiking, camping, hunting or fishing. You’d love to get them a personalized present. But, when you walk into a sporting goods store, you are out of your element.

Take heart. There are a lot of things you can do.

“There is always going to be something somebody would like, doesn’t have or would not buy for themselves,” said Rick Reeve, proprietor of Carbondale’s Shawnee Trails Wilderness Outfitters. "Gift-giving comes into play there, like a good pair of socks, most people don’t want to spend the money on a pair of socks, but smart wools are darned tough socks. They’re great.”

And, if that person on your list is into specialized climbing, hunting or camping gear. There is always the gift certificate route.

“That happens a lot,” Reeve said. "Parents will have a son or daughter that is a climber. They’re just baffled. We’re like, you can’t go wrong with a gift certificate. They probably know just what they want, you probably don’t, and if we don’t know them well, we probably don’t either.”

Then, of course, there are gifts that cross many lines of interest.

“One of the cooler things we’ve got in this year for travelers, backpackers and campers are the AeroPress coffee presses,” Reeve said. “It’s a pretty cool coffee press. I use mine at home every morning. It’s pretty simple.

“It’s based on a French press type system, but it doesn’t have a wire mesh it has a paper filter it pushes it through. So, clean-up is a total breeze, which is good in the field. You don’t want to have too much to mess with in the morning. It packs small. The coffee tastes fantastic.”

And, the person who spends a lot of time outdoors is always in need of warm-clothing. Reeve suggested boots, gloves, rain jackets or fleece vests. Traditionally, wool socks have been one of the store’s most popular Christmas gift items.

“Flannel shirts have been really big this year from North Face or Patagonia,” Reeve said. “I can’t keep them in stock. We’ve refilled shirts, I can’t tell you how many times this fall.

“We usually do more with the stocking stuffer stuff, like the socks, headlamps from Black Diamond or Petzl, Hydro-flask stainless bottles or Yeti bottles. On the high end, probably the coolest gifts you could give is one of these beautiful canoes from Winona or Northstar. They make a series of canoes in Kevlar and carbon mixes and straight Kevlar.”

In the meantime, Jonathan Heyde, a salesperson at Dunn’s Sporting Goods in Marion had gift suggestions for the hunter or angler on your Christmas list.

“Everybody is out to get the newest shotguns, Browning, Benelli and Winchester,” he said. “The new (Benelli) Black Eagle 3 and the Browning A5. Decoys are moving well along with the shotguns. We are selling a lot of shotguns in the bottomland camo. A lot of guys are into that.”

Camouflage items for deer and waterfowl hunters are also a popular gift idea. Heyde said jackets, bibs, pullovers and waders are all popular.

“Everything to do with waterfowl is selling real well right now,” he said.

For anglers, Shimano Chronarch baitcasting reels have been popular this year.

Subscribe to Breaking News

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.


On Twitter: @LesWinkeler​


Sports editor

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

Load comments