Santa Claus was checking out new routes for his reindeer recently when he stopped in the Northland and tried his hand at ice fishing. Being Santa, he of course had access to some of the hottest new ice fishing gear available, including the Otter Cottage insulated flip-up ice shack and the Strikemaster 40V Lithium battery-powered ice auger.
Santa clearly no longer gets all of his gifts from the elves' North Pole toy shop, so we asked a few Northland retailers and manufacturers to suggest gift ideas for the outdoorsperson on your list. Whether you are giving or hoping to receive (try cutting out this article and circling something then leave it in a conspicuous place) we hope this holiday gift guide makes your Christmas list more fun to finish.
You have 15 days left to shop.
Strikemaster Lithium 40-Volt ice auger
Santa isn't the only one running a new battery-powered ice auger - the units are jumping off the shelves at many stores. They are quiet, smoke free and mess-free with no gas or oil to deal with. The Strikemaster Lithium 40-Volt was completely redesigned last winter after early models had some bugs. The new models are said to cut through 100 holes of 16-inch ice on one charging. Price: $549. Marine General, 1501 London Road, (218) 724-8833, marinegeneral.com.
Otter Cottage XT ice shelter and sled
Santa certainly can handle the cold, but even he wants to get out of the elements on occasion, which is why he can sometimes be seen fishing inside the insulated Otter Cottage XT which offers front and side doors and quilted insulation to keep the cold out and heat in. It's built on the famous Otter sled. Price: $549. Marine General, 1501 London Road, (218) 724-8833, marinegeneral.com.
Tickle Stick with Black Betty Freefall reel
Santa likes landing the big ones as much as anyone, so he's switched to a newfangled inline reel on a special ice rod. The inline reels offer faster retrieves and less line twist. Santa is using a 13 Fishing Tickle Stick rod, with a spring bobber-like tip but plenty of guts in the butt. It's paired with a Black Betty Freefall inline reel in Radioactive Pickel. Combo price: $110. Marine General, 1501 London Road, (218) 724-8833, marinegeneral.com.
The '60s rock band Three Dog Night got its name from an Australian Aboriginal term for a night so cold you'd have to take three dogs to bed with you just to stay warm. Now imagine how cold a four dog night is! Four Dog Stoves have been made by hand for 25 years in St. Francis in central Minnesota (OK, we cheated a few miles, it's not really the Northland) by Roxanne and Don Kevilus. The stoves are made one at a time, custom order, so order well ahead of your next trip. The titanium (light and tough) stoves have received rave reviews from folks who hunt out of tent camps in November or take winter camping trips. The Ultra Light 1 (with a 10-inch tall x 10-inch wide x 18-inch long fire box) weighs just 10 pounds. Price: $825. The Ultra Light II (with an 11-inch tall x 11-inch wide x 22-inch long fire box) and weighs 12 pounds. Price: $970. Four Dog Wood Stoves (763) 444-9587 or fourdog.com.
A winter necessity designed and created in the Lincoln Park Business District as a collaboration between Damage Boardshop and Frost River. The mitts are designed to be used on tow ropes at ski resorts or for any winter activity that you need a durable, tough, warm and long lasting mitt. A great gift for anyone who likes to be outdoors in the northland and wants to support local businesses. Price: $80. Damage, 1904 W. Superior St. Call (218) 724-4027, damageboardshop.com.
Enjoy your favorite beverage from one of Damage Boardshop mugs or pints glasses. Cheers!
Price: $10. Damage, 1904 W. Superior St. Call (218) 724-4027, damageboardshop.com.
Same great design and features as Duluth Pack's Haversack, but scaled down in size for individuals looking for a smaller purse or field bag. Extra tough 15-ounce canvas construction, leather trim, adjustable strap. Dimensions are 8 inches high, 8.5 wide and 4 inches deep. Available in many colors. Price: $135 Duluth Pack, 365, Canal Park Drive. Call (218) 722-3898, duluthpack.com.
A classic Wanderer with a rugged twist. Made from Duluth Pack's popular waxed canvas and accented in our newest Mossy Oak Bottomland pattern. The wanderer is an ideal medium-sized pack for any day trip, whether it's hiking, biking, canoeing, or wandering. Features include a roomy buckle-down front pocket, buckle-down side pockets and rugged leather straps and roller buckles. Constructed of 15-ounce canvas with cotton webbing shoulder straps. Also available in Waxed Canvas. Dimensions are 16 inches high, 15 wide and 6 deep. Price: $315. Duluth Pack, 365, Canal Park Drive. Call (218) 722-3898, duluthpack.com.
A top-selling float tube that offers reliable durability and thoughtful features for hardcore stillwater anglers. The fully inflatable seat and backrest provide on-water comfort and compact transport. Weighs just 13 pounds and can support 300 pounds of angler and gear with three air chambers and a five-year warranty. Price: $449.99, Great Lakes Fly Shop, 4426 Regent St. Call (218) 740-3040 or go to greatlakesflyfish.com.
Good gear deserves a good home. This duffel is designed for anglers with a waterproof molded bottom, recycled "Cyclepond" nylon exterior, a zip down fly bench which gives instant access to your must-have flies, and a deep main compartment that is customizable to match your needs.
Price: $179.95, Great Lakes Fly Shop, 4426 Regent St. Call (218) 740-3040 or go to greatlakesflyfish.com.
The Simms Guide Windbloc Hat offers extreme weather protection, with Polartec® Windbloc® performance. Price: $49.95 Superior Fly Angler, 310 Belknap St., Suite A, Superior. Call (715) 395-9520, superiorfllyangler.com.
If looking and staying cool in the sun is your thing then High UV Protection BUFF® could be just what you're after - bright and funky designs including patterned and plain designs in Coolmax® Extreme fabric for superior wicking performance and at least 95 percent UV protection.
Price: $23. Superior Fly Angler, 310 Belknap St., Suite A, Superior. Call (715) 395-9520, superiorfllyangler.com.
The Opinel Colorama No. 8 men's folding knife is a "design icon' built to be simple and beautiful, sharp and durable. Tuck it into your pocket for a picnic. Keep it in your desk for workday lunches. Carve into charcuterie, cheese, or a crisp apple, or whittle a stick for campfire s'mores. With an easy-to-maintain stainless steel blade, this knife is ready for wherever your adventures might take you. Dimensions: Weighs 1.5 ounces; 8 inches long; blade length 31/4 inches.
Details: Price: $18, Piragis Northwoods, 105 N. Central Ave., Ely. Call (218) 365-6745, piragis.com.
The Opinel No. 6 Colorama Classic women's folding knife in the pocket-friendly No. 6 size is a take-everywhere, tackle-anything tool. The classic carbon steel blade holds its edge and is easy to sharpen, and the varnished beech wood handle is both beautiful and lightweight. Tuck it into your basket for a picnic. Keep it in your desk for workday lunches or opening packages. Carve into charcuterie, cheese, or a crisp apple, or whittle a stick for campfire s'mores. Little has changed since Joseph Opinel crafted his first pocket knife in 1890, for good reason; Opinel knives stand the test of time. Dimensions: 61/2 inches long; blade length 3 inches, weighs 1 ounce. Price: $16, Piragis Northwoods, 105 N. Central Ave., Ely. Call (218) 365-6745, piragis.com.
Keep your hands happy and warm with Frost River mitts.The smaller cousin to the Great Northern Choppers, the Northern Pacific Mittens are available in waxed canvas or buckskin leather. Both are lined with heavy polar fleece to keep all your fingers happy. Elastic back helps keep out snow and cold. All of Frost River's buckskin comes from real, wild deer hides, so each one is a little different. Sized to be roomy. Price: $90, Frost River, 1910 W. Superior St. Call (800) FROST-84, frostriver.com.
The North Bay Daypack is just as at home in a canoe as it is shuttling to and from campus or work. Built in two sizes from trusty waxed canvas in Duluth. One has a 5-inch gusset and is a classic daypack size, the 7-inch is deeper, perfect for boxy or bulky items. All have a sleeve at the back for storing flat stuff, you get the choice to have it padded or not. The zippers go all the way down allowing the pack to open wide. Interior pockets provide organization. Available in Heritage Black and Field Tan. Price: $140, Frost River, 1910 W. Superior St. Call (800) FROST-84, frostriver.com.
You can wear 'em as you twist yourself into a pretzel at yoga class but these hyper-flexible, majorly durable NoGA® Knits are built to take on challenges far more demanding than a downward dog pose. They wick moisture to keep you fresh and dry all day, too. They've eliminated standard side seams, and replaced them with strategic stitching that accentuates your assets while minimizing hips and thighs. Price: $64.50, Duluth Trading Co., 300 E. Superior St. Call (218) 481-7580, duluthtrading.com.
People have been pleading with Duluth Trading Co. to bring back their Fire Hose Bulldozer Backpack. So they did. Made from PVC-backed, 11.5-oz. Fire Hose cotton canvas, it sheds stains and moisture, plus there's handsome full-grain cowhide leather in high-abrasion areas and on the bottom. Rugged antiqued brass hardware and heavy-duty coil zippers stand up to the daily grind. Rigid design stays upright during loading. Cavernous main compartment can hold 24 cans of beer and a pack of bacon - or, if you must, load it up with clipboard, files, pencils and GPS. Neoprene sleeves coddle your finicky 15-inch laptop and tablet. Cool mesh padding in back for comfortable carrying. Price: $169.50, Duluth Trading Co., 300 E. Superior St. Call (218) 481-7580, duluthtrading.com.
The original design that went on the North Pole Expedition 30 years ago. Wear it alone or layer under our Shell Anorak for extra protection. Generous cut accommodates many layers. Built from expedition-weight 11.8 oz. Polartec® Wind Pro® fleece. It wicks away perspiration while blocking the wind four times better than other fleece. Extra roomy hood fits over any hat. The Full-Zip style has a two-way zipper with two front cargo pockets. Adjustable drawcord at waist and hood. Embroidered trims to match our Expedition Shell Anoraks. Designed, cut and sewn in Ely. Price: $285 for S-XL; $325 for XXL, Wintergreen Northern Wear, 205 E. Sheridan St., Ely. Call (218) 365-6602, 844-ELY-MADE, WintergreenNorthernWear.com.
Wicking, warmth and wind layers keep your core warm. Layering is just as important for your hands. Our Waxed Cotton Shell Overmitts are made to layer over a wool or fleece mitt or glove for maximum warmth. The outer shell is a tough breathable but water-resistant waxed cotton reinforced in the palm with Slip-Not® grip pad. Cuff is flared to fit over jacket sleeves. Adjustable web strap and elastic drawcord adjusts with one hand. Clip to secure mittens together when not in use. Designed, cut and sewn in Ely. Price: $85, Wintergreen Northern Wear, 205 E. Sheridan St., Ely. Call (218) 365-6602, 844-ELY-MADE, WintergreenNorthernWear.com.
Hot food when you are on the go in the snow. Stainless steel mounting base (gets heat from the muffler) with built-in handle, this is a high-quality stainless steel cook pot. Includes menus and recipes. It quickly detaches from base and mounting hardware is included. Can be installed on any snowmobile in minutes. Price: $39.95, Duluth Lawn & Sport, 4715 Grand Ave. Call (218) 628-3718, duluthlawnandsport.com.
No more aching backs. This little snowblower is great for sidewalks and walkways, driveways for up to 4 inches of snow. It can throw snow up to 20 feet. Power Curve Technology, with a curved rotor and inverted funnel housing efficiently remove snow while reducing clogging. Telescoping handle and cord lock system adjusts to the height that's comfortable for you.
Price: $99.99, Duluth Lawn & Sport, 4715 Grand Ave. Call (218) 628-3718, duluthlawnandsport.com.
A bright 350 Lumens, waterproof, red green and blue LEDs and multiple brightness settings for the white light. This is all the headlamp you'll ever need. Price $59.95, Trailfitters, 600 E. Superior St. Call (218) 722-6776, trailfitters.com.
This lightweight Patagonia pullover is an awesome layer for the cold months and it's made almost entirely from recycled polyester. Available in a different color options. Price: $119, Trailfitters, 600 E. Superior St. Call (218) 722-6776, trailfitters.com.
Powered by high capacity, lithium-ion battery packs, Hotronic's Heat Socks XLP ONE offer three base level settings for comfort and warmth maintenance while Boost Setting 4 offers an extra blast of heat when needed. Whether planning for a brief outing or a long term journey, these are easy to use in all types of footwear for skiing, snowboarding, bicycling, horseback riding, fishing, hunting and during other cold-temperature activities. Price: $269, Ski Hut, 1032 E. Fourth St. Call (218) 724-8525, skihut.com.
Swank is retro-value for modern times, carrying the freedom of youth into the excitement and unpredictability of tomorrow. Swank's light frame is designed for a no-slip fit and is equipped with shatterproof, scratch-resistant lenses covering a spectrum of popular colors. Great for skiing, biking, hiking and all other outdoor activities. Price: $25, Ski Hut, 1032 E. Fourth St. Call (218) 724-8525, skihut.com.
Premium beaver mittens with buckskin palms and PolarTec fleece lining to keep your hands toasty warm all winter long. Made in Duluth. Price: $129, USA FOXX & FURS, INC., 29 W. Superior St. Call (218) 722-7742, usafoxx.com.
Stay warm all winter long with a beaver fur hat. Fur ear and neck flaps can be tied under your chin for maximum protection from the elements. Made in Duluth. Price: $129, USA FOXX & FURS, INC., 29 W. Superior St. Call (218) 722-7742, usafoxx.com.
Select styles of Browning knives are 50 percent off. Price: Regular $50-$100, now $25-$50, Superior Shooters Supply, 1705 Winter St., Superior, (715) 394-4982, superiorshooterssupply.com.
This Browning jacket is lightweight with snap buttons and no hood. Just like the name says, it's ready for duck hunting or deer hunting. Price: $49, Superior Shooters Supply, 1705 Winter St., Superior, (715) 394-4982, superiorshooterssupply.com.
The original, classic camper's folding saw. Ideal for camping, backpacking, canoe trips, scouting, hunting, hiking, picnics and countless uses around the home. Rugged with a frame of high strength aluminum alloy and a blade of finest Swedish steel. Lightweight at less than a pound, and it's compact and fits in a pack. The blade is fast: it rips through firewood. It's also safe: the blade is hidden when folded into handle. Manufactured by Swen Products, Inc. in Duluth. Price: 21-inch, $44.95; 15-inch $36.95, Minnesota Surplus & Outfitters, 218 W. Superior St. Call (218) 727-3133, facebook.com/pages/Minnesota-Surplus-Outfitters
Warm and long-lasting. Canadian made by Klondike Sterling out of Winnipeg. Price: Single palm sizes S-XL; $44.95, 2XL/3XL, $46.95; Double palm sizes small-XL, $49.95; 2XL/3XL, $52.95; Wool liner by Fox River (85 percent wool/15 percent nylon) is $15.95, Minnesota Surplus & Outfitters, 218 W. Superior St. Call (218) 727-3133, facebook.com/pages/Minnesota-Surplus-Outfitters
Yooper Chooks are not ordinary hats. Every hat has a hidden, tucked-up face band that expands in order to keep the winter winds from nipping at your face. Yooper Chooks are handmade in Michigan's Upper Peninsula for cold weather by people who know the importance of warm, high quality headwear. Available in multiple sizes. Price: $24.99 Northwest Outlet, 1814 Belknap St., Superior. Call (715) 392-9838, northwestoutlet.com.
Pants on Pants were born out of the frustration that often comes with experiencing a frigid Duluth winter for the first time. They're designed to be easily worn over everyday pants without the need to take off your shoes while putting on or taking off the Pants on Pants. They feature a double layer of insulation in the seat to help make your morning commute more enjoyable. Available in both men's and women's sizes. Price: $160, Northwest Outlet, 1814 Belknap St., Superior. Call (715) 392-9838, northwestoutlet.com.