We caught Santa getting in a few kilometers of cross-country skiing recently and it looked like he was already toting some of our favorite outdoor gear that would make perfect gifts for the outdoorsy folks on your gift-giving list.
In keeping with our News Tribune Outdoors section holiday tradition, we asked Santa and Northland outdoors-oriented stores and manufacturers to make some gift suggestions. All of these products are available locally, several are even made locally, and most have been time-tested and Santa approved.
This year we also asked for at least one gift from each merchant priced under $50 so you don’t have to break the bank.
Now get going: Only 17 shopping days left before Christmas!
Rechargeable heated socks
When we found Santa, aka Chris White, store manager at Duluth’s Ski Hut, he was wearing a pair of Hotronic Heat Socks. If you suffer from chronically cold feet, these may be the ticket. They are perfect for downhill skiing, ice fishing, sitting on a cold November deer stand or watching a hockey game — times when keeping your feet warm means spending more time doing what you love to do. They are powered by a high-capacity, rechargeable lithium ion battery pack and offer three base level settings for comfort and warmth maintenance while Boost Setting 4 offers an extra blast of heat when needed. Price $269, Ski Hut, theskihut.com, 218-724-8525.
Face mask hood/balaclava
Santa normally stays warm behind his bushy beard, but when it gets really nasty at the North Pole he likes to add a BlackStrap hood to his ensemble. Also called a balaclava, the hood is a hat, facemask and neck protector all in one. It works great under a ski, snowboard or snowmobile helmet. BlackStrap hoods are made in the US, windproof, moisture-wicking and breathable. Great for cold weather hunting, ice fishing or dog walking as well, and they provide 50 SPF to prevent sunburn on those sunny days on the slopes. They come in a multitude of colors and patterns, too. Price $19.99, Ski Hut, theskihut.com, 218-724-8525.
Rechargeable LED Knit Hat
The Trophy Angler 200 Lumen Rechargeable LED Knit Hat available in black is the coolest hat on the market right now! This USB Rechargeable LED Hat offers a durable, hands-free lighting solution! Whether it's outdoor adventures or at-home work, this Trophy Angler 200 Lumen Rechargeable LED Knit Hat will shine bright when you need it most. Produces up to 200 lumens of bright light and runs for up to 20 hours on rechargeable 400ma lithium-ion battery. Perfect for ice fishing, fishing, hunting, camping, walking to your tree stand, late-night filleting, or working in dimly-lit areas. 1-hour charge time on average and one size fits most. Available in black, grey, pink, blue, and blaze orange. Price: $14.99, Marine General, 218-724-8833, marinegeneral.com.
ION G2 Electric Auger
The ION G2 signifies the next generation of ION ice auger technology. Faster than the competition and up to 29% lighter, the ION G2 ups the ante when it comes to speed, weight, and longevity in a lithium ion ice auger. Powered by a 6Ah Gen 2 battery, its single-cell protection ensures a long battery life and optimal performance in the cold. The composite polymer bottom allows for the smoothest cut, in the lightest possible package, all with incredible durability. More speed, more power, more holes and less weight — all backed by the ION exclusive three-year warranty. Expect more from your electric auger, experience the ION G2 today. Price: $749.99, Marine General, 218-724-8833, marinegeneral.com.
The Weekender Duffel
Retail: $285. Available in 15 different canvas colors.
From the campsite to the city our Weekender Duffel will be the toughest piece of carry-on luggage in the overhead bin during any short getaway. Sleek, classic look for all your travel necessities. Features rugged 15-ounce canvas for years of use, handcrafted leather bottom, reinforced for added protection, two external, zippered side compartments for organization, top center zipper for easy access to the main compartment, comfortable cotton web shoulder strap, padded quality haul handle for easy pickup. Dimensions: 10"H x 20"W x 10"D; capacity: 33L. Price: $285, Duluth Pack, 218-722-3898, duluthpack.com.
The Leather Travel Kit Bag - Size Small
This gentleman's piece, our new kit bag, is made for a lifetime of travel and looking dapper. Hand-sewn using our premium grain leather, this will hold all your essentials for a weekend trip to the cabin or a month abroad. Features premium leather construction for years of use, quality, hand-sized grab handle for easy pickup, small loop for carabiner attachment, high-quality YKK zipper for securing goods. Dimensions: Small: 3"H x 7"W x 4"D, Medium: 4"H x 8"W x 4"D. Price: $50. Duluth Pack, 218-722-3898, duluthpack.com.
Gatherer Wood Sling
There is something invigorating about stepping out into the chill with the smell of chimney smoke in the air while you gather more wood to stack by the fire. The Gatherer Wood Sling is just as classic as this age-old task, and makes you feel just as tough as this sling — and, might we say, it looks pretty classy by the fire as well. Price: $38.95, Kondos Outdoor, Ely, 218-365-4189, kondosoutdoors.com.
Take it with you to the beach, along in the car, or a short break to the library. The Semer's Tote is just the right size to be your companion anywhere. An 8"x8" inside zipper pouch nicely stores away keys, glasses or pens, and the buckle closure keeps it nice and tidy. Price: $38.95, Kondos Outdoor, Ely, 218-365-4189, kondosoutdoors.com.
Simms Dry Creek Bag
It only takes one cold, wet day on the river to appreciate that dry gear makes for a better experience. Our large Dry Creek Dry Bag helps you keep your dry stuff dry. A roll-top, seam-sealed design keeps everything inside safe from the inevitable splashes and spray that come with being in and around water. At 36 liters, it's big enough to hold a set of waders and boots, and there's a D-Ring for clipping to the boat or your other gear to keep it from bouncing around. Features highly durable, waterproof storage (not submersible), roll-top closure with TPU‐coated webbing, fully taped seams, single D‐ring for securing to bags and watercraft and fits a pair of Simms Waders and Wading Boots. Cost: $49.95 in large; medium and small sizes available. Superior Fly Angler, Superior, 715-395-9520, superiorflyangler.com.
Simms Rogue Hoody
Cruising local haunts or dawn-patrolling your favorite river, the unstoppable Rogue Fleece Hoody is ready to roll. Defining characteristics include a breathable, soft fleece interior, water-resistant externals, and a three-panel hood with simple drawcord adjustment. The self-fabric cuffs and hem accentuate comfort and warmth, while a zippered chest and two hand pockets hold everything you need. Made with softshell DWR-treated fabrics for water resistance, fleece interior for warmth, three-panel hood with draw cord, and zippered chest pocket and open hand warmer pockets. Price: $99.95, Superior Fly Angler, Superior, 715-395-9520, superiorflyangler.com.
San Juan Vertical Chest Pack
Features low-profile vertical design, zippered main compartment for secure fly box storage, zippered interior pocket, fishpond Jacquard accent webbing and climbing cord loops for accessory attachment, belt loop attachment, signature, zip-down fly bench with replaceable foam. Cost: $49.95, Great Lakes Fly Shop, 218-740-3040, greatlakesflyfish.com.
ION XL Series saltwater-grade rod
Saltwater-grade rods in this price category are usually better utilized as a coat hanger than a fishing tool. The Ion XL series does not fit that mold. Featuring a remarkably low swing-weight and a more forgiving action, the Ion XL is equally at home stripping flesh flies as it is dropping a merkin to a tailing permit. All models feature salt corrosion-resistant componentry. Price: $189.99, Great Lakes Fly Shop, 218-740-3040, greatlakesflyfish.com.
Women's Hygge Pullover - $169
Introducing our new Hygge Pullover Hoodie. Hygge, a Danish word meaning "cozy comfort," is related to the English word “hug." Pronounced “hoo-guh” the word originated from the Norwegian term, "hugga" meaning "well-being." The Hygge Pullover is made from a soft and cozy mid-weight cable-knit recycled fleece. Two hand-warmer pockets, beveled front and back, luxurious hygge hood. Also available in a men's style. Price: $169. Wintergreen Northern Wear, Ely, 218-365-6602, wintergreennorthernwear.com.
Wintergreen Beanie - $58
Our Wintergreen Beanie is made from 11.8 oz. Polartec Wind Pro fleece for warmth and wind protection. Accented with trims that match the Wintergreen anoraks and topped off with a tassel. Price: $58, Wintergreen Northern Wear, Ely, 218-365-6602, wintergreennorthernwear.com.
Damage Boardshop X Frost River Mitts
A winter necessity designed and created in the Lincoln Park Craft District with Damage Boardshop and Frost River. These 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 Boardshop, 218-724-4027, damageboardshop.com.
Damage Storefront Tote Bags
Reusable and washable tote bags for anything from the grocery store or to carry your lunch to the jobsite. Price: $10, Damage Boardshop, 218-724-4027, damageboardshop.com.
Tuff Camp Saw
Introducing The “Tuff” Camp Saw by Spring Creek Manufacturing. This strong, durable and easy-to-use folding camp saw is the most versatile easy-to-use saw on the market. Its tube spine design allows for a very strong no-bend-or-twist motion while keeping its lightweight strong aluminum finish. The “Tuff” Camp Saw folds for easy transport, foldable and packable, is easy to assemble and is very lightweight. Poly handle allows sure cam locking of handle and no expansion or contraction due to moisture or the elements. This saw has a 21," 24″ or 30″ blade for long draws and quick cuts. Made in USA. Price: $55-$65, Spring Creek Manufacturing, 800-937-8881, springcreek.com.
Spring Creek Manufacturing’s Drop-In Seat is just what you are looking for when wanting to add additional passengers to your canoe, or even for a solo paddle. No longer are the days of sitting on the wet canoe floor or a folding chair. This durable, lightweight seat requires NO drilling and easily is assembled and removed in seconds. The seat can adjust from 34″ wide to 40″ wide to fit a variety of canoes. Please specify canoe width in order notes before checking out. Each Drop-in Seat comes with one seat, a pair of C clamps, two bolts and two tightening knobs. Features strong aluminum frame, holds up to 300 pounds, and a perfect seat for adding kids. Cost: $100, Spring Creek Manufacturing, Mountain Iron, 800-937-8881, springcreek.com.
Knog Rechargeable Headlamp
This silicone headlamp is different from any other headlamp out there. You can ditch the endless batteries with this streamlined, super-lightweight, silicone headlamp. No charging cable is required as it plugs directly into USB ports or power banks. The four sets of LEDs are purposefully placed to illuminate any scenario — a high beam to see by, elliptical beams for broad ambient light, a red light for night/low light situations and down lights for reading. Weighing just 60 grams, the Bandicoot is the perfect multi-use headlamp for camping, trail running, hiking, climbing, fishing, reading and just about anything else. Price: $35, Piragis Northwoods Company, Ely, 218-365-6745, boundarywaterscatalog.com.
The world’s first water lamp! Runs solely on salt and water. No batteries, no solar, no winding, no electricity. Just add salt and water or ocean salt water and its ready to go! Over 100 hours of light — replaceable magnesium bars available. Ideal for emergencies, camping, boating and more. Ecofriendly and safe. It's powered by a replaceable magnesium fuel cell and salt water. No batteries, fuel, electricity or sunlight needed. Magnesium bars are safe, non-toxic, eco-friendly and will last 25 years if kept dry. This LED lantern, once activated, provides over 100 hours of continuous light at 35 lumens and is rated IPX4 for water resistance. Price: $40, Piragis Northwoods Company, Ely, 218-365-6745, boundarywaterscatalog.com.
Fjord Flannel from Patagonia
This classic tough flannel is available in multiple colors and made out of 100% organic cotton that is sure to keep you warm. Price: $89, Trailfitters, 218-722-6776, trailfitters.com.
Smartwool and Darn Tough Socks
Merino wool socks from two of the most trusted brands in the business. Both are guaranteed for life and come in many different colors, styles and sizes for men and women. Price: $15-$25, Trailfitters, 218-6776, trailfitters.com.
Browning Universal Cleaning Kit
This 28-piece kit keeps all your gun-cleaning parts in one compact carrying case. Price: $37.99, Superior Shooters Supply, Superior, 715-394-4982, superiorshooterssupply.com.
Nebo Big Daddy Flashlight
Spotlight beam distance in high mode, 1,135 feet, 4X adjustable beam, waterproof, five lighting modes and 9" lightweight aircraft aluminum. Price: $44.99, Superior Shooters Supply, Superior, 715-394-4982, superiorshooterssupply.com.
Yooper Chooks are proudly made in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. They are made of a durable, warm fleece and each and every one features a face protection band that tucks up out of the way inside the hat when not in use. Available in assorted colors and adult sizes to fit every head and style. Price, $24.99, Northwest Outlet, Superior, 715-392-9838, northwestoutlet.com.
Up North Mittens
Up North Mittens are another great product that are handmade in the U.P. These warm, cozy mittens are made from recycled wool sweaters and have a super soft fleece lining. Since they are made of recycled material, no two pairs are exactly alike. Available in a wide assortment of colors in both women’s and children’s sizes. Price: $21.99 to $37.99, Northwest Outlet, Superior, 715-392-9838, northwestoutlet.com.
RollUp Travel Kit
The roll up design makes this travel kit a winner. Twin zippered compartments and a snapped, pleated slash pocket provide spots for all your grooming gear. Once loaded, the kit folds once, folds again, then can be secured closed with a web strap and twin D-rings to make a roll. Snaps on the strap let you hang it up. A handy set of XP snaps on the outside of the kit allow attachment of an Accessory Bag XP. This set-up lets a traveler separate their TSA-mandated liquids to make airline security checkpoints a breeze. Sized right, rolls tight, it'll last for years — this travel kit's a beaut'! It also makes a great container for a first-class first aid kit. Price: $45, Frost River Trading Co., 218-727-1472, frostriver.com.
Arrowhead Trail RollTop Pack
The simple adaptability of the Arrowhead Rolltop makes carrying a small bundle, or a large load, a breeze. If you’re only carrying a little bit, roll the 18 oz. waxed canvas top all the way down and cinch the leather straps to the bag. Need more space? Unroll the top. The long, harness leather straps and extended top allow expanded capacity. Waxed canvas is water resistant, and when matched with a rolled top it is especially weather tight. There’s a loop for a blinking bike light, along with lash squares to tie stuff on. It's a waxed canvas commuter pack that’s made in Duluth and it really hauls! Available in two sizes (13" and 15" width) and two pocket layouts (the ECOs add 2-in-1 pockets on the outside — think water bottle pockets) and internal sleeves (think laptop or hydration bladder). Cost: $180, Frost River Trading Co., 218-727-1472, frostriver.com.
Books: "Downtown Grand Marais, Volumes 1 and 2" by Eugene Glader
Brief histories of the downtown area and the surrounding area, which include great pictures. If you love Grand Marais, you'll find these extremely interesting. Price: $46.90 for both books, Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply, Grand Marais, 218-387-3136, stoneharborws.com.
Fika Steeped Coffee Bags
Roasted at Fika Coffee in Lutsen and then bagged for easy one-cup use. Compostable and mess-free when traveling or camping.
Price: $23 for the box of 10 bags, also sold individually at $2.50. Stone Harbor Wilderness Supply, Grand Marais, 218-387-3136, stoneharborws.com.
Built-in neoprene breath deflector. Designed for max fit, comfort and function. DuPont Coolmax stretch fabric on face and head transfers and dries quickly. Dynamic four-way-flex, 360-degree wind skirt. Spandex panel along back of head enhanced fit. Machine washable. One size fits most. Price: $49.99. Duluth Lawn & Sports, 218-628-3718, duluthlawnandsport.com.
Moose Utility Division Paws Gauntlet
Heavy cordura outer shell with fleece lining helps keep your hands warm. Designed to allow more room for controls. Installs easily with hook-and-loop type fasteners that seals around the handlebars. Measures 13.5"L x 9.5" W. Sold in pairs. Price: $21.95, Duluth Lawn & Sports, 218-628-3718, duluthlawnandsport.com.
Beaver Fur Russian Style Hat
Flaps can be tied under your chin or above your head. Designed to keep you warm during the coldest of winter days! Price: $145, USA Foxx & Furs, Inc., 218-722-7742, usafoxx.com.