Truth be told, I’m a terrible gift giver. But just because I put off my shopping until the last moment doesn’t mean I can’t make a few recommendations. Here are six items for the burgeoning outdoors/EDC enthusiast that I feel offer the best bang for your buck.
Buck Selkirk ($55)
Do you know someone who’s looking to get into bushcraft? If so, the Buck Selkirk may be the perfect gift. Its overall length of 9.5-inches is a happy medium between small belt knives and huge choppers, with a 4.625-inch cutting edge that’s perfect for food prep. The flat ground blade is composed of Buck’s 420HC stainless steel, which holds its edge for about the same time as the carbon found on a Mora. It’ll also sharpen up rather easily, allowing users to practice honing in the field.
The included Kydex sheath is a winner, too. Its multi-mount system is secure and easy to use, and it comes with a combination fire steel/whistle. The blade’s sharp spine is perfect for striking sparks. Processing small timber was a breeze, and I had no issues lighting a fire with this knife. It’s a heck of a value for $55.
CRKT Pilar ($25)
This one is something of a novelty. When I reviewed the Pilar in April, I found it to be a perfectly serviceable knife. That was during the early days of the site, however. Further reflection has brought down the overall Form score (Initially a 5/5), but there’s still a lot to like with this sturdy little Voxnaes design. This is especially true now that the market has settled back into its intended retail price.
As Nick Shabazz points out in his recent review, the Pilar certainly has its flaws. But, at the same time, the $25 cost accounts for at least a few of my gripes. Out of all this knives to pass through my collection this year, this is the one I most regret not holding on to. It’d make an excellent, inexpensive gift for the slightly unconventional knife lover in your life.
Parker Jotter Stainless Steel ($12)
Look, I’ll be honest – I initially hated the Parker Jotter. It was one of the first pens I review, equipped with a plastic barrel and a standard ballpoint cartridge. But several months later, I managed to get my hands on a pack of Parker’s Gel Rollerball refills. This changed my entire perspective on the Jotter.
Since the swap, I’ve purchased three stainless steel models – two for me, and one as a gift. I use them almost daily, and have nothing but good things to say about their quality and performance. These make great gifts for a young professional, or anyone looking to add some budget class to their Everyday Carry. Just be sure to pick up the rollerball refills, as well.
Casio Duro ($45)
If you’re looking for a rugged watch at a bargain price, it’s hard to beat the Casio Duro. Here’s what you get – 200 meters of water resistance, a screw-down crown, a date window, and solid stainless steel construction. Add in the 120-click diving bezel, and you’re looking at a feature set comparable to many $100-plus watches.
There are, of course, some compromises here. The lume is weak, and the included strap (while perfectly serviceable) is basic resin. You can always upgrade to a NATO, but that’s another $15 or so tacked onto the price. Still, I highly recommend the Duro. It’s an excellent starter watch, especially for gift givers searching for a high-quality, affordable timepiece with years of staying power. They’re also incredibly easy to find. Walmart, Kohl’s, and numerous big box retailers generally stock the Duro year-round.
Hankensteins Handkerchiefs ($10-$14)
If you couldn’t tell by my Instagram, I’m a pretty big nerd. From horror movies to video games and classic sci-fi, if it’s weird, I probably like it. So, if you know someone with the same interests, chances are they’ll enjoy the offerings over at Hankensteins. These high-quality, hand-made handkerchiefs feature designs from iconic franchises such as Star Wars, Star Trek, The Legend of Zelda, and Doctor Who. I own several of these fabric fun-swatches, and they’re some of my favorite pieces of EDC gear.
(If your tastes stray more toward the sporting or patriotic worlds, I’d also recommend checking out Guerilla Hanks.)
Leatherman Style PS ($26)
Air travel is a major hassle. You know it, I know it, and the TSA sure as heck knows it. So if you know an EDC enthusiast who racks up the frequent flyer miles, chances are they’ll enjoy the Leatherman Style PS. This pliers-based multi-tool includes scissors, a file/flathead driver, a bottle opener, tweezers, and wire cutters integrated into its spring-action design. I’ve made countless trips with this little guy, and it’s one of the mainstays of my daily loadout. The bladeless tool set is TSA approved, though you’ll probably have to make the occasional demonstration to skeptical travel personnel.
Still, this is a perfect gift for gearheads on the go. Don’t gamble on the hit and miss construction on the Gerber Dime Travel. I’ve compared the two head to head, and the Leatherman is a vastly superior product.