Hiker-biker types might be easy to buy for, since it seems every year equipment becomes warmer, lighter and more durable. But some of the items they covet aren't the cheapest. So, for those of you who can't afford the newest Marmot jacket shell, here are some practical and less-expensive gift items for those who like it...out there.

As the water runs through Portland, so flows the coffee. The Oregon outdoorsperson shouldn't be denied a morning fix just because Starbucks hasn't monopolized the mountain passes...yet. So get that camper a Lexan Java Press ($16.97, Andy and Bax Sporting Goods, 324 SE Grand Ave., 234-7538.) It's virtually unbreakable and--provided you've got some hot water and ground coffee on hand--ready faster than you can say, "I thought you brought the map."

Since we're all experts on the weather around here, we might as well sound like it. Matt Zaffino (KGW meteorologist) has put together a practical Northwest Weather Calendar for 2002 ($12, Columbia Sportswear, 911 SW Broadway, 226-6800). Apparently, Zaffino moonlights as a photographer, so the practical information (monthly highs and lows, general stuff about the weather for that month) is accompanied by some pretty cool pictures of our state. Who knew?

What's the fa-la-la? No D batteries for the flashlight? This need never happen to you favorite camper again after you get her the Original Russian Forever Flashlight ($12, Restoration Hardware, 315 NW 23rd Ave., 228-6226). First manufactured for the Russian military more than 50 years ago, this little number is powered by a small generator inside the handle, which works when you pump a lever. Voilà! Keep one with the camping gear and at home, in case of power outage or apocalypse.

Get those couch-bound travelers or favorite agoraphobes the classic 3D ViewMaster Finder ($6.50, Powell's Travel Store, 701 SW 6th Ave., Pioneer Courthouse Square, 228-1108). From the comfort of an easy chair, they can tour our nation's greatest places: New York City, D.C., Seattle and even Crater Lake. Each viewing disc has 7 frames (discs sold separately for $4.95). So get 'em on their butts and send them sight-seeing.

For those who don't need to venture beyond the backyard (or the window box) to be lost in the pleasures of nature, Garden Incense Sticks ($25, Urban Gardener, 805 NW 23rd Ave., 222-9939) burn for two to three hours, come in four scents--citrus, spices and wood, leaves and fruits, and grass and lavender--and you can stick 'em right into the ground. Add a couple of tiki-torches and invent a religious ritual to frighten the neighbors. Yippee!

quick gift idea

Garden Stakes
Add a fanciful touch to any garden with insect-design copper garden stakes. Dragonflies and praying mantises are among the many critters ready to populate your plot. Starting at $22. Arbutus Garden Arts, 119 W Main St., Carlton, (503) 852-6530, www.arbutusgarden.com.

Escape Drift off to a peaceful Japanese Zen garden from the comfort of your desk chair with this pocket-sized sand and rock medley complete with miniature rake. $5.95. Ravenna Gardens, Pioneer Place, 340 SW Morrison St., 224-4771.

Tranquility Soothing wind chimes are a wonderful addition to any garden. The Bluebird wind chime is handcrafted and hand-tuned with classic, clean lines. $43.95. Cielo Home & Garden, 528 NW 12th Ave., 445-0111.


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