Sealed With Approval
Bigfoot frequents the Olympic National Park. He's a white-bearded veteran who bathes nude in the Sol Duc Hot Springs, and he swears by one outdoor product: The Gregory Seam Sealed Rain Cover ($25, Oregon Mountain Community, 2975 NE Sandy Blvd., 227-1038). It's like a poncho for your hiking pack. Bigfoot said it got him through the Pacific Crest Trail, four divorces and poison oak. He's not sure how.
Ten thousand steps? Shoot, that's about 5 miles. Or roughly equal to walking across the Hawthorne Bridge 19 times. For walkers, it's a daily accomplishment. The Freestyle Pacer Pro Pedometer ($20, Portland Running Co., 800 SE Grand Ave., 232-8077) measures steps. It's compact, simple to use and accurate. It's also a boring gift. But without at least one boring, functional gift, all the others won't seem so special.
Buy and destroy something local. Like the Capita Stairmaster snowboard ($369, Exit Real World, 206 NW 23rd Ave., 226-3948), designed by Portland pop artist and bomb-dropping snowboarder Corey Smith. It has short, fat and wide dimensions, so normal-sized to bigger riders can jib rails smoothly on this board. And Smith's graphics are really pretty.
Dean Karnazes ran the Portland Marathon this past October in three hours and 44 minutes. Nothing special. But to warm up for the race, he ran 14 marathons in the 14 days prior. For a cool-down, he ran 35 more marathons in the following 35 days. To do it, he wore the North Face Arnuva 50 Boa running shoe ($125, The North Face, 1202 NW Davis St., 727-0200), in case you want to copy his feet.
A River Runs to It
After casting for two hours in the middle of a river, empty-handed fly-fishers realize that fish are smart. They won't bite just any caddis fly, chironomid or damselfly. But they do have a weak spot for flies tied under the expert watch of a trout-nymph master. Learn casting techniques, equipment needs, wading safety and fly selection from an expert in a super-tiny two-person fly-fishing class. ($175, Countrysport Fly Fishing Outfitters, 126 SW 1st Ave., 221-4545) that will make anyone a cutthroat in the creek.
Almost Charged Up
The great outdoors is all about fancy undershirts. Take the Charger Half-Zip ($48, Helly Hansen, 7457 SW Bridgeport Road, Tigard, 1-866-753-5230)—it'll keep you warm in the snow and in the sack.
Walker, Texas Timer
Chuck Norris keeps time...by the throat. Nike, a "local shoe and apparel company, based in Beaverton, Ore.," makes the stylish Merge Step ($99, Niketown, 930 SW 6th Ave., 221-6453). It's a watch with tough femininity. Take this laser-etched beauty to ride Hood or to yoga class in the Pearl. It's water-resistant up to 50 meters—the exact depth of Chuck Norris' kiddie pool.
Geocaching is the new hide-and-seek. Players use handheld GPS units to hunt down small treasures hidden in the stone sides of Rocky Butte or in the middle of the Southern Oregon sand dunes. Serious players use the Garmin GPSMAP 60CSx ($500, REI, 1405 NW Johnson St., 221-1938, and other locations), a rugged little waterproof receiver that picks up satellites quickly. A nice feature to have while under heavy Douglas fir foliage, or deep inside the heady Doug Fir basement.
Riding a bicycle in the rain stinks, especially when wearing wool. Northwest riders get through the winter with cyclo-cross, and get to places dry with the Showers Pass Elite Jacket ($180, The Bike Gallery, 1001 SW 10th Ave., 222-3821, and other locations). The windproof, waterproof, breathable jacket has two-way front zips and pit zips. It's a wet-weather bicycling friend.
Toe the Wet Sprocket
In cold weather, the toes are the first to go. Usually they numb, and sometimes they fall off. And it is bad to have your toes fall off. The Pearl Izumi CalienToes Toe Warmers ($15, The Bike Gallery, 1001 SW 10th Ave., 222-3821, and other locations) are a pair of thermal fleece/Lycra quarter-length booties that fit over the front section of bicycling shoes. They help prevent toe loss.
Nollie the Giraffe
A giraffe kick can shatter the skull of a lion. A skateboard deck from Portland company Tribute can drain the death bowl of Burnside. These dissimilar, yet similar, features may be what led to the Tribute Giraffe Select Deck ($45, Tribute Skateboards, 1805.5 NE Alberta St., 984-4046, and other locations). A fusion of two worlds connected by the kick-flip of an 18-inch blue-black giraffe tongue.
Hauled Back Home
In Utah's Wasatch backcountry lies the notorious Chad's Gap, a 120-foot jump that ends on top of a snow-covered mine pile. Tanner Hall, a Park City freeskier, tried to pull a switch 900 over it. He landed short, snapped both his ankles and rag-dolled 100 feet in screams. His Armada JP vs. Julien twin-tip skis ($625, US Outdoor Store, 219 SW Broadway, 223-5937) popped off on impact, saving him from even more severe injury. Buy some.
After summiting, alpinists sometimes sled downhill on their packs, head-first. This is stupid. They should be using their Demon Snow Escape Shovels ($39, Next Adventure, 426 SE Grand Ave., 233-0706) instead. The forged aluminum blade provides extra-fast sit-down sliding. It's also equipped with a telescoping shaft, a compass and thermometer, in case a pesky avalanche sneaks up from behind.
Cold-weather marathons are some of the best places to watch professional snot-rocketers. These folks blow phlegm out of their nostrils to distances of up to 6 feet. Brooks Vapor-Dry Gloves ($28, Portland Running Co., 800 SE Grand Ave., 232-8077) are for use after the blow. The gloves have a huge snot collector on the backside of the thumb and index finger that creates a superior sniff-wiping surface. Runners needn't worry about nose croutons anymore.
Argentinian Raindrops Yvon Chouinard still wears old Patagonia gear from the '70s. The Spraymaster ($250, Patagonia, 907 NW Irving St., 525-2552) is a stretchable, breathable, waterproof rain jacket/soft shell. Yvon might have to splurge this year.
Lighted Saucer People notice UFOs. Place a mini-UFO that blinks, such as the Topeak Redlight UFO Bike Taillight, on the back of your bike, and people will notice you at night ($24, REI, 1405 NW Johnson St., 221-1938).
Method Man Craig Kelly wore Oakley Razor Blades during the "method era" in snowboarding ($100, Exit Real World, 206 NW 23rd. Ave., 226-3948). AC Slater also wore them to woo Jessie Spano.
Table of Contents
Introduction | Toys, Gadgets & Gizmos | Books, Stationery & Ephemera | Outdoors | Entertainment: Music & DVDS | Fashion | Holiday Events Calendar | Beauty | Food & Drink | Furnishings | Pets | Sacred & Profane | Stocking Stuffers