Finding the perfect gift for your favorite outdoors enthusiast can be a challenge. Their closets are overflowing with gear. Their garage is full of gear. And they may even have a room in their house that’s dedicated to — you guessed it — more outdoor gear.
If you’re looking for some great gifts and you’d like those outdoor offerings to scream “MAINE,” we may be able to help.
First, a quick disclaimer: Some of these suggestions scream “MAINE” so loudly, your outdoor enthusiast may have already purchased them and neglected to tell you. Before buying, it might be wise to poke around in their gear closets, and their garage, and even in that room that serves as a gear cave, just to make sure.
A second disclaimer: Don’t blame us when you find out your loved one owns two chemical toilets, 14 hunting rifles and two dozen fly rods.
With the ground rules clear, let’s get down to some serious shopping.
Byer of Maine TriLite stool ($19.95-$24.95)
Byer of Maine opened in 1880 and has been crafting cots and camp furniture for years. Picking one cool gift idea from the many Byer options is tough, so here’s a suggestion: Look closely at the TriLite stool, then check out the rest of the online catalog at www.byerofmaine.com. You’re sure to find something that fits your fancy. The TriLite is a small, fold-up camp stool that’s perfect for camping and other situations when you’re looking for a compact seat. The TriLite comes in two sizes — the large has a 200-pound capacity, the extra large is rated for 275 pounds — and you may decide to permanently stow it in your car, just in case you need it. Go to the company website to order direct and take advantage of seasonal $5 flat-rate shipping, or get a list of dealers near you.
Thomas Rod Co. logo baseball cap ($20)
Your favorite fly fisher might never take the plunge and splurge on a beautiful bamboo Thomas fly rod, but that doesn’t mean they can’t celebrate the tradition of one of the Bangor area’s iconic products. Steve Campbell now runs Thomas Rod Co. from a workshop attached to his Brewer home, and in addition to crafting fly rods, he sells a variety of Thomas-related products, including handsome baseball caps that commemorate the company’s rich history. Or, if you’re feeling particularly generous this holiday season, feel free to order a classic Thomas Browntone rod (list price: $2,495) to match the cap. Go to www.thomasrodco.com for ordering information.
Old Town Canoe collector’s tins ($9)
The iconic Old Town canoe is known worldwide, and avid paddlers could draw up a list that would include many more gift ideas for a variety of price ranges. These 16-inch-by-11½-inch collector’s tins are a good place to start: The price is right, and the images on the top of each tin are captivating. Choose from a catalog cover from 1924, 1932 or 1942. Then check out the rest of Old Town Canoe’s products and you might make your favorite paddler very happy. Go to www.oldtowncanoe.com
A dozen “maple syrup” fishing flies from Theriault Flies (prices start at $1.55 per fly)
Alvin Theriault, a retired game warden, owns a farm and fly shop in Staceyville that’s worth visiting if you’re ever driving up Route 11. Theriault raises the animals that provide fly-tying material such as feathers and hair, and he ships those materials across the country. He’s also the creator of the “maple syrup,” a tasty little fly that North woods trout can’t resist. Theriault’s daughter, Holly, began tying at age 4 and for years has produced the maple syrups that are sold in the shop. If you’ve got another fly in mind, don’t fret: Theriault stocks 50,000 flies at the shop, so you’re sure to find what you’re looking for. Call 365-4007, e-mail email@example.com or check www.theriaultflies.com for information and to order a catalog.
Shaw & Tenney Maine paddle ($59 and up)
The folks at Shaw & Tenney have been crafting oars and paddles in Orono since 1858. Their offerings now include everything from flagpoles to masts and spars, but many still associate the company name with beautiful wooden paddles. Each paddle is hand-crafted from solid wood; different designs are ideally suited for specific paddling scenarios. For a special memento, look into the custom wood-burned plaques and paddles. Go to www.shawandtenney.com to discover your options and place an order.
DeLorme The Maine Atlas and Gazetteer ($19.95)
Many Mainers wouldn’t think of driving into the woods — or from Wytopitlock to Macwahoc, for that matter — without a DeLorme Maine Atlas and Gazetteer at the ready. It is, without a doubt, the de facto road map of the Maine woods … whether there are actually roads that lead to your destination or not. Trails, back roads and dirt roads are included, and lists at the front of the paperback map booklet provide information on campgrounds, boat ramps and public lands. Yeah, your outdoor enthusiast already has one. But it’s probably getting dog-eared, and it’s likely outdated. Besides, you can never have too many of this essential volume. And if you’re buying for a relative “from away,” DeLorme also produces an Atlas and Gazetteer for their home state. Available at outdoor stores, book stores and convenience stores statewide, as well as at www.delorme.com.
L.L. Bean boots ($64-$174)
Nothing says “Maine” like a pair of Bean boots. You’ll see ‘em on people tromping through the snow, on folks working at their desks, and even on guests at weddings. They’re the all-purpose Maine shoe. And no matter what you plan to do with ’em, there’s a style and model for you, from low-slung street shoes to insulated 10-inch boots. Wear these boots with pride, and feel free to wear ’em out: L.L. Bean’s got the best guarantee in the business. Buy at www.llbean.com.
When the weather gets icy, you have a couple of choices: You can waddle around like a duck, hoping for the best. Or you can attach something to your feet in order to reduce the chances of slipping and falling. If you choose the second option, the Biddeford-made STABILicers might be just what you’re looking for. STABILicers strap securely onto the bottom of your boots and the cleats will help you remain upright even in the worst conditions. Since 2004 32north, the company that makes STABILicers, has also sold a waterproof overshoe that’s perfect for those who work outside on icy surfaces. Available at L.L. Bean and other outdoor outfitters. For more information, go to www.32north.com.