Written by Tom Severin, Badlands Offroad Adventures
I must be working too hard. I fell asleep at the laptop while working on this month’s article. When I woke up, there was an elf at my elbow. The little guy was checking up on me again. (I’m pretty sure I’ve been good all year!)
Apparently, he also tried to help with the article. But what do elves know? On to the article.
Still looking for that special gift for the four-wheeler or outdoorsperson in your life? You’re welcome to take a cue from some of my purchases this year.
Pint-sized Ziploc freezer bags: OK, not the flashiest item, but very practical. They are very handy for storing all sorts of small items. $22 for a package that contains a total of 80 bags.
Stainless steel chain mail scrubber: Great for cleaning cast iron pots and pans, including the Dutch oven. A square (6” x 6”) that is easy to handle and takes up very little space in the food box. Really nifty, and only $8.
Lodge cast iron trivet: The trivet fits in any 12” or larger Dutch oven. Its main purpose is to raise meat, pies and other baked goods off the bottom to prevent scorching. 8” in diameter and pre-seasoned. $16.
Powertac Sabre pen flashlight 239: Sleek yet really powerful. Takes a maximum of two AAA batteries. It splits in the middle so the top tube can be removed for an even smaller light. This flashlight has a very strong beam for its size. I use it just about as often as I use my pocket knife. And no, it’s not because I am getting old! About $25.
Extra large Aluminum Carabeaner Key Chain Snap Hook: Who hasn’t used a carabeaner while off-road? They are nearly a necessity. They come in all sizes. It is commonly a give-away you can pick up at many events. These are not the kind to trust your life to, but are very useful for attaching tarps and other shelter items. Or organize a selection of box end wrenches. I bought the 4 inch size. A 10-pack cost only $13.
Gluetread 4 x 4 Sidewall Repair Kit: Another must-have for four-wheeling. You know how often tires get gashed by rocks. Be prepared with the 4 x 4 sidewall emergency repair kit. I have not used this product, but the video (as is always the case) sounds good. While it is a bit bulky, it might be good for trips that are more difficult and more remote. About $60.
Mountain House Freeze-Dried Beef Stroganoff With Noodles: It’s good to have a nutritious, ready-to-eat meal on board. Plus, there are times when you’re not expecting to be away, or you leave all your stuff in camp. So, when the search party finds you, you are sitting in your camp chair, feet on a stump and eating your favorite freeze-dried food. Which, by the way, you probably never touch given other alternatives. Each pack is about $10.
Replacement microphone cord for Yaesu radios: Ham radio ops know that mic cords deteriorate over time. This replacement cord quickly and easily snaps into the mic on one end and the radio jack on the other. I would have thought replacing a mic cord would be complicated, requiring a soldering iron and a degree in electronics. With this replacement cord, you can save 90% of the cost of a new mic. Unless, of course, you smash it in the shift lever. Compatible with Yaesu models FT-8800 and FT-8900 radios. Under $10.
Nasopharyngeal airway emergency kit: Another important item to have in one’s first-aid kit. Should someone be unable to breathe due to trauma or allergic reaction, you stick the tube down the person’s nose to allow intake of air. The kit comes with three sizes of tubes to match the patient. Nasopharyngeal needs to be well lubricated. Don’t just jam it in. The kit contains lubricant. Best to watch a short video. The kit runs about $10.
SAE solar panel extension cable, 10 gauge: Comes with quick-disconnect wire harness. SAE connectors are a standard in the automotive industry. They are “handed,” so make sure you buy one that matches. (In this case “handed” means the left could be male or the right could be male.) Anderson power poles are not handed. As long as you wire the positive to red and negative to black, any Anderson will plug into any other Anderson. $12.
ARB transit bag: Insulated bag that covers and protects an ARB refrigerator. A bit pricey at around $173, but when you consider the cost of a refrigerator, this is a good investment. I also purchased a backup power cord for the fridge. It has the 12v plug on one end to operate right from the vehicle. 11.5’ long for $23.
Seal-All adhesive, 1 fluid ounce: All-purpose adhesive in a small tube that fits anywhere. One of many alternatives for glue. My camp repair kit needed a refreshment tube. I use this on just about everything – even to glue patches on my pants. About $6.
Palumma 24W, 4.8A dual USB charger: Plugs into 12V socket in vehicle. Provides continuous display of the vehicle’s operating voltage. With a USB port for charging electronics. $13.
CURT D-ring shackle block insert for trailer hitch, 2”shank: Sturdy (13,000-pound rating) and long-lasting shackle block in a size four-wheelers need. There are two holes for the hitch pin so the shackle block can be installed flat or rotated 90 degrees to avoid side loading the shackle. And the holes are off set for greater strength. It comes with a ¾ inch Screw Pin Shackle that is rated at 6.5 tons vs a standard Shackle at 4.7 Tons. A great deal at roughly $38. The downside is that it is very heavy.
Joe Pickett and Jack Reacher novels: I like to relax in style. My book purchases include C.J. Box’s “Three-Inch Teeth,” and “The Secret,” next in the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child. These great novels keep the great outdoors at your fingertips no matter where you are.
Perhaps this list will help you find that perfect gift for the four-wheeler in your family. On behalf of everyone at Badlands Off-Road Adventures, I’d just like to say: Merry Christmas and happy New Year!