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Outdoor Stocking Stuffers: Tiny Gifts with Big Appeal

Good things really do come in small packages. If you've got stockings set aside for outdoor-minded people, here are some worthwhile, small-scale stuffers (under 8 ounces, less than 10 inches) likely to be a good fit:


The Soto OD-1R Micro Regulator stove ($69.95) sits lightly (just 2.6 ounces) atop a fuel canister, maintains a steady flow fuel in varying conditions (including chilly weather) and even includes a piezo igniter. As of this writing, it has attracted 49 reviews on with an average 4.5-star rating.




The miniscule Snow Peak LiteMax stove ($59.95) is another marvel of engineering, weighing a mere 1.9 oz. and earning 29 reviews at with an average of 4.5 stars. The venerable MSR Pocket Rocket ($39.95), weighs in at 3 oz. I've used it for years, and I appear to have company. The stove has 242 user reviews at with an average 4.5-star rating.

What to do with the canister when it's empty? Check with the waste disposal agency in your town; it's possible you can use the Jetboil CrunchIt tool ($5.95, 1 oz.) to puncture the steel canisters, emptying them of any lingering pressurized gas and making them recyclable.


The Fenix E11 flashlight ($26.95) is just a little larger than its energy source, a single AA battery, yet it can deliver a maximum output of 105 lumens and can shoot a beam up to 230 feet. Weight: a bedazzling 1.9 oz.

SpotBlack Diamond headlamps such as the Spot ($39.95, 1.9 oz.), Storm ($49.95, 3.9 oz., a burlier, waterproof version of the Spot) and the Gizmo ($19.95, 2 oz.) have been 3 of REI's steadiest sellers in 2011. The max lumen output of this trio: 100 (Storm), 90 (Spot), 35 (Gizmo).

Many Petzl headlamps can be powered by the Petzl Core Rechargeable battery ($39.95, 1.1 oz.), which can be renewed via a computer's USB port. The Core is compatible with the following Petzl lines: Tikka 2, Zipka 2, Tikkina 2, Tikka Plus 2, Zipka Plus 2 and Tikka XP 2.

OrbitFor some homey area lighting in the backcountry, consider the Black Diamond Orbit lantern ($29.95, 5 oz.), which uses LEDs to illuminate an area as wide as 13 feet in diameter when adjusted to its max setting (45 lumens).

BugLitKids dig the water bug design, but the Nite Ize BugLit LED micro-flashlight ($13, 0.5 oz.) appeals to adults, too, with its surprising brightness and its flexible legs that can point the light in a preferred direction.


The Uco Stormproof Match Kit ($5.95, 1.7 ounces) assures you that you've got a pocketful of dry matches waiting for you when you get to camp.

stixLike to impress your campmates with you dexterous use of chopsticks? You've got choices: Snow Peak Compact chopsticks made of titanium ($29.95, 1 oz.) or a complete utensil set made of bamboo from To-Go Ware ($12.95, 1.6 oz.)

You can't crank industrial bolts with it, but the Leatherman Micra is the teeniest, handiest multitool I've encountered ($25.95, 1.75 oz.)

Ready to come clean? Dr. Bronners liquid organic soap, available in 4 scents, comes in 4 fl. oz. bottle or 3 fl. oz. travel size (or even a 32 fl. oz. size, if you have a really large stocking to stuff).

DoppioTea, espresso, wine—all go nicely with an REI Doppio stainless-steel tumbler ($9.50, 3.7 oz.). Each one is 4 inches tall and holds up to 6 fl. oz.

Flexible Gear Ties are twist-to-shape strands (think stout pipe cleaners without the fuzz, same thing as the legs on the Nite Ize BugLit micro-flashlight, above) that hold their ground and make it easier to corral and lasso stray guylines and other loose cords to keep them in place; $4.50 for a 4-pack of 3-inch ties, only a few grams each. Gear Ties of longer lengths (6-inch, 18-inch and 24-inch) are also available.

I'm going to slip in one exception to this article's size and weight parameters, but I think it's worth it: The REI Flash 18 backpack ($29.50, just 10 oz.) is an ingenious, featherweight daypack/summit pack that makes a dandy day hauler for fast hikes. But it really shines when I pull it out of my backpack on a multiday trek and use it for day trips from a backcountry base camp. Bonus: It can be pulled inside-out for use as a stuff sack. It even has a sleeve for a hydration reservoir. So clever. I've lost count of the number of times I've used it. The perforated, unpadded shoulder straps will roll up just fine to fit inside a stocking.


The Garmin Edge 200 wireless bike computer ($149.95, 2.1 oz.) delivers GPS-based tracking for time, distance, speed, location, calories burned and more data for every ride.

The CatEye Vectra wireless bike computer ($45, 3 oz.; see photo at the bottom of this post) is well-suited for casual cyclists, offering 5 functions and a large, single, simple button.

The Planet Bike Superflash rear bike light ($29, 1.8 oz.) keeps riders visible—up to a mile away when placed on its highest setting.

Mini 18The Topeak Mini 18 Multitool ($32.95, 1.5 x 3.2 inches, 6.4 oz.) offers a tool for seemingly every occasion, including 8 Allen wrenches.

The Topeak Pocket Master Blaster pump ($21.95, 9 inches long, 4.1 oz.) is a minipump with a big-time output, up to 110 pounds per square inch (psi).


The Petzl Ange S Wiregate carabiner ($10.95, 1 oz.) allows climbers to save a little weight on their racks.

The Metolius Feather Nut Tool ($17.95) weighs a barely perceptible 21 grams (0.74 oz.) yet still does a capable job of extracting cams and nuts from tight spaces.

The Petzl Universo Belay System ($44.95, 4.2 oz.) is intended to allow the belay device to remain in position and the carabiner to stay properly oriented along its major axis.


Check out a recent post describing the Angry Birds card game, Bananagrams and more.

Just curious: What's the best outdoor item you ever found inside a stocking? 


Posted on at 5:05 PM

Tagged: Climbing, Cycling, camping, gifts, lights and stoves

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