Last Minute Gifts Under $50

Good gifts don’t have to break the bank. Below are a handful of items we’ve found over the last year, all of them great toys to get or give.

 

Orange Screw Ground Anchors, $7-$22

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The Orange Screw could be classified as the world’s best tent peg but that would do it a great disservice. Strong and well designed, it has innumerable applications beyond securing tent corners. Made of recycled polycarbonate and available in 9 and 12 inch sizes, these heavy-duty ground anchors are easy to drive into almost any type of soil and provide a tenacious hold. The protective tube serves as a handle to turn each screw and the round eyelet is large enough to accommodate a variety of rope diameters or metal clips and fasteners. A perfect solution for awnings, tents, and tarps it is a handy tool to have when the wind kicks up. orangescrew.com – CN


MagPul Daka Pouch, $28unnamed

Available in three sizes and as many as six colors, the new MagPul Daka has become an indispensable travel pouch for my daily adventures and global forays. MagPul has rapidly expanded their soft goods catalog with travel gear including apparel, gloves, and adventure accessories. With welded construction and waterproof’ish results, I have used them for a toothpaste-proof dopp kit, cord organizer, and even a motorcycle tool bag. Made from reinforced polymer fabric, the units are both durable and anti-slip, complimenting massive zipper-pulls and perfect overlandy colors (Black, FDE, Stealth Grey, OD, Yellow, and Orange). magpul.com/products/magpul-daka-pouch-large  – Scott Brady


Giant Loop Pronghorn Straps, $16-$54

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How do I know Pronghorn Straps are so awesome? Because my friends keep stealing them from me. Sold for many years in other markets under various names, Giant Loop’s version of this popular strap is the best. Available in three lengths, they are part stretchy bungee, part nylon strap, and with no complicated buckles to tinker with, can be attached tightly to anything in seconds. Like re-useable duct tape, I find endless applications for Pronghorn Straps. Don’t be surprised if you give these as a gift and the recipient returns the gesture with an unimpressed stare. But mark my words, it won’t be long before they ask you where they can get more. giantloopmoto.com – Christophe Noel

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Opinel Knives, $15-$50

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There are so many knives on the market it’s impossible to keep track of them all. For blade aficionados prone to fixate on Mohs hardness values, blade shapes, and other knife geekery, the Opinel probably looks like a pitiful product; save for the fact the company has been continually growing for over 125 years. In a market with some folding knives fetching north of $300, the many options from Opinel, costing as little as $15, represent an impressive value. Quirky and far from perfect, an Opinel defies conventional knife-buying logic and many owners, like me, have had the same one for over 20 years. opinel-usa.com – CN


On Thin Ice, by Eric Larsen, $25

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Last year while traveling in Nepal, I had the good fortune to befriend one of the more impressive adventurers of our generation. Over beers he told me of his various trips to the summit of Everest, the South Pole, and his 2014 expedition to the North Pole,  the subject of his recent book. With his partner Ryan Waters, their expedition is likely to be the last human-powered trek to our northernmost point due to a warming climate and the thinning of the ice sheet. Their 500 mile journey involved skis, sleds, and daring swims amidst chunks of ice.  Eric’s book is filled with unimaginable scenes from this pristine, hostile, and vanishing environment. Well written and a captivating read, Eric presents a modern day tale of adventure worthy of Shackleton himself. Buy it here: On Thin Ice: An Epic Final Quest into the Melting Arctic – CN


Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Kitchen Sink, $30

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This is another one of those items you probably didn’t know you needed, but you do. A collapsable water bowl, it is large enough to hold two gallons of water with a wide aperture ideal for washing hands, faces, or dishes. Made of 30-denier silicone-coated Cordura, it packs into a tiny carrying case so small, it slips into a back pocket virtually unnoticed. One of those items with a dozen uses, it is ideal for all types of travel. seatosummit.com – CN


Good To-Go Dehydrated Meals, $7-$47

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Dehydrated foods have long been a necessary evil for backcountry travel. Not many of them taste like actual––food. When professionally trained chef Jen Scism and her husband David paired their love of food with their passion for the outdoors, the Good To-Go brand was born. Their meals are made with premium gluten free and vegetarian ingredients and cooked in small batches in their professional kitchen in the New England hamlet of Kittery, Maine. These are recipes you will want to eat because unlike all the other dehydrated foods out there, these are truly delicious. goodto-go.com – CN


Road ID, $25

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For less than the price of lunch for two, this little bracelet could save your life. Originally created to provide cyclists and runners with a means of carrying personal identification information, it has  become a popular accessory for backcountry and international travelers. The customizable tag is offered in various formats to fit multiple bands and the interactive option allows users to list detailed contact and medical information on the Road ID database. That information can be quickly retrieved by first responders. If you travel solo, Road ID offers priceless piece of mind. It sure makes more sense than wearing 50-feet of para-cord on your wrist for “emergencies.”  roadid.com – CN


Yeti Rambler 18 Insulated Bottle and 20 Tumbler, $30 and $30

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Insulated bottles are all the rage these days but not all are made equal. Yeti put an astounding amount of design energy into their bottle well beyond the heady science that allows it to keep contents hot or cold for hours. They scrutinized the handle so it carries well and fits most user’s fingers, and went so far as to ensure it doesn’t squeak when being tightened. The opening is even large enough to fit over your nose while drinking from carefully shaped lip of the bottle. Available in a number of sizes, the 18 is perfect for everything from coffee to micro beer. (Pictured with Yeti’s awesome Insulated tumbler with drink-through lid. yeti.com – CN


Combat Flip Flops, M-Star Shemagh, $15

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If you haven’t heard the Combat Flip Flop story, you really should crawl out of your hole. Founded by two former Army Rangers, their latest mission is to empower people in war torn regions of the world through commerce and educational opportunities. Their line of sandals, bags, and other accessories are made in Laos, Colombia, and Afghanistan. The M-Star Shemagh, popular with the overland crowd, has a multitude of uses and makes for a perfect gift as it benefits men, women, and children in places ravaged by war.  combatflipflops.com – CN


Coast A8R Rechargeable Penlight, $50

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The smallest rechargeable flashlight on the market, Coats’s tiny torch packs a powerful punch. Capable of throwing a clear and bright beam of light more than 60 feet, our test sample consistently produced 30-45 minutes of light. A great flashlight to keep in an emergency or tool kit, its size makes it easy to carry in the smallest of pockets. Although it relies on a proprietary charger which can be a tad inconvenient, the A8R can be fully powered up in less than an hour.  coastportland.com – CN


Nemo Equipment Fillo Elite Ultralite Backpacking Pillow, $40

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If you’re one of those backcountry sleepers still using a balled up jacket as a makeshift pillow, you need a proper head bed. That doesn’t mean you have to lug a giant bag of feathers into the woods. Nemo’s lightest pillow is built around a 3-inch thick air bladder topped with a thin layer of insulation. The outer cover is constructed of a super soft cotton-poly blend and available in three colors. The air bladder has a quilted structure and enough elasticity that you won’t feel like your head is plopped on an inflatable brick. Nemo designers being as outdoor savvy as they are, had the smart idea to attach the tiny stuff sack to the pillow itself lest it get lost in the messy confines of a tent. Use it once and you’ll never leave home without it. nemoequipment.com – CN


Blue Ridge Chair Works Cap Lifter, $10

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We have tremendous respect for Alan Davis and his booming camp furniture business. His commitment to environmentally responsible manufacturing was the impetus for his fantastic bottle opener. Using the discarded ends of wood from his chair and table production, his cap lifter not only pops open a bottle of suds effortlessly, it doesn’t bend or dent the cap. Available from the Overland Journal online store with either OJ or Expedition Portal logos. overlandjournal.com – CN


Stanley Steel Pot Plus French Press, $25

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The search is over. This is the best French press ever made. Unlike most presses with a central plunger and a filter disc, the Stanley press uses a cylindrical inner sleeve with the filter built into the bottom of the insert. Simply put, there’s no way for the grounds to sneak around the filter and get into your delicious brew. It won’t produce enough java for your entire coffee klatch, but it makes more than enough for a couple of campers. I know it works because I have used it every day for six months. Pictured with Stanley’s amazing insulated camp mug with seal-tight lid. stanley-pmi.com – CN


Action Wipes, $10

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Nothing says I love you, or that you stink, like the gift of a waterless shower. Action Wipes are turbo-charged baby wipes for cleansing a full-sized human. Each towel is pre-soaked with a mildly scented soap that produces a modest amount of rinse-free suds. Durable enough to wash a whole body head to toe without falling apart, they are a great way to begin or end a day in the bush. It’s another gift idea that seems odd, but any traveler worth their salt will appreciate the gesture. If they don’t their travel mates will. actionwipes.com – CN


Nikwax Visor Proof, $12

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If you are an avid outdoor enthusiast, you need no introduction to the trusted Nikwax brand. Purveyors of a wide range of products designed to clean, maintain, and waterproof everything from boots to tents, their relatively new Visor Proof is a big hit with adventure motorcyclists. The water based formula is easy to apply and not only helps repel moisture and fog, it even reduces the accumulation of bug splats. nikwax.com – CN


 

Luminoodle LED Lights, $20

 

luminoodle The Luminoodle is five foot long strip of 26 individual LEDs which can be powered by any USB compatible energy source. When used inside a tent or placed above a tailgate, they provide a soothing glow with no harsh shadows. If you don’t feel inclined to hang them in a long strip, you can leave them bundled in the translucent carrying bag which illuminates like a frosted globe. Each LumiNoodle strip comes with three rubber attachment bands and a nylon loop at the far end for multiple hanging options. Better yet, the strip has magnetic contacts which allow it to be quickly attached to any steel surface. Surprisingly bright at 180 lumens, the LumiNoodle is available in 5 and 10 foot lengths, with or without a 4400mAh power pack. powerpractical.com – CN

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Christophe Noel is Expedition Portal's Editor and the Senior Editor for Overland Journal. Born into a family of backcountry enthusiasts, Christophe grew up backpacking the mountains and deserts of the American West. An avid cyclist and bikepacker, he also has a passion for motorcycles, travel, food and overlanding.