Stocking stuffers for the outdoorsperson

Published 12:10 pm Monday, December 15, 2014

FRED BONNER | CONTRIBUTED THE ESSENTIALS: Knives and sharpeners, two of the “must-have” items for every outdoorsman.

THE ESSENTIALS: Knives and sharpeners, two of the “must-have” items for every outdoorsman.

Many of the Christmas gift givers will be looking around next week for some last minute stocking stuffers to help Santa’s chore of making some outdoorsperson happy. In some households, it may be a new expensive gift, but most true stocking stuffers will probably be of much lesser value. If you’re looking for some relatively inexpensive stocking stuffers for Christmas, here are several very good ideas for the average outdoorsman.

Try and shop for the stocking stuffers at your local Tractor Supply or Agri-Supply Store. You’ll be surprised at how many useful and reasonably priced stocking stuffers you may find there.

Be they birders, campers, boaters, hunters or anglers, you’ll be virtually sure that they will always have some form of a knife in their pockets or worn on their belts. Of all the outdoor tools available to the outdoorsman, this still rates as being the No. 1 tool that’s necessary for survival in the woods.

Taking the idea of the simple knife as being absolutely necessary, there’s also the old saying that there’s nothing as bad as a dull knife (or other cutting implement). From the time we were in the Cub Scouts until our days as being an outdoorsman come to an end, we’re taught that we need to keep our knives sharp.

I’d hate to think how many hours I spent sharpening a knife on a well-worn whetstone. I’ve worked several of the stones thin and probably worn out some knife blades as well. Until about 20 years ago the whetstone was about the only way to keep knives sharp and useful.

The American way of always finding a better way to accomplish even tried and proven work task always finds out a better way to do it. The same things have happened with the way we keep our sharp cutting tools really sharp. New technology for sharpening knives is now available today that makes the old chore of knife sharpening better and easier.

When we first saw the era of diamond sharpening stones beginning to come to the aid of outdoorsmen about 50 years ago, these implements were great but very expensive to produce or own.

Basically, scientists found a way to attach tiny particles of diamonds to metal that could be used for sharpening the edges of cutting tools like knives, scissors and axes. Diamonds are extremely hard and very expensive so these modern sharpening tools were expensive too.

Newer technology has made these diamond-cutting stones much easier and cheaper to produce and now they are becoming increasingly available to economy-minded shoppers.

One of the best new sharpening implements I’ve seen recently came from the local Tractor Supply store and it cost less that $10. It’s called a 4-in-1 Knife and Tool Sharpener and it’s all packaged in one tool that can be carried in your pocket like a pocketknife.

The 4-in-1 Sharpener consists of two retractable blades and two “pull-through” style “V” notches.

One of the blades is a diamond-faced flat file for sharpening a knife or other cutting implements like a hatchet or machete. The other blade is a tapered, diamond dust studded tool for sharpening knife blades and the serrated edges found on some knives.

The two “V” notches on the tool contain one consisting of two carbide blades and the other notch containing two ceramic stones to really smooth out an already sharpened knife blade.

With reasonable care, this 4-in-1 tool should be all that an outdoorsman needs to have with him during an outdoor excursion and finds that his knife needs some touching up to get the job done.

Both the Agri-Supply and Tractor Supply Stores have a “Treasure Trove” of small inexpensive items that make for great stocking stuffers on Christmas morning. Even though their very name implies that these stores are aimed at getting business from farmers, outdoorsmen are finding that their displays of Christmas items slanted toward general outdoor use are more that adequate.