Boats Fishing Gear reviews

Holiday Gifts for River Rats

Because you’re here reading this, you’re more than likely into fishing… and boats. Probably both!

This guide to last-minute gift ideas was compiled by TU’s resident filmmaker and boat driver Josh Duplechian and our at-large photographer/oarsman Tim Romano. While it’s short on fishing gear, it’s long on accessories that make any boat lover happy.

Costa del Mar Santiago Sunglasses $226.00

When it comes to sunglasses… what’s in a name?  According to Costa del Mar, everything. The Santiago, named after Chile’s capital, draws inspiration from the fishy wonders to be found in South America. Personally, I like a solid-fitting pair of sunglasses that doesn’t slip or move around as the sweat starts to build. The Santiago frames do just that, with exceptional coverage that help keep you focused on the task at hand. Costa’s line about the Santiago being “as good for fishing as it is for our oceans” is even more important these days. Made from 97% recycled fishing nets the frames (like all of Costa’s glasses), they are built to withstand being tossed around during travels near or far.  -JD

GoPro Hero 10 Black $349.98

Professional photographers are the biggest critics of image quality. I’ll admit that, for years, I’ve avoided using the popular GoPro line of cameras due to a perceived lack of image quality and the fact that so many other people used them. It wasn’t until the new GoPro Hero 10 Black was released that I decided to give GoPro a try. GoPro has been around for years and with each version of their famous cameras they keep getting better. One of the features that I love about the newer line of cameras is the HyperSmooth 4.0 in camera stabilization. Prior to this feature, we had to put these cameras on separate stabilizers to keep them from bouncing all over the place. That’s all internal now, and couldn’t perform better. Want to attach it to your boat while going through a wild Class V rapid? Do so without fear that someone will puke while watching your latest footage! The image quality has improved yet again and can now shoot 4k at 120fps along with the addition of 5.3k 60fps footage for all your YouTube desires.  – JD

Grundens GORE-TEX INFINUM Insulated Jacket – $349.99

Not the cheapest of jackets, but worth every penny. Grundens, yes that Grundens… the maker of hard-core offshore bibs, has created a windproof, and drizzle-resistant Primaloft-insulated jacket that not only works as advertised, but is frankly one of the better-looking technical jackets I’ve worn in a while.  I’ve used it most of this autumn on a number of float trips here in Colorado, and have totally fallen in love. The amount of compliments I get wearing it around town is kinda funny too. Check it out.  It’s an amazing and praise-worthy outer layer. -TR

Sea To Summit X Set 32 – 3 Piece Collapsible cook set  $129.95

Collapsible cookwear? For a boat?  While that sounds like a recommendation for a backpacker, it’s not. I’m personally of the opinion (save very specific instances) that the less weight on your boat, the better. Enter Sea To Summits X cook set.  It includes hard anodized aluminum bases and both the kettle and pot collapse into the pan making an incredibly compact combo that only weighs 29 oz. Maybe it isn’t everyone’s “cup of tea,” but for many, this will work just fine. -TR

Benchmade Longhand ($130 – $160)  and Shorthand Pens ($120 – $150)

The Benchamade brand is known for making outstanding knives, but did you also know they make pens here in the USA?  Really, really cool pens. I’ve been carrying the Shorthand around now for a few weeks and honestly can’t stop picking the thing up and writing with it.  It just feels good to hold. There’s enough heft to make it feel substantial, but it’s not overbearing, and the bolt-action mechanism is “oh-so-satisfying” to operate.  It has one of those fancy Fisher Space pen cartridges, so writing with the point in the “up” position or in cold or wet conditions is never an issue.  Basically, this is the perfect travel pen that’s unique enough to make an outstanding present. -TR

Step 22 Stingray Flat Box Mini – $70

If you’re a “Type A” boater who likes everything in its nice, neat little place, but also values space and rugged-as-hell containers that fold down to one fourth of their size when not in use, check out Step 22’s Stingray Flat Box Mini.  This incredibly well-designed and thoughtfully laid- out organization maker would be great for the kitchen, camera gear, clothes, or even fishing gear on multiday trips. Its ridged panels keep shape, and the handles make it easy to move.  A perfect gift for the organization freak. -TR

Grayl 16.9oz UltraPress Purifier – $89.95

Simply put… this is one of—if not THE BEST—personal water filtration systems ever created. I’ve used one of their Ultralights for years and am in love with it. This version is slightly more refined with a rotating handle and screw top sipping “hole,” instead of some silly straw you have to suck through with other personal filtration systems. Think French Press… You just scoop water, press the filter from the top through and, voila… 10 seconds later, you can chug 16.9 ounces of freshly-filtered water as if it came out of the tap (only better). This removes all waterborne pathogens including viruses and after 300 cycles, you simply replace the cartridge. Oh, and it also fits in most boats’ cupholders. It’s a the one I always take for solo trips. -TR