Most of us have at least one person in our lives that loves to hunt, and when the gift-giving season rolls around, it’s both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, we’ve got a pretty good idea of what sort of gear hunters like, but separating the best gifts for hunters from the lackluster stuff can be tough if you’re not a hunter yourself. We spoke with a few of the avid hunters in our circle to ask them what kinds of gear they had on their holiday wish list this year, and the results didn’t disappoint.
Below you’ll find some of the most sought-after gifts of the year for hunters of every discipline from big game to small birds. We’ve also included gifts for hunters in every price range, from quick and easy stocking stuffers to big-ticket items that’ll bring some serious Christmas cheer.
Few brands out there are as well known and respected by outdoorsmen as Orvis. Orvis’ top-notch hunting and fishing gear has been winning loyal customers since 1856, and their waxed cotton strap vest is by far one of the best upland hunting vests on the market. The wax-cotton construction is built to last for years, and the straps are fully adjustable so you can wear the vest year-round, even over heavy winter layers. We love the large front pockets, which can be easily opened with a single finger for quick access to extra shells. The mesh rear pouch is designed to hold a day’s worth of gear (or about three birds), so hunters can spend longer stretches in the field.
Every hunter needs a high-quality set of binoculars in the field, and the folks at Vortex make some of the best glass money can buy. We’re big fans of their Diamondback HD binoculars, which pack tons of the same premium features you’ll find on models that double their price, including a lifetime unlimited warranty. Every pair of Diamondbacks include high-definition lenses that are optimized for hunting with outstanding color fidelity, high light transmission, and anti-reflective coatings. The hunter on your list will also appreciate the rugged construction of the Vortex Diamondback HD, which is waterproof, fog-proof, and highly impact resistant.
If you’ve got an avid bowhunter on your Christmas list this year, check out the Leupold RX 1400i rangefinder. Every bowhunter needs a good rangefinder, which is particularly useful when making it difficult to judge shots on upward and downward slopes. We’re fans of the Leupold RX 14ooi because it packs a proprietary range engine, which factors variable slope into a shot to provide accurate range readings on any target. The versatility of the Leupold RX1400i is matched only by its outstanding value, with a price tag well below half of what you’ll pay for other comparable models in the Leupold range.
Every successful hunt starts with scouting out the right piece of land. There’s no better (or more popular) app currently on the market for hunting GPS than onX’s Hunt Premium, which packs tons of useful tools for hunters into any smartphone. The onX app includes information on public and private land boundaries, hunting districts, and a long list of customizable map tools allowing hunters to set useful layers like points of interest or topography in a region. We also love that onX Hunt features offline functionality, allowing hunters to download their scouting maps to their mobile device to use when out of range of cellular service. Every gift card is good for a full year’s subscription and makes an excellent stocking stuffer or standalone gift for hunters of every discipline.
Steven Rinella knows a thing or two about hunting. As both an expert chef, avid outdoorsman, and host of the popular Netflix hunting show MeatEater, Steven is uniquely qualified to pen the ultimate cookbook for serious hunters, and the Meateater Fish And Game Cookbook is exactly that. Inside, hunters will find clear and concise information on preparing and cooking all types of game from wild hog sausage to Thanksgiving turkey, as well as an extensive section on preparing and cooking both freshwater and saltwater fish from trout to tuna.
Benchmade Hidden Canyon Hunting Knife
A high-quality fixed-blade knife is a staple in any hunter’s loadout, and Benchmade’s Hidden Canyon fixed-blade is as handsome as it is capable. Benchmade has long been regarded as one of the most desirable names in knives and has won more “best knife” roundups than any of us have time to read. Made with CPM-S30V steel, a drop point blade, ample jumping, and a comfortable wooden handle, the Hidden Canyon is more than capable of standing up to the rigors of regular field use for hunters. We’re also fans of the included leather sheath, with features a belt loop and quick access snap-retention strap, giving hunters the option of safely carrying this knife on their hip or around their necks on a lanyard.
Red Wing boots are known for their unparalleled quality and longevity, so it should come as no surprise that their hunting division, Irish Setter, makes some of the best (and best looking) hunting boots money can buy. Our favorite right now is the Irish Setter Wingshooter, which is a classic take on an upland wing hunter’s boot. These bulletproof leather moc-toe boots are 100% waterproof and include a moisture-wicking nylon liner, steel support shank, and a long-lasting (and fully replaceable) rubber sole. Just like a good pair of Red Wings, these Irish Setters only get more comfortable over time, which is great because the hunter on your list will be enjoying them for years to come.
Generally speaking, socks and underwear are one of those necessary but lackluster gifts you buy around the holidays. High-quality base layers, on the other hand, are the kind of underwear any outdoorsman loves to get and will get a ton of use out of. Our favorite base layers are made from soft and breathable merino wool, and Ibex’s Woolies 2 line are some of the most durable and comfortable base layers out there. Their 100% merino wool construction is both moisture-wicking and anti-microbial, which means they keep you cool when you’re active, but won’t smell like sweat and other assorted funk after a long day on the hunt.
Hands-free light is an indispensable tool for hunting early in the morning or late into the night, and our favorite headlamp for hunters right now is the BioLite 750. The BioLite packs a maximum light output of 750 lumens, which is plenty to light up any blind, campsite, or trail, and lasts up to 150 hours in its utility-focused low light setting thanks to its powerful 3,000mAh rechargeable lithium battery. This headlamp also includes a red light mode setting, which is ideal for hunters as most game animals like deer and elk don’t register red light, so they won’t get spooked by hunters as they approach.
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