Friday, March 30, 2007

Fish Headed Fans

"I don't think these bass fish hats will be big sellers..." - Rod Bender

Photo: Fans line up outside of Fishboy HQ for the release of the latest fishing t-shirt from the creative team at

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Red Neck Fish Finder - Gift Item

Here is an interesting and funny gift item for the fisherman in your life - The Red Neck Fish Finder wall plaque!

Nifty little fly tying helper

Durable multi-purpose tool for handling flies made of ABS plastic. Has hook eye cleaning needle and threader.
Around $14 online.

Now here is a nifty little stocking stuffer for your favorite flyfisherman! Think kindly of the times he is around and push over a piece of that coal and squeeze in one of these handly gadgets!

The C.F. Design 3-in-1 Tweezer handles a few common problems when dealing with flys, fly tying and of course fishing. The business end of the tweezers is a ABS plastic tweezer that can grasp hold of a fly without one catching ones skin in the sharp hook. Inside the tweezer is a convienent threader used to pull fishing line through the tiny eye of the fly hook.

Also included is a hook eye "cleaner" for clearing your fly's hook eye of any debris or matter which might prevent you from getting the fishing line through.

That's it. It doesn't do a whole lot but what it does it does well and all in a nice small, lightweight package. Once get one of these fly fishing gadgets you'd be surprised by how many times you actually use it in the field and even at home at the fly tying bench. I got my partner Paul at one last year and he lost it and trys to steal mine every time we go fishing.

Make sure you attach yours to your fishing vest with the included key chain "chain".

Crocs - Ugly As Hell But Heaven For Da Feet

When I first laid eyes on a pair of Crocs they were at the airport on the feet of my fresh from Florida parents. I couldn't help laughing at them because they were so ugly. My Mom was wearing a pair of bright pink Crocs and my Dad a pair of "oh so manly tan" ones. I can just see the salesman saying "wait sir we can fit you into a pair also, do you like black or tan".

I thought it was a joke or maybe some street hustler took them for their money like the peddler in who sold Jack a few beans for a cow. Now keep in mind this was a few years ago and up here in Maine fashion comes slow. We tend to embrace the practical over the flashy, fashion of the moment. If it is from LL Bean usually that's good enough for us and besides if it fails after 10 years of wear we can get a free replacement because we expect clothes to last and last and not go in and out of style every season.

Back to the Crocs, I've since seen quite a bunch of Crocs around on just about every age from toddler to senior citizen, in every color imaginable and in every season. Some kids don't ever seem to take them off.

The reason is that beyond the outlandish colors these sandals come in (and the clunky clown show look to them), deep down they are extremely practical and comfortable. They are feather-light, soft and squishy and they breath. Also, very importantly here on the coast, they are waterproof. You can easily take them kayaking or sloshing around in the garden or woods.

So yes, they look absolutely ridiculous on a non-circus individual but its function over form. For people who are on their feet all day, people with foot problems, people with sweaty feet or someone looking for waterproof sandal these Crocs are perfect.

Now on the downside I've seen a lot of "Croc Abuse" going on. Because these shoes are so comfortable some people don't take them off even when a different kind of shoe would make more sense. For example I've seen people climbing the trails in Acadia National Park in their Crocs. I've seen kids running around the playground in Crocs. Kids playing sports in Crocs. (And kids falling on their faces in Crocs).

Crocs are good for general walking but they don't have the ankle support needed for hiking and they don't have the traction for tearing around the playground or climbing slippery rocks. Wearing the wrong footwear can lead to serious injury and falls. Also Crocs are a casual shoe and have no place at fancy restaurants or night clubs!

So be warned! Once you try Crocs you might never want to wear another shoe even to the point of endangerment! (Both physical and social!)

The reviewer comes clean:

I admit it. I've wore ugly shoes for the sake of comfort. Back at the university I wore Doc Martin's. (A lot of people did and still do - in fact they are the standard issue shoe of the punk "alternative" uniform). Anyway they looked like Frankenstein shoes. But they were roomy and comfortable.

Is the Original Lazy Fish Corkscrew worth the price?

About six years ago I was visiting Newport R.I. -- after a lovely day of touring the grand old mansions of the Vanderbilt’s and friend with their pre-income tax lavish lifestyle I happened upon the coolest corkscrew I ever laid eyes upon. Especially since my business ( deals with all things fish.

It was the Original Lazy Fish corkscrew. It’s awesome. Closed it looks like a shiny chrome fish. Open it resembles one of those robot grabber claws you had when you were a kid.

Plus it works even better than it looks! You simply screw the corkscrew end (the fish’s mouth) into the cork. Grab hold of the fish’s tail and pull. The compound lever action in the design of the fish corkscrew multiplies your effort and the cork pulls out with ease. Plus it makes a really cool "plop" sound as the cork pops out of the bottle. The fish corkscrew makes opening up wine bottles fun and it surely impresses any guests you may have in attendance.

The only downside of the Original Lazy Fish version of this corkscrew is its cost. It’s an imported item and can cost $40 to $50. But since the fish corkscrew design is based on a product from 100 years ago, there are other versions on the market.

Franmara Pisces Multi-lever Corkscrew

For a while the Original Lazy Fish Corkscrew was hard to find. I don't know if the company went through some restructuring, stopped importing them for a while or what but I had a hard time finding them for my store. I was also hoping to find a less expensive version of the Original Lazy Fish to offer my customers on and along comes The Pisces from Franmara.

The Pisces is pretty much indistinguishable from The Original Lazy Fish Corkscrew. It looks the same and opens bottles the same. It even seems to be made of the same materials. The only difference is the packaging and most importantly the price. By choosing the Pisces over the Original Lazy Fish you can save yourself at least 20 bucks.

The only downside that I can see is that the Original Lazy Fish is available in colors and the Franmara Pisces Multi-lever Corkscrew only comes in classic chrome.

The Perfect Fly Fishing Gift

Above: This Fly Reel Birdhouse makes a unique gift for the fly fisher in your life. Available from

There is a fly fishing gift out there perfect for your budget and perfect for your loved one, too! The greatest news is that you can purchase a fly fishing gift for anyone at great prices just by browsing around online.

When you know someone closely and you happen to know that this person has everything he or she needs for fly fishing, there is a wonderful selection of fly fishing accessories available. Or perhaps he or she has everything they need—but they really want a new fly fishing vest. A fly fishing vest is a great fly fishing gift. Especially for the fly fishing enthusiast, and those who are just starting our and beginning to collect fly fishing gear.

There are virtually hundreds of different kinds of flyfishing gifts—so how do you know which fly fishing gift to purchase? Especially if you do not go fly fishing yourself, it can be a confusing choice to make.

Basic lures are always a great idea, as well as fly fishing knots, fly fishing flies, reels, rods and even those super classy flyfishing gifts like new rod cases. The good news is that there are so many flyfishing accessories available that we know you will find something.

If you really cannot think of anything else, no other fly fishing gift, that your loved one will like, you can always purchase things like key chains, t-shirts, hats, bumper stickers and such.

Lastly, if you know exactly what you want but it seems to elude you at every turn—browse around online, there are so many in stock items perfect for a fly fishing gift. And your ideal fly fishing gift will absolutely be among the wide selection of fly fishing merchandise.

You will be able to find a fly fishing gift for anyone at all when you search online. No matter what skill level and no matter how often or how little he or she goes out fly fishing. You will certainly find a fly fishing gift your loved one will be pleased with when you look in the right places.

Monday, March 26, 2007

A Buddy Invites You On A Fishing Trip - Do you have to bring a gift?


Bottom line: A friend invites you out on his new boat for a fishing trip if you wanted to be invited again you better offer to help pay for gas, bring the food and beer and you should follow it up with a fun gift to remind your friend to pick you instead of one of the other guys panting to get a free boat trip. No one likes a freeloader.


Do you have to bring a gift?

At its best, a birthday, graduation, or wedding gift is a token by which the recipient — usually someone you love, or at least know and like a lot — will remember you fondly. But what about when invitations arrive from very casual acquaintances? At these times, even the most generous among us have asked ourselves, "Do I really, really need to buy a gift?"

Happily, there's a simple rule that seems to be universally accepted by etiquette pros: "If you go to the event, you're obligated to bring a gift. If you don't go, you can nicely send regrets and there's an end to it," says Peter Post, a director of the Emily Post Institute and the author of Essential Manners for Couples.

As with all good rules, there are exceptions. With a wedding invitation, even if you decline, you should still send a gift. "Typically, you're not invited to a wedding unless you know the people well," says Post, so you should want to give something; not doing so would make too obvious a statement. This does not include those occasions, he adds, when "you get an invitation and you think, What on earth is this about? I hardly know this person." You can't help thinking someone's just fishing for gifts, and you don't want to bite. Post's proclamation: There's no reason to feel a bit of guilt about not sending a present to a virtual stranger.

Then again, what do you do if you're invited to your best friend's daughter's three bridal showers this summer? Even if you go to them all, says Post, "there's absolutely no need to bring a gift to more than one. In fact, we suggest that brides don't put people in this position." If you do multi-fete, don't feel awkward; your friend and her daughter will know you've given your gift. But if the courage of your convictions fails you, you could bring a small token — or send regrets.

The Ultimate Angler Knife Makes The Perfect Gift

The Trident's "Groove" features allows the angler to cut line without openning the knife!

Impressions: The team at SOG did right with the Trident TF-1 TiNi. Though it looks like an ordinary knife, this folding knife is quite impressive. SOG includes features that outdoorsmen, especially anglers, will surely find handy such as the TiNi coated blade, SOG Assisted Technology (S.A.T.), and the noticeable and unique Groove. The Trident weighs in very nicely and has a good size handle for both small and large hands. In addition the knife has a locking feature that keeps the blade from accidentally coming open, and another mechanism to keep the sharp blade from closing when flipped open for use.

Groove: This innovative feature is what sets the Trident apart from others. The patent pending Groove system is built into the handle and makes use of the closed blade and a slot in the handle, cutting just about any type of line such parachute cord, rope, and fishing line including braided and super lines.

The Groove was first developed after Navy SEALs thought open blades were too dangerous around fragile equipment and other fellow members. After puncturing a military inflatable boat and damaging other equipment when cutting ropes with an open blade, SOG then designed this effective safe system. Now the Grooveâ„¢ sheath is not only used on the Trident but many other SOG knives as well.

S.A.T: SOG Assisted Technology (S.A.T.) was designed to help one open the knife easily and quickly, no matter if the person uses his/her right or left hand. The patented mechanism works with a constant force that opens the blade and a variable force that wants to close it. That means when someone opens the Trident the force to open is greater than closing which will spring open the knife virtually on its own.

Field Tests: I once read a survey somewhere about what one thing you would like to have with you if you're stranded in the wilderness, and someone answered a durable pocket knife because it's a tool they can rely on to cut, scrap, dig, and many more things that pertains to one's survival. Though I hope I would never end up in a situation like that, I have to agree with that statement. A knife is important, and even more important is a knife that's high performing and extremely reliable. We tested the SOG Trident while fishing and camping at Lassen National Park, on local lakes, and on the Pacific Ocean while targeting salmon, albacore tuna, and rockfish.

The Blade: Aside from useful features the blade is what makes or breaks a knife. Without a quality blade any knife would be a useless tool. The Trident folding knife has an outstanding blade that’s ground out of high-grade AUS8 stainless steel flat stock. We used the Trident on the water, fresh and salt, and while camping carving marshmallow sticks, gutting fish, and cutting other miscellaneous items, the blade never gave in and is sharp cutting without difficulty. The Trident blade remained solid and sound throughout our tests and never failed on us once. The stainless steel blade on the Trident model is all the same but the TF-1 test unit has a black Titanium Nickel coating on it. There is a slight downside to a coating because over time it’s sure to become scratched even though TiNi is a very tough material. Even if the coating can be damaged after prolong use and abuse, this is the model that anglers should use because the TiNi coating not only adds surface hardness but also increases the blade’s resistance to corrosion.

Ergonomics: The Trident folding knife holds nicely in your hands. The glass-reinforced Zytel handle is long enough for both large and small hands, and patterned with non-slip for a sure grip. In addition SOG molded the handle with proper curves and positioned the ridges on the handle and on top of the blade for a better hold, even when your hands are slimed by the fish. Application: To an angler a pocket knife is very important and can serve many purposes. One very obvious application is cutting fishing line. The blade is sharp and will cut fishing line in an instant. We tried cutting both slick lines such as mono and fluorocarbon and also braided line. With the blade flipped in the open position it easily sliced the braided line with either the serrated or fine edge section of the SOG Trident blade. With monofilament fishing line the blade doesn’t grab onto the line like it did with braided, so in order to quickly cut slippery line you must fold the line over the blade or carefully apply a quick slash - this goes for all knives. The Groove™ system does the same thing but allows you to cut with the knife in the closed and locked position. We found the Groove™ very handy and we were able to apply this feature on cutting line in a hurry, and without the fear of stabbing fellow anglers or damaging other nearby equipment. Aside from cutting fishing line with the Groove™, anglers can use the SOG Trident to cut rope. In an emergency you will want a blade with a sharp edge that can quickly get you away from danger such as rope wrapped around the prop and you’re about to be washed ashore or even rope wrapped around a fellow angler. Opened, the SOG Trident cuts rope very well above and underwater as we tried both of these scenarios. The Groove™ system can be applied to cutting only those items that can fit in the slot, so most rope is out of the question and best cut with the Trident in an open position.

Conclusion: Having the right blade can mean life or death for some, especially to an outdoorsman whom relies on a knife that’s used for survival purposes. A quality blade, solid construction, and useful features are key specifications one should consider when buying a pocket knife. The SOG Trident TF-1 has these characteristics and more. It is truly a high performing folding knife that one can trust to have at hand. The Trident has effective features like the Groove™ system allowing anglers to cut fishing line without opening the blade and the SOG Assisted Technology (S.A.T.) that swiftly opens the blade no matter which hand you use. The blade is ground out of a tough stainless steel and the TF-1 model is even more durable with its Titanium Nickel coating. The SOG Trident is a blade that inspires confidence to help you get the job done right.

Available Here

Need a fishing gift for Steve Jobs?

Mac Daddy Fishing Lures offers a million dollar fishing lure! Crafted in just over 3 pounds of glimmering gold and platinum, then encrusted with 100 carats of diamonds and rubies (4,753 stones to be exact). This extraordinary Big Game Lure is over 12 inches in length. It’s truly the most stellar of all MacDaddy’s jeweled flies and lures!

Approximately 100 cts. Diamonds and Rubies (4,753 stones)
Over 3 pounds of platinum, 14-k and 18-k gold
Over 12 inches in length


About Mac Daddy Fishing Lures - More Than Just Another Fish Story

There is nothing greater than the adrenaline rush one feels when casting a lure into the water, except perhaps, that moment when the fish bites and you get to experience the unparalleled exhilaration of reeling it in! We created this outrageous line of men's gifts for those who dare share our passion for living life to the fullest. There is an indescribable feeling you get, when you take your solid gold - diamond encrusted fishing lure, methodically tie it to your line, and cast it forth. There is only one way to find this feeling...order up an original MacDaddy lure today to catch it!

If the experience itself isn't enough, you come away with a commemorative photo, a wonderful memory, and a great fish story that can be told for years to come. That is what we are all about...helping to create those wonderful rocking chair stories, and perhaps more importantly, being a part or bringing out the "child" in those of us who have forgotten that life is supposed to be fun!

So what IS MacDaddy's anyway?

MacDaddy's Fishing Lures, Inc. is dedicated to manufacturing and distributing the finest line of gold and diamond fishing lures in the world. With over 40 years of combined experience in the areas of jewelry design, manufacturing, distribution, sales, public relations and marketing, MacDaddy's is excited to offer a line of fly fishing gifts that are sure to ignite the imagination of sports men, women and children worldwide.

An Avid fisherman himself, MacDaddy has been fishing for as long as he can remember. He caught his first fish while sitting on is daddy's knee, and made his first fishing lure out of copper at the age of nine. As a result of the simple "family values" instilled in him while fishing...values like passing time with family and friends, and sharing stories with loved ones...he also introduced his favorite pastime to his sons, and his love for fishing has been a guiding light in this new venture.

MacDaddy's Products

Using precious metals and stunning jewels, MacDaddy's sterling silver lures are carefully crafted following the strictest manufacturing standards. Currently, there are five product lines available, ranging in price from $40.00 to $1,000,000.00. There is something for everyone, whether you are looking for that perfect "one of a kind" gift, or you are a sportsman or woman who would like to spoil yourself. There is nothing like a MacDaddy's lure or fly.

The MacDaddy's product line includes:
Number 1 Engraved Lures The #1 Engraved Series of Lures. Crafted from sterling silver and plated with 14-karat gold and personalized with an engraved inscription, these lures are the perfect gift item for that hard-to-buy-for person in your life. They come packaged in a specially designed gift card.

Solid Gold and Diamond Fishing Lures Solid Gold and Diamond Fishing Lures. Crafted from solid 14-karat gold and diamonds, these lures are perfect luxury gifts for the affluent sport fisherman... or may be used as an elegant piece of jewelry, a unique key chain, or as a cherished keepsake displayed in an extraordinary shadow box (also available as part of MacDaddy's product line).

Sterling Silver / Gold-Plated Fishing Lures with CZ's Sterling Silver Lures / Gold-Plated Fishing Lures with CZ's. These lures look just like the original MacDaddy's Solid Gold and Diamond Lures, only they are manufactured from sterling silver, then 14-karat gold-plated and set with cubic zirconia (CZ's) instead of diamonds.

Custom orders are available upon request. A variety of different gemstones may be specified, along with specific initials (i.e. TLC), short names (i.e. Mac), corporate logos, or a personalized message.

Jeweled Flies Jeweled Flies. Offered in a variety of gemstones, including diamonds, rubies and sapphires, these jeweled flies are truly worthy of being called "works of art". The original fly patterns are tied by Master Fly Tiers.

MacDaddy's Specialty Items
The Million-Dollar Tackle Box. The ultimate luxury item for the "man who has everything", this elegant tackle box includes a variety of Solid Gold and Gemstone Lures, Solid Gold and Diamond Lures, Jeweled Flies, and an assortment of precious metal and gemstone salt water lures, all housed in a stunning box crafted from fine exotic wood. Please call us for a private showing (805) 234-4789

Extraordinary Shadow Boxes. Designed to display MacDaddy's lures, fly fishing tacle and other sports gifts, these elegantly crafted boxes also have room for an accompanying photo. The perfect item for commemorating a special fishing trip, or for simply displaying a series of lures

MacDaddy's Vision

MacDaddy's mission is three-fold: 1) Promote fishing, 2) Promote joy in life, and of course, 3) Manufacture, distribute and sell the finest fishing lures in the world.

In keeping with these goals, we have plans to sponsor fishing awareness campaigns, as well as fishing tournaments intended to benefit children. A portion of the proceeds from these events will help fund additional adventures.

Quite simply, we believe MacDaddy's Fishing Lures is an idea whose time has come and we are passionately dedicated to bringing this dream to fruition!


Sunday, March 25, 2007

Gift Idea's for Thirsty Outdoor Activities

It all started with a simple hiker's bottle. Today, the SIGG bottle has acquired cult status.

The world's best aluminium drink bottle comes with a taste-neutral internal coating, is the only bottle resistant to fruit acids and isotonic drinks and is absolutely leak-proof, even with carbonated drinks.

Suitable for hot or cold liquids, the Sigg collection of drink bottles are of the best Swiss quality and have been sought after for nearly 100 years.

While the SIGG bottle may look much like any other, it in fact packs a lot of high-tech. SIGG bottles are extrusion-pressed from a one-piece aluminium block, which results in uniform, seamless walls.

Gifts For the Outdoor Lovers in Your Life

The holiday seasons are near, and family members are already asking, "What do you want for Christmas?" Oh, to be a kid again with my Christmas wish list! Is there someone on your holiday gift list who loves the outdoors and could use some new piece of camping gear? If so, here are some ideas that may help you finish your holiday shopping.

For those new to camping

Sleeping bags - the first consideration for all beginning campers is having a warm and cozy place to sleep. Don't skimp on quality, and if you're buying for a kid, buy them an adult bag, because it will probably last them for many years to come.

Sleeping pads - if they've already got a sleeping bag, or if you can afford to spend a little more on presents, get them the next camping item they'll want that will improve the quality of their sleeping outdoors.

Quality Water Bottles - Everyone can use one of these cool stylish water bottles from Sigg. One even includes a cup.

Tents - next on a basic camper's checklist will likely be a tent. Give consideration to the number of people they'll be camping with to determine the size. And if they're backpackers, look specifically for lightweight 1 or 2 person tents. Otherwise look in the category of family tents.

Cook stoves - food always tastes good when it is cooked outdoors. Consider a 2 burner propane stove. They're easier to use, produce a hotter flame, and are more compact than typical fuel stoves. If they've already got the stove, maybe they could use a carrying bag, one that also holds two propane bottles.

Lanterns - again, campers are migrating to the propane models versus the fuel lanterns. Flashlights are nice for emergencies, but can get rather expensive with the cost of batteries when used for prolonged lighting.

For those with new families

Family tents - your kids have grown and now don't have enough room in their 2-person tent for themselves plus the new family member. Get your kids a bigger family tent so that they can share with their kids the same wonders that you introduced them to.

Cooking utensils - as the family grows, so too do the needs to prepare larger meals. You can never go wrong by giving utensils that will gladly be used by those who delight in the art of outdoor cooking.

Outdoor clothes - we all know how fast kids can go through clothes. You grandparents will be doing your own kids a favor should you consider giving the grandkids some special clothes for future summer adventures: jeans/shorts, hiking shoes/boots, rain gear, day packs, or SPF clothing.

For those with everything

Screen rooms - a nice luxury that can be a life-saver in buggy locations is a screen room that allows you to relax outdoors away from pests and out of the sun.

Portable grills - great for camping, tailgate parties, and picnics. One of these would be appreciated by any outdoor chef.

Swiss Army knives - what else needs to be said? These knives are synonymous with camping.

Shower bags - these inexpensive black plastic bags are a blessing when camping somewhere without hot showers.

Dutch ovens - for the gourmet in your family, these make great presents for anyone who loves to bake and wants to try it at the campground.

Need more ideas?

Time to go shopping! How many times have you gone shopping not knowing exactly what to get someone and while walking down the street you looked in a shop window and said, "Wow, that would make a great gift for ...." I've given you some ideas above, which may or may not satisfy a person on your gift list. Either way, if you know they love the outdoors, you probably won't go wrong by getting them something they will use for outdoor recreation. With that in mind, it's time to go window shopping online. Maybe you'll find that perfect gift for an outdoor lover. To check out a great variety of online camping gear stores, like REI, Campmor, Cabela's, L.L.Bean and many more less known and obscure stores.

Gift ideas for those on the go

By Sal Ruibal, USA TODAY
Holiday shopping for action/adventuresports enthusiasts may seem to be an easy task. There are now thousands of gift possibilities for the adrenaline-driven jock on your list, but sifting through that mountain of gear is tougher than climbing El Capitan.

Fear not: Throughout the year we've kept our eyes peeled for the best and coolest products and tested as many of them as we could get our hands on. And, you can check out other USA TODAY gift ideas in our "In the Bag" blog.


Before you head out the door for you next adventure, take a peek at the Oregon Scientific WeatherNow Station ($169.95, Just plug in the desktop unit and you're receiving regional data from the MSN Direct Weather Data Service. It displays the current regional four-day forecast as well as weather warnings, watches and advisories.

Music-on-the-go is a booming business, even in the great outdoors. Manufacturers have become quite creative in devising new ways for you to take your tunes on the trail, the slopes and the road.

Oakley has been a leader in this market with its popular Thump series of MP3 player-sunglasses. The latest version, the no-wires Thump Pro ($349-$249,, is more compact, made of sweat-resistant materials, has interchangeable lenses and can hold 240 songs in its 1-gigabyte configuration. Content-wise, the Thump Pro is iPod m4a-file (CD transfer) compatible and has AudibleReady software for e-books and podcasts.

We like the Thump Pro because its ear speakers swivel out, giving the user more control over ambient sound. That's important for runners, road cyclists and other athletes whose safety depends on being aware of their surroundings. Ear-bud speakers may have concert-hall sound, but that's not always the smartest way to travel.

Burton's Audex line of snowboard gear is the leader in on-snow tunes, with MP3 compatible parkas, helmets and packs. The Audex Apres MP3 Jacket ($359.95, not only comes with its own player, it has snazzy faux-fur trim on its hood.

If you're more interested in hearing your performance numbers, the Motion Lingo ADEO Fitness Trainer ($149, combines GPS technology with audio software that audibly "tells" you how fast you're biking, running, walking, blading or skiing. You can combine it with an MP3 or iPod to get your stats while you groove.

All that music will stop if you can't recharge your gear in the wilderness. That's why Brunton made the new Brunton Solaris 6 and Solaris i6 lightweight foldable solar panels ($129, They are ideal for charging satellite phones, video and digital cameras and cellphones. The i6 model, out Dec. 15, can also charge iPods and MP3 players.


Finding a shiny new bicycle under the tree is a holiday tradition, even for grown-up boys and girls. Bike makers have been busy coming up with some dandy models for 2007 that feature the creative use of carbon fiber technology. The bottom line is a bike that's stiff enough to win a sprint to the next stop sign while also being comfortably compliant. In English, that means fast and comfy.

We rode the new Specialized Roubaix ($7,100-$1,900, and Cannondale System Six ($8,000-$3,400, road bikes and they delivered as promised. Yes, that is a lot of money, but a bike that is comfortable is a bike that will be used more often. The garages of America are filled with unused, uncomfortable bikes. Specialized has taken the comfort concept a step further and is training bike shops to properly fit customers to their highly adjustable bikes.

The Ibis Carbon Mojo (complete bike $3,299-$5,399; frame only is $1,899; is a sculpture that goes really fast on mountain bike trails. The colorful dual-suspension Mojo marks the return of the venerable, yet funky, Ibis brand to the marketplace. Carbon fiber was a gutsy choice for a company whose place in bike history was made with beautiful steel and titanium bike frames, but a 60-day waiting list for the Carbon Mojo is proof that founder Scot Nicol still knows what works on two wheels.

If you're looking for an inexpensive, cool, fun and easy to ride bike, go for the old-school Electra Amsterdam ($550,, a 3-speed commuter/coffee/errands bike that's comfortable and stylish — just not fast.


Few items of sports clothing must perform as many tasks as mountain bike shorts. They must provide a comfortable platform for the rider's most sensitive parts, protect the hips and thighs from crashes, keep the lower body warm or cool and serve as a storage area for glasses, tools and food.

Hoss Ponderosa shorts do all that and look cool, too. If the Cartwright boys rode mountain bikes instead of horses, they'd wear Ponderosa shorts.

Hoss gear is also less expensive than most MTB shorts. The single-color version sells for $49.95, while the stylish camo print shorts go for $54.95 ( If you're a Clydesdale-class rider, you'll have to pony up an extra $5 for XXXL.

The Ponderosa's seven pockets can carry a lot of cargo and strategically placed stretch panels provide comfort on long rides.

Over the years, we've also been impressed with the New Zealand Merino wool clothing made by Ibex. This year, we like their machine-washable Ibex Neck Gaitor ($30, The neck gaitor is a great item to stash in a backpack for blustery days or some triple-lutzes on a frozen pond.

One of our favorite new items is the Patagonia Manuka fleece-lined flip-flop sandal ($85, The feel of fleece between your toes is sublime and the perfect thing for quick trips to the back porch for kindling or commuting to the hot tub. The Manuka is available in both men's and women's sizes.

Dryzone shoe and booth dryers ($14.99 for shoes, $20 for boots, are handy items for wet weather conditions. The unique, heat-free dryer is the shape of a shoe insole and consists of "beanbags" filled with moisture-absorbing crystals. The bags are inserted into each shoe and, overnight, absorb moisture. The bags are easily regenerated after three or four uses by heating them in a microwave or on a heat register.


Longboarding is the biggest trend in skateboarding and you don't have to be a dude-spewing grommet to have fun with it. We suggest the Loaded Vanguard Bamboo longboard ($298,, a great all-around board for multiple surfaces.

If you want to introduce a friend to the longboard scene, pick up MAKE YOU sMILE($24,, a DVD from skate film auteurs Adam Colton and Adam Stokowski, a.k.a. Adam Squared. It includes full-length versions of the pair's web films and eight new films.

Stocking stuffers:

Adventure Medical Kits ( offers a wide line of emergency kits that range from an $18 back-pocket model to the $100 Outfitter, which organizes hospital-quality tools and supplies by type of injury and includes instructional cards and a first aid guide that enable a novice or pro to be an effective first responder to an emergency ... Knog has extended its line of excellent LED lights that work for both bikers with the Toad and Bull Frog ($28-$32,, five-LEDs units that light up the trail behind and ahead of you. ... ProBar ($2.99, blends 15 natural whole foods into a yummy bar that makes on-the-run nutrition a real meal. Check out the Koka Moka. ... SportLegs ($26.95, is a supplement that actually works and won't get you kicked out of the Tour de France. Made from calcium, magnesium and vitamin D in vegetarian capsules, SportLegs helps regulate lactic acid production, so your muscles produce only as much as they need to perform their very best. ... Anke Wilken was worried that her cycling-crazed husband was losing interest in romance, so she created the Cyclepassion photo calendar ($34.95, The poster-sized photos of female glamor models, sinewy male cyclists and amazing race scenery is sexy without being sleazy. ... Cats and dogs hate cancer, too. Get them Livestrong pet collars and leashes ($12-$14, in yellow and black.