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UNIQUE GIFT IDEAS

2022 Gift Guide - Week 3

Words Pete Roggeman
Date Dec 2, 2022
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Lifestraw Peak Series Collapsible Squeeze 650 ml Bottle w/ Filter 1

650 ml is about right for a second bottle for longer rides on hot days. But when it's not full, it compresses down pretty nicely.

Lifestraw 3

There's a look at the filter. And hey, don't sleep on the fact that this bottle is a great camping accessory for cooking - the flow rate is high enough that you can fill the bottle and squeeze filtered water into a pot and off you go.

Lifestraw Peak Series Collapsible Squeeze 650 ml Bottle with Filter

I've written about this bottle before, and for the same reasons I like to use it, I think it makes a great gift. Whether your recipient is a rider, hiker, or traveler, this collapsible Lifestraw bottle will be well-received. Quick and easy to use, effective against almost anything you need to worry about in your water (except viruses), it's also tough and will last a long time before the filter needs replacement. There's also a 1-liter version, but I find the 650 ml size packs easily into a jersey pocket or hip pack. Extend the length of your ride if you know you'll be crossing water, or, as in my case, use it to supplement how much you can carry because your trail dog loves running so much that he doesn't always stop to drink when we cross a stream.

  • Protects Against 99.99% of bacteria, parasites, microplastics, silt, sand, and cloudiness 
  • Pore Size: 0.2 micron
  • Membrane Microfilter lasts up to 2,000 L | 500 gallons
  • Weight: 3.2 oz | 102 g 
  • BPA Free, FDA approved, premium materials
  • Includes: LifeStraw Peak Series 650ml collapsible squeeze bottle with screw-top cap and tether, backwash accessory, user manual

33 USD at Lifestraw


Stanley The Bottle Opener Beer Stein 1

Hammertone green is the right colour for anything from Stanley, but this stein comes in a few other colours as well (may be currently sold out). The stealthy bottle opener is that small hook at the bottom of the handle. Well played, Stanley.

Stanley The Bottle Opener Beer Stein 2

For some reason that lid really sets it off for me. Stay outta my beer, pesky flies!

Stanley Classic Bottle Opener Beer Stein | 24 OZ

Sometimes you want to keep that post-ride beer at the trailhead on the DL, or maybe a koozie won't do the trick to keep it cold. Maybe you're a beer mug person...the point is there are plenty of reasons to like this stein from Stanley. After years of Bomber domination, cans are the new normal for craft beer, and tall boy cans at that. And that has meant less need for bottle openers. That doesn't mean I don't appreciate a clever one, and this stein has a clever one, in case it's ever needed. Better than that, though, is the double wall insulation and steel lid that keeps carbonation in, and other things out. And plenty of room to hold the contents of your tall boy with room to spare.

In other news, Stanley now has a Canadian website, which means Canadian distribution, which means all products now ship to Canada, with cheaper shipping and no duty. This opens up a lot of their great products that were formerly hard to find at local retailers. To celebrate, Stanley has set up a 20% off discount code for NSMB readers: NSMB20. Don't worry, American friends, you can use the code for 20% off in the US store as well. And yes, that code stacks with current sales on the site.

  • 18/8 stainless steel, BPA-free
  • Double-wall vacuum insulation
  • Stainless-steel lid
  • Integrated bottle opener
  • Heavy-duty handle
  • Steel lid keeps carbonation in and other things out
  • Dishwasher safe

This stein is 30 USD (currently on sale), but Stanley has tons of amazing vessels for beer, wine, or coffee (we're going to keep our heads in the sand about the TikTok Quencher craze for now).


DeWALT 12-inch cordless chainsaw

This is DeWALT's 12-inch battery-powered chainsaw, which will run 20 or 60-volt batteries. It's compact and weighs about 9 pounds with a 5ah battery installed.

DEWALT 20v Chainsaw Kit with Brushless Motor

If you think battery-powered bikes are moving in quickly, the cordless tool market would like a word. Battery-powered drills and impact drivers have been around forever, and the latest generation are lighter, more powerful, and last longer. Tool choices are expanding just as fast: DeWALT has gone from one battery-powered chainsaw to no fewer than 6 (from 12-20" bars) as I write this. As with any cordless tool system, you're best to decide who makes the tool(s) you really want, commit to one battery system, and buy from that family as your tool kit expands. For me, that system became DeWALT by default when I pulled the trigger on a drill/driver kit so I could build a mini home for my bikes (aka 'the shed'). Last year, I discovered this 12" chainsaw and at first dismissed it. I'm a chainsaw noob, but I thought a battery-powered 12" chainsaw sounded like a bit of a toy. Then I started reading reviews and comments online and it started to sound more like a pint-sized powerhouse. "Perfect", I thought - this will let me buck smaller logs into firewood and cut out deadfall (my new rainy day hobby). The ability to justify something mildly bike-related with a solid 'get shit done' task list at home was too good to pass up.

It arrived one glorious day last summer, before the outdoor fire ban went into effect. I went out and got some chainsaw oil and set to work on a pile of logs I'd assembled that were destined for the fire pit. My 20v batteries did an admirable job but the 60v Flexvolt battery I have from another kit is even better. Whatever battery you use, this small saw is formidable. It's also easy to strap to the back of a pack, which I've done several times now, and its manageable bar length and light weight mean it's not a chore to hike or ride with it. I've taken out deadfall and widow makers, a few trees around the property that should never have been planted, bucked plenty of firewood. I have but one complaint: the bar oil reservoir is known to leak, so you're well-advised to drain it or fill it carefully and store the saw on a rag. I've yet to dig into figuring out a better solution, but it hasn't been a big problem so far.

Do with this information what you will: battery-powered chainsaws are quiet, which makes them nice to work with, but also means you won't disturb your neighbours, or give away the location of your work site. The only downfall is it also makes them terrible as a noise accessory at your next World Cup Downhill. Don't stick a fork in gas saws just yet...

This saw or one of its larger siblings is a show stopper of a gift for the person in your life that likes to cut wood. If your favorite trail builder already has a saw, do a little research into what batteries it uses and get 'em a nice one (brace for impact on the price, though).

The DeWALT 20v Chainsaw with 12" bar can be bought as a tool only or with a battery and charger and costs 269-409 CAD depending on the kit.


Earshots

The quest to find good headphones for riding continues. I generally find music too distracting, except for gravel road riding or mellow climbs, but do enjoy a podcast when I'm riding alone, especially if I'm on a loop I know well. The list of criteria for headphones that work well for riding is long: they must stay in your ear(s), allow you to hear what's happening around you (whether by passively or actively allowing external sound to filter through), stand up to sweat, impacts, rain, dust, etc. That's without mentioning sound quality, battery life, connection to your phone, comfort, and compatibility with helmet straps and eyewear stems. It's a long list, and while big advances in wireless ear buds have been made, the perfect ones don't exist yet.

Earshots are not the first wireless ear bud designed specifically for sports, but they're one of the best I've tried, especially for the price. They're not perfect - I'm going to review them in more depth soon but none of the issues I've had are big minuses and again, for the money they're terrific. For now I can recommend them for anyone looking for wireless ear buds that won't come off, sound good (particularly for spoken word/podcasts/phone calls for which they're tuned but also for music), have good battery life with lots in reserve in the case. At 136 CAD and free shipping, they're the best value going right now for sports buds that stay in place.

136 CAD (free global shipping) - Earshots


Rogue Tools

This is a recommendation from Mike Ferrentino so we turned it over to him to explain:

When it comes to digging in the dirt, there is no shortage of opinions about what tools are best for the job. Depending where you are digging, how you are digging, and why you are digging, there’s a ton of ways to swing some metal at the ground. And, once you start breaking handles and warping digging heads, you learn pretty quickly that there is also a mighty wide range of quality out there.

If you want to make the dirt sculptor in your life truly happy this winter, you can’t go wrong with something from Rogue Hoe. Rogue is a family owned outfit in Missouri that have been handcrafting tools from recycled plow discs since 2006. Firefighters all around the country swear by them, and most trail builders who spend any real time benching dirt similarly acknowledge that Rogue tools are worth every penny. They may not be the cheapest, but for handbuilt tools that outlast most hardware store equivalents by several lifetimes, made by folks who actually answer the phone when you call with questions, you can’t really beat them in a real world valuation. Rogue are also totally supportive of mountain bike trail building, and IMBA members get 10% off all purchases.

My personal recommendations: The 70AR Travis tool (89.95 USD) looks like a cross between a medieval combat weapon and something Shrek might use in the garden. Its triangular head has a broad cutter for benching, a narrow cutter for hacking at roots, a sharp flat side for shaping, and a rake. It’s exceptionally versatile and also weighty enough to move some serious dirt. The 70HR (79.95 USD) has a broad digging/chopping surface on one side and a rake on the other, and the 85H “Boss” hoe (76.95 USD) is one of the singlemost effective benching tools I have ever used. For lighter duty work or smaller people, these two tools are also available in smaller, lighter, configurations (the 55HR, 70H, 60H, and 55H). For the gardeners on the list, Rogue also makes some impressive, effective, and dangerously sharp garden tools. www.roguehoe.com

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Comments

Seb_Kemp
Seb_Kemp
2 months ago
+4 Mike Ferrentino Pete Roggeman Todd Hellinga Martin

Great call on the 70AR. If you can't carry multiple tools with you (due to distance or uncertainty of the jobs you'll find) the Travis is always the implement to choose. It's versatility for the west coast BC terrain is unmatched. I've replaced the handle now and in doing so gone for a shorter one to make it even better for carrying around on the bike. I've also replaced the pin with a bolt thru to make replacing future handles easier. That's one improvement I wish Rogue Hoe would make to their tools.

Reply

mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
2 months ago
+3 Pete Roggeman Martin zachf90@gmail.com

I'm pretty sure that the 70AR was inspired directly by the late, great Warlord Battle Axe - Kiwi Andrew Durno's side-gig while making Orc weapons for Peter Jackson a few years back, after getting badgered by Rod Bardsley back when Rod still did trail work... https://nsmb.com/articles/the-warlord-battle-axe-mk-ii/

Reply

velocipedestrian
Velocipedestrian
2 months ago
+2 Mike Ferrentino Pete Roggeman

Poke that bear! Rod is much too cool for trail work these days.

Reply

hongeorge
hongeorge
2 months ago
+3 Hbar Pete Roggeman Skooks

On headphones, I picked up a black Friday deal on a set of Shokz OpenRun headphones, and been really impressed. They don't block your ears, so you can still hear cars and be aware of what's around you, but you get music/podcasts/phonecalls all the same. More like having the stereo on in the car than a regular set of headphones. Zero hassles with helmets, they are really secure. And a neat magnetic charge cable.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
2 months ago
0

I did have a set of those years ago. They did work pretty well, although I found the volume was never high enough if there was any external noise. Agree that they made it easy to hear what was going on around you, though, and less of an issue with fit/comfort for people with different sizes of ears.

Reply

hankthespacecowboy
hankthespacecowboy
2 months ago
+3 Mike Ferrentino Pete Roggeman Skooks

The Rogue Hoe 115 FR is one of my favorite tools in their line-up. Far more effective than either McLoeds or regular rakes in the loose, rocky soil that makes up much of our conditions in the high desert / Central Rockies. Sharpen the outside edge of tines, and you have a excellent root chopping / light benching tool as well. Rogue Hoe are my favorite tools by far, but in 7+ years of ordering from them, they have never managed to get anything out to me in anything less than a 2-3 month lead time.

Reply

mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
2 months ago
+1 Martin

That's interesting to hear on the shipping angle. My experience has been just the opposite: I've ordered from them four times, the ranchmate has ordered about as many, and aside from one order getting lost in shipping everything has usually arrived within a week or two. And, yeah, the 115HR puts other rakes (and plenty of McLeods) to shame.

Reply

Hawkinsdad
Hawkinsdad
2 months ago
+2 Mike Ferrentino Pete Roggeman

I got me a Rogue 70HR after waiting for many months. $189 CAD with duty and taxes. It works great but dang that was pricey. Guess my tool addiction is evident, despite the consequences.

Reply

mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
2 months ago
+1 Martin

Good lord, that is some brutal markup. I am used to paying around $100USD for any sort of decent McLeod, so Rogue tools seem almost reasonable by comparison. That is to say, spending $50-70USD for a hardware store McLeod is usually just a short lived exercise in shit-quality misery. But even with the exchange rate doing what it does, I might balk at $189 for a 70HR.

Reply

Hawkinsdad
Hawkinsdad
2 months ago
+4 Mike Ferrentino Pete Roggeman Martin PowellRiviera

I used it every trail day this year so it's been a good investment. And certainly cheaper than divorce.

Reply

FlipFantasia
Todd Hellinga
2 months ago
+2 Mike Ferrentino Martin

I'm a fan of the 55HR, pairs nicely along with a pick/scooped mattock combo for most of the trail work I do...got mine at the front end of covid from canadian supplier so it wasn't too unreasonable pricewise

Reply

martin
Martin
2 months ago
0

@Hawkinsdad Next time hit up Sentiers Boreals in Québec, it will probably end up much cheaper!

Edit: their tool site seems in maintenance for now, but the 80RH was 76$cdn when I checked last May.

Reply

martin
Martin
2 months ago
+1 Mike Ferrentino

When I used to build trails for a living, we mainly used the 70H (amongst McLeods, pulaskis, rakes and excavators!), and after I stopped doing that (my back couldn't do it anymore), I bought myself a 70H. Perfect for bench cuts, and just the right size for everything. I once basically built a whole trail with only that, a rake and some snips.

Reply

oldmanbike
OldManBike
2 months ago
0

On battery chainsaws, I've flogged a 16" greenworks 40v without mercy for years now and it's still going strong. I've been pretty amazed with it. But just it's big/heavy enough to discourage me from riding with it, even with a Dakine builder pack. I wouldn't be surprised at all if a new brushless 12" 2x20v like that Dewalt was 95% as capable yet 300% as convenient.

Reply

Kelownakona
Kelownakona
2 months ago
0

Not saying you don't have good reason for clearing deadfall but this makes a good read for people who may not be aware anyway:

https://www.ontarioparks.com/parksblog/dead-trees/

Reply

oldmanbike
OldManBike
2 months ago
0

I have a hunch that most people here are clearing trail blockages, not removing fallen trees from the woods.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
2 months ago
+1 Dan

In this case I'm talking about clearing deadfall that's blocking a trail, but yes that's a good article for those that aren't aware.

Reply

Dogl0rd
Dogl0rd
2 months ago
0

Just sign up for Pinkbike's raffles and you won't need to buy anything

Reply

KawaBunghole
KawaBunghole
2 months ago
0

I have the DeWALT 12"... great little saw. Couple things I've learned:

- One workaround for the leaking bar oil issue is to store the saw on its side with the filler cap facing up. Some owners have claimed success with adding an o-ring to the cap, but I don't know what size to use or if this is effective.

- I looked into sharpening the factory chain once it got dull, but found that it requires a slightly uncommon file size (4.5mm). Also, the kerf is unusually thin (0.43"). Thankfully, the bar is easily and economically replaceable with one made by Oregon. You can fit a much more standard 0.50" kerf chain on a new bar, and even increase the bar length to 14" or 16" if you want. And those wider chains can be sharpened with a much more common 5/32" file.

Reply

mikeferrentino
Mike Ferrentino
2 months ago
0

Ahhh, the thin kerf blues! My cordless circular saw suffers this as well - thin blade that gets all wambly when it heats up on long rips. I suspect the thin chains are an attempt to maximize battery life, and that going wider will lead to fewer cuts per charge. Semi-related, I've used four different brand electric chainsaws now that rely on those thumbwheel thingies to set chain tension, and every one of them has thrown the chain at some point or another. My solution was to switch to a cordless sawzall with a real long pruning blade.

Reply

hankthespacecowboy
hankthespacecowboy
2 months ago
+1 Mike Ferrentino

On the thin kerf / battery saw blues : I recently purchased a Stihl MSA 120 after trying a fellow trailbuilder’s 140. It’s become my favorite saw for clearing corridor in high desert pinyon & juniper. It uses a more standard size chain & bar, and I am about half a dozen battery re-charges in on the stock chain without any re-sharpening love. On cuts longer than 6”, it now states to demonstrate some drift. Remembering to check the oil has been the biggest challenge, as the battery generally out last the oil capacity. In the spirit of min-maxing, I went for the cheapest, lightest saw, and spurlged on extra, larger capacity batteries, which had really played to the saw’s strength. No, you are not going to fell trees, or buck up firewood, but not having to carry gas, and having a noticeably lighter saw package has made it my go-to choice in the high desert.

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