Gift shopping is one of my least favorite activities. Whether it’s Christmas, a birthday, or Mother’s Day, year after year, I struggle to figure out what to get someone who seems to have everything already. I’m sure there are countless others that share my pain.
Thankfully, this year I got a head start—and if you’re struggling for gift ideas, I’ve got you covered. Listed below are a few items with a hunting or fishing theme you might consider this Mother’s Day. While the products run the gamut from inexpensive to a “let’s all pitch in on this” price point, there is likely a gift here that mom will appreciate, and use repeatedly in the years to come.
The last few years, Sitka has done a terrific job of designing and constructing a lineup of women’s hunting gear that performs as well as it looks. They’re continuing that trend in 2019 with the new Women’s Mountain Jacket—a lightweight, windproof, water-resistant outer layer equally suited for hunting elk in the Rockies, or waiting out a Midwestern whitetail in a tree stand. The jacket’s two-way stretch polyester shell is lightweight and breathable, it has two zippered hand pockets and a zippered chest pocket, and a Windstopper membrane that keeps the breeze off your skin while still allowing perspiration to escape.
For years my grandmother carried around a loaded .38 pistol in her purse, and with no pocket or secret space to conceal it, the gun bounced around next to her wallet, lipsticks, and Tic Tacs. Thankfully, Cameleon devised a better option; they saw a demand for stylish, well-made, concealed carry handbags and have created several lineups that pair function with style. The Cora is one of their most popular handbags both because of how it looks, and the fact that there’s a discrete concealed carry pocket for both right- and left-hand access. Available in three color options, the bags are made from vegan leather, have gold-finished accents, and include a shoulder strap in case your mom wants to keep both hands free.
While Buff is already well known for their uniquely-designed sleeves, this past year they unveiled their UV+ lineup, which includes colors and patterns printed on fabric with UPF 50+ sun protection. In fact, Buff’s new material is so effective, it’s one of the few approved and recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation. Like so many Buff products, these headbands are seamless and have a 4-way stretch so you can use them to cover your forehead, neck, chin, nose, and cheeks, or nearly anywhere else you need sun protection.
Unlike so many waders available today, Redington binds the seams of its Sonic Pro models using a sound-welding process instead of the traditional stitching and seam tape. The result is a tough marriage of material that almost never fails. In addition to the welding process, the company’s women’s Sonic Pro waders are made from a 4-layer waterproof but breathable fabric, stretchable side panels for added comfort, and a fit that’s tapered specifically for a woman’s body. There are two fleece-lined hand warmer pockets up front, a zippered flip out chest pocket, and a 4mm neoprene boot sole for increased durability against punctures.
My wife has a pair of sandals she keeps clean and dry for everyday use, and a rugged looking pair she straps on when we’re wet wading a river or playing on the beach with our boys—and the idea of wearing the nice pair in water, or the water pair around town, is simply inconceivable. That’s why this year she’s receiving a pair of Chaco’s Odyssey sandals from yours truly. The upper is made from a breathable mesh that allows it to function like a sandal, but it’s built to look and feel like an everyday hiking shoe, replete with closed-toe protection. What’s more, the straps and overlays are made from a synthetic material that doesn’t deteriorate, and the inside is coated with an antimicrobial application to control unwanted odor. Translation: She can wear these on the beach or in the river, rinse them off with a garden hose, and slip them back on before going out for dinner.
If you’re trying to find a simple, inexpensive, yet thoughtful gift, Columbia’s Super Bahama Long Sleeve shirts could be exactly what you’re looking for. They’re lightweight, have a UPF rating of 30, are vented for comfort and quick drying, and come in numerous color patterns equally suited for a day on the water or an evening out and about. There are four pockets to store small items or fishing tools, tabs to secure rolled up sleeves, and even a small rod-holder tab if you need both hands to make line repairs. It might go without saying, but these shirts have been some of Columbia’s most popular for a few years now because they’re well made, fit great, and always seem to be in style.
Decibullz—the same company that creates the groundbreaking, custom molded earplugs for shooters—has applied the same concept to in-ear headphones. Not only do their Custom Molded Contour ES headphones provide terrific sound quality, they are amazingly comfortable because you custom-shape the molds to fit your ear. Simply pop the molds off, drop them in hot water until they soften, snap them back onto the headphones, and seat them in their ear. The soft plastic will take the shape of your ear and cool in less than five minutes. If you don’t feel like you got a good fit, simply repeat the process.
For years I’ve kept a spare blanket in my vehicle, just in case the weather turns sour or the wife wants to recline in the front seat and take a nap. I’m actually surprised how often we use it. However, I’m not a fan of the space it takes up, and it’s not my favorite thing to carry if we’re hiking around somewhere. That’s why I’m a fan of the Matador Pocket Blanket—you can keep one in your glove box, in a center console, in a backpack, or even your coat pocket and almost forget it’s there. Unfolded, the blanket is 44×28-inches, but only 3x2x1 inches compressed. The pouch has an integrated loop in case you want to attach it to a carabiner, and the blanket material is puncture resistant with a water repellent backside.
If your mom (or wife) is looking for something she can wear while fishing, or out on the town, the Under Armour (UA) Fish Hunter shorts are an excellent option. Available with either a 4- or 7-inch inseam, the shorts have two hand pockets in the front, and two snap pockets in the back. The material is UA’s charged cotton, which is a 4-way stretch polyester for better mobility that dries amazingly fast. The other nice thing about these shorts is the fit is designed so it doesn’t squeeze—they aren’t skin tight like some of UA’s athletic products.
In my experience, women are better fly anglers than men. There, I said it. Time and again, I see women out-fish their husbands because they’re more patient, less egotistical, and more deliberate and graceful with their motions. Thankfully, more and more women are interested in getting involved with the sport, and there’s no better way to help them with that than to get them a starter rod and reel of their own. The Orvis Clearwater sets have been around for a long time because the company continues to improve the construction and quality of all its parts. Moreover, it’s covered by a great guarantee should an accident happen.
Springtime is mushroom time. Foragers take to the woods and look for those seasonal, little treasures like morels. If your mom or wife happen to be one of those people scouring the forest floor, then they might appreciate the Opinel Mushroom Knife. Made in France, this curved, 3.35-inch long, stainless steel blade is great for collecting a variety of mushrooms. It features a varnished beechwood handle with a boar bristle brush on the end of it for cleaning dirt or debris from treats like chanterelles or hen of the woods mushrooms.
The only thing worse than dealing with mosquitoes is dealing with all the harmful chemicals and sprays that are supposed to keep them away. Thankfully, there’s a safer alternative—the Thermacell Portable Mosquito Repeller. When activated, a small butane flame heats an insert that releases a pleasant, natural odor biting bugs don’t care for. I admit I was hesitant to try a Thermacell when it first hit retailer’s shelves, but these things really work. I’ve tried them on my front porch and in the woods while hunting bears, and a few moments after starting it up, the bugs disappear, and they don’t come back. It’s like you’re creating a protective, bug-free bubble. What mom wouldn’t like that?