This August the editor of Alaska Magazine, looking for someone with Stone Age tendencies to test outdoor products and write a gear review column, asked me if I wanted the job. I grunted yes and embarked on a journey into the world of outdoor product testing.
Besides a tragic incident involving a men’s outdoor grooming kit (I don’t recommend waxing in the wilderness), it’s mostly been rewarding and fun. My only issue is I’ve been sent a lot of great products by unique companies that don’t fit in my column.
So, in the spirit of second chances, I compiled my top five choices from stuff I’ve had to cut. If you’ve put off Christmas shopping until the last minute, any of the following products would make great gifts.
Trapper Buck’s Lucky Animal Parts
Do you remember the joy you felt as child when you were given a hacked off bunny’s foot as a good luck charm? Well, Trapper Buck has come out with a line of exotic animal parts for any occasion when you could use a little boost in your karma.
Nervous about a job interview? I recommend wearing Buck’s dried beaver tail, complete with castor glands attached, around your neck.
Or, maybe you’re going on a date with someone you really don’t want to screw it up with? Trust me, wearing one of Buck’s shrunken dried bear heads will put your date at ease and act as a great conversation piece.
‘Anxious about trying to network at a suit and tie event? Buck’s frozen sea lion liver charm will assure your place in high society.
Prices vary, but will trade for dynamite; trapperbuck.com
Sexy Beast Ware
Have you ever wanted to bring sexy back to wilderness wanders? Or needed to move like a cheetah but felt too self conscious to do so? I know I have.
Sexy Beast has created a line of hot, fun and practical outdoor ware for those occasions when your Grundens and Sitka Gear aren’t making you look fantastic enough. For her, try the pink camouflage and moisture wicking mini-skirt with “You Betcha’!” written with rhinestones on the back. For him, hands down, it’s the tiger stripe tights that roar as a reminder that you can wear spandex and still be a man.
Ted’s Amazing Sticks
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been on a magical outing in the woods only to have it ruined when I couldn’t find the right walking stick. Then, there were all the camping trips that turned into disasters because I couldn’t find the right stick for a fire or for roasting marshmallows. Thankfully Ted’s Amazing Sticks has the perfect stick for any “stick-mergency” you might find yourself in. Ted was quoted as saying “Long as I right ‘member, I been collecting these sticks. My mama used to throw a fit cause there was no room in the house with all my sticks. She said, ‘Ted, I’m going to have to buy another house cause all your sticks.’ Now she’s right proud.”
Each of Ted’s sticks are ergonomic, water resistant and custom picked for your specific needs. Many may be antiques!
Prices vary, or will trade for other sticks; tedsamazingsticks.com
Grizz Bath and Body Products
Tired of all the metro fragrance and lotion lines modeled by nearly naked stick women? Grizz Bath and Body offers the chance to get in touch with your wild femininity and run with the wolves; literally, if you use some of Grizz’s fragrances.
The company’s founder, Jess “Grizz” Adams may be most famous for challenging Giorgio Armani to a death-match, but her philosophy of a woman using her unwashed body as a base and working with organic ingredients from there is proving revolutionary.
Some of her lotions and perfumes make me nostalgic for the trapline and field dressing a rutting caribou. My favorite is Spruce With A Hint of Wolverine Anal Gland Face Moisturizer. I know I will make my gal MC’s Christmas when she receives a Grizz’s Bath and Body Gift Basket.
$300.00, or will trade for a live wolverine; grizzbathandbody.com
Crystal Farm’s Psychic Loons
Farming for crystals didn’t quite work out for the Farm, but their flock of clairvoyant loons has taken the psychic bird market by storm. For a while I was inseparable from the loon the Farm sent me. His name was Simon. He was so wise; he made me call him “Father” and relieved me of all my earthly burdens like my money, home and car. He also taught me not to communicate with my family or anyone who would not call him Master. Simon could be really funny and loved to laugh but he also had an incredible amount of depth. Tragically, MC mistook him for a duck and we’re going to eat him for Christmas dinner.
All your possessions and your soul, plus tax;THECRYSTALFARM.com
• Bjorn Dihle is a Juneau writer. Check out the preview of his first book, “Haunted Inside Passage,” and follow him at www.facebook.com/BjornDihleauthor.