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Rick Windham’s 2018 Christmas Wish List

December 15, 2018 GMT

It’s time for my annual Christmas Wish List. Wow…I’ve been doing this for 20 years. Amazing! Time does fly. This annual column has become quite popular and I have had people asking me as far back as August if I was going to do it again. It’s also unique because it is the only column of the year where I provide the same information for all the publications I work with. I feel that everyone who reads my columns should benefit from this information.

As in the past, this is a list of items that I have had the opportunity to field test over the last year or so. Each item has survived the abuse of my hunting or fishing trips. Bearing in mind that my father, the Ol’ Marine, used to say, “Boy, you could tear the horns off a goat if we gave you one,” the very fact that any product can make it through more than a few of trips with me says something. If a product can survive a few months with me in the field, most people can get years of service out of it!


Most importantly, before I recommend that you spend any of your hard-earned money on a product, I want to make sure it works the way it is supposed to and that it can endure the rigors of the outdoors. There is no order or ranking as to how these items are placed in this list. It is simply the way I put it down on paper.

I’m trying something different this year. I will list the items by the store/location I found them. Maybe this can simplify shopping for you. Here goes…

I always seem to need a small bag to segregate and carry stuff in when I’m in the field. Menards had some zippered tool PerforMax bags. They measure roughly 6-inches by 8-inches and come in quite handy. Cost - $1.

Still at Menards is a handy knife sharpener I found, made by Guidesman. The unit has a round base and measures about 2.5-inches wide and 2.5-inches tall. One of the features I like best about this sharpener is that it has a suction cup that allows you to attach it to any smooth solid surface. I keep it in a drawer in the kitchen, pull it out and suck it down to the countertop to tune up the edge of my knives. Cost - $4.

Menards also has a small flashlight designed for the angler on your list. It is called the Litezall and it looks like a large fishing lure. Along with a 100 lumen light, it has a line cutter, a bottle opener and a clip/hook at the end to make it easy to attach to your belt loop or hang anywhere in your boat. This is a great addition to any tackle box. Cost - $10.

Menards also has a Camillus knife set that includes a 6.5-inck knife, a keychain with 4-feet of paracord, a signal whistle, fire starter and a compass. It is a nice basic kit for outdoor enthusiasts. Cost - $10


Last item from Menards is the Elements 2-In-1 Hand Warmer. Charge this unit up and get about six hours of heat from it or use it as a power pack for electronic gadgets via a USB port. This would be a great gift for anyone who works or plays outdoors in cold weather. Cost - $17.

The last item at Orscheln’s is a cotton swab cleaning assortment. There are 325 various size swabs for all manner of general cleaning for fishing reels or guns, and swabs that will fit .22 to 20 gauge bores. Cost is $6.

Another cool item I picked up at Orscheln is called the tent bulb. It is shaped like a light bulb, but it is a AA battery (included) LED with four light intensity setting, 40 lumen max. A small carabiner is attached so you can hang it up inside your tent, deer or duck blind. Cost - $7.

Orscheln’s carries the Pro-4 Tactical Survival Knife set. It is a solid steel, one-piece knife with six feet of paracord, a flint fire starter, sharpening stone and nylon sheath. This is another handy tool for carrying with you any time you are in the field. Cost - $10.

If you spend any amount of time in the outdoors, you will need a knife. I found a very utilitarian knife at Walmart that has glow-in-the-dark accents in the handle. That can be a handy feature out in the timber at night! It is called the Glo-Knife and has a single 3.5-inch lock-blade and a decent size handle to hang on to. Cost - $8.

This last item is an Internet item, but one that would be a big hit for anyone who owns a Ruger Mark I, Mark II or Mark III pistol. If you have ever disassembled this pistol for a thorough cleaning, you have discovered an extremely frustrating aspect of the design and putting it back together. There is one component in the pistol, the hammer strut, which seems almost impossible to get back into place. Well, a retired aerospace engineer and Ruger Mark III pistol owner, who spent eight hours trying to get his gun back together, designed a support piece that installs in most Ruger pistol frames and eliminates the problem. It is ingenious. It takes longer to make sure you pistol is unloaded and remove the hand grip to get to the frame than it does to install the fix! Why this component wasn’t created 40-50 years ago, I have no idea, but I’m glad its here now! You can order this “miracle part” via the Internet from HSS Corporation at HammerStrutSupport.com. Cost - $15.

That is it for my 2018 Christmas Wish List. I hope this helped you with a gift idea for an outdoor enthusiast on your list. Merry Christmas everyone and have a great time outdoors!