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Santa Time!: Super Holiday Gift Guide

Posted in Product Reviews on February 1, 2011
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Photographers: Manufacturers

Why is it that every year around the middle of December we find ourselves in a mad tailspin trying to find a great gift for that hard-to-buy-for person? The holiday season is all about family, friends, fun, giving, and good times. It's not supposed to be about worrying that you're going to look like a blockhead for giving a thoughtless and useless gift.

Don't fret.

If you have another off-road enthusiast in your life, then we can help with some great gift ideas. Here is our annual staff wish list of Christmas goodies, the stuff we'd like to receive. Prices range from just under $100 to over $2,000.

Since we're constantly in touch with the off-road and outdoors industries, we're always running across cool and fancy new parts and gear. The first thing we usually think about is how nice it would be to get some of that loot for Christmas! So, maybe the off-roader in your life would appreciate the same loot we do!

Editor-in-Chief Rick Péwé
Ability to Freeze Time!
Price: Priceless
Perhaps there is no better gift than the ability to freeze time. We all wish we were stuck in a certain time warps and situations! Without question, this is one of those times.

Heavy-duty Welding Gloves
Price: $19.50
We always recommend protecting your hands with good-quality gloves while welding in sandals. Miller offers a heavy-duty welding glove at a great price. They come in very handy in the shop or out on the trail and make great stocking stuffers-or you can stuff the glove itself with Christmas goodies!

For more information, contact:
Miller Electric Mfg.

B-17 Bomber
Price: Who knows!
A B-17 Bomber is the top choice for a guy who has just everything. We really have no idea where to find the best price on a B-17, but we are sure they are out there. The bomber would be a great way for me to drop food and assignments to my traveling band of staffers when they're out on the trail.

Ratcheting Wrench Set
Price: $39.99
The Craftsman Universal Ratcheting Wrench combines a universal tooth design that grips six types of nuts and bolts, including 6-point, 12-point, partially rounded, external Torx, square and spline, and a ratcheting box end. The wrenches are a great addition to any trail toolbox or bag and are offered in both metric and SAE sizes.

For more information, contact:

Executive Editor Kevin McNulty
Cool Stuff!
Price: $770-$1,100
Cold food and beverages are always welcome no matter where you are. One of the newly designed ARB Fridge Freezers would be one heck of a Christmas gift. Three new sizes have been added to lineup: 37, 63, and 82 quarts. 82QT, the 82-quart model, holds 120 12-ounce cans and provides sufficient space to keep plenty of food and beverage for long-term camping. This big fridge also fits nicely in large four-wheel-drive wagons, pickups, and camper trailers.

For more information, contact:

Portable Tools
Price: $89-$119
Portable power tools are great for trail and road repairs. Porter Cable's new 12V Max Lithium cordless tools are durable, compact, lightweight, and perfect for any 4x4's toolbox. There are two tools to complete the most frequent light- to medium-duty work around your rig: the 3/8-inch Drill/Driver Kit (not shown) and the 1/4-inch Impact Driver Kit. All the 12V Max Lithium tools are compact, ideal for accessing tight spaces where larger tools can't go.

For more information, contact:
Delta/Porter Cable

4x4 Restoration
Price: $25 increments
Still don't know what to get that special 4x4 enthusiast? If that person is restoring or repairing a rig, then a gift certificate from Eastwood is a great idea. Eastwood sells everything restoration and cool tools. You can't go wrong with a gift certificate because your off-road and automotive enthusiast can buy whatever he likes. They're available in any denomination.

For more information, contact:

Waterproof Breathable Jacket
Price: $130
Staying dry and warm on the trail is easy with Carhartt's new shorter waterproof, breathable jacket. Like the longer version, it is made of durable nylon with a special water-repellent finish. The jacket's breathable membrane allows body heat to escape while keeping rain and other moisture out. The body lining is 100 percent polyester mesh, and the sleeves and hood are lined in nylon. The contoured three-piece hood features an adjustable draw cord and is removable. The hem is finished with an elastic draw cord to keep out wind and cold.

For more information, contact:

Technical Editor Fred Williams
Power of Giving
Price: $30
Setting up your shop or garage is always an organizational nightmare. Where do you put stuff and still have room to work and a way to get power to the tools? This simple 12-outlet power strip from Snap-on Tools solves the latter problem easily. Mount it to a wall, a work bench, or a ceiling rafter with drop cables. It is made of corrosion-resistant anodized aluminum and features a 15-amp circuit breaker and a 6-foot, 14-gauge, three-conductor contractor grade power cord. Plus it's available at Costco.

For more information, contact:
Snap-on Tools

Hauling Presents
Price: $1,500
If you use your pickup truck on the farm, this may not be the best option, but if you're looking to explore the outback of America and use your truck as a camping/exploring rig, then check out the Expedition One rear tire carrier for fullsize trucks. Currently offered for Tundras, this swing-out unit hauls a fullsize spare tire and four Expedition One jerry cans, and houses a rear winch mount, keeping vital equipment outside of your bed in the bed.

For more information, contact:
Expedition One

Roll-Proof Toy Box
Prices: $20, $115
Finding a safe place to mount your trail tools, gear, and spare parts can be a struggle. Swag Off Road's new Action Packer Baja Bin takes your basic Rubbermade Action Packer and surrounds it with a lockable aluminum skeleton. The bin can be attached to your buggy, Jeep, or pickup and keeps valuables from sliding around or bouncing out. It also has tie-downs for extra gear on top. The Action Packer is about $20, the aluminum Baja Bin about $115.

For more information, contact:
Swag Off Road

Holiday Hooves
Price: $375+ depending on size
Everyone needs new tires. Whether you're building a rockcrawler, a mud bogger, a dune jumper, or a daily driver that does all three, BFGoodrich Tires has a set to fill your big holiday stocking. Maybe Santa will send you new BFG Krawlers, now available in 42x14.50R20, but you better leave the garage door unlocked because they're not going to fit down the chimney.

For more information, contact:
BFGoodrich Tires

Web Editor Jason Gonderman
EZ-Down Tailgate Damper
Price: $69.99
Tired of straining over lowering your pickup's heavy tailgate? There is a solution! The EZ-Down Tailgate Damper is a simple and affordable upgrade that allows for the controlled hands-free lowering of your truck's tailgate. It installs in 15 minutes, and all of the tools are provided.

For more information, contact:
EZ Down

Amp Research Powerstep
Price: $1,115
How many times have you heard complaints from your wife, girlfriend, elderly parents, or short friends about not being able to get into your truck? While factory running boards and other steps are more suited to mini-van and street use, the PowerStep from AMP Research is built with the off-road truck in mind. The biggest flaw of a typical running board is it gets hung up on rocks and other objects very easily. The PowerStep fixes this by retracting safely to its confines underneath the body when not in use. There are PowerStep applications for everything from fullsize pickups to Jeep Wranglers.

For more information, contact:
AMP Research

Hobart Multi-Tool
Price: $24.99
Who can't use a good multi-tool these days? The good people at Hobart Welding Products have just released their newest creation, a 15-in-one tool. It has a stainless steel body, is spring-loaded for easy use, has an LED light built in, and even includes a nylon pouch for storage. This new multi-tool has all the gadgets required to saw, cut, screw, and pry on just about anything.

For more information, contact:
Hobart Welders

Craftsman C3 Combo Kit
Price: $249
The Craftsman C3 Combo kit includes a cordless impact wrench and a cordless drill. The impact wrench is a 1/2-inch drive and produces up to 200 lb-ft of torque, perfect for changing tires or loosening stubborn bolts. The compact cordless drill included in the kit has a 1/2-inch keyless chuck, a two-speed gearbox, and a 24-position adjustable torque clutch. Both are powered by the same 19.2V lithium-ion battery pack, making them convenient to use in the shop or to carry with you on the trail. Both also come with an LED work light for nighttime wrenching.

For more information, contact:
Sears stores

Art Director Alan Huber
YJ Xmas
Price: $800-$3,000
A running, yet really cheap, Wrangler YJ. People with more luck than I have can find one for a thousand bucks or less, but let's use the more normal (less lucky) price of around a couple grand. I'd like a 4.0L six-cylinder, but since beggars can't be choosers, a four-banger will work (with a five-speed manual transmission, please).

Price: $79-$89
Four or five tires from Treadwright Tires make a great gift. Treadwright has inexpensive retreaded tires that are tailor-made to fit my on-the-cheap Jeep YJ. A set of 31x10.50-15 all-terrain Wardens would be great. If I've been a really good boy, maybe Santa will upgrade them and bring the mud-treaded Crawler or Guard Dog, and throw in some white, eight-spoke wheels too. Hey, they only run about $40 each at Summit.

For more information, contact:
Summit Racing Equipment

Treadwright Tires

Economical Suspension
Price: $152-$473
That size tire might need a bit of a lift on my el cheapo YJ, so what can we get out of Santa? Body lifts can be had for next-to-nothing, and a spring-over kit is not too expensive, but then we'd also need some welding, probably a slip-yoke eliminator kit, and a new driveshaft. Let's just keep it short and smart with a 2-inch E-Z Ride lift from Tuff Country. Ooh, and please include some new shocks!

For more information, contact:
Suspension Connection

Tuff Country Inc.

Lock-Right Locker
Price: $290
Even if I wasn't good enough this past year to get the lift or the tires and wheels, I'm sure my behavior was at least acceptable. And "acceptable" should earn me a Lock-Right locker from Powertrax for the YJ's rear axle. I know everyone will be worried that I'll break an axleshaft in the C-clipped Dana 35, yet we've had no such problems in a V-8 Grand Cherokee with 33-inch tires. Cool, if I get all I've asked for, I could build an entire YJ trail vehicle for Xmas! Info: Powertrax, 864.843.9231,

Feature Editor Ali Mansour
Trail Treats
Price: $6.99
If you're looking for an easy-to-carry and filling snack for the trail, check out Off Road Jerky, an affordable and delicious way to stay full off-road that requires no special cooling or prep. The premium cuts of beef come seasoned in resealable bags that fit perfect into your rig's seatback pocket or glovebox. One of my personal favorites is the sweet and juicy Whisky BBQ flavor, but there are half a dozen other mouthwatering varieties to choose from as well. So stay full on the trail and load up your stockings with some jerky goodness! Info: Off Road Jerky, 909.319.0619,

Air Pull
Price: $1,599
Wheeling tough trails usually requires at least one winch. And while most off-roaders don't use their winch every time they hit the dirt, many do need an air source to pump up their tires at the end of the day. Since carrying around an air compressor can be a real pain, especially when cargo room is limited, Warn has devised the PowerPlant HP. Created for the ultimate outdoorsman, the PowerPlant HP combines Warn's legendary winch technology with a high-end air compressor. With the winch rated a 9,500 pounds and the compressor capable of airing up four 35-inch-tall tires from 8 to 35 psi in under eight minutes, the PowerPlant HP gives you everything you need without taking up cargo space.

Warn Ind.

Road Armor
Price: $1,196
Since most of us use our 3/4- and 1-ton trucks as parts haulers and tow mules, they often receive some tough bumps and bruises. These battle scares are usually most prevalent on the bumpers, especially the rear one. For those looking to upgrade their pickup's light-duty factory rear bumper, Road Armor offers a beefy 3/16-inch bolt-in replacement. Designed for abuse, each heavy-duty Road Armor rear bumper is equipped with shackle mounts and auxiliary lighting ports and is fitted with provisions for a 9,000-pound winch. The hideaway winch mount is our favorite feature, as it will aid tremendously with dragging our dead wheeling rigs and lucky barn finds up onto the deck of the trailer. Backed by a lifetime guarantee against breakage, the Road Armor bumper should take all the abuse we send.

For more information, contact:
Road Armor

Stinger Bumps
Price: $109.99 each
Bumpstops are one of the most important tools for tuning your suspension. Acting as a secondary shock absorber, they help soften those final few inches of your suspension's compression cycle. For years Daystar has offered factory-replacement and upgraded bumpstops, and now Daystar has gone even further into the secondary suspension realm with its Stinger line. The Stinger bumpstop combines EVS foam technology with an air-bump-inspired design. Each Stinger bumpstop is adjustable in rate, height, and stroke and doesn't require and special tools or air charge. The Stinger bumpstop is a great tool for those working on a budget who need a compact and quality bumpstop. Weld-on and bolt-on canister mounts are sold separately.

For more information, contact:

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