I know I am not an easy person to get gifts for. That’s because if I need or want something, I usually work towards getting it for myself since I’m not good at waiting. I also like things that last, but I am a bit of a miser. That means that well-made tools or toys can be purchased used if not abused, and I usually am the best judge of if a used item’s condition is okay. If you are looking to get me a gift, though, know that I like the outdoors, I like food, I like beer, I like doing things myself, I like Jeeps and off-roading, and I don’t do well if I don’t have something to fiddle with. Whether it is my pathetic beginner acoustic guitar skills, my love of barbecued animals, or my interest in remote control cars, I gotta have something in my hands, even if I am watching TV. I also like music of all sorts, and when I’m spinning wrenches, I need tunes. I chalk it up to my short attention span. Oh look, a squirrel.
What: Dremel 3000 Rotary Kit (PN 3000-2-28): $75
Why: If you don’t have one, get one. I have been using a Dremel 3000 Rotary Kit to build or repair various things for over 20 years. You can use them to grind out cracks in your Jeep’s frame for welding, shape holes in fiberglass, wood, or steel, and even trim bathroom tiles. And the small body can get into spaces where a 41⁄2-inch angle grinder or a pneumatic cut-off wheel can’t.
What: Axial Wraith (PN AX90018): $375 with Pro-Line Racing Jeep Body(PN PRO338000): $31
Why: I’ve been playing with hobby-grade remote controlled crawlers since before it was cool, and you had to custom build your crawler. Check out the Axial Wraith wrapped with a JK buggy body from Pro-Line Racing. If you are new to RCs, go for the Axial Wraith RTR, add a battery, and go. If you are already an RC enthusiast, get the Axial Wraith Kit (PN AX90020) for $311. These things are almost as fun as their full size counterparts, but much less expensive…although you can spend a mint on the little ones, too.
Where: RPP Hobby
What: Coleman Perfect Flow Insta Start Grill Stove (PN 2000003733): $99
Why: Camping and Coleman stoves have gone together since long before I first spent a night in a tent. You can pick up a Coleman PerfectFlow InstaStart Grill Stove, screw on a little bottle of propane, and get to cooking burgers on the grill and heating up a can of beans on the burner a few minutes after rolling into camp. For breakfast add the optional Griddle (PN 2000007844) for $35 and you are ready for pancakes.
What: Bose Sound Dock: $199
Why: Whether you be down with the wrapper music, Led Zeppelin, or some good ol’ country, music helps time pass more enjoyably…especially when busting knuckles and spinning wrenches under a Jeep. We dig the Bose Sound Dock. This gizmo charges our phone, sounds great, and is easy to use. It also has a little remote control so we can turn it up even from the other side of the garage.
What: Harbor Freight Mini Mill (PN 44991): $599
Why: For the Jeep guy who has everything. I’ll bet he does not have a mill. Sure, you could scour Craigslist for a used vertical mill, but hey, it’s gonna be used and who knows if or how it works. A Central Machinery Mini Mill from Harbor Freight can be used to machine aluminum, brass, plastic, maybe even tackle some steel milling projects. Think of all the useless little gizmos you could make.
Where: Harbor Freight Tools
What: Yamaha Guitarlele (GL1): $99
Why: Editor Hazel recently introduced me to the idea of a guitarlele. It’s a little tiny six-string mixture of a guitar and a ukulele (ukuleles have four strings). Okay, it sounds high-pitched, more like a ukulele, but if you can strum a few chords on a guitar you can play one of these mini guitars. I like the reputation for quality, price, and looks of the Yamaha GL1. Best part is that you can get a tiny guitar case and toss this guitarlele into the back of the Jeep and take it wheeling.
Where: Yamaha Musical Instruments
Cold Beer…Er, Soda
What: Engel MR040 AC/DC Fridge-Freezer (MR40): $849
Why: Nothing is worse after a dusty day on the trail than going to your cooler with hopes of a nice cold beer…er, soda only to find your provisions bobbing and floating in a tub of lukewarm cooler brine. Our Engel MR040 AC/DC Fridge-Freezer is awesome, but it was not cheap. Another great gift for the Jeeper who seemingly has everything…and who has friends with deep pockets.
DIY Beer Kit
What: Beer brewing starter kit: $85
Why: Brewing beer is fun, and you get to drink the results, Yay! Making beer is also a pretty cool way to learn about biology and chemistry. Meh who are we kidding, it really is just another excuse to drink beer. Whoohoo! I get all my gear from a local store called What Ale’s Ya! That’s a great name, and if you are local to Glendale, Peoria, or northern Phoenix they will also fill your Powertank or other CO2 tank.
Where: What Ale’s Ya
Old Reliable Hacksaw
What: Lenox 88300 Hacksaw (PN 12131-88300): $25
Why: Some of my friends make fun of me because I like using a hacksaw even though I have a chopsaw and plasma cutter. I can usually make a straight cut through tubing or plate steel (depending on size) before I can get the plasma all hooked up and turned on. Having a good hacksaw frame is important, and I love the ones made by Lenox 88300 Hacksaw. They feel great in the hand and are balanced and strong.
What: Weber Rapidfire Chimney Starter (PN 307416): $25
Why: Barbecue is a wonderful and beautiful thing, much like a Rolex watch or Jeep (you get the idea). It’s one of the finest ways to cook food, in my opinion. Connoisseurs of charred fauna and flora will scoff at (although probably still consume) barbecue cooked over gas. Charcoal pre-soaked in the bag with lighter fluid is only a step or two up from gas, edible, but not pristine. The real barbecue expert knows how to apply a little starter fluid just before the cooking ritual begins, or knows to ball-up some newspaper and use a chimney starter. That’s right, with the Weber Rapidfire Chimney Starter all you need is charcoal and a couple of pages out of the Obsolete Times to get your grill going strong.