Best Gifts to Give in 2011: The Right Gift Card

    Say your husband wants a bow for the holidays and you think “oh that’s fine and dandy, I know exactly what he wants,” but but then you go into the store and the selection of bows is daunting. There are recurves, long bows, crossbows, compounds… what the heck? And what about all the additional features? Stabilizers? Anchors? Sight-aids? At this point, I advise you to slyly step to the front counter and casually pick up a gift card as if that’s what you were there for all along. Give your husband the joy of exercising his expertise in picking out his own bow, and save the frustrating “return” lines after the holidays for someone else.

    There are numerous outdoors stores out there, but only a some will have exactly what you’re looking for. Here are some stores I wouldn’t mind getting a gift card from.

    The Dedicated Outdoors-person
    As an avid camper and wannabe backcountry-backpacker (I’ve got the front-country down pat), I could have a ball with an REI gift card. This gift card would be ideal for someone who is a serious mountain climber, hiker or camper and is looking for quality and specialty items. All the necessary equipment for camping/hiking/climbing, water sports, fitness and snow sports can be found there. Not to mention all those smaller and also necessary accessories to each activity. Be warned, though – you won’t find much hunting gear here.

    Some Serious Recreation
    Gander Mountain has the warm clothing you’re looking for on a hunting/fishing expedition or just for a camping/hiking trip. You can pick up a trampoline here – if you haven’t forgotten about that fun backyard pastime. My father used to pick up his snorkeling gear here while I managed to find an imitation Daniel Boone coonskin hat for children. For serious hunters, Gander Mountain supplies bows of all types, firearms and even air- and paintball guns for play.

    Bagging the Bigger Buck
    Just like Gander Mountain, you can find hunting, fishing, boating, camping and shooting supplies at Cabela’s. The upside is that you may find a bigger selection of each at this outdoors giant store. There you’ll also find the items you need for your outdoors hobby like star gazing, bird watching, wine and beer making, and also everything for your home and cabin. I’ve been hearing lots about Cabela’s lately, even a hunting video game they recently produced that makes the store worthwhile to check out.

    Shooter’s Paradise
    I’m fairly sure there isn’t a single modern gun or accessory that you can’t buy at MidwayUSA. If the person on your list is knowledgeable about guns (or would like to be more knowledgeable) and is a serious collector who likes to work on and constantly admire his guns, talk about them, show them to everybody, I’m sure he’s been to MidwayUSA once or twice before and would always be happy to come back.

    For the Southern Athlete
    Down south, from Texas to Missouri to Florida, southerners have a pretty good pick of sports material and equipment that would make a New Yorker jealous. An Academy Sports and Outdoors gift card could get you a lot of the hunting and fishing equipment mentioned above, but what is unique about the store is the selection of team sport necessities such as balls, bats, rackets, clubs and all the apparel that goes along with the sport.

    Planning your next Camping trip? Start your search at

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