10 Great Last-minute Christmas Suggestions

Whether your preferred mode is motorcycle, truck, bicycle, or foot, Overland Tech & Travel editor Jonathan Hanson offers up great last-minute gift suggestions for the overlanders on your list—or a treat for yourself. 

Fenix E11 LED microlight ($27)

I remember when I thought a halogen flashlight that produced 70 lumens from two expensive lithium batteries (for one hour) was hot stuff. The E11 puts out 105 lumens for almost two hours from a single AA battery—or a walking/reading-level 32 lumens for eight hours on low. Astonishing. Headed to the developing world? Take several—they make genuinely useful trade items or gifts. Fenix

Hasyun merino wool underwear (from $43)

I just tried out this very affordable base layer system in 5º Fahrenheit blizzard conditions on a strenuous elk hunt. Verdict: Scrumptious. Wait, I didn’t mean to write that. What I meant was, “Excellent.” Hasyun underwear—made in Turkey since 1952—uses Woolmark accredited extra-fine merino wool from New Zealand. It’s sensuously soft and warm for its weight, machine-washable, and won’t retain odors like that nasty polyester stuff. The small/medium size in both top and bottom fit my 150-pound, 5’9” frame perfectly. Available in both men’s and women’s, imported by a little company that also sells, um, kid’s bicycles. Go figure. Hasyun

MSR Titan titanium pot ($60)

Pot, kettle, bowl, mug, scoop—MSR’s brilliant 4.2-ounce Titan pot does it all. It’s the only cook kit you need for a solo motorcycle tour, or a compact coffee-making system for your 4x4. An MSR Pocket Rocket stove and fuel canister ride neatly inside. I’d like to have one of these stashed in every vehicle we own. It should be the official MoMA ultralight cooking pot. Simply perfect.MSR Titan


Vintage pocket compass ($60-$140)

You can employ a vintage pocket compass two ways. Produce it with a flourish from a vest pocket, leashed on a leather cord or—better—a silver chain, and flip open the lid to consult it as Selous might have on his way to the Rufiji River. Or, glance at it surreptitiously, then point to the horizon and say sagely, “That should be north.” Either way your companions will be impressed. I carry my WWII-era Wittnauer version everywhere—it’s especially handy for remaining oriented south of the Equator, where the sun always seems to be in the wrong place. This young woman (Kornelia Takacs, who also wrote the book Compass Chronicles), has a wonderful selection: Vintage compasses

Helle Temagami ($170)

Everyone should own at least one really good sheath knife—and if it happens to be beautiful as well, all the better. The Temagami (say teh-mah-gah-mee) from Norway is both. A hand-filling, oiled curly birch handle surrounds a superb laminated steel blade—two resilient 18-8 stainless outer layers sandwiching a high-carbon cutting edge. Like all Helle knives, the Temagami comes razor sharp, in a leather sheath that works equally well for right- or left-handers. I’ve included two suppliers: Feathered Friends, who also make some of the best down sleeping bags in the world, and the delightful Ragweed Forge, which you should visit anyway. Feathered Friends   Ragweed Forge

Overland Expo 2012 Gift Certificate ($265)

Okay, it’s our own event, but after all, think of what you get: Three days of classes & programs (over 80 to choose from); driving instruction from Camel Trophy team members in your own vehicle or a new Land Rover; an all-new Camel Trophy Overland Skills Area where you might, say, learn how to build a bridge to get your 110 across a washed-out ravine; motorcycle instruction from RawHyde Adventures, the official BMW training partner; over 120 vendors & exhibitors of high-quality overlanding products & services; the Adventure Travel Film Festival; happy hours; and a barbecue to wrap it all up. We’ll do up a custom e-Card or printed card. Find out why people come again and again. Overland Expo 


Cerberus (from $499)

The era of one-way “I’m okay” or “Help!” global messaging is over. The Cerberus device twins with your smartphone to allow two-way text messaging from anywhere on earth. If a cell network is not available, Cerberus automatically switches to the Iridium satellite network. You can send up to 160-character messages, and receive up to 1600-character messages. In an emergency it allows detailed two-way communication with a 24/7 command center. You can also drop breadcrumbs, and receive customized regional weather and geo-political alerts. We’ll be testing a unit in the Egyptian desert early next year, so that last feature might come in handy. Cerberus 

ARB CKMTA12 air compressor ($540)

For years, owners of vehicles equipped with ARB’s legendary diff locks have been abusing the tiny little compressors usually supplied to activate them, by adding a connector for filling tires. Surprisingly, they seem to hold up to this quite well, but the process is glacial and the compressors can reach glow-in-the-dark temperatures. The company’s new twin-cylinder compressor will still activate lockers, but its tire-filling and air-tool-operating capacity is in a different universe. It’s fully up to the job of serving as a hard-mounted vehicle-wide air-supply system, with a stout 100-percent duty cycle. (But, really, couldn’t they have just called it the ARB Twin-cylinder Compressor?) ARB


Goal Zero Sherpa 120 Adventure Kit ($670)

Never run out of power again for your laptop, tablet, or phone, with Goal Zero’s 120-watt-hour power pack (AKA lithium iron phosphate battery) and 27-watt folding solar panel—small enough to pack into your panniers. You can also charge the power pack from a wall outlet or cigarette lighter. What impresses me most about Goal Zero is the foolproof plug-and-play nature of their systems, any of which can be effortlessly augmented with additional panels and batteries (or a 120-volt AC inverter). Goal Zero

La Peregrina Natural Pearl Necklace ($3,000,000)

Just seeing if Jonathan is paying attention. (Elizabeth Taylor’s jewelry collection is up for auction at Christie’s; a nice little trinket, this, though not suitable for overlanding in all countries). Christie’s