The Happy Camper: 6 Christmas Stocking Stuffer Ideas


Can’t think of what to stuff the stocking with this year? No problem—here are six epic stocking stuffers, perfect for outdoor adventures and excursions.


Dragonfly Wingman

The inventor of the Dragonfly Wingman Mike Dunlop created the device when he noticed that pesky deer flies and horseflies made themselves scarce when dragonflies were nearby. Dragonflies are predators of deer flies and horseflies. I was intrigued and picked one up while wandering the aisles of the Toronto Outdoor Adventure Show. I’ve got to be honest—I didn’t think it would work but figured it would make a fun gadget to show on an appearance on some morning TV show. And it was. The gadget was a hit. I did manage to test it out on a trip—and wow! It works. And I am not the only one that thinks so. Mike’s Dragonfly Wingman recently won his $100,000 pitch on Canada’s Dragons Den Show.Kevin Callan


FlipFuel Exchanger

One of my main drawbacks to stoves that work with isobutane fuel canisters is only being able to use a portion of their content at the end of a trip. Yes, you can repack it on your next trip with an additional one, but then you’re also wasting space in your pack. The FlipFuel device solves that issue. It consolidates fuel canisters so you don’t have to pack a half-empty can. The canisters are different sizes (four ounces to eight ounces). The process is also quite simple. Each canister must be at a slightly different temperature to work. So, place the receiving canister in the freezer (or in a shaded area) and the sending canister in the sun. Wait a few minutes, then thread the FlipFuel onto the two canisters. The receiving canister should be on the bottom, aligned with the “In” side, and the sending canister on the top, aligned with the “Out” side. Twist the valve and transfer the fuel. Take note, however, don’t put too much in. When the cold canister fills up, the warm fluid will expand and rupture it. Best to use a weigh scale to fill it to the correct amount.Canadian Outdoor Equipment


Bow Line Bag

My regular canoe buddy Andy Baxter is the owner of Recreational Barrel Works. It’s cool to have a friend who invents canoe gear, but when he came out with his Bow Line Bag this past spring I wondered if anyone would buy or use it. After all, why not just tuck your rope under a bungie mounted on the bow (and stern)? I was wrong. First off, it sold extremely well. Secondly and more importantly, I used one all season long and absolutely loved it. It allows you to keep your bow (and stern) rope properly stored away rather than curled up in the bottom of your canoe like a ball of yarn knocked around by your pet cat. The rope is kept secure inside the bag with two cord locks, and a release buckle attaches the bag to your bow or stern. This bow line system also takes away the bad habit I have of using my rescue throw bag (a legal requirement in all Canadian canoes) for a bow line instead.Kevin Callan


After Bite Natural

Everyone knows about After Bite. It’s great and it works. But the company also has a “natural” balm that effectively relieves itchiness caused by insect bites. It’s made with oatmeal and camphor to moisturize the skin and relieve pain associated with bug bites. I packed it for my Georgian Bay canoe trip with well-known UK canoe coach Ray Goodwin and family. Ray’s partner Lina Patel was highly allergic to bug bites, so I figured I’d pack everything possible to help her avoid bites as well as cure them. She coated her skin daily with this stuff and loved it. The oatmeal moisturizes to help reduce the itch, and camphor helps the skin feel cool before turning warm to relieve pain associated with insect bites. Active ingredients include one per cent of Camphor and 10 per cent of Colloidal Oatmeal. Inactive ingredients include beeswax, olive oil and peppermint.

After Bite


FORJ Repair Tape

This isn’t duct tape—but it’s just as incredible in fixing things while in the backcountry. FORJ repair tape is incredibly strong once heated. You can use it to repair broken paddles, canoe seats and gunnels. It has a breaking strength of 1,000 pounds once heated (which is done by using hot water, holding it near a fire or using a lighter). Use the tape to wrap around the objects and hold everything in place, or form it to make makeshift bolts, rivets, chain links, shear pins, plugs and more.FORJ


Explore Magazine Subscription

Yes, I write for Explore Magazine—for well over three decades, actually! So, it may sound like I’m putting an Explore subscription on this list for promotional reasons. I am not. I am putting it on this list because it is one darn good magazine to read. It’s chock-full of Canadian content, contributors, stories and destinations. There are four issues mailed to you per year and Explore’s digital edition is free.Explore Magazine

Check out a digital copy to see what you are missing by reading the Fall 2023 print edition here.


More Gift Ideas for the Holidays: