Firebiner multi-function carabiner

7 Gifts under $70 for Surveyors

This entry is part 65 of 80 in the series Pangaea

I’ve put together this year’s list of gifts with practical ideas that any field surveyor should find useful. All prices are accurate at the time of writing; I’m not responsible for price hikes. All items are highly rated (four- to five-star online reviews), but use your best judgement)

yeti Load out bucket

1) Yeti Loadout Bucket. Five-gallon buckets are mega-awesome for organizing, storing, and transporting a variety of field surveying supplies: nails, flagging, marking paint, etc. What’s more, they’re great for camping, fishing, and even prepping for the zombie apocalypse.

Yes, you can get a used, 5-gallon pickle bucket for free if you ask your local fast-food establishment nicely. It will smell like pickles and the handle will break . . . mine did. Or you can upgrade to this handy, five-gallon, injection-molded Loadout Bucket from YETI. This workhorse is high-impact-resistant and virtually indestructible. Only $39.99 or add the handy Loadout Caddy for only $19.99 and still be under $70.

2) Woodman’s Pal Machete. Nearly every field surveyor has a machete, and the Woodman’s Pal makes a great upgrade. Compact at 14 1/2″ long, this ‘chete features a comfortable, military-style, soft leather grip and a steel knuckle guard. Speaking of military, this machete has been standard issue to the armed forces since WWII: battle-proven, battle-tough! The blade is 1/8″ thick x 10″ long, made from high carbon steel hardened to Rockwell C47, and cuts branches and wood up to 1 1/2″ in diameter with a single stroke. The backside is a handy pruning hook. (Is it obvious that I own one?) Also comes with a nylon sheath and a sharpening stone, for under $70 on Amazon.

3) Dremel Tool. Working in the field means having to “MacGyver” all kinds of equipment repairs. When duct tape fails, having a Dremel tool is a God-send; this Dremel 7300 MiniMite 4.8-Volt cordless two-speed rotary tool is quite the handy tool. I use mine routinely, especially the cut-off tool. Small and cordless so it’s ultra-portable. Around $20.
Ka-bar Hobo Knife

4) Ka-bar Hobo Knife. Working in the field means eating in the field; that’s where a “hobo” knife comes in handy. This Ka-bar portable fork, knife, and spoon is constructed of stainless steel and comes with a nylon carrying case. The fork, knife, and spoon slide apart and back together again for ease of use. Under $20 on Amazon.


5) Firebiner multi-function carabiner. The Firebiner combines a fire-starter, bottle opener (surveying is thirsty work), screwdriver tip, and safety blade into one super-portable and elegant package. It’s the definitive survival tool and under $15 on Amazon.

Firebiner multi-function carabiner

Firebiner multi-function carabiner

6) Otterbox. Being in the field means exposing your smartphone and/or tablet to the elements. Protect your device with Otterbox Certified Drop+ Protection against drops, bumps, and fumbles. Prices start at under $15 with free shipping.

xyHt tee shirt

7) xyHt Graphic Tee Shirts. Don’t survey naked! Get one of these colorful graphic tee shirts printed on high-quality Hanes Tagless 100% ComfortSoft cotton and available in sizes small through XXL. These make great presents for the geospatial geek in your life (which could be you) and are only $14.95 each and ship for a mere $4 to U.S. addresses. Now available on the xyHt website.

Want more ideas? Try this list!

Here’s wishing you and yours the very best of the season!

Pangaea LogoThis article appeared in xyHt‘s e-newsletter, Pangaea. We email it twice a month, and it covers a variety of unusual geospatial topics in a conversational tone. You’re welcome to subscribe to the e-newsletter here. (You’ll also receive the once-monthly Field Notes newsletter with your subscription.)

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