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)
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.
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.
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.
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!
This 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.)