Time is running out to wrap up your holiday shopping for that hard-to-please Great Outdoors writer, so to simplify the task I've taken the liberty of making a list and checking it twice to make sure readers perceive that my tongue has been firmly planted in my cheek.
In the past I've forgotten that those who prefer tearing over a forest trail on a gas-powered vehicle to quiet travel on foot, or would rather roar across a secluded lake on a personal water craft than glide silently in a kayak, often live in an irony-free zone – and so when I've jokingly extolled the glories of snowmobiling over cross-country skiing, or dirt biking over mountain climbing their response has been, "Yeah, brother!" instead of "Ha, ha!"
Anyway, my fanciful gift list has become a holiday tradition that I occasionally turn into a quiz, challenging readers to guess which products and services are real and which are products of my sometimes-sophomoric imagination.
This year I have lifted the authentic listings verbatim from actual catalogs, advertisements and other promotional materials. By the way, in the interest in fair play I've tried to be an equal opportunity offender, taking shots not just at such easy targets as big game hunters and off-road riders, but also at high-tech trekkers and the extra-crunchy granola types.
With that in mind, here's my list. The answers are at the end – no fair peeking!
1. Hydro-Blast Max. All you need to replenish liquid lost during intense workouts, endurance sports and arduous expeditions now comes in a BPA-free, recyclable bottle. Hydro-Blast Max is an all-natural, organic, gluten-free product scientifically formulated to provide maximum rehydration, combining two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. Thirst disappears as if by magic after downing only one 12-ounce bottle; also comes in 16- and 32-ounce containers for extra-dry throats, as well as 6-ounce Quik-Sip® six-packs.
2.Trophy Hunting White Rhino Safari
The white rhino, through much effort by hunters and conservationists, has increased in numbers sufficiently to once again be hunted in South Africa. The white rhino is an exclusive grazer, social in nature and relatively docile, except when mating or protecting their young. The black rhino weighs in at just about a ton and can be much more aggressive than his cousin the white rhino. He has been known to charge without provocation.
Both species and both sexes carry two continuously growing dense horns. Dominant breeding bulls can be very territorial. Possessed of extremely good hearing and a well-developed sense of smell, their eyesight is poor, making them fairly easy to approach from downwind if your stalk is done slowly and quietly.
This member of the Big Five has very thick skin, thus larger caliber rifles with well-constructed bullets are the order of the day. Solids will always be a good choice for their excellent penetration, but remember to be cognizant of what is behind your target, as this type of bullet will often exit. Once again, look to the PH for guidance.
3. 21-Day Lion, Elephant and Buffalo Hunting Safari
The 21Day Lion, Elephant and Buffalo Hunting Package visits three of the prime hunting areas in South Africa namely the lowveld, the Limpopo bushveld and the Kalahari. The package includes three of the Big Five as well as three plains game trophies. It is a package aimed at the hunter who has the time to enjoy an extensive hunting experience in South Africa. Our hunting packages contain no hidden costs. The only safari-related costs which are not included are the dipping, packing and shipping of trophies and taxidermy work.
The success rate on the trophies is close to 100%. If however you do not take one of the trophies which is included in the package, 90% of the list price of the trophy is deducted from your hunting safari price. .
4. Disrupt A Rhino Hunt! Join an expedition organized by the internationally renowned Animal Protecting Extremists Society (APES) to game preserves in South Africa in an attempt to prevent big-game hunters from tracking down their prey.
APES employs predator drones to spot safaris, and then dispatches noisy groups led by native bush-beaters and drummers to ward off the big cats.
Complimentary medivac service included.
5. One-Track-Mynd® Global Positioning System. Unlike Garmin, TomTom, Magellan or other popular GPS devices, the One-Track-Mynd® doesn't automatically recalculate the route when you stray from the trail. Instead it initially offers a polite remark, "Excuse me, but it seems as if you've taken a wrong turn."
Reminders become increasingly strident ("Oops! Still wrong." … "Halt!" … "Hey! I'm talking to YOU!" … "THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE!!!") before the unit emits an ear-splitting alarm that can only be shut off if you retrace your steps and follow the original itinerary.
6. Vegannot®. Are you a carnivore or omnivore planning a camping trip with vegans and/or vegetarians, and can't stomach tofu or tempeh? Vegannot® is a tasty meal in a package that looks exactly like textured vegetable protein but contains varieties of 100 percent pure, Grade A meat, including veal, sirloin and other popular cuts. Available soon: Fish and Chicken Vegannot®.
7. Yak-Foil 360®. Is it a kayak? Is it a hang glider? Surprise! It's both! Strap on the Yak-Foil360® and hike up the nearest hill with at least a 45-degree slope, a drop of at last 100 feet, a headwind of at least 30 mph and a body of water at the base measuring at least 3 feet deep.
Yak-Foil360® wings automatically deploy and allow riders under 200 pounds to remain airborne for up to 10 seconds. Before landing in water pull ripcord to inflate Yak-Foil360® cockpit and convert Yak-Foil360® wings to a paddle. Note: Once used as a kayak the Yak-Foil360® requires Yak-Foil360® Conversion Kit, sold separately, to turn it back to a hang glider.
8. Adobe Adventurer Creative Suite. The latest configuration of this popular software package, available for both PC and Mac, uses a specially designed version of PhotoShop to place your image atop Mount Everest, K2, Annapurna or any of more than 100 celebrated peaks from the Himalayas to the Andes.
9. Hevvy-Pak Trainer®. Those planning to hike the Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail or other long-distance footpaths can become conditioned to carrying heavy loads using the Hevvy-Pak Trainer® and its graduated weight system.
The Hevvy-Pak Trainer® 1.0 consists of a 10-pound slab of polished Vermont granite, sculpted to mimic the contours of a hiker's back. The Hevvy-Pak Trainer® 2.0 consists of a 20-pound slab; the 3.0, a 30-pound slab.
Includes instructions for combining the slabs to simulate a 60-pound pack.
10. When the call of the wild needs to be answered, outdoorsmen across the country can rely on the Brute Force® 750 4x4i EPS Realtree® APG™ HD® ATV to get them off the grid and into the wild. Wrapped in a durable, scratch-resistant camouflage pattern, the top-of-the-line Brute Force ATV is capable of even the most extreme adventures. Whatever the terrain turns to, wherever the trail leads, hunters, campers, fishermen and everyone in between will delight at its unbeatable combination of a super-strong 749 cc V-twin engine, continuously variable transmission, four-wheel independent suspension and Electric Power Steering (EPS) system.
Answers: 1-fake; 2-real; 3-real; 4-fake; 5-fake; 6-fake; 7-fake; 8-fake; 9-fake; 10 real.
Scoring: If you didn't get all 10 correct, shoot me an email and I'll send you my prospectus for investment opportunities in Nigerian lottery futures.