The best gifts for hunters: 2022 holiday season edition
By Bill Ayer, CEO of Slayer Calls
Shopping for gifts for hunters isn’t hard to do. Finding the best gifts for hunters — well, that’s a different story.
It’s sometimes hard to know how to find the highest quality hunting gear or what to get for the hunter who seems to have everything. That’s why the Slayer Calls team and I pulled together a list of our favorite tried-and-true packs, jackets and gear.
In this holiday gift guide, you’ll learn a little about each item and why we love it. It’s sorted by price point* for easy reference. And unlike other gift guides out there, we’re not getting a kick-back for our recommendations, so you can trust that we really would love to unwrap these gifts.
If you need to buy a gift quick — at any price point — consider a Slayer Calls gift card. Got some other favorite hunting gifts of your own? Leave a comment at the bottom of the article to tell us what it is and why you love it.
Gifts for hunters under $50
Nine Line Apparel: Hoodie and hat
This veteran-owned, Georgia-based company is on a mission to bring Americans together with patriotism. Nine Line has some great programs for giving back to military and first responder communities. They’ve also got 24-hour shipping on some made-in-America gear, in case you’re among the last-minute shoppers.
Why we love it: Honestly, Nine Line is a kick-ass brand with kick-ass products. For the patriotic type, you can’t find a better place to shop for designs that are casually cool. My favorites are the Pledge of Allegiance hoodie and a Halo Waterfowl collaboration ballcap.
Dirty Duck Coffee: Beans and a mug
Hunting often means early mornings, and early mornings mean coffee. With a brick-and-mortar shop in one of Missouri’s migration flyways, the Dirty Duck has long been the place for ‘fowlers to gather around a steaming cup of coffee. You can snag a single bag of whole or ground beans, but I’d suggest going with the 6-pack to try all the varieties. Pick up a mug and the Missouri Boat Ride decal to complete a themed gift set.
Why we love it: With names like “Sun’s Up, Guns Up,” “First Flight” and “Dark Dynasty,” Dirty Duck’s coffee is clearly roasted for hunters.
- Single bag of coffee: $17.99
- Full Limit: 6-Duck Special: $84.99
- Cork mug: $19.99
- Missouri Boat Ride decal: $5
Slayer Calls: Call the Wild training courses
Just because a hunter can blow a call doesn’t mean they’re doing it right. Maybe your buddy needs that not-so-subtle nudge to work on his calling. Maybe your kids need some lessons they can watch online (and you need a break from teaching them!). The courses in Call the Wild start with the foundations of calling, build on developing skills and give lots of room for practice.
Why we love it: Learning to call is tough. New hunters may not know a caller who can teach them the ins and outs. Lifelong hunters may be ready to level up their calling with technical skills. With a Call the Wild subscription, hunters can start with the basics and work their way up.
Darn Tough: Merino wool socks
Giving a pair of socks for Christmas might seem unoriginal, but believe me when I say it’s a true gift to give a hunter warm feet. Darn Tough is a Vermont-based company that knits all its socks in-state, and it backs every single pair with an unconditional lifetime guarantee.
Why we love them: Wool is a game-changer that, in my opinion, doesn’t get enough credit with waterfowlers. It wicks away moisture and naturally regulates body heat. Darn Tough’s line of socks for hunters means you can get the right fit for boots to keep toes toasty.
Gifts for hunters under $125
VPC Lanyards: Hunting call lanyard
VPC — short for Vaughan’s Paracord Creations — is a North Carolina firefighter- and family-owned company that specializes in custom handmade products for outdoor enthusiasts. Usually you can message Vaughan on Instagram to buy one of his creations, but he stopped guaranteeing holiday deliveries in mid-October. Lucky for you, we have some on hand at Slayer Calls.
Why we love it: VPC lanyards are completely hand-crafted by Vaughan, who’s just a real stand-up guy and a master of his craft. With his lanyards, you can keep up to six duck calls within easy reach when you’re in the field — without killing your neck.
- Pitboss Lanyard (round neck duck call lanyard): $62
- Prostyle Lanyard (flat-neck duck call lanyard): $62
Duck Tote: Game strap
Duck Tote has obviously built a brand around creating hard-wearing, long-lasting duck totes. The owner of the Mississippi small business exclusively works with harness leather for its higher wax and tallow content, giving it weather-resistant properties that are perfect for duck hunting. You can’t go wrong with these quality leather duck straps.
Why we love it: The Big Bayou is a burly leather duck tote with solid brass hardware that holds at least six birds on each duck strap. Give it a special touch by personalizing the tote with the giftee’s initials.
Gifts for hunters under $250
Slayer Calls: Personalized waterfowl call
Adding a name, monogram or memorialization to your hunter’s duck or goose call makes for a special touch. (It can also keep squabbling kids from mixing up their calls, or keep your buddies from swiping old faithful.) Too often, you can get a great call, or you can get a personalized call, but it’s hard to find both.
Why we love it: Customization can turn a call into a family heirloom. It can be the way we remember the hunters who’ve gone before us, or the duck dogs we’ll never forget.
- Waterfowl calls with metal bands for engraving: $89.95-$160
- Personalization: Add $30
Note: Plan on ordering three weeks in advance for your custom engraving and shipping.
Browning: Game camera
To maximize success during the season, hunters need to spend some serious time and effort scouting. Fortunately, we’ve got some tools to make it a little easier. Trail cameras can give great insight into an environment, animal behavior patterns and the wildlife that’s around. Not all game cameras are created equal, and the latest camera from Browning is top-of-the-line.
Why we love it: The Strike Force Pro XD camera is easy to operate, which is what you want when you’re setting it up in the woods. It’s got the best sound and clarity that I’ve seen on a trail cam. Browning has been selling out, so snag this one if you see it.
Banded is a reliable outfitter for all kinds of small-game hunters and fishers. Its Air HardShell Backpack is exactly the kind of sturdy, durable and weatherproof backpack that hunters need to bring a few supplies to the blind. Bonus: It’s super comfortable, even loaded down with gear.
Why we love it: The storage and organization on this Banded backpack are on point. There are seven compartments designed specifically with hunters’ needs in mind, like places for earplugs, gun cleaning materials and sunglasses. It also comes with a waterproof rain cover in case it starts monsooning.
Veteran-owned Kryptek is an Idaho business known for its camo technology. The military duo behind the brand are passionate big-game hunters who bring their technical know-how to the products they develop. The fleece Vellus jacket is a smart outer layer that can keep a hunter comfortable from the pre-dawn chill through midday mealtime.
Why we love it: The Vellus is very warm and clearly built to last. It’s quiet, so you won’t disrupt the wildlife with any rustling sounds. The jacket has a sleek fit for no-hassle shooting.
Eberlestock: Hunting pack
This Idaho-based outdoor gear company is always innovating and pushing the limits. A veteran and backcountry hunter is behind the industry-leading designs. The Vapor 5000 pack only weighs 2 lbs., so it’s your best friend in the backcountry. It’s part of a modular pack system, so if your hunter doesn’t already own a mainframe, you might want to add that to your shopping list.
Why we love it: The Vapor 5000 is comfortable, which isn’t always easy to say when you’ve got a hundred pounds of meat on your back. It distributes the load properly to enable long hikes even while weighted down, which makes it very functional for hunting.
Gifts for hunters under $500
Montana Knife Company: Hunting knife
With knives that are 100% made in America, you can feel great about supporting Josh Smith, the bladesmith who founded Montana Knife Company in 2020. Smith has been making knives at a professional level since he was 15. He’s also a hunter, and you can tell from the way his knives are designed. His collaboration knife with Nock On is stellar, and it always sells out quickly when they get it in stock.
Why we love it: Let’s start with the obvious: The MKC x Nock On Triumph Hunter looks freaking awesome. Beyond that, you couldn’t ask for a more functional hunting knife. This is one of the most durable, sharpest knives I’ve ever used.
Gifts for hunters under $500
Zamberlan Boots: Hunting boots
For nearly a century, this Italian family has been making boots for those who wander the mountains. Needless to say, there have been a few technological upgrades since Maria and Giuseppe Zamberlan first began sewing and cobbling shoes. High-quality leather, waterproof Gore-Tex and Zamberlan Vibram StarTrek soles make the 980 Outfitter Boot an easy choice for hunters pursuing elk and deer on the steep mountainsides.
Why we love them: These are, by far, the most comfortable boots I’ve worn elk hunting in Idaho. They hold up to my 250 lbs. on steep terrain, and if they ever wear down, Zamberlan will resole them.
* Prices are accurate as of the date of publication.