Hide and Seek
For people who like to get lost and found, there's nothing better than a fancy GPS unit to toy around with. Travel Bug (839 Paseo de Peralta, 992-0418) has a plentiful section with all the bells and whistles. But the fact is, there are too many people running around with digital doodads who don't know how to use a plain, battery-free compass. Opt for this Brunto model instead and start with the basics; $15 buys luminous navigator points and brassy old-school looks.
Pump It Up
Bicycle riding is plenty of exercise-why should anyone be relegated to a redundant cardio crunch by having to pump up a flat tire? The Second Wind pump is lightweight and sends a burst of compressed air into a tube with trigger-controlled glee. Models start at around $20, but $27 at Bike 'n' Sport (524 W. Cordova Road, 820-0809) will buy something called an Intelligent Head, which sounds useful.
Rip It Up
Some gearheads love nothing more than strapping things all over their bodies-flashlights, multi-tools, telephones-but others are more discreet and minimal in their penchant for accessories. A small and elegant pen knife, made in Japan with a pressed linen Micarta epoxy handle, is $30 from Cutlery of Santa Fe (107 Old Santa Fe Trail, 982-3262). It's just the ticket for the realist gear junkie who knows they're unlikely to skin a bear, but may well need to open a package.
Smoke 'Em Out
Gathering a bountiful collection of gadgets is a happy pleasure for any gearhead, but finding the right tool for quiet contemplation of your goodies is just as important. Santa Fe's anti-smoking legislation is really an opportunity for your tobacco-toting giftee to get all agrarian and back-to-the-land with their habit. The $6.95 meerschaum "Country Gentleman" pipe from Stag Tobacconists (947 W. Alameda St., Solana Center, 982-3242) is like buying homespun wisdom for under $10.
Rocket Man (and Woman)
Dust is more than a devil in New Mexico-it can be an evil demon when it comes to care and maintenance of delicate gear like cameras and electronics. Camera & Darkroom (216 Galisteo St., 983-2948) offers the Giottos Rocket Air, um, squeezy tube thing for $12, allowing freedom from ozone-depleting canned air and much-needed hand exercise for desk jockeys. Plus, it looks like rocket.
Fluctuating gas prices and greener sensibilities mean more people than ever are cruising the streets on efficient and fun scooters and motorcycles. But it's a dangerous world out there, so even if there's no state law mandating it, smart commuters and joyriders will opt for a helmet, or at least half of one. This "Hero" shorty helmet (worn here by this article's author) from Centaur Cycles (3232 Cerrillos Road, 471-5481) comes in pink, as well as more manly colors, for $69.
Technology in the new millennium means that all manner of fancy knick-knacks are begging for consumer attention, but basic, everyday gear will never go out of style. In fact, the Death Stick hammer, with a curved hickory handle and a top-mounted magnet for starting tricky nails, comes complete with extra-macho, punk-rock design cues. Release aggression through carpentry for $43.64 at Empire Builders (1802 Cerrillos Road, 982-2646).
Massacre Not Included
There's gear and then there's gear. And nobody takes their gear more seriously than Santa Fe Power Equipment (1364 Jorgensen Lane, 471-8620). In some cultures, you're not an adult until you've killed a lion; in others, you'll never get past that rite of passage until you have a chain saw. Of course, it doesn't have to be built for a lumberjack-the German-made Stihl 12 inch Arborists Saw delivers power and practicality for $279.95.
Aligning gift giving with selfish needs can be a tricky task. But if you wish your favorite gearhead would quit reprogramming the Tivo and do something useful around the house, like retile the bathroom, Saltillo the sitting room or buck up with a new backsplash for the kitchen, some not-so-subtle encouragement can be yours at Coronado Paint and Decorating (2929 Cerrillos Road, 473-5333), where the shiny and svelte Felker tile saw can be had for $340.
Light Camera Action
'Tis the season to make movie and media executives lie awake at night in a cold sweat. As burning feature-length films becomes nearly as common as ripping the Top 40, the must-have doodad among tech-savvy film buffs will be portable hard drives that plug into computers, monitors and regular TVs. Straight Shooting Computing (947-A W. Alameda St., Solana Center, 820-2698) offers a 2.5 inch HDD Player with 40 gigs of storage for $159. It's available with smaller and larger memory capacities, comes with a remote control and room for every Oscar contender of the year, and strikes fear into the hearts of Viacom shareholders.