Gear Scout’s 2019 Extra-Chilly tacticool Black Friday (and Cyber Monday) gift guide

November’s here and before you know it, Thanksgiving will be upon us... and then, the dreaded Christmas shopping rush.

Earlier this year, we didn’t give you a ton of advance notice on shopping for Father’s Day with our first-ever tacticool gift guide. So we’re about to hit you with our picks for cool gifts for the upcoming holiday season with our extra-chilly tacticool 2019 Holiday Gift Guide.

With a little bit of warning and time to order up gifts and presents for all of your loved ones (and yourself), you have no excuse now!

For those of us waiting on summer: (All New) Combat Flip Flops AK-47

Flip flops are a pain. It’s hard enough finding ones that don’t make you look like you just walked out of a budget 1970s action movie, and it’s even harder finding ones that don’t snap or fall apart with just a few weeks to a month’s worth of use.

Veteran-run Combat Flip Flops has the answer you’re looking for, and you know it’s extra reliable because it’s named after one of the most indestructible guns in the world... the AK-47.

Well, it’s not an actual AK-47 but these kicks are very much patterned after the legendary rifle. Made out of cow leather and featuring a combat boot outsole, as well as 7.62x39 mm casings as adornments, these flip flops are some of the most unique summertime footwear out there, and they’re currently retailing for just $59.99 on CFF’s website [use MILITARYTIMES for a 20% discount code].

And when you’re done using CFF’s badass slaps for the year, just do what everyone else does with AK-47 rifles and bury them in your backyard so that you can dig them up and reuse them later on!

Okay, maybe don’t do that.

If you aren’t convinced yet, keep in mind that CFF puts a part of the proceeds from the sale of every pair of AK-47s towards funding a day of secondary school for Afghan girls. Pretty neat, right?

For the fashion aficionados in our lives: R. Riveter Bags

The Williams Special Edition Riverside Canvas + Brown Leather Tote by R. Riveter (Photo R Riveter)
The Williams Special Edition Riverside Canvas + Brown Leather Tote by R. Riveter (Photo R Riveter)

Military spouses are easily some of the most industrious people out there, making the most of long deployments by keeping the homefront running like a well-tuned machine. What happens when some of those spouses mix that can-do spirit with an entrepreneurial streak and a ton of creativity?

You get R. Riveter bags, named for Rosie the Riveter — the iconic American symbol that came to represent countless women serving at home during WWII in the factories and fields, keeping their families fed and the war machine running.

Featured on Shark Tank in 2016 and bolstered by an offer from Mark Cuban on the show, the company, founded by Lisa Bradley and Cameron Cruse produces bags, totes, backpacks, handbags, and a variety of accessories, that give other competing brands a hell of a run for their money.

R. Riveter’s products boast a unique origin story that few if any other organizations can claim — most, if not all, are assembled from materials and components made by military spouses across the nation, shipped to a central assembly facility.

Be sure to check out their curated Military Branch and Rosie Collections, the former of which represent the various branches of the armed services with inspired products, and the latter which is pure unfiltered heartwarming Americana.

For the coffee lovers among us: Black Rifle Coffee Company

(Photo Black Rifle Coffee)
(Photo Black Rifle Coffee)

If diesel fuels our trucks, coffee fuels our souls... or something like that, right?

Black Rifle Coffee has made a name for itself over the years as one of the premier veteran-owned companies out there that don’t just sell quality products, but also give back to the community by promoting and supporting a variety of pro-veteran initiatives.

Pretty cool, right?

With the holiday season coming up (and all that cold weather on the horizon), get your loved one a subscription to BRC’s Coffee Club, which packages and ships your favorite choice of coffee to your door at a frequency which you decide.

If that doesn’t do it for you, a membership with the Coffee Club gets you access to exclusive deals and offers with BRC’s various partners, including Surefire, Kryptek, and Emerson Knives.


For the outdoorsy peeps: Buck Knives Compadre Froe

(Photo Buck Knives)
(Photo Buck Knives)

We’ve all been there — happily sitting around a campfire as it dies, only to realize you didn’t chop enough firewood, and the lackluster hatchet you brought with you makes the task harder than the struggles people on those wacky infomercials go through.

So maybe save yourself the trouble and get Buck Knives’ made-in-the-USA 108 Compadre Froe, designed to chop firewood with polished efficiency. Weighing in at 1.5 lbs, with a Cerakoted-9.5-inch built from 5160 steel, the Compadre not only holds onto its edge like no other, it’s also highly shatter-resistant and can be used for clearing, splitting, and as a multi-purpose camping knife.

Like all of Buck’s products, the Compadre is backed by its lifetime guarantee, and you can get yourself one of these super cool knives for $180 on Buck’s official site.

For the wannabe operators: OAF Nation

OAF Nation's super awesome Lincoln operator blanket (Photo OAF Nation)
OAF Nation's super awesome Lincoln operator blanket (Photo OAF Nation)

Veteran-owned, incredibly badass, and pretty darn funny... what’s NOT to love about OAF Nation’s insanely diverse product line?

It’s hard to pick just one product to showcase from these crazy and downright awesome folks, but we were pretty partial to this mega-awesome operator Abraham Lincoln blanket, featuring everybody’s favorite stovepipe hat-wearer with panoramic NODs, ready to do some hardcore “freedom-ing," retailing for $39.95 on OAF’s website.

If subscription-based goodie boxes are your thing, be sure to have a gander at OAF’s Goon Squad which delivers a premium exclusive T-shirt to your doorstep monthly while giving you access to tons of cool perks including special pricing, and a PMC job board for all of you former pipe-hitters who want to get back in the game.

For the bullet-geeks: Bottle Breacher 30mm Bullet Bottle Opener

The 30 mm Bottle Breacher bottle opener (Photo Bottle Breachers)
The 30 mm Bottle Breacher bottle opener (Photo Bottle Breachers)

Founded by former Navy SEAL Eli Crane and his wife, Jen, Bottle Breacher’s products will make you want to chuck your run-of-the-mill bottle cap poppers for these insanely awesome bullet-inspired openers.

We’re pretty partial to the A-10 Thunderbolt II because we love us some BRRRTT!!!, so it was a no-brainer that we’d immediately gravitate towards BB’s 30 mm bottle opener line, built around a similar shell and casing to the same ones used on the A-10′s massive GAU-8 Avenger cannon.

While you can find the 30 mm openers on BB’s site with a variety of branch-related insignia, the company also offers buyers the ability to have their breachers personalized with precision custom-engraving.

Mosey on over to the Giving Breachers page on BB’s site for a selection of products whose proceeds go entirely towards benefiting a plethora of veterans and military family causes that do amazing work for people in the active-duty and prior service communities, as well as their families!

When you want to get all snuggies... Zenbivy

Like mummy sleeping bags but hate having to sleep like a mummy? Then you need to check out Zenbivy.

This company makes a hybrid sleeping bag system that uses a puffy down or synthetic top bag that secures to your sleeping pad with a soft sheet and gives you plenty of shoulder room, an opening to throw your hot as sh*t feet out and won’t let you slide off your pad as you toss and turn the night away.

The separate quilt “floats” even when zipped in, so it won’t twist around you. Or pin you. Or trap you.

The quilt can be “tucked in” for cold weather or “untucked” for warm. The hood gives you a snug place for your head and arms, with the quilt tucked in as snugly as you want.

All without the having to constrict your head and neck with a bag’s web of cords and toggles.The Zenbivy Bed may look weird at first, but it quickly becomes familiar: A mattress, covered with a sheet. A pillow. A blanket that can be tucked in. Just like your bed at home.

We’ve used a Zinbivy on a recent car camping trip and slept warm and snug ... in the back of our truck.

Tacticool kicks (great for Chuck Norris roundhouse moves)

The Norris sneaker from 5.11 is one of the company’s first forays into cool-guy casual footwear that can go loud if the situation warrants.

Made with a Vibram Marbrani outsole with XS Trek, the Norris provides the optimal balance of traction and durability, particularly on wet surfaces. And we know first hand that the Ortholite technology cushions your feet in total support and comfort — after a long day looking at guns and gear with leathernecks at the recent Modern Day Marine Expo.

More: Check out 5.11′s Black Friday deals

The Norris is ASTM certified for puncture resistance and built with a super-strong Welmax board that guards your feet against up to 1,200 newtons of force. So it looks like a hipster shoe for drinking micro-brew IPAs, but it can also deliver the hurt in door-kicking situations.

And with an MSRP of $99.99, that’s a lot of tacticool for your money.

Where am I? Oh, I’m 5,000 feet up and falling!

The Garmin Instinct Tactical version is everything you want, and nothing you don’t in a smartwatch/gps/tacti-tool.

If you literally want to give your tactical loved one the best gift ever, get them the Instinct Tactical watch.

We’ve been giving this thing a test drive for the last few months — and had worn an earlier generation smart GPS watch from Garmin for more than a year previous — and the Instinct Tactical is just right up our alley.

The Instinct has several key sports tracking apps already loaded into it — like ones for skiing, running, swimming, hiking and biking — and all the tracking capabilities you need, like track me, navigate and waypoint.

The Tactical edition includes multiple features specific to tactical operations including Jumpmaster and tactical preloaded activities, projected waypoints, dual-position GPS formatting, and night-vision compatibility.

For airborne operations, you can use Jumpmaster for three jump types: HAHO, HALO, and Static.

You can set the watch to dual-positioning mode, and the watch will simultaneously display two sets of coordinate systems, such as MGRS and latitude/longitude, on a single data screen. When night vision mode is activated, the backlight settings of the screen will reduce to a level that won’t interfere with the function of night vision goggles.

Ans there’s even a stealth mode that prevents storage and sharing of GPS position and disables wireless comms. When operating in stealth mode, GPS location position is visible on device; however, locations are not saved to the device memory or shared. Stealth mode also quickly disables all wireless communication to and from the device.

And oh yeah, it’s a smartwatch too, so it can ping you with emails, reminders and text messages when you’re phone’s at the bottom of your range bag.

At $299 suggested retail, that’s a lot of functionality at a pretty approachable price.

A secure home-on-the-road for man’s best friend

You wear a seatbelt and surround yourself with two tons of steel when you’re on a road trip, hitting the field or on duty, right? So why should your trusted hair missile get second fiddle?

Gunner Kennels offers one of the — if not the — most bomber canine kennels on the market.

With their double-wall, rotomolded construction, Gunner Kennels boast unrivaled durability and guard against both human error and seasonal elements. The crates have tie down points for SUV cargo areas and pickup trucks, and there are a host of accessories to make your pooch comfortable and protected from the elements.

The GearScout team has been testing the G1 Medium crate with our Swamp Possum Boykin Spaniel “Scooter” for this hunting season, and we’ll tell you, it’s making getting to and from the marsh a lot less risky for the duck-grabbing waterdog when ruts and rivers get in the way of our truck’s path.

There are cheaper options out there (hey, we even own a couple of them), none so far have delivered the kind of confidence and security for man’s best friend than has the Gunner Kennel G1.