A Contractor’s Christmas List: Iraq

Here are ten items that will bring Christmas cheer to a dangerous place a little more enjoyable. Next week, we’ll be putting together care packages for those in Afghanistan. If you have suggestions, we’d be morev than happy to hear them: btw@bwbrand.com.

Out of a Jam: The AR-15 Ultralight Multitasker Tool has just about everything you need to service your carbine in the field. At seven ounces and just over four inches long, you’ll forget it’s there until you need it. We suggest you don’t leave home without one. Multitaskertools.com; $75.

Anti-dysentery Measure: You can’t do your job if you spend all day on the toilet. The water-purifying LifeStraw from Vestergaard Frandsen stows easily, is instantly deployable, and kills 99.99 percent of waterborne illnesses. So go ahead, drink out of that puddle. Buylifestraw.com; $20.

No-Hassle Tunes: Yurbuds performance-enhancing ear buds are the best on the market. Slide them in your ears, give them half a turn, and they lock snugly into  place. They’re comfortable, sweat and water resistant, and guaranteed not to  fall out. Yurbuds.com; from $30.

The Edge: The DPx Gear HEST II (Hostile Environment Survival Tool) Assault is a limited-edition remake of the company’s original HEST. It’s a low-profile, easy-to-carry survival knife with a black PVD-coated three-inch blade. DPx claims this version, which is made of Sleipner tool steel, is one of the sharpest cutting edges in the world. Dpxgear.com; $225.

Edge Dresser: A knife is no good unless it’s sharp. That’s why your contractor needs the DC4 whetstone from the Swedish company Fallkniven. It’s a ceramic/diamond hybrid and is crafted by Scandanavian woodworkers. www.fallkniven.com; $26.

Edge Keeper: Starbucks instant coffee packets are a luxurious upgrade from the standard Nescafe available in-country. Throw in some Hershey’s powdered chocolate, and you’ll make your contractor’s morning as warm as those absurd TV ads. Starbucks.com; from $6. Hersheys.com; $4.

Hero Shots: No one is going to believe it happened unless you have photos to prove it. The Lumix Gf3 from Panasonic is super-durable and captures image quality like a camera twice its price. It also accepts Leica lenses so you can sell your photos to a magazine when you get home. Panasonic.com; $500.

Phone Home: If you think mobile phone coverage is spotty in the US, you ought to try using your phone in Iraq. Thuraya offers congestion-free satellite communication at a fraction of the cost of traditional sat-phone coverage. They offer prepay cards at a wide variety of rates. Thuraya.com; voice plans from $10.

True Lube: Yes, you can use diesel fuel to clean a firearm. But some Hoppe’s No. 9 is really what that M4 wants. Do your contractor’s gun a favor, and give the man some legit bore solvent. Hoppes.com; $13 for a pint.

Juice Box: Take your power with you. iGo makes power-supply units for nearly every electronic device you’re likely to carry.  iGo.com; from $15.

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