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I love stalking the National Hardware Show each year to find new products to share with our listeners and readers. I also love the sense of nostalgia that comes from the American-made products that return year after year and are household staples.

This year I visited from afar via laptop computer. And though I missed the hands-on experience, I still enjoyed the hunt for new products and seeing our tried-and-true favorites.

A big theme for this year was outdoor living. People are still tending to find their entertainment and pastimes at home. For many, that includes food: cooking it, storing it, prepping it! It is a great way to pass the time with those you love.

One thing I always gravitate to is quality products that are well made and intended to last.

Maybe something in my list will give you a bad case of “I want” or even “I need.” If you want it for Christmas, better order now!

Here are some of my favorite National Hardware Show finds:

Old Smokey Grills and Smokers | Every year the competition for bigger, brighter, smarter, and more expensive grills has been staggering. This year I was impressed by the grills at Old Smokey. They are simple, stainless, and affordable. Whether you are new to grills and smokers or a master, these grills get the job done. The charcoal grills are priced at roughly $50. The electric smokers are about $149. They have been manufactured in Houston since 1923. Tip: Avoid shipping costs by ordering them through Wayfair or Home Depot.

LEM Products | Food prep and storage are always in, but the ebb and flow of the supply chain have increased interest in all things food storage. Whether you are a gardener, fisherman, hunter, or forager it is always satisfying to preserve your “catch” for later.

Helpful items include vacuum sealing units for airtight storage of food in the pantry or freezer. Simple models start at $99. Dehydrators are great for preserving all kinds of fresh food. Countertop models range in price from $100- $200.

LEM offers back-to-basics food prep tools that do not require electricity — imagine that! Imagine slicing, cracking, dicing, and juicing all without an electric cord! All are made of quality materials and made to last!

Tip: Kids and grandkids enjoy working alongside grown-ups in the kitchen. Somehow food tastes better when you help create it! Consider sharing the fruits of your labor as Christmas gifts! Seasoned pecans, fig jam, homemade bread and eggnog, and sausage are things we look forward to from family every year!

The Ukiah Tailgater | This portable firepit box is a fun way to stay warm while enjoying the outdoors with friends and family. The Ukiah Company of Oregon, founded in 2018, offers these propane-powered units made of lightweight powder-coated steel and stainless steel. There are several models. The Tailgator X is the basic model and provides basic warmth priced at $200. Upgrade to the Tailgator model and you will get a marine quality sound system built-in with Bluetooth technology starting at $400. The Tailgator 2 provides another layer of ambiance with upgraded music and reactive flame technology, making the flames “dance” to the music starting at $600. The Tailgaters are for outdoor use only.

Maglite | The Ultimate Flashlight: An American staple since 1977!

In Rosie’s and my mind, Maglite is simply the best flashlight made. Everyone should have at least one!

Sold individually or in bundles, they are made to shine!

  • The Home Bundle | This kit hasthree Powerful flashlights to light your way for $119.
    • ML300L 4D LED |This flashlight is designed for the long haul. Powered by four D cell batteries, it will last for more than two weeks on eco mode! At 1002 lumens, this beam will reach five football fields.
    • Mini Maglite Pro LED | For your pocket or purse. Great for everyday chores.
    • Solitaire LED | Keychain size. Great for when you are in an emergency. Save your phone battery for making calls.
  • Roadside Bundle -Comes with two flashlights, traffic wand, Gerber multi-tool, and survival guide ($125).

Boundless Carrier | A great NEW product! The Boundless Carrier is an all-in-one, lift-assisted mobile cart, and carrier that you can take anywhere and attach to any vehicle! Use it for hauling sod for your yard, or load up luggage and an ice chest and take off for a family weekend. No matter what you are doing you won’t have to break your back to load up because . . . the carrier is on wheels! Load it up and wheel it to the vehicle. Dock it, lock it and the wheels retract! You don’t have to lift or climb. This carrier transforms loading into a job for one! Available online for $1,400.

The Grabo | The portable power tool that is like an extra set of hands! Grabo suction lifters can help you lift to 375 lbs. of dry, rough, and porous material. Turn it on and it gives a digital readout of the suction available. Once you have used it to grab hold of a large piece of tile or wood, it will stay connected until you release it! Great for heavy-duty DIY projects in your home and landscape ($299).

Rite in the Rain | These waterproof writing instruments have been made in Tacoma, Washington since 1916. You don’t have to be a professional to appreciate these waterproof pens and paper. Putting pen to paper brings out our creative side and helps cement our thoughts. Keep a notebook close and use it to journal, record purchases, track wildlife sightings, or capture a fleeting thought. Their weatherproof journals, pens, and paper start at $6. | This is one clever portable hanging desk. Where DO you put all your papers when you are in the middle of a project and not in your own office space? Try hanging this portable desk and watch your productivity increase. Fold it up and take it home or to your next job. Two sizes are available and start at $25.

My Pet Pail | A clever solution for the pet lover in you! Do you find yourself lugging bags of stuff for your pooch when you are together on a getaway for the day? This clever container looks like an old-time lunch box. Flip the lid open and you will find two jars in the lid; one for food and one for water. The other side stays flat to the ground and has two dishes for serving. When Fido is done, just fold it back up. The handle for the pail is also a collar and the shoulder strap a leash! The back of the box has a portal for storing scoop bags. Just $40.

So many great and innovative finds. Have fun shopping!




We discuss our favorite finds from this year’s National Hardware Show: Products, innovations and trends shaping the future of home improvement and DIY trends. Outdoor grills, harvesting and food preservation products, tailgating firebox pit, pet pails, a suction grabbing apparatus and more! Plus inventor Ken Camarco discusses his creation of an effortless way to load and haul called ‘The Boundless Carrier’.

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