‘Tis the season where everyone has a suggestion as to what gift you should buy your father. Pro tip: avoid the same old cliché items like whiskey bottles or barbecue utensils. Been there, done that. For outdoorsy dads, it is better to find an item they can use and abuse while enjoying their favorite place: The Great Outdoors. After all, nothing says, “I appreciate you” like enabling Papa to find his next great adventure.
For more gift ideas, check out our main Father’s Day gift guide as well.
If your dad is into backpacking, chances are good he could use an ultralight sleeping pad that cuts weight, trims space, and keeps him comfy. Klymit’s Artist Edition series of sleeping pads does just that but looks good too. Thanks to the mystical shades of blues and grays, my favorite is the Grand Teton version designed by Kelly Halpin. Of course, the sleeping pad performs too: body mapping, ever-so-slight siderails, and a next-to-nothing 12 ounces in weight.
I hate the expression “trail-to-town” thanks to its excessive use, but if dad loves adventure and travel, I promise the Trailhead will become his go-to footwear selection. These minimalist shoes are vegan friendly thanks to the microfiber and mesh upper. They look good enough to wear while running through the airport, but trust me: they perform well, even on multi-day trips in California’s Eastern Sierra.
Most men love Star Wars enough to find this gift both useful and hysterical. Selk’bag created wearable sleeping bags and even managed to knock out a series of Star Wars prints especially designed for adults. A polyester shell, insulated hood, and DWR coating means the bag is warm (albeit not insanely technical) and the removable booties make it easy to put on your shoes and wander the woods. Be careful though: Papa may be mistaken as a Yeti as he enjoys his midnight strolls.
I can hear you smirking now: “My dad is a dirtbag; he would never wear Lulu!” But you know what? Buy him these pants, and you’ll have the last laugh. Lululemon’s outdoor gear is shocking popular among the outdoor folk and the ABC (Anti-Ball Crushing) pants are near the top of the list. Inspired by normal jeans, the ABCs wick away sweat and move well with a four-way stretch material. Flip the cuffs to reveal reflective strips in case Dad is out after dark.
If Dad is more of your lumberjack, flannel-wearing type of dude, look no further than the Christopher Shirt. On the outside, it looks like a normal flannel but the inside is lined with 100% polyester fur fleece that makes this shirt warmer than a sweatshirt and uber cozy to wear. The relaxed fit is nice too, especially when moving around at camp.
One of my fave things to do at camp is unwind around a campfire at night with a warm cup of Oleo tea. The Rooibos and Black Tea extract combines with 25 milligrams of Oleo CBD to help calm your body after a big day. CBD also boasts anti-inflammation properties that help you recover faster, so the tea is great after a hard-charging day in the mountains.
Does Dad need this hammer? Probably not. Does he want it? Hell yes. The Meldr is one of those heirloom gifts that true camping fathers will love to own but never buy for themselves. It boasts a solid cast stainless steel head and a balanced hickory shaft, all held together with custom hardware. It even has a bottle opener on the other end that pulls double duty if you need to wrench a really-stuck-in-the-dirt stake out of the ground.
If all else fails and you hate my other suggestions, buy dad a six pack of beer, but make it the healthy kind. Sufferfest, dubbed the beer for “those who want to earn it,” is a gluten-removed beer with most cans clocking in at less than 100 calories. My personal fave is the Kolsch, a 95-calorie brew that includes bee pollen, but other favorites include the FKT Pale Ale that is brewed with salt and blackcurrant.
You know what the best thing about this gift is? It shows your dad that you care, even if you don’t know a darn thing about fly fishing. With plans starting at $16.95 per month, it is an affordable gift that keeps on giving as Dad receives monthly boxes full of 12 trout flies, a bonus fishing item, and a Fly Guide. Bonus: Memberships can be renewed every month and cancelled at any time.
Full disclosure: I wrote this book so obviously, I’m a big fan. But if your father is someone looking to make the jump from car camping to the big, wide world of beginner backpacking, this book is designed for him. It details everything from what to pack, how to pack it, how to navigate with a map and compass, and how to organize your first backpacking trip so that you don’t end up hating the entire activity all together.