I like Father’s Day because 1. I’m a dad, and 2. I get to buy a cool gadget for my dad. I usually pick a piece of gear that I’ve been wanting to try out and buy it for him so he can test it. Then a lot of the time I end up borrowing it from him before he gets a chance to even use it.
The following short list has something for every budget ($15-150) and for every day. Whether he likes backpacking or backyarding, I’ve got you covered. If you can’t find something on this list, then he really does have everything!
Steripen UV Water Filter/Purifier
This is actually legitimately what I got my dad for Father’s Day this year (don’t tell him please). I’ve used water filter pumps, squeeze bottles filter straws, and of course iodine tablets and boiling in an effort to get clean water backpacking and canyoneering and other places. They’re all kind of annoying.
With a UV pen you don’t have to wait 30 minutes, get a workout in your forearms, find out your filter is clogged, or be limited to use by a single individual. All you have to do is fill up a bottle with a source of water that looks clean and put the pen in it for about 90 seconds. ZAP! You’ve got clean water that even kills some stuff that traditional membrane filters can’t.
I’m sure my dad is going to love this- it’s a simple high-tech gadget, pretty unique, and super convenient– And I can’t wait to borrow it from him.
Interested in other Water Purification methods? Check out my recent article- How to Purify Water When Camping
BioLite Wood Campstove and Charger
BioLite has come up with some cool stuff the last few years. Do you remember the stove in a can you could buy that would kind of work to cook food? This takes a similar concept, with a small woodburning stove that you can cook on top of with a small pot. Additionally, the integrated power bank charges (albeit, slowly) while the fire is going.
Klymit Static V Inflatable Camping Pad
Growing up we used to sleep on old foam army surplus green pads. They might have been more comfortable than the ground, but I’m not sold on that. The Klymit Static V pad inflates up to 2.5 inches and makes for a nice night while still being pretty compact and weighing in at just over a pound.
You can spend hundreds on a good backpacking pad if you want, but this one is priced really low for the quality and brand name. Note that you will want the insulated one if you plan on doing some cold weather camping.
ENO DoubleNest Lightweight Camping Hammock
Whenever the temperature is above about 45 degrees at night in the summer I love to bring a hammock camping instead of a tent. It weighs quite a bit less than a tent and is a lot more comfortable to me than a camping pad. I feel like a baby being rocked to sleep at night by mother nature.
ENO’s hammocks are durable while still being lightweight, and the design of this one looks like contour lines on a topo, which is something my dad would love.
UST Wetfire Firestarter
When I taught the Wilderness Survival Merit Badge at a Scout camp one summer I bought a bunch of this stuff and would show off for the boys by floating the little pieces in water and lighting it on fire. It’s pretty awesome to set a floating fire, and really shows how invaluable it could be during wet conditions- especially if you live in the Pacific Northwest or somewhere else that gets a lot of rain.
Rio Hammock Chair Lounger
Your dad deserves to be comfortable sitting around the campfire, sleeping in the backyard, or rocking a kid back to sleep in the middle of the night. The Rio camp chair is a much more affordable version of some of the fanciest chairs out there, while still maintaining great reviews and high quality.
Epic Peak Belay Glasses
If your dad is a climber or has kids who are climbers, or frequently takes youth groups out climbing, give him the gift of relieved neck pain. You’ve probably been a pain in the neck before, so this is your chance to right it-
Side note- I used to buy these in bulk from a factory overseas and sell them online, and I can say that most of these are just the same ones branded differently. If you go a lot it makes sense to buy some with a metal frame, but otherwise just get a lower cost pair and you’ll get pretty good quality out of it.
Solar-Powered Wireless Charging Battery Pack
Cell phones have become one of the most essential pieces of gear for a lot of outdoorsmen. They provide a GPS, a convenient flashlight, maps, and an emergency beacon. Unfortunately, something like a GPS drains a phone battery really quickly.
In the old days we used to bring an extra set of batteries for our headlamps or GPS devices. Now we carry a charger for our phones. I’ve found these outdoors battery packs to be rugged enough to toss in a pack or clip to the outside of a pack, and to have a strong enough battery to charge your phone over a few days.
In my experience the solar panel is more of a gimmick than something to rely on (it’s a small panel), but there’s definitely a cool factor involved. The wireless charging feature is really convenient, not having to deal with cords outside.
Darn Tough Hiking Socks
I had to either put socks or ties on the list for Father’s Day. But really, I always say that if I’m ever filthy rich, the one excessive thing I’ll do is wear a brand new pair of socks everyday. What a wonderful feeling.
The cool thing about Darn Tough socks, aside from the comfort, is the lifetime warranty for any reason. And hey- your dad might just be the kind who would will take them up on it.
BioLite Rechargeable Headlamp
I used one of these to run an all-night Trail Ragnar race outside of Zion last year, and it worked perfectly. The ‘no bounce’ BioLite advertises is legit and it didn’t bother me at all during the run. It’s really nice to not have to worry about the AAA batteries dying at any time, and the battery lasts a long time to each charge.
Need More Ideas?
Check out our Recommended Gear Page to see what we use for Canyoneering and other outdoor adventures.
Or, just invite him on an adventure! That’s probably the best gift anyway (on the other hand, that UV Water Purifier is really cool…).