Coming up with a Father’s Day gift year after year can be a huge challenge, especially if you have one of those stoic dads who never seem to want or need anything. If he’s an outdoorsman, however, you’re in luck: There are plenty of useful camping, hunting and fishing gadgets available to delight and amuse a rugged dad.
When selecting a Father’s Day gift for a sportsman, consider emergency preparedness as well as utility. Many outdoorsmen pack what they know they will use but forget to plan for situations in which the trip doesn’t go as planned. Look for gadgets that can serve multiple purposes or that can double as survival gear.
Following are four gift ideas for a dad who enjoys the outdoors:
1. LED headlamp. Ever had to hold the flashlight for dad while he changed a flat tire, worked on a car engine, tried to set up a tent at night or baited a hook in the wee hours? An LED headlamp can cut the swearing and arm cramps to a minimum by giving him all the light he needs focused right where he needs it, leaving his hands free to do the work. Plus, it’s more energy efficient than a traditional flashlight, providing longer battery life.
Another useful feature of an LED headlamp is it can be used as a distress signal in case of emergency. More than one lost hiker has been found only because rescuers spotted their emergency flashlights in the dark.
LED headlamps are so universally handy, it doesn’t hurt to have multiples – one for the car, one for the house and one for the camping gear. A quality headlamp should have multiple brightness settings so he can adjust the light to the task at hand. The strap should be comfortable and easily adjustable, and the batteries should be widely available and easy to change.
2. Hunting knife. A sturdy hunting knife is another basic utensil for any sportsman. Whether your dad hunts, fishes or simply enjoys rugged camping, sporting knives can help him accomplish a variety of tasks with ease, from slicing through rope to field dressing his latest trophy.
A quality hunting knife should have either a carbon steel or stainless steel blade. Stainless steel resists rust, so it’s good for rainy conditions; however it’s harder to sharpen than carbon steel. A carbon steel blade will need to be treated with a silicon wax to prevent rust. Some sporting knives feature a core of carbon steel covered with an outer layer of stainless steel to take advantage of each metal’s strengths.
An avid hunter or fisherman may also need specialty sporting knives for specific tasks, such as filleting fish or detailed skinning.
3. Multi-tool. Any pragmatic dad will appreciate the efficiency and utility of a multi-tool. Multi-tools are designed to combine a folding knife with a variety of other tools – such as saw blades, pliers and screwdrivers – into a lightweight, compact form that can easily tuck into a pocket, backpack or tool belt.
Choosing a multi-tool for someone else can be tricky, as they can come with a variety of different bells and whistles – there are multi-tools for hunters, fishermen, carpenters and even women. Keep in mind, though, that when it comes to buying a multi-tool, more is not necessarily better. Unneeded features only take up space and make the overall tool heavier.
Make a list of things your dad likes to do, and choose a multi-tool whose features provide value for that activity. For example, if he enjoys rugged camping, you might want a tool that has a fork, knife and can opener.
4. Emergency lantern. Any dad who spends time in the wilderness should bring along an emergency LED lantern in case he becomes lost or injured. These lanterns not only offer area light to see by in an emergency, but they can also be used to send a visual distress signal.
A good emergency lantern will be powerful and lightweight, with a long battery life. Some LED lanterns offer up to 100 hours of battery life and have different settings, such as a red emergency strobe and an energy-saving switch for extending the batteries.
The technology and quality of outdoor gear is constantly improving, so even if your dad already has all of the basics, it could be time for an upgrade – and just in time for his next summer trip.