13 Lucky Gifts for Lucky Dads

This Father’s Day, get your old man outside

By Katie O'Reilly

June 13, 2020


Photo by bernardbodo/iStock

If you’re anything like us, you owe much of your love for outdoor adventure to a parent or guardian who ignited that passion in your youth, and on June 21 we’re celebrating the father figures. Whether that’s a burly papa who builds fires and scales mountains or a dude who just loves to chill in the backyard, we think you’ll find something fitting for him here.

Been jonesing to get Dad into the backcountry? Ease his off-grid anxiety with a rugged portable charger that’ll keep his smartphone, tablet, and other portable devices juiced. Fospower’s PowerActiveUSB Power Bank ($50) is snowproof, dirtproof, and waterproof. It comes with an LED flashlight, compass, and carabiner, plus built-in protection from short-circuiting, overcharging, and overheating.

Consider treating the wilderness-savvy outdoorsy dad to the multifunctional Akka Forester’s Axe ($169) from Hults Bruk. Made from hand-forged Swedish steel, this tool is capable of limbing, chopping, fine-carving, and even carpentry; its light (2.2 pound), long design offers packability and flexibility. The ax head’s razor-sharp flat edge profile and nearby finger notch offers control for detailed carving and precision cuts. He’ll love it for lengthy wilderness trips and canoe expeditions. 

Planning a wild adventure with a food-loving guy? Send his taste buds on an excellent adventure too, via the new Camp Box ($89) from Patagonia Provisions. It provides two active adults with two days’ worth of A+ backcountry grub. We’re talking fixings for banana grain pancakes, chili with polenta and cheese, seafood paella, plus tasty bars and other trail staples. Just add water, a cooking pot or two, fuel, and a few pantry basics, and you and Pops will be savoring a moveable feast.

Maybe your dad is a creative, pragmatic hobby horse. If so, help him engage with the natural world in good-old analog fashion with a knife and Whittling in the Wild: 30+ Fun & Useful Things to Make Out of Wood ($20), a new book by pro carver Felix Immler that’s chock-full of family-friendly carving projects.

If your old man happens to be a long-distance runner or hiker, it's time to acquaint him with Swiftwick’s ASPIRE Twelve compression socks ($30). These knee-highs provide even (yet not restrictive) support throughout the calf to stabilize muscles and reduce fatigue. The company’s been donating the socks, which stay comfortable for hours, to medical professionals fighting COVID-19 on the front lines. 

A favorite gift category at Sierra is technically advanced gear that doesn’t look super technical. Enter Third Eye Headlamps ($50), designed by contemporary artist and adventure junkie Sean Anderson. Made from recyclable, nontoxic plastic, these waterproof, 168-lumen gems come in more than a dozen rad designs (think tie-dye, camo, and galaxy prints) to suit your father’s personal flair. To further sweeten the deal, the company’s a proud 1% for the Planet member.

Given that we’re all virus-wary these days, you can equip Dad with a stylish, BPA-free, lightweight, and portable drinking water solution in the form of Grayl’s new GeoPress Purifier ($90). A single eight-second press filters out viruses, bacteria, protozoan cysts, pesticides and other chemicals, heavy metals, and even microplastics—creating 24 ounces of clear, odor-free, potable water. Its cap protects against cross-contamination, and the grip provides an ergonomic, nonslip pumping experience.

Outfit Pops for safe fun under the sun with Helly Hansen’s new Lifa Active Solen Hoodie ($70). Available in four colors, its lightweight, breathable, moisture-wicking fabric provides 50+ UPF sun protection. It’s a gift that'll help keep him cool and dry while hiking, sailing, riding, or lounging. 

A fun splurge gift for the father who knows his way around the kitchen is the portable GoSun Fusion ($499), the world’s first solar oven that, thanks to hybrid-electric power capabilities, doesn’t actually require the sun. Because it deploys in seconds and collapses into a durable package, Dad can bring it into the backyard or the wilderness, no fuel or flames necessary, and whip up grub in rain, clouds, snow, or even in the dark of night.  

Perfect for the dad who followed last month’s SpaceX launch and still dreams of becoming an astronaut is the fetching new hardcover 100 Things to See in the Night Sky ($16), by Cincinnati Observatory astronomer Dean Regas. Less pollution these days means we can see the stars better than we have in decades, and this book, filled with mesmerizing astrophotography and star charts, shows readers exactly where to look to spot shooting stars, constellations, planets, satellites, and more. What better gift for someone who’s been cooped up than to open up the vast expanse of the universe? 

Wandrd crafts a range of great, affordable packs and accessories for photographers and travelers. The weatherproof Prvke Pack (21 liters, $184; 31 liters, $204) is ideal for adventurous photographers, whether aspiring or pro, fixing to trek into the backcountry to capture vistas, night skies, or wildlife. Its expandable roll-top offers plenty of room for camera gear and personal items as well as camera cubes, tripods, and other accessories. The best part: Quick-draw side access means it’ll never take Dad more than a few seconds to grab what he needs to create that dream shot.

Keep dad safe in high style with the gift of this fetching 3-pack of masks ($18) from California Cowboy. Made from vibrant, tightly-woven, cotton-lyocell cloth left over from the company's popular apparel collections, these masks come with comfortable, over-the-ear elastic bands. Plus, a dollar from every mask sale (so, $3 for each 3-pack) goes to San Francisco's COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund. 

After all that adventuring, your dad will be ready for a good night’s sleep, which he’ll get from Mountain Hardwear’s new Lamina Eco AF sleeping bag ($240). Dad’ll rest easy in this stylishly ghostly (in other words, undyed to minimize water footprint) 30-degree compressible mummy bag, crafted from recycled ripstop shell, lining, insulation, and trims. Two-way zippers allow for easy ventilation, a tailored hood blocks drafts and seals in warmth, and a contoured foot-box offers toasty tootsie comfort.

Speaking of warmth, did you know 48 million single-use propane bottles end up in landfills every year? New from Ignik Outdoors, the Gas Growler Deluxe ($150) packs the heat of five of those bottles and easily connects to existing propane-fueled devices to help campers cook and stay warm. Made to last for 12 years, its five-pound propane tank offers a refillable, long-lasting, zero-waste heating solution. Plus, the tank comes in a rugged carrying case with an adaptor and carrying strap. You don’t mind carrying it, do you, Dad?