Everybody always jokes that Father’s Day falls in June because it was an afterthought to May’s Mother’s Day ⏤ a symbolic bone to throw dad so he’d stop complaining about how great everyone thinks mom is. Turns out that’s pretty accurate. (There’s a little truth in every joke, right?) But regardless of whether Father’s Day debuted two years after the first Mother’s Day (in 1910), or wasn’t made a national holiday until 62 years later (in 1972), nobody’s ever disputed the idea that dads deserve a day of recognition.
And we’re not complaining. Because, while parenting is its own reward, it’s still pretty nice to get a little something. From an intelligent smoker to workout-tracking wireless headphones to a tree tent certain to evoke fond memories of misspent youth, these items should satisfy any type of dad.
One of those inspirational coffee-table books to help ease the sting of a crappy day at the office, Surf Shacks “illustrates how surfers live both on and off shore” with handsome artsy pics of their homes, gardens, and studios. In addition to aesthetics, the book also includes conversations, Q&As, and anecdotes with the surfers about their lives, design style, and, if you’re lucky, how they quit their day jobs to live the surfing dream.
Barebones Rambler Cooler
A refreshing alternative to lugging a giant chest cooler across the beach (and up the boardwalk, and through the parking lot… ) under a sweltering sun, the Barebones Rambler is a stately leather-trimmed backpack that can keep up to 20 cans of your favorite beverage (and/or Lunchables for the kids) cold for up to 24 hours. It’s water-resistant, has a removable anti-microbial liner, and comes with a handy bottler opener attached to the zipper.
Mission Critical Tactical Baby Carrier
At first glance, the 1000D nylon outer shell of Mission Critical’s military grade baby carrier might be mistaken for Kevlar. It’s an honest mistake — the thing absolutely looks like something a SEAL team would wear on “Take Your Daughter To Work” day. While some baby carriers are definitely dad-friendly, this one is designed specifically for guys. Kids can ride either facing in or out, and the carrier features a removable interior liner, zippered front pocket, and a hideaway sun shield. Also, there’s mesh webbing for better air flow/comfort, which means no more infant-sized sweat stains.
KitchenAid Cold Brew Coffee Maker
No need to spend your kid’s college fund on Third Wave cold-brew when you can install this handsome brushed-steel java tap right in the fridge. Simply scoop fresh grounds into the steeper, fill with water, and give it a good 12-24 hours to brew ⏤ the result is 28 ounces of coffee concentrate that you can mix in two-ounce shots with water or milk. The coffee lasts up to two weeks ⏤ your kid’s 529 Plan thankfully longer.
Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy: Ernest Hemingway’s Secret Adventures
As if Ernest Hemmingway wasn’t already considered the ultimate badass, turns out he dabbled in the art of spycraft as well. This “literary biography with the soul of an espionage thriller” was written by a former historian at the CIA museum and reveals the story behind Papa’s secret life as a spy, from his undercover work during the Spanish Civil War, to his involvement with Cuban rebels, to “his role as a Soviet agent code-named ‘Argo’.” Dad doesn’t even need to be a Hemmingway buff to get sucked into this one.
For all intents and purposes, goTenna is a walkie-talkie for texting. (Except, unlike a walkie talkie, you don’t need to keep saying “over.”) More specifically, it’s a small radio antenna that uses low-watt VHF waves to let you send individual or group texts without Wi-Fi or a cell signal. But the best use for this thing is being able to communicate with your family up to 25 miles away — because they may have just gone down the path less taken.
Traeger Timberline 1300 Grill
The Traeger Timberline may look like a modified Civil War cannon, but the technology is anything but crude. How does it work? Based on your desired cooking temperature, the natural hardwood pellets are automatically fed into the fire pot for a steady burn, which you can crank up or dial down using the Traeger app. In doing so, you control not only the heat source but also a system called “TRU Convection,” which is basically an induction fan that generates a delicious vortex of heat and smoke. Powered by a standard household outlet, the grill requires very few watts, so you’ll be giving Mother Nature a break as you torch her bounty.
Huawei Watch 2
Considering how much the kids play with your phone these days, wearing a smartwatch isn’t such a bad idea if you want to stay connected. Huawei’s sporty second-gen version of their Apple Watch competitor is targeted to those who like to sweat, and is equipped with GPS, a fitness tracker/heart-rate monitor, and even a “professional running coach.” You can change the watch face with a swipe of the screen, ask questions using Google assistant, and even download up 4GB of tunes so you can listen offline. You know, when Junior’s playing Peekaboo Barn on your phone.
Talelight Electronic Bumper Sticker
Talelight’s essentially an 8-inch digital billboard for your car bumper that lets you change messages (“stickers”) using little more than a smartphone — no nail polish remover required. The high-res/lower-power LCD affixes using industrial-strength adhesive tape, connects to the car’s internal USB jack, and syncs to the Talelight app via Bluetooth. There are about 200 stickers available for purchase in their store (up to $3 each) — ranging from “Go Blue,” to “More Cowbell,” to “I Heart New Jersey.” Or you can design/upload your own “Get Off My Ass” sticker and have it ready to go when the moment’s right.
Jabra Wireless Headphones
Jabra’s high-tech Elite Sport cord-free buds are designed more for the gym than avoiding Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, but thanks to dual microphones in each ear that help cancel/regulate background noise, they’re good for both. In addition to their noise-canceling, the sweat proof headphones rock a heart-rate monitor, keep tabs on all your standard fitness tracker stats (mileage, calories burned, etc.), and get about three hours of use per charge.
Building off the success of their smaller, hanging treehouses for kids, the folks at TreePod unveiled a sturdier camping version. It’s still a suspended tent made of UV and water-resistant nylon, but now it boasts a lightweight aluminum frame and rigid floor with removable center divider. It’s made for two adults (up to 500 pounds) and measures 4.5-feet by 7-feet. And amazingly, it still only needs one strong branch or anchor point from which to hang. You just tie off the corners with guy lines to keep the thing from swaying in the breeze.
For the traveler who doesn’t want to fight over dumbells in the hotel fitness center, Monkii Bars are essentially a TSA-approved portable gym that fits in a carry-on bag. The pair of 9-ounce aerospace-grade aluminum tubes come with custom-braided suspension lines that can be attached to anything, from a hotel door to a tree in the middle of the yard. In fact, they come with a training manual that walks you through 10 exercises designed for 10 different locations including the beach and the airport lounge.
Stingray 7-in-1 BBQ Multitool
Doesn’t matter if your grill has more counter space than a kitchen, no cookout king wants to juggle fifty BBQ implements while trying to cook a party’s worth of burgers. Stingray’s 7-in-1 puts all the action in one stainless steel multitool. In addition to standard tongs, spatula, and fork, it also rocks a spatula-tong combo (spatutong? tongula?) to keep food from slipping away and a handy, built-in bottle opener.
Harry’s Father’s Day Shave Set
The beauty of giving dad a razor is that, unless he’s a blogger and/or basement-dwelling day trader, it’s going to get used. This elegant set from the shaving specialists at Harry’s comes with a limited-edition storm gray Truman razor handle (with stand), cream, extra blades, and a cover. Throw in an extra $10 and you can have it engraved to read: “Dear Dad, for those days you leave the house.” Or, something to that effect.
Sherpapa Supply Co. Papa Hat
For the guy who now proudly plays on team Papa, this five-panel navy snapback is part of a new line of men’s clothing inspired by modern dads from actor Matthew Morrison, the guy from Glee. It sports a red-and-white embroidered “PAPA” patch, old-school plastic adjustable closure, and also comes in as a black meshback ‘Trucker’ with a cotton sweatband.
This one is going to require an IOU in dad’s card, as it doesn’t ship until a week after Pop’s Day. But it’s worth the wait. Amazon’s new Echo Show has the same functionalities as the original (plays music, sets alarms, facilitates pizza orders) plus a seven-inch screen. And while the display is perfect for calling up scores, watching Sports Center highlights, and displaying the weather, the real use case ⏤ the one Jeff Bezos was clearly considering ⏤ is video calls. It comes with a “Drop In” feature that lets designated friends and family make video connections at any time. Then again, maybe it’s not such a great idea.