Whether he hikes or bikes, camps or fishes, any outdoorsy dad would love a father’s day gift he can use on his adventures — and especially one that will let him share those adventures with his kids. We spoke to dads who love nature, walking, fly-fishing, Rollerblading, trail running, and more about the best gifts they’ve ever gotten, and the ones they — hint, hint — really want this Father’s Day.
For dads who bike
The best gift outerwear brand AI Riders on the Storm’s founder and designer Giovanni Chicco’s kids ever gave him was essential for outdoor safety: “I used to Rollerblade on solitary roads in the countryside, once a car almost ran me over,” he said. “After that I got a backpack with indicators from my kids. Funny-looking, but functional.”
For Weston Deutschlander, a backcountry guide and mountain-bike guide with the Outbound Collective, the best Father’s Day gift would be one “that would let me play with my kid.” Since he already takes his daughter skiing, climbing, and hiking with him, he’d love to receive “a bike seat so that she could cruise around town with me. Even the cardboard box that the bike seat came in would turn into the ultimate toy.” He’d get years of use out of the Harmax seat that’s safe for babies as young as 9 months old, and for kids up to 48 pounds.
Another option for kids to bike with dad is this front-mounted seat that John Perry, creative director for Creminelli Fine Meats and an avid mountain biker, admits “looks funky,” but “is solid as a rock” and is perfect for taking his son biking in the Wasatch Mountain Range.
For dads who hike
When Perry’s off the bike and exploring the mountains and national parks of Moab, Utah, on foot, he likes this carrier with a removable, separate backpack and built-in hydration sleeve. “It’s a gateway tool for adventurous parents and kids. It gives them the opportunity to experience the feel of hiking, biking, snowboarding, speed, and the elements, so when they’re ready to get out themselves they’re already comfortable with the movements and environment for whatever sport they might be tackling.”
Like Deutschlander and Perry, Brandon Dewey, who leads outdoor photography classes with the Pursuit Series, said his favorite gift was one that lets him share his love of exploring nature with his children: “My son and I have hiked hundreds of miles over the years using this backpack, which helps foster a bond not only between the two of us but also between my son and the outdoors. Six years later, and now a father of two, this backpack has gone on every adventure with my sons and me, which has allowed me to create some amazing memories with my family. “
Steve Casimiro, founder of Adventure Journal magazine, said, “I’d love to be given the Danner Mountain 600 Enduroweave hiking boot. It’s built on Danner’s legendary platform, which is sturdy, durable, and time-tested, but now has a modern and urbane look. Enduroweave is textured, sleek, breathable, and bombproof.” They’re also a good gift for frequent-flier dads, as travelers love Danner boots as well.
Nicola Agostinetto, U.S. sales manager for Parajumpers, said the best Father’s Day gift he ever got was “a multifunctional, lightweight backpack ideal for my walks in the Dolomites.” With leather patches and minimal pockets and zippers, this Patagonia backpack has enough urban edge for dads whose walks are more park to coffee shop than Alpine — but it’s still durable enough for a family day hike.
For dads who love pocketknives
As for what Agostinetto would like to be gifted, he said “a Swiss Army knife, that always comes in handy if you love to explore nature.” This classic Victorinox model includes a bottle opener and corkscrew in case dad’s nature explorations include indulging in the occasional libation.
Professional ultrarunner and father of four Brian Tolbert, a self-confessed “sucker for a cool pocketknife” called this elegant folding knife with a hardwood handle his “current obsession.” It’s one dads’ with upscale tastes will appreciate.
For an affordable but functional knife, Stephen Regenold, founder of the outdoor gear news and review site GearJunkie, said “these stout, versatile, and inexpensive knives are perfect for any dad. They can be used around the house, in the garden, or for almost anything outdoors.” It’s a gift he’d love to get.
For dads who camp
Last Father’s Day, Regenold, a father of five, received this trompe l’oeil log pillow. The backstory? “I once had to use a real log as a pillow on an ultralight backpacking trip,” he said. “The kids thought I needed something softer next time.”
Now that Dewey’s oldest son is old enough to go backpacking and camping with him, for Father’s Day this year, he’s asking for a new tent to replace his “single-man backpacking tent, which will not fit both of us.” He has this tent from REI, which “will be big enough to fit the two of us plus my youngest son when he is old enough.”
For dads who run
Last year ultramarathoner Michael Wardian broke the speed record in the World Marathon Challenge — that’s seven marathons in seven days on seven continents — so to say he’s always on the go would be an understatement. The best gift he ever got was this “really nice dry bag that I can throw all my wet clothes into when I finish an event and have to rush off to the airport.” Perfect for catching a flight home to see his two sons — or to Antarctica for his next 26.2.
To keep training for record-breaking times, Wardian said this year for Father’s Day, he’d like a “light and simple running jacket that weighs nothing, packs incredibly small, yet keeps you super warm and you can use in the mountains.” Desiree Linden won this year’s cold, wet, and blustery Boston Marathon wearing the women’s version of this water- and wind-resistant Brooks jacket, so we think it can withstand dad’s daily runs.
For dads who fish
“A new fly-fishing rod is always a sweet gift,” said Matt Hranek, photographer, luxury editor at Condé Nast Traveler, and author of A Man and His Watch. Because these can be expensive and, Hranek said, he doesn’t need more, they’re a special gift for the fly-fishing-enthusiast dad who wouldn’t buy one for himself. “I think of my wife or daughter every time I fish with one of those presents, it connects me to them every time,” he said.
To go with the fly-fishing rod, Hranek would love to be gifted a new reel. “I have to admit I always hint a bit and leave clues to what I would like — or “need” — but for some reason it is always a surprise,” he said, so it may be best to follow dad’s lead when it comes to these specialized gifts.
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