Father's Day Gift Guide

June 16, 2011, 10:39 am

by Joel Saferstein

With more than three decades of experience buying gifts for father’s day, it’s fair to say that I have some skill picking out the right gift. If you are one of the millions of forgetful kids who hasn’t gotten around to picking out a gift for your pop, let me give you some direction. He really doesn’t need (or want) another tie. Ditto a beer holster, engraved collar stays or a subscription to a 'scotch of the month' club (save that one for the holidays). And don’t even think about the remote control/bottle opener that you’ve been eyeing—does he really need another tool to keep him glued to the couch with a beer?

If you really cared about your old man you’d be doing everything that you could to get him out of the house… from watching Outside Television to actually going outside. Show your dad how much you love him by spending time with him in the great outdoors and take him to a one of the thousands of national, state and local parks in the country (to find a park near you, check out the new, free Oh, Ranger! ParkFinder™ app) and go for a hike, cast a line, climb a rock or ride some rapids.

If your dad’s at two with nature, the following gift ideas might push him back into his comfort zone and inspire him to get out with you more.

Remind your dad of when you caught your first fish and maybe he’ll get hooked again. Head to Yellowstone National Park, one of the Top 10 Places to Fly Fish in the world, and cast a line among the bison, moose and bald eagles. Start in the Firehole River, which is warmed by the park’s many geothermal features, like the nearby Old Faithful geyser. June is a transitional month and temperatures can vary dramatically (it’s still in the 30s this week). Make sure your father stays warm on the river and in-style off of it with Redington’s Cascade Hoody. This versatile top layer is ideal for anglers who are active both on and off the river and is a perfect foil for Yellowstone’s fickle weather. It will protect your dad’s head and neck from the wind, rain and the sun (it has a UPF 30+ rating) and it dries quickly, wicking water away from skin. It has some other great details usually found on more expensive pieces, like an anti-microbial treatment that will keep your “signature” funk at bay during a long weekend and thumb loops that are a great alternative for gloves. You can pick one up online, at a local sporting goods store, or wait until you get to the park to get outfitted. Yellowstone General Stores at Grant Village, Old Faithful and Fishing Brige now carry the Redington line.

Take a short trip to Moab, Utah to take in Arches National Park and reintroduce your dad to the joys of mountain biking. If he's concerned about dangers, remind him that a) full suspension bikes are like pedaling a lazy boy and b) there is no risk of getting hit by a car. Give the gift of safety and outfit your father with a Specialized Propero helmet to protect his noggin. This value-priced helmet is race-inspired and promises to fit perfectly right out of the box. It’s extremely well ventilated (it features Specialized's 4th Dimension Cooling System) which you’ll be grateful for while pedaling along Moab’s single tracks. My favorite feature is it U-Turn strap adjusters that guide webbing better, to make sizing a snap. Like any other helmet you would consider wearing, it complies with safety standards set for bicycle helmets. These standards are meaningless if your helmet isn’t properly fit, which can cause additional injuries. If you aren’t sure if your helmet fits correctly, go to your local bike shop.

If you live on the East Coast, you’re probably located within a day’s drive of the Appalachian Trail, the 2,174-mile footpath that stretches from Springer Mountain, Georgia, and Mt. Katahdin in Maine. Cross the AT off your bucket list and do a section (my favorite part is in central Vermont). If your dad’s boots are looking rugged, get him a new pair for Father’s Day. I love my Danner ZigZag Hiking boots, which boast serious support without being overly heavy. You’re dad will feel light on his feet in these rugged boots, which are ideally suited for the undulating hills of the Appalachian Trail. The boots have a 100% waterproof and breathable GORE-TEX® liner and are built on an EVA dual density platform that provide ample cushioning on trails (your dad may still complain about his feet being sore. He’s probably lying).

You’ll also want to make sure he has a proper pair of socks. I’ve developed a love affair with my FITS Medium Hiker Crew. FITS relies on 100 years of knitting eperience to creat the best-fitting socks available. Constructed of two-ply, compact-spun, ultra-fine Merino wool, the Hikers will form to your dad’s foot thanks to their deep heel pocket, specialized toe seam and contoured leg. This means no shifting, no bunching and no blisters.

If he already has boots, get him a GPS, so you’ll neither fight over driving directions nor get lost on the trail. The Garmin Montana 650t boasts a 3-axis compass, 4-inch sunlight-readable touchscreen display, a 5 megapixel camera, and is pre-loaded topographic maps. Best of all, you can supplement the onboard lithium battery with three AAs for an additional 22 hours of juice, just in case you decide to hike a few more sections.

Remember, there’s no better gift than the gift of good health, and spending time with your father in the great outdoors is always great medicine. Happy Father’s Day, dad. Your gift is in the mail.