Another year and another run at “What should we get dad for Father’s Day?” This year gift ideas can be a challenge, with the end-of-the-lockdown seemingly close and then in the same week really far away as the CDC does its latest reversal of guidance. Last year most dads didn’t even need pants let alone a tie as they worked from home while being filmed from the shoulders up on Zoom. Fear not, dear reader, I have suggestions for what to get your dad (or what your wife and kids should get you) for Father’s Day. As usual, every item profiled in this article is something I have personally tested.
Dads Carry Knives
Dad is a man, and a man carries a knife. Dad probably has several knives, but what dad might not yet have is the handy little Kapsule by Kershaw. The Kapsule is small, but mighty. It has a unique sliding button opening mechanism that locks in place and can easily be operated with one hand. The stone washed 8Cr13MoV blade is well suited for puncturing, slicing, and precise chopping. It’s a good little knife for making shavings or similar detailed work, and it works great for opening boxes as well. $49.99 www.kershaw.kaiusa.com
Dad Uses the Right Tool for the Job
Dad is wise, so when dad is doing dad things, he smartly doesn’t use his knife to pry things open. He uses a pry bar tool, like the Fiosracht pry bar tool from Celtic Shield. Made of 7075 aluminum and covered with Type III hard coat anodizing, this pry tool takes the abuse that dad’s knife wasn’t meant for. The anodizing is “butta smooth”, so it slips into dad’s pocket with ease and is retained there by a clip. The Fiosracht pry bar tool is a collaborative effort between Celtic Shield and Attn2detail Mercantile. Celtic Shield is a veteran owned small business known for making outstanding rfid proof minimalist wallets (that I carry every day). Attn2detail Mercantile (www.attn2detailmercantile.com ) is likewise a veteran owned small business, and it is known for handmade knives that are absolute works of art. Each limited edition Fiosracht pry bar tool is individually numbered and marked with the Celtic Shield logo ($84 at www.celticshield.com).
Get Dad Outside
Father’s Day marks the 67th week of some form of lockdown, so dad is ready to get out and enjoy the outdoors this summer. Help him do so with some gear from 5.11 Tactical. First, set him up with some new boots. The Union 6 inch waterproof boot is super comfortable right out of the box (this has also been the case with other 5.11 boots I have tried). The Vibram® XS-trek outsole material gives great grip, and the tread design is aggressive enough for dad’s offroad adventures. The Ortholite® X-25 footbed is super comfortable and supportive. These boots are easy to wear for long periods of time. New to this boot is a rubber toe for protection and it seems well designed, making one of the more vulnerable parts of a boot more durable. The upper is suede and nylon, and the eVent® BBP waterproofing adds another dimension to this boot’s versatility. One of the things I like the most about these boots is how wide they open up, making donning and shedding them easy. The tabs at the top of the boot are well designed and functional rather than decorative. Available in regular and wide widths in Black, Coyote, and Dark Coyote. $131.99 www.511tactical.com
Next get dad some shorts to replace that nasty plaid pair that he just won’t throw away. The 5.11 10 inch Dart shorts will have dad looking and feeling good this summer. Dart shorts are polyester with wicking and stretching properties. The belt loops are robust and large enough for a carry belt. There are seven pockets – two zippered in back, two phone size in back, two angled in front, and one more phone style on the side of the right thigh. These lightweight shorts have a running gusset, so dad can wear these to the gym, for a run, or wherever. Available in Ranger Green, Black, Stone, and Flint for $39.99.
A good summer shirt is a safe bet for dad as well. The 5.11 Marksman shirt has been out for while, and the short sleeve version has just been introduced. It is a lightweight, breathable shirt with mesh pits to keep dad cool when the heat is on. This button up shirt has buttoned chest pockets with pen/pencil sleeves in them. Available in Cinder, Volcanic, and Grey Blue from XS to 2XL for $39.99.
Finally, if dad doesn’t already have one, you should get him an AMP24 backpack. He can use it to do ruck hikes, go camping, or create a go bag. I’ve used these packs from 5.11 for some time, and they are built to be used and abused. The main clamshell compartment on the AMP24 is 32 liters, and designed for a 24 hour outing. The Hexgrid on the front is like a Molle system, but better because items may be angled in various positions. The Hexgrid may also be removed and replaced with 5.11’s Gearset components. Gearsets are available as admin pouches, helmet holders, and so on. The straps and back of the AMP24 are comfortable under various load weights. There are 4 side pockets, one bottom pocket, a fleece lined eyewear pocket, and an inside admin panel. Inside there is also a covert flat pocket. Finally, on the front there is a pocket suitable for a holstered pistol. The AMP24 is made from 500D nylon and 1050D nylon on the bottom. Available in Black or Kangaroo for $127.99.
It’s not a Fanny Pack
If dad is old enough, he will remember the fanny pack. A prominent feature in the last century, the fanny pack predates “the satchel” (see the movie The Hangover). In the late 1900’s the fanny pack was used by both men and women to “keep all their things” when traveling to malls, amusement parks, and grocery stores.
Sheepdog Response is bringing back the fanny pack by offering the Low Vis Waist Pack. It is a practical concealed carry option for when the weather gets hot enough to make traditional pistol carrying impractical. Sheepdog Response founder Tim Kennedy insists “it’s not a fanny pack”. If you say so Tim. Whatever it is, the Low Vis Waist Pack is a useful piece of kit. It was designed with “comfort, concealability, accessibility and protection all in one very unsuspecting package”. With this pack you may carry in plain sight and not be overly conspicuous – and that’s a key point of concealed carry, the concealed part.
Sheepdog’s designers went through many iterations and prototype testing to land on this design. The pack features 500D nylon, YKK Zippers, and an adjustable main strap. The back panel is a breathable mesh, with a vertical pocket for a cell phone. Included is a universal holster for a Glock 43 to 19 as well as dual elastic mag holders.
As entertaining as it is to make fun of Tim Kennedy (when he is not within reach), I’ll have to admit I would wear this fanny pack…. I mean, Low Vis Waist Pack. It is well thought out and functional for its intended use. Like any other concealed carry gear, it is something you will have to practice with for it to be useful and effective. $54.99 www.sheepdogresponse.com
Not Just Another Tee Shirt
This past year of lockdowns has changed our wardrobes. By now, dad’s button-down collar shirts are probably in the back of the closet where they belong. If he’s like me, dad has been wearing many tee shirts during the lockdown. Plain tees got boring in the first 30 days, but themed tee shirts add some pizazz. My go to place for great fitting, super comfortable, themed tee shirts is Ranger Up. With prints like “But Did You Die”, “Medium Speed, Some Drag”, and “Caffeine and Hate”, there are many patterns sure to bring a smile to dad’s face. My personal favorite is “Life, Liberty, and Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself”. It’s a sleeper print because most people only read the first two words and assume they know the rest. I was at a dinner party (oh yes, waaay before the lockdowns for sure) and after an hour someone came up to me laughing because she had just then understood the shirt. Ranger Up tee shirts are the way to go for dad. Prices range from $9.99 for the mystery shirt to $29.99 for almost any of their patterns. Ranger Up also sell mugs, patches, and tin signs for the wall if dad is more into that kind of thing. Ranger Up is veteran owned and founded by Nick Palmisciano, a West Pointer and all-around good guy. If you want to get to know what Ranger Up is all about, watch their weekly YouTube broadcast called the Bad News Network. www.rangerup.com
Start a Fire
Dad’s know how to start fires, whether they be campfires, barbecues, or small brushfires. Make dad’s life easier and get him some Pyro Putty. This stuff is great. It’s compact, effective, and has an outstanding shelf life. Though called putty, it is more like fibers embedded in a soft wax-like substance. To start a fire you pinch off a pea or nickel sized piece, expose the fibers, and light it with a sparker, lighter, or magnifying glass. Such a small piece will burn for several minutes. Pyro Putty is non-toxic and petroleum free. They offer winter, summer, and other versions, but they all do about the same thing (with slightly different characteristics). Pyro Putty also sells lighters, strikers, and more. Prices range from $5.99 for a 0.5 ounce tin to $19.99 for 20 single use packets. www.pyroputty.com
Dad probably has an old Zippo lighter laying around and he probably doesn’t use it anymore. Upgrade dad’s old Zippo with a Sparkr Zippo insert from Power Practical. This dual arc plasma lighter is rechargeable and brings that old lighter right into the 21st century. The plasma arcs light fires quickly without butane or flame, it works great with Pyro Putty, and it is windproof. The included Micro USB charging cord recharges the Sparkr in an hour to provide many days of use. When plugged in, an led changes color from blue to green to indicate a full charge. The Sparkr will fit in regular Zippo flip top cases, but not in Zippo Slim or 1935 replica models. $15 at www.powerpractical.com