Hunting and Fishing News & Blog Articles
The 2019 Outdoor Life Father’s Day Gift Guide
For years, when it came to my dad's birthday, Christmas, and Father's Day, I did what most men do when they don't want to put any thought and effort into gift ideas—I bought him a Cabela's gift card. Thankfully, I've become much more creative since then, and my new problem is zeroing in on one unique item I know he'll appreciate. If you're stuck in the gift-card-gift rut, or if you just don't know where to start shopping for this upcoming Father's Day, here is a list of items to consider—any of which will surely put a smile on your dad's face. —Ben Romans
Sitka Globetrotter Shirt • Price: $80 (Sitka/)
While Sitka is mostly known for its high-performance apparel, the company also has a lineup of casual shirts and pants manufactured with the same top-notch materials and attention to detail as their hunting clothing. The Globetrotter Shirt is a good example. Made from a two-way stretch cotton and polyester blend, it's wrinkle-free and impregnated with the company's Polygiene Odor Control to help manage scent. There is a side gusset for freedom of movement, a zippered chest pocket, and it's available in two color choices. —Ben Romans
5.11 RUSH24 Military Tactical Backpack • Price: $130 (5.11/)
When I was a kid, my dad bought an olive-drab military rucksack from our local Army-Navy surplus store and used it as a makeshift briefcase for work. I thought it was awesome, and he gave it to me after upgrading to a leather lookalike. These days, companies like 5.11 are continuing to make military-grade packs and backpacks, but with much more thought behind form and function. Their RUSH24 is a good example. It has a simple rucksack design with lots of storage space in the main area (2,275 cubic inches), a reinforced handle, hydration pocket, zippered fleece-lined sunglasses pocket, and self-repairing YKK zippers. On the outside, there are three mesh pockets, a water-bottle holster, and compression straps. And, because it has a water-repellent coating, dads can use the pack for fishing, hunting, or on a quick grab-and-go camping trip. —B.R.
BioLite No-bounce Rechargeable Headlamp • Price: $50 (BioLite/)
Growing up, my "go-to" gifts for dad on Christmas, his birthday, and Father's Day were either a knife, some tools, or a flashlight. Somewhere I'm sure he has a stash of a dozen unopened Maglites he never needed. But as flashlight technology has improved, so have the gift options, which is why you should consider the BioLite No-bounce LED headlamp. The headband itself is part elastic and part molded plastic, so the unit fits snug in the back, and grips the head in the front, eliminating any bounce, slips, or shifting while moving. The other great thing it's rechargeable, so gone are the heavy batteries, and it's bright, throwing out 330 lumens at max power for up to 3.5 hours, and up to 40 hours on the low setting. —B.R.
Havalon Talon Fish Interchangeable Fixed Blade Filet Knife • Price: $60 (Havalon/)
The Talon is a super-sharp, surgical-blade Havalon your dad likely knows and loves, but in a versatile package. It comes with two 7-inch fillet blades, one 5-inch fillet blade, one 3 1/2-inch semi-serrated blade, and a nylon roll pack that secures the handle and all the blades in one package. The knife utilizes the company's Quik-Change II Interchangeable Cutlery System, which makes it easy to safely change blades. Another nice thing about the design is it allows you to fit any Talon-style blade onto the handle. So, down the line, if your dad wants to pick up some blades from Havalon's hunting lineup, he can use this setup with something like a 3 1/2-inch gut hook combo blade. I used the Talon on turkeys and crappies this spring, and the system has worked flawlessly. If your dad could use an almost unbelievably sharp knife to work on big-game, small-game, and fish, well, look no further. –Alex Robinson
Filson Tacoma Work Jacket • Price: $175 (Filson/)
Few outdoor clothing companies have been in business as long as Filson, and there's good reason for it. Over 120 years ago they saw a need for more rugged, durable, and weather-resistant clothing for loggers, anglers, and hunters in the Northwest. While styles have changed since then, they continue to manufacture quality apparel, like the Tacoma Work Jacket. The outer shell is made of 14-ounce cotton that's coated with the company's Aero treatment to block the wind and repel stains. It also has a corduroy-lined collar, button cuffs and pockets, and a zippered chest pocket. —B.R.
Nikon P-Tactical Spur • Price: $200 (Nikon/)
Nikon has long made some of the best optics in the world, but this P-Tactical Spur is the company's first foray into reflex sights. The 1x optic has a 3 MOA dot, weighs 1.1 ounces, is 1.8-inches long and stands off a pic rail about 1.5 inches. There are small, flat-head dials for windage and elevation. It took me three shots to get it dialed at 25 yards on my Rimfire Challenge 22 LR. The two-button operation couldn't be easier. Hold the plus button (+) and it turns on, and with a quick click it'll scroll through the ten brightness settings. Hold the negative button (–), and it shuts off. It's light, and fast to acquire targets on both my 22 LR and Smith & Wesson MP-15. It's waterproof, shockproof, and Nikon says the battery will last 15,000 hours. I turned mine on in April. Check back in November 2020, and I'll tell you if it's still running. —Michael R. Shea
Fenwick Pflueger Nighthawk Spinning Combo • Price: $100 (Fenwick/)
One of the first rods my dad bought me when I was a kid was a Fenwick. I lashed it to my old 10-speed bike and fished every farm pond within a five-mile radius of our Ohio home before a poor decision and a well-placed foot (don't lay rods on the ground when you're rigging) broke it in two. Fenwick still builds some of the best sticks in the business at an affordable price, and the Nighthawk rod and reel combo is proof. The reel has four stainless-steel ball bearings, a machined ported double anodized aluminum spool, a multi-disc drag system, and a convertible right- and left-hand retrieve. The graphite rod has a classic Fenwick action, TAC and EVA handle design, stainless steel guides, and is well suited for any of your dad's favorite farm ponds. —B.R.
Decibullz Custom Molded Earplugs • Price: $25 (Decibullz/)
I used to think my dad pretended he was losing his hearing so he could ignore my mom at any given time. But it turns out, he wasn't faking, and as I've grown older, I realized hearing loss is a real thing that can happen to anyone if you're not careful. To prevent a loved one from losing theirs, consider custom molded earplugs from Decibullz. Simply immerse the thermoplastic molds in hot water for a few moments, remove and let them cool slightly, then place in an ear. The plug will reshape into a custom fit and not fall out. With an NRR rating of 31 dB, Decibullz are great for shooting, loud events, or if your dad is like mine, blocking out conversations with mom. What's more, if the plug loses its custom shape, or a different pair of ears decides to use them, simply repeat the hot-water molding process and they'll be good to go. —B.R.
Fuego Hot Sauce Set • Price: $35 (Fuego Hot Sauce Set/)
A little hot sauce can go a long way. But added in small doses to simple meals like eggs, cheeseburgers, tacos, adult beverages, and of course, hot wings, it can bring out some really unique flavors. If your dad is one who likes to experiment with spicy sauces, the Fuego set comes with seven different flavors (smoky bourbon, whiskey habanero, chipotle pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic pepper, garlic herb, and ghost pepper) made from peppers and spices gathered from all over the world. Though some flavors are more mild than others, the bottles arrive individually wrapped in brown paper with a "wick" attached to the top to resemble a stick of dynamite. —B.R.
Old Town Discovery 119 Solo Sportsman • Price: $900 (Old Town/)
Give dad the gift of alone time, with this new one-man canoe from Old Town. An update of the ever-popular Discovery 119, the Solo Sportsman weighs a light 54 pounds, and the 11-foot, 9-inch open hull design has some key tweaks for hunters and fisherman. The cockpit has been tuned for long days on the water. The kayak-style seat has an adjustable backrest and cup holder, plus padded armrests with shotgun shell holders and rod mounts. There are rod mounts at the yoke, too, and a recessed accessory rail, so you can secure a fish finder, GoPro, phone, or any other must-have do-dad. There's plenty of room aft for a kayak crate, tackle box, decoys or a dog. It's tailor-made for ducky November mornings on skinny water. Get it for dad this Father's Day, and he won't know how to thank you. Just prepare not to see him as much come fall. —M.R.S.
Bubba Li-Lon Cordless Electric Fillet Knife • Price: $125 (Bubba Blade/)
If you've been paying attention, Bubba Blade has been one of the great American success stories. Seemingly appearing overnight a little over a decade ago, they've grown exponentially and show no signs of slowing down. While their razor-sharp fillet knives have garnered a cult following, the company recently branched out to the electric knife crowd with a 110V electric fillet knife, which features an 8 1/2-inch-long, non-slip handle, and four 7-inch-long stainless steel blades with varying stiffness ratings. The blades are easy to remove or change out, and the unit comes with a zippered storage pouch for when the blades aren't in use. It's a great gift if your dad likes to work through a limit of walleyes without skipping a beat.—B.R.
Arbogast Triple Threat • Price: $14 (Arbogast/)
Growing up, one of my favorite activities was learning to row a flat-bottomed Lowe boat on any number of farm ponds we had at our disposal in rural Ohio. From the stern, my dad directed my motions and offered direction while holding a rod trolling an Arbogast Jitterbug 30 yards behind the boat. The best thing about it was I could watch that lure the entire time and hoot and holler when bass hit. Fishing these types of noisy and animated plugs is just plain fun, so if your dad has a few favorite farm ponds of his own, get him the Arbogast Triple Threat package and take him fishing. These things cast a country mile, leave a wake of bubbles on the water, and can be especially fun to fish around structure on a moonlit night. He'll love it. —B.R.
Warne 34mm Rings • Price: $65 (Warne/)
So, you just dropped $1,500 on dad for a Father's Day rifle scope. I hope my kids turn into such sterling examples of human beings as you. But you're not done yet. Good glass needs good rings, and as far as I'm concerned, that means Warne. I picked up on Warne a few years ago after noticing most higher end rifle companies, when I asked for rings, provided me with them. The Maximas are a vertical split ring design. Honestly, this can make leveling the scope a huge pain the rear, but the positives outweigh that negative. Vertical rings have a much slimmer side profile, and uniformly squeeze the scope tube like a hose clamp. This means only one "gap" where the top screws are turned down, compared to two on either side of traditional horizontal rings. I haven't had a situation where a scoped rifle has taken a dive off of a treestand, ATV, or truck, but if I do, I hope it's running Warne rings. —M.R.S.
Costa Rinconcito Sunglasses • Price: $250 (Costa/)
I wrote it in the 2019 Outdoor Life Mother's Day Gift Guide, and I'll say it again: sunglasses are typically one of those things you have to try before you buy. That's why Costa's Rinconcito is such a great frame—these polarized sunglasses have a classic look and style that looks good on just about any face they adorn. Named after the popular California point break, the frames are made from Costa's bio-based resin, an environmentally friendly material created as part of the company's Kick Plastic Initiative. The mirrored lenses are made from a lightweight 580P polycarbonate, there are water-resistant nose pads and temple tips to prevent slippage, and each pair comes with a hard case and lens cloth. —B.R.
Magpul X-22 Stock for Ruger 10/22 • Price: $130 (Magpul/)
Three years ago, the Austin-based maker of everything AR came out with this 10/22 stock, the Hunter X-22. This spring, I finally got my hands on one. It's the main beam of a ridiculously accurate Volquartsen Summit 17 Mach 2 that I can't stop shooting. It's also the stock used by KIDD Innovative Designs, makers of insanely accurate 10/22 clones. If the best 10/22 builders in the world are using Magpul, you know something real is going for it. The X-22 comes with an innovative buttstock spacer system for varying length-of-pull from 12.5 to 13.75 inches, plus fore end M-LOK slots at three, six, and nine o'clock for bipods, lights, lasers or anything else you want to hang off your rifle. The barrel channel has a tray to easily free-float sporter barrels, or you can remove it for or .920-inch bulls. Unlike a lot of inexpensive plastic and rubberized stocks, the X-22 is rugged as hell. I'm a huge fan of the overall lightweight (2.6 pounds), and the 60-degree pistol grip, too. It all adds up to a fast, great handling rifle platform. If your dad, like me, chases bushy tails in the fall and messes with .22 builds in the winter, you can't go wrong here. —M.R.S.
Humminbird Helix 7 Fish Finder • Price: $700 (Humminbird/)
Back when I was a kid and my dad took me fishing, I remember being blown away at the gray-and-black, pixelated fish finder in the front of the boat and how it registered any living and non-living thing under our boat. These days, I can't help but feel the same when I look at the latest-and-greatest fish finders. Humminbird is one of the companies spearheading new fish-finding technology, and the Helix-7 is a great example of how far sonar has come. The unit's key feature is its side-scanning technology, which offers a clear picture of what's on either side of the boat out to 125 feet. It also includes GPS functionality, advanced CHIRP sonar that defines fish and underwater structure on the 7-inch color screen better than ever before, and the ability to create real-time maps of your dad's favorite fishing spots. —B.R.
Simms TriComp Shirt • Price: $60 (Simms/)
If your dad is like mine, and enjoys spending long stretches on the water, then he might as well be comfortable, and Simms' TriComp shirt will do exactly that. Made from a polyester, spandex, and nylon breathable, stretch fabric, this long-sleeve shirt is ventilated to keep your dad cool, treated with Simms' Coolcore technology to keep unwanted heat out, and has a UPF 50 rating. There is also a large chest pocket, articulated cuffs, and built-in chamois to clean sunglass lenses. —B.R.
LifeProof Lifeactiv Power Pack 20 • Price: $99.99 (LifeProof/)
Oh how dependent society has become on smartphones. They're both a blessing, and a curse. We love them when we get turned around and need directions, and hate them whenever some self-absorbed driver is on a call and not paying attention while cruising in the passing lane. But the worst feeling is watching the battery level trickle to single digits, before eventually shutting off—especially if you lean on the GPS function in the woods. If your dad is a fan of apps like onX (like I am) or he uses his device more for Facebook or Instagram posts than he does for making actual phone calls, then backup power is a must. The Lifeaciv Power Pack 20 from Lifeproof is a terrific solution. Not only is it waterproof, dropproof, dirtproof, and snowproof, it can breathe new life into all sorts of iPads, iPods, smartphones, and e-tablets before needing a recharge. It's also light, easy to pack, and great "insurance" for any dad that likes to hit the backcountry for days at a time. —B.R.