Since none of us would be here without a father, I figure I’d do all those fathers out there a solid and give you some gift ideas to make his Father’s Day one he’ll really appreciate. Fortunately for you I started this project a little early so I can make some educated suggestions. The following are products I’ve used and tested and would love if my kids get any of them for me.
Sitka – Grinder Pant, Gradient Hoody, Gradient Glove
Always looking to up my camo game and increase my comfort in the woods I wanted some new clothes to make my turkey season just a little better than last year. Looking to the crew at Sitka they suggested the Grinder Pant coupled with the Gradient Hoody. This combo would allow me to layer up for the often frigid early turkey season in Michigan but keep me comfortable as the weather warmed. I also mixed it up with the Optifade Timber pattern since a lot of my hunting would be in and around swamps and hardwoods. The pattern blended well in those terrains and is also just a tad on the darker side of the color spectrum so I felt very comfortable wearing Timber in the blind and remaining concealed in the shadows.
Specific to each individual piece, I equate the Grinder Pants to my favorite pair of jeans. Meaning, they felt like a long time friend when I slipped them on. They have just the right amount of ruggedness that you won’t hesitate to take them through the nasty stuff but yet are comfortable enough you could wear them everyday without hesitation. They aren’t too thick and aren’t too thin, not too hot and not too cold. I wore them with a pair of long johns underneath and was good at the freezing mark and just recently had them on during an 85 deg late morning turkey hunt. One feature that I did like are the angled pockets on the thighs. They held my pot call and striker perfectly in place and easily accessible.
The Gradient Hoody will quickly become one of your favorite pieces of hunting clothing. It turns out to be great to layer under and come next winter it will be great to layer over. Throwing on a couple next to skin layers I was comfortable in the 30’s. The berber fleece lining helps trap in the heat and the shell is quite flexible. I did get caught in a bit of a rain shower and the Gradient Hoody was quick to repel the moisture and keep me dry and hunting. Of course I love having a hood to keep the wind off my neck and the built in face mask was right there when I needed it to avoid the keen eyes of a gobbler.
I was really surprised when I pulled on the Gradient Gloves. They had some insulation but were relatively thin and allowed for great dexterity. The more I wore them the more impressed I became. My hands stayed comfortable in cooler temps but I was easily able to dig through my pack and work my turkey calls. They performed very well in the upper 30’s to 50’s.
White Duck – Filios Duffel, Log Carrier
Dad may not seem super excited when he first opens this one but it won’t take him along to be telling everyone how awesome his new duffle bags are. White Duck Outdoor specializes in all things canvas and has quite a product lineup so they certainly know their way around a sportspersons needs. After opening large and extra large Felios Duffle Bags my mind began to process how useful these items would be. For starters they arrived just before a Spring break trip to South Florida. Rather than deal with playing Tetris trying to fit my stuff into a little bag, I just threw both my son and I’s clothing in the large leaving plenty of room to spare. A weeks worth of clothes for two along with a few miscellaneous items weighed less than 30 lbs, easily clearing the luggage weight requirements. If you’ve flown you know how detrimental baggage carriers can be to your bags. The White Duck Canvas passed the airport test with flying colors (pun intended). Next up I used it as a decoy bag. Three non-crushable decoys and seat pad fit nicely and was carried easily with either the shoulder strap or handles. As a bonus, when you take your 7 year old to the turkey blind with you, the Felios doubles as a bed mat so he can saw logs while you wait for a gobbler. I’m very serious about this one. It worked out extremely well.
I haven’t used the extra large bag yet but my entire early season deer camp will fit inside. Tent, sleeping bag, pillow, clothes, back pack, and jet stove can all be placed in the bag and just tossed into the back of the truck. Convenient and organized, just the way I like it. The other item that will totally fit the bill for dad is the Boat Shaped Canvas Log Carrier. I can’t imagine any dad that isn’t just looking for an excuse to run a chainsaw, split a few pieces of wood, and put his fire starting skills to use. A canvas log carrier makes transporting his hard earned heat fuel a simple and clean task.
Gerber – Downwind Series, Ceviche
Any hunter or fisher will tell you a good blade is a must. Period. Gerber recently released their Downwind Hunting Series of knives which includes a Caper, Drop Point, and Ulu. Out of the box they are razor sharp and handle nicely. I used the Caper to take care of the all the turkey butchering this Spring and it performed flawlessly. It was a perfect companion to get my bird from field to freezer while on the road. The Drop Point will handle any deer or large game this Fall. I haven’t quite got the hang of the Ulu but I do like the way Gerber put their spin on the ancient tool by adding a handle rather just a heal pad. The best thing about the Downwind series is what you get for the price. You get sharp, tough, and ergo friendly blades at a cost that is impossible to beat.
My family loves eating fish and I love catching them. Sounds like a match made in heaven, right? In my opinion it is! I’ve not had luck in the past finding a fillet knife that I really like so when Gerber came out with the Ceviche 7″ (also available in 9″) filet knife I was anxious to try it. It was originally meant to clean some saltwater fish, turns out tarpon aren’t really considered table fair though. Fortunately a Spring turkey hunt turned into a fishing trip too so I was able to test the Ceviche on some aquatic life. I may have finally found a filet knife that cuts cleanly, flexes slightly, and turns out beautiful bluegill, perch, and crappie filets. This could be just the Father’s Day gift that everyone benefits from!
YETI – Hopper M30
Sometimes a hard shell cooler just doesn’t meet your needs. It could be limited space, weight concerns, or portability issues. If you’ve found yourself in similar situations the M30 Hopper from YETI will very likely eliminate your troubles. It’s somewhat narrow and crushable to a certain extent. You can cram it into a car trunk, toss it in a truck bed, or use it for airline travel to get your precious meat home. No one will argue that YETI’s across the board keep things cold for extended periods of time. The M30 is no different. I took it on a warm Spring turkey hunt turned fishing trip and it performed wonderfully. Initially keeping drinks cold for the trip up and readily available in the truck during the hunt, it ended up bringing our family fish fry home.
The M30 Hopper conveniently holds a case of beer and an 8 lb bag of ice. It also has room for about as many bluegill as you care to clean. The M30 does have one major improvement (in my opinion) over it’s predecessor and that is the magnetic closure mechanism. No more zipper and constricted opening. The magnetic strip seals firmly and opens wide for larger loads or digging around for that last can buried in the ice. The magnet is easy to separate as can be attested by my kids constantly getting in and leaving it open. However, the seal is sound and can be folder over and strapped to ensure it doesn’t get pulled open during transit. A shoulder strap, two carrying straps, and three smaller hand grabs ensure it is comfortable and transportable for all your outings.
So there you have it. You’ve got no excuse not to get your dad something he’ll use and enjoy for Father’s Day. Above, I give you items that I’ve taken afield and loved. In all cases they performed flawlessly and better than expected. If you play your cards right he’ll even take you along to break them in. If you’re lucky like I was, you’ll use them all on the same trip!!!!