Father’s Day Gift Guide 2013: Best Hunting, Fishing, and Shooting Gear for Your Dad
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He’s the man who taught you how to shoot a B.B. gun, throw a baseball, and pop open a beer bottle with a knife. The least you can do is get him a decent Father’s Day gift.
Check out our editors’ top gift choices for your first, and best, hunting buddy. From handguns and knives to boots and jackets, this round up has it all.
I’m a hatchet man. There may be no other tool that’s as capable of handling so many outdoors tasks: whittling a spear, splitting a buck’s brisket, limbing a tree, pounding tent pegs, truing a table, defending a family… But Zippo’s new Woodsman tool may trump even a 3-pound hatchet. The versatile Woodsman features a mallet, a keen-edged hatchet, a peg-pulling claw, and a tempered saw blade that’s capable of making quick work of limbs up to 4 inches in diameter. It pulls hard duty cleaning up deadfall in my back yard and is a fixture in my pickup. ($80, zippooutdoor.com) —Andrew McKean
ThermaCell Heated Insoles
Your old man doesn’t need them now, but come November, he’ll be grateful for warm toes provided by ThermaCell and you. Whether you’re on stand, in the duck blind, or waiting for a train, the remote-controlled insoles adjust their intensity with the push of a button. Need a quick burst of heat to warm up your extremities? Turn the insoles to high for a few minutes. Or keep a low simmer for longer sessions in the elements. The rechargeable batteries provide up to 5 hours of heat when you need it the most. ($120; thermacell.com) —AM
Victorinox Hunter Pro
The Swiss Army Knife folks have jumped into the folding hunting knife market with the Hunter Pro, a heavy gauge stainless steel 4-inch lockback. Though best suited for big game, we recently field tested the 5.7-ounce folder on spring turkeys, easily reducing 11 birds to freezer-sized portions without a hitch. We especially liked the ergonomic, no-slip grip and olive drab nylon carrying pouch. Can’t wait for deer season. ($80; swissarmy.com) —Gerry Bethge
Filson/Stanley 100 Vacuum Bottle**
This gift idea is admittedly “splurgey,” but it pairs products from two great American companies: A Stanley vacuum bottle inside a Filson shoulder sling. The bottle is guaranteed to keep contents hot or cold for 24 hours, has a double-wall stainless steel construction, and a vintage hammertone finish adorns the exterior. The tin-cloth-and-bridle-leather sling is flannel-lined. With a 1.1-quart capacity, it’ll keep an entire pit blind full of goose hunters warm all morning long. ($175; stanley-pmi.com) —John Taranto
Gerber Myth Compact Fixed Blade
I’ve used this little paring knife on three deer, a spruce grouse, and a turkey, and I couldn’t be happier with it. With an overall length of 7.25 inches and a flexible 3.25-inch blade, it’s great for skinning and field dressing game big and small. The knife is well designed, feels great in your hand and offers up quick and precise cuts.
It’s super-light (1 ounce) and can ride along in any daypack or hunting coat pocket. The only downside to this knife is that the blade dulls quickly, but the hard plastic sheath has a built-in carbide sharpener. ($27; gerbergear.com) –_Alex Robinson
Rapala Scatter Rap
Newer, more realistic, better–the claims are made throughout the outdoor industry regarding any number of products, but here’s one that seems to actually be true. Last winter, there was quite a bit of secrecy tied to a mysterious forthcoming introduction from Rapala. When its new line of Scatter Rap crankbaits was finally revealed, it was obvious that Rapala had something very cool on its hands. Key to the Rap is a revolutionary cupped-lip design, which causes the bait to move erratically from side to side. The Scatter Rap series–Crank, Shad, Minnow and CountDown–is available in 14 to 16 classic and new colors. ($9) —GB
Known for their high-quality tools, ChannelLock’s 7.5-inch E388 Bent Long Nose Pliers will be a welcome addition to dad’s toolbox or tackle box–especially if he deals with toothy fish like pike and muskies on a regular basis. Forged from American high-carbon C1080 steel–and made in Meadville, Pennsylvania–the pliers feature an angled nose for getting a grip on hooks, cross-hatched jaws for a sure grip, and knife-and-anvil cutting edges for snipping line. ($24; channellock.com) —JT
If you’re looking for an excuse to spoil your dad, or just suck up to him to get the lion’s share of the inheritance, get him a 1911 from Ithaca. Under the leadership of Mike Farrell, this venerable company, now based in Upper Sandusky, Ohio, has made a huge comeback. The quality of workmanship is second to none, thanks to the extensive investments Ithaca has made in CNC equipment and a talented workforce to operate them. Their 1911s are beautifully constructed. The fit and finish is outstanding and they function exceedingly well and are accurate to boot. There are many models to choose from in both target and tactical configurations. (From $1,799; Ithacagun.com) —John B. Snow
Spartan Ares Knife
The perfect knife is an elusive creature, but this functional and deadly edged piece of art from Spartan Blades comes very close. The two guys who run this company have decades of experience in the Special Forces and know first-hand what is needed in a knife for personal protection. The Ares is 10 ½ inches long with a 5 3/8″ fixed drop-point blade. The knife is large enough to get the job done but conceals well and weighs just 6.75 ounces, making it very portable. I carry mine everywhere I go and it has become an essential piece of my survival kit. The Ares balances perfectly in hand, and the grip positions the knife for effective stabbing and slashing. There’s no doubt from the moment you pick it up that this is tool created by expert craftsmen. ($328; spartanbladesusa.com) —JS
The Book of Rifle Accuracy
The author of this informative tome is none other than Tony Boyer. Tony, in case you didn’t know, is the most successful shooter in the history of benchrest competition and knows this subject matter inside and out. The technical details contained in the book will prove useful for any shooter seeking to understand what goes into achieving extreme rifle accuracy. No matter whether you’re a casual fall hunter or a die-hard rifleman, this book will enlighten you and maybe even inspire you to try for an elusive one-hole group. ($34.50; rifleaccuracybook.com) —JS
Accuracy and Precision for Long Range Shooting
Bryan Litz is the chief ballistician for Berger Bullets, a company that is dedicated to making the most accurate projectiles possible. But having accurate equipment doesn’t do you much good if you don’t know how to shoot. This book bridges the gap between practical shooting skills and the science behind long-range ballistics. Litz, an aerospace engineer by training, brings his background in rocket science to explain clearly, and in great detail, what happens to a bullet in flight and how to interpret the data from your own shooting. Read this book and take his wisdom to heart and you can’t help but become a better shot. ($34.95; appliedballisticsllc.com) –_JS
TAB Rifle Cover
The shooting equipment made by TAB Gear down in Texas is the real deal. It is tough, lightweight and, most critically, it works. TAB’s rifle cover is a perfect case in point. This protective sheath, made of 1000 Denier Cordura, drapes over your rifle and clips securely in place with Fastex buckles. A carrying handle on the cover lets you transport the rifle easily and it is designed so that a bipod can be deployed while the cover is on the firearm. When it comes time to shoot, the cover can be removed in a matter of seconds. This clever product eliminates the need for a bulky drag bag system. ($130; tabgear.com) —JS
Make no mistake–there’s a lot of leaky raingear on the market that couldn’t hold up to a sunshower let alone a squall. Isn’t it about time that your dad had a quality set of storm gear?
We’ve been testing the new Cabela’s line of Guidewear for the past six months and are happy to report that we have yet to pop a seam. The 2013 line is available in four distinct categories: Bass Angler, Xtreme, Tidal and River Runner. Each is designed to help anglers deal with weather conditions and fishing situations they’ll encounter in different regions and seasons. You owe it to your dad to check it out at cabelas.com —GB
For the dad who goes from the work site straight to the treestand (or vice-versa), Keen’s new waterproof full-grain leather Louisville boot provides ASTM-rated safety protection, as well as many features that will be appreciated in the deer woods. The eight-inch height lends ample ankle support, while a waterproof breathable membrane keeps feet dry. ($160; keenfootwear.com) —JT
Smart Optix Digiscoping Adapter
One of the signs that we’re living in an enlightened age is the invention of digiscoping, adapters that let you mate your cell phone’s camera to a spotting scope. But if you’ve used one of the many adapters on the market, you know it’s frustrating to try to actually get the two devices to work together. Enter Smart Optix. This Utah company has produced a universal cell-phone adapter that’s nearly infinitely adjustable, allowing you to capture cell-phone photos through nearly any scope. It’s bulky and with its screws and dials it’s a little bit of a Walter Mitty contraption. But it works–with just about any brand of smart phone and optic–and it’s durable enough for the backcountry. ($60, smartoptix.com) —AM
What has to be the thinnest, lightest multi-tool ever imagined, the Pocket Monkey combines a dozen tools in a one-ounce, hardened stainless steel unit that fits in a wallet. Among the included tools are a bottle opener, phone kickstand, flathead and Philips-head screwdrivers, hex wrenches for four bolt sizes, a ruler, a letter opener, and, of course, a banana peeler. ($15; zootilitytools.com) —JT
Otter Box Defender with iON Intelligence
Is dad constantly forgetting to charge his iPhone? You’ll never have to worry if he’ll answer when you call to see if the fish are biting if he has this new back-up battery case from Otter Box. It features rugged construction and two-times power capacity, and after dad downloads the iON Intelligence app, the case will automate the phone’s power management process based on his usage habits. ($130; otterbox.com) —JT
Duck Dynasty Greeting Cards
The Duck Dynasty guys are taking over the world–and that’s pretty much okay with us. How can you not be a fan of the Robertsons?
Hallmark, the greeting card folks, are high on the Robertsons, too, and have introduced a line of Duck Dynasty-inspired greeting cards just in time for Father’s Day. The cards can be found in select Walmart stores beginning June 3. —GB