Functional Father’s Day Gift Ideas

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I’m a horrible gift giver! I wasn’t always. There was a time before kids, before homeschooling, and before my writing that I had more time to pay careful attention to everything my husband or my boys wanted or desired.  Naturally (since we have all boys…) and luckily my husband began to take over the role of Santa and birthday gift hunter.

I mean how could I possible know the difference between a Bakugan and a Skylander? Ok, more truth, how could I possibly care? I love all of my children to the moon and back! I know my oldest is quiet, has old fashioned values, and will pleasantly surprise his wife with his love of cooking and gardening. I know that my middle son is sensitive, but a fierce competitor, and his love of animals will probably earn him a special place in heaven.  Then, I know my middle son is so well-adjusted and easy going that he sets an example for his two older brothers, and he is the friendliest guy you’ll ever meet. But, God help me, I never learned the difference between Transformers and  Galactic Heroes.

My husband stepped in to rescue me and took control of the gifts. My downfall started when he rescued me from boy’s toys. A few years passed and not only did I no longer buy toys for my boys, but I stopped buying gifts for my husband. Granted they occasionally wanted the same item – if I bought my husband Lego he’d be perfectly happy. Don’t get me wrong, he’s loves gadgets and practical tools too. But, he is a big kid at heart.

The problem has gotten so bad that now every year (here is last year’s list) I make him write me a list of items he’d like me to present him with on Father’s Day. This is his list and every father is different but there just might be one or two items that the father in your life might enjoy. Don’t worry, there is no Lego on the list. I checked twice!

Travel Gear:

For the dad that travels, this vest has 24 different pockets for your documents, camera, keys, wallet, and even items as large as a water bottle or iPad. It’s designed to distribute the bulk and weight so you don’t look like you stuffed a laundry bag down your shirt. Keep all your travel items in here, then just take it off and send the whole thing through the security screening!

Trent Powerpak 11.0 11000mAh External Battery Charger
About the same size as an iPhone, this battery pack will charge any device that uses a USB cable. You can expect to get 4-5 full cell phone charges out of it, enough to go several days without power.

Collapsible Compact Chopsticks
In many Asian restaurants, you just get those cheap wooden chopsticks which are full of splinters, or there is a bucket of chopsticks on the table that people may or many not have handled before you. Why not bring your own? The chopsticks collapse down to under 5″ long and will fit nicely in your pocket.

Camping / Survival Gear:

UST Blastmatch Fire starter
This is more than just your standard flint and steel – it’s spring loaded for one handed use. Most of the reviewers say just 2 or 3 shots will get a fire going.

Altoids Mints
Even if Dad doesn’t like the mints, Altoids tins are great for other projects like survival kits, fire starter kits, DIY battery chargers and more!

11 Function Credit Card Size Survival Pocket Tool
This might not be something you’d want for every day carry, but for the price you can buy a dozen to throw in glove compartments, tool boxes, desk drawers, etc.

Tactical Stuff:

ThinkGeek Tactical BBQ Apron
Dad’s “Kiss The Cook” apron needs to go – replace it with this 21st century tactical apron with a full MOLLE loop system.

OPMOD Battle Mug
Yes, it’s terribly overpriced, but for someone with a serious coffee addiction, it’s too cool. This mug is machined from a solid block of aluminum, and can easily double as a head-smasher in case of emergency.

Tactical Laser-Guided Pizza Cutter
Eliminate family squabbles about who got the bigger slice by using a laser to guide each cut. It works for woodworking, so why not for pizza?


The Vegetable Gardener’s Book of Building Projects: 39 Essentials to Increase the Bounty and Beauty of Your Garden
39 projects ranging from simple plant supports, dirt sifters, and raised beds to the more complicated picnic tables, cold frames, compost bins, and wooden swings.

Handy Dad: 25 Awesome Projects for Dads and Kids
It’s Father’s Day, so how about some cool weekend construction projects for the kids? They’re not all woodworking projects – they range from candles and tie-dye shirts all the way to tree houses and water rockets.

Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man’s Fundamentals for Delicious Living
Apparently, Nick Offerman (Ron Swanson from TV’s Parks and Recreation) has a real life just like the character he plays on TV – a breakfast-food-loving, woodworking, red-meat connoisseur. Each chapter of this memoir is accompanied with an essay outlining a relevant principle Offerman claims may lead the reader to a better life.


Black Useless Box Kit
When you flip the switch on this box, an arm comes out to turn the switch off. Totally useless, like the name says, but it provides amusement and is a good way to learn some electronic soldering skills.

Arduino Uno Ultimate Starter Kit
The Arduino is a single-board microcontroller – in other words, a complete computer that’s less than 4″ long, to which you can attach motors, lights, sensors, and other items. There are hundreds of step-by-step projects on the internet that you can do even if you’ve never worked with electronics or done any computer programming – things like an alarm that will text you when your fridge was left open, an automatic sun tracker to rotate your solar panels, an intelligent plant watering system, etc.

Baofeng UV5RA Ham Radio

Technician Class 2014-2018 Study Manual
Buy Dad the radio first as an incentive for him to get his Ham radio license! This is the same book our family used, we give it 10 thumbs up!

Mr. Root Beer Home Root-Beer-Making Kit
If you’re not quite ready to make your own soda totally from scratch , this kit contains absolutely everything you need to brew 2 gallons of root beer.