|Best Fishing Reel||Hardy Ultralight MTX-S Fly Fishing Reel||SEE IT||
This fly reel comes on three different sizes and has a disc-drag system. It is strong and durable and backed-up by Hardy’s 5-year warranty.
|Best Trail Camera||Browning Strike Force HD Pro X||SEE IT||
This Browning camera has very good picture and video quality. A fast trigger, generous detection zone, and long battery life.
|Best Camping Gift||YETI Camino 35||SEE IT||
A useful carryall bag that is perfect for storing waders and boots, organizing camping essentials, or bringing to the beach.
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Shopping for the best gifts for dad is hard. He usually doesn’t want anything, or already has everything he needs. While he may utter these phrases, we can guarantee you there are gifts he would love to get, and we are here to give you those ideas.
The editors at Field & Stream got together to come up with this mega list of gift ideas. We covered everything from hunting and fishing to grilling and camping. Many of these products are from our own personal gear arsenal and have been hand-tested and proven in the field. Some of the recommendations are even what we plan to give to our fathers this holiday season.
So don’t be discouraged if your Dad doesn’t give you an idea of what he wants this year. This gift guide is chock-full of fun and useful gifts for outdoorsmen. And if he’s anything like us, he’ll be recommending it to all of his buddies.
Editors Best Gifts for Dad
- Best Fishing Reel: Hardy Ultralight MTX-S Fly Fishing Reel
- Best Trail Camera: Browning Strike Force HD Pro X
- Best Camping Stove: Coleman 2 Burner Dual Fuel Compact Liquid Fuel Stove
- Best Hunting Waders: Lacrosse Waders
- Best Camping Gifts: YETI Camino 35
Best Gifts for Dad: Fishing
Best Book for Fly Fishermen: Home Waters
If your dad loves fly fishing, chances are he also loves the novel (and movie) A River Runs Through It. And who could blame him? It’s one of the most beautiful stories about family, faith, and, yes, fishing ever told. Earlier this year, Norman Maclean’s son, John, published a companion book to ARTI titled, Home Waters: A Chronicle of Family and River. What’s so remarkable about this book is how generously John Maclean welcomes the reader into his family. We follow the Macleans on their trips to Montana. We get to hear Norman share tales around a campfire. We learn the tragic truth about Paul Maclean’s death. And, best of all, we get to fly fish with the Macleans on their home waters—the Big Blackfoot River. I absolutely loved this book, and I bet your dad will, too. —Colin Kearns
Best Polarized Sunglasses: Costa Del Mar Blackfin PRO Sunglasses
Costa’s Blackfin PRO sunglasses helped me spot striped bass working the flats even when the sun was high overhead. The 580G Lightwave Glass polarized lenses cut through surface glare and provide superior clarity so I could pick out even the slightest subsurface discrepancies and get a fly in front of hungry fish. As the name implies, the innovative lens blocks harsh yellow light at 580 nm on the visible light spectrum, which boosts the amounts of red, greens, and blues naturally, enhancing colors and contrast.
The lenses are also 20% thinner and 22% lighter than average polarized glass lenses, which I noticed as soon as I slid these on—they were significantly lighter than the earlier version I had. The nose pad was also an improvement over the older model, adjusting for a customized fit. They also feature vents, which help keep them from fogging when wearing a buff or mask. Sweat channels and drains funnel perspiration away to keep your vision clear. These have been the best polarized sunglasses I have ever used, and they are available in a variety of hues to work with your fishing conditions. —Joe Albanese
Best Fishing Reel: Hardy Ultralight MTX-S Fly Fishing Reel
The Hardy Ultralight MTX-S is probably the best fishing reel I’ve ever used. Let me list a few of the reasons (which, yes, I’ve checked twice) why:
- It is, as the name suggests, very light. My 5/6/7 model weighs 5 ounces (without line and backing).
- What the MTX-S lacks in weight in no way affects its strength. This is one tough, and remarkably crafted, reel.
- The carbon-fiber disc drag is rock solid and will give you a serious advantage during fights with big trout, smallies, and pike—or trophy bonefish, permit, and juvenile tarpon on the saltwater flats.
- This is one sharp reel. I mean, just look at the thing…
Now, the best fishing reel doesn’t come cheap, but Hardy offers a 5-year warranty. Besides, if you take care of this reel, it’ll last you (or Dad) for the rest of his fishing life. —C.K.
Best Gifts for Dad: Hunting
Best Hunting Waders: Lacrosse Waders
If you’ve got a dad that lives in the duck blind all season long, chances are he’s toughing it out in a pair of leaky waders. This year, get him the best hunting waders to keep him dry and warm and less irritated. LaCrosse has just come out with a new flagship wader, the Alpha Agility. It’s built around a lightweight rubber boot that fits snuggly, making them easy to walk around in and comfortable enough to wear for a long time. LaCrosse also stuffed 1600 grams of Thinsulate in the boot so Dad can stand in the water all day. And there’s a removable liner so that he’ll be able to hunt in them whether it’s a warm October morning, or 10 below zero on the last day of the season. If he hunts ducks, this is one of the best gifts for dad. —Matthew Every
Best Trail Camera for Dad: Browning Strike Force HD Pro X
As a dad and a hunter, I can tell you exactly what I want as a gift. First, I want something that works and is actually useful. Second, I don’t want my kids to spend a lot of money on it. And third, I want it to be way, way better than anything they’ve gotten me so far.
This Browning camera is the best trail camera that checks all the boxes. It’s got everything you want in a basic trail-cam—very good picture and video quality, a fast trigger, generous detection zone, and long battery life. The HD Pro X is also very compact and easy to use, and it has some nice extras, too, including a tilting bracket for easier setup and a handy internal viewing screen to help with aiming and for quickly scanning your pictures to see that you actually got shots of deer and not leaves blowing in the wind. I think it’s the best trail camera for the money, and a far better gift than I can reasonably expect to get. But, hey, there may be hope for you. Good luck. —Dave Hurteau
Best Pants for Dad: Sitka Territory Pant
Every outdoorsman needs a good pair of pants that can perform in a wide array of conditions. The Territory Pant from Sitka has become that pair for me. I use them to check trail cams, go on hikes, and even to fish. They are the best pants because they’re lightweight, durable, and comfortable. Now, they won’t be your choice for cold weather days or bushwhacking through thick brush, but they are perfect for everyday wear. They have a water-repellent finish and a 4-way stretch fabric. This makes them great for early season hunts, fieldwork, or just a casual hike, and one of the best gifts for dad. They breathe and stretch nicely and I like them so much that I have multiple pairs. —Ryan Chelius
Best Hunting Socks: Darn Tough Heavyweight Hunting Socks
The best hunting socks fall into a funny category. They’re pricey, and most people, dads included, aren’t comfortable spending $30 bucks on a pair of socks for themselves, let alone a six-pack of them. This makes them a perfect gift—and they’re totally worth it. My days in the field completely changed when I started wearing high-quality wool socks, like the Heavyweight Hunting Socks from Darn Tough, because I stopped getting blisters. Ask any hunting guide or outfitter, and they’d probably say the same thing. Darn Tough weaves their wool socks tightly and they are anything but itchy. In fact, your dad won’t know they’re wool until he realizes how warm his feet are. There are a lot of things I wouldn’t bring hunting or hiking, but a nice pair of socks isn’t one of them. —M.E.
Best Smoker for Dad: Traeger Pro 575 Pellet Grill
Partly because Timmy will eat the smoked venison but Jane wants a burger and Tina only eats vegan hotdogs, the best smoker for dad is not just a smoker. Traeger’s Pro Pellet Grill lets you smoke, grill, braise, and roast meat, meat-like substances, and vegetables. You can even bake a cake. (Seriously.) Just as important for busy dads, it’s super easy to use. You plug it in, pour pellets in the hopper, set the temp, and ignite. WiFIRE technology lets you monitor the grill from a phone app while you run the kiddos between play dates and sports.
Most important, as a smoker, the 575 does a really good job, and as a grill, it’s set up for you to cook the perfect reverse-sear steaks. With room for 24 burgers or four racks of ribs, it’s big enough for you to host the booster club fundraiser, and it’s built to last. —D.H.
Best Hunting Knife: Benchmade Steep Country Fixed Blade
I’m picky about hunting knives, but I can’t find anything wrong with the Steep Country from Benchmade. It’s a no B.S. blade that’s big on function and downright practical—and dads like practical stuff. Overall, it’s the best hunting knife because it’s small enough to be controllable but big enough to do any field dressing job. It has a thin blade profile for razor sharpness, and grippy rubber scales that aren’t too grippy. And while it’s not a bushcraft blade that you can beat up and put through the wringer, it’ll still take some abuse. To top it off, it has an orange handle and sheath that helps it stand out so you’ll never lose it. —M.E.
Best Deer Drag for Dad: Deer Sleigh’r Game Sled
For the kids to actually get Dad most of the things on this list, Mom is going to have to pitch in. But here’s one of the best gifts for dad they can probably buy on their own, and it’s a gift that keeps on giving, every time Dad gets a deer. My wife actually got me one of these years ago for my birthday, and I initially wrote it off as one of those gimmicks that non-hunting gift-buyers are always falling for. But then I used it, and I’ve not only used it ever since, but the other guys on my lease ask for it every time they shoot a deer. It’s nothing more than a sheet of plastic with grommets around the edge, so that, with some rope, you can wrap your deer up like a taco. (We actually call ours the “deer taco,” as in “Where’s the deer taco?”) Once your buck is enclosed in the slick plastic, it slides right along, cutting the dragging effort in half over leaves or grass and probably by 80 percent over snow. —D.H.
Best Upland Hunting Jacket for Dad: Filson 3-Layer Field Jacket
What better gift to recommend for dads than the one I am going to give my dad (hopefully he doesn’t read this). I used the Filson 3-Layer Field Jacket on a grouse hunt in Maine and fell in love with it. Durability is the name of the game with this jacket. Whether it’s the steep chukar hills or thick grouse woods, upland hunters walk through some nasty stuff. Having a fully waterproof, breathable, and rugged jacket is a huge plus. This jacket is built for the field with a rear zippered game bag, adjustable hood and cuffs, and a durable design. It’s also comfortable and stylish enough to wear around town when the weather gets bad and you want to stay dry. This is one of the best gifts for dad, if he upland hunts. —R.C.
Best Bow for Dad: Obsession Turmoil
If you’re buying a compound bow for dad, I’m going to go ahead and assume you don’t have the $1,000 to $1,200 you’d need to get one of today’s flagship models. So the question is, what is the best-performing bow for, say, around half that? And the answer is, the Obsession Turmoil. When this bow first came out back in 2017, I wrote: “This is a groundbreaking bow. Never before has anyone seen the specs ‘350 fps IBO’ and ‘$699’ listed together.”
And no one has seen that since. As was the norm then and still is today, top-end speed usually commands top dollar. But not with the Turmoil, and it’s still on the market, for the same price.
Now, there are two things to keep in mind here: First, for years Obsession was infamous for exaggerating their IBO claims, but even if you knock 5 fps off the Turmoil, it’s still extremely fast for the price. Second, the bow’s riser, string suppressor, and dampeners are all a bit cheaper than what you’ll find on the company’s flagship model. But having shot both, I can tell you that the Turmoil gives up very little in shootability and performance—for hundreds less. This makes it one of the best gifts for dad. —D.H.
Best Gifts for Dad: Miscellaneous
Best Multi-Tool: Swiss Army Champ
I can speak with authority that buying the best multi-tool makes a great holiday gift. About five years ago, on Christmas morning, my mom handed me a small gift that was heavier than it looked. Inside was a shiny, sharp, Swiss Army Champ. If you want the best multi-tool, it’s hard to top one with 33 different functions. Sure, the pliers aren’t as stout as what you’d find on a Leatherman, but I prefer the knife and saw on the Champ compared to other multi-tools. Plus, it’s fun to use the magnifying glass to start fires. If you do decide to purchase this knife for Pops, allow me to recommend a bonus gift: a leather sheath. Because, while the Champ fits in a pocket, it’s definitely more comfortable to wear on your belt. —C.K.
Best Outdoor Fire Pit: BioLite FirePit+
Does not being able to start a fire without gadgetry make you less of a man? Maybe, but maybe that’s a bunch of B.S. Ask the first people to rub sticks together what they thought of bow drills and you’d probably get an earful. The thing is, fire-starting technology has always made fire-making less complicated, but the magic of sitting around the fire stays the same. So what if the BioLite fire pit makes life a little easier with forced air to fan the flames, battery power for your smartphone, and a cast-iron hibachi grill to sear up your vittles. It’s still fire and it’s still great. And with that added air, there’s no smoke. —M.E.
Best Chukka Boots for Dad: Freeboard Leather Chukka
I’ve never had a pair of boots that I can fish all day with and then wear to dinner later that night—until now. The Grundens Freeboard Leather Chukka boots are the best chukka boots because they keep my feet dry all day on the boat with their non-marking rubber outsole and are stylish enough to wear out around town. They have become my post-hunt kicks that I switch into back at the truck after a day in the woods. They slide right on and are comfortable and effective to navigate a wet boat ramp. The versatility of these chukkas is their biggest draw. They excelled on my redfish trip to South Carolina as well as walking miles along ponds to find bass. They are rugged and durable when you need them to be with a stylish design for the post-trip celebration at the bar. The Leather Chukka only come in whole sizes and if you are a half size then order down, and they will fit perfectly. —R.C.
Best Charcoal Grill: PKGO Charcoal Grill
Why is dad going to like this grill? For the same reason he likes other reliable things—they don’t let him down. My PKGO has worked exactly as it should from the moment I filled it with charcoal, soaked it in lighter fluid, and sparked it up. It’s strong and made from cast aluminum for a lifetime of burger-flipping, beer-can-chicken-roasting, hot-dog-burning fun. But the coolest thing about this grill is that the lid can be detached and turned into another grill giving dad double the surface area to cook on. I’m not a dad, but I have one, and I know that dad’s like more surface area. I don’t know why, but they do. It’s just something they’re into. —M.E.
Best Whiskey: Tincup Rye
What better way to “cheers” Dad than with a comforting glass of whiskey by the fire. I’m a fan of Tincup Original, but after recently tasting their rye, that’s now my favorite spirit of theirs—no question. The flavor is bold and smooth, with notes of vanilla and caramel and that distinctive spice you get from a good rye. Tincup Rye is great neat or on the rocks, but it also makes a killer Old Fashioned. What’s more, when you purchase a bottle of Tincup, you’re giving back to conservation. The distiller donates up to $100,000 of its sales to habitat protection and sustainable fishing. That’s worth a “cheers,” too. —C.K.
Best Gifts for Dad: Camping
Best Camping Stove: Coleman 2 Burner Dual Fuel Compact Liquid Fuel Stove
I take camp cuisine very seriously. Even when the mercury is in the single digits, I still want a good meal. I have been using a hand-me-down Coleman liquid gas stove (similar to this one) since I was a kid, which roars to life with a few pumps on the reservoir no matter how cold it gets. Despite being manufactured sometime in the early 1970s, that brute is still going strong as one of the best camping stoves. It has provided countless bowls of chili and hearty stews deep into duck season and on the ice when the perch bite is fired up. I’ve always used white gas, but in a pinch, it will run on unleaded so I’ll always be able to find fuel.
If you won’t be cooking in sub-zero temps, you might consider one of Coleman’s propane models. These have the same familiar layout and similar rugged construction but utilizes user-friendly propane. Instead of filling a reservoir with gas and pumping it up, just screw on a propane cylinder or bulk tank adapter and the Triton 2-Burner Propane Stove fires right up. Propane has excellent simmering qualities, so you can keep that pot of soup going until long after the last hunter has left their tree stand for the day. If he likes to eat, a good camp stove is definitely one of the best gifts for dad.—J.A.
Best Hiking Boots: Danner Mountain Light
I’ve been trouncing around in a pair of Danner Mountain Lights since the early spring. I traversed everything from coastal plains to the tallest mountain in the Northeast in them, sometimes with a four-year-old on my shoulders. These are the best hiking boots because they provided excellent traction on everything from sand to mud to scree, with a Vibram Kletterlift outsole that bites into any terrain without slipping. Even with 52-pounds of child trying to upset my balance, the ankle support was enough to keep me upright and sure-footed. But the ankles aren’t high enough to be restrictive, allowing me to easily work the clutch in my truck and run errands without having to switch footwear. A one-piece upper with a gusseted tongue keeps water and debris at bay, and the Gore-Tex liner stops any moisture that manages to sneak past the full-grain leather. I have no doubt I’ll be wearing these boots for a couple of decades, as the stitch down construction allows the Mountain Lights to be easily re-soled if they wear out. The Danner Mountain Light even made our list of best winter hiking boots, and its certainly one of the best gifts for dad. —J.A.
Best Pullover Jacket for Dad: Mountain Hardware Men’s Stretchdown Light Pullover
There are very few pieces of gear that I can use on a hunting trip, fishing trip, and skiing trip. The Stretchdown Light Pullover falls into that category. The goose down insulation provides warmth while the one-stretch fabric allows for great mobility to make sure it doesn’t interfere with your activity. I wore this jacket on a hunt in Southern Idaho where temps dropped into the 30’s. It kept me warm and comfortable throughout the night. I was most impressed with the pullover when I wore it steelhead fishing a week later. It kept me warm without restricting my ability to make a cast, wade the river, or net a fish. It serves as a great outer layer in fall and is a perfect pullover jacket to add to a layering system for those brutally cold days in the winter. —R.C.
Best Camping Tent: Marmot Limestone
In my younger years, I was a big proponent of bivy sacks, preferring the rapid set up and light weight to a bulkier but more comfortable abode. But the older and ornerier I get, the more I appreciate having the best camping tent. A few years ago, I picked up Marmot’s Limestone four-person tent. It has more than enough room for my family of three, and is a veritable castle when I’m on my own. It’s tall enough that I don’t have to contort myself to get dressed, yet manages to pack down small enough to disappear in my truck’s toolbox. The fly has kept a week’s worth of Adirondack rain (and some sleet) off of us as we slept comfortably. It is rated as a three-season tent, but with the right sleeping bag, you can use the Limestone into the winter provided you won’t encounter serious snow loads. Dual entranceways let you get in without waking the kids up, and an ample vestibule provides covered storage for muddy boots and the like. —J.A.
Best Camping Gifts: YETI Camino 35
You may be thinking, “what is my dad going to do with a carryall bag?” That’s exactly what I thought too until I started bringing this bag with me on all of my adventures. I’ll be the first to say, the Camino 35 is extremely useful, especially if you fish. I used to keep a big plastic bin in my car to put my wet waders and boots in after a day of fishing. I switched to keeping my waders and boots in the Camino 35 and saved about half the room in my trunk.
It is also great for camping trips, beach days, and barbecues. The deployable dividers allow for easy organization and fold to the sides when you need one big storage area. There aren’t many tote bags that I would recommend for outdoorsmen, but this one is useful, and outdoorsmen love useful gear. —R.C.