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Published Dec. 3, 2021

Shopping for the best gifts for men isn’t easy—because it often seems like they already have everything could ever need…and then some. But ask any guy who loves to hunt and fish, and he’ll tell you, “There’s always more.” More guns, more tackle, more gear.

The editors of Field & Stream took a deep dive into a few key categories to come up with a list of the best gifts for outdoorsmen, filled with our favorite items. We use, and love, these products enough to recommend them to our readers. Hunting, fishing, or tailgating—we’ve got you covered.

Best Gifts for Men: Fishing

Best Fishing Shirt: Simms Dockwear Cotton Flannel Shirt

This fall, Simms launched a bunch of great new products, including my new favorite shirt: the Dockwear Cotton Flannel shirt. On the stream, at camp, at the bar—you’ll fit in just fine anywhere wearing this piece. This is the best fishing shirt because It’s crazy-comfortable and very warm for a shirt that’s not too thick. And because it’s made by Simms, you know it’s made to last. My Dockwear shirt is the green plaid pattern—but honestly, I wouldn’t mind getting the shirt in the other two colors for Christmas, too. I’d wear this shirt every day if I could. —Colin Kearns

Best Fishing Reel: Orvis Battenkill Fly Reel

I purchased this reel when I was in college and I haven’t found a better one for trout fishing since. As the best fishing reel, the click-and-pawl drag is unbelievably smooth and music to my ears when a fish makes a run. It is reliable, durable, and one of the most aesthetically pleasing fly reels I have ever come across. The compact and sleek design is what makes this an ideal trout reel. I have a 3-5 wt Battenkill and it is the perfect match for my 4 weight trout stick. At a reasonable price, you get more than what you pay for. —Ryan Chelius

Best Soft Cooler: RTIC Soft Cooler

The biggest problem with hard-sided coolers is that they have no chill. I don’t mean chill in the cold sense, I mean it in the relaxed sense. They’re big, heavy, and make people who just want to relax and have a few beers upset. Here’s where a soft cooler comes in. It won’t keep backstraps frozen for 5 days, 10 hours, and 35 minutes, but it will keep your man’s White Claws and soggy sandwiches chilled while he’s fishing. Aside from that, this cooler is standard with a shoulder strap, and two carry handles, a waterproof zipper, and a front pocket. It’s also built to last and affordable, making it the best soft cooler and one of the best gifts for men. —Matthew Every

Best Fishing Rod: Moonshine Epiphany Euro Nymphing Fly Rod

I sure hope someone in my family is reading this, because I’d love to open this rod on Christmas morning. I’m very new to the Euro-nymphing game—but you wouldn’t know that by the amount of gear I’ve been purchasing lately. For now, I’m investing in flies and rigging tackle, which I’ll use with one of my standard trout rods. But if I decide to get serious about contact nymphing (and I have every intention of doing so), I’m eventually going to want a designated fly rod designed for Euro nymphing. And the Epiphany series from Moonshine Rod Company seems like the best fishing rod for a beginner such as myself. For the small New York streams I mostly fly, I think I’d select the 10-foot, 6-inch 2-weight Epiphany. The action and weight (only 3.1 ounces) on the rod seems just right. And you can’t beat the price. —C.K.

Best Fish Finder: Garmin Striker 4 Portable Fish Finder and GPS Plotter

I picked up one of Garmin’s portable Striker 4 Fish Finder and GPS plotter early last spring to use with my fleet of small craft and have been quite impressed with it. The entire unit is contained in a carrying case that houses the head unit, battery, transducer, and charger so it’s always ready to go. Speaking of transducers, this one attaches quickly with an included suction cup mount. There’s also a float to suspend the transducer, which combined with the flasher mode, makes this the best fish finder for ice fishing. The mapping feature was unexpected in a smaller model, but proved itself useful marking structure to return to later. I wasn’t the only one taken with the performance of the Striker 4. Read our review here, and find out why it’s one of the best gifts for men. —Joe Albanese

Best Fly Fishing Gift: Wheatley Signature Fly Box

OK, so “best” might not be as accurate as, say, “high-falutin” here. This is, after all, one premium fly box. But if you’re shopping for a guy who loves to fly fish, appreciates fine craftsmanship, and deserves something special this year—look no further. Wheatley fly boxes are special for many reasons, not the least of which is that they only get better with age. I’ve been carrying one inside my fly vest for 20-plus years now, and the patina it has developed in that time gives it the same character as an old, trusty fishing hat. So, yeah, this is an expensive —but it’s also one that’ll last a lifetime. That makes it one of the best gifts for men. —C.K.

Best Gifts for Men: Hunting

Best Rangefinder: Leupold RX-Fulldraw 4 with DNA

For the bowhunting guy who wants the latest tech whether he needs it or not, Leupold’s new RX-Fulldraw 4 rangefinder is just the thing. Most of the best rangefinders feature angle compensation these days, but the shoot-to number these units produce can still be off by as much as a few yards—enough to miss at longer ranges. That’s because precisely how far your arrow has to travel to a certain target depends on other factors not taken into account with most models, such as your specific arrow’s trajectory. The RX-Fulldraw 4 with DNA is the first rangefinder that takes arrow weight, ­velocity, and peep height into consideration to give you a custom ballistics solution, resulting in more accurate shoot-to distances. Do you need it for your bowhunting? Maybe not. But it does make it one of the best gifts for men who shoot competitively at known-distance events, hunt at longer ranges and steep angles, are generally obsessed with accuracy, or just want the coolest new stuff. —Dave Hurteau

Best Spotting Scope: Celestron Ultima 80

When it comes to top quality glass, it’s hard to beat Swarovski. I’ve spent literal days staring through a Swarovski spotting scope conducting activity budgets for seabirds and waterfowl. But I wouldn’t dare beat on a scope of that caliber like I do my trusty Celestron. My Ultima 80 lives on the floor in the backseat of truck, and my kid sometimes uses it as a step to get into his car seat. Despite the constant abuse, the Ultima still delivers a clear picture whenever I’m out scouting ducks. There’s no comparison between the image quality of the Swarovski and that of the Celestron, but the prices are also worlds apart. The Ultima 80 is more than 10 times cheaper than a Swaro, so you can pick one up and still have plenty of cash left over for the rest of the items on your list. I’ve even managed to pull some pretty good photos using the Ultima, my DSLR camera, and an optional T-ring adapter. At about $165, the Ultima 80 is the best spotting scope and also one of the best gifts for men. —J.A.

Best Duck Hunting Jacket: Sitka Dakota Hoody

My dad and I like to talk about duck guns because we both love a solid walnut stock. But that’s about where the similarities end between us when it comes to waterfowl gear. He has the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mentality, and I, well, buy every piece of new gear that might give me a chance at another greenhead. 

So, when I came into the room on opening day wearing my new Sitka Datoka Hoody, he rolled his eyes and continued to pack his 1980 vintage camo blind bag. After a two mile paddle down the crick in the pouring rain, he was wringing out his jacket. I stood there comfortable and warm. He looked over at me and asked, “Is that Gore-Tex?” I smiled and nodded. 

If I can make a believer out of my dad, then I know most waterfowl hunters will love this hoody making it one of the best gifts for men. I wear it from early season to late season and it serves as my go-to duck jacket. It has Windstopper technology and is built with heavy-duty Gore-Tex waterproof/breathable membranes. Snow, rain, or sleet, this hoody will keep you dry and comfortable. —R.C.

Best Binoculars for Men: Swarovski SLC 15x56mm

Men drive trucks, and people who drive trucks need a truck binocular. The best binoculars, the gold-standard for truck owners who are also serious hunters, is the Swaro SLC 15x56mm. If you need to pull over to see if a pronghorn or mule deer is big enough for you to start stalking after, these will tell you. If you need to see what bugs trout are sipping, or which strutter has the longest spurs, or if those little dots way out on the water are black ducks or hen mallards, these will get the job done. Other truck binoculars will too. If you are on a tight budget, the new Vortex Diamondback HD 15x56mm are capable for about $350. If you want really good glass, but don’t want to shell out for the best, the Steiner HX 15x56mm is a fine choice for around $1,100. But the Swaros will let you count tines and spot speculum hues from farther away and with more clarity than anything else. If $2,350 seems like a lot to pay, there’s an easy enough solution: Just think what you paid for your truck. —D.H.

Best Gifts for Hunters: Sitka Wader Storage Bag

If you travel a lot for duck hunting (or fishing; I keep my trout waders in this storage bag for most of the year), the Sitka Wader Storage Bag is one of those pieces of gear you didn’t realize how much you wanted until you’ve used it. Not only does the bag keep your wet waders (and muddy boots) in a compact, easy-to-carry dry bag separate from the rest of your gear, but it also doubles as a field mat that you can stand on when you put on and take off your waders. The bag is available in Sitka’s Waterfowl Marsh or Timber camo patterns, or plain Lead color. A piece of luggage might not seem like the best gift for hunters, but trust me—once they use this bag once, they’ll love it forever. —C.K.

Best Bag For Shooting: Armageddon Gear Large Fat Bag

After competing in my first long-range shooting competition this year, I learned one important thing: If you want to hit what you’re aiming at, you need a good rest. The Large Fat Bag is just that. When I first got it, I thought I’d just use it at matches, but it’s quickly become one of my favorite pieces of hunting gear. The Cordura nylon bag is filled with ultralight beads, making it weigh only 11 ounces. I use it to sit on when I’m glassing or waiting for a deer, and rest my rifle on it when making a tricky shot. I know it sounds weird that when planning for a hunting trip I’d rather leave my lunch at home than this glorified pillow, but it’s true. The man in your life will feel the same way. —M.E

Best Book for Outdoorsmen: The Last Wild Road

Disclaimer: This shameless-plug gift recommendation has an extra helping of shamelessness, because: 1) It’s a collection of Field & Stream stories. 2) It was written by my friend T. Edward Nickens. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, I honestly can’t recommend this book enough. Even if you’ve never met Eddie Nickens, you probably still feel like you know him—because for more than a decade he’s been taking us all along for the ride in the stories he’s written for F&S. And now, the very best of those tales are collected in his latest book, The Last Wild Road: Adventures and Essays from a Sporting Life. This is definitely one of the best gifts for men. —C.K.

Best Cellular Trail Camera: Tactacam Reveal X

When it comes to the best cellular trail camera, the “best” model can be the most affordable—because in the real world of big-game scouting, two or three or five good cameras is better than one great one. In 2020, Tactacam shook up the wireless-cam world with their original Reveal, which offered hunters a cell cam for the unheard of price of about $100. But here’s the really crazy part: It wasn’t junk. As more and more hunters used and liked the camera, it became clear that the Reveal was for real. 

The 2021 iteration is called the Reveal X, which is the same unit with a few upgrades, for only a few bucks more. The X’s on-board wifi connects to the company’s app, which allows for simple setup. You no longer have to choose ahead of time between Verizon and ATT because this cam adapts to each. Instead of setting up a long-term service contract, you can simply activate the camera(s) only as needed, and sign up for monthly data plans. The Reveal X sends thumbnail photos to a mobile device, and you pick which ones you want to download hi-res versions of. Nighttime photo quality and battery life may be a notch below some pricier cams, but daytime photos and trigger speed are both solid. Most important, you can buy two Reveal Xs, at least, for the price of some other cell cams making it one of the best gifts for men. —D.H.

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