Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve, 15-Year-Old Many bourbon hounds consider this the best bourbon money can buy. Tricky thing is, there's not a lot of it to buy. Chances are, you're not going to find this stuff. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't look out for it. I make a point of walking inside just about every spirits store I pass, just on the off chance that there might be a bottle of Pappy waiting inside. And on one occasion--one glorious day--I found some. The bottle lasted me the better part of a year, but when I returned to get more, it was all gone. My advice: If you find a store with Pappy, buy two bottles--one for you and one for dad. --Colin Kearns.
Cabela’s Seclusion 3D Camo Outdoorsman Recliner Looking for a bigger ticket item for dad this year? Here you go. Every dad needs a recliner, and how can you say “Dad’s Chair” more than with camo? This would be a great addition to a man cave and, if mom is cool with it, a hell of a living room chair to put under the buck on the wall. And when it gets too ratty for the house, dad can always move it to his blind, though he may end up sleeping more than hunting. (MSRP: $400). –DM
William Joseph Amp Chest Pack It’s time to get dad to give up the stinky, ratty old fishing vest, and this $80 chest pack is functional enough to teach the old dog new tricks. The real appeal is that its pockets are fastened with magnets. Pull them open, snap them closed… simple. And the pack weighs less than half a pound, so you barely feel it when you’re fishing. Not a lot of bells and whistles on this one; it’s all about simplicity. –KD
Outdoorsman Game Summer Sausage Gift Box This pack of four different kinds of game sausage (antelope, bison, pheasant, and venison) are a great gift that’s miles beyond those meat and cheese gift baskets that crop up at Christmas. Dad can’t find these at the corner market and he’ll be glad he has them to break out with a beer on a nice summer night. Sold through Bass Pro Shops for $35. –DM
Survival Straps Paracord Accessories Paracord bracelets have become commonplace for a couple reasons. It’s a bit of survival gear you have on you at all times, and they look pretty damn cool. Survival Straps has taken the idea to new levels with a bevy of products, from simple cobra stitch bracelets to extra narrow and extra wide bracelets, key chains, watch bands, belts, rifle slings–all made from 550 cord. You can order them with a custom dog tag woven in, or with the colors and emblems of any branch of the military. They even offer college sports bracelets and others dedicated to special causes. Plus they are very well made and attach with a solid, manly looking, metal clasp and screw. Every bracelet even comes with a break-away screw for people who work around machinery. Prices vary depending on product and options, but their simplest bracelets go for about $25. –DM
REI Compact Camp Chairs All camping chairs are convenient and far better than the folding beach chairs of old, but they can still be bulky and way too heavy to haul around in your pack. These two compact chairs from REI solve that problem. The larger Camp Stowaway Chair (left) folds into an 8×28-inch bag and weighs just over five pounds. It’s made of steel and aluminum with a polyester seat, all rated to hold up to 250 pounds. (MSRP: $45) For something even lighter and more compact, check out the Alite Mantis Chair. This little bugger folds up into a 5×17-inch pouch and weighs just two pounds. Also rated to hold 250 pounds, it’s the perfect backpack chair for camp, on the river bank, or anywhere you want to take it. Dad’s aching knees will be grateful. (MSRP: $119.95) –DM
Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Ax This ax is a favorite among many staffers at Field & Stream. And for good reason: It’s finely crafted. It holds a sharp edge and it’s classically beautiful. It’ll also last forever–which means, if you’re lucky, dad just might pass down to you one day. (MSRP: $119) –CK
Nockturnal Lighted Nocks Every bowhunter loves to watch his arrow fly. This is not only fun, but practical; determining exactly where you hit a deer can help you make the right decisions that lead to a quick recovery. Lighted nocks make that possible, even with today’s super-fast bows, and Nockturnals are a high-performance option that I’ve used with success. The string-activated switch is virtually no-fail, visible from a couple hundred yards, and weighs up to 50 percent less than other lighted nocks. (MSRP: $24.99/3-pack.) –SB
Kaufmann Mercantile EDC Kit This simple looking kit packs a lot of uses in a tiny package and if your dad isn’t the kind of guy who likes to pack a Leatherman on his belt all the time, but doesn’t mind a keyring that could brain an enraged ape, then this is for him. The pry bar, basically a tiny crow bar, is made from thick steel and is great for pulling nails, staples and anything else that’s small and stuck. There are two screwdriver keys (Phillips and flat) made from black-oxide-coated steel. The precision tweezers actually can do what you always wanted those little tweezers in your Swiss Army knife to do: actually work. They come in real handy when that freaking splinter just won’t come out. The one-inch capsule lighter is the coolest item. It’s a simple metal capsule with a rubber O-ring for a seal. Let the wick soak up some lighter fluid, tighten the cap, and no fumes or fluid can escape and no water can get it. When you need fire in a pinch, just open it up and flick the tiny Zippo-style flint wheel and it’s flame on. Just have something ready to light at hand, because after about 15 seconds, it gets too hot to handle. (MSRP: $44) –DM
Field Notes National Crops Edition Notebooks This six-pack of notebooks makes for a fine, small gift. These proudly made-in-the-U.S.A. notebooks are durable and age nicely the longer you carry them around in your pocket. They make for the perfect journals to bring on hunting or fishing trips. –CK
Wicked Tough Handsaw OK, $50 seems like a lot to pay for a handsaw. But if, like me, you’ve busted a half-dozen $12.99 hardware store models trimming shooting lanes, it’s worth it if the saw lasts. And this one does. In a hard winter of hacking at some nasty trunks and limbs, I wasn’t able to stress my Wicked Tough enough to even make it groan. The 7-inch high carbon steel blade fits neatly into an 8-inch handle with a rubberized grip that’s comfortable. I’m dreaming of never having to buy another saw. –SB
Lone Wolf Ladder Stick Climbing sticks have revolutionized treestand hunting and safety in recent years, and Lone Wolf’s Ladder Stick is a neat spin-off from their popular individual sticks. The Ladder Stick consists of four 4-foot sections that stack together and strap easily onto Lone Wolf (or other) stands. The bottom section of the ladder features a tough, quiet foot plate that gives the ladder a firm platform. The sections fit together with a male/female joint and are secured with a sturdy pin. And thanks to its lightweight (12.5 pounds, total) construction, the Ladder Stick can be assembled on the ground and tipped up to a tree by one person. You’ll be hanging sets quicker, and more quietly, than you ever thought possible. MSRP: $204. –SB
“Long Flies” by Gary Borger Gary Borger is in his own league when it comes to describing the most nuanced aspects of fly fishing in clear detail. He’s launched an ambitious endeavor — 20 planned books in an umbrella “Fly Fishing” series. The latest installment is called “Long Flies,” and it explains the use of streamers, bucktails and other “big fish” flies in compelling, easy to understand language. They say “big fish eat big flies.” But I’m surprised how few fly anglers (trout) use streamers more than every so often. This book can broaden horizons. For $35, you can get a signed copy direct from Gary. –KD
5.11 Tactical’s Stryke Pants These are, without a doubt, the most comfortable cargo pants ever made and they’re tough as nails to boot. The Stryke Pant from 5.11 Tactical is made of a fabric the company calls Flex-Tac. It looks and feels like ripstop nylon until you pull on it. Every inch of the garment has a nice bit of give that makes the pants extremely comfortable when sitting for long periods, especially in cramped or awkward positions. Plus, the waistband is self-adjusting, so dad won’t have to undo that button when he pushes away from the BBQ spread. The cargo pocket flaps are positioned high so you don’t have to bend down to your knees to get to them, two front slash pockets are great for a folding knife or small items, and the two back pockets have velcro-closed flaps to make sure everything stays put. With a quick press (and I mean quick) the fade and stain resistant fabric comes out neat enough to wear to the office, but they’re more than rugged enough for the field. Though a little pricey at $74.99, they will wear like iron. –DM
CRKT Edgie Knife If your dad is the kind of guy who is constantly slitting cardboard boxes and opening packages with his pocket knife, the Edgie from Columbia River Knife & Tool will be a godsend. This little folder ain’t real pretty and there is neither bell nor whistle to be found save for one. The Edgie has two diamond-coated spring sharpeners built into the folder frame, placed at the correct angle to sharpen the blade. Every time you open and close the knife, the blade is honed a bit. The edge doesn’t come out finely sharpened, but it’s nice and toothy, perfect for slitting boxes and fibrous material. And instead of having to stop and switch out the blade in your utility knife when it starts to go dull, just open and close this compact folder a few times and get back to work. CRKT has recently discontinued the product, but you can still find it on Amazon and from other vendors for about $20. –DM
Dog Tags Dog tags aren’t just for active military and veterans. It’s never a bad idea to carry some ID on you when you head out into the field in case of an emergency. Wallets can get lost or left in the truck, but if you have your ID hanging around your neck, it isn’t going anywhere. DogTagsOnline offers a number of modestly priced, fully customizable tags in the current embossed military style, vintage-style stamped tags (which can be great replacements for lost tags from the Vietnam, Korea and WWII eras), and modern laser engraved tags. You can get a full military set, including two tags, two ball chains and two rubber silencers for just $7 with fully customizable text. It offers the family a small sense of security if dad has his name, address, blood type, allergies and emergency contact info on him when he heads out for a hunt. When he gets home, he can take them off and hang them right next to his gear. –DM
Scheyden Precision Eyewear There’s a new name in the high-end polarized eyewear arena. Scheyden Precision Eyewear was born in the aviation realm — pilots, including the USAF Thunderbirds — have learned to appreciate the premium glass optics for their clarity. Sight fishermen are starting to realize a difference on the water also. They’re stylish, but at over $300, a fairly spendy purchase. If Dad is the kind of angler who thinks of his glasses as “optics,” and can tell the difference when looking through budget binoculars and premium field glasses, these might be right up his alley. You honestly can see a difference. –Kirk Deeter