The Wild South

Sporting Gifts for Dad

A gleaming grill for the boat, the ultimate camp coffee maker, standout waders, and more ideas for dads who love the outdoors


Yes, of course, your father deserves it. Let’s get that out of the way. And if you’ve been dragging your feet, you don’t have much time to wait. Luckily, here’s a slam-dunk list of Father’s Day gifts that covers all the sporting pops out there—hunters or anglers, sailors or paddlers, and even the guys who want nothing more than a good cup of coffee on the tailgate. And to be appreciated a wee bit. That’s your job.


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Travel Perk

Planetary Design’s spill-proof, double-wall insulated BaseCamp coffee press takes mobile java to the next level. The coffee tech inside is based on an ingenious removable bottom and a tempered stainless-steel baffle that creates a physical barrier between freshly brewed coffee and the grounds. That stops the brewing process once the plunger is depressed for a cleaner, bitter-free taste. The press is built tough to handle backcountry adventures, and the padded rubber base makes it a slick home office java juggler, too. It’s available in 32- and 48-ounce sizes. $60–$70; planetarydesign.com


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Room to Grow

My search for the perfect do-it-all saltwater fly box has been a years-long Goldilocks-grade fiasco. Too small. Too large. Too heavy. Not tough enough. But I think I’ve found the sweet spot in this just-right box from Fishpond. Waterproof and practically squash proof, the Pescador is roomy enough to tote more than 200 flies, and I love the optional add-on fly page—it doubles the payload, but also lets me swap out fly selections in seconds. I keep the main body loaded with general use flies—Clousers and glass minnows and the like—and a couple of fly pages stocked with, say, bonefish selections or flies suited for redfish. And if freshwater fishing is more your dad’s game, this box will likely become a favorite for streamers and poppers and large bushy flies. $50, extra fly page $25; fishpondusa.com


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Sparkling Addition

If your old man loves the sea—or lakes or rivers or the Intracoastal Waterway—chances are he’s seen a gleaming Magma grill perched on the rail of a sailboat or center console and asked himself: “Why don’t I have one of those?” They are quite fetching. The grill body and components are made of mirror-polished stainless steel to withstand harsh marine conditions, and they’re designed specifically with boaters in mind. The burner components will work in the wind, the swiveling control valve makes it easy to adjust to suit a specific craft, and the whole shebang is easy to clean. The grill runs off readily available one-pound propane canisters or can be adapted for on-board propane or natural gas systems. Never eat a sodden, squished sub again. $250; magmaproducts.com


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Hoodie Bliss

Yes, there are a blue million fishing hoodies on the market, and sometimes it seems like I’ve tried them all. But Duck Camp’s bamboo version is the most comfortable, most almost-luxurious hoodie I own. It’s almost too nice to muck up with fish slime and bait slobber. In fact, it’s not my top choice for an all-day slam quest in the summer. The heathered, soft fabric is just a touch much for scorching hot days. But for everything else—a sunset cruise, a paddle across the pond, a dawn or sunset patrol, a day in the home office, a burger after work—this is the one shirt I reach for most often. $59; duckcamp.com


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Stay Cool

At first glance, there’s not much to these Superlight Pants from Simms. And that’s the point. The nylon construction is light as a 2-knot breeze, and they lack cargo pockets, thigh zippers, and all those other fishing-pant doodads you don’t really need. They dry incredibly fast, and with a UPF50+ rating, they’re the perfect choice for long days on the boat. The belt loops make it easy to keep fishing pliers handy, and the partial stretch waistband is a superb idea. They’re also good-looking, so these are my favorite pants for a seamless boat-to-bar transition. And hallelujah, they even come in a short inseam sizing. $80; simmsfishing.com



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Grill Buddy

Forget InstaFace. The most impactful technological advance I know of is the wireless smart meat thermometer, and this model from MEATER is the cream of the crop. No need to hang out by the smoker for hours. Just insert the probe, pair it with the app, and you can remotely—up to 165 feet away—keep tabs on your tri-tip. The app reads out both internal meat and ambient temperature, and details elapsed time and time needed to reach a preset temperature. The thermometer also comes with a slick bamboo charging and storing station. $100; meater.com


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Blind Ambition

Introduced last year, Chêne Gear’s breathable, zipper-fronted waders might be the most comfortable pair I’ve ever worn. The four-layer waterproof fabric doesn’t bind or bunch, and I love the new yoke-style shoulder straps. The zipper makes it easier than ever to pull waders on, and Chêne’s custom boot design is downright luxurious—for a wader, of course. Of no small benefit is the huge sizing range, from shoe sizes 6 to 14 and body sizes from extra-extra-small to 3X. Short dads—like this one—rejoice! This year, two more colors join the lineup: Mossy Oak Original Bottomland and a near-black Shadow. The waders are on a slight back order, but are expected to ship by August. When you pre-purchase waders, write Father’s Day in the online note box for a free Chêne hat to tide Dad over. After spending a season in a pair, I can tell you they’re worth the wait. $1,100; chenegear.com


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Fill It Up

The first couple of generations of YETI’s uber-useful soft-sided cooler were oh-so-close to perfection, but the new Hopper M30 runs through the tape. Gone are the zippers, replaced by a gaping opening rimmed with strong magnets that provide a tight seal but make it easier to open than any of its predecessors. And the most recent upgrade is a set of rigid stays in the cooler mouth that hold it open for easy loading and unloading. You can now two-fist suds in and out and pack it with bulky items impossible for earlier iterations to swallow. A case of beer, whole cantaloupes, and a freaking sheet cake will fit into the M30. Ok, not all at once, but almost. $350; yeti.com

Follow T. Edward Nickens on Instagram @enickens.


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