Man Made DIY


May 08, 2013

10 Things Every Man Should Own [Spring Edition]

created at: 05/08/2013

Some of the most frequent kinds of questions ManMade receives are inquiries like, "I just graduated college and finally have a real income and I'd like to start investing in some long-lasting goods..." or "my fiancée's birthday is coming up, and I'd like to buy him something every guy should have..." In 2013, I've been giving my take on those essential items, offering a new collection of ten each season:  winterspringsummer, and fall.    Some of these you might already own, some of these you might need to upgrade to a quality version, and most of these apply to women and households too. Please let me know what you think, and what you'd add or take away in the comments below.    

1. A pocketknife or multi-tool: [pictured above] For most of my adult life, I wasn't a pocketknife guy. I had some, but reserved them for camping or backpacking trips, and I always kept a small Leatherman in my "go bag" (except when flying) as well as one in my car. But, over the last few months, after inheriting several pocketknives from my grandfather, I've taken to carrying a small one along with my other daily items, and, my goodness, it's useful. I don't know that I use it everyday, but I'm certain it's employed at least four or five times a week, and on those days I forget, I always seem to need it. Give it a shot. For more, see 20+ Ways to Use a Pocketknife 


2. At least one living plant: Spring is the time when stuff grows, and it's important to have that ish inside your house. There's a certain zen that comes with caring for a plant - whether it's a single succulent that needs to be watered once a month, or a full-on farm. Those of us with gardens or lawns to manage are covered, but urban apartment dwellers or renters? Get. a. plant. And don't let it die. Put in on your kitchen table, in your office, build a window box, grow your own wheatgrass, whatever. Green thumb or no, it'll make you a better guy. If you want to really incorporate some into your home decor, check out our How to: Make DIY Wall-Mounted Succulent Shelves 


3. A library card: Even in the era of the internet and eReaders, your local library is still a major gift to any community. It's full of media...that you can get for free. For free. Especially in the era when most video stores are closed, your local library remains one of the few places you can just browse for movies older than six months. And they have books! And magazines! And all kinds of interesting programming, and film series, and free classes. Libraries are awesome, and it'll be a serious shame if we lose them. I love discovering new music on the web or browsing Netflix, but there's still something special about finding a physical piece of media on a shelf, and making a commitment to checking it out. Go pay off your fines, and patronize your local library.  


created at: 05/08/2013

4. A weekend getaway bag: You have months of cabin fever built up, and there's just something good for the soul about spending a weekend away from home. Don't over-think it and grab a piece of luggage and three pairs of shoes and a garment bag full of suits. Just snag your toothbrush, a filled flask or growler for when you get there, a magazine or two, and a jacket and your favorite pair of jeans. Spend a weekend with a buddy in a neighboring city. Go see your parents. Take your sweetheart somewhere special. Just hit the road. For some multi-use solutions, check out our roundup of Five Awesome Gym Bags to match any style. (Just make sure it smells okay)

Pictured: J. Crew Factory Weekend Duffel Bag - $89.50 


created at: 05/08/2013

5. A bicycle: This might be a controversial one, especially for those in small spaces, but I'ma say it: every guy needs a bike. The world just looks different from two wheels. When we were kids, your bike meant freedom, and that isn't lost when you grow up. They're a great form of exercise, especially as we age and our joints can't always handle the impact of jogging. You can ride it for fun, for transportation, for fitness, to save money or gas. Bikes are awesome, and a solid one will last you for the rest of your life. There's no reason to plunk down a bunch of money on a new carbon-fiber racing frame. Used bike shops and co-ops abound in every major city, and you can get a perfectly useable older road bike for around $100. Just be sure to get one that fits, and make sure the tires and brake pads are in good shape. For more, see our Skillset post - How to: 5 DIY Bike Tune-Ups Every Man Should Know 


6. A regular appointment that has nothing to do with your job - Those with kids will laugh at this, but we should all have at least one place we're committed to be during our off hours. Especially in the era of telecommuting, startup culture, freelancing, etc. Ideas? Take a class. Play a team sport. Volunteer with a local organization. Join a book club or discussion group. Attend a lecture. Take part in a community garden. Routine isn't everything, but it helps a lot of us living the creative lifestyle to have some balance.

created at: 05/08/2013

7. A great pair of sunglasses: Not an expensive pair, but something better than the stuff you can find at the gas station. Why? Sunglasses are stylish, but they also are good for you and your health. From our ManMade Guide to Sunglasses:

Unfortunately, many men consider sunglasses to be mere fashion accessories, and therefore "not manly," but there are actually several health benefits to wearing sunglasses, particularly polarized lenses, when spending a day outside: they protect your eyes from harmful UV rays and blue light, as well as protecting the skin around your eyes and preventing wrinkles and "crow's feet." Furthermore, they allow you to see better when outside, helping you to better operate a car, motorcycle, bicycle, boat, lawnmower, backhoe, grill, etc. 

See more at The ManMade Guide to Sunglasses: 5 Stylish Pairs Under $100

8. A notebook, sketchbook, or journal: I regularly use digital tools to help flesh out designs and my phone to keep track of inspirations, but there's some magical about putting a pencil on paper and sketching or outlining ideas. No matter what you do, make, or like to think about, there's a case to be made about doing it away from a screen. I keep two notebooks, a small pocket-sized one that I try to keep on me, and a hard-bound graph paper book for designing projects and planning measurements. Currently, I'm using a Leuchtturm1917 that I got at Powell's, and I like it even better than the [no longer available] Picadilly books I used for years. See the comments section here for more ideas: How to: A Quick and Easy Way to Reattach a Book or Notebook Cover 


created at: 05/08/2013

9. A solid umbrella: Look, don't be tough. Sometimes you just gotta be outside when it's raining, and if you need to be professional (or comfortable), it doesn't make any sense to get soaked. Like most things, I suggest spending a little more and getting on that'll last for decades, rather than buying a bunch of plasticky discount store models. Plus, the potential to be a gentleman here and keep some nice old lady on the street or your cute neighbor dry? It can be good to be the guy with the umbrella. Pictured: London Fog City Gent Lifesaver Umbrella 


10. A wristwatch - I have no idea when guys decided there was no reason to wear a watch once we all started carrying cell phones. Maybe that'll work for a casual work day, but wristwatches do so much more than keep time you the time. They're style accessories, and important ones at that. You don't need anything flashy or expensive. Just a piece that's solid, classy, and timeless. (Um....) I vote for having at least two - one for dress and one for casual wear, perhaps with a few easy-to-switch band options.  Plus, when you're out on a date and need to make a movie or show, or at a business meeting, you don't wanna be pulling out your phone to check the time. Watches, my friend. Watches. Pictured: Timex Weekender Slip Through - $45.00 


Check out our 10 Things Every Man Should Own - Winter Edition here:

Post Comments

Add Your Comment!

Great gear for a man to have. Hadn't even considered bringing an umbrella for the ladies. I'm pretty sure A Man is just a cool chopper rider who gets is just too comfortable with insulting people. He's most likely a (gravely voice) "a man" as opposed to a classy man. @benji- my wooden escalator is always broken as well. And milk! Every man should have a gallon of milk wherever he goes. Lol!

Come on, guys. You all know the rule: "DON'T FEED THE TROLLS"

Trolls are incapable of constructive criticism, so let them whine and show how sad they are...

Alright, guys. Let's drop it there, I think everyone had their say.

@David, first it was 'little boy', now its 'little man'... You need to work on your consistency David. And, all the other things I already pointed out that you ignored, perhaps because the words were too big. Borrow a dictionary. BTW, loved the wire basket you weaved... Your college major?

Tsk, your talents are wasted. Weave yourself a brain next time.

Bruno, if I could delete my earlier comments from your page, I would, if just to save you my retorts associated with some of your members desire to attack me because of my opinion.

I think it's funny how people try to define what makes a man a Man by lists). don't get me wrong, i do appreciate the hints, tips and ideas. But in the end, the only 'list' that makes a man a Man is his own 'list', wether that list includes motorcycles or knitting needles or both (and I have a feeling the guys at manmadediy know that too). I also think that unique list should never be finished, and inspiring websites like this one keep adding things to my 'list' to explore and possibly expand it.

So, from this side of the world, thank you for all your effort, and keep up the good work!

Thanks for the confirmation, still waiting on that handle change little man.

@david, generalizations are the feeble constructs of liars. Also please indicate where in any place in my list I imply it is braggadocio. It is merely a list, like the list given on this page. Your logic and intellect is flawed. And what the heck is meant by 'region worthy'? Seriously, what a lame premise. I have never been in a region on Earth that didn't have some form of motorcycle or machete. Perhaps Antartica would meet that very narrow assumption, but I'm not posting from there, nor implying I was... The idiot you speak of is waiting in your bathroom mirror. Go and observe it in its natural habitat. Bruno, I apologise in advance for coming back here and posting, but David insulted me and I roll over for no one, especially stereotyping, assumption making, logically flawed morons.

Sometimes it takes an idiot to help define what me mean by "man". Guys who brag about their motorcycles and machetes are generally viewed by society as little boys in grown up bodies. Men who live in a region worthy of motorcycles and machetes are generally respectable enough to keep stupid comments in check. @ 'man' can you please go ahead and change your handle to 'little boy' for the sake of clarity?

Well, my intention for the word 'girl' wasn't derogatory as much as it was a girl shouldn't decide what a man needs, as I would also say a 'man' shouldn't decide what a girl needs... Not an insult, an observation.

Glad you have your own site Mr. Bornsztein. I wouldn't have thought it would be so uncontrollable for who posts, but perhaps that's the way you set it up, or the guys at GODADDY... Meh, it doesn't matter.

Enjoy the site. I'll leave you alone now.

@A Man - um. If I could block you, I would. But it's the internet, so I can't. And yes, it's my site. And clearly, you should be reading some other blog, where motocycles and machetes make a man, and where using the word 'girl' in a derogatory manner is acceptable. It's not here. Please move along.

@Bruno, instant insults merely confirm what I felt about the article previously. If it's your site, block me. I won't lose sleep over it. If it isn't your site, untwist your panties. Real man's list: 1. A motorcycle (not a scooter) 2. A machete 3. A shop quality beard trimmer 4. A Chiltons Guide for every vehicle he owns 5. The skinned knuckles to prove he uses the Chiltons Guide 6. 2 pairs of Levi's, one dirty, one that he's wearing 7. Olympic weight set, very used 8. Well worn cowboy boots 9. A man cave, for when he's sick of chattering females 10. The balls to walk in the rain without an umbrella and to stick up for the fact that he's a man, not a wuss.

@A 'Man' - You are a moron. Please stop leaving stupid comments on our site.

Who wrote this, a girl? (Yeah, I see it says Chris, but doubt it was a man)


Nice article! I want to add: whiskey pocket bottle, a fine after-shave. ;)


All these items are a great idea we r married and all of these things make sence even the getaway bag every man needs a break. And just get away from the wife some woman would not let that happen but that's for insecure kids ect ty for sharing this

Thought this was brilliant. Well done. And thanks. Going to buy the hubs a few of these gems.

@Benji - You're clearly trying to be a comedian here, but, for the sake of others - there are thousands of generic web sites that can recommend things like towels and band-aids to men. We're proud of our focus, and will continue to share content that seeks to inspire guys to be more creative, buy less things, and make the items they use everyday.

i think i speak for all men everywhere when i say:

please change this site to include more practical advice for men.


should I have a towel?  (WELL?  SHOULD I?)

should I have a band-aid?

how come the wooden escalator in my house is always broken?  nobody will even come look at it.

how are children made?  and why are they small?

until then, i will not be able to enjoy this website and cannot in good conscience recommend it to my friend.

@Benji.... um. I think you were making a joke, but I want to clarify for future readers:  If you've looked at any other article on this website other than glancing at this post for 3 seconds, you'll note that we don't really think most men are idiots and need to be told things like, "brush your teeth." Furthermore, this is part of a multi-part series that explores classic, heritage items that should improve all aspects of your life, rather than making sure you have band aids on hand.

I would never insult our readers by offering such unhelpful, obvious items. The goal here to help readers to grow, not just reflect the status quo. If you think men need to be told to own a towel, you'll be pretty unhappy with the kind of content this web site seeks to produce. 

© 2010-2015 Curbly, LLC