Oh...Father's Day. Even if you don't remember it's coming, the barrage of ads will always remind you. The ads, the ads. The ads that seem to think the only thing you should ever buy your dad is either a lawn mower or a grill or power tools. Which, on one hand, isn't totally awful, because grills and tools (and lawnmowers?) are cool, but here's the rub: tools are a personal thing. They're bought for a specific project, or a skill set, or a desire to learn a new technique.
(Yup, we're also giving away FIVE $100 gift cards to Duluth Trading Co. Read on to find out how to enter!) So, with that in mind, we invite you to forgo the entry-level circular saw sales and forgo the tape measure collection and get some gear to empower any of the men in your life to make some stuff and get projects done this summer. To bring you this Outfitted post, we partnered with the team at Duluth Trading Co., purveyors of original clothing, tools, workshop items and accessories, served up with a serious sense of humor. This collection features items of two types: stuff to wear to work safely and comfortably, and quality (but affordable) hand tools that cut stuff. Each can be used on whatever projects one wants to take on this summer, and will last for all kinds of DIYing to come.
1. Shinwa Bakuma Slim Cut Hand Saw: Hands down, one of my favorite DIY best buys. These Japanese-style pull saws produce excellent quality cuts for such an affordable tool. The blades can be replaced as well, so when you buy one, you'll have it for life. $29.99 at Woodcraft.com
2. Klein Tools 20 in. Canvas Tool Bag: A great option for carrying a specific set of tools to a project or for long term storage. The flexibility of the bag allows to fit more and larger tools than you could into a rigid tool box, and the canvas, rivets, and leather styling is classic. $60.64 at Home Depot
3. Duluth CoolMax Trim Fit Longtail T-Shirt: This shirt allows you to stay cool and dry throughout this hot, humid season by employing both the benefits of comfortable cotton and the moisture-wicking properties of Coolmax synthetic fabric. The "longtail" indicates that the shirt is longer 3"in the back, which allows you to bend over and work on projects (even plumbing without "sharing too much information." Bonus points for the pencil pocket. Shown here in graphite. $29.50 at DuluthTrading.com
4. DuluthFlex Fire Hose Carpenter Pants: Somehow both extremely tough and comfortable to wear, with plenty of flexibility that'll allow you to bend, work on your knees, climb trees or into tight spaces, or wherever your project takes you. I wore these pants exclusively during my recent move (4 full days of packing and furniture moving, and 3 days of the same on the other side) and they were the perfect fit for a variety of fix-it tasks and heavy lifting. The additional pockets are useful without being obvious. Shown here in coffee. $64.50 at DuluthTrading.com
5. Spectacle Clear Lens Safety Glasses: You only get two eyes - take care of them. The Spectacle glasses are modeled after the old shop teacher style, with the classic wire mesh side-shields, and they look loads better than the wraparound 90s snowboard-style jobs they sell at the home improvement. These have been my personal go-to pairs since I bought them at the Hand-Eye Supply brick-and-mortar store two years ago, and I always seem to be able to find them when I need 'em. $20.00 at Hand-Eye Supply
6. Klein Customizable Tool Belt: Unless you're a contractor, a fully-packed tool apron with hammers and drills hanging off tends to be overkill and more hassle than helpful. This system by Klein allows you to choose one belt and add just the accessories and storage you need. Klein Tools 5415S Leather Tool Belt and 5119 Leather 4-Pocket Tool Pouch at Amazon.com.
7. Hori Hori Soil Knife: This traditional Japanese garden tools does the work of probably every handheld tool on the market, and probably some of the handle-style tools as well. Duluth Trading Co. says: "The pointed blade and curved shape work like a garden spade while the serrated edge works as a garden knife to cut plantings apart. Also perfect for weeding, transplanting and cutting open fertilizer bags." $28.95 at DuluthTrading.com
8. Fit Wool Socks Medium Hiker Crew: The joke about giving your dad socks for holidays need not apply here. Proper footwear is essential to any project, and your socks matter just as much as your boots. Here, I've selected my favorite all wool socks, which are just thick enough to provide cushioning without overheating you. I'd wear nothing but these every day if I could. $20.99 at Fitssock.com
9. Genuine British Army Knife by Rothco: Large multitools are great for camping and keeping in your car or go-bag, but they can be too thick and heavy for everyday carry. The British Army Knife will handle most basic cutting tasks, and remains relatively thin so it'll fit in your pocket with your keys and phone and other goodies. $47.48 at Amazon.com
10. 3M TEKK WorkTunes Hearing Protector, MP3 Compatible with AM/FM Tuner: I love listening to podcasts and even audiobooks while I'm working on projects, and so I don't have to blast the volume to overcome the noise of power tools, I like these hearing protection earmuffs with the built-in audiojack. They work just as well as standard ear protection, and, honestly, I sometimes wear these over normal headphones when I'm cleaning or washing dishes, cause they help me focus and avoid excess noise. Though, I'll admit I took the AM/FM antenna off mine...I never listen to the radio, and it just got in the way. $48.45 at Amazon.com
11. X-Acto Basic Knife Set: Most of us have a couple of these lying around, but a boxed set with a variety of handles and blade types can inspire all sorts of creative projects. As a man with average man-sized hands, I'm a big fan of the beefier #5 knife, which prevents cramps and soreness. From wood carving to print making, nobody that makes stuff can't use this set. $24.86 at DickBlick.com
12. Duluth 6" Contractors Moc Toe Boots: From someone who, for years, just switched out my oldest pair of sneakers to DIY projects whenever I got a new pair, believe me: you need proper work boots. 1) You need to protect your feet, your feet bones, and your legs; 2) You need proper support and traction when your traipsing around on roofs and ladders, and whenever you're using power tools, and 3) when you're on your feet all day, you need to keep them warm and try. A quality pair of leather workboots with proper soles will do that perfectly, while remaining comfortable to use for days at a time. And since the Duluth boots include a Vibram sole, they can be resoled as needed while keeping that leather upper your worked so hard to break in. $179.50 at DuluthTrading.com
13. Three Floyds Zombie Dust: To be enjoyed after a project or when using power tools, the Three Floyds take on an American Pale Ale is beloved by fans everywhere, and relatively available. It is hop-forward, which might stretch Midwest-based pale lager drinkers, but the overwhelming sense of this beer is its balance, amenable flavor, and pleasure in drinking it. It's not the best beer out there, but it's darn fine, and can be enjoyed by anyone.
This giveaway is now closed.
That's our 2014 ManMade Father's Day gift idea collection. Thanks to Duluth Trading Company for sponsoring this post. All opinions are ours alone.