It’s not too late! Sure, you’ve procrastinated. But this Father’s Day you still have time to get a last-minute gift for Dad that shows you appreciate him. (And just between us, it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.) For the kayaking Dad, here’s our ultimate gift guide:
Kayaker Gifts Under $20
Carabiners (about $10 bucks). Giving the gift of biners is giving the gift of connectedness. For the kayaker, there’s always something that ought to be connected to something else: a knife or a whistle to a PFD; a dry box to the deck rigging; a fish net on a leash. Fact: Every kayaker could use at least three more carabiners. And even if you don’t need one right now, having a fresh box of biners in the tool drawer provides a sense of security far beyond the $10 investment. Pick ’em up cheap at your local Harbor Freight, or order an assortment of carabiners online with two day shipping at Amazon.
Police whistle (about $12 bucks). The law (and common sense) tells you to carry a whistle when you kayak. But there’s no need to skimp on style when you can have your own authentic metropolitan police whistle used by English bobbies and more than 120 national police forces.
EX Officio Underwear (about $20 bucks). When pair of underbritches gets 1,500 5-star reviews on Amazon it can only mean the manufacturer is amazing at guerrilla marketing . . . or at making undies. Our official tester at Florida Kayaker slipped into the first pair of these almost a decade ago and eschews all other underwear. Light as a feather, wicks moisture like the back of a duck, and worth every penny of the exceptional price tag. A gift of ExOfficio undies is a gift that says you’ve got a great tush, and it deserves to be swaddled in the most comfortable and breathable fabric ever invented by undergarment scientists.
Mosquito Net Hat ($12.95). Out in Florida’s mangrove islands and inshore flats, the bugs aren’t usually a problem when there’s a breeze. But pack it in at sunset and during certain seasons you’ll inhale a nose full of no-see-ums before you can can get the heck out of dodge. Who wants to experience the icky feeling if DEET for the entire ride home when a bug net will provide all the protection you need for the 15 minute onslaught.
Sunscreen Says I Love You ($8.79). The gift of sunscreen says I don’t want you to suffer. Or die. And a tube of Neutrogena says I want you to have the best, without that icky oily feeling. Forget the bulky spray bottles and go with a tube. There’s not pale-skinned person on earth who couldn’t use a spare bottle of sunscreen. If you’re lucky enough to have a redhead in your life, they’ll thank you for it — if they know what’s good for them.
Waterproof Dry Box ($13.22). How many iPhones have I lost while fishing the mangrove islands of Ozello? The answer would be exactly none if I had remembered to keep my phone(s) stowed in one of these handy boxes. Also fits car keys and a wallet. Bonus gift idea: Use a carabiner to clip it to the rigging and your valuables will always remain with your kayak.
Safety Horn (about $10 bucks). I once carried a can of Spam in my backpack for three months, just in case. I’m thankful I never had to use it. A safety horn is a gift that says I want you home safely. It may never be needed but if it is, nothing else will do the job — except maybe a flair gun.
Mobile USB battery charger (about $20 bucks). Need to phone home? Get un-lost? Snap a photo or make a video of an unforgettable sunset? Can’t do it if your battery is dead. The Com-Pad mobile battery charger will revitalize your electronics and get you on your way without a hitch.
Kayaker Gifts Under $50
Sun Hat (about $35 bucks). A comfy, wide brimmed hat will ensure your favorite kayaker makes the most of the day on the water. It’s a gift that makes every trip more pleasant even as it silently protects the health and longevity of your favorite kayaker.
Gerber Suspension Butterfly Opening Multi-Plier (About $26 bucks). The only essential missing from this multi-tool is a corkscrew. Otherwise this is a versatile, durable and indispensable tool for kayak trips. More comfortable than the traditional Leatherman. And don’t worry if your favorite Kayaker already has a multi-tool. A spare will never go to waste.
Diawa Minispin Ultralight Spinning Rod & Reel (about $35). Grandad kept a Ronco Pocket Fisherman in his glove box, just in case. But the Daiwa Minispin is a lightweight rod & reel you’d actually use. Designed for backpackers, it’s the perfect lightweight rod and reel for the kayaker who isn’t planning to go fishing, but doesn’t want to miss out should the opportunity arise. Bonus: Catch anything over 1 pound on this rig and it will feel like a tarpon!
Kayaker Gifts for Any Budget
Costa Del Mar Sunglasses polarized sunglasses (from $116). Fishermen prize Costa’s for their visual clarity and comfort. A great pair of polarized glasses let you enjoy the sites below the water as well as above, and Costa’s are repute to be the best. (Our tester can’t be trusted not to lose a pair, so he prefers the Veza sunglasses from Sam’s Club at about a third the price.)
Wine Tote Picnic Basket (about $70 bucks). Sure, you’d want a new Yeti cooler to keep the beer ice-cold on your air boat. But for your kayak, by all means consider a stylish wine tote and picnic kit, complete with service for two on melamine plates, with acrylic wine glasses, stainless flatware, cotton napkins, hardwood cutting board, cheese knife and corkscrew.
GoPro Hero3 (from $199). You never want to rule out the possibility of connecting with a tarpon. If your kayak adventure has even the slightest possibility of serious adventure, the GoPro is your ticket to becoming a YouTube celebrity. The newest models are designed with improved underwater clarity and built-in WIFi so you can watch and control the action from your smart phone. Already got one? Add a second or a even a third for b-roll footage!