Shopping for the gents in your life? Be it husband, boyfriend, friend, brother, colleague, client or friend, here are some of our very best gift ideas for menfolk!
FOR THE PRACTICAL MAN. We pick on socks around here a lot because they are often given when folks don’t really know what to give. Everyone needs socks, right? Well, Darn Tough socks aren’t those kinds of socks. They are the kind you give not as an afterthought but because you thought. We first encountered these woolly gems at a local Boston shop that specializes in socks and stockings and were a little skeptical of their higher price at first. We bought one pair to test them out and have now been back several times to buy more - not just for ourselves, but for others. These are the socks that will keep your feet truly warm throughout the winter - and, comfortably so. Side note: not sure if this is accurate, but we were told that Darn Tough makes socks for the US Navy. Given our experiences with these socks, we’re inclined to believe it. And, frankly, if they’re good enough for the SEALs and all the extreme conditions they encounter, they’re more than capable of handling our Boston winters and whatever else us civilians might throw at them!
FOR THE ‘Q MASTER. If the guy on your list is into grilling, consider giving a few tools that aren’t strictly necessary, but certainly make ‘Q prep a whole lot easier. First up is a garlic peeler which magically helps remove the thin papery coverings from garlic cloves without any need for fiddly, manual peeling. Second on our recommended list: onion goggles. Yes, they sound utterly ridiculous but we’ve got a pair and routinely use them when slicing onion in quantity when making Bolognese. As Johnson & Johnson so aptly coined the phrase, “no more tears.” And, last but not least, we’d highlight Masterbuilt’s heat-resistant carving gloves. In fact, these are handy for all sorts of things - from BBQ related tasks, to holding hot lobsters when you are cracking and prepping them to serve.
THE PHOTOGRAPHY ENTHUSIAST. If your recipient is a keen photographer, we suspect some awesome hobby-related kit would be welcome - such as a quality tripod with remote shutter release. Tripods are handy for studio photography and/or for long exposure shots. They are especially great for photographers who might wish to take product shots, food photos, still life images - or, the photographer who wants to explore night shooting, taking pictures of the stars, for example. We own an Oben AC-1441 4-Section Aluminum Tripod and think it’s pretty great - light, easy to set up and comfortably able to handle the weight of our camera. That said, we also have a flexible JOBY GorillaPod which is great when you need a compact tripod that can be easily adapted to most any environment or shooting scenario. Bundle your chosen tripod with a remote shutter release (to remove any possible chance to wobbliness) for extra credit. We have the Vello RS-O3II for our Olympus (with high marks to Vello!) but you’ll want to make sure to get one that works with your recipient’s camera brand and model.
CAMPER EXTRAORDINAIRE AND/OR BEACH HABITUÉ. Does the gent in question have a particular fondness for the beach, or for camping? If he likes to enjoy the great outdoors with a cold brewskie to hand, or a chilled bottle of brosé, have you thought about getting him a cooler? Cabela’s Polar Cap Equalizer is very highly rated and reviewers laud its ability to keep contents super chilly. Bonus feature: the latches have integrated bottle openers. We’d also recommend checking out Orion Coolers - for example, the Orion 35 - all they make are coolers and they have some pretty solid, feature-rich options, like the ability to add on a cutting board, cutlery kit and/or a minibar. As for bottle openers? Those go without saying. Fancy some bonus points? Tuck a six pack of his favorite brew or bottle of wine inside.
ROOT, ROOT, ROOT FOR THE HOME TEAM. If the man in your gifting sights is a big sports fan, consider tickets to a sporting event - or, if you don’t live close to any major arenas, an NFL Sunday Ticket DirectTV pass or a MLB subscription might be just the thing.
TAILGATER. Continuing on the sporting theme, if your recipient is a food-conscious fan, consider that the way to his heart may well be through his stomach. As such, game-time snacks and foodstuffs may be the way to go. For example, a case of Tayto’s, arguably Ireland’s most famous potato chips (or crisps), pair well with a brew or two - we suggest the Cheese & Onion flavor for first timers. A real classic. Or, maybe there is a favorite local pizza joint you could get a gift certificate to? Or, a top notch wings and nachos establishment? Come game day, your guy can cash it in for some delicious sideline snacking while watching his team (hopefully) prevail.
THE CITY GENTLEMAN. If you’re looking to splash out in a big way for a fellow who’s more than a little classy - perhaps your husband, or your father - who heads into the office every day with a spring in his step and a briefcase in hand, consider giving him a Swaine Adeney Brigg document case or attaché case. These babies are considered by many to be the ne plus ultra of handcrafted leather work accessories. Needless to say, quality takes time (as does shipment from London), especially when items are made-to-order, so do plan ahead. Side note: Swaine Adeney Brigg umbrellas are also a class act if a briefcase or folio are not on the docket.
BEER LOVER. If you are gifting to a beer lover, do we have some suggestions for you! First up, a classic: insulated sleeves. These are excellent companions, not just on the beach or the porch, but indoors too. Not only do they prevent condensation from getting everywhere, they really do keep your brew colder longer. We have ordered these cheap and cheerful neoprene sleeves for beer bottles. You may also wish to check out these more recently listed neoprene sleeves for alternate color options and a slightly different zipper design. For cans, we have purchased the sturdy Thermos Stainless Steel Beverage Can Insulator. But, if lightweight sleeves are more suited to your fellow’s needs and he prefers drinking his brewskies out of a can, we like the looks of these. Another beer-related gift we’d highlight is The Oxford Companion to Beer - an excellent volume edited by Brooklyn Brewery’s own Garrett Oliver, brewmaster extraordinaire. Oliver’s book makes a great gift, especially for someone who is keen to explore the world of craft beer. Last but not least, we’d highlight a genius space-saving device that we only recently discovered, the BottleLoft. Basically, each pack contains two magnetic strips that affix to the ceiling of a fridge, holding up to six bottles of beer. Since most fridges tend to have the freezer on top, this is often the chilliest part (i.e. prime beer real estate) - moreover, the elevated position of the beer frees up valuable shelf space and helps keep things organized. Boom, beer gifts sorted.
HOST WITH THE MOST. Looking to give a gift to a family man? A feller who hosts Thanksgiving? A gent who enjoys a good Sunday roast, or steak night every now and again? A carving set may well be the answer. We really like the above-pictured set from Robert Welch for its classic simplicity and quality build. Chances are your recipient will too.
OLD SCHOOL PAMPERING. For the dapper gentleman, or the one who just needs a nice, luxurious break from routine, consider an old-fashioned hot shave. The Art of Shaving stores are in major cities throughout the US and/or a little bit of online research can turn up some real gems that are local to your recipient. In New York, for example, The New York Shaving Company, or Ludlow Blunt - or, in Boston, Tweed Barbers.
LINKS LOVER OR GOLFING GUY. For the golfing go-hard, may we suggest a copy of The Confidential Guide to Golf Courses by Tom Doak? Copies from the original printing are a little harder to come by, but excellent for the golfer who also appreciates first editions. For the gent who likes the latest of everything, perhaps a copy of the new edition? If your golfer is more a man of action, than a man of letters, forgo the golfing literature and consider a set of top of the line golf balls - such as the Titleist’s Pro V1 or Callaway’s Chrome Soft or Supersoft balls - and a packet of Epoch tees. The latter come in a range of colors and look quite snazzy on the links.
HOME CHEF. For the home chef - be they cook, baker and/or BBQ grillmaster - there are few tools we would recommend as heartily and with such unanimous enthusiasm as the Thermapen, an extraordinarily reliable and super speedy instant read thermometer. This simple but impressive tool revolutionized the way we cook and has taken the guesswork out of when something is finished, when we have reached medium, medium rare, or well done - or, when we have cooked our chicken to a safe temperature. Highly recommend.
FOR THE MOVIE LOVER, SPORTS FANATIC AND/OR COUCH POTATO. If your man has a cable subscription, consider getting him a Slingbox. What does a Slingbox do? Basically, it allows you to utilize a cable subscription to its fullest, “slinging” live cable or satellite TV, video apps and/or recorded shows to your phone, tablet, and computer. And, what’s more, you can use your devices to access this media from anywhere in the world - a serious bonus point for the regular traveler. No more trying to find a local sports bar to catch his hometown team playing their rivals. Whether he’s 50, 500, or 5,000 miles from home, he can pull it up on his laptop, or tablet.
WOODWORKER. For the shop guy, the handyman, the builder, it’s a rare craftsperson, be they pro or hobbyist, who does not appreciate the luxury of quality tools. With that in mind, we’d bring your attention to Lie-Nielsen Toolworks. Their beautiful block plane has received umpteen awards, and if your gent is into woodworking, it may well be the perfect gift. That said, they also make and sell gorgeous looking chisels and saws, among other tools.
CURED MEAT ENTHUSIAST. Have you ever heard of biltong before? If you’re South African, we’re guessing you have! We weren’t familiar with this South African delight until several years ago. It is not dissimilar to beef jerky in concept - both are a form of dried meat - but there are typically variations in preservation methods and seasoning choices. As well, we understand that thicker cuts of meat and longer drying times further tend to distinguish biltong from jerky. Why are we sharing all this with you here? Because you may wish to consider introducing the cured meat enthusiast in your life to this charcuterial delight. We’ve personally ordered from Braaitime, a family owned and operated business located in New Jersey, and would do so again - and next time, we may just have to try some of their scrumptious looking meat pies too!
SUN SHY. Be he a fan of sunbathing under the midday sun, or a feller who likes to lounge in the shade of a large tree, the majority of men like to have a good pair of shades to protect their eyes from the glare - and, if they are a fan of the sartorial, maybe even more than one pair. Opt for a pair of Ray Ban’s Classic Aviator glasses with green lenses à la Tom Cruise in Top Gun. Alternately, check out Warby Parker for modern interpretations of classic frames. Or, to view a wide range of brands all in one go, you may wish to wander on over to Glasses.com. If you’re looking to splurge, Farfetch.com, an online purveyor of luxury goods may well be where your search ends as they showcase glasses suitable for both the classic gent and the fellow who likes to make a fashion statement. That said, if you’re exploring the higher end of the price range, you may also wish to check out Mr. Porter, another online store offering handsome, distinctive sunglasses from luxury designers.
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