15 Father's Day Gifts for Every Type of Dad (and Every Budget)

iStock/Halfpoint
iStock/Halfpoint

Father’s Day can really sneak up on you. Once May rolls into June, your thoughts turn to sandy beaches, county fairs, or long-overdue vacations. Then it suddenly hits you: Dear Old Dad’s big holiday is coming up—and you still haven’t found that perfect, unique gift for your father (or stepfather, or grandfather, or husband)! Never fear. We’re here to help. On this list of ideas, there’s a little something for every kind of papa, from sports dads to foodie fathers to game-night-loving patriarchs.

1. Matador Travel Accessories; $10 to $13

Having to travel in close proximity to screaming babies or roaring engines is never a pleasant experience. The good news is, you can preemptively spare your father’s eardrums from that kind of cacophonous racket before he embarks on his next vacation or business trip with a nice pair of earplugs. We like this travel kit from Matador, which includes memory foam earplugs rated at a 32 dB noise reduction plus a silicone carrying case that doubles as a zipper pull so Dad doesn't have to worry about misplacing them.

Matador's other travel accessories would also make a great gift for any travel pro: The company's space-saving Flat-Pak bottles squish flat so as not to take up room in dad's suitcase after he's run out of shampoo, while the innovative soap bar case somehow manages to be totally leakproof while still allowing the bar to dry through the fabric.

Buy it: Matador

2. The Sopranos Family Cookbook; $14

The cover of 'The Sopranos Family Cookbook'

Grand Central Publishing, Amazon

This unique cookbook for pop culture geeks boasts a fun mixture of mouthwatering Italian recipes and colorful remarks from Artie Buco, Carmela Soprano, and other characters in the classic HBO series, which turned 20 in 2019. The Sopranos Family Cookbook is sure to be a hit with any dads out there who’ve got a taste for crime drama and/or lasagna.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Crossword Puzzle Coffee Mug; $16


The Unemployed Philosophers Guild, Amazon

Now Dad can enjoy his daily dose of caffeine with a puzzle on the side. The exterior of this ingenious mug from The Unemployed Philosophers Guild doubles as a blank crossword puzzle. Every month, your father can find the clues to a different puzzle online. Then he’ll inscribe the answers onto his favorite new piece of drinkware with a pencil.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Major League Ballparks Scratch-Off Chart; $25

Visiting all 30 major league ballparks is a popular bucket list entry for hardcore fans of America’s pastime. Using this scratch-off chart, your dad can track his progress while he tries to follow suit. And if baseball isn't his sport, fear not—Pop Chart also has scratch-off stadium charts for football fans and basketball arenas.

Buy it: Pop Chart

5. Insulated Beer Bottle Holder; $35

An open beer inside a BottleKeeper stands in the sand next to a surfer in a wetsuit.

BottleKeeper, The Grommet

Koozies are for amateurs. Using this insulated bottle-shaped holster, your dad can keep a 12-ounce bottle of his favorite beer nice and cold for up to two hours straight. Oh, and did we mention that there’s a screw-on cap that’ll let him re-seal the bottle after it’s been opened? As Toby Keith says: Proceed to party.

Buy it: The Grommet

6. Tolkien: Maker of Middle-Earth; $42

The cover of 'Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth'

Bodleian Library, Amazon

If your dad pines for Mirkwood or Hobbiton, he’ll want a copy of this beautiful book. A 416-page tribute to the father of modern fantasy, it’s replete with hundreds of J.R.R. Tolkien’s original sketches, watercolor paintings, and manuscripts. Plus, there’s a wonderful set of essays from archivists, scholars, and mythology experts.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Stanley Master Vacuum Bottle; $56

A black Stanley vacuum-insulated bottle

Stanley, Amazon

Whether your pops prefers iced coffee or steaming hot java, the Stanley Master Vacuum Bottle will have him covered—for days. The 1.4-quart model keeps hot drinks hot for 40 hours on end. As for chillier beverages, it’ll help them stay cold for 35 hours straight, or, if there's ice involved, 160 hours.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Dyna-Glo Compact Bullet Charcoal Smoker; $56

A black barbecue smoker

Dyna-Glow, Walmart

Nothing beats a good old-fashioned barbecue. Using the temperature gauge as a guide, your dad can smoke or grill all manner of delicious entrees on this compact charcoal-based unit. It might not be a bad idea to throw in some nice barbecue tools as a bonus gift.

Buy it: Walmart

9. Holy Stone RC Quadcopter Drone; $70

A Holy Stone RC quadcopter flying above New York City

Holy Stone, Amazon

You’re never too old to enjoy flying remote-controlled gadgets—or to appreciate quality videos. The Holy Stone RC Quadcopter Drone lets dad create the latter by using the former. It’s a win-win.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Eagle Creek Backpack Cargo Hauler; $77

An Eagle Creek cargo backpack

Eagle Creek, Amazon

So your old man’s the kind of guy who likes to roam around. More power to him. Get the man a spacious, 45-liter travel bag with detachable backpack straps, exterior pockets, and a lifetime warranty. The hardy bag is equally suited to wandering through a new city, embarking on a business trip, or throwing in the back of his truck on the way to the campsite.

Buy it: Amazon

11. LifeProof FRE Series Waterproof iPhone Cases; $80 to $100

Might as well admit it: Everyone—dads included—gets their phone wet now and then. Go ahead and give your dad the gift of peace of mind. LifeProof's FRE series protective cases are waterproof and can keep a fully submerged phone safe underwater for up to an hour. They’ll also shield your dad's phone from snow, dirt, and dust. And better yet, when a mobile device is encased in one of these babies, it can withstand getting dropped from heights of up to 6.5 feet. FRE cases are available for most smartphone models in a variety of colors.

Buy it: LifeProof

12. Jenga GIANT Premium Hardwood Game; $118

A 5-foot-tall Jenga tower

Jenga, Amazon

Family game night is a time-honored tradition in many a household. But that doesn’t mean you can’t up the ante. Your pops will get a real kick out of stacking these precision-cut wooden blocks into toddler-sized towers. The starting height is 2 feet, but with a delicate touch, your dad can arrange these Jenga blocks into a 5-foot monstrosity. Sounds like a good time.

Buy it: Amazon

13. Bordo Big Alarm 6000 Key Folding Lock; $200

No cycling dad should be without a good bike lock. Every year, somewhere from 800,000 to 2 million bicycles are stolen across the U.S. To keep his beloved bike from becoming another statistic, your dad can secure it with this quality folding lock. It uses 5-millimeter steel designed to foil any would-be thieves, with a casing system designed to keep his paint job looking pristine. And in the unlikely event that the lock fails, it has a sophisticated alarm system that can alert your dad from afar that his ride is leaving without him.

Buy it: Competitive Cyclist

14. iRobot Roomba 690; $297

Help your dad tackle basic housework in style—all without lifting a finger. The mid-range iRobot Roomba 690 won't break the bank, but still has plenty of high-tech features that will change your dad's life for the better. It boasts Wi-Fi connectivity so he can monitor its progress via smartphone or control it with Google Home or Alexa. It can be pre-scheduled to clean overnight or at specific times during the day, and features virtual wall technology that will allow your dad to block off stairs, doorways, or pet food bowls that might trip the vacuum up. That’ll free him up to kick back and relax while he waits for the floors to get tidy.

Buy it: Amazon or iRobot

15. Fromaggio Automated Home Cheesemaker, $318

Fromaggio's home cheesemaking machine

Fromaggio, Indiegogo

A high-tech cheesemaking device that can fit on Dad’s kitchen counter? Yes, please. This beauty churns out delicious cheddars, mozzarellas, and provolones in as little as 30 minutes. And with Fromaggio’s handy smartphone app, your old man will be able to buy ingredients, find great recipes, and control the device from afar. The high-end countertop gadget won’t hit the market until 2020, but you can pre-order one today—a true cheese connoisseur like your dad will be willing to wait. In the meantime, we recommend you enroll your papa in Murray’s Cheese of the Month Club so he'll never be without gourmet cheese. (Between June 14 and June 16, you can get 10 percent off Murray's monthly cheese clubs with the code DADGIFTS10.)

Buy it: Indiegogo

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

This All-In-One Tent Can Transform Into a Sleeping Bag, Air Mattress, Hammock, and More

Rawpixel/iStock via Getty Images
Rawpixel/iStock via Getty Images

For an activity that's supposed to get you back to basics, there’s a surprising amount of gear involved in camping. There's the tent, sleeping bag, air mattress, pillows, and plenty of other essentials. All this equipment gets expensive, and just thinking about lugging pounds of gear on your back into the woods might squash your desire to camp before you even hit the trail. But the Crua Modus, a 6-in-1 camping system, takes all of those essentials and crams them into one convenient pack.

Made by Crua Outdoors, the Modus already raised over $177,000 on Kickstarter in under two hours, crushing its original $20,000 goal. But you can still back this product until January 9, 2020. Pledges start at $199, and “early bird” backers will receive the Crua Modus for $329—40 percent off the regular retail value.

The Modus is broken down into parts:

  • The Footprint: This waterproof tarp offers your tent extra protection against damp ground. And it also functions as a place to sit, so you stay clean and dry.
  • The Base: This self-inflating air mattress and pillow is insulated with a waterproof base. It also comes with a zip-on quilt, which, according to the company, is beneficial, because “when you sleep on a traditional sleeping bag, you are crushing the very fibers that are supposed to be insulating you, making them useless.”
  • The Inflatable Poles and Bug Mesh: The bug mesh attaches to the air mattress and is supported by two inflatable poles that blow up quickly. If it’s a nice summer night, you don’t even need to use the cover, allowing you to look out at the night sky.
  • The Flysheet: This waterproof flysheet has you covered in case your camping trip is hampered by the elements. But it does more than keep you dry during surprise rainstorms; the sheet is also reflective, so you won't overheat on particularly sunny days. And if it’s too cold, reverse the sheet and it will help keep heat inside.
  • The Hammock: Want to take a nap outside? No problem. The flysheet also functions as a hammock. Simply remove it and use the adjustable straps to hang it between two trees.
  • The Picnic Blanket: By night, the quilt keeps you warm, but by day this multi-use blanket can be used for having a picnic or just sitting on the ground. The opposite side is waterproof, so it won’t get wet.

When you’re ready to head home, this tent folds up into a 29.5-inch by 8.5-inch bag that weighs 8.5 pounds. So not only does this make for a light load, but it won’t take up too much space at home.

Now that you’ve got some room your pack, check out these other essentials for tackling the great outdoors. And if you still need a little extra convincing to go camping, check out these scientific benefits of going outside.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

11 Gifts for the Curious Kids in Your Life

The Play Gym by Lovevery
The Play Gym by Lovevery

No matter their age, you want to find gifts that will keep the kids in your life entertained, stimulated, and give them a sense of accomplishment—even during playtime. Luckily, these 11 gifts will do all of that, and will encourage their curiosity to grow.

1. The Play Gym by Lovevery; $140

Baby playset
Lovevery / Amazon

Specially designed by experts to stimulate infants for their first year, this play mat grows with your favorite baby. It has five developmental zones and multiple activities—like teethers, mirrors, and colorful flash cards. And, when baby becomes a toddler, the mat converts into a tent fort for further imaginative play.

Find It: Amazon

2. Real Insect Superpowers Comic Book; $18

Follow the adventures of the Supersonic Assassin, the Malevolent Mimic, and other insect superheroes as they smash, zap, hypnotize, and sting in this 88-page book that's part comic, part nature encyclopedia.

Find It: Uncommon Goods

3. Droid Inventor Kit; $100

This is definitely the droid you’re looking for. Recommended for kids in grades eight years and up, this customizable robot comes with an app that defines more than 22 missions as well as easy block-based coding activities. And for any Star Wars fans, the Droid makes 20 different sounds, just like from the movies

Find It: Amazon

4. Solar System Chalk; $40

Solar system chalk
Uncommon Goods

This nine-piece chalk set features all the planets in the solar system, along with Pluto. Each piece has multiple colors, which represent the planets' cores, layers, and crusts. And for each set sold, $2 will be donated to The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to support autism research.

Find It: Uncommon Goods

5. Jr. NASA Rocket Scientist Lab Coat; $20

Jr. NASA coat
Aeromax / Amazon

Get kids excited about science early with this lab coat, which comes in sizes for boys and girls. Alongside three pockets, the jacket also has the NASA logo and the words “Rocket Scientist.” When your astronaut-in-training is done playing, the coat can be tossed in the washing machine.

Find It: Amazon

6. 3Doodler 3D Pen Set; $50

This wireless pen allows kids to freestyle draw in the air—the eco-plastic filament cools in place quickly, giving kids plenty of practice with spatial reasoning without the costs of a full 3D printer.

Find It: Amazon

7. Giant Coloring Poster; $19

Giant coloring poster
O'Kroshka / Amazon

If your kid is going to color on the wall, you may as well give them a designated place to do so. Children can use pencils, markers, and paints on this 33''x 45'' poster that depicts all types of animals in a zoo. This gift will not only encourage creative expression, but it can also help kids work on their motor skills.

Find It: Amazon

8. Root-Vue Farm; $39

A little girl poses behind the Root Vue farm
Young Explorers

Whether they join FFA or not, kids can get a head start on understanding horticulture with this indoor garden system. Plant the included seeds—for carrots, radishes, and onions—and watch them obsess over the underground view of their harvest.

Find It: Amazon

9. Geosafari Jr. Kidnoculars; $9

Kid-proof and specially designed for tiny hands and faces, these binoculars can help preschoolers get to know the world around them. Play a game like “I Spy” and have them find squirrels in trees, clouds in the sky, or all those Cheerios they spilled behind their bed.

Find It: Amazon

10. Dimpl Baby and Toddler Learning Toy; $13

This brightly colored sensory toy holds a young one's attention with 100% food-grade silicone bubbles they can press and poke—perfect for keeping kids occupied in a stroller or car.

Find It: Target

11. Otamatone; $30

The face on this highly kawaii ribbon synthesizer is made of rubber, and by manipulating it with one hand you can make cool sounds (the other hand controls the pitch along the ribbon controller). With a bit of practice, you can even play real music—check out this entertaining cover of "Take On Me."

Find It: Amazon

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we’re only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

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