The Gear Our Dads Won’t Stop Talking About
Let these pieces spark some gift ideas for Father's Day
Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
It’s a fact: dads are opinionated. And there are a lot of opinions to be had when it comes to outdoor gear. For Father’s Day, we wanted to know what products our gear team’s dads are obsessed with. After a few phone calls and paragraph-long texts, we rounded up the tools and apparel they swear by.
Yeti Rambler 20-Ounce Tumbler with Magslider Lid ($30)
My father speaks about his and my mother’s Yeti tumblers as if they are part of the family. Judging from how much time they spend together these days, a sensitive son such as myself might feel like he’s been replaced by a vacuum-insulated beverage holder. He purchased their beloveds in 2015, and they haven’t gone anywhere without them since. He and my mother spend three months a year chartering sailboats around the world and so bring two humongous rolling duffels filled with safety equipment, fishing gear, and navigation aids on every trip. I suspect they would be mightily disappointed if they lost either of these very important duffels and their costly contents, but it would be an all-out catastrophe if they lost their Yeti tumblers (which they carry on the plane, obviously). Without them, there would be no perfectly chilled, questionably sized gin and tonics on anchor in the British Virgin Islands or piping-hot French-press coffee while behind the helm just after sunrise in Tahiti. When I texted my father for this write-up, he sent me five messages in a row—the fastest consecutive replies I’ve ever received from him. “I use it almost every night,” he wrote. “Keeps my beverage just right and my hands from getting too cold or hot!!” He added one more note, which might be a statement or a warning: “Don’t leave home without them!” —Will Taylor, gear director
ScotteVest Quest Vest ($199)
My dad’s favorite movie is The Bourne Identity. Nothing excites him more than a Sunday-evening TNT airing of any film in the Bourne series. I think he secretly moonlights as an international spy and studies the movies for espionage tactics. He didn’t even provide a photo for this article (Maybe because he doesn’t want to be identified by international intelligence agencies.) So it’s fitting that every Christmas he talks my family’s ear off about his ScotteVest, a travel vest with a whopping 42 pockets. But they’re not immediately noticeable, unlike a cargo version. This sleekness is what he loves about the brand (which also makes shirts, pants, and jackets). “It can hold a lot!” he preaches, flashing the insides of the vest like a guy in a trench coat selling watches. (He does this presentation for my family each year.) He especially likes the ScotteVest for breezing through airport security: “All I have to do is take off the whole vest and put it in the bin.” I’m not really sure why he needs all of those pockets, though; one dad can only carry so many tools. But I don’t ask. His reasoning is probably top secret. —Jeremy Rellosa, reviews editor
Arc’teryx Atom LT Hoody ($259)
My dad is more obsessed with gear than anyone else I know, which says a lot given what I do for a living. No trip home is complete without our own personal gear show-and-tell. He grills me with questions about the new backpack or running shoes I’m testing and then brings out whatever new hiking boots or gloves he’s discovered at the local shop. Inevitably, all roads lead back to the one item he prizes above all others: his Atom LT Hoody. This aerobic midlayer, which pairs synthetic insulation with a breathable, stretchy, DWR-coated exterior, is one of Arc’teryx’s most enduringly popular pieces. It was around before Polartec Alpha and “active insulation” became industry buzzwords. What does my dad love about it? “In a nutshell,” he says, “everything.” Though ultimately he’ll tell you that there actually is one feature that sealed the deal for him. “It’s the best hood I’ve ever used,” he says. “Hoods can be kind of restricting. But this one, often I don’t even realize I’m wearing it.” —Ariella Gintzler, associate editor
Adidas Solar Boost Shoes ($160)
For the past 16 years, my stepdad, Vic, has started every day the same way: he wakes up at six, laces up his kicks, and runs. He’s not trying to beat the world record for most consecutive daily five-mile jogs in a row; he just likes to stick to a routine. He first tried the Solar Boost shoes four years ago and hasn’t looked back since. Once he logs 450 miles on a pair of Solar Boosts, he buys another. (Vic keeps a calendar by the treadmill to mark each day he wears the sneakers.) He loves them because the plush sole minimizes impact on his knees. They always come along when he travels and offer just as much support on jaunts around a new city as they do on the treadmill at home. Vic is so passionate about these shoes that every time I visit, he offers to get me a pair of my own. I remind him that my day starts at a significantly later time and daily mile-long jogs are still aspirational to me. —Claire Hyman, gear columnist
Specialized Roubaix Elite Road Bike ($2,800)
My dad’s a quiet guy, so there’s not really anything he won’t stop talking about. His love for his Specialized Roubaix Elite road bike is more of a show-don’t-tell affair—he uses it to commute to work a few days a week and to ride loops in the mountains nearly every weekend. When I asked what he liked so much about it, he responded in his trademark understated fashion: “It feels fast.” After his last bike, which was a too-big hand-me-down from his brother, he decided it was time to sink some real money into a well-fitting, carbon-fiber model with nice Shimano 105 components. He doesn’t race and averages 25- to 40-mile days, so “it’s plenty bike for me,” he says. He also sprung for some nice Assos Mille GT bib shorts ($170), which he says have been worth every dollar, though my mom “continues to give [him] shit” for them. —Maren Larsen, assistant editor