Last minute Father's Day gift ideas


Here are some recommendations for Father's Day gifts. Since you've left it this late, you may as well just buy what we tell you to and stop worrying about it.

Cory's recommendations

Logitech Anywhere Mouse
This is a thoughtfully designed, genuinely useful addition to my computing setup. The fit and finish really shine, from the business with the battery to the surgical and deeply satisfying click that is the mouse equivalent of the chunk of a Mercedes door. I'm actually finding myself pining for the mouse when I'm away from my desk on my laptop, and am thinking of getting another for home.

Dan Yaccarino: Every Friday
A treat for dads and kids: a sweet, short, beautifully illustrated book about a regular father-son breakfast date at the corner diner

A fuckload of Tiger Balm

Greasy Tiger Balm
For dads who ache and need their ointment in job lots. By the time you've used this stuff up, you'll be so acclimated to the stuff you'll be using it as contact-lens solution.

Hario Hand Grinder
The perfect Aeropress accessory, great in travel kits for kick-ass hotel-room coffee independence

Toddy Cold Brew System

Yama Northwest Glass 32-Ounce Cold Brew Drip Coffee and Tea Maker, Black
Cold brew coffee isn't iced coffee; it's coffee made by infusing cold water into coarse-ground beans with excruciating slowness. Several hours later, you've got a liquor that's ready to go into the fridge; it's 60% less acidic than coffee and tastes like you'd expect Guinness to taste. There is probably nothing better first thing in the morning on a hot, sticky day. The Toddy is revolutionarily cheap at $35; the Yama gives a taste of the full-bore, lab-glass, chem-lab mad scientist glory that lives at the extremes of the cold brew world; at $212, it's pretty pricey, but it's nothing compared to the $2k-$3k versions you find in really ass-kicking coffee shops.

Ingersoll Skeleton Mechanical Watch *LIMITED EDITION*
If you've won the lotto this year and want to treat Dad, the Ingersoll Skeleton watch is the way to go; a 44mm case watch with a domed glass top that reveals the chased-metal workings whirling hypnotically; and a clear underside that shows off the bright anodized aluminum screws and the backside of the movement. This is one the most beautiful contemporary watches I've ever seen.

Stop Making Sense (extra tracks re-issue)
All that music you loved in the movie that didn't make it onto the original LP, along with all the tracks you love -- one of the greatest live concert albums of all time

The Definitive Hoosier Hotshots Collection
Hard to be more "dad music" than the Hoosier Hotshots, one of the all-time great novelty comedy C&W acts that ever swung a swing. Has such awesome funnytunes as "I Like Bananas (Because They Have No Bones)" and "Since We Put a Radio Out in the Henhouse"

Cydwoq Commander
Another high-ticket item, but Cydwoqs are worth it. They're made to order, last forever (with regular re-soling), feel great, and they look like nothing else on the planet. Cydwoqs aren't everyone's cup of tea, but for those of us who are drawn to them, they're unbeatable.

The Essential Bob Wills: 1935-1947
For ten bucks you get enough authentic country swing to send you larking back to the prairies. Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys stomp and swing it and make it all sound so effortless, as they put the jazz into country.

Allan Sherman: My Son, the Box
I can tell you why I loved these: they were subversive, they had wonky, comic rhymes, they were sung in a broad, nasal borscht-belt comedy voice, and they reminded me of the MAD Magazine parody songs that were my favorite part of every issue. I sang those songs everywhere I went.

An album of classic "Jewish minstrel songs" from the golden age when klezmer and vaudeville mixed it up together. Mastered from cylinder recordings and billed as "one of the most offensive albums ever," this gave me plenty to bond over with my bubbies and their friends.

His Royal Hipness
Poetry in jazz from Lord Buckley, a man who understood that the New Testament, Edgar Allan Poe, Sigmund Freud, and other subjects were all fitting to be adapted for jazz poetry. The kind of thing dads and kids can learn to recite together to embarrass and infuriate uptight relatives.

Lenny Bruce: Carnegie Hall Concert [Live]
Toilet humor of yesteryear for dads to listen to after the kids have gone to bed; a classic in free speech and dope history.

David's recommendations

Crosley CR249 BK Keepsake USB Turntable
a USB turntable in an old-fashioned style for digitizing vinyl collections to computer.

Smith & Wesson Military and Police Tactical Pen
A "personal protection weapon" that actually writes. This Kubaton pen is machined from aircraft aluminum, and "excels in the boardroom" as well "in the field." Never go "unprotected" again.

Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food

What's Going On: 40th Anniversary

Timex Men's T18581 Camper Watch

Xeni's recommendations

iPad/Tablet Gear

Moleskine cover for iPad, with paper notebook
I bought one of these for my father, who is still easing in to the digital world, and enjoys writing out lists, thoughts, and sketching things on paper, old-school style. He loves it. It's a little thicker than the cheap, crappy looking rubber cases everyone gets at first--you are fitting a paper pad in here, after all. But if you want both paper *and* a stylish cover for the iPad, this is great.

BoxWave Stylus
Of the styluses (oh, alright, styli) available for the iPad and other touch-sensitive tablets, the BoxWave is my favorite, so far. A stylus isn't for everyone, but if you're going to be doing sketching, or prefer handwriting to typing for capturing fleeting thoughts, you will need one.

Dodocase for iPad and iPad 2
If you don't want an iPad case that also includes paper, this is my favorite. Tell them Boing Boing sent you.

Tasteful girlie books
Here are a few of my favorite large-format books of beautiful women, from Taschen. They also publish more explicit stuff, but these three are more in the dad-gift-appropriate spectrum (though tastes may vary).

1000 Pin-up Girls

The Best of American Girlie Magazines

Gil Elvgren: All His Glamorous American Pin-Ups

Vibram Fivefingers
If the dad in your life is planning to spend any time at the beach (or near any body of water) this summer, or if he's looking for an alternative to more common athletic footwear, these odd "foot gloves" might be fun. Yes, yes, they look a little weird, but no more so than the Crocs or Birkenstocks he probably has in his closet. And they really are comfortable. The dad I bought them for says the shift from "regular" running shoes to these is not unlike the shift from a sitting desk to a standing desk.

Panasonic Lumix GF3
The newest in Panasonic's line of compact cameras that pack all of the punch of more fancy SLRs, the GF3 offers a simplified design for beginner photographers, or dads who are used to more simple point-and-shoots or built-in cellphone cameras for taking family snapshots. Downside for more "serious" shooters: features such as hotshoe are missing. Comes in four colors, resolution at 12.1 megapixels, captures 1080i AVCHD video, 3" touchscreen display, ISOs from 160 to 6400. Engadget has a nice review here.

Bikehugger's iPhone kickstand
Ridiculously simple design, and only $4.99. Holds iPhone (with or without bumper) on your desk while your dad work, listens to music, or watch videos of the grandkids. Buy a few, perhaps, for home and office--and for the inevitability of leaving one behind at a restaurant table.

Chrome bike messenger bags
I've purchased these, in "Citizen" size (the medium of three sizes available), for two guys in my life who happen to be dads. They loved 'em, and I do too. I use one myself (the larger "Metropolis"), for packing gadgets and gear and a change of clothes while traveling light around the world, or for cycling around town back at home. They're waterproof, durable as hell, and they look bad ass. I dig the black/red colorway with the black metal, but there are less goth looks to choose from, too. The style bottom line: these look like grownup bags. They're surprisingly comfortable on one's back, even when filled with heavier loads. Random spec: you can fit a six-pack of beer in the "Citizen," easy.

Sony PlayStation Vita and Nintendo's Wii U
The bigger buzz items out of E3, these aren't available yet but are worth bearing in mind for later this year. The Vita will sell for $250, priced to compete with Nintendo's 3DS. Plays nice with PlayStation 3. Available in WiFi or WiFi+3G. To be released December 31, you can pre-order already. The Wii U comes out at an undetermined date next year, at a still-undetermined price. Our friends at Kotaku reported from E3 on both the Vita and the Wii U. About the Wii U, Brian Crecente writes: "The Wii U will include MotionPlus Wii remote support, the ability to deliver high definition graphics and apparently a more robust processor. But the key difference is the device's tablet-like master controller."

Maggie's recommendations

Whiskey Stones
Chill a drink without watering it down

Penzey's 4- or 8-jar Indian Curry Mix Box
If there's one thing my Daddy taught me, it's that there can never be enough curry powder around the house.

Record album frame

Chuck Taylors

Battlestar Galactica, the complete series on DVD

Vosges caramel marshmallows + Sam Smith Imperial Stout

Free State Brewery "Because Without Beer, Things Do Not Seem To Go As Well" T-Shirt
You're Dad may not be from Kansas. But he'll still appreciate this classic T-shirt from the Sunflower State's first craft brewery.

Alligator Records 40th Anniversary CD collection

Break Your Own Geodes kit

Rob's recommendations

Boogie Board
Described as a paperless LCD writing tablet, the Boogie Board incredibly cheap, thin and light. Unfortunately, living in the future does not come with a 'save' feature.

Promissory note for the forthcoming MacBook Air
If your dad needs a laptop and likes things Apple flavored, you have absolutely no businesses getting him anything before the forthcoming MacBook refresh expected this month. Buying him an "old" one will only further disappoint a parent who has already long-endured your presumptuous and ill-considered gifts. He can wait.

Lenovo x120e or the Lenovo X220
If he likes PCs, however, Lenovo's X120e and X220 are easy recommendations. The former is a cheap but decent 11.6" netbook, the latter has more grunt and girth at a stiffer price tag. If you really hate money, get the best of both worlds with the too-expensive Lenovo X1 ultraportable, which has has USB 3.0, a 13.3" display and an i5 CPU.

Universal Gadget Sock
A cute "universal" gadget sock, at a fraction of the ludicrous price you'd pay in-store. (It's also fun to gift these to people who would have no idea what they are for, completely stripped of packaging or other contextual cues, and let their imagination do the work: "I know you really wanted one of these, and though I felt a bit weird buying it I hope you'll enjoy it.")

Canon T3i or the Nikon D3000
If he wants a decent camera, get him a decent camera. These two are just a little above entry-level in their respective manufacturer's DSLR lineup, making them great for both still and moving pictures.

Kindle, New Nook, or Sony Reader Pocket
The Kindle has the best store but no touchscreen, the Nook is perfectly tiny, and the Sony is pretty and made of metal. They're otherwise the same thing and they are all about $150. Avoid color models; they're just not as nice to read on. Nor does your father need 3G. He is far more patient than you and will enjoy the ritual of synching over USB.

Jason's recommendations

Photo: United States Navy

The Grumman G-21 Goose
Every father embodies adventure, daring and courage to their kids. To really deliver on that promise your Dad needs a Grumman G-21 Goose. This storied amphibious plane is just the thing a Dad needs to travel from island to atoll and back. If my daughter were to give me one gift for this holiday, this'd be it. Luckily there are 4 for sale at the link provided. Now I just need an A2 jacket and a monkey side-kick.

Surefire E2-D LED Flashlight
A flashlight and brass knuckles all in one! This intensely bright flashlight kicks ass -- and its got a serrated bezel to cut up assailants too. Shedding light on any situation and providing for personal protection with its dual modes (super bright "blind the bad guy" and mellowly "light-up a path") -- give the gift of love.

Sage 5wt Fly Fishing Set
Incredibly versatile at 5wt, this set from Sage -- makers of some of the finest fly fishing gear around -- is sure to allow your dad to take a relaxing day on the river or feed your family after a total collapse of civilization. Fly fishing is one of the most reliable ways I know to put a meal on the table, or campfire (after the supermarket) -- but in the next few years we'll probably have rendered all the fish inedible or so terrifyingly vicious you'll need a cattle prod to get them off the line . Either way, its the thought that counts!

K-Bar Full Size Black Straight Edge Knife
Now thats a knife! This is really a gift for you AND your Dad -- look at what happened to Bruce Wayne when his dad went wandering around unarmed! Save yourself tons of therapy and danger, get your dad a K-Bar!

Full Foot Pajama's with Drop Seat
Your Dad should be warm and comfortable.



  1. These all look neat, but while I drool over the Ingersoll Skeleton Mechanical Watch, I can’t stand the fact that the 6 flips upside-down compared with all the numbers. Really it reads 4,5,9,7,8… I don’t think I’d be able to wear it without noticing that all the time.

    If they were worried about an upside down 6 confusing people, they shouldn’t have made the 5 and 7 upside down.

  2. Kids, if you’re reading this, I still want an altair 8800. The ‘a’ or ‘b’ model is OK, but not the turnkey. Operating condition and card set doesn’t matter (fixing it up will be half the fun).


  3. Sigh. No, my dad wouldn’t want any of these. He’s not at all active, doesn’t like to cook, and insists on maddening efficiency, and is not only up-to-date on his technology, but finds obnoxious add-ons to gadgetry obnoxious. It’s really hard to shop for him. :( I can’t even buy him movies because he downloads everything and watches it via USB on the TV. I am stumped!

  4. Those “Vibram Fivefingers” and similar non-shoe shoes are just vile. They look like a joke concept of an idea marketed as an in movie product. And the “health” benefits are dubious at best.

    1. What I don’t understand about the Vibram toe-shoes or those really cool looking Cydwoqs is how you can order shoes without trying them on and expect them to fit. Length and width are a start, but you’re putting weight on them in ways that depend on the shape of your feet, and the soles have to sort of match that. That’s easier with flat-soled shoes, but still not reliable. I’ve tried one of the Vibram competitors, and while it had several different adjustment straps, it didn’t actually fit me. (On the other hand, Birkenstocks have a cork sole that rapidly deforms based on where your weight is, so they do just fine after the first few days.)

      The health benefits of the toe shoes apply if you’re running on dirt or sand; running on roads is a much different set of mechanical stresses.

    2. Honestly the vibram five fingers are the best shoes I’ve ever owned I bought them about 6 months ago and have only worn my other shoes twice since then they do help me walk more on the balls of my feet rather than the sides of my feet and heels

  5. With all the posts about Aeropress around here, I would love to see a post dedicated to the different types of coffee grinders to use with it (like the one in this post!). We love our Aeropress, but the electric grinder burns the beans half the time.

  6. I already have several of these on the list.

    1) 4 years ago when I got my first real laptop, I spend probably 100 bucks on serveral different portable mice that ended up breaking after a few months.

    6 months ago or so I bought the Logitech M215 and have been completely impressed. The big difference from the past mice is the micro, excuse me, nano receiver which is small enough to not break and no need to remove between use, and the smart power controls of the mouse that keeps its one AA battery going and going.

    2) Tiger Balm – great stuff if you always wanted to feel what a hot iron on your skin would feel like with out actually burning your flesh.

    3) Free State Brewery shirt – ok I don’t have this, but a friend does and I do like their beer.

    4) Geodes- mine aren’t from kits – but are cool none-the-less.

    5) SureFire E2D LED Defender – this one is actually on my list.

    6) K-Bar – great for camping, yard work, invading islands in the Pacific, or to “Kill-a-bear”.

  7. Those Commanders totally rock.

    And Five Fingers are truly amazing. They are a whole different experience. They are a PITA to get on, but once on, they are some of the best shoes for nature hiking ever made, unless you are spending a lot of time on rock. They are more like having good callouses on bare feet than like shoes. Definitely not a vile marketing gimmick for some of us.

  8. Those Commanders totally rock.

    And Five Fingers are truly amazing. They are a whole different experience. They are a PITA to get on, but once on, they are some of the best shoes for nature hiking ever made, unless you are spending a lot of time on rock. They are more like having good callouses on bare feet than like shoes. Definitely not a vile marketing gimmick for some of us.

  9. I know what I want, and it’s cheap too! Just a couple of model rockets, a launch pad and plenty of motors. And a nice afternoon with the kids launching them together.

    Still smiling from our cubscout rocket launch event.

  10. I got those whiskey stones for Christmas and they aren’t worth it. They don’t keep your drink any noticeably colder and have to be washed after each use. I would instead recommend MOMA’s Japanese spherical ice cubes from their museum store (or online). Because the ice cubes are so big, they melt much slower, therefore imparting less water in your drink.

    But really, the idea of ‘whiskey stones’ doesn’t make sense to me since any whiskey worth sipping should be at room temperature.

    Love the Free State T-shirt though.

  11. If you are going to get your Father a Grumman Goose, which are admittedly cool, you may consider a more modern alternative.

    The turboprop Antilles Goose.

    Made from the plans from the original goose with more modern materials, engines, and cockpits.

    Oh god, do I want one…

  12. I am told by many pilots that amphibians like the Grumman and perhaps the Antilles, are difficult to maintain and dangerous to operate, especially when taking off from and landing on water.

    A veteran airlines pilot once described them to me as a multi-directional compromise. While I do find amphibious aircraft to be alluring, I would be of a mind to operate them with caution.

    1. Yeah, for most people the danger is part of the appeal!

      Anyway… what’s the deal with wireless mice… why don’t they all use bluetooth?

      I have an excellent mini wireless mouse that runs on bluetooth, the Microsoft Wireless Mouse 5000. It seems to be the only decent one on the market, and it’s hard to find… yet there are hundreds of choices for the plug-in micro/nano receiver kind. In case you’re wondering, this one doesn’t have the problems others have, like being unresponsive and falling asleep too much, which is why I say it’s the only decent one on the market.

      I mean, I’m happy with it, but the one Cory recommends here looks and sounds nicer.

      Bluetooth is perfect for this application because once you have it paired the first time, you just have to switch on the mouse and it starts working. No need to worry about the receiver. That’s why it’s baffling to me why they’re not more common. Most decent laptops have bluetooth these days.

      1. I”m sorry but you may have mistaken me for someone else, or perhaps I have changed my mind since because I’m USING a wireless keyboard and mouse and quite fond of them.

        Check back and see, and if that WAS me, then I take it all back: wireless bluetooth peripherals are quite LOVELY and I’m very much enjoying using them with my desktop.*

        *an old 15″ PowerBook G4 HR, 1.67 GHz (2005) to which I’ve become quite fond of. It still works like a charm.

  13. I just ordered my dad the K-Bar knife. He lives on 40 acres in the Ozarks next to a national forest. He will use that knife. Thanks for the tip!

  14. Also I do like the boots, but I hate square/flat toed shoes. I just think they look awful. I don’t mean to imply that super-pointy Italian dress shoes are better (those are popular in Asia, and they look ridiculous on most Asians – you have to be pretty tall to pull them off).

    But, I lean more toward pointy than flat. Typical desert boots or wingtip/oxfords are about right for nicer shoes, and for casual shoes canvas sneakers like Converse are about right. Flat or rounded square *never* looks good.

    1. I’m tall with big feet. Pointy shoes on me end up looking like they need bells on the tips to complete the look.

  15. Wow. You people really don’t know my father, do you? If I gave him anything on this list, I’d be met with a perplexed look and not much else. My father has never touched a computer and has never used an ATM. He’s German and he likes beer. Now, the Crosley CR249 BK Keepsake USB Turntable? That’s for me. Maybe I can digitize all his LPs and burn him a couple of CDs. And give him a case of Pilsner Urquell.

  16. What kind of wussy wants a ka-bar straight edge? You need the one with the that is serrated

  17. Maybe it’s because I’m a girl.. but I never know what to get my dad for fathers day, and of course my mom is no help… So after doing some research I decided to give a donation to Smile Train in honor of my dad. I am going to print out pictures and facts about the organization and make a collage of sorts to wrap up. I think it’s a pretty good idea. yea? I figure you can’t go wrong with a good charity.

  18. Thank you for not including chocolates on the list. I received a box today via UPS as a gift. It’s 100 degrees outside. Kinda messy.

  19. I accidently bought my own father’s day gift. My well worn recliner had died, thanks to my kids, and I replaced it. Well, my wife wasn’t happy, because that was her idea too. She keeps telling me that its impossible to come up with fathers day gifts for me because I want something, I buy it. I wrote about the what’s and why’s. I mean, really, why should we have to rely upon maybe getting something we want, and if we don’t, then we still have to get it.

Comments are closed.