All posts in “Gift Ideas 2021”

The 12 Best Product Steals of Summer 2021

gear patrol summer awards

Gear Patrol

This story is part of the 2021 Summer Gear Awards. To see the full list of winners, click here.


The summer’s meant for cheap thrills and blind enjoyment — sunshine, water, and the open blue sky. Whether you’re looking to gear up ahead of a season of travel following COVID-induced confinement or to throw a BBQ with 20 of your closest friends, you don’t need to spend a ton of money on the necessities. From affordable, portable power banks to cheap aviator sunglasses to rough and ready rubber watch straps, here are the cheap summer buys that’ll set you on the path toward summer fun.

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Anker PowerCore Slim 10000 PD

This PowerCore Sim checks most of our boxes. It’s super thin and can easily fit in your pocket. Two, it has a fast and powerful 20W USB-C port that’s capable of charging your iPhone 12 to about 50-percent in 30 minutes. And its 10,000mAh capacity is enough to charge whichever smartphone you have several times over (and it’s actually more than many other super slim portable batteries). 

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Tropic Rubber Watch Strap

In response to the growing popularity of the vintage rubber straps, various companies have resurrected the design and begun producing their own variants. In recent years, however, Tropic returned as a brand produced by the Synchron Watch Group which also makes Isofrane straps and Aquadive watches. Available for 20mm lug widths in black, brown, navy and olive colors, the straps are made in Italy from vulcanized rubber which is hypoallergenic and resistant to temperature changes.

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Knockaround Mile Highs

Want the classic aviator look but don’t want to drop serious cash on a pair of shades that you’re just gonna sit on? Go with a pair of Mile Highs from Knockaround. They hit all the classic aviator notes — think tortoiseshell accents and gold-colored frames — without breaking the bank. Of course, they still come with UV400-level lenses for serious sun protection. And at $30, you won’t have to freak out if you leave ’em at the beach this summer.

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Gerber Compleat Onyx

Instead of combining fork and spoon into one ineffective tool, Gerber kept them separate to perform at their individual best. The spoon is slightly angular, while the fork is spork-reminiscent, but its longer tines keep it just forky enough for stabbing hunks of food. The Compleat also comes with a small tool that works as a bottle opener, a can opener and more, as well as a multi-use spatula that has a rubberized edge. The other end of this spatula is where the Compleat all comes together, literally: all three of the other utensils nest neatly together to form one compact tool.

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Hanes ComfortWash Tank

Now 23% off

It’s summer — you’re gonna sweat through everything, so go with as little shirt as possible. And you don’t need anything fancy: these 100-percent cotton numbers from Hanes will do just fine. They come with a ribbed neckline and armholes and in more sizes and colors than you can safely shake a stick at. Most of all, they’re extremely affordable at less than $10 a pop. (And of course, the white versions can double as undershirts beneath dress shirts in cooler weather.) 

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Lavatools Javelin

Get your summer BBQ game in order with this handy, easy-to-use thermometer from Javatools. It’s got a super fast response time of 3-4 seconds and an accuracy of ±0.9°F. Plus, it’s fitted with a magnet for convenient storage on a fridge, oven, or outdoor grill. Javatools backs it with a 3-year warranty, so you can be confident in years of grilling, baking, frying and more.

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Uniqlo Airism Boxer Briefs

Just trust us: these are some of the most comfortable boxer briefs out there. They’re “anti-microbial, odor-controlling, and odor-eliminating,” according to Uniqlo. Most of all, however, they’re super soft and great for working out or otherwise sweaty activities — such as simply venturing outside in mid-summer. 

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Spindrift Half Tea & Half Lemon

Like the label says: it’s half-tea (black Argentinian tea, to be more specific), half-lemon. It’s also really freakin’ tasty — perfect for a summer’s day at the beach or a neighborhood block party. And at $26 for a 24-pack, they’re cheap enough to outfit the entire crew with. What’s more, if you’re a Sprindrift fanatic, you can order them on a subscription basis. 

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Pioneer Carry Ion Bifold

This card holder is cut from 10XD nylon ripstop fabric, which is made from a polyethylene yarn that, per weight, is ten times stronger than steel. The material is incredibly durable and lightweight, and it repels both dirt and water. Utilizing FutureForm core technology, the finished wallet keeps it shape without conventional stitching. It’s just the right size for daily necessities — it holds between four and six cards or folded bills in three slots.

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Opinel No. 08

Opinel’s folding No.8 is about as simple as a pocket knife gets: it has a 3.25-inch steel blade, a wooden handle and a rotating collar that locks it open or closed. Nevertheless, the knife has become an icon since its release in 1890 and is remarkably handsome despite an apparent lack of over-the-top features. You can get one with a carbon steel blade or with premium wood handles — all of them are nearly as affordable.

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Graf Lanz Bierfilzl

Since the 19th century, Bavarian beer halls have used felt pads as coasters, absorbing condensation and spillage, and protecting wooden surfaces. Los Angeles-based company Graf & Lantz has updated the bierfilzl, or beer felt (the Bavarian catch-all term for coaster), for contemporary homes. They come in over 30 colors and are sure to add a contemporary vibe to any home. 

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Kitch Silicone Ice Tray

This is a no-brainer: larger ice cubes take longer to melt, saving your cocktail from turning into a sad, watered-down mess. These silicone trays are also easy to wash in the dishwasher, come in a two-pack, and are cheap enough that you could kit out an entire party with extra-large ice cubes in their Negronis. 

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The 2021 Summer Gear Awards

Ready or not, here comes summer. And with it, a whole new world of product possibilities: T-shirts, hiking boots, grills and lawn chairs.

Each year brings advancements in technology and manufacturing. Those grills get hotter, the T-shirts softer. It’s a full-time job keeping track of it all — trust us there — and we’ve spent the last few months testing hundreds of products across every category you can think up. Someone has to do it.

At Gear Patrol, we believe everyone deserves the right product. So here are 72 of them — heavily researched, thoroughly vetted and ready for whatever warm-weather pursuit you’ve waited a whole winter to chase.

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    outdoors summer gear awards
    style summer gear awards
    fitness summer gear awards
    steals summer gear awards
    splurge summer gear awards

The Best Bar Cart Upgrades for Father’s Day

If your dad loves to drink — and let’s be honest, most dads do — you’re a lucky man when it comes to gift buying. For years you’ve been grabbing him a crowler of his favorite rare brew or a bottle that can only be bought through deep connections at the liquor store. But what about getting him something that he doesn’t consume in one go?

That’s the beauty of an upgraded home bar item. And remember now, it’s not all fancy glassware and swizzle sticks. The old man drinks creatively, and his home bar arsenal should reflect that, whether it’s glassware embedded with American mountains or a great cooler to take the party on the run. Here are six excellent bar cart upgrades for your dad this Father’s Day.

Japanese Style Mixing Glass

A separate glass for mixing cocktails — one with a lip for pouring and handsome hand-carved lines — is the perfect addition to any prescriptive cocktail-making dad. This one ought to do nicely.

Price: $35

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Meehan’s Bartender Manual

Mixologist and James Beard Award winner Jim Meehan released his manual in 2017, to much acclaim. It’s got everything — history, culture, recipes, bar design, spirits production — dad needs to become the well-rounded barkeep he always wanted to be.

Price: $22

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Brooklyn BrewShop Beer Making Kit

The best addition to his home bar? Beer he made himself. These kits are reusable and include all the ingredients and tools he needs to make a gallon of summer wheat beer, New England IPA or grapefruit honey ale.

Price: $45

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American Mountains Whiskey Glasses

He might have a classy set of rocks glasses. But ones featuring topographical representations of Half Dome, Denali, Mount Ranier and Mount Whitney? Well, that’s something he hasn’t drank out of before.

Price: $65

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Bluegrass Barrels 2 Liter Mini Barrel

Does he love pre-batching cocktails for dinner parties? (Or just like playing mad scientist on his own?) This 2-liter Mini Barrel is made without glue or nails, to ensure no off flavors arise in his cocktail creations as he ages them to perfection.

Price: $65

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Yeti Roadie 24 Hard Cooler

A trick the wise old bartender has learned? The bar must be able to go mobile. We’ll take Yeti’s latest version of this grab-n-go cooler, which is tall enough to fit most standard bottles of wine and features “Permafrost” insulation to keep everything chilled for as long as the party lasts.

Price: $200

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The Best Father’s Day Gifts Under $100

angels envy straight bourbon

Angel’s Envy

“I don’t want anything.” “I don’t need anything.” “Save your money.” If these refrains sound familiar, you’re not alone this Father’s Day. But you’re here because you know dad deserves something good. For less than a Benjamin, there are loads of simple, functional gifts out there that he can appreciate once Father’s Day is over. Maybe something he won’t admit he needs, like a new pillow, or something he’ll use every day, like a new thermos, or something he’ll appreciate having around, like a survival kit. (If he gets gruff, just tell him you got yourself one, too.) We’ve got the gear for less than $100 to get your gift-buying started.

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Angel’s Envy Straight Bourbon Whiskey Port Wine Barrel Finish

If you’re looking for a gift your dad is guaranteed to use, you can’t go wrong with Angel’s Envy — particularly its signature expression finished in Port Wine barrels. Even if your dad is a whiskey expert, we guarantee he will enjoy this expression. The Port Wine Barrel-finished bourbon is bottled at 86.6 proof, providing full-bodied flavor as the master blenders intended.

Price: $50+

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Nest Easy Breather Memory Foam Pillow

As a child, if you fell asleep each night to the peaceful sound of your dad tossing and turning to get comfortable, look no further. With this memory foam pillow, your dad can customize his to his immediate needs at any time by unzipping the cozy cover and removing and rearranging the foam fill. That means no fluffing, beating or complaining necessary. The pillow comes in four sizes, and there’s even one specifically made for side sleepers.

Price: $89+

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VSSL Camp Supplies Mini Ultra-Compact Adventure Kit

If your dad is constantly asking if you have an emergency kit in your car “just in case,” check out the VSSL Camp Supplies Mini Ultra-Compact Adventure Kit. This military-grade LED light is also a survival capsule, filled with a weather-resistant firestarter kit, rope & razor kit, sewing kit and a small first aid kit. Oh, and don’t forget the compass.

Price: $99

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Angel’s Envy Caribbean Rum Cask Finish Rye

If your dad is more of a rye drinker than a bourbon drinker, Angel’s Envy has you covered there as well, with a unique rye that will be unlike anything he’s ever tasted. Angel’s Envy’s founders sampled over 100 rums to find just the right barrel to complement their rye. The rye rests for up to 18 months in Caribbean rum casks before bottling. It’s a gift he will enjoy sip after sip.

Price: $50+

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Leatherman Bond

Your dad may still have his original Leatherman Pocket Survival Tool from 1983 — or maybe he lost it and brings it up every time you ask for a pair of scissors. The new version includes all the same features, but its smaller dimensions make it even more pocket-friendly. Bonus: it’s actually cheaper than the original when you adjust the old price for inflation.

Price: $50

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Yeti Rambler

Without his coffee, dad’s very essence dries up and crumbles. The Yeti Rambler keeps dad’s coffee hot and his beer cold. It has a magnet-powered lid and double-wall insulation to keep any drink spill-free and at-temp. And there are tons of colors to choose from if he has a favorite hue.

Price: $35+

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Masontops Fermentation Kit

If your dad’s garden is full of cukes by August, this kit is the perfect gift. Its booklet provides clear instructions for turning any ordinary mason jar into an easy pickling receptacle (this thanks to four included Airlock tops). And he can make tons of other fermented foods, like kimchi, which are great for his gut.

Price: $47+

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The Best Sustainable Father’s Day Gifts

Deciding what gift to give is never a simple task, especially when it’s for dad. From socks to sweaters, it’s easy to run out of ideas — and even easier to go back to the same well year after year and become a gift repeater. This year, you’re in luck because we have round up the best sustainable gifts for Father’s Day. From Citizen watches, to electric motorcycles and a more sustainable way to get his morning latte, we have the perfect picks for dad that he will love and more importantly, that will last.

Citizen Promaster Aqualand

This dive watch is packed with advanced features, and with water resistance up to 200 meters, it’s perfect for everything from everyday splashing around to more serious diving jaunts. It also features a chronograph function, the ability to show time in 12- or 24-hour formats, maximum depth memory, a power reserve indicator and a screw-down crown and pushers. Plus, with eco-drive technology, this is powered by light meaning you will never need to replace the battery. Also, be sure to let Dad know that Citizen has pledged to donate 1% of all web purchases to nonprofits focused on the environment.

Price: $795

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Cake Kalk&

$14,000.00

This all-electric motorcycle from Cake was engineered to handle both the trails and your daily commute — so you can be sure it will handle anything on dad’s agenda. With easy charging and three ride modes, this bike can hang all day. Dad can explore a new trail or new city and look good doing it.

Citizen Super Titanium TM Armor

This sophisticated and durable timepiece features a silver-tone Super Titanium band, offset with a dark grey DLC-plated link for an ultra-modern style. Super Titanium is 40-percent lighter and five times harder than traditional stainless steel. It’s both scratch- and rust-resistant, giving this watch an armor-like design. If your dad tends to put your gifts to the test in terms of durability, have him try this on for size. Plus, this gift is one that Dad can feel good about receiving as it contributes to Citizen’s goal of sustainability. By the year 2050, Citizen plans to achieve CO2 zero-emissions substantively from plants and offices. Citizen has also pledged 1% of all web purchases to be donated to a host of nonprofit organizations focused on the environment.

Price: $650

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Avocado Green Mattress

This top-rated, all-natural mattress is the gift for dad that will keep on giving. It features GOLS organic certified latex, wool and cotton. Plus, with over 1,414 pocketed support coils arranged in five zones, it will be his best night sleep yet.

Rocket Espresso Appartamento Espresso Machine

With everything dads do in a day, it’s important they start it with a quality cup of coffee. The Rocket Espresso Appartamento Espresso Machine will provide serious coffee without taking up the entire kitchen. Plus, dad can ditch the trips to the cafe every morning, cutting down on emissions and the use of single-use packaging.

Goldune Sand Terrazzo Rubber and Brass Baskets

Upgrade dad’s office desk with these rubber and brass baskets. Made with recycled rubber, they’re durable, heat-resistant, easily wipe clean and last a seriously long time. Not only do they look nice, but they’ll help keep him organized, too.

Patagonia Iron Forge Hemp Canvas Double Knee Pants

Made from Patagonia’s innovative 12.9-oz Iron Forge Hemp canvas, these work pants are abrasion-resistant and need no breaking in. They are comfortable right out of the gate and are significantly more sustainable than dad’s standard double-knee duck canvas pants.

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The 50 Best Mother’s Day Gifts

Anker Roav Viva Amazon Alexa Add-On

ROAV amazon.com

$43.00

Does your mom love the Alexa Echo Dot you got her last year? Bring the same functionality to her car with this easy-to-install gadget where she’ll be able to use voice commands to play music, control her smart appliances in the house, and play music, among many other features.

7 Timeless and Classic Mother’s Day Gifts

Moms deserve our appreciation year-round — none of us would be here without them. So this Mother’s Day, treat your mom, your wife or another very important mom in your world, to something special she’ll love and enjoy throughout the year and beyond. These gifts feature quality materials, timeless designs and are items that will brighten her day. Every time mom uses one of these gifts, she’ll remember how grateful you are for her.

The Essential Cashmere Sweater

Naadam

$75.00

The Essential Cashmere Sweater from Naadam is an indulgent yet incredibly wearable piece of everyday luxury. Made from incredibly soft 100 percent Mongolian Cashmere and available in fun colors fitting for spring and summer, this is the sweater she will reach for most.

Moments Heart O Pendant

Pandora

$55.00

Crafted from sterling silver, the Moments Heart O Pendant from Pandora is an enduring token of your love and gratitude. Add this pendant to any necklace for a chic, understated piece that she’ll want to wear daily.

Signature Enameled Cast Iron Round Dutch Oven

Le Creuset

$230.00

Each year brings trendy new kitchen gadgets that are generally relegated to the cupboard after a few months. Instead, treat mom to an iconic chef’s essential that never goes out of style. Le Creuset dutch ovens are celebrated by professionals and home cooks alike for their versatility, even heat retention and ease of cleanup. Best of all, the bright color options and quality construction make using this dutch oven an enduring joy.

Lavender Scented Organic Cotton Eye Pillow

Project Full

$40.00

The gift of rest and relaxation is one that any mom will appreciate. Whether she’s meditating, napping or taking an extra-long savasana after yoga, this weighted eye pillow will make her downtime even more rejuvenating. Made in the USA from recycled hemp and organic cotton, Project Full’s eye pillow is filled with flax seeds and relaxation-inducing lavender with just the right amount of scent.

Beige Planter

Hasami Porcelain

$60.00

Sending mom flowers on Mother’s Day is a time-honored tradition. To give the lasting joy flowers and plants bring, consider this beautifully crafted planter from Japan’s famed Hasami Porcelain. Whether she decides on fragrant herbs, a succulent or a leafy palm, this planter is sure to remind her of your love throughout the year. Handmade from crushed stone, each Hasami item has its own unique look and feel.

Linen Sheet Set

Snowe

$300.00

For a gift that mom will appreciate every day, look no further than quality linen sheets. Snowe’s sheets are spun from high-quality Italian linen and produced using an industry-first air-washing technique, leading to an incredibly soft feel that’s gentle on the skin. This gift will make every night of sleep more restful and those morning coffees in bed feel like a mini-vacation.

Rose Petal Stud Earrings

Pandora

$50.00

Bouquets only last a few days, but these flowers mom can keep for a lifetime. Pandora’s Rose Petal Stud Earrings feature an intricate geometric rose design with a touch of sparkle embedded in the center. Made from sterling silver, each pair is hand-finished for a brilliant shine.

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