11 Thoughtful Gifts for Dad

iStock, FatCamera
iStock, FatCamera

This holiday season, spoil your old man with gifts that will help him kick back, pick up a new hobby, or spruce up his space.

1. Pit Boss Single-Burner Portable Tabletop Grill

Pit Boss
Amazon

This portable single-burner grill features a 305-square-inch stainless steel cooking area, making it perfect for picnicking, tailgating, and camping. With a set of folding legs, the grill can be easily collapsed and stored in a trunk or truck bed.

Find It at Amazon for $61 and also at these other retailers:

2. Apple Watch Series 4

Apple Watch
Best Buy

This watch is perfect for active men: Sporting Apple's largest display yet, this "swimproof" timepiece comes equipped with electrical and optical heart sensors, an accelerometer, and even a gyroscope that can detect when dad trips while he uses the hiking workout feature.

Find It at Best Buy for $429 and also at these other retailers:

3. Cocktail Courier Subscription

Cocktail Courier
Cocktail Courier

A boozy version of Blue Apron, Cocktail Courier promises to surprise dad with a monthly shipment of ingredients—such as bitters and garnishes—needed to make some of the tastiest cocktails. Along with the ingredients, the shipment comes with a card providing step-by-step instructions from some of the world’s best bartenders.

Find It at Cocktail Courier.

4. Whiskey Appreciation Crate

Bourbon Kit
Man Crates

When dad is finished making those drinks, he might want to proudly display them for all to see. Thankfully, this box (or “Man Crate”) comes with a personalized whiskey decanter and a personalized pair of rocks glasses. Also included are two slate coasters, two sphere molds for making ice, a whiskey drinking journal, and an assortment of savory snacks.

Find It at Man Crates for $150.

5. Bushnell Phantom Gold Course GPS

Bushnell GPS
Amazon

Preloaded with maps of 36,000 golf courses from more than 30 countries, this Bluetooth-enabled GPS tells dad just how far he need to launch his next shot. The device boasts a battery life that can last up to two rounds, meaning dad can spend as much time hacking away in the bunker as he needs. (But he insists he doesn't need that, right?)

Find It at Amazon for $100.

6. Wise Owl Hammock

Hammock
Amazon

Made from heavy-duty parachute nylon, this hammock is soft, lightweight, and reliable. It can hold up to 400 pounds, in case dad's favorite furry friend is used to cuddling in for naps. And if dad isn't an expert at knot-tying, have no fear: The company will send an email with instructions after your purchase, making sure this hammock stays high-strung for good.

Find It at Amazon for $26.

7. Train spotting Log Book

Trainspotting Book
Amazon

This train spotting guide is perfect for any dad who slams the brakes every time he sees a freight train passing him beside the highway. With this handy logbook, dad will never forget the time he spotted a rare 4-6-0 chugging beside a Dash 8-32B.

Find It at Amazon for $7.

8. Himalayan Salt Plank

Himalayan Pink Salt Plate
Uncommon Goods

Forget the old-fashioned Charcuterie board! And don’t even think of chopping up your steaks on a cutting board made from plastic. Rather, impart some flavor by resting your food on this handsome slab of Himalayan pink salt. (Dad can even use it as a cooking pan!)

Find It at Uncommon Goods for $30.

9. Baseball Stadium Blueprints

MLB Stadium Blueprint
Uncommon Goods

These attractive, vintage-style blueprints depicting every Major League Baseball stadium are of museum-grade and printed on archival paper, meaning they’ll last forever on the walls of dad’s office.

Find It at Uncommon Goods for $185.

10. Philips Sunrise Simulation Alarm Clock

Sun Alarm Clock
WalMart

We’ll admit that $124 sounds like a lot for an alarm clock—but after just a few days, dad will thank you. Research suggests that, to avoid grumpiness and overall fatigue, it’s healthier to wake up to a gentle glow of light than the shrill screams of a sudden alarm. This light by Philips is indisputably one of the best.

Find It at Wal-Mart for $124.

11. Audio-Technica AT-LP2X Record Player

Audio-Technica Record Player
Guitar Center

Whether dad likes classic rock or the latest release, this sleek, silver turntable will give him the option to KISS (keep it simple, stupid!), or eventually add on speakers and amplifiers. Plus, a record player is the gift that keeps on giving—as in, it gives you the freedom to make future gifts all vintage vinyl.

Find It at Guitar Center for $180 and also at these other retailers:

Celebrate Earth Day With 7 Eco-Friendly Fashion Options That Won't Pollute the Planet

iStock.com/lolostock
iStock.com/lolostock

Fashion is one of Earth’s most resource-intensive, environment-polluting industries. Manufacturing clothing requires vast quantities of water, international transport, and labor—and after all that, clothes regularly get thrown away after just a few months or years. (In part because recycling fabric into new textiles is very difficult.)

But that doesn’t mean that you need to become a nudist in order to save the Earth. There are plenty of clothing companies that take their environmental impact very seriously, using recycled and organic materials and trying to minimize the carbon footprint of their supply chain and manufacturing process. This Earth Day, take a look at some of the clothing that allows you to feel good about looking good.

1. Ralph Lauren Earth Polo

While it’s easier to find eco-friendly clothing at outdoor and sporting retailers, some mainstream fashion companies are getting in on the trend, too. Ralph Lauren just launched its first polo shirt made of recycled material—the Earth Polo. Available for both men and women in four different colors, the shirts are made with fabric derived from plastic bottles. Though they look nearly identical to the company’s regular styles, each Earth Polo is made from approximately 12 recycled plastic bottles. And to reduce water pollution, the colored fabrics are dyed with a process that requires no water.

Buy it from Ralph Lauren for men and women for $90.

2. Madewell Second Wave Swimwear

Madewell launched its first sustainable swimwear line in February 2019, meaning that you can feel a little less guilty about ocean trash while frolicking at the beach. Made from recycled plastic bottles, Second Wave swimsuits are available in two-piece or one-piece designs in a variety of colors and patterns. According to the company, the one-piece suits incorporate material from eight used plastic bottles, while its separates are each made from two plastic bottles. (In other words, if you want to save the environment, cover up!) We like the simplicity of this $80 red one-piece suit, but there are plenty of options to choose from starting at $45 per piece. Sizes run from XX small to 3X.

Buy it at Madewell for $45 and up.

3. PrAna Shirts

The California-based clothing company prAna is all about sustainability, from its materials to its manufacturing to the composting program at its headquarters. It makes pieces with organic and recycled materials and participates in fair trade and bluesign certification. You can filter items in its online store based on whether it’s made with recycled content, and there’s a lot to choose from, whether you’re looking for something to wear to the office, the beach, or yoga class. The Iselle t-shirt line for women is made with 92 percent recycled polyester and 8 percent hemp (which requires fewer pesticides and less water to produce than cotton), and comes in short-sleeve (left), long-sleeve, and tank designs. For men, the Transverse line of shirts is made with 95 percent recycled polyester and 5 percent hemp. There are also dressier options—the Merger button-down shirts (right) are made with 44 percent recycled polyester, 53 percent hemp, and 3 percent spandex.

Buy it from prAna.

4. Patagonia Stretch Rainshadow Jacket

A navy blue Patagonia jacket
Patagonia, Backcountry.com

Patagonia’s Rainshadow jackets are designed to keep you dry but cool during summer showers or while you’re working hard. The latest version of the design—which is fully waterproof but still breathable—is made with ECONYL, a recycled nylon made from discarded materials like abandoned fishing nets. ECONYL’s manufacturer estimates that the material reduces the climate change-related impact of nylon by up to 80 percent compared to new construction made from oil.

Buy it from Backcountry.com for men and women for $200.

5. Mammut Convey Recycled Down Jacket

Down-filled jackets are a reliable way to stay toasty during the cold months, but you may worry about the impact your outdoor adventures have on the ducks and geese that serve as the source for your jacket’s filling. Many outdoor retailers are switching to recycled down, which repurposes down from used bedding, cushions, and other items that would otherwise end up in the landfill. Mammut’s Convey is one of the best puffy jackets for cold weather, according to Popular Mechanics, and its 700 fill down comes from recycled sources.

Buy it from Mammut for men and women for $200.

6. Decathlon Fleece

Decathlon, a French mega-retailer that’s essentially the IKEA of sporting goods, makes a number of jackets, shirts, and pants using recycled polyester and other eco-friendly materials. (It’s also dedicated to reducing any unnecessary packaging.) The company just launched its first U.S. store in the Bay Area, and is rolling out its online store nationwide. If you’re looking for gear made with recycled materials, head to the fleece department—it its lightweight Forclaz 50 fleece jackets are made with 100 percent recycled polyester. The company also manufactures plenty of warm-weather gear with recycled materials, too, like its TREK 500 t-shirts (available for men and women) and flip-flops, all made with a majority, if not 100 percent, recycled materials. Oh, and did we mention that everything is dirt cheap?

Buy Forclaz 50 fleece jackets from Decathlon for both men and women for $5.

7. Pacsafe ECONYL Backpack

Recycled fabric isn’t just for clothing. A number of retailers also use sustainable textiles to make accessories. Pacsafe, which makes secure bags designed to keep your stuff from getting snatched while you’re traveling, makes a line of anti-theft bags designed with ECONYL regenerated nylon. The carry-on backpack has all the same security features as the company’s other products—cut-resistant straps and fabric, locking clips and zippers, and more—but it’s made with recycled materials. And all the profits from the line go to the Turtle Fund, the company’s conservation effort aimed at helping endangered sea turtles.

Buy it from Pacsafe for $130.

Ninja’s Hot & Cold Brewed System Is the Only Coffee Maker You’ll Ever Need

Amazon
Amazon

Update: The Ninja Hot & Cold Brewed System is on sale for $120 ($40 off) for Sam's Club members until May 19.

For people who just want a cup of joe to help them get out the door in the morning, the French presses, Chemexes, Aeropresses, Moka pots, and other specialized devices that coffee aficionados swear by probably seem more overwhelming than appealing. Ditto the fancy cappuccino machines at local cafes. That’s where Ninja’s new Hot & Cold Brewed System comes in: It was created to give coffee addicts a myriad of options with minimal fuss, not to mention minimal equipment. And it makes tea, too!

“Coffeehouses are known for having an endless selection, but current at-home brewers haven't given users the vast variety of choice we thought possible, and certainly not all in one product," Mark Rosenzweig, CEO of SharkNinja, said in a press release. "The Ninja Hot & Cold Brewed System changes the category entirely. This innovative system is more than just a machine you use in the morning; it's your all-day brewing partner.”

The Hot & Cold Brewed System comes with two baskets: one for coffee and one for tea. It knows what you're making to make based on the basket you insert, and the available options for that basket will light up. The machine allows the user to make six different sizes of coffee or tea, from a single cup all the way up to a full 50-ounce (10-cup) carafe.

And of course, as the name suggests, the system can make both hot and iced beverages. For coffee, it has five brew options: classic, rich, over ice, cold brew, and specialty (a concentrated brew for milky drinks like cappuccinos). If you’re making tea, you can choose between hot and cold brews optimized for herbal, black, oolong, white, or green tea.

When you select an over ice or cold brew, the machine automatically doubles the strength of your beverage so it doesn't get overly diluted by the ice cubes in the carafe. Even better, the Ninja can make cold brew in just 10 to 15 minutes, whereas other systems and methods typically take hours. (Hot coffee is brewed at 205°F, while the cold brew is made at 101°F.) And the system has a hot and cold frother that folds into the side so you can make barista-level lattes, too.

These bells and whistles sound impressive on paper, but how do they perform in real life? Ninja sent me Hot & Cold Brewed System to test for myself.

Ease of Use

Though it might look like something developed by NASA, the Hot & Cold Brewed System is designed to easily work with the twist of a dial and the push of a button, and it delivers. From loading in the correct amount of grounds with the system’s “smart scoop” to picking what type of brew you’d like, it’s simple enough to use even while bleary-eyed in the morning. It’s also easy to schedule a delayed brew so you can do the rest of your morning routine while your coffee brews. (Here’s the only drawback I can think of about this machine: When it starts brewing, it’s kind of noisy—loud enough to make my cats jump. It’s not a dealbreaker, but if you live in a small apartment and plan to brew coffee so that it’s ready right when you wake up, it might be something to consider.)

The system even tells you when it needs to be descaled. The “clean” button will light up, at which point you simply fill the water reservoir with descaling solution and water and press the clean button. A countdown lets you know how much longer the clean cycle will last.

Taste and Flavor

I swapped out an old, cheap coffee maker for the Hot & Cold Brewed System, and the difference was immediately noticeable. Whether hot or cold, the coffee made by the H&CBS was a better, smoother cup of joe. That’s due to what Ninja has dubbed Thermal Flavor Extraction automated brewing technology, which, according to a press release, “knows the precise temperatures, correct bloom times, and proper levels of saturation for every possible beverage combination to ensure a great taste every time.”

Whatever tech they use, it works. The coffee I make in this machine is consistently tasty. The rich brew setting works exactly as advertised, too, providing a richer, bolder flavor than the classic brew.

Features and Accessories

One of the best things about the H&CBS is the fact that it cuts down on waste significantly. Unlike other machines, it doesn't require any plastic pods or paper filters. Instead, it comes with two permanent filters, one for coffee and one for tea.

And the cold brew function is a game changer if you prefer iced coffee to hot. Not only does it brew quickly, but it eliminates the messy cleanup that comes with making cold brew yourself.

Typically priced at $230 for the thermal carafe version (or $200 for the glass carafe), the Hot & Cold Brewed System is significantly more expensive than a simpler drip coffee machine. But if you’re a cold brew addict looking to treat yourself, it’s worth it. Consider springing for the slightly more expensive thermal carafe model, which will keep your java hot or cold for hours. (I’ve left ice in it overnight and found cubes the next morning.)

You can get the Hot & Cold Brewed System on Amazon, Walmart, Macy's, Sam's Club, or directly on Ninja’s website starting at $160.

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