Let's face it, Dad.
This Sunday you're going to unwrap the hand-thrown pinch pot, the macaroni-encrusted picture frame or maybe the bad tie.
You'll thank the tykes (and the significant other), put the tchotchkes on your desk or in the closet -- and then go online to order what you really want.
The hot tip for this Father's Day is to channel your inner Teddy Roosevelt: The outdoors is calling.
Technology has brought nature tantalizingly close to your comfy indoor life.
Here, then, are my Father's Day summer tech picks for 2007. And they aren't limited to the Grizzly Adams set; expect solid performance in the back yard as well as the back country.
Sigg Black Skin Travel Flask
Swiss gear maker Sigg started fabricating aluminum back in 1908, and the company remains the leader in composite-alloy construction travel bottles. They're light, indestructible and best of all, have no plastic taste.
And this year, Sigg has found style. Today's bottles come in a plethora of designs. My pick is the
flat black ($20). The classic screw-in, no-leak top keeps what's in the bottle in the bottle. And the no-muss noir just plain pins the cool-o-meter at the gym or track.
JDC Electronics Speedwatch
This summer, give your on-the-water GPS a helping hand.
Speedwatch from JDC ($250, available at the end of June), is a two-part, easy-to-install water speed gauge that mounts a small propeller on the outside of your kayak or sailboat.
As you move through the water the small prop spins -- the faster you sail or paddle, the faster the prop turns. The smart little Speedwatch then uses fancy electronics to translate that info to your speed through the water.
The cool part is the unit connects wirelessly to a small display you can either keep on your wrist or mount on your boat.
Trust me, knowing your speed through the water independent of a GPS is a must-have in this world of fading batteries and unstable satellites.
Civilian Labs Rewind Andora Lossless Wallet
Nothing can ruin an otherwise spectacular outdoors adventure like losing your wallet. So protect your day out with the
Rewind Andora Lossless wallet ($38). Tethered to your body by a retractable steel cable, this wallet is as unmisplaceable as technology allows.
Not only is it built to military spec -- you just cannot trash it -- it comes with a neat cash-preview window, so you can see just how much money you have left without flashing your stash. That's nice and safe.
GSI Outdoors Camping Fridge Magnets
Go ahead, just try to pick the best tent, bag or stove.
Camping gear makers from Big Agnes, Lowe Alpine, Berghaus, Gregory, Osprey, Atmos, Terra, GoLite and dozens of others all make such marvelous stuff that picking the No. 1 is essentially a moot point. Simply go to a good outdoors store and buy whatever fits best.
But why deal with all of that fuss? I say just bag one of these fun, outdoorsy refrigerator magnets (starting at $5), whether the
duct tape, a
hiking boot or a
Honestly, we both know you'll use these far more than some high-tech sleeping bag.
Sherrill Tree 9-Piece Introductory Tree-Climbing Kit
Looking for a bit of zero-risk adventure? Go climb a tree.
Don't scoff -- trees are, in fact, lovely and perfectly safe places to hang out and work out. All you need is the right gear and a bit of training.
I like what Sherrill Tree has done by packaging a
kit ($399) containing a good harness, line, climbing ascenders and other stuff you need to get treeside in style.
And most every botanic garden or national park has friendly tree climbers who care for the trees, towering above those diminutive little shrubs and flowers, and may be willing to show you the ropes. Nothing puts you right with the world like scaling a perfect pine.
The Columbia River Knife Company Zilla-Tool
The current state of airline security has really put the kibosh on carrying multitools, the must-have, all-in-one combination of screwdriver, pliers and a heaven knows what else.
These days there's simply no more traveling with sharp things. Now, in order to have the multitool in our pockets for any MacGyver-style emergency, we techno-tough guys must stash one at the summer house, one at the in-law's place and -- of course -- one in the camp kit.
photo at right
) is my pick for 2007. This multi is stripped down to just what you need: pliers, a blade, screwdriver, and beefy little wire stripper -- not bad for 7 ounces that fits in your pocket. It looks kind of nice and spiffy, too.
Pawleys Island Cotton Rope Hammock
After the adventure comes the blissful downtime remembering it -- or, most of the time for me, anyway,
the adventure comes the blissful downtime.
Whatever the case, here's the ultimate gift to yourself: the ultimate hammock. This cotton-rope
hammock by Pawleys Island ($180) is the classic: comfy, natural-fiber rope, oak stems and zinc-plated hardware.
There are more outdoorsy, adventure-type hammocks that you can do some serious camping with. I like what
Hennessy Hammock and
Hammock Bliss are doing. They're polyester, however, which may be fabulously light and decently comfortable, but it just doesn't offer the utter relaxation factor of the Pawleys.
And that, for me, is what Father's Day is all about.
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Jonathan Blum is an independent technology writer and analyst living in Westchester, N.Y. He has written for The Associated Press and Popular Science and appeared on FoxNews and The WB.