Paste’s 2024 Gadget-Filled Father’s Day Gift Guide

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Paste’s 2024 Gadget-Filled Father’s Day Gift Guide

Here at Paste, we take Father’s Day seriously. To prepare for this year’s gift guide, we researched old Brookstone catalogs, listened to a ton of Steely Dan’s Aja and Phil Collins-era Genesis and thought about the technology that has changed how we relax, enjoy our hobbies, get work done and take care of the family. Technology hasn’t just revolutionized our video games and smartphones. Even treasured childhood characters like Megatron and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been updated and upgraded with the help of miniature motors, robotics and the advent of better 3-D printing.

It’s not just toys, either. E-bikes allow older riders to explore the outdoors, green tech has revolutionized the camping gear market and even something as simple as drinking coffee has been broken down and reimagined. 

Every dad will say he doesn’t want anything for this “Hallmark” holiday, but new tech, gadgets and, yes, even toys appeal to men on a subliminal level (much like this “Damn, Man” bag stuffed with exotic meats and aged cheeses.) From camping tech to the newest gear for gaming and prepper dads and everything in between, here’s your Father’s Day tech gift guide. 

X-Men Dad

After more than 30 years, the X-Men animated series has returned! Relaunched in March as X-Men ‘97, it quickly became one of the most popular MCU shows and continually exceeded fans expectations. With callbacks to the original series as well as the original Marvel vs. Capcom arcade series, the Disney+ series has old comic book fans digging through their longboxes again. If your dad grew up anytime after 1980, he’ll surely appreciate replaying classics like Marvel vs. Capcom 2 or the recently updated Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 X-Men ‘97 Edition by Arcade 1UP.

If dad leans towards the classics, Arcade1UP has an extensive line of 80’s staples like Pac-Man and Galaga all the way up through the 1990s and 2000s with games like Killer Instinct, NBA Jam, The Simpsons, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Mortal Kombat. For the collector who likes to show off their comics, Romany House, based in Kansas City, Mo., creates gorgeous laser-cut storage boxes and dividers perfectly sized for collectible books. 

Learn To Grow Dad

With better technology, hydroponic growing machines have shrunk in size and increased in efficiency. Even if your dad doesn’t have the outdoor space to grow lettuce, herbs or even a couple of tomato plants, all-encompassing growers like LetPot have enabled people to bring the garden inside. Starting around $80 (now on sale at $60), LetPot has a Mini 5-Pod garden, a midsized “Senior” option and the Max, which includes a 21-pod tray for regular greens and a 2-pod grow tray for bigger plants.  After a quick setup, the LetPot will automatically water, add nutrients, provide light and let you monitor your garden. The grow kit also includes an app so dad can know when he needs to add more water or add another nutrient packet.

Beach Dad

With summer just a month away, it’s time to get the beach gear brushed off and accounted for. Toys, check. Chairs, check. Backpack cooler? For less than the cost of many other backpack coolers from brands like Yeti, the Bolotor Bolo Pack contains both a detachable insulated cooler and a multipurpose hammock/beach blanket/tent wall that packs up quick and neat. Launched on Kickstarter in April by Michael Stein, Bolotor is set to unveil its official website in June.

Since space in the car is a priority, you can also consider the Weber Traveler Compact grill, a portable gas grill for dads who need to cook a round of hot dogs on the road. The Weber compact grill runs on a one-pound propane tank and can feed two to four people depending on what’s on the menu. At 32” wide and only 37 pounds, it’s 20% smaller than the original Weber Traveler Grill and easily sets up on folds with one hand. Round out the look with some Adidas sports sunglasses and dad will be fully prepared for the warm weather. 

Prepper Dad

In the wake of a global pandemic, continued war and growing extreme weather, survival gear has never been more popular. While we’re not recommending investing in a bunker, there are plenty of helpful innovations that might help dad out when he’s in need. The Schuchmacher 1,000 Volt car jumper/portable battery pack is a must-have for any car, especially if your dad still spends countless hours commuting to and from work. In addition to being able to jumpstart a vehicle in seconds, the 1649 model offers wireless charging, two USB outputs and another USB-C port. Just don’t forget the faraday bag!

Camping Dad

Camping dads can be tough to buy for because, as a general rule, they like to be over-prepared. Camping dad is especially concerned with having the right tent, sleeping bag, grill and/or fishing gear months before setting off into the woods. Launched in 2020, LifeStraw has created a whole line of portable water filters, bottles and dispensers for camping and everyday use The LifeStraw Sip is the company’s newest invention and the world’s first reusable stainless steel water filter straw. Costing $35, it’s perfect for dad’s “to-go” bag. The product uses the company’s proprietary filtering tech to clean away organisms like bacteria and parasites, dirt and microplastics from any water source.

For some camping enthusiasts, going off-grid is the whole point of venturing into the wilderness. If you’re searching for something for a fiercely independent dad, consider a Solar Kettle. Easily filled and set up, it can boil water for cooking, coffee or a quick clean up within 20 minutes. The 4Patriots Sun Kettle is the Utah-based company’s newest version, featuring an extra-large tank (33.8 ounces of water) and made with shatter-resistant, tempered glass. 

“Action Figure” Dad

Just because men hit a certain age – say 43 –  it doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve suddenly stopped loving toys. Updated, robotic and reimagined versions of classics like Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and X-Men figures and sets have stormed back into pop culture. The best example, Robosen’s Transformers line, was launched a few years back and has several models including Optimus Prime, Grimlock, Bumblebee and their newest, Megatron

Gamer Dad

Today’s middle-aged dads grew up connecting the first generation of video game systems like Nintendo, Atari and Sega to ancient CRT TVs, long before wireless controllers were the standard. Today, the TVs are larger, the graphics are better and the sound has advanced well past 8-bit bleeps. To help dad enjoy the immersive surround sound and orchestral soundtracks that accompany newer games like Elden Ring, Fallout and Helldivers 2, consider a stellar set of gaming headphones. The newly released Steelseries Arctis Nova 5 are equipped with plug-and-play technology, have a retractable mic and easily switch between 2.4 hertz and Bluetooth channels with a push of a button.

The Nova 5s are also the first to incorporate the new Steelseries app, which comes with built-in presets for some of the most popular games. These are perfect for a quick game of Fortnite during nap time or for an extended adventure in Hyrule as they have a 60-hr battery life on a charge.

If your dad relies on a Nintendo Switch or a Steam Deck for his gaming needs, the Arzopa Z1FC Portable Monitor is a thoughtful option, as the Z1FC offers a refresh rate of up to 144Hz and fluid gaming visuals. The monitor is also ultra-slim. measures in at 16.1” and is compatible with any device that supports a Thunderbolt 3, USB C and/or HDMI input. 

Starter Chef Dad

Dinner time at home is a job in itself. Creating an engaging menu while juggling varying tastes, allergies and schedules can feel suffocating night after night. The task can seem especially daunting if you’re not a great cook. If dad could use some help in the kitchen, consider gifting him the all-in-one Cosori Ceramic Air Fryer Oven. This beast can handle anything from frozen pizza to roasting a whole five-pound chicken and comes with five levels of racks, so your dad can air fry onion rings while roasting garlic. 

Treasure Hunter Dad

If dad watched movies like The Goonies or Pirates of the Caribbean when he was a kid or even with the kids, he’s likely daydreamed of finding treasure of his own, swinging around with Sloth on a pirate ship and drinking too much rum with Keira Knightley. Unfortunately, Sloth (played by former NFL star and actor John Matuszak) died in 1989 and Keira is busy, but there is hope. With beach season just around the corner, consider scooping up a Minelab X-Terra Pro treasure detector for him. Available at places like Bass Pro Shops and on Amazon, the X-Terra Pro is perfect for the family – and it’s fully waterproof up to 16 ft, works in the field, park or beach and can even search through magnetic minerals, iron-rich soil, deep water and snow. 

Traveling-For-Work Dad

Visiting a new country is exhilarating, fun and informative, but it can be confusing and a bit exhausting if you don’t speak the language. While there are apps, simple phrases to learn and guidebooks to bridge the gap, a good translator can be a game changer. Newly revamped, the Vasco Translator V4 can immediately translate speech into more than 130 different worldwide languages, and it can quickly decipher signs, menus and pictures that you may need to understand. A favorite at CES 2024, Vasco also announced their E1 translator earbuds earlier in the year, which are slated to roll out sometime soon starting in Europe and later in the U.S.

Working on the road, business hinges on your equipment and having the correct cord is a constant struggle. The EZQuest Ultimate USB-C Multimedia Hub works with Mac and can run dual monitors and provides a ton of extra ports for charging and transfer connections. Since everything tech is now switching to USB-C, dad might appreciate this handy 6-in-1 Slim power hub

Coffee Dad

I grew up hating coffee. As a dad, I have learned to embrace the wonders of caffeine. While I’m not a coffee snob, I respect bean science and the quest to find the perfect blend. What I do know, is that next to choosing the right beans, the most important step to making incredible coffee is starting with quality water. If you’ve got a hardcore coffee fanatic at home, consider starting with an AquaTru Water Filter. More than just a simple pitcher filter, the AquaTru uses a four-stage filtering system that includes a separate carbon filter, a reverse osmosis filter for inorganic chemicals like lead and arsenic and a final VOC filter to remove inorganics like residue from prescription drugs and PFAS aka “forever chemicals.”

For the dad constantly on the go, the FinalPress Coffee and Tea maker is small enough to leave in the car and can pump out several cups of your favorite brew in a few minutes. If dad prefers a less hands-on approach to making his coffee, Vinci’s express cold brew pitcher can make a batch of fresh cold brew within minutes. 

Get Fit Dad

“This year I’m going to finally get back to my college weight,” is a phrase that’s run through every dad’s mind. Whether or not it actually happens is beside the point. This year, you can at least help dad on his journey with a few new pieces of tech. First, an electric bike is a great way to help transition back into a fitness routine, but picking the right one takes a bit of research. It’s important to pick a reputable company like Velotric, who produce road-ready cruisers, sport and cargo e-bikes that come with UL certified batteries. If dad is just getting back into the grind, think about starting off with the Velotric Discover 2, which has a 750W torque sensor motor, a waterproof battery that lasts up to 75 miles, integrarted turn signals and a full-color 3.5 inch display with built-in GPS location.

Two other e-bikes that made our list are Electra Ponto Go!, a cargo-style roadster and the ultra modern Urtopia Carbon 1 Pro, which was recently redesigned with increased stability, aerodynamics, built-in navigation, fingerprint unlock and much more.

For those dads looking to start slower, walking is the best exercise you can do. Starting the day with 15 or 20 minutes of walking can change dad’s waistline, energy levels and overall health if it’s something he can stick with. Now on sale from $160 up to $250, Mobvoi makes an affordable walking treadmill that can easily fit under a desk and ramps up to 3.7 mph. 

Weed Dad

As my doctor likes to remind me, smoking anything is awful for your body. That said, there’s a grandpa in my neighborhood who loves growing his own marijuana and still smokes it in hand-rolled joints. Since his kids don’t appreciate him enough, and he needs to move off smoking so much, I’m giving him my Grateful Dead x G-Pen Dash. Easy to use and perfect for small sessions, it’s durable and discreet as well. While it takes some getting used to, the vaporizer provides a cleaner and more flavorful session. I recently upgraded to Pax Plus, which is my go-to way to consume flower. On rare occasions I pick up fresh flower these days, it’s the only way I’ll consume it. 

For special occasions, we’ve been testing out a new dab rig, the Stündenglass Modül. The Modül Dök can handle both dry herb and concentrate materials and shines when heating up shatter, dabs or crumble. Crafted with quartz and stainless steel, it also features magnetic connection tech, customizable heating and session control and the unmistakable Studenglass aesthetic. On the edible end of the spectrum, we’ve been experimenting with MariMed’s Vibations, an advanced hydration, cannabis-infused electrolyte drink mix and a seasonal favorite, their Beachtime Betty’s Strawberry Lemonade Chews. 

Movie Dad

As a dad, you can’t just run out to the movie theater to catch the newest MCU, Mad Max or Trolls entry on a whim. Movies quickly become a luxury when you’ve got a little one to look after, so you’ve got to bring the entertainment to you.

While they may look like standard Wayfarers from a distance, the XREAL l Air 2 Pro glasses allow users to watch TV and movies, scroll their phone or even play video games. Plug the USB-C cable into your smartphone, laptop or Steamdeck and the Xreal Air 2 glasses mirror your screen. Newer phones like the iPhone 15 and Pixel 8 work easily, but older models will need the Xreal Adapter ($49) or the Xreal Beam accessory ($119) to connect. While the glasses alone emulate a 130-inch screen a few feet away, the XREAL Beam allows users to resize screens (up to 330 inches or down to 20) and slide them away or toward the user. 

Quick Picks 

Somnee SmartSleep headband – a clinically-tested smart sleep headband that works 4x better than melatonin. The smart sleep headband nudges a user’s brain into its ideal sleep state through a personalized, gentle forehead stimulation that gets even more effective with use over time.

Gentlemen’s Hardware Wilderness 9-in-1 Multi-Tool: This fully loaded wilderness tool is designed as the ideal accompaniment for everything from camping trips and outdoor survival forays to everyday use. This guy features a knife blade, saw/flint scraper, tin/bottle opener, corkscrew, flathead screwdriver, Phillips screwdriver and removable flint rod.

Moss Air –  An innovative home air purifier and humidifier that uses one of nature’s secret weapons – real living moss – to bring the outdoors inside, create a sense of serenity, lower CO2, remove toxins, dust and allergens and bring more oxygen into your environment.

Aqara’s Smart Pet Feeder – Help dad take care of his fur baby with this connected Smart Pet Feeder. It can be controlled remotely when you are traveling, at work or lying down on the sofa, and supports feeding plans or schedules. The built-in microphone also lets dad leave a message for his beloved pet.

Gazelle – Looking to upgrade dad’s phone without spending $1,000? Buy used, recycle and save some money.  Using Gazelle, you can buy a refurbished phone for a fraction of the cost of an iPhone 12 for just under $200, without having to deal with Craigslist. Kill two birds and sell his old one at the same time!

 

Dana Forsythe is a freelance writer covering tech, comic books and culture. He lives in Massachusetts, enjoys photographing street art, collecting comics and can be followed via Twitter @danafour.

 

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